Sunday, 3 April 2011

The Sacrificial Trap

Napoleon I - Madame de Remusat (MalmaisonCastle (1804)

Napoleon opened with the Dunst Opening1.Nc3 (The opening move 1.Nc3 develops the knight to a good square where it attacks the central e4 and d5 squares.)
Remosat replied with 1...e5 (This natural move is playable, but dangerous if Black does not know what he is doing).I would wood have played 1...d5 witch is one of Black's best replies, occupying the center and underscoring the unsettled position of White's knight.

Napoleon continued 2.Nf3 and Black replied d6 (Philidor Defense)

after(1.Nc3 e5 2.Nf3 d6)

Napoleon moved e2-e4 (securing Black's E-Pawn and placing more pressure on the d5 square). Black responds with f7-f5 (Kings Gambit). Now Napoleon shows his intentions with 4.h4 (preventing a possible pin on his Knight from the Black Queens Bishop). Black takes the E-Pawn ( 4...fxe4) Napoleon retakes with Knight (Nxe4) 
after(3.e4 f5 4.h3 fxe4 5.Nxe4)

 Black feels confident Nc6 (Supporting her E-Pawn in order to move the D-Pawn) Napoleon plays 6.Nfg5,  Black moves d6-d5 (removing the defender E-Knight defends the G-Knight). Napoleon attacks with Queen to h5 check, Black removes check with g7-g6.White retreats to queen to f3
after(5...Nc6 6.Nfg5 d5 7.Qh5+ g6 8.Qf3)

Up to now Black had the advantage. As you can see black needs to remove the threat (Queen to f7#). Remosat tried to accomplish this by moving her Knight h6 (protecting the f7 square). According to me this was her first major mistake , She should have moved her Bishop to f5 (removing the threat and strengthening her line while also increasing the pressure on Napoleons Knights). Her mistake changed the course of the game : Napoleon moved with tempo Nf6 check, black responded by moving her King to e7. Napoleon moved again with tempo Knight takes d5 check. Black moves King to d6.

after(8....Nh6 9.Nf6+ Ke7 10.Nxd5+ Kd6)

Now this is where Napoleon's brilliance came into play, he played Knight to e4 check (cutting off he's D-Knight from any protection) The bait was set. She being taunted by the Knights for so long couldn't resist and made the huge blunder of taking the bait (Kxd5).The trap was sprung.

           after(11.Ne4 Kxd5)                                           12.Bc4

          12.....Kxc4 13.Qb3+                                 13.....Kd4 14.Qd3#

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Kings Gambit

“I don't believe in psychology. I believe in good moves”
                                   (Bobby Fischer)

Steinitz’s Four Rules of Strategy

1. The right to attack belongs to the side that has a positional advantage, and that side not only has the right to attack but also the obligation to do so, or else his advantage may evaporate. The attack should be concentrated on the weakest square in the opponent’s position.

2. If in an inferior position, the defender should be ready to defend and make compromises, or take other measures, such as a desperate counterattack.

3. In an equal position, the opponents should manoeuvre, trying to achieve a position in which they have an advantage. If both sides play correctly, an equal position will remain equal.

4. The advantage may be a big, indivisible one (for example, a rook on the seventh rank), or it may be a whole series of small advantages. The goal of the stronger side is to store up the advantages, and to convert temporary advantages into permanent ones.

I whould like to teach you one opening each week , this week I will start with open game's and the veriation is called the Kings Gambit.

King's Gambit (after 1.e4 e5 2.f4)

White starts by playing 1.e4 (moving his King's pawn two spaces). This is the most popular opening move and it has many strengths — it immediately works on controlling the center, and it frees two pieces (the queen and a bishop). The oldest openings in chess follow 1.e4. Bobby Fischer rated 1.e4 as "best by test". On the downside, 1.e4 places a pawn on an undefended square and weakens d4 and f4; the Hungarian master Gyula Breyer melodramatically declared that "After 1.e4 White's game is in its last throes". If Black mirrors White's move and replies with 1...e5, the result is an open game.

The most popular second move for White is 2.Nf3 attacking Black's king pawn, preparing for a kingside castle, and anticipating the advance of the queen pawn to d4. Black's most common reply is 2...Nc6, which usually leads to the Ruy Lopez (3.Bb5), Scotch Game (3.d4), or Italian Game (3.Bc4). If Black instead maintains symmetry and counterattacks White's center with 2...Nf6 then the Petroff Defense results. The Philidor Defense (2...d6) is not popular in modern chess because it allows White an easy space advantage while Black's position remains cramped and passive, although solid. Other responses to 2.Nf3 are not seen in master play.

The most popular alternatives to 2.Nf3 are the Vienna Game (2.Nc3), the Bishop's Opening (2.Bc4), and the King's Gambit (2.f4). These openings have some similarities with each other, in particular the Bishop's Opening frequently transposes to variations of the Vienna Game. The King's Gambit was extremely popular in the 19th century. White sacrifices a pawn for quick development and to pull a black pawn out of the center. The Vienna Game also frequently features attacks on the Black center by means of a f2-f4 pawn advance.

In the Center Game (2.d4) White immediately opens the center but if the pawn is to be recovered after 2...exd4, White must contend with a slightly premature queen development after 3.Qxd4. An alternative is to sacrifice one or two pawns, for example in the Danish Gambit.
Here is an example of the King's Gambit being played by me :

(Francois van der Walt - Erik Holm) (Op die Berg 2009)

after (1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 c6 4.d4 Nf6 5.e5 d5 6.Bd3 Bg4 7.Be2 Ne4 8.Bxf4 Bf5 9.Nd2 Qb6 10.Nxe4 Bxe4 11.Bf3 Bg6 12.Ne2)

I know it seems like I left b2 unprotected , but as u will see in the next image, it was a calculated sacrifice (pawn for open file "Mobility")  

                                     after (12....Qxb2 13.Rb1 Qxa2 14.Rxb7)

Predicting the outcome of all that is in your control !!

"To predict the behavior of ordinary people in advance, you only have to assume that they will always try to escape a disagreeable situation with the smallest possible expenditure of intelligence."

Friedrich Nietzsche

White Francois - Black Ivan Madzharov

                                                 ater (1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nc6 3. c4 Nf6 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nf6 6. Nc3 Bg4)

At this stage I felt secure in my center control , he had my Knight pinned to my Queen. I assume that you all have basic knowledge of chess principles. So first of all I make an educated prediction , as u know a knight is best used in the center (my friend (Josh Waitzkin) use to say "a Knight on the rim is grim) , and adding to the fact that he already had tension on my Knight it was natural to assume if a threaten his C-Knight with d4-d5 that he would move it to e5 (solidifying he's Knight's position while increasing pressure on my pinned Knight)    
                                                after (7. d5 Ne5)

Now I want u to look at this position (try to see what the best move would be). Remember you must always try to predict your opponent in life and chess.....(If you know how your opponent will react to a move or situation before you make it, you can start planning for that reaction before hand and just repeat the process....)

This is what I did : 

                                                  after (8.Nxe5 Bxd1)

If you are surprised , you didn't think hard enough , my opponent wasn't thinking either (witch we predicted).  
This is what followed ......

                                  after (9. Bb5+ c6 10. dxc6 Qc7 11. cxb7+ Kd8 12. Nxf7#)

I want you all to look at this game and decide what you would have done differently than my opponent after I played 8.Nxe5 - Please explain why , and I will reply on all your answers.

I would like to give one lesson every weak - 1 Opening Principles

As I use to tell my friends ; It does not matter how u choose to open your game as long as u follow the following principles :

Principle 1

A game may be termed well-commenced set openings apart when the pieces are brought out so that no piece obstructs the action of another, and that each piece be so well planted that it cannot be attacked with impunity. -Walker
Principle 2

An opening to be well constructed should be made quickly -Walker , consequently the same piece should not be moved twice until the other pieces are in play.-Steinitz

The exceptions to this rule are when a greater or at least an equal loss of time can be inflicted upon your adversary, also when an improper move on his part brings an important advantage within measurable distance.

Principle 3

There are two styles of development ; the attacking and the defensive. In one the pieces are spread about to secure the greatest possible command of the board. In the other they are kept together mutually supporting or defending each other.

Whichever method is adopted the player should be prepared to change from one to the other at short notice, that is unless he sees a certain win before the first course.

Principle 4

A piece in play should not be exchanged for a piece out of play. The exception is - to retreat would entail the loss of the attack.
Principle 5

To gain a Pawn in the opening it is worth while to lose one move.

To gain a Pawn it is seldom worth while to lose one move and the attack, against a good player. To expend two moves with a Knight in order to win the exchange is rarely advisable.

Principle 6

A Pawn may generally be sacrificed in the opening with advantage when it accomplishes two objects i.e., when it brings an undeveloped piece into play, and at the same time keeps an opponent's piece out of play.

This applies especially to Gambit attacks. There are other ends which may be substituted for that of keeping an opponent's piece out of play, such as to facilitate access to his King,

Principle 7

Weigh your advantages and disadvantages. When you have an opportunity of making a good move, and you see before you another move which permits several good continuations, select the latter. Your adversary will most probably hasten to stop your good move at the risk of a bad game.

This is the principle upon which the finest Gambit attacks such as the Muzio and the Allgaier, are founded, and it may be summed up in the maxim " retain as much freedom of action as possible."

Principle 8

When you cannot see your way to an attacking move, play a development move. When you cannot make a development move, play, if possible, a restraining move that will check your opponent's development.

Principle 9

When your opponent shows a disposition to play a backward or defensive game, do not play a forward game. Keep your pieces together, play steadily and look out for weak spots. If he pushes forward rapidly in the centre, try to get round him.

If he advances Pawns on both sides try to cut his game in two.

If he advances rapidly on one flank, wait till he has fairly committed himself in that direction, and then attack him on the other side. This assumes that your game is not so far committed as to leave you no option.

These maxims may appear obvious. The difficulty is, however to recognise their applicability in the position under your eyes when playing. This is the point which requires careful attention.

Principle 10

Advanced Pawns should be supported from the side of the board and not from the centre. A Queen's Pawn used as a supporting Pawn is especially weak, being open to attack on all sides.

Principle 11

On the same principle, a supporting piece should always be placed where he is least liable to attack, or where, if attacked, he can support while retreating. For this reason a Knight is inferior as a supporting piece. A good player will aim at the supports rather than at the front rank.

Principle 12

A Rook on the same file as your opponent's King or Queen is always well placed, intervening men notwithstanding. In the former position, with Queen and the other Book on adjoining files, you may generally force the game. This is easier if the intervening Pawns are disarranged.

This principle may be extended to the Queen and two Bishops on three adjoining diagonals bearing upon the adverse King's quarters, but the rule is not so certain in this case, unless there are advanced Pawns to assist in the attack.

Principle 13

In exchanging, aim at securing a majority of Pawns on your Queen's
side. That is if your King is castled on the other side.

Principle 14

To be avoided or carefully guarded against are :

1 . A sacrifice or capture which brings your King into position for a diverging .attack by Queen, Rook, Bishop, or Knight.

A double check is equally to be shunned.

2. A sacrifice or capture which drives your King away from the defence of a piece by proximity.

This maxim applies to any piece, but in the openings it is generally the King that is aimed at through the f2 Pawn which he alone defends.

Principle 15

An attack on the Castled King with four pieces will usually force the game and permit one piece to be sacrificed in order to clear the way.

Principle 16

Castling on the Queen's side is not so safe as castling on the King's side, especially for the second player, because it leaves the a2 Pawn undefended. There are, however, some notable exceptions to this rule,  when the Queen's file is open for the player so castling, and not for his adversary ; or when the Pawns on King's side can be advanced for a strong attack on his adversary's King already castled on that side.