The Kopec System

It has been my experience teaching Chess to children that they “make the darnest moves.”

Kids Say The Darndest Things
“Kids Say The Darndest Things” hosted by Art Linkletter

A prime example would be when after the opening moves of 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3, the student suggests playing 2…Bd6. After moving the bishop to d6 I asked a precocious girl, with the mellifluous name Haripria, why she had made that particular move. The answer came, “Because it protects the pawn, dummy.” That remark set me aback. After gathering myself the response was, “But it also blocks the d-pawn, and clogs up the works, dummy.” She howled with laughter. As we sat there smiling I recalled the Kopec System, based on White playing an early Bd3, blocking the d-pawn.

If you are a regular reader you know what comes next, but for you newbies, inquiring minds wanna know, so I went to the ChessBaseDataBase to learn it contains 45 games in which 3 Bd3 has been played, showing it has scored an astounding 66% against a very high average opposition of 2544! This is INCREDIBLE! I went to finding it contained 97 games with a 70.1% score. My mind has been blown…

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 Bd3 Nc6 4 c3 Bg4 (The move of Stockfish; Komodo and Deep Fritz castle. 4…Nf6 has been played in 700 games with a winning percentage of only 49%. It is the choice of Deep Fritz 13 @depth22. 4…e5 is the choice of Houdini and there is only one game in the CBDB. Stockfish 14 @depth 29 plays 4…Bg4, of which there are two games contained within the CBDB) 5. h3 Bxf3 6. Qxf3 Nf6 (Houdini & Critter like 6…g6, but Fire prefers 6…e6. I miss Stockfish…) 7 Bc2 (There it is, the Kopec system. Unfortunately, the CBDB shows it has only scored 48% against an average rating of 2416) 7…g6 8. O-O Bg7 9 Qe2! (OK, I put the exclam there, and you regular readers and Chigorin fans understand why. This is the move chosen by SF 14 @depth 27, but I must report SF 12 going down to depth 46 likes 9 d3) 9…0-0 10 d3 (After this move 10…b5 has almost invariably been played. The CBDB shows two games in which the move was 10…Nd7; one each for 10…Qc7 and Rc8. The latter is the choice of Komodo. See game below. StockFish comes at you with a TN, 10…d5)

Khaled Mahdy (2390) vs Manfred Freitag (2285)
Event: AUT-chT 9697
Site: Austria Date: ??/??/1996
Round: 2
ECO: B50 Sicilian
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.c3 Nf6 4.Bd3 Nc6 5.Bc2 Bg4 6.h3 Bxf3 7.Qxf3 g6 8.d3 Bg7 9.O-O O-O 10.Qe2 Rc8 11.a4 a6 12.Be3 b5 13.axb5 axb5 14.Nd2 Nd7 15.Nf3 Qb6 16.Qd2 Qc7 17.Bh6 e5 18.Bb3 Nb6 19.Rfd1 Ra8 20.Be3 Rfb8 21.Ng5 Nd8 22.h4 Rxa1 23.Rxa1 h6 24.Nf3 Kh7 25.Qe2 Ne6 26.g3 Qd7 27.h5 g5 28.Bxe6 fxe6 29.Nh2 Rb7 30.Qg4 Na4 31.Bc1 c4 32.Nf3 cxd3 33.b3 Nxc3 34.Bxg5 Qe8 35.Bd2 Ne2+ 36.Kg2 Bf6 37.Ra6 Rg7 38.Qh3 Qd7 39.Kf1 Qb7 40.Qxe6 Qxe4 41.Ng1 Qh1 42.Qf5+ Kh8 43.Ra8+ Qxa8 44.Qxf6 Qa1+ 45.Be1 Nd4 46.Qxd6 Qb1 47.Nf3 Nxf3 48.Qf8+ Kh7 49.Qf5+ Kg8 50.Qc8+ Kf7 51.Qf5+ Ke7 52.Qxf3 Qxb3 53.Qb7+ Kf6 54.Qf3+ Ke6 55.Qc6+ Ke7 56.Qb7+ Kf6 57.Qf3+ Ke6 58.Qc6+ Kf7 59.Qf3+ Kg8 60.Qa8+ Kh7 61.Qe4+ Kh8 62.Qxe5 Qc4 63.Kg1 b4 64.Bd2 Qg4 65.Bxh6 Kh7 66.Bf4 Rf7 67.Qe4+ Qf5 68.Qxb4 Qxh5 69.Qe4+ Qf5 70.Qh1+ Kg7 71.Qc6 Kg8 72.Qa8+ Rf8 73.Qa2+ Qf7 74.Qa5 Qg6 75.Qd5+ Rf7 76.Qa8+ Kg7 77.Be5+ Kh6 78.Qh1+ Qh5 79.Qc6+ Qg6 ½-½

Jordan vs Michel Sivan
Event: Lyon op
Site: Lyon Date: ??/??/1999
Round: ?
ECO: B30 Sicilian defence
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.c3 d6 4.Bd3 Bg4 5.h3 Bxf3 6.Qxf3 Ne5 7.Bb5+ Nc6 8.O-O Qc7 9.d4 a6 10.Ba4 b5 11.Bb3 c4 12.Bc2 g6 13.a4 Rb8 14.axb5 axb5 15.e5 e6 16.exd6 Bxd6 17.Nd2 Nge7 18.Ne4 Nf5 19.Nxd6+ Nxd6 20.Bf4 Qd7 21.d5 Ne7 22.dxe6 fxe6 23.Rad1 Nd5 24.Rxd5 exd5 25.Qxd5 Rb6 26.Re1+ Kd8 27.Qd4 1-0

Peter Svidler (2714) vs Alan Pichot (2630)
Event: FTX Crypto Cup Prelim
Site: INT Date: 05/24/2021
Round: 8.5
ECO: B50 Sicilian
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bd3 Nf6 4.c3 Bg4 5.Bc2 e6 6.h3 Bh5 7.d4 d5 8.exd5 Qxd5 9.Bb3 Qe4+ 10.Be3 Bxf3 11.gxf3 Qf5 12.Nd2 cxd4 13.Bxd4 Nc6 14.Ba4 Be7 15.Bxf6 Qxf6 16.Qb3 O-O 17.Bxc6 bxc6 18.O-O-O Rab8 19.Qc4 Rb5 20.Kc2 Rfb8 21.b3 Rd5 22.Qe4 Re5 23.Qd3 g6 24.Ne4 Qf4 25.Rhe1 Rf5 26.Qd7 Bf8 27.Qxa7 Rbb5 28.Rd8 Ra5 29.Qe7 Qh6 30.a4 Rxf3 31.Red1 Rd5 32.R1xd5 cxd5 33.Nf6+ Rxf6 34.Qxf6 Qh5 35.Qe7 Qe2+ 36.Kc1 Kg7 37.Qxf8+ Kf6 38.Qc5 1-0

Danny Kopec (2405) vs Maxim Dlugy (2550)
Event: Saint John op-1
Site: Saint John Date: ??/??/1988
Round: ?
ECO: B30 Sicilian defence
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bd3 g6 4.c3 Bg7 5.O-O d5 6.exd5 Qxd5 7.Qe2 Nf6 8.Bc4 Qd8 9.d3 O-O 10.Re1 b6 11.Bg5 Bb7 12.Nbd2 Qd7 13.Rad1 Rae8 14.a4 h6 15.Bh4 Nh5 16.Qe3 e5 17.Ne4 Kh8 18.Nf6 Nxf6 19.Bxf6 Kh7 20.Bxg7 Kxg7 21.Bb5 f6 22.a5 Qd6 23.axb6 axb6 24.Nd2 Rd8 25.h4 h5 26.Ne4 Qc7 27.Rf1 Ne7 28.g3 Nd5 29.Qe1 Qe7 30.f3 f5 31.Ng5 f4 32.Rd2 Ne3 33.Re2 Qd6 34.Rxe3 fxe3 35.Qxe3 Rf5 36.Re1 Rdf8 37.Bc4 Bd5 38.Bxd5 Qxd5 39.f4 exf4 40.gxf4 Kh8 41.Qe7 Qg8 42.Re4 R5f6 43.Qc7 Rc8 44.Qb7 Rb8 45.Qc7 Rc8 46.Qb7 ½-½

Modern Chess with the Clanking Digital Monsters

Vladislav Artemiev (RUS) 2697 versus

Alan Pichot (ARG) 2552

Aeroflot Open 2018 round 01


1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d3 Nc6 4. g3 Nf6 (Houdini & Stockfish prefer an immediate 4…d5) 5. Bg2 d5 6. Qe2 6 Nbd2 is most often played, yet Komodo Stockfish prefer immediate castling) Be7 7. O-O (The most often played move but there is disagreement between the Big Three, with the Dragon choosing 7 c3; the Fish 7 Bf4; and the escape artist 7 e5) O-O 8. e5 Nd7 9. c4

b5 (There is a reason this move has been rarely played, yet is has been played by top GMs. 9…Nb6 and d5 have most often been the choice, but Komodo considers 9…a6 best) 10. cxb5 (SF plays cxd5) Na5

11. Nc3? (This is the kind of ‘natural’ move from which one must not play as it hands over the advantage to the opponent. Both Houdini & Fish advocate 11 Qc2, a move that has yet to be played by a human. An alternative would be 11 Nfd2, as in Kryvoruchko v Svetushkin below) a6 12. Bf4 (Dragon & Fish prefer bxa6) axb5 13. Nxb5 Ba6 14. Nc3 Nc6 15. h4 Qb6 (Fish & Dragon play 15…h6; Houdini Nd4) 16. b3 (The choice of Stockfish-16. Rfd1 Nd4 17. Qd2 Rfb8 18. Rdb1 1/2-1/2, Alexander Stripunsky (2536) v Axel Bachmann (2653) 2017 World Open)

We are now in uncharted territory. My thinking is development has been almost completed with only finding a good home for the rooks needed for completion.

16…Rfe8? (Black could have retained a small advantage with 16…h6; Qa5; or Nb4, according to Stockfish. Komodo would play 16…Qd8)

17. Rac1? (17. Nxd5! is given by the Stockfish program at ChessBomb, with the following amazing line, 17…exd5 18. e6 Nce5 19. exd7 Nxd7 20. Rfe1 Nf6 21. Qd2 Bc8 22. Be3 Be6 23. d4 cxd4 24. Qxd4 Qb7 25. Ne5 Ne4 26. Rec1 Bb4 27. Rc2 f6 28. Nd3 Ba3 as the only way for white to retain an advantage)

17…Qa5 (SF gives, in order, 17…h6; Qb7; Qa7; & Nb4, as holding a small advantage)

18. Rfd1 (Once again SF gives 18. Nxd5 exd5 19. e6 Nf6 20. exf7+ Kxf7 21. Ng5+ Kf8 22. Qe6 Nd8 23. Qf5 Nf7 24. Bxd5 Nxg5 25. hxg5 Bc8 26. Be6 Bxe6 27. Qxe6 Nh5 28. Bd6 g6 29. Rxc5 Qd8 30. Bxe7+ Qxe7 31. Qc4 Rxa2 32. g4 Ng7 33. b4 holding the game in balance)

18…Nd4 (Nb4 or h6) 19. Qd2 (Qe1!) Bf8 (Qb6!) 20. Na4 (g4; Qe1; & Qe3 with an equal game)

Nxf3+ ((20… Qxd2 -+) 21. Bxf3 Qxd2 22. Rxd2 Reb8 23. Bg2 Rb4 (h6=) 24. Rdd1 (Be3 +=) Bb5 25. Nc3 Bc6 (Ba6) 26. Rc2 g6 (Bb7) 27. Ne2 Bb5 28. Nc1 Ba6 29. Be3 Nxe5? (h5 or Be7) 30. Bxc5 Rbb8 (Bxc5) 31. Bxf8 (+-) Kxf8 32. d4 Nd7 33. Bf1 Rb4 (Nf6)

34. Rc6? (34. Bxa6 Rxa6 35. f3 Nf6 36. Kf2 Ra3 37. Ke3 Rb8 38. Nd3 Ne8 39. g4 Rba8 40. Rdd2 Nd6 41. Kf4 Kg7 42. Rc6 Ne8 43. Nb4 Nf6 44. Rdc2 h5 45. g5 Ng8 46. Rc8 Rxc8 47. Rxc8 Ne7 48. Rb8)

34…Bb7 (Bxf1 holds white to a small advantage)

35. Rc7 Ke8 36. Nd3 Rb6 37. Nc5 Bc8 38. Rd2 Kd8 39. Nxd7 Bxd7 40. Rc5 h6 41. f4 Ke7 42. Kf2 g5 43. Ke3 Kd6 44. Rcc2 Rg8 45. Rg2 Rb4 46. Bd3 f6 (f5 is better) 47. Rcf2 (fxg5 fxg5) e5 (f5) 48. hxg5 exd4+ 49. Kd2 hxg5 50. fxg5 fxg5 51. Rf6+ Kc7 52. Rh2 (Rgf2) Rbb8 53. Rf7 (Kc1 or Bf5)
Rbf8 54. Rfh7 Kd6 55. R7h6+ Kc7 56. Be2 Ra8 57. a4 Rgb8 58. Bd1 Bf5 59. Rf6 Be4 60. Rhh6 Rf8 61. Rc6+ Kb7 62. Rb6+

Ka7? (This move is a huge mistake. The most amazing thing about modern Chess is that players today have ‘clanking digital monsters’ that show a line proving what a large difference there can be between two similar moves. To play Chess well at the top-level players must make PRECISE moves. The difference now is that one can, at the touch of a button, see a line produced by the ‘clanking digital monster’ illustrating how much difference there is, when ‘back in my day’ we would argue endlessly over such moves, and produce far worse lines. I recall human World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen saying in an interview that he only looked at Chess on a board and pieces when he was with other humans. Humans playing Chess today should be far superior to those from the BC (Before Computer) age. Check out this line if you do not believe me: (62… Kc7 63. Rhc6+ Kd8 64. Rb7 Rh8 65. Bg4 Rh2+ 66. Kc1 Rh1+ 67. Kb2 Rb1+ 68. Ka3 Ra1+ 69. Kb4 R8xa4+ 70. bxa4 Rb1+ 71. Kc5 Rxb7 72. a5 Rc7 73. Rxc7 Kxc7 74. Kxd4 Kc6 75. Be2 Bf5 76. Ke5 Be4 77. Bf1 Kb7 78. Bb5 Ka7 79. Kd4 Kb7)

63. Ra6+ Kb7 64. Rhb6+ Kc7 65. Rc6+ Kb7 66. Rab6+ Ka7 67. a5

Rfc8? (Black was no doubt losing but this move lets go of the rope completely. The only move to continue the game was to EXAMINE ALL CHECKS!) 68. Re6 Re8 69. Ra6+ Kb7 70. Reb6+ Kc7 71. Rc6+ Kd7 72. Bg4+ Ke7 73. Rc7+ Kf8 74. Rf6+ Kg8 75. Be6+ 1-0

I would like to thank the ChessBomb for making this information available to people, like me, who have no CDM (Clanking Digital Monster)!

Lastly, I would like you to know that I played over this game on a board with pieces one can touch, and move about, while taking notes, before going to, as I think of it, Da Bomb’. I will admit to finding about half of the better moves given by Da Bomb, and would be ashamed to print most of the “variations” found with my brain. At my age, and with my simple understanding, I am thrilled when somehow finding the first moves of most of these variations.