“2 Qe2, here we go!”

Let me begin by returning to Tuesday morning, July 13, which began at o’dark thirty, specifically, 6:30 am. After a botched root canal exactly one week prior (it seems much longer) I had been down for the count. The spurts of energy had not been long lasting, which is why I’ve posted things that have required little time or thought. I was working on a book review that should have been out long ago, and other Chess related posts, but then a tooth began causing a problem. This was after taking the first of two shots of the Covid vaccine. I decided to ‘ride it out’ while hoping to be able to wait until two weeks after the second shot, as recommended, before seeing a dentist. By the time I made it to the dental office I was in pain, boss, The PAIN! Fortunately the pain was quelled with drugs. I was informed a root canal operation would be required, but because they were booked I would have to wait until September. Fortunately, or maybe not, depending, there was a cancellation and I was roto-rooted on Tuesday, the sixth of July, exactly one week from where we begin this story…

There was a powerful storm Monday night, July 12, that knocked out all contact with the world; no internet or TV, so I went to bed early. After breakfast I was giving strong consideration to crawling back into bed when the Ironman called, informing me that Zvjaginsev had played Qe2 against the French defense of Ravi Haria, in a “win or go home game.” Immediately I saw a post for that day in my head. I began watching the game, but then had to break in order to purchase some food at the local grocery store. Upon my return my attention was devoted to the C00 French, Chigorin variation, as it is known at 365chess.com.

The chat from Da Bomb says it all…

zluria: Z man in a must win situation. He used to play all kinds of crazy stuff back in the day
zluria: 2 Qe2, here we go!
zluria: Idea: if Black continues on autopilot with 2… d5 then after exd5 Black can’t recapture with the pawn.
zluria: Ok Black is out of book.
Rhinegold: fucky lucky vadim but ok good fighting choice
Rhinegold: very drawish, 48w
zluria: Wow, good going Z-man! see you tomorrow 🙂

I love the part about the Z-man “playing crazy stuff back in the day.” The Z man is only in his mid forties. You wanna know about ‘back in the day’? I will tell you all you wanna know about ‘back in the day’… And yes, I have followed the Z Man with interest for decades because he has played “all kinds of crazy stuff.”

Vadim Zvjaginsev (2608)


vs Ravi Haria (2440)


FIDE World Cup 2021 round 01-02

  1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 Be7 3. Nf3 d5 4. d3 Nf6 5. e5 Nfd7 6. h4 c5 7. g3 Nc6 8. Bg2 (TN See Kislinsky vs Polivanov below for 8 Bh3) 8…b5 9. O-O Bb7 10. Re1 h6 11. h5 b4 12. Bf4 a5 13. c4 Nb6 14. Nbd2 Qd7 15. cxd5 Nxd5 16. Ne4 Nxf4 17. gxf4 Ba6 18. Rad1 Rd8 19. Nfd2 O-O 20. Qg4 Kh8 21. Nb3 Qa7 22. Ng3 Nd4 23. Nxa5 Bb5 24. Nc4 Bxc4 25. dxc4 Qxa2 26. f5 Qxb2 27. Be4 Rde8 28. Kh1 Qxf2 29. Rf1 Qe3 30. Rxd4 cxd4 31. fxe6 Qg5 32. Qxg5 Bxg5 33. Rxf7 Bf4 34. Nf5 Bxe5 35. Ne7 Bd6 36. Ng6+ Kg8 37. Rd7 Bc5 38. e7 Bxe7 39. Nxe7+ Kf7 40. Ng6+ Kf6 41. Rd6+ Kg5 42. Rd5+ Kg4 43. Rxd4 Rf3 44. Kg2 Re3 45. Bc6+ Kxh5 46. Nf4+ Kg5 47. Bxe8 Rxe8 48. c5 b3 49. Rb4 Re3 50. c6 Rc3 51. c7 Kf5 52. Nd5 Rc2+ 53. Kf3 Ke5 54. Rb5 Kd4 55. Nf4 Rc3+ 56. Kg4 Ke4 57. Ne6 Rc4 58. Rc5 1-0

1.e4 e6 2. Qe2 (Two different Komodo programs show the most frequently played move, 2 d4, but Stockfish 13, going deep to depth 74, chooses the seldom played 2 Nc3, which has only scored 51% according to the CBDB. I kid you not!) 2…Be7 (This is Komodo’s choice; Stockfish plays 2…c5) 3. Nf3 (Both Komodo and Houdini play 3 d4, but Deep Fritz plays the game move) 3…d5 4. d3 (Houdini and Deep Fritz play this move, which has 209 games in the ChessBaseDataBase. Stockfish 13 @depth 31 would play 4 d4, a move attempted only once according to the CBDB) 4…Nf6 5. e5 (SF & the Dragon prefer 5 g3) 5…Nfd7 6. h4 c5

Vadim Zvjaginsev (2635) vs Sergey Volkov (2594)
Event: 16th TCh-RUS Premier
Site: Dagomys RUS Date: 04/08/2009
Round: 5 Score: 1-0
ECO: C00 French, Chigorin variation
1.e4 e6 2.Qe2 Nf6 3.Nf3 d5 4.d3 Be7 5.e5 Nfd7 6.h4 b5 7.g3 c5 8.Bg2 Nc6 9.O-O a5 10.a4 b4 11.c4 bxc3 12.bxc3 Nb6 13.Bf4 c4 14.d4 Bd7 15.h5 h6 16.g4 Na7 17.Qc2 Bc6 18.Bg3 Qd7 19.Kh2 Bxa4 20.Qe2 Nb5 21.Nh4 Bb3 22.f4 a4 23.f5 a3 24.fxe6 fxe6 25.Ng6 Rg8 26.Nxe7 Qxe7 27.Nd2 Na4 28.Nxb3 Naxc3 29.Qc2 cxb3 30.Qxb3 a2 31.Be1 Ra3 32.Qb2 Qa7 33.Rf3 Rf8 34.Bxc3 Rxf3 35.Qxb5+ Qd7 36.Qb8+ Qd8 37.Qb5+ Qd7 38.Qb8+ Qd8 39.Qxd8+ Kxd8 40.Bxf3 Rxc3 41.Bxd5 exd5 42.Rxa2 Rd3 43.Ra4 Ke7 44.Kg2 Kf7 45.Kf2 g5 46.Ke2 Rg3 47.Ra7+ Kg8 48.Rd7 Rxg4 49.Rxd5 Rh4 50.Rd6 Kf7 51.Rf6+ Ke7 52.Ke3 Rxh5 53.d5 g4 54.Kf4 Rh1 55.d6+ Ke8 56.Kxg4 h5+ 57.Kf5 Kd7 58.Rf7+ Kc6 59.Ke6 h4 60.Rc7+ Kb6 61.Rc8 1-0

Vadim Zvjaginsev’s Amazing Immortal Chess Game! – “The Pearl of Wijk aan Zee” – Brilliancy!

Upset in Sautron

The games from the National Open were being broadcast by a website new to me, FollowChess (http://followchess.com/news/). Further exploration brought a page of upsets, nothing but upsets (http://followchess.com/share/). Everyone loves an upset, unless they are the one being upset! The first entry is:

Upset in Sautron: Flachet 2025 beat Sergeev 2417. Attack & Tactics!
October 27, 2017

The game is, according to 365Chess, a C00 French, Chigorin variation! What are the odds?! If you are a regular of this blog you KNOW I was compelled to play over the game…

Vladimir Sergeev (2417) vs Thierry Flachet (2025)

17e open international de Sautron, 2017.10.26

1 e4 e6 2 Qe2 Be7 (Stockfish at the ChessBaseDataBase gives this as best. Komodo prefers 2…c5, which is the move chosen by Siegbert Tarrasch

in the second game of the 1893 match with Mikhail Chigorin,

still the most outstanding Chess match ever contested. Seven times Chigorin played 2 Qe2 against his opponent’s French defense. If you have not played over the match I urge you do do so. It can be found at a fantastic historical website, chessgames.com (http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chess.pl?tid=85135)

Here is a game played by Chigorin and the man who lost the US Chess Championship to Frank Marshall,

Jackson Whipps Showalter,

on June 13, 1899 in London. Chigorin pulled a rabbit out of his hat when playing his third move, a move that cannot be found at the CBDB!

Mikhail Chigorin vs Jackson Whipps Showalter

1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 Be7 3. Qg4 Nf6 4. Qxg7 Rg8 5. Qh6 Nc6 6. Nf3 Rg6 7. Qe3 d5 8. e5 d4 9. Qb3 Nd7 10. Bb5 Nc5 11. Qc4 Rxg2 12. b4 Nd7 13. Bxc6 bxc6 14. Qxd4 Rb8 15. Ba3 a5 16. bxa5 Rxb1+ 17. Rxb1 Bxa3 18. Qa4 Bc5 19. Qxc6 Kf8 20. d4 Be7 21. a6 Bxa6 22. Qxa6 Nb6 23. Qb7 Kg7 24. Kf1 Rg6 25. Rg1 Nd5 26. Rxg6+ hxg6 27. c4 Nf4 28. Qb8 Qd7 29. Qa8 Bf8 30. Rb8 Qe7 31. c5 Nh3 32. Qc6 1-0. Back to the game…)

3 Nf3 d5 4 e5 (Komodo’s choice of 4 d3 is far and away the most often played move, although Stockfish 9 at a depth of 32 gives 4 d4. Stochfish 9×64, at a depth of 25, shows the game move)

4…Nh6 (SF 9 and Komodo 11.2 2 64-bit at depth 27 play 4…c5, but Komodo 9.2 64-bit at depth 25 would play the game move)

5 h4? (I considered being kind and including an exclamation mark after the question mark but not because the move is dubious but because the move is so shocking. Consider for a moment you are sitting across from your student. Let us call him “Allen.” He has just begun showing his most recent rated game and you are sitting behind the black pieces. Your first instinct may be something like, “What the hell kinda move is THAT?!” You cannot say this because Allen is a “Priest.” So you stifle yourself and say, “That is a bad move.” Although a middle-aged man Allen looks like one of your young students as he hangs his head before asking, “Why is it bad?” As you sit gazing into the distance you consider his lowly 701 rating and recall some of the lame opening moves you played in the past before replying, “Because it is unnecessary.” Then you tell him about how important time is in the opening phase of the game, and of the many things one needs to accomplish in the opening, such as development, etc. You would follow by explaining why 5 g3, to develop the bishop, is the way to play this particular opening. This would also be the time you attempted to explain why h4 may be a decent move in the opening if black has weakened his pawn structure when playing g6. This would make Allen feel a little better, especially if you add, “In many openings the same moves are played, but what matters is not the move played, but the order in which they are played. There must be a reason for every move.” Since you must sit there and see the remaining moves of Allen’s game you decide to show him the opening moves of the game between Dimitri Bogdanov (2175) and Bjorn Brinck Claussen (2354) from the 21st Politiken Cup in 1999 at Copenhagen. 1 e4 e6 2 Qe2 Be7 3 Nf3 d5 4 e5 Nh6 5 g3 f5 6 d4 Nf7 7 h4. “See how the pawn stops any black piece from coming to g5?” you ask. “Now the rook pawn move has a purpose,” you say as the color begins returning to Allen’s face. This causes you to show him the rest of the game before having to get back to his game. After all, you are getting paid by the hour…

7…c5 8. dxc5 Na6 9. Be3 Qc7 10. Bg2 Nxc5 11. Bd4 O-O 12. O-O Bd7 13. Re1 b5 14. Nbd2 a5 15. Bxc5 Qxc5 16. Nb3 Qb6 17. Nbd4 Nd8 18. Qd2 Nb7 19. Rad1 Nc5 20. Qf4 b4 21. Bf1 a4 22. Re3 Ne4 23. Rdd3 a3 24. bxa3 Rxa3 25. Rxa3 bxa3 26. Rb3 Qa7 27. Kg2 Rc8 28. Qe3 Qc7 29. Ba6 Rb8 30. Rxb8+ Qxb8 31. Qb3 Qa7 32. Bb5 Bc8 33. c4 Bc5 34. Qd3 g6 35. cxd5 exd5 36. Nc6 Qb6 37. Qxd5+ Kg7 38. Bc4 Qb2 39. Kh3 Qxf2 0-1)

5…c5 6 d3 Nf5 (6…Ng4 would be possible because of white playing pawn to h4) 7 c3 h6 8 h5 Nc6 9 Na3 a6 10 Nc2 b5

11 g3 (Although the move could have possibly been played earlier, now looks like the right time for 11 g4)

11…a5 (The coach would have to take time here explaining why development should be completed before launching any kind of aggressive movement, such as the last move. 11…O-O or Bb7 are good alternative moves)

12 Bg2 Rb8 13 Bf4 b4 14 c4 b3 15 ab3 Rb3 16 Bc1 Ba6 17 O-O O-O 18 Re1 dc4 19 dc4 Ncd4 20 Ncd4 Nd4 21 Nd4 cd4

22 Rd1 (22 Qg4! Kh8 23 Bd2 looks about equal) 22…Bc5 23 Be4? (23 Bxh6! gxh6 24 Qg4+ Kh8 25 Qf4 Kh7 26 Be4+ Kg7 27 Qg4+ Kh8 28 Qf4 looks like all white can hope for at this point in the game)

Take a good look at this position as black. What move would you make?

23 Rg3! (Brings the house DOWN! Examine ALL checks, something neglected by the much higher rated player)

24 Kf1 d3 (I looked at moving the rook to either b3 or h3, in addition to 24…f5, so the move in the game took me by surprise) 25. Rd3 Rd3

26 Bd3 (The human brain rejects 26 Qxd3 Qh4 27 Kg2 Qxf2+ 28 Kh3, leaving the King naked in no mans land) 26…Qh4 27. Qf3 Rd8 ( As my friend the Master of Understatement was fond of saying, 27…Bb7 looks strong, not that it matters) 28. Be4 Bc4 29. Kg2 Rd4 30. Ra5 Re4 31. Ra8 Kh7 32. Qe4 Qe4 0-1

P. Vessosi (2351) vs M. Astengo (2064)

Lodi Open 2008

1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 Be7 3. Nf3 d5 4. e5 Nh6 5. d3 Nf5 6. g3 c5 7. Bg2 Nc6 8. O-O g5 9. c3 h5 10. h3 g4 11. hxg4 hxg4 12. Nh2 Nh6 13. Rd1
Bd7 14. Na3 Qb6 15. Bxh6 Rxh6 16. Nxg4 Rg6 17. Bf3 O-O-O 18. Kg2 Rdg8 19. Rac1 Kb8 20. Rh1 Qa5 21. Rh6 Rxg4 22. Bxg4 Bg5 23. Rch1 Bxh6 24. Rxh6 b5 25. Bh5 Be8 26. d4 c4 27. Qd2 b4 28. cxb4 Qxb4 29. Qc3 Qf8 30. Rf6 Rh8 31. g4 Nb4 32. Nc2 Nd3 33. Ne1 Qg7 34. Kf1 Qh7 35. Nxd3 cxd3 36. Qb4+ Ka8 37. f3 Qg7 38. Qd2 Qh7 39. Ke1 Rf8 40. b3 Bb5 41. a4 Ba6 42. b4 Bc4 43. b5 Qg7 44. Qf4 Qh7 45. Kd2 Bb3 46. Rxf7 Rxf7 47. Qxf7 Qh6+ 48. f4 Bxa4 49. g5 Qh8 50. Qe8+ 1-0

The general of the white pieces takes 46 seconds of his five minutes to play his THIRD move of the game, obviously flummoxed by the choice of move made by the general of the black pieces.