The Spike Attack Rocks The Qe2 Chigorin World

Jordi Ayza Ballester (2096) vs Ramon Ibanez Aullana (2292)
C00 French, Chigorin variation

  1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 c5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 g5 5. h3 Bg7 6. Bg2 h6 7. O-O Nge7 8. c3 d6 9. a4 e5 10. Kh2 f5 11. exf5 Bxf5 12. d4 cxd4 13. cxd4 e4 14. Ng1 Nxd4 15. Qd1 d5 16. Nc3 Qd7 17. f3 e3 18. Ra2 Nc2 19. f4 Nb4 20. Bxe3 d4 21. Nb5 Nxa2 22. Nxd4 Rd8 23. Nge2 Nb4 24. Qb3 Nbd5 25. Bg1 Bg6 26. fxg5 hxg5 27. Nb5 a6 28. Nbc3 Bf7 29. Ne4 Nf4 30. Nd6+ Qxd6 31. Qf3 Bd5 32. Qf2 0-1

This game was followed in ‘real time’ I stopped watching after seeing the ridiculous 12th move, d4 as it caused me to wonder how many times the player of the white pieces had previously attempted the Chigorin Variation, and/or how much time was spent studying games in which 2 Qe2 had been played. Then I wondered if the 4th move by black had messed with the mind of the general of the white army…

To begin, the Stockfish program at responds to 2 Qe2 with 3 e5. That is right, one of the top, if not the top Chess programs will move the same pawn with each of his first two moves. “But coach,” you say, “you taught us to complete development before moving a piece twice.”
“That’s right, Bobby, I did. But did I say anything about not moving a PAWN twice?” The Chess coach must have an answer for everything, even when he doesn’t…

Here’s the deal… 2 Qe2 is the move that wins the most against the French defense. I kid you not. In 3758 games 2 Qe2 has won an impressive 44.3% of the time. In over 200,000 games 2 d4 has won’only’ 38.5%! In 17,542 games 2 d3 has won 41.7%.

I was pleased to see SF will play the only third move I have ever played in the position, 3 g3. Jordi Ayza Ballester played 3 Nf3, which happens to be the most often played move, according to 3…g5, as Brian McCarthy was fond of saying, must have “Rocked his world.” I have played the Chigorin ‘attack’ against the French for over half a century, and never seen the move. 365Chess contains only 4 (FOUR!?) games in which the move has been played (

After seeing 10 Kh2?! the realization struck that Jordi Ayza Ballester had no clue what he was doing. Certainly d3 must be played in this opening. When Jordi played 12 d4?! I stopped following the game… The Stockfish program determines white has a lost position, down by -1.7, after the twelfth move, and it was all over but the shoutin’. This is one of the most pitiful performances with the white pieces you will ever see. How did the dude obtain a rating of 2092 without having a clue? Is there any validity in the rating system these daze?! Just askin’…

Johnny Wieweg (2140) vs Lars Hjelmaas (2302)
Event: Oslo International 2014
Site: Oslo NOR Date: 10/05/2014
Round: 9.16 Score: 1-0
ECO: C00 French, Chigorin variation
1.e4 e6 2.Qe2 c5 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 g5 5.h3 Bg7 6.d3 h6 7.Bg2 Nge7 8.c3 d5 9.O-O b6 10.Na3 Ba6 11.exd5 Nxd5 12.Nc4 Qc7 13.Re1 Bxc4 14.dxc4 Nde7 15.h4 g4 16.Nh2 h5 17.Bf4 e5 18.Rad1 O-O 19.Bg5 f6 20.Bc1 Rad8 21.Rxd8 Rxd8 22.f3 f5 23.Bg5 Rd7 24.Nf1 Qd8 25.fxg4 hxg4 26.Bxc6 Rd6 27.Bd5+ 1-0

IM Harriet Hunt is the Queen of e2

In the sixth round of the recently completed Cambridge International Open, International Master (I believe that is IM without the “W”, meaning she is considered an IM on the same level as male Chess players, but could be mistaken) Dr. Harriet Hunt (please note there is no “WDr.” title), five time British women Chess champion,


faced the 1985 rated Supratit Banerjee, who answered Harriet’s opening move of 1 e4 with 1…e6, the French defense. Dr. Hunt’s 2 Qe2 put a smile on my face, which invariably happens when anyone plays the Chigorin Variation.

Harriet V Hunt (2349) vs Supratit Banerjee (1985)
The Cambridge International Open (University Arms Hotel, Cambridge), 17.02.2023
C00 French, Chigorin variation

1.e4 e6 2.Qe2 d6 3.d4 Ne7 4.Nf3 b6 5.c4 Bb7 6.Nc3 a6 7.g3 Nd7 8.Bg2 g6 9.O-O Bg7 10.Rd1 O-O 11.Bf4 Nc6 12.e5 Qe7 13.Qe3 Rad8 14.Bg5 f6 15.exf6 Nxf6 16.Re1 Rde8 17.Qd2 Qf7 18.Bf4 Nh5 19.Ng5 Qf6 20.Be3 Kh8 21.Nce4 Qd8 22.d5 exd5 23.cxd5 Ne5 24.Ne6 Rxe6 25.dxe6 Qe7 26.Rac1 d5 27.Ng5 d4 28.Bxd4 Bxg2 29.Bxe5 Ba8 30.Rxc7 Qe8 31.Bxg7+ Nxg7 32.Qc3 Rf6 33.Qxf6 Qg8 34.Nf7+ Qxf7 35.Rxf7 Bb7 36.Rf8# 1-0

Position after 7…Ne7 contains only 13 games with 2…d6. Far and away the most often played move has been 2…c5, yet it is not the choice of the Stockfish program used at SF will play 2…e5. There are about 200 examples to be found at 365Chess, about 10% of the over 2200 games in which 2…c5 has been played. After 2…d6 Harriet replied with the top choice of SF, 3 d4. Bannerjee played 3…Ne7, which must be a theoretical novelty, but not a good one. SF would play 3…c5, and so should you… After Banerjee played 7…Nd7 the SF program shows a winning advantage for white, so obviously Supratit had no clue how to respond and decided to, shall we say, ‘wing it’. Even more disturbing is that little time was taken when making the second, and third rate moves. I could maybe understand if this were some kind of ‘rapid’ or ‘speed’ type time control, but this was a what passes for classical time control these daze. Go figure…

Amro El Jawich (2314) vs Gil Teixeira, (1741)
Event: 44th Olympiad 2022
Site: Chennai IND Date: 08/09/2022
Round: 11.54 Score: 1-0
ECO: C00 French, Chigorin variation
1.e4 e6 2.Qe2 d6 3.d4 e5 4.Nf3 Nd7 5.Nc3 Ngf6 6.Bg5 Be7 7.O-O-O exd4 8.Nxd4 O-O 9.Nf5 Qe8 10.Qd2 Bd8 11.Bh6 gxh6 12.Qxh6 Nh5 13.Qxh5 Qe6 14.Rd3 Kh8 15.Rg3 Rg8 16.Qxh7+ Kxh7 17.Rh3+ Kg6 18.Rh6+ Kg5 19.h4+ Kf4 20.g3+ Rxg3 21.fxg3+ Ke5 22.Rxe6+ fxe6 23.Ne3 Nf6 24.Bg2 Kd4 25.Kd2 e5 26.b4 Nxe4+ 27.Nxe4 1-0

Hans Niemann vs Awonder Liang C00 French, Chigorin Variation With 2 Qe2

Imagine the surprise, and elation, upon seeing the move 2 Qe2 played by Hans, My Man, Niemann on the board in the last round of the 2022 US Chess Championship!

GM Hans Niemann

vs GM Awonder Liang

2022 US Chess Championship
Last Round

  1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 c5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 e5 5. Bg2 g6 6. O-O Bg7 7. c3 Nge7 8. Na3 O-O 9. Nc2 d5 10. d3 h6 11. a3 d4 12. c4 a5 13. Rb1 a4 14. Nd2 Be6 15. f4 Qd7 16. Ne1 Qc7 17. Ndf3 f6 18. Nh4 g5 19. Nf5 Nxf5 20. exf5 Bxf5 21. fxg5 fxg5 22. Bxg5 Bg6 23. Rxf8+ Rxf8 24. Bd2 Qe7 25. Nf3 e4 26. Nh4 Bh7 27. dxe4 Qe6 28. Qh5 Qf7 29. Qd5 Ne5 30. Bf4 Nxc4 31. Qxc5 b6 32. Qb5 Ne3 33. Re1 Qb3 34. Qxb3+ axb3 35. e5 Nxg2 36. Kxg2 Rc8 37. Re2 d3 38. Rd2 Rc2 39. Nf3 Be4 40. Kf2 Bxf3 41. Kxf3 Bxe5 42. Rxd3 Bxf4 43. Kxf4 Rxb2 44. h4 Rb1 45. Kg4 b2 46. Rb3 Ra1 47. Rxb2 Rxa3 48. Rxb6 h5+ 49. Kf4 Kg7 50. Re6 Ra4+ 51. Re4 Ra5 52. Re5 Ra4+ 53. Re4 Ra5 54. Re5 Ra4+ 55. Kg5 Rg4+ 56. Kxh5 Rxg3 57. Rg5+ Rxg5+ 58. hxg5 Kh7 59. g6+ Kg7 60. Kg5 Kg8 61. Kf6 Kf8 62. Kf5 Kg7 63. Kg5 Kg8 64. Kh6 Kh8 65. g7+ Kg8 66. Kg6 1/2-1/2
  1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 c5 (It is interesting learning the Stockfish 14 NNUE program used at Lichess will play 2…e5, moving the pawn again. According to the Big Database at the move played in the game has been seen in 2196 games, dwarffing the 428 of second place 2…Be7. The move 2…Nc6 shows 231 games, with 2…b6 [206] and 2…e5 [205] virtually tied fourth place) 3. Nf3 (Although played most often [937] SF plays the second most often played move 3 g3 [693], which was the move invariably played played by this writer ‘back in the day’. And if you believe that, I have stock in that I will sell you cheap!) 3…Nc6 4. g3 e5 (SF plays 4…g6, as have most humans (657) according to, and so will Stockfish. Only 11 humans have played the move chosen by Awonder.) 5. Bg2 (SF says 5 d3) g6 6. O-O Bg7 7. c3 (SF 7 Na3) Nge7 8. Na3 O-O (SF 8…d6) 9. Nc2 (SF 9 d3) d5 10. d3 h6 11. a3 (11 Nh4) d4 (Be6) 12. c4 (12 dxc4 SF) a5 13. Rb1 (Nd2) a4 14. Nd2 Be6 (14…Ra6) 15. f4 Qd7 (15…Ra6) 16. Ne1 (SF says 16 b3) Qc7 (16…Rb8) 17. Ndf3 (17 b4) f6 18. Nh4 (18 b3) g5 (18 exf4) 19. Nf5 Nxf5 20. exf5 Bxf5 21. fxg5 fxg5 22. Bxg5 Bg6 23. Rxf8+ Rxf8 24. Bd2 Qe7 (24…Qb6)
Position after 24…Ne7. White to move

Nh4 Bh7 27. dxe4 (27 Bxd4) Qe6 (Qd7) 28. Qh5 Qf7 (28…d3) 29. Qd5 (29 Qxf7) Ne5 (Qxd5) 30. Bf4 (30 Nf5) Nxc4 (30…Qxd5) 31. Qxc5 b6 (31…d3) 32. Qb5 (32 Qc6) Ne3 33. Re1 Qb3 34. Qxb3+ axb3 35. e5 (35 Bf3) Nxg2 36. Kxg2 Rc8 37. Re2 (37 Kf3) d3 (37…Rc2) 38. Rd2 Rc2 (It shows an arrow from the bishop on h7 to the e4 square, which would be check, but in the annotations one finds, “Inaccuracy. Bf8 was best.”) 39. Nf3 Be4 40. Kf2 Bxf3 41. Kxf3 Bxe5 42. Rxd3 Bxf4 43. Kxf4 Rxb2 44. h4 Rb1 45. Kg4 b2 46. Rb3 Ra1 47. Rxb2 Rxa3 48. Rxb6 h5+ 49. Kf4 Kg7 50. Re6 Ra4+ 51. Re4 Ra5 52. Re5 Ra4+ 53. Re4 Ra5 54. Re5 Ra4+ 55. Kg5 Rg4+ 56. Kxh5 Rxg3 57. Rg5+ Rxg5+ 58. hxg5 Kh7 59. g6+ Kg7 60. Kg5 Kg8 61. Kf6 Kf8 62. Kf5 Kg7 63. Kg5 Kg8 64. Kh6 Kh8 65. g7+ Kg8 66. Kg6 1/2-1/2

Daniela Miteva vs Margarita Voiska (2345)
Event: BUL-chT (Women)
Site: Bankia Date: ??/??/1992
Round: ?
ECO: C00 French, Chigorin variation
1.e4 e6 2.Qe2 c5 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 e5 5.Bg2 g6 6.O-O Bg7 7.c3 Nge7 8.d3 O-O 9.Be3 b6 10.Ne1 d5 11.f4 Be6 12.Nf3 Qd7 13.fxe5 dxe4 14.dxe4 Bg4 15.Rd1 Qc8 16.Nbd2 Nxe5 17.Nc4 Qa6 18.b3 Nxc4 19.bxc4 Nc6 20.Rd5 Bxc3 21.Rc1 Bd4 22.h3 Bxf3 23.Bxf3 Qa3 24.Re1 Bxe3+ 25.Qxe3 Qxa2 26.Rh5 Qb2 27.Rd5 Nd4 28.Bg4 a5 29.Qh6 Qc3 30.Rf1 Ne6 31.Rd7 Qxg3+ 32.Kh1 Qe5 0-1

Curious about the move the Stockfish program at Lichess would, given the chance, play on the second move for Black I put it into the analysis program (Why do most people call it an “engine”? Why do commentators not inform we readers of the NAME of the “ENGINE” used? Just askin’…) at and the following were the best moves according to the PROGRAM NAMED STOCKFISH:

  1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 e5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. c3 Be7 5. d4 exd4 6. cxd4 d5 7. e5 f6 8. Nc3 fxe5 9. dxe5 d4 10. Bf4 dxc3 11. Rd1 Bd7 12. e6 cxb2 13. exd7+ Qxd7 14. Rxd7 b1=Q+ 15. Rd1 Qf5 16. g3 Rd8 17. Bg2 Rxd1+ 18. Qxd1 Bb4+ 19. Nd2 Qe6+ 20. Be3 Qc4 21. Qe2 Qc1+ 22. Qd1 Bxd2+ 23. Bxd2 Qxd1+ 24. Kxd1 Nf6 25. Be3 Kd7 26. Ke2 Re8 27. Rb1 Kc8 28. Kf1 a6 29. Bh3+ Kb8 30. Bg2 Kc8 31. Bh3+ Kb8 32. Bg3+ 1/2-1/2

“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

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!