Teaching Chess

Try to imagine being a Chess teacher and your student, Garry, is presenting his game. His mother, who is from a country that produced a World Chess Champion, is drinking coffee and looking at magazines at a nearby table. The boy is being home schooled after having behavioral problems at school, such as pulling the fire alarm one too many times while maintaining all he did was “lean on it.” The Chess lesson is part of his home school program and it is needed, not wanted. The boy has about as much interest in Chess as I did at his age in crochet, if you get my drift…

1.e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. Bd3 Nc6 5. c3 Qc7 6. h3 e6 7. Nf3 Bd6 8. O-O Nge7 9. Re1 O-O 10. b3 b6 11. Na3 a6 12. Nc2 b5

“Whoa…what kinda move is that?” Garry looks like his dog just died. “Any time your opponent has a Bishop lined up against your king side like that you’ve gotta be careful about the Bishop takes pawn, check, sacrifice, because sometimes the check leads to CHECKMATE! Maybe you should have played Ng6 to block the Bishop?!” you say. “He did not take the pawn with,” he says. “Lucky you dodged a bullet,” I reply. “Every Russian school boy would play Bishop takes pawn CHECK!” Sure enough his opponent played 13 Qe2, something I might play, you think, because of my penchant for playing Qe2. Wrong, Kemo Sabe! Even I know that every Russian taxi driver would play BxP+!!!

13…Ng6 14. Bd2 Nf4 15. Bxf4 Bxf4 16. Ne3 Bb7 17. Ng4 Rfe8 18. Qc2 h5 19. Ne3 Rac8 20. Qe2 Qd8 21. Rac1

Black to move

In this position Garry looks at you as if knowing what would be coming next as he slides his King from g8 to f8…

White to move

You have already excoriated the boy for an earlier move which was awful, almost bringing him to tears, so you must be careful what you say. “Why did you make that move, Garry?” you ask, glancing over at the mother, Luba, who can sense trouble. “I dunno,” comes the answer. “You don’t know? Do you mean you just randomly chose that particular move?”
“Well coach,” he says, “I had to make a move and I remembered you said something about moving your King toward the center to prepare for the endgame.”
“Eureka!” you think to yourself. “The kid remembered something!” Then it’s back to reality and you say, “But we’re still in the middle-game and the endgame is a long way away, is it not?”
“Yeah coach, but I’ll be ready for it!”
This brings a grin to the face of the old coach, and, glancing over, a grin appears on Luba’s face, too. So you ask the student if any other moves were considered and are surprised when he immediately replys, “Yeah,” as he moves the Bishop from f4 to h6. “Why would you retreat the Bishop?” you ask. Garry says, “I dunno coach, it just sorta fills a gap the h-pawn left when it moved.”
“That it does,” you say while glancing at a beaming Luba and see a smiling student sitting across from you. Then you explain that maybe he should have given some consideration to breaking in the center with e5, what with the Rook lined up against the white Queen, in lieu of moving the King toward the middle of the board. “Move the pawn to e5, Garry.” He does as told and you say, “What happens now?” He takes the pawn with 22. dxe5, and I take with the Knight, 22… Nxe5, before he takes with the Knight, 23. Nxe5, and I take with the Rook, 23…Rxe5. “What do you think about the position now, Garry?” In a droll way he answers, “I have a weak d-pawn.”
The clock is ticking and there is not, thankfully, much time left in the hour, so the board is returned to the position after 21…Kf8 and the coach makes white’s next move, 22 g3, attacking the Bishop. Garry immediately retreats the Bishop to h6 and looks up with a grinning from ear to ear…

Position after 22…Bh6

And the coach thinks, “All is right with the world,” before perfunctorily going through the remainder of the game as quickly as possible so as to be able to go outside and smoke a cigarette or three after bidding them adieu…

GM Vladislav Kovalev (2637) FID vs

VLADISLAV KOVALEV: ¿Una Siciliana con 4. Dxd4? – Ajedrez …

GM Bobby Cheng (2552) AUS

Bobby Cheng
Bobby Cheng | Photo: Eric Rosen

FIDE World Cup 2021 round 03-02

  1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. Bd3 Nc6 5. c3 Qc7 6. h3 e6 7. Nf3 Bd6 8. O-O Nge7 9. Re1 O-O 10. b3 b6 11. Na3 a6 12. Nc2 b5 13. Qe2 Ng6 14. Bd2 Nf4 15. Bxf4 Bxf4 16. Ne3 Bb7 17. Ng4 Rfe8 18. Qc2 h5 19. Ne3 Rac8 20. Qe2 Qd8 21. Rac1 Kf8 22. g3 Bh6 23. Nh4 b4 24. Qxh5 bxc3 25. Rxc3 Nxd4 26. Rxc8 Bxc8 27. Nf3 Qf6 28. Nxd4 Qxd4 29. Qe2 Bxe3 30. Qxe3 Qxe3 31. fxe3 Ke7 32. Rc1 Kd6 33. b4 e5 34. h4 Bb7 35. Kf2 Re6 36. Be2 d4 37. exd4 exd4 38. Rc5 Re3 39. Ra5 Rc3 40. Bxa6 Rc2+ 41. Ke1 Be4 42. Ra3 Rb2 43. Bc4 Rxb4 44. Ra6+ Kc5 45. Bb3 Rb7 46. Kd2 f5 47. Ra5+ Kd6 48. Ra6+ Kc5 49. Ra5+ Kd6 50. Ra6+ Kc5 ½-½
GRABE ANG LAWAK NG KAALAMAN SA OPENING || GM Carlsen (2872) – GM Kovalev(2660) ||Tata 20 #136

“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!