The Berserk g-Pawn Attack

It is a problem most Chess players have faced, the early attack of the g-pawn. Although frowned on by theory one can see this type of move played in the lower sections of tournaments. It is rare to see it played in the higher levels of Chess. This is not the kind of thing most players spend time studying so it was shocking to see a Grandmaster with an opportunity to ‘punish’ his impudent opponent, as was the case in the final round of the recently concluded Portuguese Team Championship.

GM Kevin Spraggett (2523)

vs GM David Larino Nieto (2438)

GM David Larino Nieto (ESP) receiving the first prize and the organizer Mr Tarik Ourouadi | Photo:

1 c4 e6 2 Nf3 g5?!?

3 d4 (Komodo and Stockfish at the CBDB prefer this move, but 3 h3 is given by SF at ChessBomb. GM Nieto faced 3 h3 earlier this year:

Romain Edouard (2613) vs David Larino Nieto (2464)

Gibraltar Masters 2018 01/24/2018

1. Nf3 e6 2. c4 g5 3. h3 d6 4. d4 h6 5. e4 Bg7 6. Nc3 Ne7 7. Bd3 Nd7 8. Be3 b6 9. Qe2 Bb7 10. O-O-O a6 11. h4 g4 12. Nd2 h5 13. f3 c5 14. Nb3 cxd4 15. Bxd4 Bxd4 16. Nxd4 Ng6 17. Qe3 Nxh4 18. Nf5 exf5 19. exf5+ Ne5 20. Be4 Nxg2 21. Qd2 Nxf3 22. Qxg2 Qg5+ 23. Kb1 Bxe4+ 24. Nxe4 Qxf5 25. Qc2 Kf8 26. Rd5 Qf4 27. Nxd6 Rd8 28. Rhd1 Rh6 29. Nf5 Re8 30. Qc3 Rh7 31. Ka1 Ne5 32. Qb4+ Kg8 33. Qe7 Qxf5 34. Qxe8+ Kg7 35. Rxe5 Qf4 36. Re4 Qf6 37. Ree1 g3 38. Qe3 h4 39. Rf1 1-0)

3…h6 (In for a penny, in for a pound. Black should “bring it on” with 3…g4 if he is going to move his g-pawn this early in the game. SF and Houdini concur)

4 Nc3 (Since black did not move his advanced g-pawn forward again, I wonder if the white general should play 4 g4!?) 4…Bg7 5 h3 (This is a TN. Komodo would play 5 g4, which would be a Theoretical Novelty. Stockfish would play 5 e4, which was played in a rapid game between Bu and Lu:

Xiangzhi Bu (2698) vs Shanglei Lu (2616)

1. Nf3 e6 2. c4 g5 3. h3 Bg7 4. d4 h6 5. e4 Ne7 6. Nc3 d6 7. Be2 Nd7 8. O-O Ng6 9. Re1 b6 10. Be3 Bb7 11. Qc2 Qe7 12. Nb5 Nf6 13. e5 dxe5 14. Nxe5 Nh4 15. d5 O-O 16. Nf3 Nf5 17. Bd2 c6 18. dxe6 fxe6 19. Bd3 cxb5 20. Bxf5 Bxf3 21. Bxe6+ Kh8 22. Bd5 Be4 23. Bxe4 Nxe4 24. Rxe4 Qf7 25. Bc3 bxc4 26. Rxc4 Rad8 27. Rc6 1-0)

5…d6 (Both the Fish and Dragon would play a TN here with 5…Ne7) 6 g4 (Komodo plays 6 e3) 6…Nc6 (The Dragon plays 6…f5!?, which has yet to be played in practice) 7 e3 (The CBDB shows Houdini playing 7 h4, followed by black playing 7…h5!?) 7…e5 (Komodo plays 7…Bd7)

Here is the full game, which was quite interesting. The game remained about even until the Senior player let go of the rope with one hand on move 39, then let go with the other when playing 48 Qd2. These things happen frequently to players with a touch of grey.

1. c4 e6 2. Nf3 g5 3. d4 h6 4. Nc3 Bg7 5. h3 d6 6. g4 Nc6 7. e3 f5 8. Rg1 fxg4 9. hxg4 Nge7 10. Be2 O-O 11. Bd2 Bd7 12. a3 Be8 13. Qb3 Bg6 14. Rg3 Qd7 15. Kf1 Rf7 16. Kg1 Raf8 17. Rf1 b6 18. Qd1 Nb8 19. b4 c5 20. bxc5 bxc5 21. dxc5 dxc5 22. Na4 Qc7 23. Bc3 e5 24. Nd2 Nd7 25. Rh3 Nf6 26. Rg3 Ne4 27. Nxe4 Bxe4 28. Ba1 Ba8 29. Nc3 e4 30. Rh3 Rd8 31. Qc2 Qc6 32. Nd5 Bxa1 33. Rxa1 Qe6 34. Rf1 Rc8 35. Nxe7+ Rxe7 36. Qc3 Rf8 37. Rh2 Rd7 38. Rb1 Kh7 39. a4 Bc6 40. a5 Rfd8 41. Kg2 Rf7 42. Kg1 Kg8 43. a6 Rfd7 44. Kg2 Rf8 45. Kg1 Rd6 46. Rb2 Bd7 47. Rb7 Rxa6 48. Qd2 Ra1+ 49. Kg2 Qf6 50. Bd1 Bc6 51. Rc7 Rb1 0-1

The game can be found at ChessBomb. (

Stamatis Kourkoulos Arditis (2343) vs Himal Gusain (2461)

10th Paleochora Open 2017
Paleochora GRE 07/26/2017

1. Nf3 e6 2. c4 g5 3. d4 g4 4. Ne5 h5 5. h3 d6 6. Nd3 Bg7 7. e3 e5 8. dxe5 dxe5 9. Be2 gxh3 10. gxh3 Nc6 11. Nc3 Bf5 12. e4 Bg6 13. Be3 Nd4 14. Qa4+ c6 15. O-O-O Ne7 16. Nxe5 Bxe5 17. Bxd4 Bxd4 18. c5 Nf5 19. exf5 Qg5+ 20. f4 Qxf4+ 21. Rd2 O-O-O 22. fxg6 Be3 23. Qxf4 Bxf4 24. Ne4 Bxd2+ 25. Nxd2 fxg6 26. Rg1 Rhe8 27. Bd1 Re5 28. b4 Re3 29. Bc2 Rd4 30. Bxg6 Rxb4 31. Bf5+ Kd8 32. Nb3 a5 33. Rg8+ Ke7 34. Nxa5 Kf6 35. Rf8+ Kg5 36. Bc8 Rc3+ 37. Kd2 Rxc5 38. Nxb7 Rd5+ 39. Ke3 Ra4 40. Nd8 Ra3+ 41. Ke4 Ra4+ 42. Ke3 Ra3+ 43. Ke4 Ra4+ 1/2-1/2

S.P. Sethuraman (2640) vs David Anton Guijarro(2634)
World Rapid 2015
Berlin 10/11/2015

1. Nf3 e6 2. c4 g5 3. d4 g4 4. Ne5 h5 5. Nc3 Bg7 6. e3 c5 7. Nd3 cxd4 8. exd4 Bxd4 9. Nb5 Nc6 10. Be2 d6 11. Qa4 Kf8 12. Qa3 Kg7 13. Nxd6 Nf6 14. Be3 Ne8 15. Nb5 Bxe3 16. fxe3 Qg5 17. Nf4 a6 18. O-O Qe5 19. Rad1 Rb8 20. Nd4 Nf6 21. Kh1 Bd7 22. Qc3 Rbd8 23. Nd3 Qg5 24. Nc5 e5 25. Ndb3 Bf5 26. Nxb7 Rxd1 27. Bxd1 Ne4 28. Qe1 h4 29. N3c5 Ng3+ 30. Kg1 Nxf1 31. Kxf1 Bg6 32. Qd2 Nd4 33. Ke1 g3 34. h3 Nf5 35. e4 Ne3 36. Bf3 Qf4 37. Nd6 Rd8 38. Ncb7 Rb8 39. c5 Rxb7 40. Nxb7 Bxe4 41. Bxe4 Qf1# 0-1

Francisco Jose Jimenez Villena (2239) vs Francisco Javier Garcia Jimenez (2159)
Alicante op 5th 2001

1. Nf3 e6 2. c4 g5 3. e4 Bg7 4. d4 h6 5. Nc3 Ne7 6. Be3 d5 7. Qb3 dxe4 8. Nxe4 f5 9. Ng3 f4 10. Nh5 O-O 11. Bd2 Bh8 12. Be2 Nf5 13. Bc3 g4 14. Ne5 Nxd4 15. Bxd4 Qxd4 16. Nxg4 Qxb2 17. Nxh6+ Kh7 18. Qd3+ Kxh6 19. O-O Qc3 20. Qe4 Qd4 21. Qc2 f3 22. Bxf3 Rxf3 23. gxf3 Qh4 0-1

Since this is the earliest game found, maybe the opening after 2…g5 should be called the “Jimenez” opening?

The Passive Caro-Kann

“If you play the Caro-Kann when young, what are you going to play when old?” – Bent Larsen

Federico Perez Ponsa (2553)

vs Hikaru Nakamura (2781)

Gibraltar Masters 2018

Round 3

1. e4 c6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Nf3 Bg4 4. h3 Bxf3 5. Qxf3 e6 6. Be2 g6 7. O-O Bg7 8. Rd1
d4 9. Nb1 Ne7 10. d3 c5 11. a4 Nbc6 12. Na3 O-O 13. Qg3 a6 14. Bf4 e5 15. Bd2
Rb8 16. Rf1 b5 17. axb5 axb5 18. f4 Bh6 19. Qh4 Bxf4 20. Bxf4 exf4 21. Rxf4 Ne5
22. Raf1 N7c6 23. Qf2 b4 24. Nb1 b3 25. c4 Nb4 26. Qg3 f6 27. Kh2 Qd6 28. Na3
Nc2 29. Nb5 Qe7 30. R4f2 Ra8 31. Rb1 Ne3 32. Na3 Rf7 33. Re1 Kh8 34. Bf1 Re8
35. Nb1 f5 36. Nd2 Qc7 37. Kg1 f4 38. Qh4 Ref8 39. Be2 Qa5 40. Qg5 Qxd2 41.
Qxe5+ Kg8 42. Rb1 Qc2 43. Rbf1 Nxf1 44. Bxf1 Qc1 45. Qxc5 f3 46. g3 Qe3 47. Qd5
h5 48. h4 Kh7 49. Qg5 Ra7 50. Qc5 Ra1 51. Qe7+ Kg8 52. Qe6+ Kg7 53. Qe7+ Rf7

Does this mean Naka has grown old, at least as a Chess player? Seeing this game caused me to reflect on a post found at GM Kevin Spraggett’s website recently, Samurai Spassky. Kevin provides Spassky’s original annotations to a Caro-Kann game played in 1959: Boris Spassky vs Aaron Reshko, St.Petersburg. Also provided is a PDF of a 1969 Soviet-Life article containing Spassky’s thoughts on the Caro-Kann, which I transcribed:

“The Caro-Kann is quite popular now, but it is usually employed by passive-minded players. The main idea of this system is that Black temporarily declines a Pawn battle in the middle and strives, instead, to quickly as possible finish deploying his forces, especial the Queen’s Bishop, before the King’s Pawn move P-K3. Only after this does he launch vigorous operations in the center. The result is that Black’s position is solid, even though passive. The weakness of this system is that it offers White too much a wide a choice of possible patterns of development, which provides not only chess, but also psychological trumps.”

Former US Chess Champion Stuart Rachels,

now an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Alabama, said, “Play main lines.” That may be good advice for top flight players, but for the rest of us, “Where is the fun in that?” I have never, ever, not once, played Bf5. After 1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 e5 I have only played 3…c5 and Qb6. Upon returning to Chess after leaving the Royal game for the more lucrative Backgammon I played mostly obscure and little known openings, such as what was called by Kazim Gulamali,

the “Caro-Kann Krusher.” 1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 f3!

Now there is a book on the move…

There are so many multifarious opening lines, yet top players continue to trot out the same ol’, same ol’…BORING!

Kevin plays the “passive” 5…exf6 in this game, which features double doubled pawns, and a Queen sacrifice!

Daniel H. Campora (ARG)


vs Kevin Spraggett (CAN)

Portugal Open 2018 round 06

B15 Caro Kann, Forgacs variation

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Nxf6+ exf6 6. Bc4 Bd6 7. Qe2+ Be7 8. Nf3 O-O 9. O-O Bg4 10. Be3 Nd7 11. h3 Bh5 12. g4 Bg6 13. Bb3 a5 14. a4 Nb6 15. c4 Bb4 16. Rad1 Re8 17. Nh4 Be4 18. f3 Bg6 19. Nxg6 hxg6

White to move

20. Qf2 Qe7 21. Rd3 Nd7 22. Bf4 Nc5 23. Re3 Ne6 24. c5

Black to move

Nxf4 25. Rxe7 Rxe7 26. Qc2 Ne2+ 27. Kg2 Nxd4 28. Qc4 Nxb3 29. Qxb3 Bxc5 30. Qc4 b6 31. Rd1 Rae8 32. Rd2 Re1 33. h4 g5 34. h5 Rg1+ 35. Kh3 Rh1+ 36. Rh2 Rhe1 37. Rd2 Rh1+ 38. Rh2 Rb1 39. Re2 Rd8 40. Qc2 Rh1+ 41. Kg2 Rg1+ 42. Kh2 Ra1 43. Kg2 Bd4 44. Qxc6 Be5 45. Qxb6 Rdd1 46. Rxe5 fxe5 47. Qb8+ Kh7 48. Qxe5 Rd2+ 49. Kg3 Rg1+ 50. Kh3 Rh1+ 51. Kg3 Rg1+ 52. Kh3 ½-½

Rea B. Hayes vs John Harold Belson

1936 Canadian Championship


B15 Caro-Kann, Forgacs variation

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Nxf6+ exf6 6. Bc4 Bd6 7. Qe2+ Be7 8. Nf3 O-O 9. O-O Bg4 10. Be3 Nd7 11. Rad1 Qc7 12. h3 Bh5 13. Bf4 Qxf4 14. Qxe7 Nb6 15. Bb3 Rae8 16. Qa3 Bxf3 17. gxf3 Nd5 18. Bxd5 cxd5 19. Qd3 f5 20. Rde1 a6 21. c3 Qg5+ 22. Kh2 f4 23. Qd2 Re6 24. Rxe6 fxe6 25. Re1 Rf6 26. Re5 Qh4 27. Qe1 Kf7 28. Qe2 g5 29. Qf1 h5 30. Qg2 Rg6 31. Re1 g4 32. fxg4 hxg4 33. Rg1 b5 34. Kh1 g3 35. Qf1 Rh6 0-1

Tribute to Rea Hayes

Rea B. Hayes

October 31, 1915 – February 15, 2001

Rea Bruce Hayes was born in Weston Ontario, Canada, on October 31, 1915. His first memory of chess was when he was taught to play at age eleven by a boy in the neighborhood. When he thought his friend was being inconsistent about the rules, Rea “read the article in the 11th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica”. From that point on he was the teacher.

Rea joined the St. Clair Chess Club in Toronto and became its champion a few years later. This club later became the Canada Dairies Chess Club.

He moved to Greeneville, South Carolina in 1953 and won his first tournament at Columbia. One trophy was for being the South Carolina Open Champion, the other one was for being the highest scoring South Carolina resident. At the time, no one expected a resident to win the state tournament outright. In 1954, Rea was again the South Carolina Open Champion, but he only received one trophy this time.

While living in South Carolina, Rea tied for third with a 5-2 score in the 1953 Southern Open in Columbia. He finished in a foursome of 5.5-1.5 scores in the 1954 Southern Open in Atlanta and had to settle for fourth on tie breaks.

From South Carolina, Rea transferred to Chattanooga, TN for a two year period. Having just moved, he entered the 1955 Southern Open in Chattanooga and won the Southern Championship with a 6-1 score.

Rea lived the next 30 years of his life in Cincinnati, Ohio. There, he organized the Parkway Chess Club and the City League, a chess team competition. He revived the city championship which had been abandoned for years, winning both the city and club championship many times. For his efforts on behalf of the club, Rea is an honorary member.

In Ohio, the annual Ohio Championship was captured outright by Rea in 1963, winning with only one draw. Several other times, he tied for first in the event. The Region V Championship was his at least once. He was instrumental in organizing the Cincinnati Open, the second annual tournament in Ohio. He was also the president of the Ohio Chess Association. Rea was twice honored by his Cincinnati club, as Chessman of the Decade (1958-1968) and again when he left Cincinnati in 1987.

Before leaving Cincinnati, Rea retired from Union Central Life where he worked as an actuary. Rea visited New Zealand in 1980-1981. Playing chess with players in the Hastings area, one of them paid him the compliment of saying that if Rea lived there, he would be the second or third player in the country.

During 1981, he traveled to Sun City West in Arizona, to take part in the 1st US Senior Open tournament. Although ranked 7th of the eight upper section players, he won top honors. He conceded only one draw, to the player ranking below him. He also won the upset prize, a nice wristwatch, for beating the favorite, Eric Marchand.

Rea’s lasting legacy is being the first US Senior Champion. The Senior trophy now rests at the US Chess Hall of Fame in Washington DC with his name engraved first on the list of champions.

He moved to Chattanooga for the second time in 1990 and became a regular player at the tournaments in and around the state of Tennessee. In 1992, he entered the 46th Annual Tennessee Open in Oak Ridge and captured State Champion honors. He had three wins and three draws.

Since his coming to Chattanooga and the Chattanooga Chess Club, Rea fulfilled the role of Chessman of the Area. He served in almost every club capacity over the years, including president and newsletter editor. All of his contributions and accomplishment have prompted the Chattanooga Chess Club to elect him Life Member and hold an annual tournament in his honor.