John “Smitty” Smith Jr. vs IM Boris Kogan

Because of the enforced time spent at home recently I have rummaged through older Chess material found collecting dust. Finding a compilation of games by IM Boris Kogan filled me with elation.

https://xpertchesslessons.files.wordpress.com/2018/12/826_Lein2.jpg?w=300&h=212

Boris Kogan with raised hand at Lone Pine (From the Mechanic’s Institute Newsletter)

My collection, which was gone with the rain, thanks to crazy cousin Linda, contained games put together by Tom Fallis. Although uncertain, I do not believe this collection is the same, but I could be mistaken.

Boris was given the sobriquet, “Hulk” Kogan, after the popular wrestler called Hulk Hogan, by the Legendary Georgia Ironman. Boris was a professional and he rarely lost, but when he did lose he never withdrew. If he lost in the first round, and I can recall that occurring only one time, he finished with a score of 4-1. To our small Chess community the Hulking Boris Kogan was a mighty Oak Tree.

The writer of these words is to write a review of the new book about to be published by New In Chess magazine, still the best Chess magazine on the planet. Most probably, the book, written by former US Chess Co-Champion, Stuart Rachels,

The Best I Saw in Chess: Games, Stories and Instruction from an Alabama Prodigy Who Became U.S. Champion

and a student of Boris Kogan, should have already arrived, but the situation with the COVID-19 virus has altered things dramatically, and the mail is no longer timely. For instance, the Chess magazine from England never arrived and a replacement needed to be sent, only recently arrived thanks to Paul Harrington at Chess, and Greg Yanez of Chess4Less! The mailbox has been empty for days…The April issue of Chess has yet to arrive and it was coming around the first of the month; this is being written on  April 12.

John Smith was a class ‘A’ player on the day this game was played. After the game Smitty was no longer considered a class ‘A’ player, but a man who had taken down a mighty Hulk tree. Smitty, who almost earned the NM title, is profiled in an earlier post. (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2019/09/06/paradise-by-the-chessboard-light/)

This writer learned more about Chess from the IM of GM strength, Boris Kogan, than was learned from all the books and magazines read prior to his arrival in the Great State of Georgia. Unfortunately, implementing the knowledge gained was lost in the translation, I am sad to report…

Boris proved himself human in the game as he lost his focus, and/or concentration. Uncertain as to which round this game was played I will say the three rounds in a day, and five over the course of a weekend, was not to his liking. “Mike,” I can still hear him say, “You Americans CRAZY!” We were, no doubt, crazy for Chess!

Atlanta November Open

John Wiley Smith Jr. vs IM Boris Kogan

A28 English, four knights, Nimzovich variation

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. e4 Bb4 5. d3 d6 6. g3 Bg4 7. Bg2 Qc8 8. O-O Nd4 9. Be3 Bxc3 10. bxc3 Nxf3+ 11. Bxf3 O-O 12. Bg5 Bxf3 13. Qxf3 Nd7 14. Qg4 Nc5 15. Qxc8 Raxc8 16. Rad1 b6 17. f3 Na4 18. Rc1 Nb2 19. Rb1 Nxd3 20. Be3 Rcd8 21. Rfd1 Nc5 22. Bxc5 dxc5 23. Rd5 Rxd5 24. cxd5 f6 25. Kf2 Kf7 26. a4 Ke7 27. a5 Kd6 28. c4 Rb8 29. a6 c6 30. Ke3 b5 31. Kd2 cxd5 32. Rxb5 Rc8 33. cxd5 f5 34. Rb7 fxe4 35. fxe4 Rf8 36. Ke2 c4 37. Rxa7 c3 38. Rxg7 Rf2+ 39. Kd1 Rxh2 40. a7 Ra2 41. Rxh7 Kc5 42. g4 Ra6 43. Rc7+ Kd4 44. d6 Kd3 45. Rxc3+ Kxc3 46. d7 Rd6+ 47. Ke1 Rxd7 48. a8=Q Rd4 49. Qa5+ Kd3 50. Qd2+ Kxe4 51. Qg2+ Kf4 52. g5 Rd7 53. Qh2+ Ke4 54. g6 Ra7 55. Qg2+ Kd3 56. Qe2+ 1-0

[notes from the GCA newsletter] This must be the upset of the year: Boris Kogan, our won candidate for the U.S. Championship, loses to John Smith, a local Category I player. Although Kogan gains the upper hand and goes into a highly favorable ending, Smitty finds a tactical shot which turns things around. (Thanks to Paul and Phil Shields for help with the snalysis) – Steve Whiteman.

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. e4 Bb4 5. d3 d6 6. g3 Bg4 7. Bg2 Qc8 (In order to dissuade White from h3. 7… Qd7, with the same idea, would force Black to give up a bishop fo a knight: 8 h3 Be6 9 Ng5. The text move allows Black to maintain his bishop: 8 h3 Bd7 and White has difficulty castling.)
8. O-O Nd4 9. Be3 Bxc3 (Weakening the white pawn structure. Relinquishing a bishop for a knight, especially to creat static weaknesses, is not such a sin in a position which is likely to remain closed. White;s bishop’s will require open lines to demonstrate their theoretical superiority.) 10. bxc3 Nxf3+ 11. Bxf3 O-O 12. Bg5 Bxf3 13. Qxf3 Nd7 14. Qg4 (Trading into an ending when you are the possessor of the board’s only weak pawns is inadvisable. As previously mentioned, White’s bishop will be hemmed in by the closed nature of the position. Black’s knight, which can travel on squares of both colors, will be able to attack all of White’s weaknesses. White should strive to stay away from an ending and open up the game for his long-range bishop. Hence, 14 Qe2, with the idea of f4, should have been considered.) 14…Nc5 15. Qxc8 Raxc8 16. Rad1 (If White had seen what was coming, he might have attempted to guard his pawns with both of his rook’s: 16 Rfd1 Na4 17 Rac1 Nb2 18 Rd2. But if White moves his king rook from the king side, Black takes advantage of its absence with 16…f5. The move played was therefore best; the follow up was faulty, however.) 16…b6! (Preparing for the following maneuver by guarding the b-pawn from an attack along the file.) 17. f3? (Better was 17 Rd2 so that on 17…Na4 18 Rf2 would hold.) 17…Na4 18. Rc1 Nb2 19. Rb1 Nxd3 (Now the importance of Black’s 16th move is evident.) 20. Be3 Rcd8 21. Rfd1 Nc5 22. Bxc5 dxc5 23. Rd5 (Intending to double rooks on the file) 23…Rxd5 24. cxd5 f6 25. Kf2 Kf7 26. a4 Ke7 27. a5 Kd6 28. c4 Rb8 29. a6 c6 30. Ke3 b5 31. Kd2

31…cxd5??

(Allowing the invasion of White’s rook. The “active rook” is worth a King’s ransom in the endgame. Much better was 31…b5, when Black can combine an attack on White’s a-pawn (via Rb6). This rook activity, combined with a passed b-pawn (as well as a king-side pawn majority, should White allow it) give Black a winning game.) 32. Rxb5!

(Turning the game around.) 32… Rc8 (Not 32…Rxb5 33 cxb5 d4 34 b6! winning) 33. cxd5 f5 (Trying to get some activity for his rook. Another possibility was 33…Rc7. White does not then play 34 Rb7? Rxb7!, but first improves the position of his king with 34 Kc3 and 35 Kc4. Black’s passive rook position should bring the same result as in the game.) 34. Rb7 fxe4 35. fxe4 Rf8 36. Ke2 c4 37. Rxa7 c3 38. Rxg7 Rf2+ 39. Kd1 (39 Kxf2? c2.) 39…Rxh2 40.a7 Ra2 41. Rxh7 Kc5 42. g4 Ra6 43. Rc7+ Kd4 44. d6 Kd3 45. Rxc3+ Kxc3 46. d7 Rd6+ 47. Ke1 Rxd7 48. a8=Q Rd4 49. Qa5+ Kd3 (Hoping for 50 Qxe5? Rxe4+, drawing.) 50. Qd2+ Kxe4 51. Qg2+ Kf4 52. g5 Rd7 53. Qh2+ Ke4 54. g6 Ra7 55. Qg2+ Kd3 56. Qe2+ (As 56…Kd4 brings 57 Qf2+, spearing the rook.) 1-0

A28 English, four knights, Nimzovich variation

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. e4 (Komodo plays the most popular move 4 g3) 4…Bb4 5. d3 d6 6. g3 (Stockfish plays 6 a3) 6…Bg4 7. Bg2 (SF plays 7 h3; Komodo prefers 7 Be2) 7…Qc8 (This move is not shown at either the CBDB or 365Chess. The CBDB shows SF 11 @depth 38 plays 7…Bc5, but going deeper to depth 48 displays 7…Nd4)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Laws of the Najdorf

My subscription to the best Chess magazine ever published in the history of the Royal Game, New In Chess, expired with the 2017/6 issue. Although I would like to renew financial conditions due to health issues, etc., are such that the decision was made for me. Living on a fixed income requires sacrifice. I had extra money after deciding to postpone dental work until spring and there were these two Chess books I’ve wanted to read for quite some time, Insanity, passion, and addiction: a year inside the chess world, by GM Danny Gormally, and Ivan’s Chess Journey: Games and Stories, by GM Ivan Sokolov. Greg Yanez of Chess4Less.com sent out an email announcing his Black Friday sale on Thursday evening and I was about to clear everything in order to listen to the weekly edition of Phenomenon Radio with Linda Moulton Howe (http://kgraradio.com/phenomenon-radio/) so I clicked on and examined all ninety pages of Chess items for sale, while listening to the program, ordering the above mentioned books and the new issue of New In Chess magazine because not only is it the best Chess magazine in the universe, but I am 67 and tomorrow is today. Alas, the issue contains book reviews by GM Matthew Sadler of two books on my wish list, The Rise and Fall of David Bronstein, by Genna Sosonko, and Guyla Breyer, by Jimmy Adams (published by New In Chess), both of which earned five, count’em, FIVE STARS! Two more books, or another subscription to the best Chess magazine in the universe? Oh well, I can take solace in that no matter how I choose to spend my money I cannot go wrong!

Before continuing, let me say that I met Greg at one of the National tournaments for children at the Hyatt in downtown Atlanta, Georgia some years ago. I purchased a stack of books while enjoying talking with Greg and the fellow with him, whose name I simply cannot recall. I spent most of my time while there in the book room, and returned the next day and did the same. The next year another group, USCF sales, had the book concession. I talked with Aviv Friedman, who was there to write an article for the USCF. I mentioned we had played a tournament game but he did not recall it. When told I answered his French with 2 Qe2 his face erupted in a big grin as he interjected, “And I played 2…e5!”
“You do remember it?” I asked. “No,” he said, “I always answer 2 Qe2 with 2…e5! Who won?” I told him he had won the game and that made him smile even more. “It is the only time anyone has ever played that move,” I said, “and I played 3 f4 because I had seen it recommended somewhere.”
Upon mentioning I had just returned from the book room he said, “Oh yeah? What did you think of it?”
When I replied, “Not much,” he said, “Really? Why is that?” Saying I had only purchased one book compared with a stack from Chess4Less the previous year, provoked another, “Really?”
“Yeah,” said I, “The place was moribund compared to last year. Man, that Chess4Less room was really hopping!” I said. Aviv responded, “Really?” Then some USCF official came up to Aviv and I took my leave, heading to the food court. Aviv did not mention this exchange in the article…

I sent my order that night and had it with the US Mail Monday at noon! I worked at the Oxford Bookstore on Peachtree road in the Buckhead section of Atlanta in the late 70’s-early 80’s, and at Oxford Too, a place for used and remaindered books and things like old magazines, later in the 80’s, and once managed a Mr. K’s bookstore on Peachtree road in the same area of town, before quitting to play Backgammon full time. I sold books and equipment with Thad Rogers on the road, and also at the Atlanta Chess & Game Center, aka, the House of Pain, so I know more than a little about selling Chess stuff, and I am here to tell you that one simply cannot go wrong dealing with Chess4Less!

The 2017/7 issue of NIC is a wonderful issue. I recall the Nashville Strangler’s wife telling me that when a new issue of NIC arrived she would tell her children, “We have lost daddy for a couple of days.” This issue is a prime example of why.

What I would like to share with you is the opening of the very first game in this magnificent magazine, the game between former World Chess Champion Vishy Anand and GM Anton Kovalyov from the World Cup. That is the tournament in which the latter knocked out the former, but was then “knocked out” by ECU President Zurab Azmaiparashvili when Zurab verbally accosted and abused the young GM from Canada, who is in college in the USA, only a few minutes before the next round was to begin. Anton left for the airport immediately. From what I read at Chessbase, the bombastic Zurab brings lotsa cash into Chess so he can abuse anyone at any time with impunity and without any kind of reprimand from FIDE. Proof that, “Money talks and bullshit walks.”

Viswanathan Anand (2794) vs Anton Kovalyov (2649)
Event: FIDE World Cup 2017
Site: Tbilisi GEO Date: 09/06/2017
Round: 2.1 Score: 0-1
ECO: B90 Sicilian, Najdorf, Adams attack

Notes by Anish Giri

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. h3 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. Be3 h5 (“This move is typical in the Najdorf, when White has a pawn of f3 and the knight on b3, stopping his pretty much only plan of g2-g4, or when White’s pawn is on h3 and the knight is on e2, hindering the g4/Ne2-g3 set-up and the natural development of the f1-bishop. With the knight on be and the pawn on h3, this move is poor. It is easy for White to prepare f4 in one go (which is more often than not his main plan in this variation anyway), and the pawn on h5 is a minor weakening of Black’s kingside pawn structure.”) 9 Be2 Nbd7 (Black’s set-up looks ‘normal’, but since it is not the 6 f3 variation but the 6 h3 variation and White gets f2-f4 in one go, Black is essentially a tempo down. You may get away with a tempo down in a Giuoco Piano, but not in a sharp Sicilian.”) 10 0-0?! (Vishy plays a little timidly, but he will get another chance to punish Black for not obeying the laws of the Najdorf later on. 10 f4! at once would have been stronger. Black has to deal with the threat of f4-f5, but neither allowing or stopping it will solve his issues: 10…Qc7!? 11 0-0 Be7 12 a4 and one doesn’t need to be Efim Petrovich Geller to see that things are not going well for Black here. To begin with, he can’t castle kingside so easily, since the h5-pawn is vulnerable.) 10…Rc8 11 Qd2 (Again, too timid. 11 f4!? was still strong. Vishy was satisfied to get a good version of the Karpov Variation in the 6 Be2 Najdorf, but the nature of that line is such that, bad version or good, the position is still perfectly playable for Black. White’s plans there are slow and manoeuvring.) 11…b5? (Another ‘normal-looking’ move that is completely out of context.)

Although I would like to give the complete game, including commentary, right out of New In Chess I must stop the comments here, because there are copyright laws and the last thing I need on my limited, fixed income is a lawyer breathing down my neck! I suggest you purchase this issue as it would truly be “cheap at twice the price.” Think of it this way…back in 1968 we would skip the awful lunch at our high school and drive to Mrs. Jackson’s, where we would obtain a meal consisting of a meat, three veggies, roll, iced tea, and dessert, all for only a buck. A meal like that will set you back ten dollars these daze, so an individual copy of the greatest Chess magazine in history will cost you about the same as that meal at Mrs. Jackson’s because that ten spot in your pocket has the purchasing power of that single dollar bill “back in the day.” If you purchase a subscription, you are making out like a bandit! I mean, where else can you obtain this kind of teaching for so little money? If you play the Najdorf, or play against it, you have just increased your understanding exponentially, and the magazine gives this to you each and every issue, plus so much more!

I will, though, provide the remaining moves of the game, sans comment, which can be found all over the internet: (This comes from 365chess.com)
9. Be2 Nbd7 10. O-O Rc8 11. Qd2 b5 12. Rfd1 Nb6 13. Bxb6 Qxb6 14. a4 b4 15. Nd5 Nxd5 16. exd5 Bd7 17. a5 Qb7 18. Qe3 Be7 19. Qb6 Qxb6 20. axb6 Rb8 21. Rxa6 Bd8 22. b7 Ke7 23. Nc5 dxc5 24. d6+ Kf6 25. Bf3 Kf5 26. Bd5 e4 27. Re1 Bf6 28. Bxe4+ Kg5 29. Ra5 Bxb2 30. Rxc5+ Kf6 31. Re3 g6 32. Rf3+ Ke6 33. Rd3 Rhd8 34. Ra5 f5 35. Bf3 Bc3 36. h4 Kf6 37. g3 f4 38. Be4 Bf5 39. Bxf5 gxf5 40. Rb5 Ke6 41. Kf1 Rd7 42. gxf4 Rbxb7 43. Re3+ Kf6 0-1

I went to the Chessbase Database, a fantastic FREE resource, (http://database.chessbase.com/js/apps/database/) and learned much: 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. h3 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. Be3 (Here Komodo prefers 8…Be7, expecting 9 Qf3 to which it will reply 9…0-0; Stockfish would play 8…Nc6, expecting 9 Qf3 Rc8) h5?! 9 Be2 (Stockfish plays 9 f4, while Houdini would play 9 Nd5) Nbd7 10 0-0?! (Stockfish would play an immediate 10 f4, but Komodo would play 10 0-0, as did Vishy, and after 10…Rc8 then play 11 f4)

This is the only other game (found at 365chess.com) with the line:

Ruifeng Li (2404) vs Guillermo Vazquez (2394)

Event: Spring Break UT GM
Site: Brownsville USA Date: 03/06/2015
Round: 1.3 Score: ½-½
ECO: B90 Sicilian, Najdorf, Byrne (English) attack

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. h3 h5 9. Be2 Nbd7 10. f4 g6 11. O-O exf4 12. Bxf4 Qb6+ 13. Qd4 Be7 14. Rad1 Qxd4+ 15. Nxd4 Ne5 16. Nf3 Nfd7 17. Nd5 Rc8 18. c3 Rc5 19. Be3 Rc8 20. Ng5 Bxd5 21. Rxd5 Nc5 22. Nf3 Ned7 23. e5 dxe5 24. Nxe5 Nxe5 25. Rxe5 Rc7 26. Bc4 Rh7 27. Bg5 f5 28. Bd5 Kf8 29. Bf4 Nd3 30. Re6 Nxf4 31. Rxf4 Bc5+ 32. Kf1 Rhd7 33. c4 1/2-1/2

The Najdorf was my favorite opening with Black “back in the day.” I won the 1976 Atlanta Championship using the Najdorf in the last round, when I was 4-0 while my opponent, Earle Morrison, was a half point back. I recall someone saying, “The Najdorf is not an opening. It is a SYSTEM,” but I can no longer recall by whom it was said…

Larry (Kaufman): “We have been seeing Komodo on its own, without a book, play the Najdorf Sicilian, which of course many people would say might be the best opening in chess for both sides.” (http://www.chessdom.com/interview-with-robert-houdart-mark-lefler-and-gm-larry-kaufman/)

While researching Chess quotes about the Najdorf I found this, which is right in line with one of the books sent by Greg:

Shock and Awe 1 – Destroying the Najdorf GM Danny Gormally
https://www.gingergm.com/blog/shock-and-awe-1-destroying-the-najdorf

GM Levon Aronian and his new bride, Arianne Caoili are pictured on the cover of NIC 2017/7 in wedding garb.

In the event you do not know what part GM Gormally plays in this story surf on over to Chessbase and read all about it: https://en.chessbase.com/post/party-time-at-the-che-olympiad

or, http://www.chessninja.com/dailydirt/2006/06/swing-of-things.htm; or, http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/chess-beauty-triggers-feud/2006/06/07/1149359787726.html

Or, BUY THE MAGAZINE!

Led Zeppelin – Thank You (The Wedding Song)