This writer, and Chess fan, usually makes it a point to NOT follow anything Chess related containing anything Armageddon, but after learning the world new number two, Hikaru Nakamura
essayed “The truth-as it was known in those far-off days” (found on page 244 of the book, 500 Master Games of Chess, by Dr. S. Tartakower and J. du Mont),
this writer replayed the game between Naka and Aryan Tari, the lowest rated player in the event, who must feel like he has been tied to the whipping post.
Armageddon is the death of Chess. Ask yourself, “What comes after Armageddon?” If those in the Chess world really wanted to do something, anything, to improve Chess by reducing the inordinate number of draws these daze they could have first changed the rules, such as the three move repetition, which should have been outlawed long ago, and/or changing the value of a drawn game to only 1/4 point. How many “buddy-buddy” draws do you suspect would be made if each player were awarded only 1/4 point for that handshake? Just sayin’…
Not only did Nakamura play the venerable Bishop’s opening, he played what was formerly the standard, 3 d3, in lieu of the currently more popular 3 Nc3, the move favored by the programs. Naka, I luv you, Man! I followed the game until this position:
Tari played 26…c5? This was a terrible blunder, and I knew it immediately. In a discussion with the Legendary one later in the day, I mentioned something about knowing all the Chess I’ve been watching, and writing about, on a consistent basis has increased my understanding of the game immensely. Unfortunately, at my age it is doubtful all that new knowledge can be transferred into playing stronger Chess. If you do not understand why Tari’s 26th move is so weak you need to do some serious soul searching, grasshopper.
Hikaru Nakamura (2775) vs Aryan Tari (2642)
Norway Chess 2023 Round 5
Bishop’s Opening: Vienna Hybrid, Spielmann Attack
- e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 Bc5 4. Nc3 c6 5. Bb3 d6 6. h3 O-O 7. Nf3 a5 8. O-O Nbd7 9. a3 b5 10. Ba2 a4 11. Nh4 Ba7 12. Qf3 Nc5 13. Nf5 Bxf5 14. Qxf5 Re8 15. Bd2 Ne6 16. Ne2 d5 17. exd5 Nxd5 18. Rae1 Qd6 19. Qg4 Rad8 20. Ng3 Nd4 21. Bg5 Rb8 22. Be3 Qg6 23. c3 Nxe3 24. fxe3 Nb3 25. Ne4 Qxg4 26. hxg4 c5 27. Bxb3 axb3 28. c4 Red8 29. Rd1 Rd7 30. Kf2 h5 31. gxh5 f5 32. Nc3 b4 33. Nb5 f4 34. axb4 Bb6 35. exf4 cxb4+ 36. Kf3 exf4 37. d4 Rbd8 38. Rd3 Rc8 39. Rc1 Rd5 40. c5 Rg5 41. Nd6 Rc6 42. cxb6 1-0
Although the Stockfish program used at lichess.org shows 3 Nc3 best, the old, tried and true, 3 d3 is still the most often played move (according to 365Chess.com 3 d3 has been played in over eight thousand games, while 3 Nc3 can be found in only fifteen hundred games), 3 d3 has also scored much better than 3 Nc3. What’s not to like?
3…Bc5 has been the third most often played move in the position, after 3…Nc6, and 3…c6, the choice of the ‘Fish. Naka’s choice of 4 Nc3 was how it was played in the past, and yes, it was my move of choice ‘back in the day’. These daze 4 Nf3 is the choice of the ‘Fish, and most human players. 4…c6 is the choice of Stockfish, but it has not been the most frequently played move in the position. In order, 4…d6 (784); 4…Nc6 (314); and 4…h6 (257), have been played more often than the move played in the game, 4…c6 (244).
Dropping the Bishop back with 5 Bb3 looked strange to these eyes. Stockfish will play 5 Nf3, which has been favored by a 4-1 margin over the next most popular move, 5 Bg5. 5 f4 and 5 Qf3 have both been played more frequently than has 5 Bb3, which has been seen in only seventeen games. Any other writer would stop right there and move along, but you are not reading any other writer. You are reading the Armchair Warrior, which means the next move on the list, a move having been played in only ten games, 5 Qe2! must be mentioned. If you do not know the reason you must go back to square one and read each and every blog post, beginning with Tuesday Night Fights (https://baconlog.blogspot.com/2008/07/tuesday-night-fights.html), the first ever blog post by the AW, and after reading each and every post, continue with the first post published at this website until achieving understanding, grasshopper.
After 5 Bb3 Tari played 5…d6. The ‘Fish would simply castle. Naka played 6 h3. Stocky would have played 6 Nf3. In reply, Tari castled. Stockfish would have played a Theoretical Novelty, 6…a5.
If you have been following this, grasshopper, you will understand why Naka played 7 Nf3. Unfortunately for you and your development, Stockfish would have played the knight to e2! I kid you not…
There now followed a series of moves in which both players played the same moves the ‘Fish would have made, until Naka varied with 9 a3. Stockfish would have gone ‘whole hog’ and moved that pawn two squares, for reasons that should be obvious. Tari answered with 9…b5, when Stockfish would have simply moved his pawn to h6. After Naka dropped his prelate back to a2 with his tenth move, Tari kept coming when playing 10…a4. Again, Stockfish would have simply played 10…h6.
My last comment on the opening comes after Naka played 11 Nh4, moving the knight to the rim, where it is dim. I would have played 11 Bg5. Stockfish would have played 11 Kh1, a move not on my radar. The reason being the ‘Fish wants to move the f-pawn, and would first move the knight to h2 in order to do so. I do not know about you, but I have played “The Truth” ever since beginning Chess in 1970 and I am still learning, or at least attempting to learn at my advanced age. What can I say? Chess is deep. Actually, Chess is so deep as to seem almost fathomless at times, which is why I keep coming back for more, no matter the pain.
From here on you are on your own. Grasshoppers, start your engines!
Yang Wen vs Sun Qinan (2243)
Site: Suzhou Date: 03/29/2001
Round: 4 Score: 0-1
ECO: C24 Bishop’s opening, Berlin defence
1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 Bc5 4.Nc3 d6 5.h3 c6 6.Bb3 O-O 7.Nge2 Nbd7 8.Ng3 Bb6 9.a3 Nc5 10.Ba2 Be6 11.Qf3 Bxa2 12.Rxa2 Ne6 13.Nce2 d5 14.Ra1 Ba5+ 15.b4 Bb6 16.O-O a5 17.Bb2 Bc7 18.h4 axb4 19.axb4 Qe7 20.Bc3 g6 21.Bd2 h5 22.exd5 Nxd5 23.Bh6 Rfe8 24.Ne4 f5 25.Ng5 Rxa1 26.Rxa1 Nxg5 27.Bxg5 Qxb4 28.c4 Nc3 29.Ng3 e4 30.dxe4 Nxe4 31.Nxe4 Rxe4 32.Ra8+ Kf7 33.g3 Qxc4 34.Qa3 Re1+ 35.Kh2 c5 36.Rc8 Bd6 37.Qf3 Qe4 38.Qb3+ c4 39.Qxc4+ Qxc4 40.Rxc4 Re4 41.Rc8 b5 42.Rc6 Re6 43.Kg2 Bb8 44.Rc8 Rb6 45.Be3 Rb7 46.Bd4 b4 47.Rc6 Rd7 48.Bc5 b3 49.Ba3 Ba7 50.Rc4 Rb7 51.Bb2 Ke6 52.Kf3 Kd5 53.Rc8 Bc5 54.Ke2 Ra7 55.Kd3 Bxf2 56.Rd8+ Kc6 57.Kc4 Ra6 0-1
Alexander Morozevich (2750) vs Viswanathan Anand (2788)
Event: World Blitz
Site: Moscow RUS Date: 11/16/2009
Round: 7 Score: ½-½
ECO: C24 Bishop’s opening, Berlin defence
1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 Bc5 4.Nc3 d6 5.h3 c6 6.Bb3 O-O 7.Qf3 b5 8.Nge2 a5 9.a3 Be6 10.g4 Bxb3 11.cxb3 Ne8 12.Ng3 Na6 13.Nf5 b4 14.Na4 bxa3 15.bxa3 Rb8 16.Rb1 Nec7 17.h4 Ne6 18.g5 Nd4 19.Qg4 Nxf5 20.exf5 Bd4 21.f6 Qc8 22.Qf3 Qe6 23.fxg7 Kxg7 24.Rg1 d5 25.Kf1 e4 26.dxe4 dxe4 27.Qg4 c5 28.Rg3 Kg8 29.Kg2 Nc7 30.Bf4 Rbc8 31.Bxc7 Rxc7 32.Nb2 Rb7 33.Nc4 a4 34.Nd2 Qxg4 35.Rxg4 e3 36.fxe3 Bxe3 37.Nc4 Rxb3 38.Rxb3 axb3 39.Rg3 Rb8 40.Rxe3 b2 ½-½