Monday, September 08, 2008

 

Max Lange Part 2

This is an update to the Sept 4 Max Lange post. It turns out that "my" Novelty (based on searching ChessBase 2003 Mega database) is on move 9, not move 7. I'm just relieved that my whole idea has not been played before. :)

Next time I guess I'll check ChessBase sooner. Of course, it could have been played since 2003 and I still would not know as that is my latest mega database.

I have also included White's best 12th move (left as an exercise in the last post) and made that the main line. This is all the result of deep study and research I am undertaking to try to improve my opening play.

Openings/MaxLangeLine2.pgn

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

 

Combinations 08.09.04 (Max Lange)

Here is some original opening research and analysis from yours truly that deals with an early Black deviation in the Max Lange Attack. I left White's best 12th move out of this file. What combination should White play on move 12?

The novelty (so far as I know) on Black's seventh move sets up Black's surprising eleventh move. Even with White's best 12th move this line appears to be playable for Black....what do you think?
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d4 exd4 5. O-O {Now 5...Bc5 enters the Max Lange Atttack and 5...Nxe4 is the Anti-Max Lange Attack.} Be7 {This is a modest move that appears to give up the fight and give White an easy advantage. But can appearances be deceiving? 5...Be7 is not considered in ECO C Edition 2, 1981 nor MCO 15 2008. There is some coverage for it in the 1916 edition of Handbuch des Schachspie (Bilguer) -- a great resource for some old and out of fashion lines.}


Openings/MaxLangeLine.pgn

Update: Black's seventh move does occur in the ChessBase 2003 Mega database twice but without what I believe is the correct followup (they both feature 10...Re8?! instead of 10...Bf5). They are below with light notes:

[Event "Ivrea WE op-B"]
[Site "Ivrea"]
[Date "2001.??.??"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Caresana, Alessandro"]
[Black "Vozza, Nicola"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C56"]
[PlyCount "61"]
[EventDate "2001.??.??"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "2002.11.25"]

1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. O-O Nxe4 6. Nxd4 Be7 7. Nf5 Bf6 8.Qd5 O-O 9. Qxe4 d5 10. Bxd5 Re8 $6 (10... Bxf5) 11. Qc4 $6 (11. Bxc6 Rxe4 12.Bxe4 {+-}) 11... Ne5 12. Bxf7+ Nxf7 13. Ng3 Be6 14. Qb4 Nd6 15. Nc3 a5 16. Qc5 b6 17. Qh5 Bf7 18. Qf3 Nc4 19. Nce4 Be5 20. Ng5 Bg6 21. Rd1 Nd6 22. c3 h6 23.Qd5+ Nf7 24. Nxf7 Bxf7 25. Qf3 Qh4 26. Be3 Rf8 27. Bd4 Bb3 (27... Rae8 28. Bxe5 Rxe5 29. Rd4 Qe7 {+/=}) 28. Qc6 Bxd1 29. Qd5+ Rf7 $4 (29... Kh7 {+/-}) 30.Qxa8+ Kh7 31. Rxd1 1-0

[Event "Leipzig VfB op 5th"]
[Site "Leipzig"]
[Date "1998.??.??"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Bosse, Volkmar"]
[Black "Goessling, Guido"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C56"]
[BlackElo "2140"]
[PlyCount "46"]
[EventDate "1998.03.??"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "1998.11.10"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Bc4 Nf6 5. O-O Nxe4 6. Nxd4 Be7 7. Nf5 Bf6 8.Qd5 O-O 9. Qxe4 d5 10. Bxd5 Re8 $6 (10... Bxf5) 11. Bxf7+ $6 (11. Bxc6 Rxe4 12.Bxe4 Bxf5 13. Bxf5 {+- White has a rook and two pieces for the Queen.}) 11...Kxf7 12. Qg4 (12. Qf3 {=}) 12... Re5 13. Qh5+ Kg8 14. g4 Nd4 15. Nc3 g6 16.Nh6+ Kg7 17. Qh3 Bd7 18. Qd3 Bc6 19. f4 Ne2+ 20. Nxe2 Qxd3 21. fxe5 Qxe2 22.exf6+ Kf8 23. Rf2 Qe4 0-1

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

 

Nigel Davies on the Moron

Chessbase has a new DVD out by GM Nigel Davies on the Moron. Evidently they have some marketing savvy as they have decided to not use the name Moron and chose 1. ...d6 Universal instead.


1...d6 can be used as a universal defence against every White opening, offering Black the kind of dynamic play that is absent from more traditional defences.

But I know a Moron when I see one. And this one looks good. I just might have to get this DVD.

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Saturday, September 29, 2007

 

The Kingside Moron

Playing a Moron Defense after a double King pawn opening can be more challenging than after white plays d4 and c4. I call it the Kingside Moron.

In the following game we see a Kingside Moron that clinches the top Expert prize in the 2003 U.S. Open. Matthew Campbell is formerly from Houston and, like me, learned how to play the Moron from Lewis McClary. The rest of this post is from Matthew:

For fun, I am sending you a Morons I played in the last round of the
2003 U.S. Open against some master from California, which won me first
expert. I clearly remember him snorting in contempt on 5 Qd8. Score one
for a Moron!


[Event "US op"]
[Site "Los Angeles"]
[Date "2003.08.03"]
[Round "12"]
[White "Aigner,Michael"]
[Black "Campbell,Matthew"]
[Result "0-1"]
[Eco "C41"]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 d6 4.dxe5 dxe5 5.Qxd8+ Kxd8 6.Bb5 f6 7.Bxc6 bxc6
8.Be3 Ke8 9.Nbd2 Be6 10.Nb3 Nh6 11.Nc5 Bc8 12.h3 Nf7 13.0-0-0 Nd8 14.Nd2 Ne6
15.Ndb3 Nf4 16.Bxf4 exf4 17.f3 Bd6 18.Nd3 Kf7 19.c4 a5 20.Nbc5 a4 21.Rd2 g5 22.e5 Bxc5 23.Nxc5 fxe5 24.Re1 Re8 25.Rde2 Kf6 26.Ne4+ Kg6 27.Kd2 Bf5 28.Nf2 Kf6 29.Kc3 c5 30.Rd2 Red8 31.Red1 Rd4 32.Nd3 Bxd3 33.Rxd3 Rad8 34.R1d2 h5 35.a3 Kf5 36.b3 axb3 37.Rxd4 Rxd4 38.Re2 e4 39.fxe4+ Rxe4 40.Rd2 b2 41.Kxb2 Rxc4 42.Kb3 Rd4 43.Rc2 c4+ 44.Kc3 Ke5 45.Rb2 Kd5 46.Rb5+ c5 47.Rb8 Rd3+ 48.Kc2 Rxa3 49.Rd8+ Ke4 50.Re8+ Kd4 51.Kb2 Rg3 52.Re2 c3+ 53.Kc2 Rd3 0-1

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

 

My Opening Repertoire

My general thoughts on the opening are in Simple Chess Opening Guidelines.

As Black I play 1...d6. This can become a Pirc, a King's Indian or a Moron. See Simple Opening Repertoire for Black: The King's House.

As White I play 1. e4 and often use the e4d4 repertoire.

Lately, against 1...e5 I play the Danish Gambit or Goring Gambit.

Against the Sicilian I play the Ken Smith Gambit, also known as the Smith-Morra Gambit. :-) A great story about the SMG: In fact, when Mario Campos Lopez played the French Defense (1...e6) instead of the Sicilian against Smith, Bent Larsen gave Lopez's move a question mark along with the comment "stronger is 1...c5 which wins a pawn".(WikiPedia).

I'll also play the King's Indian Attack (this is The King's House approach as White) against the Sicilian, French or Caro-Kann.

In Blitz I'll play the Wilson Gambit against 1....d5.

Sometimes I play the Panov Botvinnik attack against the Caro-Kann. Sometimes I play an Advance against the French.

I used to play the King's Gambit but that just requires too much preparation. As white I have very little preparation required by sticking to openings with simple ideas. As Black I know the Moron, KID and Pirc well enough to make it to the middlegame.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

 

Circles, Tactics, Positional Play and Openings

First an update on my circles quest with PCT. I have completed 40 units in module 2 and have eleven left to complete the module. I skipped module 1 but I have gone back and done a few units in module 1 (including the monster 720 problem unit 51) and I will probably finish module 1 after I finish module 2.



I am clearly learning new tactical motifs, patterns and positions. I'm not sure how or how much this will impact my play but I am curious to see that over time. I'm quite happy with the software and the selection of positions.

I've been dubbed Tacticus Maximus by Blue Devil Knight based on my claim that there is not more to chess than tactics. It is only our inability to calculate far enough that causes us to use strategy and positional factors and guidelines and general principles to help guide our play. In other words, these things are all less than and subordinate to tactics. But we rely on them because they are the best we have in many situations.

How can I reconcile that claim with my play in the following game? A diagram I showed before from one of my games on August 11 (Black to move) :


First, look at the position and the relative positions of the two Kings. The White King is well defended by many of his faithful companions. Or, he is quivering in the corner depending on your perspective. The Black King is denuded of all protection and is an easy target standing in the middle of an open field. Or, he reigns supreme over all the lands enjoying a nice picnic.

There is a tactical shot here and Black wins immediately. But, ignoring any immediate tactical shots (say the position were subtly changed to eliminate them), who is winning and why? If someone is winning is the reason tactical or positional?

In this game I had played the Moron Defense which tends to de-emphasize early tactics by offering to trade Queens. It has been played as black by such noted players as Mikhail Tal, World Champion. The Magician of Riga. One of the most outrageously tactical players ever. Maybe he just wanted a rest day? It is an opening system I know well because I have played over many Moron games. I have never read a book on it and I don't think any exist. It is part of my standard opening repertoire and can transpose into a King's Indian or Pirc. It is one of my (not so secret) secret weapons.

During this game I did very little calculation. What I calculated was generally ways to keep my space advantage, keep the kingside closed and to keep the option of opening the queenside. I considered the effect of White taking on c6 and of Black taking on d5 or pushing b5. You might say that there is not much overt tactics in the game, but Black is attacking. Right? Attacking without calculation? The threats are longer term than I can calculate. But they are there. So it is tactics, just longer term than we can calculate. In other words, positional. Right? And would you consider positional play more in the category of strategy or of tactics?

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

 

HCC Saturday July 28, 2007

I played my first USCF rated games in over four years yesterday. I signed up for the first two rounds of the HCC Saturday Open with a third round bye. I scored 2 points in the two rounds I played. The tournament crosstable and results are here.

In both games I played a "novelty" in the opening. That is not always a good thing. The games are here and in the navigation bar under HCC July 28, 2007 with some analysis by Fritz.

In my game with Jim Polomsky I was pretty much lost in the opening but saw an opportunity to create complications and pressure and got lucky. But then I let up and almost let the game slip away.

In my game with George Fan I had a critical decision at move seven. This was the hardest move of the game for me to find. What should Black do here?


Here is another position from later in the same game. Black has a forcing maneuver that improves the position of his pieces and creates powerful threats. Do you see it?


In my game with Jim Polomsky I was winning with this position. Can he win my Bishop at h7? I did not play the best move here. What is White's best?

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

 

Simple Opening Repertoire for Black: The King's House

David Bronstein is one of top chess players of all time to never be a world champion. His book Zurich International Chess Tournament 1953 is considered one of the best tournament books ever. My copy is literally falling apart -- it is held together with a rubber band! He is known for innovating in the openings and being one of the game's great thinkers. In The Sorcerer's Apprentice he recommends an opening strategy for novices for both White and Black based on what he calls building the "King's House." That is the basis for our simple opening repertoire for black:

1. ...d6
2. ...Nf6
3. ...g6
4. ...Bg7
5. ...O-O

Unless White attacks in the first five moves by moving a piece or pawn past the fourth rank these are Black's first five moves. The king is safe, Black can play a later ...e5 or ...c5 to challenge White's center and his setup is flexible and solid.

From this building block we can later add specific lines from the Pirc when White starts with e4, the King's Indian Defense when White starts with d4, and etc. We can even add the Moron Defense to this (see the Moron game links to the left and see here, here, here and here) when White's first two moves are d4 and c4.

This move sequence defuses the Scholar's Mate a powerful weapon among novices. If White is intent on a Scholar's mate style "attack" the game might proceed: 1.e4 d6 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.Qf3 g6 4.d4 Bg7 5.e5 (White wants to drive the knight away to play Qxf7+) dxe5 6.dxe5 Bg4! (now White has to be careful to avoid ...Qd1#) 7.Qd3 = or 7.Bxf7+ Kxf7 8.Qb3+ Be6 9.Qxb7 Bd5 -+.

For more on typical setups and plans see: Understanding the Pirc Defense and Understanding the Classical King's Indian.

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Simple Opening Repertoire for White : e4d4

At some point a new player will want or need to learn some openings. My earlier post with Simple Chess Opening Guidelines is a starting point. But what about the specifics? The guidelines are great but should I play 1. d4 or 1. e4 or 1. c4 or 1. Nf3 as my first move? Those are all fine moves and the guidelines do not restrict me from playing either.

For new players I want to direct them to simple openings with simple ideas. I also want to lead towards open attacking positions as White to help develop tactical awareness and skill. Hence, this simple Opening Repertoire for White that I call "e4d4":

1. e4
if black plays 1. ...d5 then 2. e4xd5
if black plays 1. ...f5 then 2. e4xf5
if black plays 1. ...Nf6 then 2. e5 followed by d4
against everything else:
2. d4

This is consistent with the Simple Opening Guidelines and is an easy system to "learn." Play 1. e4 and then play d4 right away unless your pawn at e4 is attacked. This is also deliberately side-stepping the main lines of double king pawn openings and the main lines of the Sicilian on purpose to force "booked-up" opponents out of their books.

How do you continue from there? Well, just apply the Simple Opening Guidelines or, when the time is right, learn an opening line or two just a few moves deep and build from there.

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Simple Chess Opening Guidelines

How do we select moves in the chess opening? There are four things to keep in mind during the opening moves of a game of chess that can help you pick good moves:
Tactics (Think!)
The Center
Develop
King Safety

Let's talk about each one of those.

Tactics (Think!)

What do we mean by tactics? On every move you must pay attention to see what your opponent is threatening. If he or she can checkmate you, then you must prevent that at all costs even if it seems to violate one of the other guidelines! If he or she moves a pawn to attack one of your pieces you probably need to protect your piece from capture. If you can checkmate your opponent or win his or her queen you should do that instead of castling your king away to safety. Always think about your opponent's most recent move - is it threatening something of yours or did it uncover an attack? Can your opponent put you in check and if so, is it something to be concerned about?

But we also turn that around. Are you threatening to take something? Can you give check and is it a good idea if you can? Can you create a double attack (fork) with your Queen or Knights?

Always be on the alert for your and your opponent's tactical opportunities.


The Center
We mean the four squares in the center of the board: e4, d4, d5 and e5. In the opening you should build your center and attack your opponent's center. You can do this by moving pawns into the center of the board to stake out territory. You can also move pawns near the center so that they are attacking one of the center squares. For example, White can move a pawn to c3, c4, d3, e3, f3, f4 in addition to e4 and d4 and attack a center square. Pieces can also participate in the fight for the center directly and indirectly (by attacking the opponent's pieces that are attacking the center).


Develop
You want to develop (move) each of your pieces to a good square. What's a good square? First, remember the two guidelines above. A "good square" is not good if your opponent can just take it! A piece on a good square attacks, protects or influences the center. A good square for a piece in the opening is one where it has lots of options (mobility) and serves a useful purpose. You want to develop all of your pieces so you should not move a piece twice until you have moved each piece once unless you have a good reason. A goal in the opening is to move each piece just once but to pick the perfect square for it the first time! Because your opponent gets to move too and he or she can make threats that you must defend and make mistakes that you want to take advantage of you will often have a good reason to move one piece twice before moving all of them once. That is perfectly fine as long as you have a reason.

Sometimes the game will unfold in such a way that a piece is on a good square without ever moving. If that is the case just leave it there until moving it makes sense.

The knights will most often be best at c3 or f3 for white (c6 and f6 for black). From there they attack two center squares and a total of eight squares. In their initial squares they only attacked three squares so this is an improvement of 5 squares. Knights are short-range pieces; to attack the center they must be near the center.

Bishops are harder to figure out where they should be. That is part of the reason that people say you should develop knights before bishops -- let a little of the game unfold to see where the bishops belong. Bishops often participate in the fight for the center by attacking an opponent's knight. A Black knight at c6 or f6 is attacking the center so a White bishop attacking it (and maybe taking it) from b5 or g5 is participating in the fight for the center. A White bishop at c4 or f4 is directly attacking the center. Sometimes a bishop will need to be at d2 or e2 to protect your knight that is attacked by the opposing bishop and pinned to your king or queen. Bishops can also be fianchettoed by moving the the b or g pawn and playing Bg2 or Bb2 (Bb7 or Bg7 for black). From there they attack two center squares and are on the longest diagonals on the board. Bishops are long-range pieces; they can attack the center from a long distance away.

Rooks want to be on open files (no pawns on that file) or half-open files (one pawn). If those open or half-open files are in or near the center that is even better. Rooks are long-range pieces; they can attack the center from a long distance away. In the early opening they usually stay on the first rank and just move left or right towards the center. One of the rooks will move towards the center when you castle and the other you will have to move by itself. Sometimes even early in the game you will want to double your rooks (put one in front of the other on a file) in order to control an open file or to attack a target in the enemy camp.

The queen is the most powerful piece. If anything attacks her she usually needs to run away because she is too important to trade for a rook, bishop, knight or pawn. So, she usually stays close to home until some of the other pieces have been traded off. Otherwise the little guys can chase her all over the board. Sometimes she will make early forays into the enemy camp but be sure she does not get trapped or has to beat a hasty retreat. Her first move is often a modest one to d2 or e2 (d7 or e7 for Black). If you see a clear reason to bring her out, go ahead, just make sure that you have thought it through.

Where should the king move? We'll talk about that under king safety.

King Safety
The king should be castled in most games. Attacking the opponent's king and protecting your own are what the game is about. A castled king is usually harder to attack. In games with open lines in the center a king in the center is very vulnerable. Get him out of there by castling as soon as you can. Likewise, if you can prevent your opponent from castling by making the king move or attacking a square he needs to castle through then you have a fixed target -- go for him!

Think on every move and consider the immediate tactics. In addition to the tactics consider the center, piece development and the long-term king safety in making your opening move selection and you'll do great!

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

 

Danish Gambit

The Danish Gambit is exciting and aggressive but quite simple at the same time. There is not a ton of theory to distract one from just thinking (an often overlooked skill in learning openings). The main line ends with a position that is useful for study with each side having a pawn majority. It strikes me as a great first gambit for a young player to learn.

Searching online for good material on the Danish Gambit I ran across this Lesson on Gambits from ChessKids Academy. Very nice.

I have a pgn file of short Danish Gambit games you can download called Danish Minis.

Some other online Danish Gambits are at Danish Gambit, Danish Gambit Games 1-0, and Understanding the Danish Gambit.

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

 

Learning Chess Openings

Earlier this month I started playing around with software intended for serious opening study called Bookup. I had heard of it before but for some reason I had never used it.

It allows you to record and study your "opening book." I created a few for some openings I play and Bookup has really helped me learn these openings better. Learning and knowing the ideas behind the opening moves is critical but so is having quick and reliable recall of the correct moves. Especially in some of the popular highly tactical lines. They also have various opening books you can purchase that plug into Bookup. It comes with an analysis engine and can be used to study any phase of the game.

There is a free version, an express version and a professional version. I bought the express version after downloading and using the free trial version. You can get the trial version here.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2004

 

So Bad it has to be Good for Blitz!

C. S. De Blues writes
after 1.e4,d5 2.b3 has anybody tried a countergambit 2...e5? The whole reverse Englund thing reminds me of the Wild Turkey or Williams gambit 1.f4,d5 2.e4? which could also be reached 1.e4,d5 2.f4. Gary Lane said somewhere that a reverse engulnd was an "Idea so bad it has to be good for blitz!"

I have never enountered the reply 2. ...e5, but I agree that it is a countergambit in the spirit of the Wilson Gambit. I also agree with the Gary Lane quote, but wonder if that was before or after he visited this blog? :-)

The Wild Turkey/Williams gambit looks intriguing and yet another way to mess with the opponents head if he dares to reply to 1. e4 with 1....d5. And yes, we admit that we have all but given up trying to play good chess and try to win through obsfucation. I believe in going with my strengths.

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Sunday, January 18, 2004

 

Off the Wall

Two more "Off the Wall" Wilson Gambits.

Bill Wall - B. Seagar, Internet Gaming Zone, Dec 28, 2003
1.e4 d5 2.b3 dxe4 3.Nc3 Bf5 4.Nge2 g6 5.Ng3 Qd7 6.Ngxe4 Bg7 7.Bd3 Qc6? 8.Bb5 Bxe4 9.Bxc6+ Bxc6 10. O-O Nf6 11.d4 O-O 12.Re1 Re8 13.Bf4 Na6 14.Qd2 Nb4 15.Bxc7 Rac8 16.Be5 Ng4 17.Bxg7 Kxg7 18.d5 Rcd8 19.Qd4+ 1-0


Bill Wall - DTK, Internet, Jan 11, 2004
1.e4 d5 2.b3 dxe4 3.Nc3 g5 4.Nxe4 e5 5.Bb2 Bg7 6.Bc4 f5 7.Qh5+ Kf8 8.Qf7 mate 1-0

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Friday, December 26, 2003

 

The Wonder of it All

Bill Wall may be looking to expand his writings on Unorthodox Openings.
Glenn,

A Christmas present for you. Another Wilson Wonder.

Bill Wall (ajeeb) - Jimmy Marduk, Internet Gaming Zone, December 25, 2003

1.e4 d5 2.b3 dxe4 3.Nc3 Bf5 4.Nge2 Nc6 5.Ng3 Qd7 6.Ncxe4 Bxe4 7.Nxe4 Nb4
8.Bb2 f5 9.Ng3 c5 10.a3 Nc6 11.Bd3 e6 12.Qh5+ g6 13.Qe2 Bg7 14.Bxg7 Qxg7
15.Qxe6+ Nge7 16.O-O Nd4 17.Qd6 b6 18.Rfe1 Rd8 19.Qc7 Rd7 20.Qb8+ Kf7
21.Bc4+ Nd5 22.Bxd5+ Rxd5 23.Qb7+ and Black resigns 1-0


Bill Wall
(emphasis added).

If you are attracted to off-beat openings, take a look at Mr. Walls Unorthodox Openings.

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Thursday, December 25, 2003

 

What's in a Name?

John Nunn says:
It is quite a good idea to give your favorite opening a ridiculous name, because if someone does lose to it then they have to admit not only that they lost, but that they did so to the "Monkey's Bum", "Toilet Variation", "Barry Attack" or whatever, thereby compounding their misery and making them even more apprehensive about the next game.
The Moron Defense seems to meet that criteria well, but I am now thinking that the so-called Wilson Gambit might be better called Wilson's Folly or the Idiot's Gambit. Any suggestions?

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Tuesday, December 23, 2003

 

Bill Wall's First Wilson Gambit

I see that this blog can be a bad influence:
Glenn,

Here is my first Wilson Gambit

Bill Wall (2214) - Guest4933 (Unrated), Internet Gaming Zone (zone.msn.com), Dec 22, 2003

1.e4 d5 2.b3 dxe4 3.Nc3 Bf5 4.Nge2 e5 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.Ncxe4 Bxe4 7.Nxe4 Nc6 8.Bb2 Qh4 9.Bd3 f5? 10.Ng3 g6 11.Bb5 f4 12.Bxc6+ bxc6 13.Bxe5 fxg3 14.fxg3 Qe4+ 15.Qe2 Qxe2+ 16.Kxe2 and Black resigns 1-0

BILL WALL

Of course, Mr. Wall's approach with Nge2 looks sounder than my own. I've added this game to the Wilson Gambit link in the sidebar with some light Fritzy Analysis and a few lines examined deeply (but narrowly).

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Saturday, December 20, 2003

 

Chess Moron and Lewis McClary

Why couldn't Lewis McClary come up with a better name than the Moron Defense? If you go to google and enter "Chess Moron" my chess blog is near the top of the list. But somehow I think it would be better if he had named it the "Brilliant Defense", "Grandmaster Defense", "Handsome Defense" or even "Nice Personality Defense" so that my web page, and hence myself, would be associated with these positive adjectives.

Oh well, at least it is in the list. That's good, right? :-)

On a related note, I see (also via google) an electronic book from Lewis McClary.
Lewis McClary has been teaching chess for many years, and he has a knack for guiding students rapidly and painlessly to winning chess.
If this is the same Lewis McClary that taught me the Moron Defense (and who else could it be?), I'd have to agree with this statement. The name of his book is Play Chess - Have Fun! Notice that he did not call it Play Chess Like a Moron! More information is available from ChessCentral and Chessbase USA.

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The Attack of the Morons

We have previously looked at the Moron Defense including both the Accepted and the Declined. What's good for black is even better for white, with an extra tempo, right? Maybe so. We call this Moron Defense in reverse the Moron Attack. The Moron Attack is characterized by an early exchange of pawns opening the d-file, a queen trade with white retaking on d1. It also frequently features white playing c3 and f3, with his king going to c2. Thus, the Moron attack mirrors the Moron Defense Accepted.

The early queen trade in the Moron makes it difficult for a Grandmaster to use the Moron Attack to play for a win against another GM. In the opening, black is often happy to equalize but white often strives for more so the Moron Attack is not a frequent visitor at high level chess. Nevertheless, we have examples of the Moron Attack in the hands of Reti, Hort, Speelman and others.

At the club level just getting to a playable middle game with typical positions that one understands is probably more important than which side has a slight advantage, and the Moron Attack can be a useful weapon for this purpose.

The Full Moron
In the Moron proper, white has a pawn at c4. In the corresponding positions from the Moron Attack, black would have a pawn at c5. In some of these Moron Attack examples black does not play a pawn to c5.

Does this difference matter? Yes, it can. In the words of Lewis McClary (from whom we learned the Moron) "Things that are different are not the same." The difference is that black can defend the d5 square with c7-c6 and also has the option of putting a piece on c5. In the games that start as a Sicilian Defense (1.e4 c5) we do get the proper or Full Moron setup.

In any case, these games are good to study as typical positions and to see how to conduct the middle game from these tableaus whether you play the Moron Defense, the Moron Attack or both.

Center Counter Surprise Weapon Revisited
The Moron Attack can come about from a variety of openings. In fact, we give six sample games with six different ECO opening codes. We even have one example from a Center Counter (aka Scandanavian) -- possibly a better surprise weapon against the Center Counter than the Wilson Gambit!

Here are the games.

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Sunday, December 14, 2003

 

More Morons

Via email from Bill Wall, noted chess player and author (see his chess page, chess bio and chess links), we have some more examples of the Moron Accepted, from his games.

Bill is white in these and wins all three. But do not despair! He has not refuted the Moron. In two of the three games black tries to do without playing ...f6 and ...c6, and while that is possible to do and live, it can be very tricky. Actually black plays the opening fine in one of these two (CastleFool does well in the opening phase; XPoet not so well). In the third game black (Miller) gets a fine position out of the opening, but gets outplayed by Mr. Wall. Here are More Morons, with some light analysis by Fritz added.

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Saturday, December 13, 2003

 

The Moron Defense Declined

In a recent post I discussed the Moron Defense Accepted. Today we introduce the Moron Defense Declined with a few illustrative games. The Moron begins 1. d4 d6 2. c4 e5. White can vary sooner with, for example, 2. e4 making this a Pirc opening. Transpositions to King's Indian Defense and related are possible making this an ideal weapon if the Pirc/Modern and KID are already part of your arsenal. Those possibilities are not considered here.

The Accepted continues with 3. exd5. But white has third move alternatives other than dxe5, and we call those the Moron Defense Declined. The sample games consider the most popular of those: 3. Nf3, 3. d5 and 3. Nc3.

Here are the games for the Moron Defense Declined. Enjoy.

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Friday, December 12, 2003

 

The Moron Defense Accepted

I added some games with analysis by Fritz to illustrate the Moron Defense Accepted. I learned the Moron Defense from Lewis McClary. Lewis played it frequently as black, but claimed you would have to be a moron to do so, it was so obviously bad!

The Moron Defense begins 1. d4 d6 2. c4 e5 and now the most common continuation at the club level is what I call the "Moron Defense Accepted" or just the "Moron Accepted" for short. It goes 3. dxe5 dxe5 4. Qxd8+ Kxd8. From the beginning, black loses the right to castle. White has the obvious shot of Nf3 attacking the pawn on e5 with the Ng5 followup (threatening Nxf7+ picking up an exchange or rook). Further, the black king is on the open d-file inviting white to castle long with check gaining more tempi. Obviously, black is an idiot, like Lewis said, right?

Before you jump to that conclusion, though, consider the sample games we have included for the Moron Accepted and who is playing the black side in these games - Tal, Miles, Seirawan, and others. You know that they're not morons. So what's the deal?

Of course, its not bad, and it is in fact a very sound defense. I think Lewis liked the name and the overconfidence it led to in unsuspecting opponents. In the Moron Accepted, black typically plays f6 to guard the e-pawn and keep the white knight off of g5. Black also usually plays c6 to keep the other white knight out of d5 and b5 and to create a little cubby hole for his king on c7. The one open file often leads to the exchange of a pair or both pairs of rooks. The resulting "simple" positions have a lot of bite though. It is an excellent weapon especially if the King's Indian Defense and Pirc are in your reportoire (which it can transpose into if white varies before 3. dxe5 or with 2. e4). Take a look at the Moron Accepted, and enjoy the games!

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Wednesday, December 10, 2003

 

Sugar Land Chess; Wilson Gambit Busted?

From Mark Dejmek via email:
I will try to send an article or annotated game for your newsletter one of
these days. It's just good to see someone doing something to promote
Houston chess.

One thing I will send in to your website is just an ad for my little club in
Sugar Land. (Monday nights 7-10 pm, 3232 Austin Parkway). Mostly casual
blitz and king-of-the-hill, but I was thinking I might have a blitz
tournament there one of these weeks, just to give people who haven't been
there an excuse to check it out.

Regarding your gambit against the Center-Counter, I'm not so sure. You're
right that it is basically an Englund reversed, and that is the good news as
well as the bad. It seems to me that Black may be able to steer the game
into waters where the extra move with b2-b3 is more harmful than helpful,
because it takes away a flight square from the queen. For example, 1.e4 d5
2.b3 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Qe2 Bf5 5.Qb5+ Bd7 6.Qxb7 Nc6 looks just awful for
White; in fact, he'll have to be very careful over the next few moves just
to save the game. Bucker is always interesting, but he does recommend some
weird stuff.

Is this line playable? What do you think? Click comments under this post (I'm experimenting with this free commenting system, but it seems to work), or send me email.

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Sunday, December 07, 2003

 

Secret Weapon vs. Center Counter

Do you hate playing against the Center Counter (1.e4 d5) ? If you're like me you do. From the first move, black steers the game into less charted territory that he knows better.

Looking for a reliable surprise weapon to take black out of his book? I have been playing a new (as far as I know I "invented" this idea; but nothing is new) move against the Center Counter with fairly good results (especially at blitz) for a number of years now. I call it the Wilson Gambit.

I picked up a book in Germany in the 1980's on the Englund Gambit (1. d4 e5) by Stefan Bucker and I've played it as black with good results in the past; including my first USCF correspondence game (a quick win over a 1900+ player) and a win over a local master in a 30 minute game.

The Wilson Gambit is basically an Englund Gambit in reverse. It starts 1. e4 d5 (Already an Englund Gambit in Reverse with white a tempo up! An amazing discovery!!) 2. b3 (waiting...and allowing for the gambit continuation); and often continues 2. ... dxe4 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Qe2 Bf5 5. Qb5+ at which point things can get "interesting."

It may not be reliable, but it usually is a surprise. You can play over some games here. I am NoTB on FICS. Most of these are Game in 3 minutes and awful chess but the games do illustrate some of the ideas of this opening; especially shock.

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