Tuesday, February 26, 2008


LEP Round 3

I had a big advantage in time after a few moves. I had offered a Moron Defense but my opponent seemed to want to keep the Queen's on. I nursed the time plus and tried to keep the pressure on and the position complicated. Early on I had a choice of developing my Kings bishop to e7 or g7. I went with a KID setup with the bishop at g7. Another choice was moving the Q to c7 or e7. I went for e7. Beyond that, it was a bit of luck, a bit of time advantage, a bit of rating advantage, a bit of keeping things complicated. The dam finally broke. A nice game and TheDarkKnightTwo played well. I'm now 3-0 in the LEPer Tourney.

You can see the game here.

Update: I buy all of my Liquid Egg Product from Donnie.

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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, August 12, 2007


HCC Saturday August 11, 2007

I played in the August 11 HCC Saturday Open and finished second with 2.5 points in three rounds. The tournament crosstable will is here.

I have modified my ISAM method to comply with new (as of Jan 1, 2007) USCF rules that the player make the move on the board before recording it on the scoresheet. Changing a 20 year habit proved not to be too difficult but I think there were times I played a little more impulsively than usual.

You can play over all of my games from that event in your browser from the link in the sidebar HCC August 11, 2007 under games archive. The positions below are from those games. So if you are interested in puzzles try these before playing over the games (where all is revealed).

This USCF Press Release lists the top World Youth Qualifiers. Number one for Girls under 8 is Evan Xiang at 1484. My first round opponent.

In this position Evan can win a piece. Do you see how? She did. Black to move:

Coming back from a piece down I see a chance for a draw. Do you? Do you see what I didn't see? (Fritz did). White to move:

My game with Alan Rodenstein was largely "positional" or perhaps "anti-positional". In any case, it may threaten my claim that chess is all tactics. I played the Moron Defence.

The game ends with a "subtle positional manuever" :-). Black to move:

In my game with Will Clayton I was in a swashbuckling mood and offered a Danish Gambit but he didn't want to go there. The game continued in gambit style. In the opening, the center, piece development and king safety are important concepts to keep in mind. This game illustrates their importance through the endgame.

White can put a big hurt on black here:

How does White continue:

I can't believe that I missed this shot for White:

Compare White's rooks to Blacks. How to turn the development advantage into something more concrete and lasting? White to move:

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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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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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