Saturday, December 24, 2016

The New Years Resolution

As the new year dawns I had only one wish for myself personally. I had played well for the past several months as I returned to over-the-board tournaments after a five year hiatus. By "playing well" I do not mean I was dominating my competition. I was playing poorly and skating by with barely my skin attached and blundering all around. That's how I knew I was about to improve beyond anything I had previously accomplished. If you look at your games and say to yourself "I'm such a genius" then there are two things wrong with that scenario: Firstly, your pride will hit a wall. Everyone loses, it's inevitable and secondly, you're not playing against strong enough players.

In short, over half the moves I was making in tournaments were sub-par to horrible blunders. The fact that I was playing wildly complicated enough to blunder, escape, and even win all the while tearing myself apart in home analysis was a clear indication of successful home practice and room for future improvement.

"The winner of the game is the player who makes the next-to-last mistake." - Savielly Tartakower

Knowing that you have a capacity to be or do something and proving it are not two different things. I am resolved to prove that within me is a chess master ready to emerge. The idea to do such a thing in one year when you're not even rated 1900 USCF at the start is quite crazy. But there it is, I put it in writing to seal it in ritual. I will break the 2200 barrier this coming year (2017).

The purpose of this blog is to take people along for the ride. This blog will be public but as secret as I can keep it. I want to share my experience with others, expose my training and post-mortem methods, give away the secrets of my preparation, and make a road map for you. However, I have to keep it a secret from most players, especially those in Kentucky. One of the secrets of preparation is to see previous games your opponent has played to understand them and how they think and play. If my primary competition found this work the result would be disastrous and enough ammunition to execute me OTB. Let's keep things between you and me, shall we?

2016 Taylor - Bikjump (Chess for Android App)

This was a game I played on an android device against a chess engine. The machine took the longest allowed amount of time per move (which culminated in a very long amount of playing time ... several hours in fact). It feels good to defeat a silicon monster on its home turf. Aart Bik's "Bikjump" engine is quite strong but I managed to get past its horizon in an endgame and score the point.

Taylor - Bikjump

1. e4 Nf6 2. Nc3 d5 3. exd5 Nxd5 4. Qf3 Nf6 5. h3 e5 6. Bc4 Bb4 7. Nge2 O-O
8. d3 Nc6 9. O-O Bxc3 10. bxc3 Na5 11. Bb3 Nxb3 12. axb3 Re8 13. Ng3 Re6
14. Be3 a5 15. Rfd1 Nd5 16. Bd2 c6 17. c4 Nf6 18. Bc3 c5 19. Re1 Nd7 20.
Qd5 Qc7 21. Ne4 Rg6 22. b4 cxb4 23. Bxb4 Nb6 24. Qc5 Qxc5 25. Bxc5 Nd7 26.
Ba3 Nb8 27. Kf1 Bd7 28. Nd6 Bc6 29. f3 Nd7 30. c3 Re6 31. d4 exd4 32. cxd4
Rxe1+ 33. Rxe1 b6 34. d5 Ba4 35. Re7 Rf8 36. Ke2 Nf6 37. Rb7 Nd7 38. Ke3
Rb8 39. Kd4 Rxb7 40. Nxb7 Bd1 41. c5 bxc5+ 42. Bxc5 a4 43. Ba3 Be2 44. h4
Bf1 45. Nc5 Nxc5 46. Kxc5 Bxg2 47. d6 Bh3 48. Kc6 f6 49. d7 Bxd7+ 50. Kxd7
Kf7 51. h5 g5 52. Kd6 Kf8 53. Ke6+ Kg7 54. Kf5 Kh6 55. Kg4 f5+ 56. Kxf5
Kxh5 57. Bb4 Kh4 58. Be1+ Kh5 59. Bd2 a3 60. Bxg5 a2 61. Bf6 Kh6 62. f4 Kh5
63. Bc3 Kh6 64. Kf6 Kh5 65. f5 Kg4 66. Ke6 h5 67. f6 Kg3 68. f7 h4 69. f8=Q
Kg2 70. Qh6 a1=Q 71. Bxa1 Kg3 72. Qg5+ Kf3 73. Qxh4 Ke3 74. Kf5 Kd3 75.
Qd4+ Kc2 76. Ke4 Kb3 77. Kd3 Ka3 78. Kc2 Ka2 79. Qb2++ 1-0

Saturday, December 10, 2016

2016 Free No More Round 3 FM Matt Hassen, 2286 - Anton Taylor, 1865 Caro-Kann Breyer Variation (B10)

FM Matt Hassen, 2286 - Anton Taylor, 1865
Caro-Kann Breyer Variation (B10)

1. e4 c6 2. d3 This is an interesting option for white. I have played a few blitz games treating it like a King's Indian Attack as white with some success. 2. ... d5 3. Nd2 e5 4. Ngf3 Bd6 I was playing out of book from this move forward, I know nothing about what to do here as black. 5. d4 Here I began to feel like a bleeding fish in shark infested water. I had obviously fallen into some kind of preparation. Not against myself specifically but it's going to be effective against me since I have no idea what to do. 5. ... exd4 This made sense to me at the time that I played the move. It turns out to be the mainline. 6. exd5 Bc5? Here is my deviation and it isn't very good. cxd5 is the mainline where Black plays with an isolated pawn. 7. dxc6 Nxc6 8. Bc4 Qe7+ 9. Qe2 Bf5 10. Nb3 Bb4+ This move is a little over-ambitious. The simple Bb6 causes Komodo to say Black has a slight edge.11. Kd1 O-O-O 12. Qxe7 Ngxe7 13. a3 Bd6 14. Bd2 Ne5 15. Nxe5 Bxe5 16. Bxf7 Nd5? This move is the real error. There is no plan in this move. After White captures the pawn Komodo determines that things are equal. A little hint for those who don't know, if a computer determines that you have an equal position when you're down a pawn your position is pretty good. However, after Nd5 the evaluation drops. It is interesting to see that there are three different plans for Black that seem to work: Rhf8 developing a rook with an immediate attack and eyeing to invade into the white position, Nc6 keeping things solid and e5, and lastly d3 aiming to either create a passed pawn or opening lines for the rooks. These moves all seem to appear in some order in each variation and are all interesting plans. The rest of the game is a struggle for Black to survive and is mostly not worth analysis as I've determined to my satisfaction the reall error of this game. 17. Re1 Bf6 18. Be6+ Bxe6 19. Rxe6 Rhe8 20. Rxe8 Rxe8 21. Nc5 Be5 22. Nd3 Bxh2 23. g3 Nf6 24. c3 Ng4 25. cxd4 Bg1 26. Be1 Kd7 27. Rc1 b6 28. Rc2 h5 29. Re2 h4 30. Rxe8 Kxe8 31. gxh4 Bh2 32. Ke2 Bd6 33. f4 Ke7 34. Kf3 Nf6 35. Ne5 Ke6 36. Nc4 Be7 37. Ne3 Nd5 This move I will give a small comment to here. this was innaccurate. As soon as I made the move I realized that 37. ... g6 made for a more stubborn defense. 38. f5+ Kd6 39. Bg3+ Kc6 40. Nxd5 Kxd5 41. Be5 Bxh4 42. Bxg7 Be1 43. b3 Bd2 44. a4 a6 1-0

2016 Free No More Round 2 CM Jerry Baker, 2152 - Anton Taylor, 1865 English Opening, by transposition (A17)

CM Jerry Baker, 2152 - Anton Taylor, 1865
English Opening, by transposition (A17)

1. b3 Nf6 2. Bb2 e6 3. c4 d5 4. e3 b6 5. Nf3 Nbd7 6. Nc3 Ba6 This pawn offer to prevent white from castling is me going for blood. This is the first game I played against Jerry after deciding to earn my master title. I AM out for blood. 7. Qc2 Nc5 8. d3 Be7 9. Be2 Bb7 10. O-O O-O 11. Rad1 c6 12. e4 Qc7 13. e5 Nfd7 14. d4 Na6 15. Bd3 g6 16. a3 f5 This is a howler. Black's position is borderline lost (after fxe6 e.p. Black's backwards e-pawn comes under fire and Black lacks the coordination to defend adequately) 17. exf6 Bxf6 18. Rde1 I thought it was better to play Rfe1 but the Candidate Master is having no f-pawn attack shenanigans. Rae8 19. Re2 e5 I was very optimistic about this position. The problem is that all of Black's minor pieces are inferior and lacking in a clear future. The only way for black to hope for anything is to create complications. 20. dxe5 Nxe5 21. Nxe5 Bxe5 22. h3 d4 This equalizes. At the time I played the move I flattered myself thinking that the passed pawn gave me an advantage. The clerical problem is still the minor pieces. They are in no position to escort the pawn to queening. However, it is a "criminal" as Nimzo put it and White will have to keep watch over the pawn giving Black the needed time to coordinate something. 23. Ne4 c5 24. Rfe1 Qc6 25. Bc1 Nc7 26. b4 Bf4 27. Bxf4 Rxf4 28. b5 Qd7 29. Qd2 Ref8 30. Ng3 R4f7 31. Qg5 Qd8 32. Re7 I took a lot of time here looking at Rxf2. For some reason I did not see what wins the game now that I see it with fresh eyes. White is simply lost after the rooks and Bishop start eating decisive material. BUT, alas I did not play that way and chose to complicate my king's safety instead. As I sit here looking at this tragicomedy of a game I winder how much of these annotations Jerry saw during the game. Given our meandering blunder trading I would say he and I probably saw about as much as one another. The decisive factor in this game was not my brilliant play, it was not my opponents mistakes, it was a blundering about stabbing at each other in the dark. I am overjoyed at the richness of tactical opportunity home analysis gives you from the use of computers but I am also saddened that I saw so little sitting at the board. Rxe7 33. Rxe7 Rf7 I also missed 33. ... Ne6 which would have netted me the rook. But the time scramble is coming and I'm going to win it as history knows. 34. Nf5 0-1 The final score in your favor covers a multitude of sins.

2016 Free No More Round 1 Anton Taylor, 1865 - Jeff Broughton, 1599 Sicilian (B20)

Anton Taylor, 1865 - Jeff Broughton, 1599
Sicilian (B20)

1. e4 c5 2. d3 Nc6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. c3 d6 6. Ne2 Bg4 7. f3 Bd7 8. Be3
Nf6 9. Nd2 Ne5 10. Qc2 Qc8 11. h4 Nh5 Alright so after this strange game of hedgehog-like movements we come to a position that is far better for me after this knight move that attacks an already defended piece. This gives me a free hand to plan an assault with an extra tempo or two. I like these King's Indian Attack positions. They can be used against the Sicilian, The French, The Caro-Kann, basically everything. Very strong defensive shell and now ready to uncork as long as my king stays safe in the center. 12. g4 Bxg4 Once again I find an attacking player that is not content to die a slow positional death. He craves action and wants to trade three pawns for his piece. The computer assesses this as completely lost for black but it's still a pretty scary sacrifice to face. 13. fxg4 Qxg4 14. Bh3 Qxh4+ 15. Bf2 Qf6 16. Rf1 Bh6 It's worthwhile to note here that lots of paths are clearly winning for white. The candidate move pool as I navigate the computer's analysis shows the richness of the options for white. 17. O-O-O Komodo sees the position as equal if black responds Qf3 here (disturbing the white piece harmony a bit). I saw this move but I felt that it wasn't enough to save black from my extra piece and I wanted my king far away from spoiling any calculations from an intermediate check somewhere. My king is getting safe before anythign else. 17. ... Qg7 18. Kb1 Totally safe and ready to outplay my opponent with my extra piece AND my more active pieces. 18. ... Nf6 19. d4 cxd4 20. Bxd4 Nc6 21. Bxf6 exf6 22. Nc4 O-O 23. Rxd6 Rfe8 24. Rdxf6 Re7 25. Nd6 Ne5 26. Qb3 Rf8 27. Nd4 Bg5 28. Rxf7 Rfxf7 29. Nxf7 Rxf7 30. Be6 Bf6 31. Qxb7 Kf8 32. Bxf7 Qxf7 33. Qb8+ Kg7 34. Qd6 Nd7 35. Ne6+ Kg8 36. e5 Qe7 Here I was running low on time and decided to simplify into a clearly won ending. 37. exf6 Qxd6 38. f7+ Kh8 39. f8=Q+ Nxf8 40. Rxf8+ Qxf8 41. Nxf8 1-0 My opponent went on after this game to lose a second game and then withdraw from the event. I think that was due to this game. The calculations involved I think proved too much for him and his brain had become fatigued. This is the most common problem among class C+ players. They play well most of the time with some inaccuracy but mostly just do not have the acuity and stamina necessary for mastery. I used to be like that and as you have seen previously I still suffer from it. Through hard work things are getting better but it may be that I still will crack in later rounds.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

2016 Pink Floyd Open Round 3 Anton Taylor, 1846 - Eddie Ray Wood, 1718 Ruy Lopez (C70)

Anton Taylor, 1846 - Eddie Ray Wood, 1718
Ruy Lopez (C70)

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Bc5 4. c3 Nge7 5. d4 exd4 6. cxd4 Bb4+ 7. Nc3 a6
8. Ba4 d6 This position is perhaps the most interesting to me in this game for a number of reasons. Firstly, d5 gives white a very clear advantage after the minor pieces are captured and Black's queenside is in horrible disarray. Secondly, I do not know why Black players would volunteer into this position today. This is definitely not a double-edged concession of the center. White is just better here. And lastly and MOST importantly I have played against Eddie dozens of times and never lost a game in this variation. I know for a fact we have reached this position a half dozen times. Remembering those games and the tactical shootouts Eddie likes I play this slow a methodical reducing his counterplay. 9. h3 d5 is a crusher but I wanted to have fun and watch an "attacking" player sweat a losing positional battle. Cruel? Yes. Fun? Also, yes. 9. ... O-O 10. O-O Bd7 11. Bg5 Provoking a weakness in the light suares. After 11. ... f6 12.Be3 white is still better. 11. ... Qe8 12. Qd3 Bxc3 13. bxc3 Nxd4 And here it is. My opponent, not content to lose positionally, strikes out with a tactical trick that fails to a simple tactic of my own. White is clearly winning after this. 14. Qxd4 Bxa4 15. Bxe7 Bc6 16. Bxf8 Kxf8 17. Rfe1 f6 18. Re3 Qg6 19. Rae1 Re8 20. Nd2 Re5 21. Rg3 Qf7 22. Nc4 Rc5 This looks like Black may try to mop up some pawns but he's a rook down. the compensation is just not there and there is no time for an endgame. This half knight-wheel wins the game. 23. Ne3 Re5 24. Ng4 Rg5 25. Rf3 h5 26. Nxf6 Rxg2+ 27. Kxg2 Qg6+ 28. Kh2 Ke7 29. Rg1 Qf7 30. Nd5+ Bxd5 31. Rxf7+ Bxf7 32. Rxg7 Kf8 33. Qf6 1-0

This game makes me proud. I know that's the wrong attitude but let me finish. As I said, I have played against Eddie many times in the past. I can remember as a basic learner losing hundreds of club games to him. His lifetime plus score against me is enormous. When this game was played I had been on a six year break from tournament chess and had not seen eddie in probably eight years. So, what I'm really proud of was my memory. I remembered a game I played that many years prior and was able to use that to score a nice win against an old friend. It makes you feel like a real chess professional to do something like that. It's the fledgling dream of that steal trap memory that the pros seem to have.

2016 Pink Floyd Open Round 2 Anton Taylor, 1846 - Darrel P. Griffin, 1496 Petrov Defense (C42)

Anton Taylor, 1846 - Darrel P. Griffin, 1496
Petrov Defense (C42)

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. d4 d5 6. Bd3 Bf5 7. Qe2 Qe7
8. O-O Nd7 This is a novelty. the book move is Nd6. It leads to disaster in this game (and that's probably why it isn't played). 9. Bf4 O-O-O Castling into the difficulties. It's an unhappy choice to solve the issue but Komodo gives it as the best for black and white retains his advantage. 10. Na3 this move intrigues me as it seemed the absolute best move for this knight. I assumed it was just a flight of fancy on my part but Komodo likes it as well (it's the top line of kibitz for the machine.) Nd6 11. Qd2 Bxd3 12. cxd3 My opponent told me afterwards that he did not expect this recapture. Black is simply lost after this. h6 13. Qa5 Kb8 14. Rac1 Nb6 15. Bxd6 Rxd6 16. Nb5 c6 17. Qxa7+ Kc8 18. Qxb6 Qd8 19. Nxd6+ Qxd6 20. Ne5 Qb4 21. Qa7 Bd6 22. Nxc6 1-0

2016 Pink Floyd Open Round 1 Stephen Francis Miller, 1578 - Anton Taylor, 1846 Dutch Defense (A85)

Stephen Francis Miller, 1578 - Anton Taylor, 1846
Dutch Defense (A85)

1. d4 f5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Be7 5. h3 This move turns out to be a passive novelty. According to Chessbase there are only five games with this move (and none of them master games) 5. ... d6 Here is where I begin to go wrong. Komodo give 5. ... Ne4 with the common Dutch themed Bishop trade. I'm not a fan of that and instead might have played 0-0 or g6 instead6. Nf3 Nbd7 This move seemed a logical way to support the e5 advance (or even c5) but it presents problems for the c8 bishop and would rather be on c6 anyway. 7. e3 c6 I think 0-0 is the better option here retaining the potential for e5 or c5 and getting the king squared away before committing to a central operation. This c8 bishop looks worse and worse here. I did not notice its poor prospects in this game when it was played. 8. Bd3 d5 This was the point of c6 on the previous move. I still like the look and potential in White's pieces far better than Black's here. Very poor positional play by me in this game. 9. cxd5 cxd5 Now my opponent falters. This exchange gives my Queenside less contention and more potential to unravel my pieces there. Notice how Nb6 is met by b3 and the knight wishes it was somewhere else. Also the maneuver Nf8 Ng6 seems equally strange here. 10. O-O O-O 11. Rc1 Bd6 Komodo recommends Nb8 here. This un-development this early in the game proves that Nbd7 was a mistake. I begin to see the sadness of this knight at this point and find a different solution. 12. Nb5 Bb8 13. Nc3 (13. Qc2 h6 14. Bf4 Bxf4 15. exf4 Nb6 +-) The Qc2 plan pointed out by Komodo is crushing for white. At the time I did see the move but determined that the position was defensible but I now think Qc2 creates problems that in order for black to solve he has to give concessions. 13... Qe8 I regretted immediately making this "cute" move. The plan was to push e5 to bust open things and expand the scope of my c8 bishop aiming at the white king. That plan is possible and even understandable but needs prepared with a6 first to keep c7 and c8 from being conquered by white. (13... a6 14. Ne2 ) 14. Nb5 Qd8 15. Qc2 h6 As it turns out this move helps me when white trades but Komodo recommend Bf4 in reply and that's harder to solve than the text. 16. Bxf6 Nxf6 Unravelling helps black but I'm not by any means saved yet. White has won the c7 square and that's a difficult hurdle for black to overcome. 17. Nc7 Bxc7 18. Qxc7 Qxc7 19. Rxc7 Rf7 Here I came up with an interesting idea. I either evict the rook from c7 (which komodo correctly assesses as just fine for white and the preferred move is Rc3 with a !?) OR I get a trade and set a little trap. My opponent was repeatedly leaving the board to check the score of a college basketball game and was moving quickly. Here was my chance to save this trainwreck. 20. Rfc1 Rxc7 21. Rxc7 Ne8 22. Re7?? throwing away the advantage Kf8-+ The rest of the game is interesiting and instructive but I have analyzed to the point I am satisfied that I will not play the opening like this again and that is the main thing for me here. 23. Rxe8+ Kxe8 24. Ne5 Bd7 25. g4 fxg4 26. hxg4 Rc8 27. Kg2 a6 28. Bg6+ Ke7 29. Kg3 Rc1 30. a3 Bb5 31. Bh7 Be2 32. Kg2 Kf6 33. f3 Bd1 34. Kg3 Rc8 35. f4 Bc2 36. f5 exf5 37. gxf5 Bxf5 38. Bxf5 Kxf5 39. Nf7 Rc2 40. Nd6+ Kf6 41. Nxb7 Rxb2 42. Nc5 Ra2 43. Nxa6 Rxa3 44. Nc7 Rxe3+ 45. Kf4 Re4+ 46. Kf3 Rxd4 47. Ne8+ Kf7 48. Nd6+ Ke6 49. Ne8 g6 50. Nc7+ Kd7 51. Nb5 Rb4 0-1

Saturday, October 8, 2016

2016 Kung Fu Open Round 3 Christopher Johnson, 1737 - Anton Taylor, 1844 Dutch Defense (A80)

Christopher Johnson, 1737 - Anton Taylor, 1844
Dutch Defense (A80)

1. d4 f5 2. c3 e6 3. Qc2 d6 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. Bg5 Be7 6. Nbd2 Nc6 from transposition we get into a rare Dutch setup. After the previous round's game I was mentally fatigued and that may explain the strange move order. I'm just not sure. 7. e4 fxe4 8. Nxe4 O-O Komodo prefers 8. ... Nxe4 to the text move preserving the pieces. I think in a human versus human contest preserving pieces reduces the chances of trading pieces into a draw. However, on the other hand perhaps wanting the trade eevrything off would have reduced the burden on my already overtaxed brain. 9. Bd3 h6 10. Bxf6 Bxf6 11. Nxf6+ Qxf6 As you see I turned out alright ... White volunteered the tradeoffs ... these trades can only benefit black. 12. O-O Bd7 13. Rae1 Rae8 14. Re3 The engine prefers Nd2 here but I think after d5 Black rids himself of his one major weakness and is probably fine with an equal position. 14. ... Ne7 15. Nd2 Bc6 16. Be4 Nf5 This is the decisive mistake. The knight looks well posted on f5 but has no real future there AND the biggest drawback of this move is that it allows White to destroy Black's queenside which as you will see gets mopped up easily. 17. Rf3 Qe7 18. Bxc6 bxc6 19. Re1 Rf6 20. Nf1 Qf7 21. Ng3 Nxg3 22. Rxf6 Qxf6 23. hxg3 e5 24. Qa4 Rf8 25. Re2 exd4 26. cxd4 Qf5 27. Qxc6 Qb1+ 28. Kh2 Qd1 Qxa2 is a better try for equality but I considered putting the queen so far out of the play was bad. My opponent even mentioned this capture to me after the game. 29. Qe4 Qa4 30. b3 Qd7 And in enormous time pressure I crack blitzing moves by allowing the trade of the pieces. (which in this endgame meant death even with a slightly more active king. 1-0

This game teaches me a very important lesson about trading. Sometimes you should trade. I had at the time been listening religiously to GM Igor Smirnov's Youtube videos and his catchy advice is "To take is a mistake" ... of course he admits that there are reasons to make captures many times in games but I took the advice too literal and it cost me dearly in this game. My opponent had done well this tournament and won himself clear first (gaining numerous rating points after this tournament).

2016 Kung Fu Open Round 2 Anton Taylor, 1844 - Leonard Gay, 1768 Elephant Gambit (C40)

Anton Taylor, 1844 - Leonard Gay, 1768
Elephant Gambit (C40)

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d5 Oh, wow! I knew nothing of the Elephant Gambit prior to this game. I never expected to see it in tournament play to be honest. From this moment on I was left to my own powers. As you will see I very nearly lost my skin in this encounter. Needless to say, after this game I did a lot of work on this gambit and I'm confident it is just a fun way for black to play for tactical tricks and lose a pawn in the process. 3. exd5 e4 4. Qe2 Qe7 5. Nd4 Qe5 6. Qc4 This was my "brilliant" novelty. I had no idea what the book moves were here (it's simply Nb3 with thoughts of Nc3 in the near future.). This is probably fine for white but the evaluation from Komodo drops his advantage to "slightly better". 6. ... a6 7. Nb3 (7. Nc3 b5 8. Nc6 was a position I did not see and my fear of b5 leads me off the path.) 7... Bd7 8. Nc3 Nf6 9. Nc5 I thought this was a good way to get the two bishops. As it turns out this leads to Black starting to get a better position by trading a useless Bishop for a working knight. Be2 or Qd4 might be better alternatives. 9. ... Bxc5 10. Qxc5 Nc6 With this neat tactical trick Black gains control of the game and doesn't let up. 11. a4 b6 12. Qc4 Ne7 13. Be2 O-O 14. b3 Nexd5 15. Bb2 Qe6  The last few moves are evaluated as swinging wildy from equality to a black advantage and with this position there is a kind of equalibrium reached with black looking better. White is dreaming of a safe shore but to tell the truth I was mentally exhausted. So many pieces on the board in unfamiliar territory to calculate I was swimming and fearing cracking. 16. O-O c5 17. Rfe1 Nb4 18. Qxe6 Bxe6 19. Rac1 Rad8 20. Red1 And now with more ridiculous play from both sides we reach a position with black clearly better and even dominant. It will take work but black should be able to convert this to a win by adding pressure on c2 or the d-file. 20. ... Rd6 21. Kf1 Rfd8 22. Ke1 Bf5 23. h3 e3 24. d3 exf2+ 25. Kxf2 Nfd5 26. Nxd5 Nxd5 26... Nxd3+ was a sacrifice that my opponent wanted to make but could not make work in his head. However, it gained me some more time on my clock. Time that ultimately led to a blitz battle that I won. 27. Bf3 1-0

Some key games for this gambit are as follows:

Leisebein, Peter - Froemmel, Andreas
Correspondence Game 1987

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d5 3. exd5 e4 4. Qe2 Qe7 5. Nd4 Qe5 6. Nb5 a6 7. d4 Qe7 8. N5c3
Bf5 9. g4 Bg6 10. Bg2 h5 11. g5 f5 12. gxf6 Nxf6 13. Nd2 e3 14. fxe3 Bxc2 15.
e4 Qb4 16. Nf3 Ba4 17. a3 Qb3 18. Nd2 Qc2 19. e5 1-0

Nixdorf, Andre - Schulz, Hans Juergen
Hamburg 2007

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d5 3. exd5 e4 4. Qe2 Qe7 5. Nd4 Qe5 6. Nb5 Na6 7. c4 Nf6 8.
N1c3 c6 9. d4 Qf5 10. dxc6 bxc6 11. f3 Bb4 12. a3 cxb5 13. axb4 O-O 14. Nxe4
Nxb4 15. Ra5 Bd7 16. Nxf6+ Qxf6 17. Qd2 Nc6 18. Rxb5 Rfe8+ 19. Kf2 Nxd4 20. Rd5
Nb3 21. Qg5 Qe6 22. Qe3 Nxc1 23. Qxc1 Bc6 24. Rd1 Ba4 25. Rd3 Rab8 26. Ra3 Qe5
27. Qc3 Rxb2+ 28. Kg1 Qc5+ 0-1

Paul Morphy - Augustus Mongredien
Paris 1859

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d5 3. exd5 e4 4. Qe2 Qe7 5. Nd4 Qe5 6. Nb5 Bd6
7. d4 Qe7 8. c4 Bb4+ 9. Bd2 Bxd2+ 10. Nxd2 a6 11. Nc3 f5
12. O-O-O Nf6 13. Re1 O-O 14. f3 b5 15. fxe4 fxe4 16. Ncxe4
bxc4 17. Qxc4 Kh8 18. Bd3 Bb7 19. Nxf6 Qxf6 20. Rhf1 Qd8
21. Rxf8+ Qxf8 22. Qb4 1-0

2016 Kung Fu Open Round 1 Lu Zhang, 1662 - Anton Taylor, 1844 Caro-Kann Defense (B12)

Lu Zhang, 1662 - Anton Taylor, 1844
Caro-Kann Defense (B12)

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Bd3 Bxd3 5. Qxd3 e6 After this game was played my friend SIM Wolff Morrow recommended the following line to me as giving black an edge and I have to agree. (5... Qa5+ 6. Bd2 Qa6 7. Qxa6 Nxa6 Komodo still believes this to be equal but a human ... well, it looks easier to play for black. ) 6. Nf3 Nd7 7. O-O Qb6 This is a sideline I enjoy playing. 8. a4 This is a novelty. It makes some sense to grab space here but push too hard and I think white will get into trouble (as in this game). Komodo believes this is equal but recommends my reply. 8. ... c5 9. a5 Qc6 10. c3 Ne7 11. Bf4 Komodo assesses this position as equal. I think this move is simply a istake. Black will get in h6 and g5, gain a tempo, and possibly get in a Nf8-g6 maneuver. ... This was my idea and you can thank GM Simon Williams for the inspiration from his work on The Lion and the Dutch Defense. 11. ... h6 12. Bg3 12. b4 was a much better alternative and may well be the reason that Qc6 is less favored than Qc7 earlier. After b4 b5 comes with gain of tempo and black's queenside starts to look silly. With the absence of the light square bishop perhaps a6 might have been an ok reply to b4 when white's a-pawn becomes a target if he opens the b-file. The question remains though, In that case what will black's plan be for his sad bishop on f8 in that case? g6 followed by bg7? That doesnt work. Nf5 followed by Be7? That's probably the best try but it leads to an equal position. 12. ... g5 13. Nbd2 Nf5 14. Rfe1 Be7 It is here that Komodo starts to see an advantage for black. The "tall pawn" on e7 is actually contributing to the kingside attack by holding g5 and there is no way for white to add pressure to that square. It is a testament to white's former superior position though that the evaluation is only now good for black after white has wasted some moves. 15. Nf1 h5 16. h3 O-O-O Castling is probably unnecessary or even slightly dangerous here but I felt I needed the extra rook to join in the attack to ensure success. 17. N3h2?? A decisive blunder under pressure. From here the game is won. 17. ... h4 18. a6 b6 19. b4 c4 20. Qb1 hxg3 21. Nxg3 Nh4 22. Ng4 Rdg8 23. Ra2 Ng6 24. b5 Qc7 25. Ne2 Nf4 26. Nxf4 gxf4 27. Qd1 Nf8 28. Qf3 Ng6 29. Kf1 Bg5 30. Nf6 Bxf6 31. exf6 Nh4 32. Qe2 f3 33. gxf3 Qh2 34. Qe5 Qxh3+ 35. Ke2 Qxf3+ 36. Kd2 Qxf2+ 37. Re2 Nf3+ 0-1