13 June 2018

Try not to Lose

What must White do?

White to move

07 June 2018

Avoid the Torturous Draw

White to move
Analysis Position

This position could have occurred had White played 37.Be6 and Black replied fxg5+ hoping for a rook versus a rook and bishop, which should be a draw. The difference between the analysis diagram and the game is the presence of Black pawn that White's king can use as a shield to set up a mating net.

Black's difficulties become apparent after 38.Kxg5 Rb8 39.Ra7 Kf8 40.Rh7

Black to move
Analysis Position

White threatens 41.Kf6. If not for the Black pawn, 40...Rb2, 41...Rf2+ would save the game.

Instead, White played 37.Kxf5, and after 37...fxg5+ 38.Kxg5, Black was able to hold on fifty moves and claim a draw.

Black to move

Black suffered during these fifty moves, but with both players having twenty minutes left on the clock in a game 30, Black was able to spend the time needed to avoid obvious pitfalls.

01 June 2018

Alekhine-Chatard Attack

In the past, I have struggled against the Alekhine-Chatard Attack, which only seems to get deployed against me in blitz. I have neither faced it over the board, nor in correspondence play. Nor have I spent as much time studying the books than on other variations for White against the French Defense. Consequently, I rely on my instincts and often falter.

Last night, I faced it in a blitz game against a National Master. I won!

Anonymous NM (2075) -- Stripes,J (1922) [C14]
Live Chess Chess.com, 31.05.2018

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e5 Nfd7 6.h4

Black to move

Black has many choices here.

Accepting the gambit has been my usual response, but I have tried all or most of the main options. I have lost more than I have won. A year or so ago, while discussing this opening with a friend who has played the French longer than I have and is higher rated, he mentioned that Black can simply castle.

Viktor Moskalenko recommends castling in The Even More Flexible French (2015).

6...0–0 7.Bd3

According to Moskalenko, 7.Qg4 is the "most aggressive option" (339). According to PowerBook 2016, however, 7.Bd3 has a better scoring percentage for White.


7...c5 is the recommended move.



8...Nxf6 9.Nf3

Black to move


I have two prior games from this position. Both are losses.

9...c5 is the only move in PowerBook 2016.


10.Qe2 was played in those two prior games. One ended quickly: 10...Ng4 11.O-O-O Nb4 12.Bxh7+ Kxh7 13.Bxe7 Qxe7 14.Ng5+ Kg8 15.Qh5 and missing 16...Bf5, I was mated two moves later.

10...Bd7 11.Qe2 Nb4

White to move

Perhaps Black has equalized. Both players have several options for the struggle. Having castled kingside, White's thematic pawn storm is less of a threat. My opponent quickly lost his way.

12.Bxf6?! Bxf6 13.Ne5? Nxd3 14.Qxd3 Bxe5 15.dxe5 Qxh4

White to move

With a one pawn advantage and no problems, I went on to win.