A Najdorf Tournament

I am playing in a Najdorf Thematic tournament at chess.com.

The tournament is organized into several sections with the winners of each round advancing to the next.

I won my preliminary section with a perfect score of 8-0. I didn’t think I would so well, but here I am being advanced to the next round with the other winners of their sections.

Here are a couple of games from this tournament.


Sicilian Najdorf Invitational
chess.com, 2018
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 (This position defines the Najdorf, the theme of this tournament.) 6.Bc4 e6 7.O-O Be7 8.Re1 O-O 9.Bg5!? (A move rarely seen in this variation.) 9…Qc7 10.Qe2 Qc5 11.Rad1? Qxg5 12.g3 Bd7 13.f4 Qg6 14.f5 Qg5 15.Qe3 Qxe3+ 16.Rxe3 e5 17.Nd5 Nxd5 18.Bxd5 Bc6 19.Ne6 fxe6 20.Bxe6+ Kh8 21.Bd5 Bxd5 22.exd5 Nd7 23.b4 Nb6 24.g4 Rac8 25.Rd2 Nc4 26.Rc3 Nxd2 0-1


Escalante-“MiddlegamerUmesh” (1531)
Sicilian Najdorf Invitational
chess.com, 2018
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 (The move constitutes the Sozin variation, a favorite of Fischer’s and the variation which I played exclusively in round one. Having a perfect score makes me want to try it again in round two. We’ll see.)  6…e6 7.Bb3 Qc7 8.Be3 Be7 9.g4 b5 (9…Nc6 10.g5, with the possibility of the same sacrifice.) 10.g5 Nfd7? 11.Bxe6! 1-0 (Black didn’t want to face 11…fxe6 12.Nxe6 Qa5 13.Nxg7+ Kf8, and White with three pieces for the piece, plus the attack, should win.)


Since I have not included any diagrams in my games, here is some artwork of Fischer, the (in)famous prodigy and world chess champion.





A previously unknown Fischer game.


The August July 2017 issue of Chess Life published a previously unknown Bobby Fischer game. Here is the game you can add to your collection.


Fischer (1726)-Franklin Saksena (1400)
US Jr. Ch.
Lincoln, Nebraska, 1955
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 f5?! (A rare, but not unknown variation. Paul Weaver-Dean Rommeo, G/15, Portland, OR, 1993, continued with 5.d4 exd4?! 6.cxd4 Bb4+ 7.Nc3 fxe4 8.Ne5 Nxe5 9.dxe5 Bxc3+?! 10.bxc3 Qe7 11.Bf4 b6 12.Bxg8 Rxg8 13.Qd5 Rf8 14.Qxa8 Kd8 15.Bg3 1-0) 5.d4 exd4 6.Nxd4 Bxd4 7.cxd4 Nf6 8.e5 Ne4 9.Nc3 Nxc3 10.bxc3 d5 11.exd6 Qxd6 12.O-O Na5? (12…Bd7 13.Bg5)


13.Qa4+ Nc6 14.d5 O-O 15.dxc6+ +- Kh8 16.Ba3 Qf6 17.Bxf8 Qxf8 18.Qb4 Qxb4 19.cxb4 bxc6 20.Rfe1 Bb7 21.Re7 Rc8 22.Rae1 1-0

Isolated Pawns

Like most players I was taught to accept isolated pawns with caution. And to avoid doubled isolated pawns. And forget about triples isolated pawns as they will lose the game for you 100% of the time.


You might have even been shown the game below to illustrate the of evils of accepting tripled isolated pawns.



Adolf Anderssen-Max Lange
Breslau, Germany, 1859
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nd4 4.Nxd4 exd4 5.Bc4 Nf6 6.e5 d5 7.Bb3 Bg4 8.f3 Ne4 9.O-O d3 10.fxg4 Bc5+ 11.Kh1 Ng3+ 12.hxg3

12…Qg5! -+ 13.Rf5 h5 14.gxh5 Qxf5 15.g4 Rxh5+ 16.gxh5 Qe4 17.Qf3 Qh4+ 18.Qh3 Qe1+ 19.Kh2 Bg1+ 0-1


But as I got older, and hopefully wiser, in my learning of the game, it gradually became clear to me that the idea of isolated pawns was not a hard-fast, iron-clad, absolute, rule of the game, solely responsible for a loss.



Let’s take another look at the previous game. White’s development, or rather his lack of it, surely also contributed to his early demise.



I replaced that isolated pawn rule with the idea that a potential weakness is not a weakness if it can’t be attacked.



Our first example is the unforgettable (to put it nicely) Bobby Fischer.


Grossguth-Bobby Fischer
US Jr. Ch.
Franklin Mercantile Chess Club, Philadelphia, July, 1956
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.Be3 O-O 9.Qd2 b5 10.f3 Be6 11.g4 d5 12.g5 d4 13.gxf6 Bxf6 14.O-O-O dxe3 15.Qxd8 Rxd8 16.Nc5 Nc6 17.Nxe6 fxe6

18.Rhf1 b4 19.Na4 Nd4 20.Rxd4 Rxd4 21.Bd3 Rad8 22.Kd1 Bg5 23.Ke2 Bf4 24.h3 Rc8 25.Rd1 Rc6 26.b3 Kf7 27.h4 Kf6 28.h5 a5 29.Nb2? (White can’t do too much with his misplaced knight, but he could survive longer by just leaving it in place.) 29…Rxd3! 0-1



Black loses the following game. But he also has other problems. Like being behind in material, development, and position.



GM A. Yermolinsky-IM W. Shipman (2438)
Reno, 1995
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 c6 5.Bg5 Nbd7 6.e3 Qa5 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.Qd2 Bb4 9.Rc1 O-O 10.a3 Bd6?! (10.Bxc3 is better. The bishop has limited movement and will interfere with the coordination of Black’s pieces. Perhaps Shipman wanted to throw a GM off-stride.

Carsten Hoi (2445)-Lars Bo Hansen (2550)
Denmark Team Ch., 1996
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Nbd7 5.e3 c6 6.Nf3 Qa5 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.Qd2 Bb4 9.Rc1 O-O 10.a3 Bxc3 11.bxc3 Qxa3 12.e4 N5f6 13.Bd3 e5 14.O-O Re8 15.Bxf6 gxf6 16.Nh4 Nf8 17.f4 exd4 18.cxd4 Qd6 19.Nf3 Bg4 20.e5 Qd8 21.Kh1 Kh8 22.Qf2 Ng6 23.Nd2 Rg8 24.h3 Bh5 25.Ne4 fxe5 26.fxe5 Nxe5 27.dxe5 Qxd3 28.Nf6 Qe2 29.Qxe2 Bxe2 30.Rf2 Bd3 31.Nxg8 Kxg8 32.Rc3 Bg6 33.g4 a5 34.h4 a4 35.h5 Be4+ 36.Kh2 b5 37.Rf4 Bd5 38.g5 a3 39.g6 hxg6 40.hxg6 0-1

Peter Heine Nielsen (2620)-Curt Hansen (2610)
North Sea Cup
Esbjerg, 2002
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 c6 5.Bg5 Nbd7 6.e3 Qa5 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.Qd2 Bb4 9.Rc1 O-O 10.a3 Bxc3 11.bxc3 h6 12.Bh4 Qxa3 13.e4 Ne7 14.Bd3 Ng6 15.Bg3 b6 16.O-O Bb7 17.e5 Qe7 18.h4 c5 19.h5 Bxf3 20.gxf3 Nh4 21.Qf4 Nf5 22.Bxf5 exf5 23.Qxf5 Qe6 24.Qe4 f5 25.d5 Qe8 26.Qf4 b5 27.c4 Qxh5 28.e6 g5 29.Qd6 Nb6 30.e7 Rfe8 31.Be5 Kh7 32.cxb5 Qxf3 33.Qe6 Qg4+ 34.Bg3 Qh5 35.Qxf5+ Qg6 36.Qxg6+ Kxg6 37.d6 Nd7 38.Rfe1 Kf7 39.Rc3 Rab8 40.Rf3+ Kg7 41.Be5+ Kg6 42.Bc3 Rxb5 43.Re6+ Kh5 44.Rh3+ Kg4 45.Rexh6 Rb3 46.Kg2 c4 47.Rh8 1-0

M. Ragger (2655)-B. Esen (2536)
Moscow, Feb. 10 2012
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5 Nbd7 6.e3 Qa5 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.Qd2 Bb4 9.Rc1 O-O 10.a3 Bxc3 11.bxc3 Qxa3 12.e4 Ne7 13.Bd3 e5 14.O-O f6 15.Be3 Ng6 16.h4 Nh8 17.h5 Nf7 18.Nh4 Nb6 19.f4 Qe7 20.Qf2 Nh6 21.Qg3 exd4 22.cxd4 f5 23.Rc5 Ng4 24.Bc1 fxe4 25.Be2 Qf6 26.Kh1 Nh6 27.f5 Nf7 28.Re5 Nd5 29.h6 e3 30.Bxe3 Nxe3 31.hxg7 Nxf1 32.gxf8=Q+ Kxf8 33.Bxf1 Bd7 34.Bc4 Re8 35.Bxf7 Kxf7 36.Qf4 Kg8 37.Rxe8+ Bxe8 38.Nf3 Kg7 39.Qc7+ Bf7 40.Qxb7 Qxf5 41.Qxa7 Kh6 42.Qe7 Bd5 43.Qe3+ Kg7 44.Qe7+ Kh6 45.Qe3+ Kg7 46.Qe7+ 1/2-1/2)

11.e4 Nxc3 12.Rxc3 e5 13.d5 c5 14.Nh4 Nb6 15.Bf6 Qa4 16.Qg5 Qxe4+ 17.Be2 Qb1+ 18.Bd1 Qg6 19.Nxg6 hxg6 20.Bxe5 f6 21.Bxd6 fxg5 22.Bxf8 Kxf8

23.Rxc5 +- Bf5 24.Bb3 Re8+ 25.Kd2 Re4 26.Re1 Rd4+ 27.Kc1 Be4 28.d6 Bc6 29.Rd1 1-0



Fair enough. Tripled isolated pawns are not necessarily bad ideas.



Now, how do we categorize the following two games??



Gabor Kovacs-Rainer Barth
Balatonbereny Open
Hungary, Sept. 1994
1.e4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 (2…e5 naturally leads to the Vienna Game.) 3.exd5 (One interesting game is Robert Jacobs (2222)-GM Shabalov, World Open, Philadelphia, 1997, which continued with 3.e5 Nfd7 4.e6!? fxe6 5.d4 c5 6.Bd3 Nf6 7.dxc5 Nc6 8.Bg5 g6 9.Nh3 Bg7 10.Nf4 d4 11.Ne4 e5 12.Bxf6 exf6 13.Nd6+ Kf8 14.Ne2 Qa5+ 15.Qd2 Qxc5 16.Nxc8 Rxc8 17.O-O Kf7 18.a3 Rhe8 19.f3 Kg8 20.Ng3 f5 21.Rae1 Nd8 22.Qb4 Qxb4 23.axb4 Nc6 24.c3 dxc3 25.bxc3 e4 26.fxe4 Bxc3 27.Rd1 f4 28.Rxf4 Nxb4 29.Bb5 Be5 30.Rf3 Re7 31.Bd7 Rb8 32.Ba4 Kg7 33.Ne2 b5 34.Bb3 a5 35.Nd4 a4 36.Ne6+ Kh8 37.Bd5 Nxd5 38.exd5 Bd6 39.Rc1 Bb4 40.Rc6 Rd7 0-1) 3…Nxd5 4.Bc4 c6 5.d4 g6 6.Nge2 Be6 7.Bb3 Nxc3 8.bxc3 Bxb3 9.axb3 Bg7 10.O-O O-O 11.f4 Na6 12.Ba3 Re8 13.Qd3 Qb6 14.f5 c5 15.fxg6 fxg6 16.Qc4+ e6 17.dxc5 Qc6 18.Rad1 b5 19.Nd4 Qxg2+ 20.Kxg2 bxc4 21.Nb5 Reb8 22.bxc4

22…Rc8 23.Nd6 Rc6 24.Ne4 Rac8 25.Rd7 R6c7 26.Rd6 Rc6 27.Rfd1 Bf8 28.Rxc6 Rxc6 29.Rd8 Kf7 30.Rd7+ Be7 31.Rxa7 h6 32.Bc1 g5 33.h4 gxh4 34.Bf4 e5 35.Bxe5 Re6 36.Nd6+ Kg6 37.Bd4 Nb8 38.Ra8 Nc6 39.Rg8+ Kh5 40.Nf5 Rg6+ 41.Rxg6 Kxg6 42.Nxe7+ Nxe7 43.Kh3 Nc6 44.Kxh4 1/2-1/2



Thomas Lochte (2225)-Stefan Gross (2330)
Budapest, 1996
1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 d6 5.Bc4 Nc6 6.Nf3 e6 7.O-O Bd7 8.Bf4 Qb8 (Jakub Breck-Jiri Zajic, Czechoslovakia U26 Ch., Prague, 1968 continued with 8…Nf6 9.Bxd6 Bxd6 10.Qxd6 Qe7 11.Qg3 O-O 12.e5 Ne8 13.Ne4 f5 14.exf6 Nxf6 15.Rfe1 Na5 16.Bd3 Nh5 17.Qg5 Qxg5 18.Nexg5 h6 19.Nxe6 Bxe6 20.Rxe6 Nf4 21.Rd6 Nxd3 22.Rxd3 Rac8 23.b4 Nc6 24.a3 Rfd8 25.Rxd8+ Nxd8 26.Rd1 Ne6 27.Ne1 Rc3 28.Rd3 Rc1 29.Kf1 Nf4 30.Rd8+ Kf7 31.g3 Ke7 32.Rd2 Ne6 33.Ke2 b6 34.Nc2 Ng5 35.Nd4 Ra1 36.Rd3 Rc1 37.h4 Nf7 38.Kd2 Rc4 39.Re3+ Kf8 40.Kd3 Rc1 41.Ne6+ Kg8 42.Nf4 Nd6 43.Re7 a5 44.Nh5 Nf5 45.Rb7 Ra1 46.Rxb6 Rxa3+ 47.Ke4 Ne7 48.Rb7 Kf8 49.bxa5 Ra4+ 50.Kf3 Rxa5 51.Nxg7 Re5 52.Kf4 Re2 53.Nh5 Rxf2+ 54.Kg4 Rf7 55.Rb8+ 1-0) 9.Nb5 Ne5 10.Nxe5 dxe5 11.Bg3 Nf6 12.Qe2 a6 13.Nd4 Bd6 14.Rad1 Bc7 15.Nf3 Bc6 16.Bh4 h6 17.Bxf6 gxf6 18.Nh4 h5 19.Qf3 Bd8 20.Qg3 Qc7 21.Qg7 Rf8 22.f4 exf4 23.Rfe1 Qe5 24.Bd5 Qg5 25.Bxc6+ bxc6 26.Nf5 Bb6+ 27.Kh1 exf5




Greatest Game?

One could argue that the Morphy-Count Brunswick+Isouard, Paris, 1858 is the greatest game of chess ever played (see “A Well-Known Game”, Sept. 21 2018).


But this is my favorite, my nomination for the greatest game ever played. As you’ll see this game is full of unknowns and tactical surprises. And it probably sets a record for most queen sacrifices and queen promotions in a single game. Bogoljubov is completely outplayed. This is Alekhine at his best!


Hastings, 1922
1.d4 f5

(The Dutch allows many tactical possibilities. Here is another example:

Giampa-Rai. Garcia
La Plata, Argentina, 1998
1.d4 f5 2.Nf3 e6 3.Bg5 Nf6 4.Nbd2 d5 5.e3 Be7 6.Bd3 Nbd7 7.O-O c6 8.Ne5 Nxe5 9.dxe5 Ng4 10.Bf4 g5 11.Bg3 O-O 12.Qe2 Nh6 13.f4 g4 14.Kh1 b6 15.c4 Bb7 16.Rfd1 Qe8 17.Rac1 Rd8 18.Nb1 Qh5 19.cxd5 exd5 20.a3 Nf7 21.b4 Nh8 22.Bb5 Qe8 23.Ba4 Qg6 24.Bb3 Nf7 25.Nc3 b5 26.Qb2 Rc8 27.Ne2 Nd8 28.Rc2 Ne6 29.Rdc1 Rfd8 30.Nd4 Nxd4 31.Qxd4 Ra8 32.a4 a6 33.Be1 Qe6 34.a5 Rd7 35.e4 fxe4 36.Qxe4 Rf8 37.Rf2 Qf5 38.Qd4 Bd8 39.Bc3 Rg7 40.Bc2 Qh5 41.g3 Bc8 42.f5 Bg5 43.Rcf1 Qh6 44.Re2 Qh3 45.Rff2 Rgf7 46.f6 Be6 47.Bf5 Re8 48.Bd2 Bxd2 49.Qxd2 Qh5 50.Qc2 Bxf5 51.Rxf5 Qg6 52.Ref2 Re6 53.Qd2 h6 54.R2f4 Rd7 55.Qd1 h5 56.Qd4 Kf7 57.Rf2 Qh6 58.R2f4 Qg6 59.Kg1 Re8 60.Qb6 Re6 61.Qxa6 Qg8 62.Qb6 Qh7 63.a6 d4 64.a7 d3 65.Qb8 d2 66.a8=Q d1=Q+
67.Rf1 Qd4+ 68.R5f2 Rxe5 69.Qf8+ Ke6 70.Qxc6+ Qd6 71.Qe8+ 1-0)

2.c4 [A good move. But 2.g3 and 2.Nf3 are more popular, but for opposite reasons. 2.g3 is played for a small, but certain, advantage, while 2.Nf3 can lead to very wild play (see above.)] 2…Nf6 3.g3 e6 4.Bg2 Bb4+ (A seemingly useless move. But it does eliminate Black’s problem bishop, and more importantly for Alekhine, opens up the board for his tactical talents.) 5.Bd2 Bxd2+ 6.Nxd2 Nc6 7.Ngf3 O-O 8.O-O d6 9.Qb3?! (I don’t like this move as Black has the perfect response with 9…Kh8, getting out of the possible pin, rendering White’s move less effective. 9.Qc2 and 9.Nb3 seem to offer more. ) 9…Kh8 10.Qc3 e5 11.e3 (Pirc-Spielmann, Match, Rogatska Slatina, 1931, continued with 11.dxe5 dxe5 12.Rad1 Qe7 13.Rfe1 e4 14.Nd4 Nxd4 15.Qxd4 c5 16.Qc3 Bd7 17.Nf1 Bc6 18.Ne3 Nd7 19.Bh3 Qg5 20.Rd6 Qh5 21.Kg2 Rae8 22.Nd5 Ne5 23.Nf4 Qf7 24.Nd5 f4 25.Nxf4 g5 26.Be6 Qf6 27.Nh5 Qxf2+ 28.Kh1 Rf6 29.Bd7 Rxd6 30.Bxe8 Rd4 0-1) 11…a5 12.b3 Qe8 13.a3 Qh5 14.h4 Ng4 15.Ng5 Bd7 16.f3 Nf6 17.f4 e4 18.Rfd1 h6 19.Nh3 d5 20.Nf1 Ne7 21.a4 Nc6 22.Rd2 Nb4 23.Bh1 Qe8 24.Rg2 dxc4 25.bxc4 Bxa4 26.Nf2 Bd7 27.Nd2 b5 28.Nd1 Nd3 29.Rxa5 b4
30.Rxa8 bxc3! (Why trade queens while losing the exchange? Well, Black’s pawn can’t be stopped from queening. A good move but even better ones coming later in the game!) 31.Rxe8 c2! 32.Rxf8+ Kh7 33.Nf2 c1=Q+ 34.Nf1 Ne1 35.Rh2 Qxc4 36.Rb8 Bb5 37.Rxb5 Qxb5 38.g4 Nf3+ 39.Bxf3 exf3 40.gxf5 Qe2 41.d5 Kg8 42.h5 Kh7 43.e4 Nxe4 44.Nxe4 Qxe4 45.d6 cxd6 46.f6 gxf6 47.Rd2 Qe2!
(Again Black can willing give up his queen as another one will be promoted within a few moves.) 48.Rxe2 fxe2 49.Kf2
49…exf1=Q+ (Black gives up his third queen to achieve an easily won king and pawn ending.) 50.Kxf1 Kg7 51.Kf2 Kf7 52.Ke3 Ke6 53.Ke4 d5+
0-1 (After 54.Kd4 Kd6, Black will promote a queen for the fourth time. And he won’t have to sacrifice this one!)

An early example

The Internet is full of new analyses in chess opening. Some good, some very good, some strange, some wonderful, and some awful. This game is an early example of good, but not complete.


Escalante-“lord_kapatasan”, Game 2
Blitz Game
Yahoo, Mar. 14 2004
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Bc5 3.Nxe5 Bxf2+


(Anything else loses. Here are some examples.

corres., Italy, 1980
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Bc5 3.Nxe5 Nf6 4.d4 Bb6 5.Nc3 O-O 6.Be3 d5 7.exd5 Nxd5 8.Nxd5 Qxd5 9.Bc4 Qxg2 10.Kd2 Bxd4 11.Bxd4 Nc6 12.Rg1 Qe4 13.Nxc6 g6 14.Qh5 Qxc6 15.Rxg6+ 1-0

corres., 1986
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Bc5 3.Nxe5 Nc6 4.Nxc6 dxc6 5.Bd3 Bxf2+ 6.Kxf2 Qd4+ 7.Ke1 Qc4 8.Bxc4 1-0)


4.Kxf2 Qh4+


[Not 4…Qf6+ 5.Nf3! +- (White is still ahead in material and Black’s attack is at an end.) 5…Nh6!? 6.d4 O-O 7.Nc3 d6 8.Nd5 Qd8 9.Bxh6 gxh6 10.Qd2 Kh8 11.Qxh6 c6 12.Nf6 Qxf6 13.Qxf8+ 1-0, Viatge-Mitchell, Email, IECC, 2000]


5.g3 Qxe4


(Now Black, with White’s king out outside his protective shell and Black’s queen dominating the center, looks like he is winning. But Black’s queen is vulnerable and it’s White’s turn.) 6.d4 (6.Qe2 also wins, but Black has to get greedy. Here is why it works: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Bc5 3.Nxe5 Bxf2+ 4.Kxf2 Qh4+ 5.g3 Qxe4 6.Qe2 Qxh1 7.Bg2! 1-0, as in Krejcik-Baumgartner, Troppau, 1914. So, is 6.Qe2 or 6.d4 the better move? It turns out there is also theory on 6.Qe2.)


6…Qxh1 7.Qe2 Ne7


[You’ll see this is game #2 between my opponent and myself. Here is the first game: Escalante-“lord_kapatasan”, Game 1, Blitz Game, Yahoo, Mar. 14 2004, 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Bc5 3.Nxe5 Bxf2+ 4.Kxf2 Qh4+ 5.g3 Qxe4 6.d4 Qxh1 7.Qe2 Qxh2+ (This move is reckless. You’ll notice he did make an improvement in game 2.) 8.Bg2 Ne7 9.Ng4 Qxg2+ 10.Kxg2 d5 11.Bf4 c6 12.Bd6 Be6 13.Bxe7 Kxe7 14.Nc3 Nd7 15.Re1 Rae8 16.Ne5 Nf6 17.Na4 Kd6 18.Qe3 h6 19.Qa3+ Kc7 20.Nc5 a6 21.Qa5+ b6 22.Qxa6 bxc5 23.Qa7+ Kd6 24.Qxc5mate 1-0. He’s the one who told me about theory I didn’t know existed. At least he was smart enough NOT to tell me before the games.]

8.Bg2!? Qxc1 9.Nc3! (Apparently this move, and the move that follows, busts this variation – I can’t see a way out for Black) 9…Qxa1 10.Nd5!



10…Na6 11.Nxe7 Kxe7 12.Nc6+ Kf8 13.Qe7+ 1-0

Choose Your Promotion

The word QUEEN has two definitions in chess. Let’s look at both.

QUEEN (def. 1) (+S) [n. A piece combining the moves of the rook and bishop, making the strongest piece at the beginning of the game.]

QUEEN (def. 2) (+ED, +ING, +S) [v. To promote a pawn to a queen]


OK, fine.


But what if someone wanted to promote to a Bishop, Rook, or Knight? You can’t Bishop a pawn. And Rooking a pawn doesn’t make sense either.


Now, it is possible you could Knight a Pawn, but only if the man’s name is Mr. Pawn and he does something really very good for the British Empire. But since we are only talking about chess, this doesn’t make sense after all.


Interesting is the fact is that you can King a piece in checkers (or “draughts.”). But you can’t Queen a piece in checkers or in chess (only pawns).




The umbrella term for promoting a pawn to Knight, Bishop, or Rook, is “underpromotion”. Which, at first, sounds like a demotion. But all it means is the piece the pawn is being promoted to is not the strongest piece possible, even if the underpromoted piece actually wins the game (as promoting to a queen can sometimes lead to an immediate stalemate).


By the way, the word PROMOTE is defined as [v. To upgrade a pawn, upon reaching the eighth rank, to a Rook, Knight, Bishop, or Queen, of one’s own color.]


You can’t promote your pawn to a piece of the opposite color, even if it will benefit you (and yes, this can happen).]


Confused? Good! Just wait until we start talking about OPPOSITION and ZUGZWANG.