IM Nino Khurtsidze

It was widely reported today that IM Nino Khurtsidze had lost her battle with cancer today. She won the World Junior Girls Chess Championship in 1993 and 1995, one of the few players who won it more than once.

 

She also won the women’s Georgian championship five times and earned her IM (not WIM) title in 1999.

 

She played for the Women’s World title last year in Tehran. The following game below is perhaps the best game she played in that tournament.

 

GM Natalia Zhukova-IM Nino Khurtsidze
Women’s World Ch.
Tehran, 2017
[Escalante]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.f3 d5 5.a3 Bd6 (More common is 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 c5) 6.e4 (If White can safely get in .e5, or at least keep her pawn on e4, she will have a significant advantage. In the Nimzo-Indian, and to a certain extent all other Indian defences, this is a thematic idea for White. The “e” pawn has to go!) 6…dxe4 7.fxe4 e5 8.d5 b5!? (A TN. And apparently a good one!) 9.Nf3 bxc4 10.Bxc4 O-O 11.Bg5 h6 12.Bh4 Bg4 13.h3 Bh5 14.g4 Bg6 15.Qe2 Nbd7 16.Rg1 (The white king has no safe haven if the game gets complicated or if Black attacks. Which she does.) 16…Qb8 17.Bb5 Qb6 18.Kf1 Rab8 19.Nd2 a6 20.Nc4 Qa7 21.Nxd6 cxd6 22.Bf2 Qb7 23.Bxa6 Qxb2! (Blowing open the squares around the White king. He is still unsafe.) 24.Qxb2 Rxb2 25.Re1 (White’s king is still more vulnerable than Black’s. And the black pieces are ready to storm White’s position.) 25…Ra8 26.Bb5 Rxa3 27.Bxd7 Rxc3 28.Bf5 Bxf5 29.gxf5 Rxh3 30.Bg3 Rb3 31.Bf2 Rhf3 0-1 (Once White’s “e4” pawn goes, the “d” and “f” pawns are going to fall as well.)

 

439666.840292a1.630x354o.f0f8b184a284

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A “Tal”ented player

A great game by the Magician from Riga.

GM Tal (2625)-Mukhin (2420)
USSR Ch.
Baku, 1972
[There are some games worth playing over and over again. This is one of them.]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 b5 8.O-O Bb7 9.Re1! +/= Nbd7 10.Bg5 Nc5?? 11.Bd5! +/- b4 (ECO gives 11.Bd5 h6 12.Bxb7 Nxb7 13.Bh4 Rc8 14.a4 b4 15.Nd5 +/-, citing Honfi-Tatai, Monte Carlo, 1967. 11…exd5 also runs into problems after 11…exd5 12.exd5+ Kd7 13.b4 Na4 14.Nxa4 bxa4 15.c4 +-) 12.Bxb7 Nxb7 13.Nd5! (White is determined to open the “e” file!) 13…exd5 14.exd5+ Kd7 (If 14…Be7, then 15.Nf5 +-) 15.c3! +- b3 16.Qxb3 Nc5 17.Qc4 Qc8 (17…Rc8 18.b4 Nce4 19.Nc6 Nxg5 20.Nb8+ Rxb8 21.Qc6#) 18.Nc6 h6 19.Bxf6 gxf6 20.Re3 Kc7 21.b4 (With the idea of 22.Na7+ or 22.Ne7+, if the black knight should move.) 21…Rg8 1-0

 

 

tal_1960

 

King’s Gambit Game

The King’s Gambit has the reputation of being a wild, attacking, tactical opening. Of the many variations, perhaps the most violent of them all is the Muzio, where White freely gives up a piece and launches a fierce attack on the Black.

Sometimes the effort is successful, sometimes Black, despite having been under constant pressure for almost the entire game, wins it.

But it’s always entertaining.

 

During the summer I participated in a thematic team match. The opening chosen was the King’s Gambit. I, however, decided to make it into a Muzio.

Here is the game!

 

Escalante-“Timeup40”
Live Wire vs. King’s Gambit Thematic Team Match
http://www.chess.com, Aug. 2017
[Escalante and the chess.com computer]
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 g4 5.O-O (This is the Muzio Gambit) 5…gxf3 6.Qxf3 Bc5+ 7.Kh1 d5 8.Qxf4 f6!? [After 8…Qf6, White has the advantage after 9.Qxc7. Worse are 8…Nf6 9.Bxd5 O-O (or 9…Be7 10.e5 O-O 11.exf6 Qxd5 12.Qg3+ +-) 10.Qg5+, 8…Nh6 9.Qxh6 dxc4 10.Qg7 Bd4 11.e5, and 8…Be6 9.Bxd5 Bxd5 10.exd5 Qxd5 11.Nc3 Qe6 12.d4 Bxd4 13.Nb5 Bb6 14.Bd2 Qf6 15.Qe4+ Qe6 16.Qxb7, all winning. The chess.com computer suggests 8…Qe7 9.exd5 f5 10.d4 Bd6 11.Qf2 11…Qg7 12.Bf4 Ne7 13.Nc3] 9.exd5 Bd6 10.Qh4 Nd7?! (The knight turns out to be misplaced here. White threatens 11.Qh5+ and gain a significant advantage. Best 10… Qd7 to lessen the appeal of the check.) 11.Qh5+ Kf8 12.d4 Nb6 13.Bb3 Qe8 14.Qh4 (Chess.com suggests this is a mistake., giving 14.Qxe8+ Kxe8 15.c4 Ne7 16.c5 Nf5 17.cxd6 cxd6 18.Nc3 Kf7. But I wanted to keep the queens on the board as it is easier to attack with a queen than without one. And I am playing a human, a person, a mistake-maker, not a computer. So let’s keep up the pressure.) 14…Qg6 (This move may be a mistake. Chess.com gives 14…Qe2 as being better and gives the continuation of 15.Re1 Qg4 16.Qxg4 Bxg4 17.c4 Bb4 18.Nc3 Rd8 19.a3. But White can vary with 15.Bxh6+ Nxh6 16.Qxh6+ and now 17.Nc3 seems to be in White’s favor.) 15.c4 Nd7 16.c5 Be7 17.Nc3 f5 18.Qf4 Ndf6 19.Qxc7?! (Somehow this doesn’t look right!) 19…Ne8 20.Qf4 h6 (White’s past pawns in the center certainly gives him the advantage in the area of the board. But they also function as a blockade to any further White attacks in the center. Meanwhile, there is activity in the kingside and he should pay attention to that part of the board.) 21.g4 Bg5 22.gxf5 Qf6 (Here is an agreement with chess.com computer and myself. Best was 22… Qh5. And after 23.Qg3 Ngf6 24.d6 Rh7 25.Be6 Rg7 26.Bxg5 Qxg5 27.Qf2, White has some problems. Perhaps 19.Qxc7 was a mistake after all. Maybe the idea of establishing a strong pawn center is a mistake and White should keep open all the attacking files, ranks, and diagonals.) 23.Qe5 [23.Ne4 only works if Black decides to pawn grabbing adventure; 23…Qxd4?! 24.Nxg5 Qxd5 (Better, of course, is 24…hxg5) 25.Bb3 Qxc5 26.Ne4 Qe7 27.Bf4 fxe4 28.Bxh6+ +-] 23…Ng7 24.Bxg5 hxg5 25.Ne4 Qh6 (25…Qxe5 26.dxe5 Bxf5 27.Ng3 Nh6 28.Nxf5 Ngxf5 29.Bc2 Ng4 30.Rxf5+ and I don’t know who exactly has the advantage.)

Game_Position_4

26.f6! Nf5 27.d6 Bd7 28.f7! (A Black defensive knight is lost – White is winning.) 28…Nge7 29.dxe7+ Nxe7 30.Nf6 Rd8 (Chess.com computer declares a mate in nine moves. How do these silicon monsters find such mates in such a short time? Meanwhile, the same beastly monster suggests 30…Bc6+. But in this line too, Black has some serious problems; 31.d5 Bb5 32.Ng4 Qh5 33.Rae1 Ng6 34.Qd6+ Kg7 35.Qf6+ Kh7 36.f8=Q Rhxf8 37.Re7+ Nxe7 38.Qxe7+ Kh8 39.Rxf8+ Rxf8 40.Qxf8+ Kh7 41.Nf6+) 31.Nxd7+ Rxd7 32.Qb8+ Kg7 33.f8=Q+ 1-0

Addressing an Issue

Taking a break from the usual gambits and games to address an plague that is affecting everything, the invasion of religion into a chess competition.

 

Please take a look at the link below. This article has since been published on Facebook and other social news.

 
http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/seductive-dress-forces-girl-to-quit-malaysia-chess-tournament-coach-says/ar-BBAAHL2?li=AA4Zpp&ocid=spartanntp

 
Below is an image showing the infamous dress.

Chess-tournament-girl

 

I question how this knee-length dress can be considered seductive or evil. Is this result of an insecure man or religion? Do young woman now have to wear full burqas in chess competitions for the benefit of an oppressive, insecure, and backwards minority?

 

To those people who enacted and enforced such a rule – grow up and out of your irresponsible viewpoints about the human body and just let the kids play chess.

 

Comments from anyone?

 

A Mistake in the Sveshnikov

 

Escalante”-“julez195” (1564)

Blitz game

chess.com, Feb. 16 2017

[Escalante]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e5 5.Nb5 d6 {Both Black and White have used about 5 seconds to make their moves. But now Black slows down. It is obvious that he knew the first part of the opening, but not much more.} 6.N1c3 Nf6 7.Bg5

2017_03_02

7…Be7 {I knew this was a mistake. Now I have to figure it out how to prove it was a mistake. Here are some general ideas about the opening. The Sveshnikov is a risky variation in the Sicilian for Black and has to play very precisely not to be knocked out in the opening. In this position he must play 7…a6 so as to prevent the knights from attacking the vulnerable “c7” square. This game is one example of Black failing to do this. Here’s another: 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bg5 e5 7.Ndb5 h6 8.Bxf6 gxf6 9.Nd5 Rb8 10.Nbc7+ Kd7 11.Qg4+ 1-0 (C. Chester- S. Salvador, 11th Eastern Ch., New York, 1977).}  8.Bxf6 Bxf6 9.Nd5 O-O {Anything else loses even faster.  But Black’s pieces are a bit unorganized and he still has the weakness on “c7”.} 10.Be2 {White wants to castle before embarking on any attack.} Qa5+ {The “c7” square still needs protection.} 11.Nbc3 {There is no reason to hurry. The almost random sorties of the Black queen give White extra time and targets.} Bd8 {The “c7” square is now completely safe. But Black has used a number of tempi to accomplish this task.} 12.O-O f5 13.a3 Ne7 14.b4 1-0

 

 

 

“CUE” Less

During the big storm we had just before the weekend my wireless keyboard fell from my desk. I guess it was the thunder. But in any case I work up one morning to find my keyboard lying upside down on the floor.

 

When I turned it over, the CUE key had snapped off and was just gone. I couldn’t and still can’t find it. The CUE key is the first letter of a standard keyboard and is the 17th letter of the alphabet, just in case you didn’t know.

 

Normally, this might represent a problem, as the letter CUE is a rare one and one can write a letter and even a complete essay without this letter.

 

However…

 

Since many things I do write about concern chess, this represents a more serious problem. Here are some chess terms I can’t type due to the missing CUE.

 

(X)ID [n. Short for (X)ueen’s Indian Defence, a standard defence for Black]

(X)UAD [n. A tournament with four players]

(X)UEEN (S) [n. The strongest piece at the beginning of the game. It combines the moves of a Rook and Bishop]

(X)UEEN (ED, ING, S) [v. To promote a pawn to a (x)ueen]

(X)UEENSIDE (S) [n. All the s(x)uares from the d1 to left and top of board]

(X)UEEN’S GAMBIT (S) [n. [n. A standard opening for White

S(X)UARE (S) [n. The basic unit of a chessboard]

 

Things are even worse with Descriptive Notation.

 

Now it is possible to play an entire game of chess without mentioning the (x)ueen.

 

Borochow-Fine
Pasadena, 1932
1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.c4 Nb6 4.d4 Nc6? (4…d6) 5.d5 Nxe5 6.c5 Nbc4 7.f4 1-0

 

Fidlow-I. Mayer
Berlin, 1950
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.dxe6 dxc3 6.exf7+ Ke7 7.fxg8=N+ Rxg8 8.Bg5+ 1-0

 

But such games are (x)uite rare.

 

I finally found my backup keyboard. It is not wireless, but still very functional. Now I can continue my chess endeavors and not have to worry about batteries.

 

thhxwb29jx

A Thematic Sac in the Sozin Sicilian

The Sicilian has many thematic sacrifices. Here is one of my favorites.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Escalante -“pvsatyam” (1600)
Blitz Game
www.chess.com, Dec. 27 2016
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Nc3 Nf6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 Be7 8.Be3 (8.g4, in my opinion, is the strongest move. But 8.Be3 is also adequate to try for an advantage. Besides, it can be fun to try different things, esp. in blitz chess.) 8…Qc7 9.f3 b5 10.Qd2 Bd7 [The white colored bishop belongs on b7, where it has a larger scope. That is large reason why Black plays …a6 and …b5. Maybe he was concerned about the immediate 8…Bb7? which allows the thematic sacrifice of 9.Bxe6! fxe6 10.Nxe6 +/-. Here’s another version of the thematic sac. ; 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 Be7 8.Be3 Qc7 9.Qe2 Nbd7 10.Bxe6 fxe6 11.Nxe6 Qc6 12.Nxg7+ Kf7 13.Nf5 Ne5 14.f4 Bxf5 15.exf5 Nc4 16.Bd4 Rae8 17.O-O-O Bd8 18.Qd3 Rhg8 19.Rhg1 b5 20.Qh3 b4 21.Nd5 Nxd5 22.Qxh7+ Kf8 23.Qh6+ Kf7 24.Qh7+ 1/2-1/12 (Lehtinen-FM Vetemaa, Tampere, Finland, 1995). However, Black forgets about this thematic sacrifice a few moves later.] 11.g4 Bc6 12.g5! Nfd7 (Now White can play the well-known, and well-rehearsed, thematic sac.) 13.Bxe6! fxe6 14.Nxe6 Qa5 15.Nxg7+ Kf7?! (Perhaps better is moving to the queenside, where most of Black pieces occupy important squares. Now White is in command.) 16.Nf5 Qc7 17.Nd5 Bxd5 18.Qxd5+ Kg6 19.Nxe7+ Kg7 20.Nf5+ (Weaker is 20.Bd4+ as Black has 20…Kf8. In such positions where there are pawns, the knight is a better attacker.) 20…Kf8 21.Qe6 Ne5 22.Qf6+ Qf7 23.Qxh8+ 1-0 (Black has no hope and gives up. If he chooses to play on, White will continue with 23…Qg8 24.Qf6+ Qf7 25.Qd8+ Qe8 26.Qxd6+ Kg8 27.Ne7+ Kf8 28.Ng6+ Kg8 29.Nxe5.)