This is what happens when a New York street hustler faces a chess Grandmaster.

There are two things you need to know about Maurice Ashley. First of all, he is one of the nicest persons you might ever meet. The second is that he is a Grandmaster.

He took a trip to New York City’s Washington Square Park. A chess hustler there didn’t recognize him and challenged him to a game. That was mistake number one.

Mistake number two was that he tried to distract GM Ashley, who was up to par in banter.

Mistake number three occurred when the hustler tried to cheat at one point.

Mistake number four was not recognizing or congratulating GM Ashley on his win.

It should not be hard to figure out who the hustler and GM are. Even if you never play chess.

See video below


A cold gambit

I am still trying to figure out the best way to insert a diagram into the games here. So, you’ll see different type of diagrams until I find the best way to do this.


The Icelandic Gambit is defined as the moves 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.dxe6 Bxe6. Black gives up a center pawn in the opening and gains great compensation for the missing pawn.


The first time I encountered this gambit, I thought it was a blunder by my opponent. But the more I studied the possibilities in the opening during the start of the game, the more I realized that I didn’t know any “book moves”, nor the theory behind the moves in this sideline of the Center Counter game and my opponent loved studying off-beat opening. I realized I was in trouble.


Here is that game.




Escalante-M. Henebry (1892)
Mid-Summer Classic
La Palma C.C., Aug. 18 2006
1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.dxe6 Bxe6 5.Nf3 (After the game, I learned that 5.d4 Bb4+ 6.Bd2! is perhaps best. But this move is only slightly worse. It’s the next few moves that make White’s position much worse.) 5…Nc6 6.d4 Bb4+ 7.Nc3?! Qe7! (And White is suddenly worse!  It’s an uphill battle as Black knows what he is doing and White is only starting to learn this theory.) 8.Be3 O-O-O 9.a3 Bxc3+ 10.bxc3 Ng4 11.Be2 Nxe3 12.fxe3 Bg4 (Of course, now White’s backwards “e” pawn is very weak. His game hangs by thread.) 13.Qd2 Rhe8 14.Kf2! (This brave move by the King prevents a total collapse of White’s game. He might even have a slight advantage.) 14…f5 15.Rhe1 Ne5 (15…Bxf3 16.Bxf3 Qh4+ 17.Kg1 g5 18.Bxc6 bxc6 19.Qf2 +/-) 16.Nxe5 Qxe5 17.Bxg4 fxg4 18.Kg1 g3 19.h3 Qe4 20.Qe2 Rf8 21.Rf1 h5 22.Rf3 Rxf3 23.gxf3 Qf5 24.Kg2 h4 25.e4 Qf4 26.Re1 Re8 27.Qe3 g5 28.e5 Qxe3 29.Rxe3


29…Kd7 30.Re4 Re6 31.Rg4? [Thinking Black’s Rook would go to a6, and would win after 32.Rxg5 Rxa3 33.Rg7+. But a better idea is 31.d5 Rb6 32.Re2 Rb3 33.c5 Rxc3 34.e6+ Ke7 35.d6+ cxd6 (35…Ke8 36.d7+ Ke7 37.Rd2) 36.cxd6+ Kxd6 37.e7 Rc8 38.e8=Q] 31…Rb6 32.Rxg5 Rb2+ 33.Kg1 Rb1+ 34.Kg2 Rb2+ 35.Kg1 Rb1+ 1/2-1/2

A lesson from this game –  White still needs to learn this gambit.





Welcome here!

This is the beginning of a chess blog. It is my intention that his blog will feature chess games (esp. miniatures), endings,  thoughts, and other interesting items about the game.

This is a work in progress, with the idea of perpetual improvement.

Maybe you have thoughts about what chess blog might be or how to improve it. If so, let me know – love to know your thoughts.

Here is short game I think you will appreciate.

Alfred Freidl-Ganzer
corres., 1962
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.a3 Bxc3+ 5.bxc3 dxe4 6.f3
(The Winckelmann Gambit, in which White gambits his “f” pawn to access a very open f” file. It’s a gambit that I am now experimenting and so far, the results have been positive. Winckelmann has his name attached to the gambit, not for creating it, but because he was successful in popularizing it by his many brilliant games in the early 1990’s.) 6…exf3 (Accepting the gambit is now considered not the best strategy. But if one cannot accept it, what then is the proper response?) 7.Nxf3 c6 8.Bd3 Nd7 9.O-O Qa5 10.Bd2 Ngf6 11.Qe1 O-O (Usually castling is a good idea as it puts one’s king in a safer space. In this game, and maybe even this gambit, castling may put this king in harm’s way.) 12.Ng5! (To provoke weaknesses in Black’s castled position.) 12…h6 13.c4 Qb6 14.c5 Qc7 15.Nf3 b6 16.Qh4 h5 17.Bf4 Qb7 18.Bd6 Re8 19.Ne5 bxc5 20.Rab1 Nb6 21.dxc5 Rd8 (Now we’ll see the power of the using the “f” file.)  22.Rxf6! gxf6 23.Qxf6 Rxd6 24.cxd6 1-0


 Here’s an early game by Winckelmann;


corres., 1984
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.a3 Bxc3+ 5.bxc3 dxe4 6.f3 exf3 7.Nxf3 Ne7 8.Bd3 Ng6 9.O-O O-O 10.Ng5 h6 11.Nxf7 Rxf7 12.Bxg6 Rxf1+ 13.Qxf1 Qe7 14.Qd3 Bd7 15.Bf4 c6 16.Be5 Be8 17.Bxe8 Qxe8 18.Qg3 g5 19.h4 Nd7 20.hxg5 Nxe5 21.Qxe5 Qg6 22.gxh6 Qxh6 23.Re1 Re8 24.Re3 1-0