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The Campbell Report
Correspondence Chess
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"On the Square" Article
 
Good,G (2365) - Bacon,J (2365) [C44]
US13F, 2000

My opponent in Game #1 is Joseph Bacon of Los Angeles, CA. The event is the final round of the 13th US CC Championship (US13F), which is still being contested.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.c3 Nf6

Diagram a
Position after 4. & Nf6

An attacking defense! In declining the pawn this way, black signals his aggressive intentions to wrest the iniative by developing his KN while attacking the white e4 pawn, and more importantly attempting to make the white c3 pawn look awkward by blocking the development of the QN. So white is pretty much obliged to push.

5.e5 Ne4

Already at this point there is a rather incredible tranposition to a line in the Ponziani Opening: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.c3 Nf6 4.d4 exd4 5.e5 Ne4 etc. So black sinks a very annoying N into the center of the board, reminiscent of positions akin to the 2 Knights Defense. This has clearly been the main line response for black, although other 5th replies exist, for example, 5...Ng5, 5...Qe7, and 5...Nd5, to which ECO-3 devotes a whole line ending in equality, while relegating the old main line 5...Ne4 to a mere footnote. Having never encountered an opponent who played these former lines, I will leave this to a future day. White, the gambiteer, seeing black play 5...Ne4 has had his testosterone challenged! As NBA basketball players like to phrase it after a thundering "tomahawk dunk"--IN YOUR FACE, DISGRACE!! Of course white cannot let this challenge pass with any "limp-wimp" responses, so what follows is an ultra-sharp and complicated struggle in the center where white is trying to kick the black N out, and black wants to eliminate the white outpost at e5.

6.Qe2

White hits the black Knight immediately, and at the same time indirectly supports the e5 outpost with pressure on the key e-file. The main drawback is that it temporarily blocks the development of the KB and could expose the Queen to a later .....Nd4 attack. Other white experiments are;

A) 6.Bd3 d5 7.cxd4 etc, but black has the "Knight cork-screw" 6....Nc5!? 7.cxd4 Nxd3+ 8.Qxd3 d6 with complications. Both ideas need a lot of testing.

B) 6.cxd4 Bb4+! 7.Nbd2 d5 looks=, and definately not what white had in mind when essaying this gambit.

6...f5

Diagram b
Position after 6. & f5

This is the main reply today, an idea attributed to Lasker, who was first to heavily analyze it. However, in the past few years it has been the subject of a revived theoretical controversy since the publication of the book How to Play the Goring Gambit by Eric Schiller in 1997. Schiller advocates the reevaluation of the old line 6...d5, and gives as evidence the famous game Velimirovic-Trifunovic, Vrnjacka-Banja, 1963; 6...d5 7.exd6 f5 8.Nxd4 Nxd4 9.cxd4 Bxd6 10.f3 Qh4+ 11.g3 Bxg3 12.hxg3 Qxh1 13.fxe4 Qxe4 14.Qxe4+ fxe4 15.Bf4 c6, where Schiller concludes that "white has only 2 pieces for the Rook and 2 pawns, and the position therefore favors black."

Diagram c
Analysis Position after 15. & c6

In this line he then suggests that white use 11.Kd1! (instead of 11.g3) 0-0 12.fxe4 fxe4 13.Qc4+ (Bazan-Luna, Buenos Aires, 1970) or 13.h3 (Uzman-Bisguier, Norristown, 1973). Diametrically opposed to this opinion is the conclusion in the German monograph Das Goring Gambit by Helmut Warzecha in 1993. Warzecha dismisses 11.Kd1 0-0 as inadequate compensation for the piece, and instead continues Velimirovic-Trifunovic from the above Analysis Diagram with; 16.Nc3 Bf5 17.Bc4 0-0-0 18.d5! b5 19.Bb3! giving white the advantage. Most major references agree with Warzecha, including the earlier ECO editions, but they stop with 15.Bf4.

7.exf6

Here white has tried 7.Nxd4, but Bc5! and white becomes "the hunted";

A) 8.Nxf5 0-0 9.Qxe4 d5 10.exd6 Bxf2+! 11.Kxf2 Bxf5 and black wins with analysis by Dr. J. Penrose.

B) 8.Be3 Nxe5 etc.-advantage black.

C) 8.Nxc6 dxc6 (8....Bxf2+!? 9.Qxf2! Nxf2 10.Nxd8 Nxh1 11.g3! with the idea of Bg2 is unclear) 9.Be3 Qd5 or 9....0-0 (M. Agulnick-G. Good, US12P01), both giving black a pull. YES, I too play this line with black-see Game #2 (Abramson-Good).

7...d5

Diagram d
Position after 7. & d5

This is now forced to protect the pinned N, and we therefore arrive at a key position in this line. Emmanuel Lasker analyzed this position nearly a century ago and thought that white had the more difficult game. Indeed, black has impressively dominated the center and can look toward free and easy development. However, white has pinned the N/e5 and is menacing early action at f6 against the black King side.

8.Nbd2

I played what has become the accepted main line move here. White resigns himself to developing the QN to the 2nd best square, but still pressuring the black N. White must also endure a temporary case of cramps, as both Bishops are now blocked from action. White has tried other plans in this tension-filled position;

A) 8.fxg6 (Attack!?) Bxg7 9.Nxd4 0-0 10.Be3 Nxd4 11.cxd4 Nxf2! 12.Bxf2 Re8 13.Nc3 Bg4! and black wins (Casa-Boey, Lugano 1968).

B) 8. Nxd4 (A seemingly logical choice) Nxd4 9.cxd4 and now both;

B1) 9....Kf7 10.fxg7 Bg4+ 11.Kd1 Re8 12.Be3 Kg8 13.a3 Ba5 14.Kc1 c5! and black won in the previously mentioned game (Mondragon-Palciauskas. CCLA 1987), which revived interest in this line in the CC community.

B2) 9....Bb4 10.Bd2 Bxd2 11.Nxd2 0-0 12.Nxe4 Re8 13.0-0-0 Rxe4 14.Qh5 g6 15.f7+ Kg7 16.f8(Q)+ Qxf8 17.Qxd5 Qf4+ and black is better (Gheorghiu-Wade, London 1972). It was Wade who reinvigorated this whole defense by reintroducing it at the 1955 British Championship.

C) 8. Ng5!? (another very risky attack, threatening 9.f7+ and 9.Nxe4, but moving the only developed minor piece a 2nd time!) Qxf6 9.Nxe4 dxe4 10.Qxe4+Be7 11.Bd3 Be6 12.cxd4 0-0-0 13.Be3 Nxd4 14.Nc3 Nf5 15.0-0 Nxe3 16.Qxe3 and white barely scrapes by in this analysis by Schwarz. I cannot recommend this new and untested line for white, but for those who like virgin territory, here's your chance to explore.

8...d3!?

Here there is a major branching of defensive lines. I will deal with the very plausible 8....Qxf6 in Game #3 (Good-Everitt). Another unexplored territory is 8...Bf5?! but after 9.Nxe4 dxe4 (or...Bxe4) 10.Ng5! looks good with threats of 11.f7+ and 11.Nxe4. The text move 8....d3!? is a rather odd-looking and surprising choice at first blush. Upon closer inspection however, it has some subtle ideas.

9.Qe3

Diagram e
Position after 9. Qe3

White threads his way through the small pitfalls and contents himself with the text, preserving the pin on the N and unmasking the KB for a later Bxd3. The pitfalls to avoid are;

A) 9.Qxd3 (exactly what black hopes for, unpinning the N) Nxf6 and black can feel very happy, having accomplished all his goals.

B) 9.fxg7 Bxg7 10.Qxd3 Bf5! is also convenient for black.

C) 9.f7+ also works well for black after 9....Kxf7 10.Qxd3 Nf6! (according to Watson & Schiller better than 10....Bf5 11.Nxe4 Bxe4 12.Ng5+! Qxg5 13.Bxg5 Bxd3 14.Bxd3 with white advantage) 11.Be2 (or 11.Ng5+ immediately) Bd6 12.Ng5+ Kg8 13.0-0 Ne5 14.Qc2 g6! planning ...Bf5 and ....Kg7. However, this too is untested.

9...Bc5!

One of the subtle benefits of 8....d3, opening this diagonal attack upon e3 and f2, while developing the KB with tempo. White is now forced to take definitive measures.

10.fxg7

This forces the black reply.

10...Rg8

Now the black King will be vulnerable in the center for a time, and white can attend to other pressing matters.

11.Nd4

Continuing to preserve that annoying pin at e4.

11...Bxd4

So black decides to simplify.

12.cxd4 Bf5 13.Bxd3 Qe7

Diagram f
Position after 13. & Qe7

Finally breaking the pin. Despite being two pawns down, black now threatens .....0-0-0 with a lead in development and a comfortable game. Therefore white must set some problems for black.

14.Bb5 0-0-0 15.Bxc6 bxc6 16.Nxe4 dxe4

For the alternative 16....Bxe4, see Game #2 (Abramson-Good)

17.Qc3

Diagram g
Position after 17. Qc3

So white has simplified, ridding himself of the pesky Knight at e4 and breaking black's pawn structure completely, creating some targets for attack. However he is sadly lagging in development, and black will soon win the pawn at g7 evening the material.This is a tough position to judge, and many major references stop at this point, simply saying "unclear". The only well-known continuation from this position is the oft-quoted game (Iskov-Kaiszauri, Oslo 1980), which ran; 17...e3 18.Bxe3 Rxg7 19.Qxc6 Be4 20.Qc5 Qf7 21.Rc1 Rxg2 22.Qe5 Bb7 23.Rc5 Rg4 24.f3 Rg2 25.Bf4 Rd7 26.Kd1 Bxf3+ 27.Kc1 Rg4 28.Bg3 Bxh1 29.Resigns.

17...Qxg7

My opponent, Joe Bacon here decides to leave the books, apparently mistrusting Kaiszauri's 17...e3. And I must say that I agree, ie-Why should black deliberately give up the e pawn and promote white's backward development, with the whimsical hope that white will play the greedy 18.Bxe3 Rxg7 19.Qxc6 Be4 etc? White could certainly try the obvious 19.g3 (instead of 19.Qxc6) and attempt to ride out the storm with 2 pawns in his pocket. Or white can try 19.0-0!? Bh3 20.g3! (not 20.Bg5? Bxg2! 21.Bxe7 Bf3+ and mate follows!--Botterill) Bxf1 21.Rxf1 and white sacrifices the Exchange for 2 pawns and a fine position. With the text move 17...Qxg7 black decides to put terrific pressure on d4 and the King side, lining up his forces where the white monarch is anticipated soon to be. Other tries for black are the simple 17...Rxg7 which needs testing, and the prophalactics 17.....Qd6,.....Qe6,....Qf6,....Qd7, all of which must be considered if black does not wish to get involved with the bloody business which follows.

18.Qxc6!?

Crass and elementary in appearance, as white ignores the King side attack of black, and himself attacks the broken carapace of the black King with the lone Queen. I believe there's an object lesson here. As children and flegling chessplayers, we were all taught; "NEVER ATTACK YOUR OPPONENT WITH SILLY LONE QUEEN SORTIES", which of course is a fine general principle, with the added caveat; "UNLESS IT WORKS!!" This type of maneuver is usually not part of the gambiteer repertoire, but I decided to force black to "show his wares" and took on the mantle of crass-materialist.

18...Rxd4

Black is the first to "blink", and seems to hesitate with second thoughts. However this is one of those positions which defies exhaustive analysis. The question of course is; can black find safety from the "hail of coming Q checks" without damage, and then continue his attack? Here are some of the very difficult choices black had to consider;

A) 18...Qxd4 (threatening mate at d1) 19.Qa6+ and now;

A1) 19...Kb8 20.Be3 Qb4+ 21.Kf1 Qb7 and white holds the extra pawn.

A2) 19..Kd7 20.Qb5+ Ke7 21.Be3 Bd7 22.Qc5+ Qxc5 23.Bxc5+ again with the extra pawn.

B) 18...Rd6 (covering the Q check at a6, and making the check at a8 innocuous) 19.Qc5 Qf6 20.Bf4 Rc6 21.Qxa7 Rxg2 22.d5 Rc4 (....Qxb2? 23.Qa8+!) and now;

B1) White can win the Exchange with the very risky 23.Be5?! Qxe5 24.Qxh6+ followed by 25.Qxc5.

B2) 23.Rc1 (much safer) Rxc1+ 24.Bxc1 and white holds 2 pawns.

C) 18....Qxg2 (if white can attack with the lone Queen, then so can black---or can he?) 19.Qa8+ Kd7 20.Qd5+ Ke7 21.Qe5+ Be6 (forced, as black cannot allow white to capture the Bishop with check);

C1) 22.Rf1 and white "pulls in the horns", trying to solidify his pawn advantage. He threatens 23.Qxc7+ and if black parries this, then development with Bf4 or Be3 with a view toward 0-0-0 and consolidation.

C2) 22.Qxc7+?! (super greedy) Ke8 23.Rf1 (23.Qc6+ Bd7 and white is out of checks) Bh3! 24.Qe5+ Kf7 25.Qc7+ Ke8 (25...Rd7? 26.Qc4+ and again white solidifies) 26.Qc6+ and black cannot escape check, but also white cannot afford time to develop his Q-side due to threats like ....Qxf1 and ....Qf3. This line looks drawish.

19.Bf4

Now it is black who must be aware of mate threats at c7, thus tying down the Queen.

19...e3

This is too late. If black wanted to play this move, he has to try it at move 17.

20.fxe3

Of course, simultaneously defending the white Bishop and attacking the black Rook.

20...Rb4

A) 20....Be4 does not work now because 21.Qe6+ Rd7 22.Qxe4 wins.

B) 20...Rd7?? 21.Qa8 mate.

C) 20....Rd8 or 20...Rd3 and 21.Rc1! as in the game.

21.Rc1! 1-0

Black resigns, as there is no satisfactory defense against the 3-fold attack upon c7;

A) 21....Rxb2?? 22.Qa8+ Kd7 23.Rxc7+ Ke6 24.Qc6 mate.

B) 21...Rb7 22.0-0 and white is up 2 solid pawns in a solid position. Or if white is still feeling frisky, he can try 22.Qd5!? with threats 23.Qxf5+ and also 23.Bxc7.

Readers are encouraged to e-mail me with comments at the address below.


Send your comments to Gary Good: good2gary1@ihs2000.com.
Copyright 2000 by Gary Good

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