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Recently Leonard "Corky" Schakel, a strong USA player who also works with me to keep on-line crosstables updated (he is a tournament director in the 16th USCCC), shared a 19-move win with me, a game played in the strongest USCF annual event the Absolute Championship. It is unusual to win such a short game in a strong tournament like this, particularly against a player of the caliber of Kristo Miettinen, so I asked him if he would prepare a report for these pages. Following he shares his win with some of his thoughts. This is sure to bring tears of delight to the gambiteers out there. What do you say, you members of The Gambiteers Guild? For a JavaScript replay of this game in a separate window click here.
--- J. Franklin Campbell



Leonard Schakel
A Short Chess Bio by Corky Schakel:
  • Started correspondence chess in 1972, when family and work responsibilities caused me to phase out of tournament bridge.

  • Finished 45th in the 1974 Golden Knights (USCF).

  • My next Golden Knights Final wasn't until 1992, finishing 3rd. It is not a coincidence that knee surgery ended my middle-of-the-pack marathon running hobby about then (much more time for chess).

  • My USCF rating peaked in 2002, and topped the USCF ratings list for part of the year. It's down now: retirement last year just caused me to take on a few too many games...

  • Qualified for IM Title (and an SIM norm) in the Cuba Chess Federation 30th Anniversary tourney, now just finishing up.

  • I'm playing Board 4 and am captain of the US team in the Pan Am Team Tournament.

Leonard "Corky" Schakel vs. Kristo Miettinen
Danish Gambit Accepted

by Leonard Schakel
(posted 1 August 2003)

JavaScript replay in a separate window

"Last Round" by Kester Svendsen (published in Irving Chernev's "The Chess Companion") is the most delightful chess story I've ever read, about a Danish Gambit played by "The Old Master." I read the story twenty-five years ago, but never had the courage to play the Danish Gambit. I did buy "Danish Gambit, 2nd Edition" by W. John Lutes when it was published in 1989, but still stuck with the same few openings I've played for thirty years (initially selected to limit the cost of an opening library!). Lately those openings have been less successful. Kristo Miettinen was among the 2002 Absolute opponents, and he had absolutely squashed my two favorite openings in our previous two games. I happened to be playing W. John Lutes at the time in a Golden Knights semi-final, so I told him I was going to go for it. At least I fit the "Old" part.

1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 dxc3
Black does not need to take the d Pawn; 3. ... Nc6 allows white to play 4.Nf3..., the Goring Gambit, which is more sound for white (and a lot less manic).
4.Bc4 cxb2

Both players had move four options, but this is the Danish Gambit Accepted.
5.Bxb2 c6
The Horowitz Defense. Lutes cites earlier I. A. Horowitz books which suggest that this is a refutation of the Danish. All white can do is develop pieces and hope.
6.Nc3 d6 7.Nf3 Nd7

I'm down two Pawns. What was I thinking, playing this wild opening?
8.O-O Nc5
Horowitz recommends this (followed by 9. ... Be6, forcing the retreat or exchange of White's "mighty bishop" on c4). W. John Lutes-D. J. Butters continued 9.Qe2 Be6 10.Nd5 Ne7 11.Nf4 Bxc4 12.Qxc4 Nc8 13.Rfd1 Qc7 14.Qe2 Nb6 15.Rac1 O-O-O 16.e5 d5 17.Bd4...and Lutes recommends Ne6! with a solid game for black.
9.Re1 b5

Kristo had played ...b5 earlier in a previous game. Challenging that "mighty bishop" with ...Be6 seems safer.
10.Bxf7+ Kxf7
With the King exposed Black will have a difficult time getting to a draw.
11.Ne5+ Ke8 12.Nxc6 Qd7

Here ...Qb6 may be better, but the exposed King will still be Black's problem.
13.Qh5+ g6
Nothing else seems better.
14.Qf3 Bb7 15.Na5 h5

Now the two Pawns come back with interest.
16.Nd5 Rh7 17.Nxb7 Qxb7 18.e5 Kd7 19.Rad1 1:0

White has too many threats: 19. ... Rd8 20.Bd4..., or 19. ... Rc8 20.exd6... win material.


© 2003 Leonard Schakel, All Rights Reserved.

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