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  1. Subscriber Paul Leggett
    Chess Librarian
    06 Aug '11 04:57 / 4 edits
    Hi all,

    My opponent was a student from California's Berkeley Chess Club, and was doing well enough to land in my score group for round 7.

    It is a rather funky position, which was inspired by my recent completion of GM Nigel Davies' Starting Out: The Modern. GM Davies played the Modern almost exclusively on his march to the GM title, and he uses his own games and his "formerly secret notebooks" (as he lists in the bibliography) in the book. He remarks that he has added other defenses to his repertoire, but that the Modern is what he plays when he is in a "must win" situation as black.

    It is a much more "personal" book than his other works, and I highly recommend it.

    EDIT: I have notes for the game, but the notes I have by the moves are showing up at the wrong points with the pgn setup (for instance, my move 14 comments show up on move 5 when it loads), so I am putting in the pgn without notes, and then I will leave the annotated version below.





    [Event "US Open"]
    [Site "?"]
    [Date "2011.08.05"]
    [Round "7"]
    [White "Jennifer Li"]
    [Black "Paul Leggett"]
    [Result "0-1"]
    [WhiteElo "1378"]
    [BlackElo "1744"]
    [Annotator "Leggett"]
    [PlyCount "56"]

    1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nf3 d6 4. Nc3 a6 5. Be3 {Everyone seems to be playing
    the 150 Attack lately, but it really messes with the White players minds when
    Black declines to castle into it.} Nd7 6. Bd3 e6 7. Qd2 h6 8. O-O-O b5 9. h4
    Ne7 10. e5 Nf5 {Played with the idea that I would either win White's
    dark-squared bishop, or that white would give up her other bishop and give me
    doubled pawns that would be part of a strong center.} 11. exd6 cxd6 12. Bxf5
    gxf5 {White's center is practically disolved, and black has a good central
    grip. White is not in a position to open the g-file easily, and black's king
    is safe in the center.} 13. a3 Rb8 14. Na2 a5 {A better idea is ...Nf6.}
    15. Kb1 Bb7 16. Rh3 Bd5 {The d5 square is an excellent outpost here- first for the
    bishop, and later for the knight.} 17. Rg3 Bxf3 {The knight is potentially
    White's most dangerous piece, so I trade it off, leaving a strong dark squared
    bishop and a knight with good prospects to occupy the d5 outpost vacated by
    the bishop.} 18. Rxf3 {White should have recaptured with the pawn. Double
    pawns aren't always bad, and sometimes they contribute to a strong formation
    and/or allow open lines.} Nf6 19. Qd3 Nd5 {The game has been a running battle
    over the b4 square, and now Black is set to advance against White's king.}
    20. h5 b4 21. axb4 axb4 22. Qb3 {This is a very dangerous move to make, as it
    opens up all sorts of tactical issues involving the rook's xray attack on the
    White king, and the queen's potential to be pinned.} O-O 23. Rd3 Nxe3 {
    Apparently trading a good knight for a bad bishop and abandoning the b-pawn,
    but this allows Black some tactics that soon wrap up the game.} 24. Rfxe3 Qh4
    25. c3 {The d-pawn was hanging, but the cure is worse than the disease.}
    bxc3 26. Qxc3 Qxf2 27. Rd2 {A queen move was required here.} Qg1+ {A useful
    finesse- the queen checks on g1 so that the e3 rook remains under attack, and
    forcing White to either move his king or play the knight to c1. Unfortunately,
    my opponent did not notice.} 28. Qc1 Qxe3 0-1
  2. 06 Aug '11 12:17
    A few comments:

    I suspect white should have played something other than the a3, Na2 sequence. Ne2, anyway, to bring the knight over to help the kingside play.

    you comment on what a good square d5 is for your bishop and then trade it away the next move. That probably means there something better than Bd5

    "18. Rxf3 {White should have recaptured with the pawn. Double
    pawns aren't always bad, and sometimes they contribute to a strong formation
    and/or allow open lines.} " - I agree with this. When I was playing the game over, I thought "Boy, its obvious white's game isn't going so well" when he played Rxf3. After that, white has no play anywhere on the board
  3. Subscriber Paul Leggett
    Chess Librarian
    06 Aug '11 13:09 / 3 edits
    Originally posted by Erekose
    A few comments:

    I suspect white should have played something other than the a3, Na2 sequence. Ne2, anyway, to bring the knight over to help the kingside play.

    you comment on what a good square d5 is for your bishop and then trade it away the next move. That probably means there something better than Bd5

    "18. Rxf3 {White should have recaptured with going so well" when he played Rxf3. After that, white has no play anywhere on the board
    When I played ...Bd5, I missed the idea of the rook coming to g3. I thought I had more time to use the bishop on the queenside, but underestimated her counterplay. The result was that I just chopped her knight and moved mine to d5. We both could have skipped the intermezzo and gone straight to Bxf3 Rxf3, but I just didn't anticipate it.

    I spent some time trying to decide whether the knight should go to e4 or d5, and I opted for d5 to cover b4 and set up some tactics on the c3 square, but I don't know if that was the right decision.

    Interestingly, Rybka recommends ...Bf8 after Rg3, but I did not even consider that.

    I think you are exactly right with regard to the a3, Na2 sequence. I don't think my playing ...a5 was the best move, either, but I just played the game last night, and I haven't had the chance to fully digest it with a fresh look. My alternatives were to move the knight or the queen to b6, or the aforementioned Nf6.
  4. 06 Aug '11 18:52
    Originally posted by Paul Leggett
    It is a rather funky position, which was inspired by my recent completion of GM Nigel Davies' Starting Out: The Modern.
    Question: what, exactly, is the difference between the Pirc (where Black usually plays g6 anyway), and the Modern (where Black often plays e6 as well - as you did)? They're often presented as related but separate openings, but AFAICT, unless Black deviates from the usual, they're merely different ways of reaching the same opening. Am I missing something?

    Richard
  5. 06 Aug '11 19:16
    Originally posted by Shallow Blue
    Question: what, exactly, is the difference between the Pirc (where Black usually plays g6 anyway), and the Modern (where Black often plays e6 as well - as you did)? They're often presented as related but separate openings, but AFAICT, unless Black deviates from the usual, they're merely different ways of reaching the same opening. Am I missing something?

    Richard
    The Modern can become the Pirc if black plays Nf6 at some point reasonably early. The major difference is that white does not have to play Nc3 in the Modern since black does not threaten the e-pawn with Nf6. That leaves the way open for c4 and a transposition to a queen's pawn game of some sort. Modern players often transpose to a King's Indian at that point. One point in favour of not playing Nf6 too early is that Bg5 is deemed unpleasant for black in the Pirc but is not so bad in the Modern where there is no knight to harass on f6. Another reason for not playing Nf6 is that the bishop on g7 gets a clear line of fire down the a1-h8 diagonal, in the Pirc that bishop can be looking at a horse's arse for much of the game.
  6. 07 Aug '11 00:41 / 2 edits
    Paul, thanks for posting the game. I could not help having an interest in this game from white's perspective as I have played the type of setup as white many times against a closed black. I have never studied it but just played. And I have noticed less Nf6 and a later castle for black in recent years in this type of setup.

    For white at move 8, a type of position I have been in as white several times, I wonder about whether to castle queen side of king side. If I do castle long, I know that b5 is coming.

    9.h4 seemed premature, though it is good to push king-side pawns if castled long, especially in anticipation of black castling king side after they committed to their queen side pawn push with b5. But maybe I would have dealt with the queen side first.

    10.e5 and 11.exd6 seems like a gift. Lessened your number of queen side pawns to push but weakened her center and you strengthen your center, as you indicated. Maybe she was trying to break it open in the center on your uncastled king, but black rarely allows that. Instead, she gave up a center pawn for a flank pawn and opened the c-file for black on the castled king, and Black has more control of the center.

    Lastly, I agree with an earlier post and your comment that while anyone generally hates having isolated double pawns, 18.gxf3 instead of 18.Rxf3 could have gave her some play. Maybe a hard call.

    I don't want to be critical of her, though. You had solid play. Do you think she played typical or stronger for her 1378 ELO rating.
  7. 07 Aug '11 01:11
    Paul, you bring purpose to my life:



    😉
  8. Subscriber Paul Leggett
    Chess Librarian
    07 Aug '11 02:38 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by moon1969
    Paul, thanks for posting the game. I could not help having an interest in this game from white's perspective as I have played the type of setup as white many times against a closed black. I have never studied it but just played. And I have noticed less Nf6 and a later castle for black in recent years in this type of setup.

    For white at move 8, a type gh. You had solid play. Do you think she played typical or stronger for her 1378 ELO rating.
    First, thanks for fixing the javascript or whatever it is!

    I think she started off fine but then showed her lack of experience with the position. Lots of "rules" were broken (or needed to be), and it takes a while for newer players to learn that some of the best moves are the exceptions to the rules.

    I think she gave me too much credit, and let age and rating influence her. She made things worse for herself with wasted moves on the queenside, and she had a hard time coming up with a plan for the center and kingside.

    For great examples of how to play the white side, I would recommend looking at the games of Anatoly Karpov and John Nunn as white against the Pirc/Modern, ECO codes B06-B09.

    Personally, GM John Nunn has always been a chess hero of mine, and I think he has a gift for playing great attacking chess while simultaneously being very sound in his approach. You will see good plans in his games, and superb execution of those plans.

    Karpov was a World Champion- 'nuff said!

    EDIT: Here's a quality John Nunn game, against Nigel Davies no less! It's a hard-fought game, and the thing that sticks out the most to me is how Nunn exploits the weak d6 square multiple times with different pieces!

  9. 07 Aug '11 11:33 / 1 edit
    The Nunn/Davies game was an interesting game. Awesome play by Nunn.

    As for your game, as black, do you wish white to castle long or short in the postion below (reached early in your game after your black move 7, now it is her white to move 8). Maybe you don't have a preference. She castled long. 8.0-0-0

    Also, anyone, do you think white should castle in this position with white to move below and if so, long or short? Maybe no clear choice but more personal preference?

  10. 07 Aug '11 13:05
    The more I look at this, the more I think white's knight on f3 is misplaced. I think white would be better off playing e4, d4, Nc3, Be3, Bd3, Qd2 and deferring Nf3 until it becomes clearer if Nf3 is appropriate.

    Getting back to the original question, since the kingside attack looks a little slow, I'd probably play a4 and then 0-0.
  11. Subscriber Paul Leggett
    Chess Librarian
    07 Aug '11 14:06
    Originally posted by moon1969
    The Nunn/Davies game was an interesting game. Awesome play by Nunn.

    As for your game, as black, do you wish white to castle long or short in the postion below (reached early in your game after your black move 7, now it is her white to move 8). Maybe you don't have a preference. She castled long. 8.0-0-0

    Also, anyone, do you think white should cast ...[text shortened]... preference?

    [fen]r1bqk1nr/1ppn1pb1/p2pp1pp/8/3PP3/2NBBN2/PPPQ1PPP/R3K2R w KQkq - 0 8[/fen]
    Erekose's answer is on the mark, and much more in the spirit of the 150 Attack. My opponent was probably thrown off because I did not castle early, so she effectively transposed into a pure Classical-type setup.

    GM Davies plays 4. ... a6 in large part because he wants to dissuade white from castling queenside, as queenside castling would be met by a quick ...b5 and an attack.

    Personally, I prefer white to castle queenside, as I think it gives me better winning chances. Probably better losing chances, too, but that's part of the game.

    As white, I suspect Shirov would 0-0-0 and Karpov would 0-0.

    I also have a neat loss to a 1978 player that I will put on in a few- it's my favorite game so far, in spite of the loss.
  12. Subscriber Paul Leggett
    Chess Librarian
    07 Aug '11 14:34 / 1 edit
    This game was from the weekend swiss, with a game in 60 minutes time control for each player. It was sharp and back-and-forth, and both of us were very pressed for time at the end, so the quality degrades a bit as the game progresses, but it was very much a "naked knife fight in the dark" kind of game.

    It was very exciting to play, and it's one of the few times I felt exhilarated to play it even though I lost!

    EDIT- Not all of the comments conveyed in the post, so I am including the javascript with the first pgn bracket left off so they will show. Elmyr's magic may save me again on this!



    [Event "US Open Weekend Swiss"]
    [Site "?"]
    [Date "2011.07.30"]
    [Round "?"]
    [White "Brad Lundstrom"]
    [Black "Paul Leggett"]
    [Result "0-1"]
    [WhiteElo "1978"]
    [BlackElo "1744"]
    [PlyCount "94"]

    1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 d6 4. Be3 a6 5. Qd2 Nd7 6. f3 b5 7. Nh3 e6 8. Nf2 h6
    9. Be2 Ne7 10. O-O Bb7 11. Rad1 Rc8 12. a3 c5 13. d5 e5 14. Kh1 f5 15. f4 exf4
    16. Bxf4 Ne5 {Not good, according to Rybka, which prefers ...Nb6.} 17. Nd3 {
    Rybka likes this even less, and calls the position equal with only the tiniest
    bias for black.} Nc4 18. Qc1 Kd7 {This is too cute- the simple ...Qd7 is fine.}
    19. Bf3 g5 {Rybka prefers ...Bxc3 instead, and that is a theme I did not
    consider. I was intent on hunting the dark-squared bishop.} 20. Bg3 Kc7 {For
    those who have read Nimzovitch, there is a "My king likes to go for walks"
    joke in here somewhere!} 21. Nxc5 {I was angry with myself for forgetting
    about this. The e6 square beckons.} Qg8 22. Ne6+ Kb8 23. Ne2 {Bad- he should
    have taken the g7 bishop.} Bxb2 24. Bxd6+ Nxd6 {I overreacted- the simple Ka8
    leaves black on top.} 25. Qxb2 g4 26. Qe5 {This was the move I missed when I
    decided on ...Nxd6. Instead of winning a piece we are only trading, and white
    is winning.} gxf3 27. Qxd6+ Ka7 28. gxf3 Qf7 29. N2d4 Qe8 30. Nc7 Rxc7 31. Qxc7
    fxe4 32. fxe4 Rg8 33. Rde1 Ka8 {I am dead lost, but we are both short on time,
    so I was playing for cheapos along the long diagonal.} 34. Qe5 Rg5 35. Qe6 Rg6
    36. Qf7 Qd7 37. Nc6 Bxc6 38. dxc6 Rxc6 39. Rd1 Qb7 40. Rd8+ Nc8 41. Qxb7+ Kxb7
    42. Rf7+ Kb6 43. Rf2 Nd6 44. e5 Ne4 45. Rf4 Ng5 46. Rf6 Ne4 47. Rxc6+ Kxc6 0-1[/pgn]
  13. 07 Aug '11 15:24
    Originally posted by Erekose
    The more I look at this, the more I think white's knight on f3 is misplaced. I think white would be better off playing e4, d4, Nc3, Be3, Bd3, Qd2 and deferring Nf3 until it becomes clearer if Nf3 is appropriate.

    Getting back to the original question, since the kingside attack looks a little slow, I'd probably play a4 and then 0-0.
    I think I would castle king side also. Black already has the intiative on the pawn push on the queen side. By way I read your profile, and also a chem engr in the age 40s.
  14. 07 Aug '11 15:29
    Originally posted by Paul Leggett
    Erekose's answer is on the mark, and much more in the spirit of the 150 Attack. My opponent was probably thrown off because I did not castle early, so she effectively transposed into a pure Classical-type setup.

    GM Davies plays 4. ... a6 in large part because he wants to dissuade white from castling queenside, as queenside castling would be met by a ...[text shortened]... 1978 player that I will put on in a few- it's my favorite game so far, in spite of the loss.
    Good comments. Thanks. And a6 did have that effect of me of leaning to castle short.

    I see white castle long here and then pawn push into the black castled king with the fianchetto bishop on king side? -- but black has yet to castle, so more uncertainty. That uncertainty combined with the black a6 push makes me look to castle king side.

    Castling opposite sides can be fun sometimes, but this case as white probable crave a more secure feeling. I guess depends on mood maybe.
  15. 07 Aug '11 16:13 / 1 edit
    Note that, if white wants to castle queenside, she should maybe try something like 8. O-O-O b5 9. h4 Ne7 (following Paul's game)10. h5 g5 11. Nh2:



    Now white is threatening f4 effectively