Sunday, October 30, 2016

About the St. George

Kevin Sheldrick is an Australian chess expert and chessfriend who wrote us the following interesting mail. It is published here with his consent:

"Did you know of a game where Garry Kasparov lost to the St. George? I came across one yesterday and thought I would send it to you as I had never seen it before.
Garry Kasparov (2812) - Nigel Short (2698), Blitz Match, Leuven, Belgium, 2011
1. Nf3 b5 2. e4 a6 3. d4 e6 4. Bd3 Bb7 5. 0-0 c5 6. c3 Nf6 7. Re1 Qc7 8. a4 c4 9. Bc2 d5 10. e5 Ne4 11. Nbd2 Nxd2 12. Bxd2 h6 13. b4 cxb3 14. Bxb3 Nd7 15. axb5 axb5 16. Qe2 Rb8 17. Reb1 Bc6 18. Bc2 Nb6 19. Ne1 Nc4 20. Bc1 Be7 21. Nd3 Kd7 22. Qg4 g6 23. Qf3 Rh7 24. Nb4 Ra8 25. g3 Bb7 26. Rxa8 Bxa8 27. Bd3 Bb7 28. h4 h5 29. Bg5 Bxg5 30. hxg5 Nd2 31. Qe3 Nxb1 32. Bxb1 Ke7 33. Qf3 Rg7 34. Nd3 Kf8 35. Nc5 Kg8 36. Qf6 Bc6 37. Bd3 Kh7 38. Kg2 Rg8 39. Be2 Ra8 40. Bd3 Be8 41. Qf3 Kg8 42. Bc2 Ra3 43. Bb3 Qa5 44. Qf6 Qc7 45. Qf4 Qe7 46. Qc1 Ra8 47. Bc2 Rb8 48. Qd2 Qd8 49. Bd3 Qa5 50. Nb3 Qa3 51. Nc5 b4 52. cxb4 Qxb4 53. Qf4 Qb6 54. Qf6 Qd8 55. Qf4 Rb4 56. Qe3 Bb5 57. Bxb5 Rxb5 58. Qf4 Rb4 59. Kh2 Rc4 60. Kg2 Qb6 61. Nd7 Qxd4 62. Qf6 Qe4+ 63. Kh2 Rc8 64. Qe7 Qf5 65. Nf6+ Kg7 0-1

[29. Bg5? led to the loss of the exchange, which gave black a slight advantage and 32. Qe3? then gave black a clear advantage that he used to win the game (32. Bxb5+, with a slight advantage for black, was required)]

The game is at

The "St. George defence" is a good name for the opening because "Englishmen use it to defeat World Champions - every century or so!" (Myers quote) e.g. Steinitz-Baker, London, 1868; Karpov-Miles, Skara, Sweden, 1980 and Kasparov-Short, Leuven, Belgium, 2011.

And Kasparov is still a great blitz player so this is a great win by Nigel. Did u know they had an "Ultimate Blitz Challenge" tournament this year with 4 players and the final standings were: Nakamura 11/18, So 10/18, Kasparov 9.5/18 and Caruana 5.5/18. Kasparov was right up with the leaders and beat Caruana by 4 points!

I might as well show you my Allegro game this year with an IM in the St. George defence. I had a clear advantage after only white's tenth move (!!) but missed the winning continuation 😞 and ended up losing:
IM Mark Chapman (2539) - Kevin Sheldrick (2292), Allegro tournament, Adelaide, Australia, 2016
[Note: those are Australian ratings for "quick" chess e.g. Allegros - our standard ratings for longer games are much lower at 2363 (Chapman) and 2161 (me)]
1. e4 e6 2. d4 a6 3. c4 b5!? 4. cxb5 axb5 5. Bxb5 Bb7 6. Nc3 Bb4 7. Bd3 f5 8. Qh5+ g6 9. Qe2 Nf6 10. Bg5? h6??

I missed 10...fxe4! -+, since if 11. Bxe4? (11. Bc2 -+) 11...Nxe4!! 12. Bxd8 Nxc3 13. bxc3 Bxc3+ 14. Kd1 Bxa1 -++, as played in Pritchett-Basman, Bristol, UK, 1980, ...0-1, 59.
And Chapman went on to win our game.”

Monday, October 24, 2016

Valuable Hippopotamus Bibliography

There is a rise in interest in the Hippopotamus Defence.
In this brief post you will find  references of the Hippo bibliography not mentioned in the above mentioned Wikipedia link:

In 2006 the Italian FM De Santis published the book: "La Difesa Ippopotamo". The book is out of print now, but the editor is currently selling an ebook of it. 
At this link you can read a preview of this work.
The book has 146 pages, italian language, algebraic notation.
Highly recommended.
Chapter 4 of GM Hillarp Persson'5 2005 book on the modern is fully devoted to the Hippo: that means 26 pages.


FM Feustel's "Eroeffnungen-abseits aller Theorie" devotes 47 pages to the Hippo, mostly annotated games in german language, algebraic notation.
In 2009 Nicholas Kostov compiled a free booklet on the Hippo. His work has been much appreciated:

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Basman plays the Polish Opening

A video of the rapid game between GM Fodor Tamas Jr and the chess legend IM Michael Basman played at the  Golders Green Rapidplay Congress August 2016
The difference of:
  • 250+ elo points;
  • 45 years of age (70 vs. 25)
between the players must be taken in consideration  as our hero lost, but we love to see Basman in action regardless.
For those who prefer to just see the pgn:

[White "Fodor, Tamas"]
[Black "Basman, Michael"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B28"]

1. d4 b5 2. e4 Bb7 3. Bd3 e6 4. Nf3 c5 5. c3 Nf6 6. Nbd2 a6 7. O-O Nc6 8. a4 cxd4 9. cxd4 Nb4 10. Bb1 Rc8 11. axb5 axb5 12. Qe2 Qb6 13. Nb3 Be7 14. d5 O-O 15. Be3 Qc7 16. Nbd4 exd5 17. Nxb5 Qd8 18. e5 Ne4 19. Nfd4 f6 20. e6 Nc6 21. f3 Ng5 22. Bf2 Nxd4 23. Nxd4 Ra8 24. Rxa8 Bxa8 25. exd7 Qxd7 26. Bf5 Qb7 27. h4 Nf7 28. Qc2 h6 29. Ne6 Rc8 30. Nc5 Bxc5 31. Bxc8 Bxf2+ 32. Rxf2 Qb6 33. Qf5 Nd6 34. Qe6+ Kf8 1-0 

Stockfish 7 recommends 17...Qc4 with equality.

PS As you can see, Basman annotated his game. More Polish Defense/St. George material (books or booklets) to come? :-)