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Member since Nov-24-03 · Last seen Jul-27-14
<<< Who am I ? >>>

I am a graduate student. My current areas are combinatorics and knot theory, particularly finite-type invariants. I'm also a part-time algorithmist, working on image processing, computer vision and data mining.

<<< Anything else besides? >>>

I enjoy hiking and reading. In addition, I'm good at wasting some of the precious time we've been allotted at this valley of tears playing computer games :)

Obviously, I like cats.

I like my humor intelligent, quirky and language-related. For instance, I admire Fry and Laurie and recommend them heartily.

I'm an avid follower of,, and a few others.

A fancy, nay, an obsession of mine is writing parody songs. One of those, the most chess-related one, can be found further below.

<<< Are you any good ? >>>

My strength varies in the 2050-2100 area. My highest chess achievement is a photo with Vishy Anand (both words are now marked as spelling errors, but then, so is "") back in the 90s when I was a little kid.

<<< Who am I as a chess-player? >>>

In the last few years, my style was heavily biased towards the positional, technical side. I play against pawn-weaknesses, I like rook-endgames and bishop pairs. I try to keep my pawns on the right color, just like they used to do, damn it!

Of late, however, I'm working on becoming more universal and on risk-taking. I have weaknesses in sharp, irrational positions, and would like to employ more varied tools to apply pressure. In particular, I have much to learn about positional sacrifices.

For the rest - read the next section and my page!

<<< Why should you read this page? >>>

Oh no you shouldn't! Really, don't. Go away! You too! AAA they're all around me! ... gulp... yeah, aaaanyway.

Many of the kibitzes focus on a few openings I enjoy analyzing, for now mainly the Larsen variation in the Philidor defense.

I also post analyzed games I deem worthy enough.

<<< Why do I frequent >>>

There are three main reasons:

The people - <Annie K.>, to name the worst of them :)

The Guess-The-Move feature is, in my eyes, the best
way to improve beyond 1800 I've met online.

Finally, I follow (and sometimes participate in) the challenge. The team, armed with incredible calculating power as well as the ideas of a dozen strong analysts, might well be the strongest chess entity ever.

<<< The promised song >>>

"Black queen" - Pawn must go on

Empty squares - what we are playing for?
Abandoned chairs - I guess we know the score..
On and on!
Does anybody know what piece I知 looking for?

Another bishop - another mindless sac
Behind the pawn-line, in the wild attack
Hold the f-line!
Does anybody want to queen it anymore?

The pawn must go on!
The pawn must go on!
Inside my king is hiding
The tactics may be blinding
But my knight still stays on..

Whatever happens, I値l leave it all to chance
Another Spanish, another failed advance
On and on!
Does anybody know what we are drawing for?
I guess I知 learning
I must be calmer now
I値l soon be playing French and Dragon now
On the board the pawn is crying
But inside the db I知 dying for h3..

The pawn must go on!
The pawn must go on!
Inside my king is hiding
The tactics may be blinding
But my knight still stays on..

My board is painted like the wings of dragonflies
Losing games of yesterday, will draw but never die!
I can play, my friends!

The pawn must go on!
The pawn must go on!
I値l face it with a pin
I知 never giving in
On with the pawn!

I値l play the mill,
I値l overkill!
I have to find the will to carry on!
On with the,
On with the pawn

The pawn must go on

>> Click here to see catfriend's game collections. Full Member

   Catfriend has kibitzed 3501 times to chessgames   [more...]
   Jul-27-14 Annie Kappel (replies)
Catfriend: Strikingly originally, I'll wish you a happy birthday!
   Jul-23-14 The World vs Naiditsch, 2014 (replies)
   Jun-17-14 Garry Kasparov (replies)
Catfriend: <Absentee> If you're not discussing the politics of it but the humanitarian POV - what two real sides are to gassing children? Or is it all too just propaganda? It's true that many political factions involved, from more than two sides, are as bad as Assad's regime, and that ...
   Jun-17-14 Analysis Forum chessforum (replies)
   Jun-10-14 Carlsen vs Grischuk, 2014 (replies)
Catfriend: No, <Nimzo> hates dogmas and automatic application of textbook truths. Bd3 allows potential Bf3 pins, gives a bit more time for plans like Rd8,Re8,e5 and in general - achieves nothing. Qa4 is part of a natural plan - putting rooks on the b and c files (how many and on what ...
   Jun-09-14 Topalov vs Kramnik, 2014 (replies)
Catfriend: <11 e4 accepts the challenge saying <Let us see you punish me for my greediness>> How so? Black still takes on d5 with crushing pressure.
   Jun-08-14 Kramnik vs Caruana, 2014 (replies)
Catfriend: 16..Nxa2 strikes as a bit imprecise. Now after Nb6, White will enjoy a couple of bishops. If Bc8 escaped, Nd5 will ensure his peer's demise. So while my misgivings about Kramnik's initial choice remain, <Whiteshark>'s description is more and more accurate.
   Jun-06-14 A Giri vs Kramnik, 2014 (replies)
Catfriend: <csmath> The "point" of some of the more obscure maneuvers by Kramnik (like Kg6-Kh7) was, by his own admission, "to survive till the time control". He was indeed rather pressed for time.
   Jun-04-14 Tomohiko Matsuo
Catfriend: Had the pleasure of facing him in a few blitz games. He was both strong and polite.
   Jun-01-14 Tal vs Portisch, 1965 (replies)
Catfriend: <al wazir> The threat is 20. Re1, with the idea of Bd6+ and Qe8#. Seems winning.
(replies) indicates a reply to the comment.

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 8 OF 8 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  technical draw: <Wow, <technical draw>, you know that recently I lost an excellent game because you appeared on the board, once? :>

Give me the juicy details!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Catfriend: I'll have to find it :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Catfriend: An interesting Philidor blitz game (I was playing Black):

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bc4 Nc6 4.Nc3 g6 5.a3 Bg7 6.h3 Nf6 7.d3 O-O 8.O-O Qe7 9.Bg5 Be6 10.Bb3 Bxb3 11.cxb3 Qe6 12.Bxf6 Qxf6 13.Nd5 Qd8 14.b4 Kh8 15.Qc2 Rc8 16.b5 Ne7 17.Nxe7 Qxe7 18.Nh2 f5 19.f3 fxe4 20.fxe4 Rf4 21.Rxf4 exf4 22.Rf1 Rf8 23.Nf3 Qd7 24.a4 h6 25.b3 g5 26.Nd2 Bd4+ 27.Kh1 g4 28.h4 Qe7 29.g3 fxg3 30.Rxf8+ Qxf8 31.Nc4 Qf1# 0-1

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 <Philidor defence along Dragon lines, with g6, Bg7 etc. is one of my chief openings with Black> 3. Bc4 Nc6 4. Nc3 g6 <The direct d4 gives White some small advantage, but takes the sting out of the position: 5. d4 exd4 6. Nxd4 Bg7 7. Nxc6 bxc6 8. 0-0 Ne7 and despite the weakened pawns, Black is doing fine. An important alternative is 5. d3, going slow. The problem with it is 5..Na5 and the useful light-square bishop is exchanged. My opponent had played it a few times in that blitz match, and wanted to prevent that.> 5. a3 Bg7 6. h3 Nf6 7. d3 O-O 8. O-O Qe7(?!) <Here, 8..Nxd4 9. Nxd4 exd4 is a bit better.>

9. Bg5 Be6 <10. Bxe6 fxe6 equalizes> 10. Bb3 <Strongest is 10. Nd5 Bxd5 11. exd5 Nb8 with Nbd7. White has some space advantage, though in principle Black should be able to achieve comfort.> Bxb3 11. cxb3 Qe6 12. Bxf6 Qxf6 13. Nd5 Qd8 14. b4! <Probably the most annoying. White gives the queen the b3 option (important in case of Black playing f5) and prepares a b5 push. c7 might come under fire.> Kh8? <Bad. Black wants to play f5 anyway, but this underestimates White's threats. Better would be 14..Ne7 exchanging the strong piece.>

15. Qc2?! <More tenacious would be 15. Rc1! a6 16. Rc3 - White will play Qc1 or Rfc1 and a4 with pressure> Rc8 16. b5 Ne7 17. Nxe7 Qxe7 <Black has equalized.> 18. Nh2 f5 19. f3? <Very passive.> fxe4?! <Returns the favor. Black opts for a slightly better endgame, but he has 19..Qd7! 20. Qb3 Bh6 or 20..c6 with excellent chances> 20. fxe4 Rf4? <20..Bh6!> 21. Rxf4 exf4 22. Rf1 Rf8? <Missing 22..Qe5! This move might feel unnatural because of Nf3, but it attacks all White's weaknesses and centralizes> 23. Nf3 Qd7 24. a4 h6 25. b3 g5 <Perhaps too ambitious, but practical.>

26. Nd2?! <White has a small advantage due to the weakness on c7, and it should be attacked immediately: 26. Rc1. Instead, Black is allowed to use his own strong suit: the bishop. Note that all White's pawns are on light squares, making the bishop very strong. The rule is to put them on the same color!> Bd4+ 27. Kh1 g4 !? <Objectively, the attack can be withheld, and Black should protect c7 by Rc8. In practice, and particularly in blitz, the initiative is dangerous. > 28. h4?? <loses on the sport. 28. hxg4 Qxg4 29. Nf3 Qh5+ 30. Nh2 appears to hold.> Qe7 29. g3 fxg3 30. Rxf8+ Qxf8 31. Nc4 <allows a mate in 1, but there is no defence.> Qf1# 0-1

Not without mistakes by both sides, but I think it is very thematic.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Annie K.: Nice games! :)

I'm afraid I've gone over to the dark side (we're saving energy...) lately, and play Fischerandom at least half the time. ;s

Premium Chessgames Member
  Catfriend: I am, really am, preparing a series of deep analytic posts regarding (at first) the Larsen variation of the Philidor defence.

But in the mean-time, a sharp 2-1 counter-attack with me on the Dark Side: (hey! it is very Philidor-like in the general structure!)

1.Nf3 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 g6 <KID> 4.Nc3 Bg7 5.e4 O-O 6.h3 <A valid move, Makogonov system by transposition. I always felt, though, that 6.Be2 is stronger, as White will play h2-h4 anyway.> Nbd7 <My lack of theoretic knowledge manifests itself. More common, and probably better, is 6..e5. This is not gambit play: 7. dxe5 dxe5 and e5 is safe. 8. Qxd8 Rxd8 9. Nxe5? Nxe4! with advantage.> 7.Bg5 c5 <still better is 7..e5> 8.d5 a5?! <Mixing up lines. The point of a5 is frequently to prevent expansion with b4. Here, that's not White's plan anyway, and the hole on b5 could've become unpleasant. 8..a6 would be absolutely fine.> 9.Bd3 h6 <Provocative. Black intends to sharpen the game up. An alternative is 9..Nh5 and 10..Ne5, with piece activity more-or-less compensating the lack of space.> 10.Be3 Kh7 <still provocative. 10..b6 is much safer.> 11.Qd2 e5? 12.g4? <12. dxe6 fxe6 13. e5! dxe5 14. Qc2 > Re8 13.g5 hxg5 14.Nxg5+ Kg8 15.h4 Nh5 16.Be2 Ndf6! <Black exploits White's lack of activity on the center to construct a viable defence system. It looks a bit dangerous, but Black is safe.> 17.O-O-O a4 <Note that Black's indiscretions on the Q-side became strengths - a witness to White's optimistic strategy. > 18.Rdg1 a3 19.b3 Bd7 20.Nf3 Qa5 21.Bg5 Rab8?! <21..Nf4! would be simply better for Black> 22.Nh2 b5 23.f3 bxc4 24.Bxc4 Rb4 25.Ng4? Reb8? <25..Nxg4 26. fxg4 Nf4! is practically winning. > 26.Nxf6+ Nxf6 27.Bxf6 Bxf6 28.h5 g5 <A standard, decent move. Excellent would be 28..Rxc4! 29. bxc4 Rb2! and White is much worse. 30. Qd3 g5; 30. Qe1 Qb4! 31. hxg6 Rxa2 0-1. Best is 30. Qe3 but even then Ba4 keeps the advantage. Of course, in a 2+1 game, it was all invisible..> 29.Rxg5+ Bxg5 30.Qxg5+ Kf8 31.h6?? <This natural move loses on the spot. White had a draw by 31. Qh6+ or 31. Kd2> Rxc4! 32.Qg7+ Ke7 33.Qg5+ f6! <The last move to find.> 34.Qg7+ Kd8 0-1

Premium Chessgames Member
  Catfriend: Th best variation is the one not played...

Here's an example (I am White):

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 e6 4.Bxc6 bxc6 5.O-O d6 6.e5 dxe5 7.Nxe5 Bd6 8.Nc4 Ne7 9.d3 O-O 10.Nc3 Nd5 11.Ne4 Be7 12.Re1 Ba6 13.Ne5 Qc7 14.Ng3 Rad8 15.b3 Bf6 16.Bb2 g6 17.f4 Nxf4 18.Qf3 g5 19.Nh5 Nxh5 20.Qxh5 Rd5 21.c4 Rdd8 22.Re3 Rfe8 23.Rf1 Kg7 24.Rxf6 Kxf6 25.Nxc6+ e5 26.Rf3+ Ke6 27.Qh6+ Kd7 28.Rxf7+ 1-0

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 <The Rossolimo Attack is becoming popular now after the Anand-Gelfand match. Carlsen played it as well. White gives up the bishop pair for better pawn structure and control of key squares in the center. In addition, b3,d3,h3 are commonly played in some order to restrain the bishop on c8.> e6 4.Bxc6 bxc6 5.O-O d6 6.e5? <One of those key squares is e5, that becomes an issue for both sides. Occupying it so rashly as White is a mistake. White hopes for dxe5, as in the game,where e5 is his for a while, and the c-file pawns are doubled and weak. However, 6..f6! equalizes. Better is 6. d3> dxe5 7.Nxe5 Bd6 8.Nc4 Ne7 9.d3 O-O 10.Nc3 Nd5? <10..f5 was in order, controllong e4> 11.Ne4? <Here, the opportunity to exchange a bishop with temp was to be seized: 11. Nxd6 Qxd6 12. Ne4 Qe7 13. 13. Qe1 and White's active knight and better pawn structure secure an advantage.> Be7 12.Re1 Ba6 13.Ne5? <Missing Black's simple reply. 13. > Qc7 14.Ng3 Rad8 15.b3 <Finally achieving the desired structure. A strong bishop on the main diagonal, active knights and possible queen jumps give hop for K-side attacks.> Bf6? <The desire to counter Bb2 is natural. However, Bf6 will be more of a target than a defender. Certainly, Black's next doesn't combine well with this move.> 16.Bb2 g6 <Black fears Nh5, but this creates tactical opportunities. 16..Be7 with Nf6 would be safer.>

click for larger view

<An interesting moment. Objectively, White has more preparations to make. The computer recommends 17. c4 Nb4 18. Qe2 and slow play. At the time, I felt opening up would give me practical chances.>

17.f4!? <Creates opportunities, but wrong against best play.> Nxf4? <Natural but bad. The tricky 17..Bg7! 18. Qg4 Bc8 would at least equalize. > 18.Qf3 g5 <It is unclear whether this was the best. During the game, I considered 18..Nd5 19. c4 winning. But it doesn't really win easily. 19..Bg7 20. cxd5 exd5. Black has two pawns for a piece, Ba6 is suddenly strong, Ne5 is awkward. Certainly this is some compensation. 18..g5 is the kind of move by the other side that, even if correct, makes you happy.> 19.Nh5 Nxh5 20.Qxh5 Rd5 <Hard to blame Black here. 20..Rd5 allowed a stunning attack that unfortunately was missed by both sides. The toughest defence was 20..Bg7 with f6. White has an excellent position, but it isn't 1-0 yet.> 21.c4 <A decent move that leaves the best parts in the shadows. Winning was 21. Re3!>

click for larger view

<The threat is Rh3 with mate. Now, what can Black do? Let us consider three options.

21..Rxe5 22. Rf1! Bg7 (or 22..Rf5 23. Rxf5 exf5 24. Bxf6) 23. Rxe5! is completely winning.

21..Bg7 22. Rh3 h6 allows 23. Nd7! or Ng4!, both winning. 22..Re8 23. Nd7 isn't better.

So we're left with 21..h6. Black gives up an important pawn hoping to to gain time to re-organize. 22. Qxh6 Bg7 23. Ng4!! seals the deal.

Clearly, 23..Bxh6 24. Nf6+ with Nxd5+ and Nxc7 is won. Black doesn't get a piece back: 24..Kh8 25. Nxd5+ Bg7? 26. Rh3+ with mate.

23..Bxb2 24. Rh3 Bxd4+ 25. Kh1 f5 26. Qg6+ Bg7 27. Nh6+ with mate.

23..f6 24. Qg6! and there's no defence against Nh6+ and Rh3.

Finally, 23..e5 24. Nf6+ Bxf6 25. Rh3 is mate in 4. >

Rdd8 <21..Rxe5 22. Rxe5 Qe7 23. Re2 Bxb2 24. Rb2 is much better for White, but it will take time and effort.> 22.Re3 Rfe8 23.Rf1 Kg7 24.Rxf6 <The kind of move one plays without thought. 24. Nd7 or 24. Rh3 win as well.> Kxf6 25.Nxc6+ e5 26.Rf3+?! <A hallucination. 26. Qh6+ Qf5 27. Rf3+ with mate in 2.> Ke6 27.Qh6+ Kd7 28.Rxf7+ 1-0

Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: Hello <Catfriend>. I am enjoying your analysis of the Philidor/Larsen; thanks for taking the time to share! Do you have Larsen's monograph from the 1970s - 'Why Not the Philidor Defense?' in which he labeled 1. e4, 45; 2. Nf3, d6; 3. d4, ed:; 4. Nc3, g6 the Mainline?

He writes that in analyzing it his biggest worry was a Maroczy-like clamp with c4, and noted Antoshin playing the Philidor. (I think 4 ...Be7 is sometimes called the Antoshin variation.)

I also noted your moniker - Either a 'after' shot of a Go life-and-death problem or a CA state.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Catfriend: <parisattack> I have plans to publish here a detailed analysis of a few worrisome lines, one of these days :)

I've read the monograph when I was much weaker, maybe it's time to re-read it. In general, though, despite my enormous respect for Larsen, I try to find lines that are good <for me> to play against the kind of opposition <I> am likely to face.

The Maroczy-like clamp is indeed a concern. Personally, though, I feel the hole on d4 gives Black chances.

If you ask me what are my main concerns, I can name four: I. The <positional strangle> - 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 exd4 4. <Qxd4> and then the Maroczy ideas.

II. The <tactical skirmish> - 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 g6 5. Nc3 Bg7 6. Bc4 - White has lots of significant threats and development ideas. Frequently, there are tactical counter-punches, but this line requires good working knowledge and can lead Black to fast demise.

III. The <"main line"> - 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 g6 5. Nc3 Bg7 <6. Be3> Nf6 7. f3 0-0 8. Qd2 d5. Black has lots of ideas, but in practice if White avoids certain traps, he should expect some advantage. Then again, one wouldn't expect a forced equalization by move 8, would they? :)

IV. <Delayed action> - 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. <Bc4> Nc6 and various similar positions: e.g. 4. d4 Bg4 and here 5. d5 and 5. c3. Yet another line, similar in spirit, is <3. Nc3> Nf6 4. Bc4.

Finally, I did think both about Go and about the Game of Life glider pattern when choosing my moniker.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Catfriend: Meanwhile, I remembered a cool side-line:

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 g6 <5. h4>

I had a regular opponent, very talented (much more than I am, IMO) but without much love for opening disputes. He used this line to take me out of the book and to create immediate struggle. So I had to find a cure.

5..Nf6 turns out to be sufficient.

I'll go over two main alternatives. Before that, I'll mention additional choices:

6. Qe2 Nc6 either transposes into main lines or equalizes.

6. h5 - 6..Nxh5 is possible, of course, but if Black wants to play it safe, 6..c6 7. Nf3 Nxh5 is absolutely fine.

This leaves us with <6. Nc3> and <6. Bg5>.

I'll dispose of the latter first (one can skip straight to 6. Nc3 for hot action!).

6. Bg5 h6 7. Bxf6 Qxf6 8. Nc3 c6 equalizes on the spot.

So we arrive at the main line.

6. Nc3 Bg7

I. <<7. Be2 0-0>>

8. h5 (most principled) d5! Now, 9. h6 Bh8 or 9. e5?! Ne4 are excellent for Black.

So is 9. exd5 Nxd5 10. hxg6 hxg6.
11. Bh6 Bxh6 12. Rxh6 Nxc3 13. bxc3 Qf6 is even better.

Best for White seems 9. hxg6 hxg6 (not fxg6?) 10. 10. Bg5 dxe4 11. Nxe4 Re8 12. f3 Nbd7 but even here, Black can be satisfied with the opening.

II. <<7. Bg5 h6>> We got to the real fun part!
Note that 8. Be3 Nc6 9. Qd2 Ng4 is equal.

White wants more! 8. Bxf6 Qxf6 9. Nd5...
A safe choice is 9..Qd8 10. c3 c6 11. Ne3 h5 (Slightly better for White, playable).

Much better is <9..Qxd4!> 10. Qxd4 Bxd4 11. Nxc7+ Kd8 12. Nxa8 Bxb2 13. Rb1 Bc3+ with good chances. For instance (almost forced), 14. Kd1 b6 15. Bc4 Bb7 16. Bd5 Nc6 17. Nxb6 axb6 18. Rxb6 Kc7

Premium Chessgames Member
  Catfriend: A game dedicated to <Annie K.> (this time, with brief, readable annotations) :

[Event "Live Chess"]
[Site ""]
[Date "2013.09.26"]
[Result "1-0"]
[TimeControl "3|0"]

[Event "Live Chess"]
[Site ""]
[Date "2013.09.26"]
[White "J_Dime"]
[Black "firegus16"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2133"]
[BlackElo "1916"]
[TimeControl "3|0"]
[Termination "J_Dime won by checkmate"]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4 <Chekhover> Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 Nc6 7.Qd2 g6 8.Bd3 Bg7 9.Bh6 O-O 10.Bxg7 Kxg7 11.O-O-O Bg4 12.h3 Bxf3 13.gxf3 b5 14.h4 h5 15.f4 Rc8 16.Kb1 Qc7 17.f5 Ne5 18.fxg6 fxg6 19.Rhg1 b4 20.Nd5 Nxd5 21.exd5 a5 22.Bxg6 Nxg6 23.Rxg6+ Kxg6 24.Qg5+ Kf7 25.Qxh5+ Kf6 26.Qf3+ Ke5 27.Qe3+ Kf5 28.Qe6+ Kf4 29.Rd4+ Kf3 30.Qe3+ Kg2 31.Rg4+ Kf1 32.Qd3+ Kxf2 33.Qd2+ Kf1 34.Qd1+ Kf2 35.Qd2+ Kf3 36.Qg2+ Ke3 37.Re4# 1-0

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 Nc6 7.Qd2 g6?! 8.Bd3?! <8. Bxf6! gxf6 9. 0-0-0> Bg7 9.Bh6 O-O 10.Bxg7 Kxg7 11.O-O-O Bg4 12.h3 Bxf3 13.gxf3 b5 14.h4 h5 15.f4 Rc8 16.Kb1 Qc7? 17.f5? <17. Nd5!> Ne5 18.fxg6 fxg6 19.Rhg1? <19.f4> b4? <19..Nf3 0-1> 20.Nd5 Nxd5 21.exd5 a5? <Allows the winning combination - standard in these positions but here it required a few unusual details.> 22.Bxg6! Nxg6 23.Rxg6+!! Kxg6 <Allows a forced king-hunt. Best was 23..Kf7 24. Rg7+!! Now taking the rook gets us back to the game continuation, whereas 24..Ke8 25. Re1 is an overwhelming advantage for White> 24. Qg5+ <Now, there shall be no mercy!> Kf7 25.Qxh5+ Kf6?! <Shortens the game. More tenacious would be 25..Kg6 26. Rg1+ Kh6 27. Qe3+ Kh7 28. Qg5! and Black has to give up his queen: 28..Qxc2+ 29. Ka1 Qc1+ 30. Rxc1 1-0> 26.Qf3+ Ke5 27.Qe3+ Kf5 28.Qe6+ Kf4 29.Rd4+ Kf3 30.Qe3+?! <30. Qg4+ with mate in 3> Kg2 31.Rg4+ Kf1 32.Qd3+ Kxf2 33.Qd2+ Kf1 34.Qd1+ Kf2 35.Qd2+ Kf3 36.Qg2+ Ke3 37.Re4# 1-0

Premium Chessgames Member
  Catfriend: The following will combine an analysis of a typical Philidor idea with entertaining and continue the "line not taken" series.

A 5/0 unrated against a 2270 opponent on

1. Nf3 d6 2. e4 e5 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 g6 5. Nc3 Bg7 6. Be3 Nf6 7. h3 O-O 8. Qd2 d5 9. e5 Nfd7 10. e6 Ne5 11. exf7+ Rxf7 12. Nb3 c6 13. O-O-O a5 14. a4 b5 15. axb5 a4 16. Nc5 a3 17. bxa3 Rxa3 18. Nb1 Ra2 19. Nc3 Ra3 20. Nb3 Qf8 21. bxc6 Rxb3 22. cxb3 Nbxc6 23. Nxd5 Qa3+ 24. Qb2 Nd3+ 0-1

1. Nf3 d6 2. e4 e5 <Getting the Philidor by transposition.> 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 g6 5. Nc3 Bg7 6. Be3 Nf6 7. h3?! <A deviation. Standard here is f3 with same idea, but strengthening the center at the same time and saving tempi for a future pawn-storm. Unfortunately, I didn't consider the differences enough.> O-O 8. Qd2 d5?! <With a pawn on f3, that would be the move. 7. h3 allowed an ad hoc opportunity I didn't investigate: 8..Re8 with significant pressure. One of the best for White is 9. f3 which gives us common lines with White playing the suboptimal h3. > 9. e5 Nfd7 <Safer is 9..Ne4 10. Nxe4 dxe4 with equality.> 10. e6?! <10. f4? c5 is great, of course, and is one of the main ideas in such positions, but 10. Bg5 Qe8 11. 0-0-0 c6 12. f4 poses problems.> Ne5 11. exf7+ Rxf7?! <Safer is 11..Nxf7> 12. Nb3 c6 13. O-O-O a5 <Begins a sharp attack, trying to ourtace the opponent.>14. a4 <Too passive, and allows further aggression. Counter-play with 14. f4 is better.> b5 15. axb5 a4 16. Nc5 a3 17. bxa3 Rxa3 18. Nb1 Ra2 <Black has quite a few threats by now. Bf5 will target c2, Nc4! looms large.> 19. Nc3? <Allows a powerful tactical solution.> Ra3? <Misses it! I was ahead on time, and wasn't against what seemed a move repetition, to gain a few seconds. However, this allows White to improve his defence. Winning was 19..Nf3!! Now losing material with 20. Nxa2 Nxd2 is the lesser evil. 20. gxf3 Qa5!; 20.Qd3 Ra1+ 21. Kb2 Bxc3+ 22. Qxc3 Rxd1; 20. Qe2 Qa5 all win.> 20. Nb3 Qf8 <Setting up a trap.> 21. bxc6 Rxb3!? 22. cxb3 Nbxc6 23. Nxd5?? <Allows a winning check. 23. f4 would continue the sharp struggle and is hard to evaluate. An interesting line is 23. f4 Qb4!? 24. fxe5 Bxe5 25. Re1 Bxc3 26. Qxd5 Kg7! and Black seems to be winning.> Qa3+ 24. Qb2 Nd3+ 0-1

Premium Chessgames Member
  Catfriend: And to compensate for all those unseemly tactics - a solid, technical effort against a 2250 opponent, rated this time!

[Event "Live Chess"]
[Site ""]
[Date "2013.10.01"]
[Result "0-1"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 g6 5. Be3 Bg7 6. Bc4 Nf6 7. f3 O-O 8. Nc3 Nc6 9. O-O Re8 10. Bf2 Nd7 11. Qd2 a6 12. f4 Nb6 13. Bb3 Qf6 14. Rad1 Nxd4 15. Bxd4 Qxd4+ 16. Qxd4 Bxd4+ 17. Rxd4 Be6 18. f5 Bxb3 19. cxb3 Re5 20. b4 Rae8 21. a4 Kg7 22. a5 Nd7 23. Nd5 c6 24. f6+ Kf8 25. Nc3 R8e6 26. Rfd1 Nxf6 27. Rxd6 Nxe4 28. Rxe6 Rxe6 29. Rd8+ Ke7 30. Rb8 Nd6 31. Na4 Re4 32. Nc5 Rxb4 33. Nxa6 Rxb2 34. Nc5 Rb5 35. a6 bxa6 36. Nxa6 Rxb8 37. Nxb8 c5 38. Kf2 Ke6 39. Ke3 Kd5 40. Nd7 h5 41. h4 c4 42. Nf6+ Kc5 43. g3 Nf5+ 44. Kf4 c3 45. Ne4+ Kd4 46. Nxc3 Kxc3 47. g4 hxg4 48. Kxg4 Kd4 49. Kg5 Nxh4 50. Kxh4 Ke4 51. Kg4 f5+ 0-1

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 g6 5. Be3 Bg7 6. Bc4 <One of those troubling lines mentioned above.> Nf6 7. f3 O-O <In this particular move order, Black has the opportunity to push 7..d5. 7..Nbd7 and the text are absolutely fine too.> 8. Nc3 Nc6 <Provocative. I usually opt for the slightly neater 8..Nbd7. The game move tempts White to take on c6. The pawn structure after 9. Nxc6 bxc6, however, isn't weak at all. 10. 0-0 Nd7 11. Qd2 Nb6, then Qf6 and Be6, and it's not at all clear who's better.> 9. O-O Re8 <I suppose 9..Ne5 is objectively better.> 10. Bf2 Nd7 <Here as well, 10..Ne5 is great. In practice, though, and certainly in blitz, it's harder to play well.> 11. Qd2 a6 <Consistent with defensive approach. Black repeatedly refuses to let White gain tempi attacking Ne5. 11..Nb6 was an alternative.> 12. f4 Nb6 13. Bb3 Qf6?! <Probably the worst move I made in an otherwise rather clean game. 14. Nf3 with potential pressure gives White some advantage.> 14. Rad1? <Allows Black to simplify into a comfortable endgame.> Nxd4(!) 15. Bxd4 Qxd4+ 16. Qxd4 Bxd4+ 17. Rxd4 Be6 18. f5?! <Now, Black plays for the win.> Bxb3 19. cxb3 Re5! 20. b4 Rae8 21. a4 Kg7! 22. a5 Nd7 23. Nd5 c6?! <Avoids favorable complications after 23..Rxe4 24. Rxe4 Rxe4 25. Nxc7 Rxb4 26. Ne8+ and Nxd6. Black should emerge ahead, but it's very hard to estimate precisely. Now, however, the retreat 24. Nc3 would equalize.> 24. f6+? Kf8! <Initiating a series of strong moves leading to a won endgame.> 25. Nc3 R8e6 26. Rfd1 Nxf6 27. Rxd6 Nxe4 28. Rxe6 Rxe6 29. Rd8+ Ke7! 30. Rb8 Nd6! 31. Na4 Re4 32. Nc5 Rxb4 33. Nxa6 Rxb2?! <An imprecision. The simple 33..Rb5 34. Nc7 Rxa5 would be crushing. Now, White could unleash a trap easing his life a bit.> 34. Nc5 Rb5 35. a6? <Missing 35. Nxb7! and Black can't take - 35..Rxb7?? 36. Rxb7 Nxb7 37. a6! 1-0 Of course, 35..Ne4 and Nc5 is still better for Black, but the result is far less obvious this way. Now it's a matter of technique.> bxa6 36. Nxa6 Rxb8 37. Nxb8 c5 38. Kf2 Ke6 39. Ke3 Kd5 40. Nd7 h5 41. h4 c4 42. Nf6+ Kc5 43. g3 Nf5+ 44. Kf4 c3 45. Ne4+ Kd4 46. Nxc3 Kxc3 47. g4 hxg4 48. Kxg4 Kd4 <even faster is the immediate 48..Nxh4, but we were both short on time, and I decided to tease my opponent into wasting a few seconds considering 49. h5> 49. Kg5 Nxh4 50. Kxh4 Ke4 51. Kg4 f5+ 0-1

I note with pleasure that after 4..g6, only three moves (13..Qf6, 23..c6, 33..Rxb2) weren't among the best alternatives, and that ~40 were the strongest possible or equal.

Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: Interesting games and analysis <Catfriend>. I will certainly add them to my Philidor/ ...d6 dossier. Thanks!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Catfriend: A victory against a CM is always nice. It was not a perfect game (3/0 after all...), but some of the harder decisions I made were surprisingly correct. Also be sure to notice the comments to move 33.

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. Bd3 Nf6 5. h3 Nc6 6. c3 g6 7. Nf3 Bg7 8. O-O O-O 9. Bf4 Bf5 10. Re1 Bxd3 11. Qxd3 e6 12. Nbd2 Rc8 13. Ne5 Nxe5 14. dxe5 Nd7 15. Nf3 Qc7 16. Qe3 Qc5 17. Qd2 Nb6 18. Bh6 Qe7 19. Bxg7 Kxg7 20. Qf4 Rc4 21. Nd4 Rfc8 22. Re3 Nd7 23. Rae1 a6 24. h4 b5 25. h5 b4 26. hxg6 hxg6 27. Rh3 Rh8 28. Rxh8 Kxh8 29. Qh6+ Kg8 30. Re3 Qf8 31. Qg5 bxc3 32. bxc3 Nc5 33. Rh3 Nb7 34. Nxe6 fxe6 35. Qxg6+ Qg7 36. Qe8+ Qf8 37. Rg3+ 1-0

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. Bd3 <Fischer's idea. White intends to take hold of e5, while preventing Bc8 from getting to a good square.> Nf6 5. h3 Nc6 6. c3 g6! <One of the two best replies. The other is 6..e5 7. dxe5 Nxe5. After 8. Nf3 Nxd3+ 9. Qxd3 White must play with decision against the isolated d5, as the endgame might see the bishop pair triumphing.> 7. Nf3 Bg7 8. O-O O-O 9. Bf4 Bf5!? <Designed to counter White's intentions about this bishop. If White takes, he's objectively better but it's very hard to prove in practice.> 10. Re1 Bxd3 11. Qxd3 e6 12. Nbd2 Rc8 13. Ne5?! <A dubious move "by inertia". This idea is central in the exchange variation. However, after the bishop exchange, it lacks the usual punch. Better was 13. Qb5. > Nxe5 14. dxe5 <Aggressive. 14. Bxe5 admits White didn't get much out of the opening. Probably true, but lacks spirit!> Nd7 15. Nf3 Qc7 16. Qe3 Qc5 17. Qd2 Nb6 18. Bh6 Qe7 19. Bxg7 Kxg7 20. Qf4 Rc4 21. Nd4! <A most advance, but this knight will serve faithfully till the end. It also frees the 3d line for Rook maneuvres a la Karpov.> Rfc8 22. Re3 Nd7 23. Rae1 a6 24. h4! <Introduces new threats. Black has a well-defined strategy on the Q-side, and must be troubled before he completes it.> b5?! <A bit too slow. If that was the intention, 24..b5 should be played directly. At this point, h5 is an issue and should be prevented via 24..h5 despite creating other weaknesses,> 25. h5 b4?! <Now caution is in order: 25..Nf8. > 26. hxg6 hxg6 27. Rh3! <Gains clear advantage.> Rh8 28. Rxh8 Kxh8 29. Qh6+? <The one bad move by White. This gives Black an opportunity to escape. 29. Re3 would be a much preferable move order.> Kg8 30. Re3 Qf8 31. Qg5 bxc3 32. bxc3 Nc5?? <A losing mistake. 32..Qg7 would be a more tenacious defence.> 33. Rh3 Nb7?! <Fails to find a possible complication. Black had 33..Rxc3!? 34. Rxc3 Ne4. Now the natural 35. Qe3 Nxc3 36. Qxc3 is winning, of course, but technique is still required. Best for White is 35. Nxe6! Qe8! 36. Nc7! Where can the Queen go? 36..Qd7 37. e6! Qd6 38. exf7 Kxf7 39. Rf3+ 1-0; 36..Qc8 37. Nxd5; 36..Qb8 37. Nxa6 (still attacking the poor Dame!) Qf8 38. Qc1 reaching a most pleasant edition of the previous endgame. Black might as well just play 36..Qf8 and reach it with a6 alive.)> 34. Nxe6! <The natural, "orderly" finale for the game, exploiting the previous motives: control in the center an excellent knight on d4, a strong rook, passive Black pieces, the g6 pawn weakened by h4-h5-hxg6.> fxe6 <Now the game is over, but there was no defence.> 35. Qxg6+ Qg7 36. Qe8+ Qf8 37. Rg3+ 1-0

As usual, the best lines are in the commented shadows.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Annie K.: long as the '1-0' part is on the pgn/scoresheet... ;)


Premium Chessgames Member
  Catfriend: <Annie K.: long as the '1-0' part is on the pgn/scoresheet... ;) > Sure, I always try to stick to this, whether playing well or not, tired or fresh, playing White or Black...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Annie K.: Oh, I never doubted that. I have faith in you! =)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Catfriend: A counter-Maroczy Philidor against a 2000+ opponent featuring a typical strategy - as well as a typical oversight :)

1. d4 d6 2. e4 e5 3. Nf3 exd4 4. Nxd4 g6 5. Be3 Bg7 6. c4 Nf6 7. Nc3 O-O 8. f3 Nc6 9. Qd2 Re8 10. O-O-O a5 11. Nxc6 bxc6 12. c5 d5 13. Bg5 Qe7 14. exd5 cxd5 15. Nxd5 Qxc5+ 16. Qc2 Qxc2+ 17. Kxc2 Bf5+ 18. Kc1 Nxd5 19. Rxd5 Rab8 20. Rb5 Re1+ 21. Kd2 Rxb5 22. Kxe1 Rxb2 0-1

1. d4 d6 2. e4 e5 3. Nf3 <Getting into Philidor. 3. dxe5 dxe5 4. Qxd8+ Kxd8 is a whole new story.> exd4 4. Nxd4 g6 5. Be3 Bg7 6. c4 <Aiming for Maroczy-like structure, preventing d5. White hopes to increase the pressure in the center, combining space advantage (d5, f4-f5 pushes etc.) with standard Bh6-h4-h5 plans.> Nf6 7. Nc3?! O-O?! <The great weakness of automatic replies is that they miss ad-hoc opportunities. 7..Ng4 and Black's already better. > 8. f3 Nc6 <8..a6 and 8..Qe7 are also good alternatives. Nc6 is very thematic in these position. Black doesn't fear the weakened pawn-structure - he welcomes it! the c6 pawn prevents Nd5 and allows future d5 breakthroughs. In addition, the b file and the pressure on d4 will be handy. > 9. Qd2 Re8 10. O-O-O a5 <Here and a move before Nxd4 and Be6 is a viable option, but I feel it limits Black's resources.> 11. Nxc6? bxc6 <Black will now play for the win.> 12. c5 d5 <Note that in case of exchanges on d5, Be3 is left hanging - a frequent consequence of f3-Be3.> 13. Bg5?! <A natural move, given the previous comment, but it allows a powerful reply.> Qe7! 14. exd5 cxd5? <Black's turn to err. The intention was to fortify d5 with c6, consolidate, and only then move to attack. 14..Qxc5 with Rb8, a4, Bf5 and so on would be crushing.> 15. Nxd5 Qxc5+ 16. Qc2?? <The final big mistake. After 16. Qc3 Black's advantage would be dubious at best.> Qxc2+ 17. Kxc2 Bf5+! <Achieving harmony between the pieces. White is also being tempted into 18. Bd3? Nxd5 19. Bxf5 Nb4+> 18. Kc1 Nxd5 19. Rxd5 Rab8?! <19..Re1+ 20. Kd2 Rb1 would be even more decisive.> 20. Rb5?! <b3 would be better.> Re1+ 21. Kd2 Rxb5 22. Kxe1 Rxb2 0-1 <The resignation isn't premature: Black is up a rook, de facto, and will soon gobble up an additional pawn or two.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Annie K.: <Catfriend> Happy New year! :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Hi, Catfriend. Annie told me you were interesting. She was right, of course.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Catfriend: Oh, come on, don't stop.

Then again, if we're spilling dirty secrets, she told me, and I quote, you have "an incredible mind and erudition".

Premium Chessgames Member
  Annie K.: I did? :)

Oh, greetings from Berlin - just landed here...

Premium Chessgames Member
  Catfriend: Have fun in the land of transport arriving on time and US presidents making amusing linguistic mistakes!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Annie K.: Thanks - having fun as instructed...! =)

And I actually mentioned the referred-to linguistic mistake to my group, because one can't resist these temptations to show off, can one? ;)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Catfriend: My goodness, no! Not when one has so much to show off...
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