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Raymond Keene vs John N Sugden
Dulwich (1961), Dulwich, London ENG
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf. Polugayevsky Variation (B96)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: Nice double bishop sacrifice.
Jul-09-15  EhsanBalani: 13...Q×f4(question mark to the power of n)
Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: GM Keene was about 13 years old at the time. Ten years later, he became British champion.

Note that the crucial 14.Nc7+ is no longer available if White plays the youthfully tempting 13.exNf6, since 13...QxBf4 now covers the c7-square. (Prior to the double bishop sacrifices, the Black Qc7 had a defensive pin on the e5-pawn before the first bishop sacrifice re-arranged the position for her. She does not want to lose her king's knight without compensation.)

David Bronstein and a few others before him had used similar Sicilian Bxb5+ sacrifices in prior noteworthy games. One wonders if this lad had studied the approach beforehand. FTB should go dust off his MC0 5th edition to see if this was a book trap back then or not.

Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: Here's a link to the well-documented Bronstein game I referred to above. It has some good notes on the Bxb5+ sacrifice with a few additional examples there. Bronstein vs Najdorf, 1954

For those interested in studying the line, the Polugaevsky variation 7...b5 goes: 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 b5 8.e5/8.a3/8.Qf3/

Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: Here's a link to Lev Polugaevsky games in the Sicilian Najdorf:
Mar-14-18  KlingonBorgTatar: I haven't been around for quite some time in following theory. What is the status of the Polugaevsky today? Has it been refuted? A friend told me so some years ago.
Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: Refuted? FTB does not think so, but it's not my line of expertise. Secrets in sharp openings can really take a beating as computer engines grow stronger and show the way, or at least a safer way, how not to play. Certainly, a cloud hangs over the Polugaevsky variation.

FTB believes non-professional chess players should play whatever openings make a person happy, including gambits. The amateur is not playing a GM opponent or a computer with an ELO 3000 rating. On the other hand, a person who makes a living at chess had better make full use of one's resources and stick to his tried and true money maker repertoire. Everyone's chances of winning improve if they specialize... know the opening lines and middle game nuances better than their opponent does.

Here's another White sacrificial attack against the Polugaevsky variation. Tal really cuts loose! Tal vs NN, 1963

Of course, such selective examples can misrepresent Black's chances. Lev had great successes with the Sicilian Najdorf.

Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: <KlingonBorgTatar> This article addresses your same question, but the article itself has aged. Still, the information is useful to those interested in the line, so have a look:


Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: AdrianP produced a fine explanatory collection here: Game Collection: Najdorf 6. Bg5

Thank you AdrianP! (He has not been on this site for awhile now, so don't expect updates.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: Here's a general overview of the various Sicilian defenses that either color may choose:

The gigantic Sicilian tree requires a great amount of preparation to play well. Those who are young and talented and have a life time of chess ahead would do well to take up the Sicilian.

A busy family man would probably be better served to play the same general pawn structure with both colors. An example using a b3-Bb2 and b6-Bb7 queenside fianchetto is the Colle-Zukertort 5.b3 or Nimzo-Larsen Attack with White, along with Owen's Defense to 1.e4 and the Queen's Gambit Declined Tartakower Variation or Queen's Indian as Black to 1.d4. Or, perhaps 1.f4 Bird's Opening and it's mirror 1...f5 the Dutch. Would you play e3/e6 or g3/g6 structures? These openings do not play themselves -- danger lurks -- so preparation following the advice of a reliable source is necessary.

Mar-14-18  zanzibar: Are you really recommending 1.f4 for White for a beginner?
Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: Beginner? That was not in my post. A beginner should learn elementary endings, pawn promotions, and checkmate patterns by heart. (Magnus Carlsen loved to study all kinds of endgames as a youth, but he was regularly studying under a grandmaster's tutelage unlike most beginners.) The best-selling "Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess" should be the first or second chess book read, as it pounds home the concept of check, checkmate, and counting available force like no other instructional book. BFTC is an ideal self-study book for beginners -- it does not discuss openings at all.

Over the board, begin at the end with simple, forcing positions. It's best to start a beginner with the kings and a pawn or two. Learn how to promote a passed pawn to make a new queen, and give checkmate with the new queen. Also learn how to gain the opposition of kings and force a draw. What are the five ways to draw? (FTB does NOT recommend studying K+B+N vs lone K until the beginner has already played at least 500 games of chess. That minor piece situation is not very common; it is forcing but it can take 30 moves or more. Why risk discouraging the beginner with something that can wait awhile??)

Much simpler, play the lone "Monster Queen" variant against all 8 pawns (no kings or other pieces) to see if one of the pawns can win by reaching the 8th rank before being captured by the Monster Queen. It's a race - Queen against all 8 pawns (and the speedy Queen should win).

Another useful variant is a "half game." Give each side four pawns on pawn row, and one king, one bishop, one knight, one rook on the back rank. No queens. Play it out!

A beginner SHOULD NOT learn by first setting up the entire board. It's better that a beginner learn how to maneuver the knight from one corner to the next in exactly five moves. This makes a good daily warm-up, as the knight always moves to the alternating opposite color square on which it currently sits. (This knight trip is also good mental training for those seeking to play blindfold chess. Just don't do it while driving an automobile! Never think about chess while driving. Give your undivided attention to safe driving -- look out for the other vehicle!)

Once the moves, pawn promotions, and forcing ways to finish a chess game are learned and repeated with ease, the entire board is set-up. Fool's Mate, which involves the blundering advance of the f- and g-pawns must be learned early on, followed by Scholar's Mate, Smothered Mate, and Legall's Mate, etc. These can occur in many different openings. (Legall's Mate occurs more naturally after 1.e4 e5 is played.) The beginner must understand how to attack and defend the vulnerable f2/f7 square protected only by the king. Get really good at recognizing these checkmate patterns and attacks.

The beginner should begin with the end -- how to finish the game with checkmate (pawn promotion to checkmate) or draw. The beginner should read and re-read some general instruction books (rules, moves, terms, and history of chess). Then and only then take a look into the openings.

Fredthebear recommends the book "Your First Chess Games" by A.J. Gillam (out-of-print), and perhaps "The Winning Way" by Bruce Pandolfini. There are a handful of good books demonstrating chess traps in the opening as well as websites. For those who read descriptive notation, "An Invitation to Chess", "Winning Chess", and "Winning Chess Traps" all co/authored by Irving Chernev are outstanding.

Another classic is "The Art of Checkmate" by Georges Renaud and Victor Kahn. It was originally written in descriptive notation, but is now available in algebraic notation. "How to Force Checkmate" is another descriptive trainer written by Fred Reinfeld, a prelude to his more famous "1001 Brilliant Ways to Checkmate" book. Anyone with serious chess aspirations should conquer these books. There's no point to studying anything else until the basic fundamentals are understood with complete confidence. Checkmate is the objective of chess so practice, practice, practice to become GREAT at delivering checkmate.

Do not begin with the opening!

Mar-14-18  zanzibar: Sorry <FtB>, I should have used "busy family man" or woman, instead of "beginner".

I would recommend <"Logical Chess"> by Chernev, <"Chess Fundamentals"> by Capa, and (from word of mouth) <"Journey to the Chess Kingdom"> by Averbakh & Beilin for, er, "beginners".

I'm not sure I would recommend Bird's Opening to anyone other than Bird!

Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: FTB likes your book recommendations <zanzibar>. Common Sense in Chess by Emanuel Lasker and Chess the Easy Way by Reuben Fine would go with that group.

FTB believes that 1.e4 and 1.d4 are so common that a busy person can be at a disadvantage trying to play those against the opposition who is often well-prepared for them, fully expects to face them. Certainly, 1.e4 and 1.d4 are the most active moves; piece activity is important! Conversely, 1...e5 and 1...d5 can be recommended for Black, but the opponent is often well-prepared for these because of their frequency of occurence. In fact, FTB has played the Four Knights seemingly forever, although it's not his favorite opening.

FTB only recommends 1.f4 Bird's Opening as a "time saver that ages well" if one does not wish to play the Colle System, Torre Attack, etc. and one plays the mirror 1...f5 Dutch Defense as Black. Neither promises an advantage. However, one can "get a feel" for the kingside attacking possibilities by playing the same pawn structure with either color. The Bird and the Dutch are not the same thing, but they are similar.

Anyone who is not willing to study the Bird/Dutch a bit from the master writings of Soltis, Harding, Taylor, Danielsen, McDonald, Williams, Moskalenko, etc. should leave the f-pawn alone. It does have an inherent structural weakness. However, Bird's Opening is SIMPLER -- the theory is more stable -- than tackling an Open Sicilian with it's many branches.

Here's a link that also says what FTB suggests: (In the interest of full disclosure, FTB has not read this particular book, but he trusts Tim Sawyer as an experienced author.) This gives a White opening and Black defense for a mere $9 or free as an e-book. Don't expect miracles, just reasonable chances for an active middle game.

Again, if one lacks chess resources, or has such but is unwilling to study a bit, then leave both the Bird and Dutch alone. With some home preparation, one can get good attacking games from this pawn structure, and enjoy studying the games of great players who dabbled in such. It's a practical way to restrain one's curiosity about all the other numerous openings that the working class has no time to absorb.

FCO: Fundamental Chess Openings...One-Volume Guide to All the Chess Openings is an excellent chess resource to have. This is the minimum amount of "book theory" the tournament player should know in his chosen openings! FCO is just $10 on clearance. Successful tournament play is well-worth the investment. No matter what openings you play, get this book! Use self-control, and stick to your selected repertoire. Leave the other numerous openings alone. One cannot go down every trail ever traveled, but do make the most of the path you chose.

Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: When someone says the theory in a book is outdated, pull out a pencil and piece of paper. Ask them to write down the lines from memory that are outdated in the book and thank them for sharing.

You won't have very many takers.

The point is, a few lines may very well be outdated, but if opponents do not know the line by heart, it realistically does not matter. Human beings are not computers and cannot reference data bases during a tournament game! Furthermore, the human opponent still must maintain the edge in the middle game, where the better player often overcomes slight opening disadvantages.

Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: In the previous post above, FTB should have listed Double Discovered Check-mate (usually on an open e-file) after Smothered Mate in the list of mating patterns a beginner must know. Discoveries (the long rang piece is unmasked by moving his own unit out of the way) are an incredibly powerful chess tactic!

Boden's Mate should also make the short list of common checkmates in the opening.

Here's a link to checkmates in the opening:

Do NOT teach in alphabetical order! FTB always covers the KINGSIDE mates/traps first. Teach just one pattern per lesson near the end after we have rehearsed our drills on rules, terms, elementary checkmates and pawn promotions. Never begin a lesson with the opening -- work on the various ways to FINISH a game (forced elementary checkmates, stalemates, perpetual checks, insufficient mating material, etc.) from simple, reduced positions!

After several months of lessons, repeated as necessary to insure recall, all the KINGSIDE mates/traps have been learned by heart. The players can demonstrate with the pieces without any prompting. (This will take an entire semester or first year of king pawn lessons for the group to grasp, depending upon it's size and frequency of attendance.) Then it's time to start teaching one QUEENSIDE mates/traps per lesson toward the end of the lesson.

FTB also likes to use the classroom globe to refresh a bit of geography as the names of openings are introduced. It is good for kids to be reminded where Russia and Moscow are on the map, where England and London are, where Germany and Berlin are, etc. Chess is the world's #1 game!

Here's a link to common traps/mating patterns in the opening that should be learned by beginners:

Wikipedia is a good source of foundational chess information for free:

A less accurate but useful traps list:

ALWAYS REVIEW the previously taught mates/trap(s) BEFORE introducing new material. If the prior material of past lessons has not been learned by heart, do not teach new material. Recall of the basics must come quick and easy in chess. Always build upon a sound, solid foundation of knowledge...not a shaky memory.

Mar-16-18  Sally Simpson: Hi F.T.B.

Nice thought provoking posts.

"When someone says the theory in a book is outdated...."

Reminds me of a time at a bookstall when I was trying to get a 1500 player to put back the opening book he was hanging on to and buy Tartakower's (and Du Monts) 500 games. (It was also cheaper by a few pounds than that opening book - I'm sure it was The Slav.).

I got the reply. 'The openings will be out of date.'

I replied something like - What can be out of date about developing your pieces and the middle games ideas can never be out of date, they are timeless, as are the notes in this book. You will actually enjoy going through this book.

I failed. You know and I know that at that level he won't be seeing many mainlines going past 5 moves in any opening. He will have a headful of crap that will never be seen on his chessboard and huge gaps in his chess knowledge and heritage.

Today's questions: (and it's not a trick question.)

What is it that every pieces on the chessboard, including the King and a pawn, can do. But a Queen cannot. (I stress it's not a riddle, this is a valid question with a correct answer.)

Mar-16-18  zanzibar: <<Sally> What is it that every pieces on the chessboard, including the King and a pawn, can do. But a Queen cannot.>

Be on an opposite colored square at start of game?

Mar-16-18  Sally Simpson: No.

The one thing every other piece can do but the Queen cannot.

The Queen is the only piece that cannot be the piece moving to give a discovered or double check. (else it would already be giving a check and therefore cannot move) Best explained by a couple of diagrams.

click for larger view

The piece on d4 can be a King, Pawn, Bishop or Knight and move to give a discovered check. It cannot be a Queen.

click for larger view

The piece on d4 can be a King, Pawn, Rook or Knight and move to give a discovered check. It cannot be a Queen.

Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: <Sally Simpson> Thank you for sharing.

FTB has read numerous chess instruction books, and some tricky/riddle books, but does not recall ever being told the queen can not generate a discovered check as the moving piece. Thanks! FTB will use that one at the chess club.

FTB appreciated your story about the comment on outdated opening lines. FTB continues to play out-of-fashion (but not necessarily refuted) lines with good success in out-of-state tournament play (where my less familiar opponents have not prepared specifically for my tournament repertoire). The younger rising star players are often booked up on the contemporary lines of the top GMs, but brush aside unfashionable lines as played out, and consequently are not as prepared for them. Practical beats precise when precise runs out of memorized book lines. FTB plays various lines hoping to catch the opponent off-guard and generate unfamiliar middle games -- not for a slight theoretical edge as GMs do.

Certainly 500 Master Games of Chess by Dr. Savielly Tartakower and Julius Du Mont is a much forgotten book (because it is printed in descriptive notation and all concerned are deceased). For shear volume, entertainment value, and instruction, 500 MGOC is the Holy Grail of chess books!! If shipwrecked on a deserted island, this is THE chess book to have as it contains annotated games from all the old masters grouped by opening. Other encyclopedic efforts include Sergeant's book on Morphy's Games, Blackburne's 400 games, Alekhine's Best Games, Chernev's 1000 Short Games, Tarrasch's instruction, Lasker's Manual/Nunn's Complete Chess Course, Frank Marshall's 50 Years, Art of Attack in Chess by Vladimir Vukovic, Zurich 1953 by Bronstein, The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal, and Polgar's Brick. Chess: 5334 Problems, Combinations and Games by Laszlo Polgar would be my second choice strictly for training purposes, but it lacks colorful entertaining prose. After all this time, 500 MGOC with it's opening index is still the granddaddy chess book for sequestered sailors on sandy beaches. (Kasparov needed 5 volumes to cover all the bases, so FTB probably won't ever get that far. Re-reading a favorite chess book is more important for recall than reading a new one.)

Those amateurs with the good fortunate of being safely at home should first read the books recommended above by <zanzibar>. Then there's The Art of the Checkmate by Georges Renaud and Victor Kahn, How To Improve Your Chess by Al Horowitz and Fred Reinfeld, perhaps Self-Taught Chess for Beginners and Intermediates by Milton Finkelstein (out-of-print) as well as Chess Master vs. Chess Amateur by Max Euwe and Walter Meiden. Don't forget Complete Chess Course by the author of your choice. This base of fundamental understanding will be greatly re-enforced by 500 MGOC!

One of the best ways to get better at chess is to replay annotated games by the masters because each game provides an education in tactics, combinations, mate/draw patterns, opening development, middle game planning, endgame conversion, strategic attack and defense, etc. etc. etc. Most young players get hung up on tactics and opening book theory, but that's not the whole picture. Their game tails off as the pieces are traded off. Oh, the art of the exchange... Thank goodness that "pawns are the soul of chess."

How to read 500 games? Buy the book and make a commitment. Review yesterday's game, and read today's next game. That's one review, one new each and every day of the year without fail. Use a book mark, book stand, chessboard and pieces at a table. When possible, do four or five games on a weekend to make up time for those extra busy (no time for chess?!?) days. This routine is somewhat the approach FTB uses for his daily endgame studies. (FTB always reviews the first page and last paragraph of EACH CHAPTER [paper clip marker chapter by chapter] everyday so the principle/concept is not forgotten as the rest of the book is gradually studied.) Daily dedication is the key, and be quick about it. Just 10-20 minutes per day (before playing internet games) pays off handsomely. Of course, ol' FTB is not wasting his time reading and replying to 50 text messages every night. He wisely cuts to the chase and dials the phone number to speak to the person he wants to communicate with. That leaves more time for chess!

Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: Mrs. FTB is happy because she gets the television remote control in the evenings! (Sometimes Mrs. FTB plays chess on the hand-held device of her choice, but she does not study chess other than some puzzles once in awhile. It's just a casual game to her, not a public competition of conquering armies, a test of wills and insights, like it is for FTB.) She is glad FTB is home at night, not out gambling or getting drunk at the pub.

Mrs. FTB has read a couple of beginners books and sometimes asks for advice. She might watch my chess DVD when I do. That's enough for her, and that's fine too. Chess can be whatever a person wants to make of it... more serious or less serious. Training yields more successful results against stiffer competition, of course. Many people are satisfied with just playing casually.

Mrs. FTB likes to travel to the out-of-state tournaments with FTB. She enjoys seeing the kids reactions and interactions. It almost seems she finds the agony of hard-fought draws as much or more interesting than wins and losses. Below GM level, the various ways of drawing have their own unique stories. Perhaps this is partially due to FTB's ability to draw endgames from lost positions. Of course, we make an effort to do a bit of sight seeing the big city before returning home.

Our cat likes to play with the pieces once in awhile too, but those moves are illegal, usually out-of-turn! FTB protests. Normally, the cat just curls up nearby.

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