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Thematic Challenge
Member since Jan-18-12 · Last seen Nov-01-17
Chessgames Challenge: Team White vs Team Black, 2012 was such a smash hit, we're doing it again in 2017!

<Rules and Regulations> See the Thematic Challenge Voting Page and if you like, go ahead and cast your vote for as many openings as you're willing to take, with Black and/or White!

<Schedule> The game will begin on Nov 1st at 12:00 noon USA/Eastern. Each team will have 48 hours to come up with their move.

<Voting Page> You can vote for the opening to be played right now! Visit our Thematic Challenge Voting Page and cast as many votes as you like, for whatever openings you're willing to play with White or Black.

This game is open only to premium members. Everybody can vote, premium or regular, but premium votes count for 10 normal votes.

Computers are PROHIBITED during the event, including use of the new Analysis Laboratory feature. The one exception is any analysis which is computed directly from the Opening Explorer, which will be available to both teams equally.

Voting tallies will be reported on an irregular basis leading up to the close of voting on October 31st, when we'll reveal the final scores. As described in the rules, the variation with "the most number of players willing to play the inferior-side" will be chosen.

Chessgames.com Full Member

   Thematic Challenge has kibitzed 27 times to chessgames   [more...]
   Nov-01-17 chessgames.com chessforum (replies)
 
Thematic Challenge: <MuzioFan> Yes the rules regarding computers are a bit of a muddle, I'll compose a piece and post it to the White Team forum and then post the identical piece to the Black Team forum. In a nutshell, you can use computers up to the point where a genuine TN (according
 
   Nov-01-17 Thematic Challenge chessforum
 
Thematic Challenge: The teams have been assigned in accordance with the rules: If you voted for both team White and Black in the Traxler defense, you'll be assigned a team at random. If you voted for neither team White nor Black in the Traxler defense, you'll be assigned a team at random. If
 
   Oct-11-17 Team White vs Team Black, 2015 (replies)
 
Thematic Challenge: <MuzioFan> Arrrrr, have faith my lad, the Thematic Challenge II is coming soon! And with the new list of choices, it might just involve the Muzio gambit itself! For more info see Chessgames Challenge . Tally-ho!
 
(replies) indicates a reply to the comment.

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 7 OF 7 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Oct-15-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  Thematic Challenge: TALLY-HO! It's time for a tally!

<The Evans Gambit>

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 b4
Votes for White: <55> | Votes for Black: 62


click for larger view

<The Traxler Counterattack>

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Nf6 4 Ng5 Bc5
Votes for White: 53 | Votes for Black: <52>


click for larger view

<The Immortal Draw Variation>

1 e4 e5 2 Nc3 Bc5 3 Na4 Bxf2+ 4 Kxf2
Votes for White: <42> | Votes for Black: 62


click for larger view

<The Goering Gambit>

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 exd4 4 c3
Votes for White: <34> | Votes for Black: 51


click for larger view

<The Modern Benoni>

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 c5
Votes for White: 41 | Votes for Black: <23>


click for larger view

<The Frankenstein-Dracula Variation>

1 e4 e5 2 Nc3 Nf6 3 Bc4 Nxe4 4 Qh5
Votes for White: <22> | Votes for Black: 63


click for larger view

We need a lot more voters soon, as things stand it will between 8 or 9 people. Come on, yellow bellied cowards, stand and deliver!

This is the early registration for the game! Click on as many positions and you're willing to play: Thematic Challenge Voting Page.

A few varmints have gone through the entire list and voted on each position. That's some good thinkin' — it guarantees they won't be on the wrong side of any melee.

You can sign up later but if you do you'll join late and have no say in what opening is being played.

Oct-16-17  MuzioFan: Exciting openings! I do have a small confession: while I greatly enjoy the Muzio Gambit over the board, my confidence in it for white in a TCBOB is quite low... It makes me wonder if there are others more aggressive than me who would take up the white side in this challenge!
Oct-16-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: I don't really think White's position could be sound in the Muzio, in fact I believe I've seen some pretty simple ways to defuse it, but like all chess openings I'm sure there are ins-and-outs that will be hard to work out over the board. Of course this isn't OTB, it's correspondence, and team correspondence at that.

But damn the torpedoes, I'll be brave and be willing to play either side of the Muzio. #YOLO

Oct-17-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  Thematic Challenge: TALLY-HO! It's time for a tally! The Evans Gambit is well in the lead!

<The Evans Gambit>

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 b4
Votes for White: 155 | Votes for Black: <147>


click for larger view

<The Goering Gambit>

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 exd4 4 c3
Votes for White: 129 | Votes for Black: <125>


click for larger view

<The Immortal Draw Variation>

1 e4 e5 2 Nc3 Bc5 3 Na4 Bxf2+ 4 Kxf2
Votes for White: 126 | Votes for Black: <116>


click for larger view

<The Traxler Counterattack>

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Nf6 4 Ng5 Bc5
Votes for White: <108> | Votes for Black: 160


click for larger view

<The Muzio Gambit>

1 e4 e5 2 f4 exf4 3 Nf3 g5 4 Bc4 g5 5 O-O
Votes for White: 120 | Votes for Black: <106>


click for larger view

<The Modern Benoni>

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 c5
Votes for White: <105> | Votes for Black: 130


click for larger view

<The Frankenstein-Dracula Variation>

1 e4 e5 2 Nc3 Nf6 3 Bc4 Nxe4 4 Qh5
Votes for White: <99> | Votes for Black: 159


click for larger view

<The Blackmar-Diemer Gambit>

1 d4 d5 2 e4 dxe4 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 f3
Votes for White: 109 | Votes for Black: <95>


click for larger view

<The Tennison Gambit>

1 Nf3 d5 2 e4 dxe4
Votes for White: 105 | Votes for Black: <95>


click for larger view

<The Halloween Attack>

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Nxe5
Votes for White: <88> | Votes for Black: 147


click for larger view

Oct-17-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: I'm sure everyone knows what a Muzio is, but my OCD compels me to point out your move order and diagram are wrong.
Oct-17-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  cro777: The Queen of Openings.

"The Evans Gambit is an opening that should be taken seriously. The resulting positions contain sufficient possibilities for further developments and the complexity of the position should entitle the stronger player to impose his point of view.

The old 'Queen of Openings' is entirely sound, but not lethal!" (GM Mihail Marin)

Oct-20-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  Thematic Challenge: Tally-ho, it's tally time!

The Evans well in the lead, followed by the Göring gambit (where humorously the supposedly "unsound side" has the majority of votes), in third place is the mind-bending Immortal Draw variation, and finally a curious three way tie for 4th place, involving the Traxler, the Halloween Attack, and the Muzio ... which OCF's OCD will be happy to see corrected.

Remember mates, you can vote for as many positions as you want, vote both black and white if you dare, there's no limit. Go vote here before the end of the month lest ye be assigned to a random team, Thematic Challenge Voting Page

<The Evans Gambit>

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 b4
Votes for White: 209 | Votes for Black: <190>


click for larger view

<The Goering Gambit>

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 exd4 4 c3
Votes for White: 193 | Votes for Black: <158>


click for larger view

<The Immortal Draw Variation>

1 e4 e5 2 Nc3 Bc5 3 Na4 Bxf2+ 4 Kxf2
Votes for White: 158 | Votes for Black: <149>


click for larger view

<The Traxler Counterattack>

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Nf6 4 Ng5 Bc5
Votes for White: <141> | Votes for Black: 223


click for larger view

<The Halloween Attack>

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Nxe5
Votes for White: <141> | Votes for Black: 181


click for larger view

<The Muzio Gambit>

1 e4 e5 2 f4 exf4 3 Nf3 g5 4 Bc4 g4 5 O-O
Votes for White: 163 | Votes for Black: <141>


click for larger view

Oct-20-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  cro777: What's in a name?

1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Nf3 g5 4. Bc4 g4


click for larger view

5. 0-0 <This is the distinguishing move of the Muzio Gambit>

The opening received the name Muzio Gambit from the book 'The works of Damiano, Ruy-Lopez, and Salvio, on the game of chess, translated and arranged with remarks and notes by J.H. Sarratt', London, 1813. (Sarratt was the first professional player to teach chess in England).

"Salvio states that the following Gambit was sent to him by Signor Muzio, who commonly won it of his adversary Don Geronimo Gascio. He hastily gives it as his opinion that the White must win ; but has evidently analysed that game imperfectly. It is, in my opinion, the finest and most difficult of all Gambits." (From Sarratt's translation of Salvio's work from 1634)

Oct-22-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  PhilFeeley: I'm surprised <CG.com> didn't choose the weird 1. d4 e5 mess that results for white. It can become pretty harrowing very soon.

Having said that, I'll vote for 1. d4 anyway.

Oct-24-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Is it kosher to use an engine now to work on a possible novelty?

When the game starts, can I suggest turning off the analysis forum on the game page for all games with the same opening chosen for the thematic challenge?

Oct-24-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  chessgames.com: <Is it kosher to use an engine now to work on a possible novelty?>

We've given this some thought, and the short answer is, "yes".

The long answer: It's perfectly OK to analyze an opening to death with computers right now, and even during the first few moves of the game, provided that there are pages in the Opening Explorer that cover the variation. So if things are looking like an Evans Gambit, by all means, try to discover something new in the opening to surprise the other team.

However, once a team plays a TN (theoretically novelty) — which means the move will NOT be found in the Opening Explorer — computer analysis must cease. When that time comes I'll make an announcement on both team forums so that it's perfectly clear.

Note that if the analysis is done using the Opening Explorer and the Analysis Laboratory, whatever fruits of computation available to one team will automatically be revealed to the other. In fact, it might very well be possible that one team will suspect what the other team is thinking merely by noticing that some sideline is being heavily analyzed. We don't regard this as a flaw; it's a feature.

Because of the new features built into Olga, it would be all too easy to pull up a game of the variation being played and click the "ENGINE" link, accidentally or otherwise. We would like to place a moratorium on such efforts, or at least make it impossible for team-memebers. It gets a little complicated though, as one could find transpositions, or just do a brute analysis of the FEN. In any case, we'll ultimately know who is asking for analysis on what, if they do it through Chessgames.

Also: it's not really against the rules to analyze the game with an engine if you're not a team player. Just like chess fans here watch GMs play and criticize their moves with powerful computers, there's no reason why the spectators here should be treated differently. They just have to keep their info to themselves.

Oct-24-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  chessgames.com: <1. d4 e5> Every time we do this we remove the winning opening and insert a new one at our discretion. This time around we removed two openings in fact — we decided the Benko Gambit was simply too sound of an opening to be included here.

So we'll keep the Englund Gambit in mind for Thematic Challenge #3.

Oct-25-17  DanLanglois: oh I played one of these non-comp games b4 and was on the *losing* team.
Oct-25-17  Captain Hindsight: <DangLangLois: oh I played on the *losing* team.> You've indeed ''significantly contributed'' to your team. Then again such a situation I don't wish my worst enemy.
Oct-25-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  Thematic Challenge: TALLY-HO! It's time for a tally!

<The Evans Gambit>

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 b4
Votes for White: 265 | Votes for Black: <191>


click for larger view

<The Traxler Counterattack>

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Nf6 4 Ng5 Bc5
Votes for White: <182> | Votes for Black: 247


click for larger view

<The Modern Benoni>

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 c5
Votes for White: <170> | Votes for Black: 227


click for larger view

<The Immortal Draw Variation>

1 e4 e5 2 Nc3 Bc5 3 Na4 Bxf2+ 4 Kxf2
Votes for White: <168> | Votes for Black: 183


click for larger view

<The Halloween Attack>

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Nxe5
Votes for White: <164> | Votes for Black: 202


click for larger view

<The Muzio Gambit>

1 e4 e5 2 f4 exf4 3 Nf3 g5 4 Bc4 g4 5 O-O
Votes for White: 196 | Votes for Black: <162>


click for larger view

<The Blackmar-Diemer Gambit>

1 d4 d5 2 e4 dxe4 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 f3
Votes for White: 176 | Votes for Black: <160>


click for larger view

<The Goering Gambit>

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 exd4 4 c3
Votes for White: 246 | Votes for Black: <159>


click for larger view

<The Frankenstein-Dracula Variation>

1 e4 e5 2 Nc3 Nf6 3 Bc4 Nxe4 4 Qh5
Votes for White: <146> | Votes for Black: 215


click for larger view

<The Tennison Gambit>

1 Nf3 d5 2 e4 dxe4
Votes for White: 170 | Votes for Black: <132>


click for larger view

Oct-25-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: I will play either side of the Traxler Counterattack, the Goering Gambit, and the Immortal Draw variation (given the draw odds if I play Black). I can understand why people are afraid to be on the receiving end of an attack, but come on, summon your inner Korchnoi and hang onto that extra pawn for the win!

Of the three the one I fear most is the Black side of the Immortal Draw variation. If teams are allowed to use computers to pre-analyze the strategy, the game might be over before it begins, so to speak. I really don't trust Black's compensation.

Oct-26-17  MuzioFan: <Sneaky>: Interesting, I feel really uncomfortable as White in the Immortal Draw variation. A computer analysis (which can be found in the opening explorer) gives Black a small and persistent but hard to convert advantage, but only if White makes a lot of 'only' moves.
Oct-26-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<Sneaky> Of the three the one I fear most is the Black side of the Immortal Draw variation. If teams are allowed to use computers to pre-analyze the strategy, the game might be over before it begins, so to speak.

Well, FWIW, I did extensive engine analysis of The Immortal Draw in 2012 starting at Hamppe vs Meitner, 1872 (kibitz #216) and in 2015 starting at Hamppe vs Meitner, 1872 (kibitz #250). The results were inconclusive as to whether White has a winning advantage, but I only had the engines analyze the position after 10...Nc5 since <sofouuk> had run some Rybka analysis that indicated that if instead of 11.Kb4, 11.Kb5 was possibly advantageous for White and maybe even winning.

But remember, if you were to play the Black side of The Immortal Draw, you would get draw odds. In that case I think that Black is the one that has the best "winning" chances, so I indicated that I would be willing to play Black in that variation.

Oct-27-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: Well, if nothing else, we can say with certainty that it's no easy job to poke holes in any game that has "immortal" in its title.
Oct-29-17  DanLanglois: I can't appreciate <The Evans Gambit>, simply because of C52, 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. b4 Bxb4 5. c3 Ba5 6. O-O d6 7. d4 Bb6. The defense named after Lasker.

But given the opportunity to goof w/gambits, I'm amused by the chance to play <The Muzio Gambit>

Oct-30-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  Thematic Challenge: TALLY-HO! It's time for a tally! It seems that the Traxler has overtaken the Evans! But it's such a close race at the top, just a few premium members voting one way or the other could change everything. So if you haven't done it already, see our Thematic Challenge Voting Page and cast your ballots!

<The Traxler Counterattack>

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Nf6 4 Ng5 Bc5
Votes for White: <213> | Votes for Black: 251


click for larger view

<The Evans Gambit>

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 b4
Votes for White: 276 | Votes for Black: <205>


click for larger view

<The Modern Benoni>

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 c5
Votes for White: <202> | Votes for Black: 240


click for larger view

<The Immortal Draw Variation>

1 e4 e5 2 Nc3 Bc5 3 Na4 Bxf2+ 4 Kxf2
Votes for White: <191> | Votes for Black: 205


click for larger view

<The Halloween Attack>

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Nxe5
Votes for White: <184> | Votes for Black: 206


click for larger view

<The Goering Gambit>

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 exd4 4 c3
Votes for White: 268 | Votes for Black: <182>


click for larger view

<The Blackmar-Diemer Gambit>

1 d4 d5 2 e4 dxe4 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 f3
Votes for White: 188 | Votes for Black: <173>


click for larger view

<The Frankenstein-Dracula Variation>

1 e4 e5 2 Nc3 Nf6 3 Bc4 Nxe4 4 Qh5
Votes for White: <167> | Votes for Black: 218


click for larger view

<The Muzio Gambit>

1 e4 e5 2 f4 exf4 3 Nf3 g5 4 Bc4 g4 5 O-O
Votes for White: 208 | Votes for Black: <164>


click for larger view

Oct-31-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: Well, if the voting holds up, I’ll have to flush all my preparations to play the White side of the Evans Gambit. Which is too bad since I actually have a book on it which <claims> that indeed it’s White who has the advantage.

I had bought the book some time ago and it’s rather old (1995) so, even if it claims that some of its analysis had been verified by computer, it couldn’t have been too good of an engine. My plan always was to try to verify all the analyses with modern engines, but I never got around to it. Probably just as well.

Nov-01-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  Thematic Challenge: TALLY-HO! It's time for a tally!

<The Traxler Counterattack> <••• WINNER •••>

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Nf6 4 Ng5 Bc5
Votes for White: <234> | Votes for Black: 271


click for larger view

<The Evans Gambit>

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 b4
Votes for White: 276 | Votes for Black: <226>


click for larger view

<The Modern Benoni>

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 c5
Votes for White: <222> | Votes for Black: 270


click for larger view

<The Goering Gambit>

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 exd4 4 c3
Votes for White: 268 | Votes for Black: <203>


click for larger view

<The Blackmar-Diemer Gambit>

1 d4 d5 2 e4 dxe4 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 f3
Votes for White: <198> | Votes for Black: 214


click for larger view

<The Immortal Draw Variation>

1 e4 e5 2 Nc3 Bc5 3 Na4 Bxf2+ 4 Kxf2
Votes for White: <192> | Votes for Black: 215


click for larger view

<The Frankenstein-Dracula Variation>

1 e4 e5 2 Nc3 Nf6 3 Bc4 Nxe4 4 Qh5
Votes for White: <188> | Votes for Black: 238


click for larger view

<The Halloween Attack>

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Nxe5
Votes for White: <184> | Votes for Black: 217


click for larger view

<The Muzio Gambit>

1 e4 e5 2 f4 exf4 3 Nf3 g5 4 Bc4 g4 5 O-O
Votes for White: 208 | Votes for Black: <175>


click for larger view

<The Tennison Gambit>

1 Nf3 d5 2 e4 dxe4
Votes for White: 181 | Votes for Black: <156>


click for larger view

Nov-01-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  Thematic Challenge: The Traxler Counterattack is the decided opening. This means the game will begin 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Nf6 4 Ng5 Bc5, and White will move first as usual.

As soon as I set up the game and assign members to teams I'll provide more information here.

Nov-01-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  Thematic Challenge: The teams have been assigned in accordance with the rules:

If you voted for both team White and Black in the Traxler defense, you'll be assigned a team at random.

If you voted for neither team White nor Black in the Traxler defense, you'll be assigned a team at random.

If you voted either White or Black in the Traxler defense, you'll be assigned the team you voted for.

If you did not participate in voting, you still may play, but you'll be assigned to a random team.

<Team White>

chessgames.com, offramp, chrisowen, YouRang, cro777, JointheArmy, Thematic Challenge, juan31, Renton2006, castleguy12, falconi, MuzioFan, galumph, bharat123, MARXVONAZULAY, hoodrobin, HaydenB, Pawn Promotions, sbevan, checkbang, maverick64, I Think Not, Mesterhakkeren, yariharimo, kogyithaung, Killerjoe, WinKing, Lambda, Froggy Froggerman (29 players)

<Team Black>

Administrator, Tomlinsky, Penguincw, naresb, ChatGrognon, An Englishman, The Long Diagonal, Sneaky, diceman, Goato, Chnebelgrind, yiotta, Method B, morfishine, Willem Wallekers, teorems, centralfiles, TheAlchemist, chessspark, OhioChessFan, Magusnet, xenophon, Check It Out, al wazir, PhilFeeley, Chessical, scutigera, AylerKupp, crawfb5, takchess, kutztown46, whiteshark, Robin01 (33 players)

Because of the opening chosen, White will move first. They will play their move by noon, November 3rd. The game can be found here:

Chessgames Challenge: Team White vs Team Black, 2017

The link on the homepage is a short-cut to the above game page.

The accounts <chessgames.com> and <Administrator> will handle any questions you may want to voice in private.

Note that in spite of all of the anti-computer warnings, computers *are* actually allowed until the first genuine theoretical novelty is made (according to the CG Opening Explorer). So now is the time to find a computer-generated TN if you're going to do it!

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