Your Questions Answered By Andrew Martin

Your Questions Answered By Andrew Martin

IM AndrewMartin
Dec 1, 2008, 12:00 AM |
6 | Other

International Master Andrew Martin from England presents a regular series of articles to answer any questions that readers have about the game of chess.

If you want to ask Andrew a question, then send an email to and next time your question could be featured!

Now it's over to Andrew for this week's questions and answers...

Some questions about openings this week. I hope you enjoy the games.

Anonymous asks about the Blumenfeld Gambit. Is it worth playing with Black?

My view is 'yes', but discretion is advised!  Take a look at this brilliancy from the last round of this year's British Championship.

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 c5 4.d5 b5 5.Bg5 exd5 6.cxd5 h6 7.Bxf6 Qxf6 8.Qc2 a6 9.a4!

A typical prod, which conquers the square c4. 9...b4 10.Nbd2 d6 11.e4 Nd7 [After 11...Bg4 comes 12.e5! dxe5 13.Ne4 Qf4 14.Nfd2 Bf5 15.Bd3 Bxe4 16.Nxe4 Nd7 17.g3 Qg4 18.h3 Qh5 19.d6 Qg6 20.Rd1 b3 21.Qe2 f5 22.g4 c4 23.Bb1 fxg4 24.Qxc4 Qf7 25.Qc6 Rd8 26.hxg4+- Chernin,A-Miles,A/Tunis 1985] 12.Bd3 [12.Be2 g6 13.0–0 Bg7 14.Nc4 a5 15.Rad1 0–0 16.Rd2 Ba6 17.Ne3 Bxe2 18.Rxe2 Nb6 19.Rb1 h5 20.Nd2 Bh6 21.Nec4 Nd7 22.Nb3 Ra6 23.g3 Ne5 24.Nxe5 Qxe5 25.f4 Qe7 26.Nd2 Qb7 Naumkin,I-Franchini,G/Lido Estensi 2003/1–0 (46)]

12...g5 13.0–0 g4? A little too ambitious.[13...Be7 14.e5 dxe5 15.Ne4 Qb6 16.a5 Qc7 17.Rfd1 Bd6 18.Nfd2 Bb7 19.Nc4 Bf8 20.Be2 f5 21.Ng3 0–0–0 22.Qxf5 Kb8 23.d6 Qc8 24.Bf3 Bg7 25.Bxb7 Qxb7 26.Qg6 Rhg8 27.Rac1 e4 28.Qxe4 Alekhine,A-Castillo,M/Santiago de Chile 1927/1–0 (45) 28...Qxe4 29.Nxe4 Bd4 30.Kf1 Rge8 31.Re1 Re6 32.Re2 Rf8 33.Rcc2 Rf4 34.f3 g4 35.Ned2 Rg6 36.Re7 Kc8 37.g3 Rf8 38.f4 Kd8 39.Re2 h5 40.Nb3 h4 41.Rcd2 Bf6 42.Nb6 hxg3 43.hxg3 Alekhine,A-NN/Santiago de Chile 1927/1–0 (46)]

14.e5! Launching a round of fierce complications. 14...dxe5 [14...Qd8 15.e6 gxf3 16.exd7+ Bxd7 17.Nxf3±] 15.Ne4 Qd8 To prevent the f3 knight from immediately coming into the attack via h4. 16.Nfd2 f5 Rudd knew this was risky, but without it, the compensation for the pawn is very obvious. This at least forces Pert to justify the sacrifice. 17.Ng3 e4 18.Rae1 [18.Bxe4 fxe4 19.Qxe4+ Qe7 20.Qg6+ Kd8 21.Rfe1 Qf6 22.Qe8+ Kc7 23.Re6 Bg7] 18...Kf7 Pert had missed this move, which forces him to play carefully to press home his attack.

19.Bc4 Nf6 20.f3 gxf3 21.Ndxe4! [21.gxf3 e3 22.Rxe3 f4] 21...fxe4 22.Rxe4!! The winning move that Rudd missed. [22.gxf3 e3] 22...Bd6 Desperately attempting to exchange the knight off. [22...Nxe4 23.Qxe4 Be7 24.Rxf3+ Ke8 25.Qg6+ Kd7 26.Qc6#; 22...Kg7 23.Rf4] 23.Rxf3 Bxg3 [23...h5 24.Re6 Bxe6 25.dxe6+ Ke7 26.Qg6+-] 24.d6+! Kf8 25.hxg3 Bb7 [25...Qxd6 26.Ref4 Kg7 27.Rxf6 Qxf6 28.Rxf6 Kxf6 29.Qf2+ comes to much the same thing.] 26.Rxf6+ [26.Re7 also wins: 26...Bxf3 27.Qg6] 26...Qxf6 27.Rf4 Qxf4 28.gxf4 Kg7 29.Qf5 It's all over: Rudd plays a few more moves to give his opponent the satisfaction of finishing him off. 29...Rh7 30.Qe5+ Kf8 31.Qf6+ Ke8 32.Qg6+ Kf8 33.Qg8#  1–0 What a game! I am indebted to Jack Rudd for his help with the notes.

congratulates me on my recent DVD for Chessbase on the Evans Gambit. Is the opening really sound he asks?

Well, Nigel Short seems to think so. At the very least it's a lot of fun. Here is Nigel in recent action.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4 Short describes himself as a 'chess tourist' these days. He is happy to play old-fashioned gambit openings to surprise and confuse. His approach reminds me of Bent Larsen on his rise to the summit who was always willing to risk and experiment in order to improve his results. Of course, it is far more difficult these days to completely confound the opponent.

4...Bxb4 5.c3 Be7 6.d4 Na5 7.Nxe5 Nxc4 8.Nxc4 d5 9.exd5 Qxd5 10.Ne3 Qd7 [10...Qg5 11.0–0 Nf6 12.Ba3 Bxa3 13.Qa4+ b5 14.Qxa3 Bb7 15.c4 0–0–0 16.d5 Rhe8 17.Qxa7 Ng4 18.Nxg4 Qxg4 19.Nd2 Re2 20.Nb3 Qxc4 21.Rad1 Bxd5 22.Na5 Rxa2 23.Qa6+ Kd7 24.Nxc4 Rxa6 25.Rxd5+ Sveshnikov,E-Zaiatz,E/Moscow 1992; RR 10...Qd8 11.0–0 c6 12.Ba3 Bxa3 13.Nxa3 Ne7 14.Qd3 0–0 15.c4 Qd6 16.f4 Nf5 17.Nac2 Qg6 18.Qc3 Re8 19.Rf3 Bd7 20.Nxf5 Bxf5 21.Ne3 Rad8 22.Rd1 Be4 23.Rg3 Qd6 24.f5 Kh8 25.Qb2 Jacko,V-Mareckova,M/Frydek Mistek 2007]

11.Nd2!?N This is a very solid line for Black ,who hangs back with his two Bishops and allows White to control the centre for the time being. 11 Nd2, whilst new, is not really very different to 11 c4, as you'll see. White's relying on central control and then the idea of c3-c4 and Bb2 to furnish an attack. [11.c4 b5 12.0–0 Nf6 13.Bb2 Bb7 14.Qb3 a6 15.Nc3 b4 16.Rad1 0–0 17.Ne2 Rfe8 18.Rfe1 Rad8 19.Ng3 Qc8 20.Ngf5 a5 21.d5 Qd7 22.Nxe7+ Qxe7 23.Qa4 Ba6 24.Bxf6 gxf6 25.h3 Qc5 Giannopoulou,K-Oikonomopoulou,M/Greece 2001; 11.0–0 b5 (11...Nh6 12.Re1 0–0 13.c4 Bb4 14.Bd2 Bxd2 15.Qxd2 Nf5 16.Nxf5 Qxf5 17.Nc3 Be6 18.d5 Bd7 19.Re3 Rfe8 20.Rae1 1/2–1/2 Jaumandreu,A-Alberdi Guibert,J/San Sebastian 1996/EXT 2001) 12.a4 Nf6 13.axb5 Qxb5 14.Ba3 Bxa3 15.Nxa3 Qc6 16.Nac4 0–0 17.Ra5!± Kouvatsou,M-Korou,L/Volos 1996 with pressure on a7 and control of e5.]

11...Nf6 12.Nf3 0–0 13.0–0 b6 14.c4 Ng4 15.Nd5 Bb7 16.Nxe7+ Qxe7 17.h3 Nf6 18.Qb3 Rfe8 19.Bb2= The position is about equal; typical for this line. Short has enormous experience in 'hanging pawn' positions though and uses this to advantage.

19...Ne4 [After 19...Bxf3 20.Qxf3 Qe2 White may have a small edge: 21.Qb3 Rad8 22.d5 Ne4 23.Rae1] 20.Rfe1 f6 21.d5 Qd7 22.Nd4 c6 [22...Nc5 23.Qf3 Ba6=] 23.dxc6 Bxc6 24.c5+ Bd5 25.c6 Qf7 26.Qc2 Nc5?! Around here,possibly due to time pressure, L'ami starts to lose his way. [26...Rac8 appears logical.] 27.Ba3 Qg6? [27...Re5 28.Bxc5 bxc5 29.Qxc5 Bxg2 30.Rxe5 fxe5 31.Kxg2 exd4 32.c7! Rc8 33.Rc1 Qg6+ 34.Kh2 d3 35.Rc3; 27...Be4 28.Qc3 Qd5 29.f3 Rad8 30.Rad1 Bg6 31.c7 Rc8 32.Nb5!±; 27...Rxe1+ 28.Rxe1 Re8 29.Rxe8+ Qxe8 30.Bxc5 Qe1+ 31.Kh2 Qe5+ 32.g3 bxc5 33.Qxc5+-] 28.Qxg6 hxg6 29.c7! The pawn is extremely annoying. Naturally, White threatens Nb5-d6. 29...Rxe1+ 30.Rxe1 Rc8 31.Re7 a6 [31...Kf8 32.Rd7! Bb7 33.Bxc5+ bxc5 34.Nb5+-]

32.Bxc5 bxc5 33.Rd7 Kh7 34.Rxd5 cxd4 35.Rd7! g5 36.Kf1 Kg6 37.Ke2 Kf5 38.Re7! A nice finishing touch. There is nothing to prevent the White King from wandering up the board to b7. 1–0

J Arturo likes the many-sidedness of the King's Indian. It's a tough opening to play, right?

Yes, you are correct, but very rewarding. I offer two games, one of which gave me great personal satisfaction.  Such is the depth to which the main line of the King's Indian has been analysed, one might be forgiven for thinking that there is nothing original left to be discovered. Yet here we see Bent Larsen in his later years, using 9.a4 to good effect, adding something new to the arsenal of accumulated knowledge.

1.c4 g6 2.Nf3 Bg7 3.d4 Nf6 4.Nc3 0–0 5.e4 d6 6.Be2 e5 7.0–0 Nc6 8.d5 Ne7 9.a4 a5.   All the Black players seem to have agreed that 9..a5 is the best move, fixing b4. Basically, Black is trying to slow White down for as long as it takes to get the kingside attack rolling. But here we see Larsen turning the tables with a Kingside attack of his own. 10.Ne1 Nd7 11.Nd3 f5 12.exf5!?N

Larsen's new idea. Of course, the notion of taking on f5 and then trying to halt the Kingside advance with f2-f4 isn't original at all and dates from Larsen's heyday in the 50's and 60's. But White is encouraging Black to recapture with the g pawn and open up his King. 12...gxf5 13.Ra3! Excellent! The rook moves to a flexible position on the third rank and may possibly come to the Kingside! 13...Ng6 he tries to solve the position of the problem Knight on e7. However, that same Knight could play a role if Black attacks d5. [So 13...Nf6 14.f4 e4 15.Nf2 c6 is possible, although I still prefer White after 16.Be3 cxd5 17.cxd5 Qe8 18.Rb3!  Black has interrupted White's plan, but at the cost of queenside weaknesses; 13...f4 suggested by Danny King is critical, locking out the bishop on c1, and perhaps the rook on a3. Of course the drawback is losing control of the e4 square. King feels that White should tackle the move directly with 14.g3 (14.Ne4?! Nf6 15.Bf3 Nf5) 14...Ng6 15.Kh1 Nf6 (15...fxg3 16.hxg3 (16.fxg3) 16...Nf6 17.Kg2) 16.gxf4 (16.Rg1) 16...e4 17.Ne1]

14.Kh1! Larsen liked this type of mysterious King move. White tucks the King away, envisaging f2-f4 or g2-g4 at a later date. Although he may never get around to actually playing either of those moves, it's useful to preserve the option. 14...Rf7 15.f4! White now has a very active game and his pieces are much better coordinated. Black has been outplayed in the opening. 15...b6 [Personally I think Black should take on f4, at least bringing his Knights into the game: 15...exf4 16.Nxf4 Nxf4 17.Bxf4 Ne5 18.Nb5; 15...e4 16.Nf2 Nf6 17.Nb5² (But not yet 17.g4 fxg4 18.Nxg4 Bf5 19.Ne3 Qd7) ]

16.Nb5 That's another downside of 9...a5, all those moves ago. 16...Nf6 17.fxe5 [17.Nf2 also keeps White's advantage: 17...Nxf4 (17...exf4 18.Rh3 Ne4 19.Nd3 Be5 20.Bf3 Re7 21.Qc2 Qf8 22.Rh5 Qf6 23.Nxe5 Qxe5 24.b3!±) 18.Bxf4 exf4 19.Rf3 Ne4 20.Nxe4 fxe4 21.Rxf4 Rxf4 22.Rxf4 Bxb2 23.Bg4!] 17...dxe5 [17...Nxe5 18.Nf4 Ne4 19.Rh3 conclusively demonstrates the usefulness of the Rook on a3.] 18.Nf2 Bf8 19.Rb3 Bd7 [After 19...Bc5!? comes 20.Nd3 Bf8 21.Bg5 Be7 22.Qd2]

20.Bg5 Bc5 21.Qb1! White plays with an extra Rook for the time being; that's why he is better 21...e4 22.Nh3 Moving to blockade the Black pawns, after which white can think about g2-g4 to crack them apart. 22...Be7 23.Qc1± Ne8 24.Rg3! Bxg5 25.Nxg5 Rf6 [25...Rg7 26.Nd4 f4 27.Nge6±] 26.Nd4 Ng7 27.c5! Kh8 [27...bxc5 28.Qxc5 Rd6 29.Nde6±]

28.c6! Bc8 [28...Be8 29.Nde6 Nxe6 30.Nxe6 Qd6 31.Qg5 Rxe6 32.dxe6 Qxe6 33.Rxf5+-] 29.Bc4 AsHuzman recounts, the last preparatory move befoe White starts the decisive attack. Note the Rook on a8 which has still not yet entered the fray. 29...Ne5 30.Rh3! h6? [30...h5 was the only move to prolong matters after which White has many strong moves: 31.Bb3 (31.Nde6 Bxe6 32.Nxe6 Qd6 33.Nxg7 Kxg7 34.Rxh5±; 31.b3! Qe7 32.Nde6 Bxe6 33.Nxe6 Qf7 34.Nxg7 Kxg7 35.Qg5+ Qg6 36.Qf4 Nxc4 37.Rg3±; 31.Nge6 Bxe6 32.Nxe6 Qd6 33.Nf4 Kg8 34.Nxh5 Nxh5 35.Rxh5 Raf8 36.Qc3 Nxc4 37.Qxc4±) 31...Nd3 32.Qd1±; 30...Nxc4 31.Nxh7!+-] 31.Nxe4!+- fxe4 32.Rxf6 Bxh3 [32...Qxf6 33.Rxh6+]

33.Rxh6+ Kg8 34.d6+ A superb game from Larsen, where the pawn move a2-a4 was used in a most unexpected way. 1–0

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 b6!? Dubbed 'futuristic' by IM Gerald Welling. My simple thought is that the Samisch pawn structure is inflexible and with good timing Black should be able to obtain a good position, full of dynamic chances.

6.Be3 Bb7 Clearly this is not the ideal square for this Bishop with e4 so securely protected. Furthermore d4-d5 looks as though it will throttle the Bishop completely. Is that the full story? I don't think so. Black delays castling deliberately, waiting for White to commit himself. 7.Qd2 c5 An important prod, opening up prospects for the Bishop on g7 8.d5 Nbd7! [8...a6 9.Bd3 Nbd7 10.h3 Ne5 11.Be2 Nh5 12.Bf2 b5 13.cxb5 Qa5 14.g4 Nf6 15.f4 Ned7 16.Nf3 axb5 17.Bxb5 Ba6 18.Bc6 Rb8 19.e5 Ng8 20.Rc1 Kd8 21.Bg3 f6 22.exd6 exd6 23.Kf2 Ne7 24.Rhe1 Re8 25.b3 Kc7 26.Ba4 f5 27.Ng5 Bd4+ 28.Kg2 Bxc3 29.Ne6+ Kc8 30.Rxc3 Nxd5 31.Rxc5+ 1–0 Mittendorfer,J-Steiner,P/Gmunden 2005]

9.h4N Ljukmanov could not resist it. The Samisch set-up lends itself naturally to a White Kingside assault, but what if Black doesn't play ball, leaving his King in the middle. Won't h2-h4 turn out to be weakening? Well, that was roughly what was going through my mind at the time. I couldn't assess the position exactly but resolved to carry on making flexible moves. [9.Bh6 Bxh6 10.Qxh6 a6 11.Qd2 Qc7 12.b3 0–0–0 13.Bd3 e6 14.Nge2 Ne5 15.Rb1 exd5 16.cxd5 Kb8 17.b4 c4 18.Bc2 Rc8 19.0–0 Rhe8 20.Kh1 h5 21.Nd4 Nfd7 22.b5 a5 23.Nc6+ Ka8 24.Na4 Nc5 25.Nxc5 dxc5 26.Nxa5 Rcd8 27.Nxb7 Kxb7 28.a4 ½–½ Shenin,A-Gavrilov,V/Dagomys 2004]

9...a6! 10.Nh3 Ne5! 11.Be2 h5 Had to be played now. White was threatening to swamp Black with g4-g5 and f3-f4. Probably Ljukmanov thought he was clearly better. Black continues to wait. 12.Nf2 Bc8!? A strange and remarkable move. Black covers g4 necessarily and it is becoming clear that White MUST take some further action soon otherwise Black will find a way to play b6-b5 somewhere. Perhaps 13 a4 is best now, intending Ra3 and Kd1–c2-it's difficult to say.

13.Bf4 Ra7 Provocative! 14.0–0–0?! Naturally White could have taken on e5-I couldn't call the position but felt that the dark-squared Bishop would see me through. But now, remarkably, having waited for so long, Black's attack is immediate and deadly. [14.Bxe5 dxe5 15.Nd3 Bh6 16.Qd1 Nd7 17.Qa4 Qc7] 14...Nfd7 15.Kb1 b5! The Benko Gambit is quite good when White castles long! For a measly pawn, Black blasts open lines.

16.cxb5 Qa5 17.Rc1 axb5 18.Bxb5 Ba6 Black's initiative proceeds very smoothly 19.Bxa6 Qxa6 20.b3 0–0!! The finest move of the game, all the more powerful for having been delayed. At this point I had calculated a lovely combination. 21.Bh6 Playing right into it. But with ...Rb8 etc imminent, what could he have done? 21...Nc4!! This one felt very good to play.

22.bxc4 Rb8+ 23.Ka1 Bh8!!‚ A full piece up White is powerless to stop Black invading, either with.. . Ne5 or ...Nb6-a4 24.Nfd1 Rab7 25.Re1 Ne5 0–1

Enigmatic resignation or Zugzwang on a full board? The more you look the more difficult it becomes to see a good move for White or indeed, any move. Ljukmanov gave up the ghost. One brief example might be: 26.Bf4 [26.Qc2 Nxc4 27.e5 Bxe5 28.Rxe5 Nxe5 29.Rb1 Rxb1+ 30.Nxb1 c4] 26...Nxc4 27.Qe2 Qa3 

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