Colorado Springs Chess News

The Knights Are Better Here!


The Hammer & The Anvil

Posted by Paul Anderson on June 21, 2011 at 9:15 PM

Game Of The Week

By LM Brian Wall and James Powers


Chess is like life.  Sometimes you are the hammer.  Sometimes you are the anvil. 

This week I am the anvil, as I get pounded by both my opponent and a master.  However, it is interesting to see what other players think of my choice of moves. 

I guess it is true that you are your worst critic, as I felt like I lost control of this game earlier than both Brian and James.  Instead of 15. Nc5, I wish I would have just castled.  I failed to consider that the dark-squared bishop could quickly move back to f8 and support c5 opening up both bishops.  It was one of those games where a bad plan and bad execution equal a loss.  I will let Brian and James take it from here.



I once beat Josh Bloomer in a mutual blindfold Moscow Variation - that was tough!   The Moscow is popular with GMs because they either get mind bending complications or the Two Bishops, either way they get chances to win.   I've played both sides.

My first thought is that 41 h4 is hardly the fatal error.  James has an easy plan of ... Kf2 and ... Bb5-f1:g2 mopping up anyway.  

The fatal error seems to be half a game before with the misguided 20 b4.   I don't like the whole Rc1, a3-b4 plan Paul came up with.  I think the right plan was e4, Bd3, Rfe1, Rad1 trying to control the center and suppress the Two Bishops.   This is why GMs play this line, one subtle, imperceptible error and the Two Bishops eat you alive.  

Instead of the wretched 20 b4?? 20 Nd3 c5 21 N:c5 B:g2 22 Rg1 looks playable.   After 20 b4?? a5 I see no hope for Paul, it was all miserable suffering after that.   Instead of fooling around with 18 Ne5; 18 Kd2 and 19 Rhc1 followed by f3, Ne1-d3-c5 to clamp down on c5 with Rooks instead of pawns seems much more natural. As long as James has a pawn on c6 he does not really have Two Bishops.   Those are my human thoughts without a computer.


Paul Anderson (1938) Vs. James Powers (1721)

June Panera Bread,  Round 2, Board 1

Semi-Slav Moscow variation


1. d4 d5

2. c4 c6

3. Nf3 Nf6

4. Nc3 e6

5. Bg5 h6    


I always get excited when people play the Moscow variation against me, its my favorite opening to play as black.  Its one of the most complicated openings in chess where nearly anything goes for either side and the concrete evaluation of the position on the board is what matters the most.  A better understanding of the position and better calculation will get you the point in the Moscow 6.Bh4 dxc4 7.e4 g5 8.Bg3 b5 variation, however, white can always choose the stale 6.Bxf6 variation 6. Bxf6 Qxf6  white gives up the bishop pair and besides, exhanges favor black who lacks space. However, for the time being, White's knights in the center are better than the black Bishops. 


6. Bxf6 Qxf6

7. e3 Nd7

8. Rc1 g6  


Black will place the dark bishop on the long diagonal as a it is best in this variation avoiding the exchanges with the white knights, also it creates pressure against d4 and after good preparation, black will try to realize c6-c5 freeing the long diagonal.


9. Qc2 Bg7  


9 ... Bg7 here is a mistake. Black forgot that after Bg7 White can play b4 gaining more space on the Queenside. It was necessary to play Qe7 first, then Bg7


10.a3 0-0      


After a3 I realized my mistake but its too late.  a5 now only weakens and makes my queenside pawn structure inflexible.  Had my queen been on e7, 10 ... a5 here would be fine.


11.Bd3 dxc4

12.Bxc4 b5


Another mistake.  At this point I am just muddling variations and it is clear c6 in this concrete position is a weakness that gives White some initiative on the Queen side.  Had I been thinking more clearly about my to do list it would be clear to me that this is a mistake. Rd8 or b6 is better here, especially since white is behind in playing e3-e4-e5.


13.Ba2 Bb7  


Bb3 and Ba2 are rare moves used especially by Kortchnoj.  Its not especially dangerous - black only needs to be a little careful of sacrifices on e6 after Ng5 or g6 after Ne5.


14.Ne4 Qe7 

15.Nc5 Nxc5  


It is interesting that it is white who is seeking to exchange his good knights for my bad one.

16.Qxc5 Qxc5


Here it seems bad to enter into an endgame with a bad bishop but I calculated the position and c6-c5 is unstopable in good conditions.  This move will activate both of my bishops.


17.Rxc5 Rfc8

With idea Bf8 and c6-c5.


18.Ne5 Bf8    


In the Bb3/a2 lines one must remember the tactics along the g1-a2 diagonal.  Ne5 has a real threat that must be discovered Nxg6.


19.Rc2 Kg7    


Against Nxg6.


20.b4 a5        


Playing against my c6-c5 but this is not in good conditions.  The consequences of this plan is I will gain control of the a file and my bad bishop does a very good job of protecting my weak pawn.  The thing to be evaluated here is whether or not my Queenside pawn structure is inflexible which it is not.  My c6 pawn can advance without creating weaknesses in my camp or structure and with tactical threats against the isolated b pawn.  It will be black with the initiative on the queen side.


21.Nd7 axb4    


It is important to tell the difference between imaginary and real threats once the game leaves its strategical nature and turns tactical. Nb6 is in fact not a real threat at all as after 22.Nb6 Rxa3 23.Nxc8 b3 24. Bxb3 25. Ra1+ 26. Ke2 Rxh1 black is up a pawn, another pawn is hanging and the knight from c8 is out of play and very obstructed.  It is a significant target, giving black the initiative.


22.Nxf8 Rxa3 

23.Nxe6 fxe6

24.Rb2 Rca8  


e6 was indirectly protected by the threat of Ra1 check and the fact that my rook from c8 was sustained by bishop b7.


25.Bb1 Rc3    


Using the weak squares in white's camp to invade with my rooks  26.Kd2 c5

27.dxc5 Rd8+.   The c5 pawn does not need  to be recaptured right away.  One idea of a pawn sacrifice is to use the tempo it takes your opponent to capture the pawn to improve your position in a way not otherwise possible.  This technique is often used with the isolated pawn.


28.Ke2 b3

29.e4 b4

30.Rd1 Rxd1

31.Kxd1 Bc6


Bc6 has a very real threat.


32.f3 Rxc5

33.Kd2 Rc3

34.Bd3 g5    


Playing against the light bishops threats, and obstructing the opponent from f4 creating a phalanx which could prove to be useful in some variations.


35.Rb1 Kf6

36.Rc1 Rxc1

37.Kxc1 Ke5 

38.Kb2 Kd4

39.Ba6 Ba4


Yes I intentionally put my bishop out of play by giving it a very important defensive role. but my advantage is clear after the king march and white having two weaknesses is fatal.

40.Bc8 e5

41.h4 gxh4 


41.h4 is the final mistake.  After gxh4 white's kingside pawn structure is inflexible and white will be zugzwanged.


42.Be6 Ke3


With the idea 43.Bxb3 Bxb3 44.Kxb3 h3 and Black wins.


43.Bc8 Kf4

44.Be6 Kg3

45.Bh3 h5  


Crowning Blacks idea from move 41.  None of whites pieces can move and the Ba4 position will be improved.


46.Kb1 Bb5

47.Kb2 Bc4


Taking away the a2-g8 diagonal and eliminating all of whites counter play.  Also a form of triangulation, black wants to play Bf1 but only when the white king cannot take immediately b3.


48.Bd7 Kxg2

49.f4  exf4 

50.Bc6 f3 

51.Bd5 Bxd5

52.exd5 f2


White Resigns

The Hammer & The Anvil


[Event "June Panera"]

[Site ""]

[Date "2011.06.09"]

[Round "2.1"]

[White "Anderson, Paul"]

[Black "Powers, James"]

[Result "0-1"]

[ECO "D43"]

[PlyCount "104"]

[EventDate "2011.06.02"]

[TimeControl "5400"]


1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. Bg5 h6 6.

Bxf6 Qxf6 7. e3 Nd7 8. Rc1 g6 9. Qc2 Bg7 10. a3 O-O 11. Bd3 dxc4 12. Bxc4 b5

13. Ba2 Bb7 14. Ne4 Qe7 15. Nc5 Nxc5 16. Qxc5 Qxc5 17. Rxc5 Rfc8 18. Ne5 Bf8

19. Rc2 Kg7 20. b4 a5 21. Nd7 axb4 22. Nxf8 Rxa3 23. Nxe6+ fxe6 24. Rb2 Rca8

25. Bb1 Rc3 26. Kd2 c5 27. dxc5 Rd8+ 28. Ke2 b3 29. e4 b4 30. Rd1 Rxd1 31. Kxd1

Bc6 32. f3 Rxc5 33. Kd2 Rc3 34. Bd3 g5 35. Rb1 Kf6 36. Rc1 Rxc1 37. Kxc1 Ke5

38. Kb2 Kd4 39. Ba6 Ba4 40. Bc8 e5 41. h4 gxh4 42. Be6 Ke3 43. Bc8 Kf4 44. Be6

Kg3 45. Bh3 h5 46. Kb1 Bb5 47. Kb2 Bc4 48. Bd7 Kxg2 49. f4 exf4 50. Bc6 f3 51.

Bd5 Bxd5 52. exd5 f2 0-1

This Week In Chess


On June 21st, the CSCC had 7 members in attendance.  The participants played in an abbreviated version of the June Mating Game (RR, G25).  Here are the results:


Score, Player


2.5 Buck Buchanan

2.0 Paul Anderson

1.0 Mark McGough

0.5 Dean Brown

Categories: 2011

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Reply Jason Loving
8:11 PM on June 28, 2011 
Pretty impressive endgame technique to claim the win. Can't say much about the opening though, never played either side.
Reply BrianWall
2:30 AM on June 29, 2011 
The annotations are much improved this week.
Reply James Powers
7:10 AM on June 29, 2011 
when i first sent this game to Brian the annotations were so messed up i don't know how he decoded it :) Jason you should know a thing or two about endgame technique to earn the tough point. great game last week. good job.