Archive for August, 2017

“All of man’s unhappiness comes from his inability to stay peacefully alone in his room.” – Blaise Pascal

The Sicilian Defence is great but it does have its flaws, the main one being that the King can become stuck in the centre of the board if black is not careful enough; with some players moving every queenside pawn they have before castling becomes an option, problems may arise.

It’s 1973. Spassky just lost his title as world champion and had the Soviet government take almost all of his prize money off him also but neither misfortune stopped him from becoming the Soviet champion that year. Here he shows how in a main line, where black plays natural developing moves, king safety or lack thereof, can cost him the game in the opening.  His victim that day was a certain Nukhim Rashkovsky, a man still very active in the Russian chess scene.


The Sicilian: flank play in favour of centralised piece development. The position after 7….Qc7. Since its 1973, white now plays 8. Bd3.


Black has just played 11. …Bb7. His position looks quite normal but is as so often the case with the Sicilian, white attempts to open the centre and plays 12. e5.


Play went 12. e5 dxe5 13. fxe5 Nd5 14. Bxe7 Nxc3. It’s best to stop and think what white plays next. The move itself is very sharp indeed.


The final position after 21. Qf4.


The man himself.


Home entertainment.

Enjoy the game itself.

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During what became a rather bumpy flight for both myself and my -soon to become slightly damaged- bicycle, I reverted to one of my favourite books, that being The Soviet Championships by Bernard Cafferty and Mark Taimanov.

In the late 1940’s Alexander Tolush won several brilliancy prizes in his quests to become the Soviet Champion. Whether he was, as so often described ‘cavalier’ or ‘gung ho’, it is difficult to be sure without a formative study of his career. But one thing we can be sure of is that he did not mess about over the board…oh and in case you didn’t know, he went on to be Spassky’s trainer and played a decisive role in him becoming world champion.

So, 1947 it is. Tolush plays with white, his victim on this occasion was Vladimir Alatortsev, the result being another brilliancy prize for what was a brutal kingside attack. I won’t show the whole game, just a few diagramatic motives with the linked game to follow…oh and before I forget, Tolush finished a mere fifth that year with a ‘rehabilitated’ Keres back in the fold and finishing first.


Looks like a fairly standard slav from the 1940’s to me. Tolush just played 8. Qc2 which is followed by 8. … dxc4



Both players have placed their better bishop on its best diagonal but as ridiculous as it may seem, where the queen’s knights are placed respectively, makes a more crucial difference in the position. Black has just played 10. …Qe7, and here white now plays 11. Ne2!? Anticipating black’s e-pawn break, the knight wants to go to f5 via g3. To stop that black must make a concession which will cost him dearly.


Both players pushed their e-pawns but black had to play g6 too, to stop that knight hoping into f5. White plays 15. Rae1!, threating to push his e-pawn on again, black replies with 15. …Ne5.


After 15. …Ne5, 16. Nxe5 Bxe5, 17. f4 was played with 17. …Bc7 to follow. I will stop here and suggest you play through the game linked below. Rest assured, Tolush won the brilliancy prize for a reason (his next four moves are all pawn-moves!).


As I was to soon learn, my wheels won’t look quite like that once they got off that plane.  😦



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For humour look at TrollChess on facebook and I last visited both about one year ago and have thus found a few things since, the first two are from TrollChess, the second two are from 9gag.


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