Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Fighting Kann/Nimzowitsch Variation

Nigel Short has been playing interesting chess of late. See this game:
Godena, Michele - Short, Nigel
53rd GM Reggio Emilia ITA (7), 2011.01.04
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nf6 5.Nxf6+ gxf6 6.c3 Qd5 7.Be3 h5 8.Qb3 Bh6 9.Nf3 Bxe3 10.fxe3 Qe4 11.Kd2 Nd7 12.Bc4 e6 13.Rhf1 h4 14.Rf2 b6 15.Raf1 Bb7 16.Qa3 c5 17.Bb5 Bc6 18.Qa4 Bxb5 19.Qxb5 O-O-O 20.Qd3 Qd5 21.c4 Qd6 22.Kc2 f5 23.Rd1 Nf6 24.Ng5 Qc7 25.d5 Rh5 26.Nf3 exd5 27.cxd5 Rxd5 28.Qa6+ Kb8 29.Rfd2 f4 30.exf4 Qxf4 31.Rxd5 Nxd5 32.Kb1 h3 33.Qe2 hxg2 34.Qxg2 Rf5 35.Ne1 Rg5 36.Qh3 Qe4+ 37.Qd3 Qxd3+ 38.Nxd3 Rh5 39.Rf1 c4 40.Nc1 Rxh2 41.Rxf7 c3 42.Nd3 cxb2 43.Nxb2 Nc3+ 44.Kc1 Nxa2+ 45.Kb1 Nc3+ 46.Kc1 Nd5 47.Nc4 Rh6 48.Kb2 Nc7 49.Kb3 Re6 50.Na3 a6 51.Nc2 Rd6 52.Nb4 b5 53.Na2 Kb7 54.Nc3 Kb6 55.Rh7 Ne6 56.Rh8 Nc5+ 57.Ka3 Rd3 58.Rh6+ Ka5 59.Kb2 b4 0-1

The move 6...Qd5 was first played over one hundred years ago by Aaron Nimzowitsch vs Paul Saladin Leonhardt at Karlsbad 1907. Should it be called the Nimzowitsch variation of the Fighting Kann? After 6 c3, I played Qd5 against none other than IM Boris Kogan! I played it against NM Brian McCarthy too. I'm honest enough to admit I lost both games. At least they were interesting! Godena varies with 7...h5. I found 2 games on that went:
1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Nxf6 gxf6 6. c3 Qd5 7. Be3 Bf5 8. Ne2 Nd7 9. Nf4 Qd6 then either 10 Bc4 in ½-½, Pap (2402) vs. Barnaure (2416); or 10 Bd3 in 0-1, Pavlovic (2570) vs. Efimov (2477).
Yasser even played it against Boris Spassky! Barcelona 1989

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.c3 dxe4 4.xe4 f6 5.xf6+ gxf6 6.c3 d5 7.e2 e5 8.e3 e6 9.c2 d7 10.a3 O-O-O 11.O-O-O b6 12.dxe5 xd1+ 13.xd1 xd1+ 14.xd1 fxe5 15.g3 f5 16.d3 e4 17.e2 c5 18.h5 1/2-1/2

The best game I ever played was against NM Mark Pinto at the US Open in Somerset, NJ, back in 1986. I played the Fightin' Kann and he played 6 c3, so I hit him with Qd5! Alas, I no longer have the game score, as it was lost to water damage...But somewhere out there, someone still has a copy of the bulletins from that USO! Honesty compels me to report that I lost the next game miserably. That's my chess career in a nutshell; a microcosm, as it were. Riding high in April; shot down in May...Playing like a GM in one game; a class 'Z' in the next...
So what did I learn by going to the NICbase? That Mr Pinto played 6...Qd5 himself on several occasions! That's right, imitation is the sincerest form...Unfortunately, Mark was not as fortunate as I, losing two games before drawing this one:
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.d2 dxe4 4.xe4 f6 5.xf6+ gxf6 6.c3 d5 7.f3 g4 8.e2 d7 9.h3 h5 10.c4 a5+ 11.d2 c7 12.c3 g8 13.g4 g6 14.d2 O-O-O 15.e3 e6 16.c5 g7 17.O-O-O ge8 18.h4 f5 19.f4 f6 20.f3 d5 21.xd5 exd5 22.f2 e4 23.g2 de8 24.he1 fxg4 25.hxg4 f5 26.xe4 xe4 27.g5 e7 28.d2 h5 29.e1 g4 30.e3 h6 31.xe4 xe4 32.e3 f3 33.gxh6 xh6 34.xf5 xf4+ 35.e3 h5 36.g1 g6 37.g4+ b8 38.e2 c2+ 39.e1 g3+ 40.f1 e4 41.g2 b1+ 42.e1 f5+ 43.f3 h3+ 44.g1 f5 45.g2 1/2-1/2 Gabor Pirisi-Mark Pinto, Budapest 1997

And then, a BLAST from the PAST! Although I had forgotten about this game, it came back to mind!
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.c3 dxe4 4.xe4 f6 5.xf6+ gxf6 6.c3 d5 7.e3 g8 8.e2 g4 9.d2 e6 10.f4 a5 11.d3 e5 12.e2 h5 13.O-O-O xa2 14.dxe5 d7 15.b1 a1 16.e6 xe6 17.c2 O-O-O 18.f4 h6 19.xe6 xe3+ 20.fxe3 fxe6 21.d4 a5 22.f1 g5 23.a2 xe3+ 24.b1 c5 25.b4 xd4 26.cxd4 d7 27.d5 exd5 28.xd5 g4 29.d1 xb4+ 30.a2 b6 31.b3 a5+ 32.b1 a3 0-1 Norman Rogers-Tim Brookshear, Nat-open 1991
The Legendary Georgia Ironman himself played it! Life ain't so bad!
If anyone out there in reader land happens to have a copy of the US Open bulletins from 1986, I would appreciate it if you would leave a copy of the best game I ever played in the comment section. Thank you very much!

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