Lessons From The Grand Prix

Mike Callaham (1848) – Matt Thomas (1163) [A04] This game is from the Metropolitan Grand Prix, May 16th. There are a few guidelines for how to open a chess game. One of these is; Develop knights before bishops! Why? The bishops are long range pieces, the knights are short range pieces. A bishop can get to the enemy camp in just 1 or 2 moves. The knight will require 2 to 3 moves to reach the enemy camp. Knights control the center indirectly and are hard to attack with pawns in the 1st few moves of the game. Bishops control the center directly and are easy to attack with pawns early in the game. Development doesn’t have to be perfect to be good! If you make an inaccuracy in the beginning of the game, fix it before your opponent gets the rest of their people out. The notes to black’s 7th move are very instructive. The diagramed position is a perfect example of when a bishop should not have been moved before a knight! Proving an error has been made is always complicated! Another task that is easier said than done! 1.g1–f3 b8-c6 2.c2-c3 e7-e5 3.d2-d3 d7-d5 4.b1–d2 c8-f5?!  pos.503 This allows white 2 options. White can play 5.e2-e4 to go ahead and occupy the center or 5.d1–b3 to test how black will protect the pawn at b7. Since black has made 1 slight inaccuracy, if there’s no danger, let’s see if he will make another! 5.d1–b3!? b7-b6?!

5...a8-b8 was solid and would give white nothing.

5…a8-b8 was solid and would give white nothing.

This move allows white to complete development and attack at the same time. The bishop being where it can be attacked directly by a pawn and the knight being completely unprotected actually speed up how fast white’s reinforcements arrive! [5…a8-b8!= Admitting the mistake and taking the proper action. White got nothing out of the queen move. 6.e2-e4 f5-e6 7.f3-g5 d8xg5 8.e4xd5 e6xd5 9.b3xd5 g8-f6 10.d5-f3=] 6.b3-a4?! [6.e2-e4! Introducing major complications! If you haven’t gotten out a board, now is a good time!  6…d5xe4 (6…f5-e6 7.b3-a4 e6-d7 a) 7…g8-e7 8.f3xe5 d8-d6 9.d3-d4 f7-f6 10.e5-d3 0–0–0 11.f1–e2± Controling more space with a safer king than black and a free pawn.; b) 7…b6-b5!? When properly understood, there will always be lines in your opening that give you or you must give the exchange for a playable position. For the Phildor in Reverse, this is one of those times! 8.a4xb5 d8-d7 9.b5-a4!? (9.d3-d4?! Just a little hacky, slashy, and impatient! 9…e5xd4 10.f3xd4 c6xd4 11.c3xd4 c7-c6 12.b5-a4 a8-b8 13.f1–d3± with a major lead in development.) 9…g8-f6 10.d3-d4 a8-b8 11.f1–b5 b8xb5 12.a4xb5 e5xd4 13.e4xd5 e6xd5 14.0–0 d4xc3 15.b2xc3 f8-e7 16.b5-a4 This can be considered to be a repeating opening position!; 8.e4xd5 c6-d4 9.a4-d1 d4xf3+ 10.d2xf3 f8-d6 11.d3-d4 e5xd4 12.d1xd4± With a free pawn.) 7.d3xe4 f5-e6 8.b3-a4 e6-d7 9.f1–b5 g8-e7² White maintains the better pawn structure and a lead in development.] 6…d8-d7?! [6…f5-d7! By simply admitting the mistake, with a good retreat of the bishop, black avoids further problems. 7.e2-e4 g8-f6 8.a4-c2?! f8-e7 9.f1–e2 0–0 10.0–0 h7-h6=] 7.e2-e4

Now black must give up something.

Now black must give up something.

d5xe4?? Unleashing the bishop on f1 loses in every continuation! [7…b6-b5!! 8.a4xb5 f5-e6 9.b5-a4 g8-f6 10.d3-d4 a8-b8 11.f1–b5 b8xb5 12.a4xb5 e5xd4 13.e4xd5 e6xd5 14.0–0! d4xc3 15.b2xc3 f8-e7 16.b5-a4 0–0±; 7…f5-g6 8.d3-d4 c6-b8 9.f1–b5 c7-c6 10.b5-d3 e5xd4 11.f3-e5 d7-d6 12.c3xd4 d6-b4 13.a4xb4 f8xb4 14.e5xg6 h7xg6 15.0–0±; 7…f5-e6?! 8.d3-d4 c6-d8 9.a4xd7+ e6xd7 10.f3xe5 g8-f6 11.f1–d3±] 8.d3xe4 f5-g4? [8…c6-e7 9.a4-a6 (9.a4-c2 f5-e6 10.f3xe5 d7-d6 11.d2-f3 f7-f6 12.e5-c4 d6-d7 13.f1–e2 0–0–0 14.0–0+- Black’s damaged king safety, loss of a pawn, and poor development are what make this position good for white!) 9…f5-e6 10.f3xe5 d7-c8 11.f1–b5+ c7-c6 12.d2-c4 c8-c7 13.e5xc6 e6xc4 14.c6-b8+ c4xb5 15.a6xb5+ e7-c6 16.c1–f4 c7-b7 17.b8xc6+-; 8…c6-d8 9.a4-c2 (9.a4-a6 f5-e6 10.f3xe5 d7-c8 11.a6-a4+ e6-d7 12.a4-b3 g8-f6 Whitehas a pawn.) 9…f5-e6 10.f3xe5 d7-c8 11.d2-f3 f7-f6 12.e5-c4 White has a major lead in development.] 9.f1–b5 g8-e7 10.f3xe5

Black and white make errors from this position.

Black and white make errors from this position.

d7-e6?!  2 pieces for the queen is better than this move! [10…c6xe5 11.b5xd7+ g4xd7 12.a4-a6 e7-g6 13.a6-b7 a8-c8 14.d2-f3 f8-d6+-] 11.e5xg4? [11.e5xc6 a7-a6 12.c6-d4+ a6xb5 13.a4xa8+ e6-c8 14.d4xb5 c8xa8 15.b5xc7+ e8-d8 16.c7xa8 b6-b5+-] 11…e6xg4?? [11…0–0–0 12.g4-e3 c8-b8 13.0–0 c6-e5 14.d2-b3 g7-g5+-] 12.b5xc6+ e7xc6 13.a4xc6+ e8-e7 14.c6xa8 The game is over. Black plays on, but eventually resigned. 14…g4xg2 15.h1–f1 e7-d7 16.a8-d5+ d7-e8 17.d5-e5+ e8-d7 18.e5-f5+ d7-e8 19.d2-f3 f7-f6 20.f1–g1 g7-g6 21.f5-e6+ 1–0

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