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SANDS: Chess champion Kaufman offers new, improved opening book
Question of the Day
Intending to update his highly praised 2003 book “The Chess Advantage in Black and White,” Potomac GM and former world senior champion Larry Kaufman instead has produced a major new opening book likely to prove useful for competitors from casual club players to experienced masters.
“The Kaufman Repertoire for Black and White,” just out from the Dutch publishing house New In Chess, is, to cite the subtitle, a “complete, sound and user-friendly chess opening repertoire” for handling both the White and Black pieces.
The handsome, sturdy volume features two “front” covers, one white and one black, that work their way in from front and back and meet in the middle. Kaufman, a frequent competitor — and winner — at the local level, has been a pioneer of computer-aided analysis and evaluation in chess, and the new volume synthesizes the latest findings both from practical play and from the labors of the silicon monsters.
The analysis is sophisticated and, at times, pretty dense, but the author adopts the excellent practice of always explaining the final evaluations in clear prose aimed at the average player — no unexplained signs or ” … and Black is better” conclusions without at least a stab at explaining why.
In a change from his 2003 book, Kaufman now recommends (spoiler alert!) 1. d4 for the first player, while his two go-to defenses at Black are the Grunfeld against 1. d4 and the Ruy Lopez Breyer against 1. e4. The author also gives common-sense choices against more unusual opening tries.
One nice thing about books on openings is the authors often track down theoretically significant (and entertaining) games from lesser-known events and players. In his discussion of White’s response to the Slav Defense, Kaufman offers a fine game from Argentine GM Sandro Mareco from a zonal tournament last year in Paraguay, a game that upset long-standing theory on the variation in question.
White’s 12. 0-0 0-0-0 13. Rc1!, setting up some tricky tactics against the Black king, led the author to abandon the line for Black. “As far as I can tell, Black cannot reach a playable position after this,” Kaufman writes.
Mareco demonstrates why in style on 13. … Nc5 (Nb6 14. Nxb6+ Qxb6 15. Nd5 Qxb2 16. e4 Be6 17. Rb1 Qa3 18. Qc2, and the open queen-side lines give White a powerful attack) 14. Qe1 a5 (on 14. … Kb8, one strong line the author gives is 15. b4 Ne6 16. Bxe5 fxe5 17. b5 Nd4 18. bxc6 Bb4 19. Ne3 Bg6 20. Qd1! Bxc3 21. Rxc3 Nf3+ 22. Bxf3 Rxd1 23. Rxd1, with more than enough compensation for the lost queen) 15. Nb5! cxb5 16. axb5 17. b4 axb4 18. Qxb4. White is still behind in material, but Black’s queenside and shaky king present practical problems he never manages to solve.
The White queen penetrates decisively on 24. Nd5+ Kc8 (Kd7 25. Qg4+ Ke8 26. Qxg7 Rf8 27. Nf6+ Rxf6 28. Qxf6 is winning) 25. Qa5 Rhe8 26. Nb4 Qc7 27. Qa8+, when 27. … Kd7 again loses to 28. Qd5! Ke7 29. Nc6+ Kf6 30. Nxd8 Rxd8 31. Rxc5.
But no better in the long run is the game’s 27. … Qb8 28. Qc6+ Qc7 29. Rxd6! Rxd6 30. Qxe8+ Kb7 (Rd8 31. Qb5) 31. Nd3 Rc6 32. Nxe5 Rb6 33. Nd3, and Black resigns facing a lost ending after 33. … Rc6 34. Nxc5+ Rxc5 35. Qe4+ Ka6 36. Qa4+ Qa5 37. Qxa5+ Rxa5 38. Rc7.
Indian GM Magesh Panchanathan took sole first with a 7-2 score at the strong Philadelphia Open earlier this month, topping an open field that included more than a dozen grandmasters. Two of those GMs, Georgian Mikheil Kekelidze and Kentucky-based Gregory Kaidanov, provided some last-round theatrics with a sharp attacking game, with the Georgian coming out on top.
Kekelidze as Black sacrifices two pawns in this Classical Nimzo-Indian to build up a powerful king-side attack, leaving his knight en prise for several moves: 20. h3 Rg6!? 21. f3 Qxh3! 22. Rxc7 (fxe4? fxe4 23. Bc2 Bb5 24. Qd2 Rf8, with the threat of 25. … Rxg2+! 26. Qxg2 Qxe3+ 27. Kh1 Rf4 and wins) Qg3 23. Rf1! (playing for the win; Black gets a least a draw on 23. fxe4 fxe4 24. Bc2 Rh6 25. Rf1 Qh2+ 26. Kf2 Qh4+, as 27. g3? loses to 27. … Qd8, attacking the rook and threatening 28. … Rh2+) Ng5 24. Bxf5 Rh6 25. Qd2, with the game still very much up for grabs.
But White goes astray pushing a little too hard for the win: 27. e6? (Qc2! Bb5 28. fxg5 [Rd1?? Nf3 mate] Qh2+ 29. Kf2 Qh4+ 30. Kf3 Rc6 31. Rxc3 bxc6 32. Rf2 g6 and it’s still very much a fight) d4! (opening his own long diagonal while closing off White’s) 28. e4 Qh2+ 29. Kf2 Nxe6 (sufficient, but even better would have been 29. … Nxe4+! 30. Bxe4 Rxf4+ 31. Ke2 Bb5+ 32. Bd3 Qxg2+ 33. Ke1 Rxf1+ 34. Bxf1 Qxf1 mate) 30. Bxe6+ (losing; 30. Rxc6 was the last best chance, though Black is still winning) Rxe6 31. Ke1 Rxe4+ 32. Kd1 Rfxf4 Rxf4 Ba4+!, and it will soon be mate after 34. Kc1 Qg1+. Kaidanov resigned.
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About the Author
Raised in Northern Virginia, David R. Sands received an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He worked as a reporter for several Washington-area business publications before joining The Washington Times.
At The Times, Mr. Sands has covered numerous beats, including international trade, banking, politics ...
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