Marathon Chess Rd 3

Age 72, still plays chess. Recently I was diagnosed with HepC, or should I say after 50 years of the thing I was re-diagnosed and began a new form of treatment – the side effects of this wonder drug ( cocktail) are mild compared to the previous treatment for it – but still has its effects: fatigue during the day, and insomnia at night. For sleeping I’ve been taking another drug but for fatigue there is nothing but living through it. In the meantime, to fight off the treatments’ side effects , as well as try to fight off possible effects of again, I’ve enrolled in two tournaments that are one game a week affairs. One is a club level and the other is for more serious players, and that is called Marathon Chess at the Mechanics Institute in San Francisco. That tournament is run by the redoubtable IM John Donaldson, a wonderful man and player. Read more about it at, the website for the Mechanics Institute. When I was living in Berkeley i used to go there more often. John hooked me up with a collegial player who also lives in the North Bay, making the drive in more companionable and possible.

My score after three rounds is 2.5, and here is my latest game from it. Lazar is a friend who is aging like me, and is a strong Russian player.

I haven’t played the Kings Indian Lately and only decided on it at the last moment. I was pretty sure i would be facing 1.d4 though, and had been thinking more along the Nimzo Lines. But it used to be my favorite from years ago.

Ed Rosenthal


6 Naka Dragon Yugoslavs

Some wicked complicated positions from the Yugoslav Dragon Sicilian, with Nakamura playing both sides of the position. Analysis for the Robson game from Hiarcs Chess, whilst the other games have notations of other games included from Chess King 2. Fierce fighting and victories on both sides of the position lend me to believe the position ( hence the opening) is only for the most aggressive player personality.
It is not the case that once the position is “stabilized” Black has nothing to fear, nor White similarly. Not sure actually if in any of these positions you can state there is a “stablized” position, it is so dynamic for both sides.
If you plan on playing the Dragon be prepared for a short or a long struggle, and have gotten plenty of rest beforehand.

Ed Rosenthal


The Advance French Position (6.a3 c4)

I had been playing the advance variation against the French Defense lately (blitz only), and became curious about the 6.a3 line where Black plays c4 immediately. (see positions below).

When I did a search through the Chess King database I found that Sveshnikov seemed to attract this position more than others, so here are a few of his games, with notes from the Hiarcs chess engine.

I also found other interesting games where top players tried different methods, and certainly there is no end of different White play.

The take away for me from entering into this position is that you must be ready for either a game full of middle game strategy focused on Black trying to capitalize on White’s weak b3 square, or black fending off a kingside attack with clever maneuvering of White’s knights to aid in both strategic defense and tactical play, or surviving that be prepared to play a rook and pawn endgame. In some strategies Black castles long but white still attacks with pawns on the kingside(!) in order to gain either a passed pawn or create weaknesses on f6. In all cases here I tried to find games where White survived, but I could just as easily found games where Black dominated play, or drew. Its likely the position is theoretically balanced, but in the following games sheer talent in the White player showed their worth.

The games have accompanying engine notes (Deep Hiarcs 14 WCSC)

Ed Rosenthal


A Five Pawn Attack Against The London System

Here we end our series of games of the London System.

In this game Black does two strategic things – he fianchettoed his queen bishop and also moved his Queen to e8; and as as seen in previous games you normally do one or the other, but perhaps not both.

By move 20 Black has 5 pawns abreast marching into the White Camp. By move 30 the tactics resulting from threats around White’s King forced a wide crack in the White Resistance.

Category 20 is an Elo rating range of 2726–2750; one of the highest rating Category Tournaments.
Between 2009 and 2015 the score of these two giants – 14 games together – is tied at 4 to 4, with 6 draws (according to

Ed Rosenthal


Fighting the London System

This game continues our examination of the London System. The following game exemplifies how to play against this System using a King’s Indian model.

This game, from two of the finest tactical GM’s,  is worthy of your attention on several fronts. For clarity, Black’s play is a model of focus, and uses every means possible to take advantage of white’s weak squares from the very beginning. White is on the defensive and is just trying to keep up after Black’s 6th move. And Black never gives up the notion he is playing a King’s Indian. Analysis added by Chess King.

Ed Rosenthal


Manoeuvering the London System

When I lost in my first experience of the London System it was extremely unpleasant. It was like being in the grip of a slow squeezing octopus, one schooled in the ocean ruled by Petrosian and other Gods residing in Positional Parnassus.

Used to a fighting K-Indian middle game, here I was in a rather mild and boring middle game going nowhere, with no real plan. The cause of all this anxiety is that in  the London System White seeks to avoid the usual pawn structures and levers; instead plays simple chess; developing without worry over a possible outpost for black on his weak black squares, and playing for incremental stalking into the center, with a pawn structure similar to the Colle System. (White Pawns on c3,d4,e3, with the added benefit of getting his QB out from behind the pawn wall, and tucked in at h2).

Anyone who has played a weak black player using the Colle System understands the ease of obtaining a middle game with a plan for attack on the King Side. I think the analogy holds.

So this week I wanted to present two London system games in which Black found ways to counter. I was particularly interested in Black attempts early in the use of the London System vs. later games. It turned out, their plans are quite similar, and hope you find them instructive in playing against this quiet but dangerous system for White, when you are a K-Indian proponent.

The search for these games was conducted using Chess King, and the analysis is through the Hiarcs Chess Engine.

It’s always interesting to see how the engine will find alternative moves and note errors humans make. Even games fraught with errors has instructive moments, as these games attest.

Ed Rosenthal


A Couple of Sicilians

This week I provide a couple of Sicilians from prehistoric days. I hope you enjoy them.

In the first game I played against Mike Goodall, a well respected and beloved chess organizer in Berkeley in those days. You can find more chess history about him here.

Ed Rosenthal


Let Me Introduce You To…

I had been travelling the tri-city circuit (Albany, Schenectady, Rochester NY) tournament play, and went with Dr. Erich Marchand to Cazenovia for the NY State Championship in 1963. If it hadn’t been for Erich I probably would not have played chess at all. He was the strongest player in Rochester for many years, until Ken Rogoff, and I believe he had the record for tournaments entered in a lifetime achievement; He was a great chess mentor, and a very sound player. ( He also was a very canny player of the French Defense, I think he liked Botvinnik ) You can see how honored he is by visiting here.

We used to practice together at his home, and i can still smell the tomato soup!  Well he introduced me to another Dr. – Dr. Schmidt, who had a few airoplanes in the hangar. He flew us around in a small twin engine Beechcraft before playing chess, and let me at the controls for a few minutes. It was quite a treat for a young player! Anyway, i was a bit unkind to Dr. Schmidt, as the following game testifies. Thanks to John Donaldson of the Mechanics’ Institute for finding this small prize winning game from that tournament.

The opening play of the game is probably not the approved play currently, but i had been reading some opening magazines and found a system in the Ruy I wanted to try out…

I think at the time Dr. Euwe had published some opening pamphlets, that were subscriptions;
and each month I would put the three holed pamphlets together bookwise.

In a more recent game, again I had been learning another variation of the Ruy that I wanted to try out, 5. d3, and got an opportunity against a redoubtable player. It seems all my favorite variations have to do with the dratted D Pawn!

If you were to take anything away from these two games, I would choose two basic principles:

1. Find a good chess mentor who is a chess mensch and
2. Prepare some openings you want to try out, you never know when they might come in handy.

Ed Rosenthal