Another French Defense Bites the Dust

My opponent in this correspondence chess game was an unrated player who was given a provisional rating of 1800 for pairing purposes. At the time that I am writing this, Mike O’Mahoney has lost to me and one other opponent.

This win put me in temporary first place in this section and a subsequent draw with the other player who defeated Mike has kept me in a tie for first place in this section.

Some of you may remember a cartoon character called Huckleberry Hound. He used to sing My Darling Clementine quite often while walking around. The chorus is as follows:

Oh my darling, Oh my darling,
Oh my darling Clementine,
You are lost and gone forever,
Dreadful sorry Clementine.

I changed the chorus to the following:

Oh ma honey, Oh ma honey,
Oh ma honey chess player Mike,
You are lost and gone forever,
Dreadful sorry chess player Mike.

You tried to beat me, You tried to beat me,
You tried to beat me in a game of chess,
But you are lost and gone forever,
Dreadful sorry chess player Mike.

My opponent (Black) started making minor positional and developmental errors early in this correspondence chess game and was losing rather quickly. Thus, I cannot pick only one move as being the losing move.

Mike Serovey


Kids and Chess, Part Two

In a previous article, I posted my loss to a thirteen-year-old girl named Sara Herman. I have decided to find all of my games on  this chess blog in which I played a kid (someone under 21 years of age) and put the links to them on this page. Then, I will add another game in  which I played a kid.

Here is my game against Sara’s sister, Rebecca.

Here are my losses to Sara’s brother, Daniel:

Here is my loss to Omry Tannus.

Here is my loss to Roshan Jayaraman. I a game against a life master, Roshan spent about ten minutes analyzing a position that was a rather closed endgame. It took me about 30 seconds to find the moves that Roshan missed. Once I identified the key squares and diagonal that White needed to con troll the  I knew the moves that White needed to play and there was non need to analyze any further. Roshan did not know the theory and therefore his misanalysed the position. The position can be found here.
Old Age and Treachery

Roshan Jayaraman is the kid on the right in this photograph.

A more detailed analysis of this game, with my commentary, can be found here.

Mike Serovey


The Milner-Barry Gambit Versus Killer Dan Smith

This is another correspondence chess game from the 1978 Golden Knights Postal Championship and another “What was I thinking?” game. Back then I did not own a computer and I did not have access to chess databases or chess engines. I did not even have a book on the French Defense! I was playing from memories of what stronger players had shown to me and I was winging it.

Prior to this correspondence chess game I played another Dan Smith in an Over the Board (OTB) chess game in Tampa, Florida and lost. My friends called my opponent in that OTB chess game “Killer” Dan Smith so I transferred the nickname over to this new Dan Smith.

One of the drawbacks to playing gambits is that if my attack fails I can end up going into an endgame down material. That is what happened in this correspondence chess game. Because I made a couple of missteps, my attack fizzled out and I went in to the endgame down a pawn. Another miscalculation cost me a second pawn and I resigned.

Mike Serovey


Milner-Barry Gambit Versus The French Defense: Game 3

This game is one of my recently completed games at ICCF. My opponent in this game was rated about 50 points above me at the start of this game. I found plenty of his games in my database and thus I knew that he liked to play the French Defense. I don’t remember finding any games in which he faced the Milner-Barry Gambit, so I decided to try that opening. This time it paid off with an exciting win.

The first 11 moves of this game went exactly as I wanted them to. I was surprised by Black’s move number 12. From move 13 on I was into my own original analysis. I doubt that I would have found all of White’s good moves in an Over the Board (OTB) game. However, my familiarity with this opening would have helped me if I had enough time to look at key ideas and positions.

White gets a lead in development and attacks against Black’s King and Queen as compensation for the pawns that are sacrificed. However, I will also recapture some of my lost pawns when I get the chance to.

Black’s fifteenth move was a mistake because it forced the White Rook to a better square. Putting the Bishop on c5 would have been slightly better because it would temporarily keep the White Rook off e3. White was winning from move number 16 on, but I still needed to find the correct follow-up ideas to my previous moves. Again, Black surprised me a few times but never found any moves that threw me off.

White is putting pressure on f7 as well as chasing some of Black’s pieces around. The double check on move number 19 is, again, intended to remove some of the defenders from the Black King. Doubling the pawns on the f file gives White more targets to attack.

On move number 22 White has several options. I decided to play the pawn to h4 in order to give the White King an escape square if needed and to break up the pawn structure around the Black King. Continuing to advance the h pawn is just following through on my idea to shatter the pawn structure around the Black King. Although Black was losing at the point where he resigned, I still think that the resignation was a little premature. Still, I’m not complaining!

This game gives me my second win in this section. At the time that I am writing this I am in fourth place out of thirteen with two wins, one loss and five draws. The one person that I lost to is now in fifth place. I still have four games remaining in this section and at least one of them is a win.

Mike Serovey


Milner-Barry Gambit versus the French Defense Game 2

Here is the very first rated game that I played as White against the French Defense. I played the Milner-Barry Gambit from memory because i did not have a computer or chess book on the French Defense back in 1976. I have analyzed this game many times since I played it and I still find new ideas for both sides when I look at it.

Mike Serovey


Milner-Barry Gambit Versus The French Defense Game 1

Here is one of my old wins from when I was in the US Army and was stationed in Giessen, Hessen, Germany. This game was one of many chess games that I played at the recreation center on the US Air Force base in Frankfurt. My opponent, a 1900 rated player, seemed a bit surprised that a 1500 rated player would play this aggressively against him. Sometimes, surprising my opponents works. I did not get into the main line of the gambit, but I did intended to play it, so I am putting this game in that category.

For additional analysis of this game visit Dante Benez Game 1.

Although Houdini 3 disagrees with some of my endgame moves, it really does not matter if I played the second or third best moves. I was still winning.

Mike Serovey