Friday, October 21, 2005


Date: 26 July 2000
Place: Cafe, Kulliyyah of Economy, International Islamic University, Malaysia
Time: 9.00 p.m.

I bet not many of you like to play without the powerful Queen. However, I experienced a particular night when I played all of my games without Her Majesty! Here are the games.

W: Mumtaz Muhammad
B: Yours Truly!

The first game I play against the best IIUM female player. She plays rather the line that I myself play as White. Very quickly I have the advantage over her but I miss several chances to win the game.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 Najdorf Variation, named after a Polish-Argentine Grandmaster Miguel Najdorf, characterized by this mysterious pawn move which serves several purpose: 1) prevents a White piece landing on b5, 2) prepares b5 seeking to attack the knight on c3, and 3) a kind of waiting move when Black has not committed the e-pawn yet, giving flexibility.

6.Be3 Another viable moves here are 6.Bc4, 6.Bg5, 6.Be2, 6.a4, 6.f4, or 6.g3

6...e6 More aggressive is 6... e5 - more to the spirit of Najdorf Variation actually - when Black takes control of the d4 square and drives White's knight to less effective squares.

7.f3 Be7 8.Qd2 0–0 9.Be2 White gets mix up the idea of f3 and castle Kingside. More to the point here is 9.0–0–0 and storms Black's Kingside with pawns.

9...Qc7 10.a3?! An unnecessary pawn move. Black hasn’t try to undermine the c3-knight yet, nor does he try to land a piece on b4!

10...Nc6 11.0–0 Castle Kingside makes the move 7.f3 dubious. Why not moving f2-f4 in one move?

11...b5 This move is not necessary since White has already committed his pawn to a3. 11... Bd7 is clearly better. [11...Bd7 12.Nxc6 Bxc6 13.Bd4]

12.f4 Nxd4 13.Bxd4 e5 14.fxe5 This exchange gives Black the opportunity to get rid of his weak pawn on d6. 14.Bf2!? should be investigated more closely.

14...dxe5 15.Be3 Bb7 Attacks the isolated pawn on e4.

16.Bd3 Rad8 17.Qf2? Qe2 would keep White in the game. Now Black has a great chance to win with 17...Ng4! 18.Bb6 Qd6! 19.Bxd8 Nxf2 20.Bxe7 Nh3+ 21.gxh3 Qxe7.

17...Qc6? However, this move gives the opponent counter play. Actually, I didn’t see that White do not have the time to take the rook without losing his precious queen. (See above notation)

18.Qg3 Bc5 19.Rae1 Bxe3+ 20.Rxe3 Rfe8 21.Ref3 Rd6 22.Nd5? This move concedes a pawn. Better is to get the King out of the fatal g1-a7 diagonal with 22.Kh1.

22...Nxd5 23.exd5 Qxd5? Releasing the pressure on the opponent. Black should have played 23...Qc5+ (this check couldn’t be played had White plays his king out of the diagonal) 24.Re3 Bxd5 defending the f7-pawn with the bishop rather than the queen.

24.Rxf7 Qxf7 Better is 24...g6!? and Black has air to breath 25.Qf2 Rdd8.

25.Rxf7 White has let it slip away. She should try 25.Bxh7+ Kf8 26.Rxf7+ Kxf7 27.Qf2+ Ke7 28.Qa7 Rd1+ 29.Kf2 with a slight advantage to White.

25...Kxf7 and draws a few moves later.

W: Shamsuddin Baguilan
B: Yours Truly

The second game I play against a good Philippino player. I just don’t feel like playing a Sicilian game that night and chose to play the Caro Kann instead.

1.e4 c6 I’m a dedicated Sicilian player, but in training I play almost everything. The Caro Kann is the most solid defense against 1.e4.

2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Bd3 More usual here is 5.Nf3 or 5.Bc4.

5...Ngf6 6.f3 e6 7.Bg5 7.Ne2!? has some apparent merit. However, the text is also playable.

7...Be7 7...Qb6 is too brutal 8.Ne2 c5 9.dxc5 Qxb2 10.Bxf6 gxf6 11.Rb1 with unbalance position.

8.Ne2 h6 9.Be3 Nd5 10.Bf2 N7f6 11.0–0 b6 12.a3 Bb7 13.c4 Nxe4 14.fxe4 Nf6 15.e5 This move forces White to part with one of his bishop. More aggressive is 15.Nf4 g5 16.Nh5 Nxh5 17.Qxh5 Bf6 and White can smile.

15...Ng4 16.Nf4 Setting a trap. Too late did I recognize it only after I took the bait.

16...Nxf2 17.Rxf2 Qxd4? 17...Qd7!? must be considered 18.Qh5 Rf8. Black soon regrets his greediness.

18.Nxe6! The threat on the queen makes this knight immune.

18...Qxe5 19.Re2 Qxe6?? Leads to further unpleasantness. I was tempted to exchange the queen for two of White's pieces, without realizing that my king’s position was quite open. The alternative 19...Qd6 20.Nxg7+ Kd7 also doesn’t look good for Black.

20.Rxe6 fxe6 21.Bg6+! A devastating check. White is in total control.

21...Kf8 22.Qf3+?! White delays the win. He should play 22.Qd7!! and Black can safely resign.

22...Bf6 23.Rd1 Ke7 24.Qf4 e5 25.Qf5 Rhd8 26.Re1 Kd6 27.Bf7 Kc7 28.Rxe5 Bxe5?? 28...Rd6 and Black is still in the game 29.Bh5 Bc8.

29.Qxe5+ Rd6 30.b4 Kd7?? A blunder in a bad position. Maybe 30...c5 31.bxc5 bxc5 32.Qxc5+ Bc6 would hold for Black.

31.c5 bxc5? Better is 31...Rf6 and Black can hope to live 32.Bh5 Ba6.

32.bxc5 Rf6 33.Bh5 Raf8?? Yet another blunder which finishes the game quickly.

34.Bg4+ Kd8 35.Qb8+ Black resigns.

It is mate after 35… Ke7 36.Qxb7+ Kd8 37.Qd7#.

W: Mohd Azizul
B: Shamsuddin Baguilan

The third and last game of the night I chose to play something out of book right from the start. After slowly building up a sound attacking position, I let him slip into the camp with 17… Bd2. After winning a pawn, Black started to look menacing. When he had the opportunity to win my queen, he took it without any hesitation. However, three pieces is just too much for the queen to cope with.

1.Nf3 Nc6 2.d4 d5 3.e3 Bg4 4.Be2 Bxf3 5.Bxf3 Nf6 6.Nd2 e5 7.dxe5 Nxe5 8.Be2 Bd6 9.Nf3 c6 10.Nd4 g6 11.0–0 Qc7 12.b3 Ne4 13.Bb2 a6 14.f4 Nd7 15.c4 0–0–0? 16.Rc1 Bb4 17.cxd5 Bd2 18.Rc2 Bxe3+ 19.Kh1 Ndc5 20.b4 Rxd5 21.bxc5 Rhd8 22.Bc4 Ng3+?? 23.hxg3 Rh5+ 24.Qxh5 gxh5 25.Ne6!! Qd7 26.Nxd8 Kxd8 27.Be2 Qf5 28.Rd1+ Ke7 29.Rc4 Bf2 30.Bf3 Bxg3 31.Re4+ Black resigns.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Hanif - Yours Truly
French Defense [B30]
IIUM Inter College 2000 (Round 4) 23.07.2000
Annotation by Me

A game with Hanif always makes me very nervous. It is seldom that I beat him in a tournament match ever since we were in IIUM Matriculation Centre. Last year in IIUM closed tournament we drew. However, I have to beat him today in order to stay in the running for the championship. A point here is also crucial for our respective teams.

1.e4 e6 Surprise! Surprise! The last time I play this move in competitive game was some two years ago! Actually, the reason I don't play Sicilian with him today is that I don't want to face his Morra Gambit which is his specialty. Sometimes, catching your opponent off guard is some kind of a deadly weapon.

2.d3 Already we are in the battle of our own. Hanif deviates from the main line 2.d4 probably because he is afraid of my preparation. Frankly speaking, I was a little bit shocked by his choice. However, I have played this variation before with him some years ago so I know how to play it.

2...c5 Transposing into a type of Sicilian Closed.

3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 Preparing to fianchetto the Bishop.

4... b6 Black fianchetto his own bishop. There was a maxim about how to blunt a fianchettoed bishop: by opposing it with the other.

5.Bg2 Bb7 6.0–0 Be7 7.Re1 d6 I really have to play d5 at some times to free the game but only after some careful preparations.

8.c3 Nf6 9.Nbd2 d5 At last, the time has come. A difference between playing this move now apart from to play it two moves earlier is that I can take the pawn with my knight, thus opening the diagonal for my bishop. Now, Hanif is faced with the decision whether to block the centre or to open it.

10.e5 He chose to close the position.

10...Nd7 11.Nf1 Qc7 Black attacks the isolated pawn for the third time and simultaneously prepares to castle long. Note that a developing move while threatening something is always advisable.

12.d4 Defending the lone pawn. He should have played it on his second move.

12...0–0–0 Castling in opposite sides always resulting in sharp battles.

13.Bd2 I don't really understand the purpose of this move. Probably he prepares for the b4-pawn break.

13...Kb8 It is best to place the king in a safer place before embarking upon some active measures. After all, I yet to see any of Hanif's attacking plans.

14.a4 Ka8 15.Qb1 Probably this is the purpose behind 13.Bd2 earlier. Hanif is slowly getting his pieces into attacking positions.

15...c4 I choose to release the tension in the centre and at the same time discourage him from moving his pawn to b4.

16.b4! He move it all the same! I find that taking the pawn en passant will give him too many attacking chances.

16...a5! A very good defensive move. I saw that letting him push the a-pawn will cause me many problems and this move prevent just that. Hiarcs 7.32 gives this position as a clear plus for White but the subtlety of this move is that if he takes the pawn, I just take it back with my knight, and I don't see any concrete continuation for White after that.

17.Qb2 h6 After securing my own king, now it's time for some active measures to harass Hanif's king. With the idea of pushing the g and h-pawns down the board, Black is already looking very dangerous.

18.Ne3 The knight intends Nf1–e3-c2-a3-b5

18...Rdg8 19.Nc2 g5 With Hanif's attack has come to a halt, I start my own attacking plan.

20.Reb1 h5 21.Na3 Rg7 Some precautious move. I foresaw that Hanif is intending Nb5-d6. With this move, I defended the crucial f7-pawn so that I don't have to take the knight whenever it landed on d6.

22.Nb5 Menacing.

22...Qd8 23.Qc2 g4 With the idea of opening the h-file.

24.Ne1 h4 25.Nd6 hxg3 Black launches an attack. Note that this is the first exchange of the game and it proves to be fatal!

26.hxg3 Opening the h-file gets Black a lot of play.

26...Bxd6 27.exd6 Rh5 Prepares to double rooks. Black is in total control.

28.Bf4 Desperately trying to regroup his pieces. After the game Hanif told me that he didn't know what to play in this position. Hiarcs 7.32 gives 26.Qb2 but it doesn't give the continuation.

28...Rgh7 29.Qd2 Qh8 Threatening mate: Rh1. Hanif is already in big trouble.

30.Kf1 Trying to escape from his castled position via e2, but I already get it covered.

30...axb4! 31.cxb4?? A horrible mistake. Better is 31.Rd1 but after 31...b3 Black can already relax. Note that here he is already in big time trouble.

31...Nxd4! Covering e2. Black renews the threat of Rh1 mate.

32.f3 Forced.

32...Rh1+ 33.Kf2 Ugly, but what else he can do? The variation 33.Bxh1 Rxh1+ 34.Kf2 Nb3 35.Rxb3 cxb3 36.Rc1 Rh2+ 37.Ng2 gxf3! 38.Kxf3 d4+ wasn't much help either.

33...R7h2 34.fxg4 With less than a minute on your clock, it is hard for you to find any good move here.

34...Rxg2+ Also good is 34... Nf6 when White has to part with his Queen or get mated. 35.Qd1?? is a mistake when I coolly finish him off with 35...Ne4+ 36.Ke3 Nf5+ 37.gxf5 Qc3+ 38.Ke2 Rxe1+ 39.Qxe1 Qd3 checkmate

35.Nxg2 Rh2 36.Be3? A sign that he doesn't know what to do now. Even 36.Rh1 Nb3 37.Rxh2 Qxh2 38.Qb2 Nxa1 With 39... d4 coming, I don't think Hanif will last long enough.

36...Qf6+ 37.Bf4 Forced. If 37.Kg1 Nf3+ 38.Kf2 Nxd2+ wins the Queen.

37...Nb3 38.Qb2 d4! It's all over. Black opens a diagonal for his fianchettoed bishop simultaneously attacking the poor knight.

39.Rg1 Ne5 The end. White lost on time. 0–1

Final Standings:


1st Mohd Azizul Mat Daud 6 points
2nd Mohd Hanif Arkurni Abas 4.5 points
3rd Mohd Rezal Che Man 4.5 points
4th Shamsuddin Taya Baguilan 4 points
5th 'Abdur Rahman Mohd Amin 4 points


1st Mahallat As-Siddiq 16.5 points
2nd Mahallat Ali Abi Talib 16.5 points
3rd Mahallat Bilal 12 points
4th Mahallat Al-Farouq 11 points

Sunday, October 16, 2005


Chess is art. It is a fascinating game, played all over the world by all kind of players from all walks of life. Sometimes, the game becomes tactical that nobody knows how to predict the outcome. However, it can also be artistic like the one I'm going to share with all of you. Even though I lost the game, I find it so fascinating with the knights dancing beautifully all over the board. It was also my first time encounter with Power Chess.

W: Power Chess
B: Yours Truly
Training, 1999

1.e4 c5 Sicilian Defense. Black is aiming for a counterplay on the c-file, whereas White’s play is in the centre. It is the most feared weapon against 1.e4.

2.c3 Alapin Variation. White tries to place his pawns to control the centre. However, it allows Black to plays the freeing move 2. … d5 unhindered.

2...d5! In most Sicilian Defenses, Black must play this move to achieve equality and to free his position.

3.exd5 Qxd5 This early Queen move is justified. White can’t easily dislodge her with the Knight because the square c3 have been taken by the pawn.

4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 Bg4 This Bishop is the worst piece in Black’s camp. Better to exchange it with the enemy pieces or develop it aggressively at g4.

6.Be2 e6 7.h3 Bh5 Not 7. … Bxf3 immediately because the Bishop is equally useful at g6.

8.0–0 Nc6 9.Be3 cxd4 10.Nxd4 Another alternative is to take with the pawn. Maybe White doesn’t like to play with the Isolated Queen Pawn (IQP).

10. ... Bxe2 It is best to exchange the Bishop with its counterpart.

11.Qxe2 Be7 Black plays smoothly, placing all his pieces in their best squares. As for White, his knight on b1 is having a little problem due to the pawn on c3, the usual place for developing it. So White tries to provoke something....

12.Nb5!? Threatens to forks the Queen and the Rook. Other moves such as 12. Rd1 and 12.Nd2 has also been played.

12...Qd7 This move is a mistake. Black should play 12… Qd8; and if 13.Rd1 Qb8 intending a6 dislodging the knight.

13.Rd1 Qc8 14.Nd2 0–0 15.Nc4 Nd5

16.Ncd6 Qb8 17.Ne4 a6 18.Nd4 Ne5 Also playable is 18...Nxe3 19.Qxe3 Qc7 20.Nxc6 Qxc6 21.Rd2 with equality.

19.Bg5 Bxg5 20.Nxg5 Nf4 21.Qe4 Threatening mate Qxh7.

21...Nfg6 22.f4 Nd7 23.f5 exf5 24.Nxf5 Nf6

25.Qd4 Qa7 The wrong place to exchange Queens. Better is 25...Qe5 26.Qxe5 Nxe5 27.Rd4.

26.Qxa7 Rxa7 27.Rd6 Re8 28.Rad1 White dominates the d-file.

28...Raa8 29.Nf3 Nf4

30.N3d4 30.Rb6 gives Black counterplay 30.. Re2 31.Rd2 Ne4 32.Rxe2 Nxe2+ 33.Kh2 Nc5.

30...Kf8 31.Rf1 Ne6 Black saw that 31...Ne2+ 32.Kh2 Nxd4 33.Nxg7 Kxg7 34.Rdxf6 will make his fortress collapse.

32.Kh1 Rad8 32...Nxd4!? might be a viable alternative 33.cxd4 Re6.

33.Rb6 Attacking the backward pawn. If 33...Rd7 34.Nd6 Rb8 35.Nxe6+ fxe6 36.c4 gives the advantage to White.

33...Nxd4 34.cxd4 Ne4 A miscalculation. Black thought he can forks the king but White’s next move woke him up from his dream.

35.Rxb7! g6? 36.Nh6! Threatening mate: Rbxf7.

36...Ng3+ 37.Kg1 Ne2+?? Leading to a quick end, but the alternative 37...Kg7 38.Nxf7! also looks grim. [38...Rb8 39.Nd6+ Rxb7 40.Nxe8+ Kh6]

38.Kh2! Kg7 39.Nxf7 Rb8 40.Rd7 Rf8 41.Ng5+ Kh6 41...Kg8 is one last hope [42.Rxf8+ Rxf8 43.Nxh7 Rf7 44.Rxf7 Kxf7 45.Ng5+ Ke7].

42.h4 Kh5 43.Kh3! Nf4+ 44.Rxf4 1–0


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