Check Is In The Mail: July 2022


With the Fourth of July approaching, I decided to make the theme of this month’s article (Yes, there is sometimes a theme!) fireworks. So, this month I tried to include just decisive games, hopefully where there was some interesting or exciting combination. And, as always, if you have interesting games (with or without fireworks) you think others would like to see, please feel free to send them either directly to me at or to

In this entertaining and well-annotated game, Joe Kuspa takes Mark Gardner in a Sicilian Defense. Fireworks abound after Black launches a pawn storm on the kingside. I’ll let Mr. Kuspa’s notes do the rest of the talking.

[pgn][Event "2021 Golden Knights (21N06)"] [White "Garner, Mark (1936)"] [Black "Kuspa, Joe 1881)"] [Result "0-1"] {This game was a positional struggle until Black pried open the Kingside and ultimately exposed the White King w/ a Knight sac (26…Nh4+) followed by another (temporary) Knight sac (29…Nxe5).} 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ {The Canal-Sokolsky attack against the Sicilian Defense which typically leads to a positional struggle.} 3…Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Qxd7 5.0–0 Nc6 6.c3 Nf6 7.Qe2 e6 8.d4 cxd4 9.cxd4 d5 10.e5 {With this move a central pawn chain has reached which is standard in the French Advance variation but Black has traded off his typically blocked Queen Bishop.} 10…Ne4 11.Be3 Be7 12.Ne1 f5 13.Nd3 0–0 14.f3 {This move is weakening and provides impetus to Black eventually instigating a Kingside attack.} 14…Ng5 {An awkward-looking position for the Knight but it’s on its way to f7 to initiate a pawn storm.} 15.Nc3 Nf7 16.Rac1 Rac8 17.Nf4 {Allows Black to begin the pawn storm w/ tempo.} 17…g5 18.Nd3 f4 19.Bf2 Nh6 20.Rfd1 {A purely defensive move which allows Black’s attack to pick up steam.} 20…Nf5 21.Ne1 Bd8 {I liked this move a lot. Black’s bishop is on its way to b6. Moving the B to b6 targets d4 w/ 2 N's & a B while tying down White's N, B & R. This frees up Black’s Q & R's to conduct a Kingside attack. Also, w/ Black’s Q on d7 White cannot move Na4 because Ncxd4, therefore, the Kingside attack starts w/ a pawn storm backed by R's.} 22.Nc2 Bb6 23.g4 fxg3 {a) 24.hxg3 Qf7 25.Na4 Nfxd4 26.Nxd4 Nxd4 27.Bxd4 Rxc1 b) 24.hxg3 Qf7 25.g4 Nh4 26.Bxh4 gxh4 – Black is clearly better. c) 24.hxg3 Qf7 25.g4 Nh4 26.Nb5 Nxf3+ 27.Kg2 Qf4 - leads to mate. d) 24.hxg3 Qf7 25.Nb5 a6 26.Nd6 Nxd6 27.exd6 – Black is better. e) 24.hxg3 Qf7 25.f4 gf Qg6+ 27.Kh2 Qh6+ 28.Kg2 Kh8 & 29...Rg8 – Black is winning.} 24.hxg3 Qf7 {See notes after 23...fxg3} 25.Kg2 {a) 25...h5 26.Na4? Bxd4 27.Bxd4 Ncxd4 28.Nxd4 Rxc1 29.Rxc1 Nxd4 b) 25...h5 26.g4 - Black is clearly better. c) 25...h5 26.f4 - Black is clearly better. d) 25...h5 26.a3 - Black is better. Possible: 26...h4 27.g4 h3+ 28.Kh2 Nh4 29.Bxh4 gxh4 30.Kxh3 Qf4 e) 25...h5 26.Nb5 - Black is better. Maybe Nd6 but ...Nxd6 and should win the pawn.} 25…h5 26.Qd2 Nh4+ {a) 26...Nh4+ 27.gxh4 Qxf3+ 28.Kg1 Qg4+ 29.Kf1 Qh3+ 30.Kg1 Rf4 31.Ne2 Rg4+ 32.Ng3 gxh4 b) 26...Nh4+ 27.gxh4 Qxf3+ 28.Kf1 Qh1+ 29.Ke2 Rxf2+ 30.Kxf2 Rf8+ 31.Ke2 Qf3+ 32.Ke1 Qf1# c) 26...Nh4+ 27.gxh4 Qxf3+ 28.Kh2 Qxf2+ 29.Qxf2 Rxf2+ 30.Kg1 Rcf8 or maybe 30...Rf4. d) 26...Nh4+ 27.Kh3 Nxf3 28.Qe2 h4 Qf5+ 30.Kg2 Qg4+ 31.Bg3 Nxh4+ 32.Kh2 Rf3 e) 26...Nh4+ 27.Kh3 Nxf3 28.Qe2 h4 29.Rd3 g4+ 30.Kxg4 Qf5#} 27.gxh4 Qxf3+ 28.Kg1 Qg4+ {a) 29.Kf1 (or 29.Kh1) Qh3+ 30.Kg1 Rf4 31.Ne2 Rg4+ 32.Ng3 gxh4 b) 29.Kf1 Qh3+ 30.Ke2 Rxf2+! 31.Kxf2 Rf8+ 32.Ke2 Qf3+ 33.Ke1 Qf1# c) 29.Kf1 Qh3+ 30.Ke1 - Black mates} 29.Kh2 Nxe5 {a) 29...Nxe5 30.Qxg5+ Qxg5 31.hxg5 Rxf2+ 32.Kg3 Rcf8 33.dxe5 R8f3+ 34.Kh4 Rh2# b) 29...Nxe5 30.Qxg5+ Qxg5 31.hxg5 Rxf2+ 32.Kg1 Ng4 - Black has a decisive advantage.} 30.Qxg5+ Qxg5 {a) I was looking to play ...e5 which opens the Bishop diagonal/check if White plays dxe5. Should lead to mate. b) 32.Kh1 - Black mates. c) 32.Kh3 - Black is clearly winning. d) 32.Kg3 Rcf8 33.dxe5 R8f3+ 34.Kh4 Rh2# e) 32.Kg1 Ng4 - Black has a decisive advantage. f) 32.Kg1 Ng4 33.Rf1 Rh2 and looking again at ...e5.} 31.hxg5 Rxf2+ 32.Kg3 Rcf8 {a) 33.dxe5 R8f3+ 34.Kh4 Rh2# b) 33.Ne1 Ng4 - Black is winning.} 33.Ne1 Ng4 {a) 34.Rc2 Bc7+ 35.Kh4 Rxc2 36.Nxc2 Rf2 - don't play 34...Bc7+ since it allows White's K to escape to h4. b) 34.Rc2 Rxc2 35.Nxc2 Rf2 - followed by ...Bc7+ & ...Rh2#} 34.Na4 Ba5 35.Rd3 Rf1 {a) 36.Rdd1 Ne3 37.Rd3 Bxe1+ 38.Rxe1 Rxe1} 36.Nc3 Bc7+ {a) 37.Kh4 Bf4 38.Rcd1 Rh1+ Rh3 Bxg5+! 40.Kg3 Rg1+ 41.Ng2 Rxd1 b) 37.Kh4 Bf4 38.Kxh5? Bxc1 39.Kxg4 Rxe1 c) 37.Kg2 R8f2+ 38.Kh3 Rh1# d) 37.Kh3 Rh1+ 38.Kg2 Rff1 39.Rdd1 Ne3# e) 37.Kh3 Rh1+ 38.Kg2 Rff1 39.Ne2 Rxe1 40.Rxc7 Rh2+ 41.Kf3 Rexe2} 37.Kh4 Bf4 {a) 37.Kh4 Bf4 38.Rcd1 Rh1+ Rh3 Bxg5+! 40.Kg3 Rg1+ 41.Ng2 Rxd1 b) 37.Kh4 Bf4 38.Kxh5? Bxc1 39.Kxg4 Rxe1} 38.Rc2 {Loses the N but there’s not much else.} 38…Rxe1 39.Kxh5 Ne3 {a) 40.R-move Kg2 threatening 41...Rh1#. b) 40.Re2 Rh1+ 41.Kg6 Rf5} 40.Rf2 Kg7 {White decided to resign due to 41…Rh1#} 0–1[/pgn]


In this King’s Indian Defense, White exchanges early in the center to create a soon-to-be backward pawn for Black. White then launches the proverbial “kitchen sink attack” against Black’s kingside, leading with the h-pawn. Black tries to defend by liquidating, and consolidating, but to no avail. What stood out to me about this game was that it wasn’t just White attacking and Black erring by allowing Nh6. It was a matter of Lance creating weaknesses and attacking them (with 14.hxg6 and 16.Nh4). White pushed Black toward the precipice. He didn’t just fall on his own. Check out the clever finish!

[pgn][Event "2019 Trophy Quad (19Q09)"] [White "Schuttenhelm, Lance (1579)"] [Black "Easton, Jeffrey (1896)"] [Result "1-0"] 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Bd3 O-O 6.h3 c5 7.d5 Nbd7 8.Nf3 e6 9.Bg5 a6 10.dxe6 fxe6 11.Qd2 Nb6 12.h4 e5 13.h5 Qe8 14.hxg6 Qxg6 15.b3 Nh5 16.Nh4 Qf7 17.Be3 Nf4 18.O-O-O Be6 19.g3 Nxd3 20.Qxd3 Rfd8 21.g4 a5 22.a4 Rac8 23.Qe2 Nxc4 24.bxc4 Bxc4 25.Qb2 Bb3 26.Nf5 Rc6 27.Bh6 Bxd1 28.Bxg7 Bxg4 29.Nh6+ 1-0[/pgn]


White’s early moves reminded me of the ads for the Caveman Chess Camp – but it makes the game fun! White uses an early knight foray to get a chance to wreck Black’s queenside pawns, of which he takes full advantage. White finds a combo at move 19 to get an unbalanced position with a deep passed pawn. While White is loading up to force that pawn’s advance, he takes advantage of a Black miscue to force resignation.

[pgn][Event "2022 Victor Palciauskas (22VP06)"] [White "Picotte, Gordon (1473)"] [Black "Dudley, Michael (1483)"] [Result "1-0"] 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Bf4 e6 4.Nb5 Na6 5.a3 Be7 6.e3 c6 7.Nc3 O-O 8.Bxa6 bxa6 9.Nf3 Qb6 10.Na4 Qa5+ 11.c3 Bd7 12.b4 Qb5 13.Ne5 Be8 14.Nc5 a5 15.a4 Qb6 16.Rb1 Rb8 17.O-O Bxc5 18.dxc5 Qd8 19.Nxc6 Bxc6 20.Bxb8 Qxb8 21.b5 Bb7 22.f3 Qe5 23.Qd4 Qc7 24.c6 Bc8 25.Qc5 Rd8 26.Rb2 Nd7 27.Qe7 1-0[/pgn]


Patrick Walsh always sends us interesting games. This one is no exception. Black creates near-immediate complications in the center, gaining a pawn in the process but allowing his kingside to be shattered. The move 6…dxc4 causes havoc with White’s usual desire to fianchetto the white-squared bishop at g2 versus the need to recapture on c4. White does build up a strong attacking position expecting Black to castle queenside. Black dodges by seeking cover behind his shattered kingside pawns, and then exchanging two pair of minor pieces. White tries to reload and shift his heavy pieces to the king’s wing. Amid White’s swinging uppercuts, Black slips in a deft defensive move to snake an Exchange and force resignation.

[pgn][Event "2022 Electronic Knights (22EN09)"] [White "Drombosky, Kenneth (1967)"] [Black "Walsh, Patrick (1827)"] [Result "0-1"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 d5 4. Nf3 Bb4+ 5. Bd2 Bd6 6. Nc3 dxc4 7. e4 c5 8. e5 cxd4 9. exf6 dxc3 10. Bxc3 gxf6 11. Bxc4 Nc6 12. O-O Qe7 13. Re1 Bd7 14. Qb3 Bb4 15. Rac1 O-O 16. a3 Bxc3 17. Rxc3 Na5 18. Qc2 Nxc4 19. Rxc4 Rfc8 20. Rg4+ Kh8 21. Qd3 Rg8 22. Rh4 Rg7 23. Rd1 Bc6 24. Rd4 Rgg825. Rh4 Rg6 26. Nd4 f5 27. Nxc6 Qxh4 0-1[/pgn]

Next month, more games!



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