Monday, July 28, 2014

Food and drinks

I switch on the computer. A few moments later I am playing blitz on Playches with a long expired account (sorry for the players willing to chat because I don't want to pay for that). Almost every 5 minutes I get another opponent. German, Spanish, French, American, Russian ,.... are the nationalities of my opponents. After some time I log off and I quickly review the most interesting games with an engine. The web-server automatically saves all the played games in a personal database on my PC which I can consult with a few clicks afterwards.

This is how I regularly have fun while at the same time also practice my chess. What a big difference with the 90-ties when one was obliged to go to a chessclub to play blitz. In my student-years I often played blitz on Friday-evenings in the KGSRL. I looked around in the club and challenged the strongest player(s). At that time quite some strong players hang around: Schalkx, Abolianin, Deleyn, Goormachtigh, Van der Stricht,... All players of 2300 elo or more and also capable to put up a serious fight in blitz as many (all?) names pop up in the hall of fame of the disappeared 24 hours blitz-tournament the Kameleon.

In the first encounters I got beaten up and had to be happy when scoring an occasional point. Now I am not the person to give up easily. At home I checked the systems of my opponents with my very first PC and slowly the tide turned. After some time I surely was a match for the strongest players. During playing blitz a lot of alcohol was consumed by most of the players so regularly those blitz-evenings transformed in exuberant parties till the early morning hours. I remember a lovely anecdote.

Very late in the evening Geert Van der Stricht arrived in the club when there was already a lot of ambiance. Geert wanted to play a few games so we organized a small blitz all-round tournament with 4 players. Last place would mean that you had to treat the others some drink. Easy free drink must have thought Geert as he was the only one still sober but it went pretty differently. In our mutual game my hyper-aggression was initially well thwarted as I was quickly 3 pawns down. However with the missing pawns also a lot of tactics were popping up in the position. Geert missed something and suddenly was mated spectacularly. Schalkx managed to trick him in a similar fashion so the final round wasn't important anymore and Geert had very reluctantly to treat us drinks.

Afterwards I started to believe that maybe it is good to consume some alcohol (moderately of course) for some blitz-games. I experimented with this in the also disappeared international blitz-tournament of Blankenberge. In the middle of the tournament i had 1,5 points more than my closest pursuers but after having some beers in the break, I still managed to not win the tournament. I still got the winning positions with the hyper-aggressive chess but the finishing touch was lacking. The crucial last round of that tournament can be replayed below which I afterwards published as a curiosity on 1 of the very first forums.
[Event "Int. blitztornooi Blankenberge"] [Date "1999 ?"] [White "Brabo"] [Black "Leenhouts, K."] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C11"] [PlyCount "52"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. f4 c5 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. Be3 cxd4 8. Nxd4 Bc5 9. Qd2 a6 10. O-O-O O-O 11. h4 Nxd4 12. Bxd4 b5 13. Bxc5 Nxc5 14. Qd4 Qc7 15. f5 b4 16. f6 {(Nonsense but in blitz not harmless.)} bxc3 17. Qg4 cxb2 18. Kb1 g6 19. Qg5 Kh8 20. h5 Rg8 21. Bd3 Rb8 $4 {(However this is too slow as now white has a beautiful win.)} 22. Qh6 Nxd3 23. Rxd3 {(I miss the nice win and hereby also the tournament-victory.)} (23. hxg6 fxg6 24. Qxh7 Qxh7 25. Rxh7 Kxh7 26. Rh1#) 23... g5 24. Re3 Bd7 25. Rhh3 Ba4 26. Re2 Bxc2 0-1
So we can state that it is dubious if drinking a bit alcohol is favorable for playing good blitz. I did however in the past regularly drink 1 beer before an official game to become more relaxed. In my article the sadistic exam I earlier already recorded that I have often quite some stress and alcohol helps to calm down. Today I normally try to avoid alcohol during a tournament. I can more easily relativize which decreases the stress and I also feel quicker the negative effects of alcohol compared with 20 years ago when I was still a student. Alcohol quicker tires, it makes the calculations slower and it also influences the much needed night's rest + important game-preparations. In a foreign tournament in which one is often isolated, the temptation is big as beer and/or wine lover but Strong Jan managed to stoically concentrate on the chess, see schaakfabriek. Also our world-champion Magnus Carlsen considers alcohol even a day before a game completely irresponsible, see the guardian.

Not drinking any alcohol doesn't mean drinking nothing at all. Surely when games last more than 3 hours, it is very important to drink. It is something which I dare sometimes to neglect if I only have an eye for the position. Terrible headache after a game is something which I experienced already a few times even in such a degree that I was forced to take a painkiller like 'dafalgan'. Bringing a bottle of water to the tournament-hall is surely not redundant but some organizers don't permit this.

Also paying attention to nutrition becomes more and more important when becoming older. I sometimes hear teams eating copiously in a restaurant just before an interclub-match but I am pretty sure this influences the results. The concentration fades and also the toilet must be visited more regularly during the game. By the way with the prevailing mistrust to cheating I almost don't dare anymore to go to the toilet. This fear is not completely unfair as recently was proven, see schaaksite. Currently I only eat lightly before a game which does mean that I need to eat when a game lasts long.

An interclub-game can last in Belgium maximally 6 hours so I always take some sandwiches and fruit in case the game drags beyond 18h or 4 hours play. At the beginning some of my team-mates were surprised when I unpacked my food but today I see more and more team-mates following my example as often locally there is little or nothing to buy. Marcel I once gave a sandwich when he was looking very hungry.

For the last round of the interclubs I had a dilemma. The club organized the same evening of the playing-round a feast at which everybody was strongly insisted to participate. Normally I am the first one to subscribe to such parties but I smelled a rat. To bring food myself and eat this at 18h would spoil my appetite. Besides the menu was already fixed and you had to pay in advance so barely eating anything would be really pity. Finally the party would start already at 18h so what if you as only player had to continue till 20h. In the end I let myself persuade to participate and hoped for the best but it went of course very wrong.
[Event "Interclub Deurne - KGSRL"] [Date "2014"] [White "Brabo"] [Black "Michiels, B."] [Result "*"] [ECO "C11"] [WhiteElo "2336"] [BlackElo "2510"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "4q2k/pp4pp/2bQ4/2P2p2/5N2/8/PPP3PK/8 w - - 0 31"] [PlyCount "23"] 31. Ne6 {(Here I had interrupted my article "The Modern French deel 2". At home I had checked this position for a few minutes with an engine and concluded that a draw was inevitable but black still needed some accuracy.)} h6 32. Qe5 {(I want to force the draw to be in time for the dinner which started at 18h. There is nothing wrong with it but does show that I was not thinking anymore of winning.)} Qf7 33. Qb8 Qe8 $4 {(Kh7 would immediately draw but black as fresh grandmaster of course wants to win, forces the position and hereby commits a big blunder.)} 34. Qe5 $4 {(I repeat the moves which fully matches my urge to draw but this misses a unique chance.)} (34. Qxe8 Bxe8 35. Nd8 Bc6 {(Relinquishing the pawn with Kg8 is a better practical try but objectively it is also a lost endgame.)} 36. Nxc6 bxc6 37. b4 a6 38. c4 Kg8 39. b5 axb5 40. cxb5 cxb5 41. c6 Kf7 42. c7 $18) 34... Qf7 35. Qb8 Qg8 36. Nf8 {(Naturally I had seen Qd6 or Qe5 and I do not risk anything but I want a draw now.)} Qd5 37. Ng6 Kh7 38. Nf8 Kg8 39. Ng6 {(I knew there existed a repetition with Nd7 as I had seen this during my preparation but with the ticking clock I did not manage to calculate all the variations. With the threatening mate on g2 in the end I did not dare to play the move and chose for a different solution.)} (39. Nd7 Kf7 40. Qf8 Kg6 41. Qe8 Kg5 (41... Kh7 42. Nf8 Kh8 43. Ng6 Kh7 44. Nf8 Kg8 45. Nd7 Kh7 46. Nf8 $11) 42. Qe7 Kh5 ( 42... Kf4 43. Qh4 Ke3 44. Qe1 Kd4 45. Qc3 Ke4 46. Qf3 Kd4 47. Qd3# {(A lovely variation only discovered after the game.)}) 43. Qe2 Kh4 44. Qe1 Kh5 45. Qe2 Kh4 $11 ) 39... Kf7 40. Ne5 Kf6 41. Nxc6 bxc6 42. Qxa7 {(Because I do not see how to force a draw, I take as an advanced payment the pawn. As the Belgain IM Geert Van der Stricht correctly remarked, only black can still win in this position. Black can at any moment force the draw while white needs to be accurate to achieve the draw. I was very angry on myself because at home I already found out that I certainly did not want to play this type of position.)} (42. Qf8 {(Less materialistic and probably a bit more practical than the chosen continuation.)} Kg6 (42... Qf7 43. Qxf7 Kxf7 44. b4 Ke6 45. c4 g5 46. b5 Kd7 47. Kg3 h5 48. Kf3 $11 ) 43. Qe8 Kh7 44. b4 Qc4 45. Qxc6 Qh4 46. Kg1 Qxb4 47. Qd6 Qb1 48. Kh2 Qxc2 49. c6 $11 {(De c-pion obliges black to give a perpetual check.}) *
The position evaluated at home as equal, to stumble after playing for a win in our previous mutual gamethe fresh grandmaster-title for Bart, lacking any food, the starting festivities,... will surely all have played a role in my behavior of forcing at all costs the draw. A draw was of course much easier to achieve without haste. That young players make such mistake is easier to understand as recently happened in the open championship of Asia.
[Event "13th Asian Continental 2014"] [Site "Sharjah UAE"] [Date "2014.04.22"] [Round "6.8"] [White "Sasikiran, K."] [Black "Debashis, D."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E10"] [WhiteElo "2680"] [BlackElo "2504"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/p7/1p3k2/6r1/3pB2R/1P3KP1/P2b4/8 b - - 0 45"] [PlyCount "36"] {(The position is fully balanced. Quietly waiting and the draw will be a fact but black wants the draw immediately. He takes a risk which he will quickly regret.)} 45... Rxg3 46. Kxg3 Be1 47. Kg4 Bxh4 48. Kxh4 Ke5 49. Bg6 Kf4 50. b4 Ke3 51. b5 d3 52. Kg3 d2 53. Bh5 Kd3 $4 {(The decisive mistake.)} (53... Kd4 $1 54. Kf4 Kc5 55. Be2 d1=Q 56. Bxd1 Kxb5 57. Ke5 Kc5 $11) 54. Kf4 Kc4 (54... Kc2 55.Ke5 d1=Q 56. Bxd1 Kxd1 57.Kd6 Kc2 58.Kc7 Kc3 59.Kb7 Kb4 60.Ka6 Ka4 61.a3 {(Maybe black missed this while playing Kd3.)})55. Be2 {(This wins an extra tempo to let the king approach which defines the difference between win or draw.)} Kb4 56. Ke3 d1=Q 57. a3 Kc5 58. Bxd1 Kxb5 59. Kd4 {(Black runs out of moves.)} Kc6 60. a4 Kc7 61. Kd5 Kb7 62. Be2 Kc7 63. Bb5 1-0
Again an easy avoidable defeat  in which the less experienced player was too eager to draw.

Finally I want to share that I was in the end also the only player having to continue playing till almost 8h. That is not a big surprise as with my average of almost 53 moves per game, I was also by far the most active player. This is fully aligned with my article sofia rules. When I eventually went to the dinner my team-mates already finished and left home. In the French interclub we also had regularly dinners but we always waited till the last player finished with his game. Some members of the board realized that the situation was not correct and sacrificed themselves so I did not have to eat alone which I very much appreciate but I will anyway make some conclusions for the future.

At home I also got support from my wife, cheering me up by telling that I have again a special story for my blog. Yes if you look at it in that way then every disadvantage has an advantage.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014


If we don't consider the psychological aspects in chess then only the theoretical evaluation of the moves remains. The move of which we expect it is crucial for the theoretical evaluation of a position, is considered in chess-jargon as critical. I always spend a lot of time searching the critical moves which has been covered many times already on this blog: correspondence-chess, green moves,...

I don't know if it was a critic, astonishment or simply a remark, fact is that Bart obviously was right to state afterwards that with 8.Be2 in our mutual game I didn't choose for a critical continuation. Keeping in mind that I was already aware about this in advance of the game, probably some readers will consider this in-consequent with my earlier article the scientific approach. Even Kara wrote in a reaction that he would've chosen for a different and from theoretical perspective more interesting move.

I don't have to take up responsibility for my opening-choice but I do want to clarify a few things as I believe it also includes some interesting elements for other players. First a critical move is not always the best practical move. A critical move puts maybe more pressure on the opponent but also often on yourself . In my previous mutual game with Bart I chose the critical move in the endgame instead of going for a secure drawn-endgame with a pawn less. In the end I got punished for this audacity as I made the first mistake myself.

In a lot of openings with a solid reputation (like the Marshallgambit, the Berlin,...) it is often also very tough to pinpoint the critical move (exactly because nobody was able to show a clear advantage). Besides often the most interesting lines are also the ones which the opponent has analyzed. A recent nice example in which we detect those risks, is the crucial game of the rapid world-championship on board 1 between Anand and Caruana in yes once more the Modern French.
[Event "FIDE World Rapid Championship"] [Site "Dubai UAE"] [Date "2014.06.18"] [Round "13.1"] [White "Viswanathan Anand"] [Black "Fabiano Caruana"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C11"] [WhiteElo "2770"] [BlackElo "2840"] [PlyCount "125"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. f4 c5 6. Nf3 Be7 7. Be3 b6 {(I already mentioned this early b6 on my blog but it is the first time I notice that it is played by a top-grandmaster.)} 8. Be2 O-O 9. O-O Nc6 10. Qe1 f5 11. a3 {(On my blog I recommended Nb5 here as interesting. It would not surprise me if Anand was already for him on unfamiliar territory.)} Bb7 12. Bb5 Qc8 13. Kh1 Ba6 14. Bxc6 Qxc6 15. Rg1 Rf7 16. Qd2 Nf8 17. Nd1 Ng6 18. Nf2 Nh4 19. Nxh4 Bxh4 20. a4 Rc8 21. Rgc1 Rfc7 22. Nh3 Be7 23. Ng1 Bb7 24. Nf3 a5 25. Bf2 Qe8 26. c3 Bc6 27. Qc2 Bd7 28. Be3 Rb7 29. h3 c4 30. Rg1 b5 31. axb5 Rxb5 32. Raf1 Qh5 33. Kh2 Ra8 34. Bc1 a4 35. Rf2 Be8 36. Nd2 Qf7 37. Nb1 Qf8 38. Na3 Bxa3 39. bxa3 Bg6 40. Re1 Rb3 41. Rff1 Rab8 42. Re3 Qe8 43. Rfe1 Rb1 44. Qf2 R8b3 45. Qa2 Qb5 46. Rg1 Qb6 47. Rge1 Qd8 48. Rg1 Qh4 49. Rg3 Bh5 { (With little time left Caruana does not see the win.)} (49... Rxc1 50. Rxc1 Qxf4 51. Rc2 Bh5 52. Rf2 Qc1 53. Qc2 (53. Qd2 Qxd2 54. Rxd2 f4 55. Rg5 g6 56. Rc2 h6 $19) 53... Qh6 54. Rxf5 Bg6 55. Rxg6 Qxg6 56. Rf2 Qxc2 57. Rxc2 Rxa3 $19 ) 50. Qf2 Kh8 51. Rf1 Ra1 52. Qd2 Qe7 53. Re3 Rbb1 54. Ree1 Qb7 55. Qf2 Bg6 56. Qh4 Qd7 57. Bb2 Rxe1 58. Rxe1 Rxe1 59. Qxe1 Qb5 60. Qd2 Qb3 61. Bc1 Qb1 62. Qb2 Qxb2 63. Bxb2 1/2-1/2
Anand survived with a scare. However this example neither proves that choosing a critical opening is nonsense. I only state that a proper judgement must be made of the risks. With sufficient training, study in advance choosing a critical continuation is most likely ok. Now I am not quickly scared of taking (too) big risks in an opening (see e.g. chess intuition part 2). However playing something complex like 8.a3 without training, study or being sure it is a critical line and that against a player rated 200 points higher, I consider too much and neither scientific.

Once the choice made not to search further for a critical variation it is still good to have an alternative prepared. To choose a dubious opening-line is a solution which a lot of amateurs (even strong ones) do. I don't like it as it is not only risky but also completely against my scientific approach. Vary with an opening not part of the repertoire is another possibility which is rather easy when playing white. It is less risky that the previous solution but an opening-advantage is unlikely obtained and it is neither scientific. Finally you can also choose to play the standard repertoire but insert sufficient ideas. With ideas I don't mean "killer" - novelties which are important for the theoretical evaluation of the position. The purpose of an idea is mainly to win time on the clock and to reach a position in which one feels comfortable. Such ideas are rather useless in correspondence-chess but have proven many times their advantage in OTB-chess.

This strategy of interweaving a standard repertoire with ideas is nothing new and is already used since long by top-grandmasters. I still remember very well how Anand in 2007 conquered the world-title in Mexico by applying 4 different ideas against the invincible Marshall. I already touched the story in my article Tanguy Ringoir is Belgian champion but this time I do want to show also the concrete games.

Anand was not interested in refuting the Marshall which probably is anyway not possible but created each time new unknown problems on the board for this opponents. Not every game will be won with this method but a return of 75% is surely not bad for Anand. There are some big advantages with this approach. First you still are in the comfort-zone of the standard repertoire so even if black diverts with something less solid then you are normally not immediately out of book. Despite that the idea doesn't guarantee any theoretical advantage, you will surely not be worse either. The biggest asset of course is that you studied the idea already at home with the engines while the opponent most likely didn't.

The big disadvantage of using ideas, is that most often they can only be used once in a serious game. After publication the potential opponents will quickly find an anti-dote with the engine. So once an idea has been consumed, you have to look for something new. This is impractical for most amateurs, will many think but in fact it is not that difficult. Finding an idea can be done in a fraction of the time compared with a killer-novelty as there exist some handy tools. MNb indicated that I am pretty good in it but I believe after reading my tips that the reader must be able to do the same.

1) Copy ideas from recent OTB-games which stayed under the radar of the international news. A lot of players are aware what top 2700 players play in their repertoire but also players in the segment 2300-2700 often bring interesting new ideas. It is also important that the games were recently played so the chance is small that the opponent met the idea in the previous years by accident.
2) Copy ideas from correspondence-games even it was only a draw for white. Very few players consult those games. Besides problems can be solvable in correspondence but in OTB it can be very difficult.
3) Let the engine check multiple lines. Sometimes the 2nd or 3rd best move presents an interesting idea. My favorite button is the letter 'y' , see Fritz manual for more info. I force the program with this button to ignore his favorite choice and look to the next best move. The big advantage compared with calculating multiple lines is that you get much quicker results. This is not only because less must be calculated but also because no time is lost due to switching between multiple lines.

So with a minimum of time and efforts everybody can successfully implement ideas. Next to the element of surprise it also can be used as patches till more time is available to work seriously at the repertoire. I am convinced this is for amateur as prof an excellent tool for competitive tournament-chess.


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The subtilities of a pawn-storm

When I was still playing e4, I was striving for a complete repertoire. I tried to have prepared an answer for each black move in the opening. After the switch to 1.d4 I didn't manage anymore. It was and is too much. Because of that I chose a more experimental approach. I knew more or less the mainlines but the more subtle and not so subtle details would be investigated in the games. Of course this was risky. More than once I had with white! after 10, 12 moves a worse position and had to work hard for weeks even months to get a half point out of the game. Admittedly , those were very instructive experiences. But such was not the purpose. For a good result it is necessary to create with white winning chances.

So I bought the necessary books, of which a few repertoire-books. The pros and cons are known. I don't want to discuss this here. This time I want to tell about a recommendation which I don't really know how to judge properly. The recommendation is from GM Schandorff. His two books got good reviews and I must confess that he understands more about chess than I. It concerns the Old-Indian opening.
[Event "ws NLD Pro Q NBC"] [Date "2013"] [White "Nieuwboer, M."] [Black "Hoynck van Papendrecht, F."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A53"] [PlyCount "107"] 1. d4 d6 2. c4 {(In fact I intended e4. But I had a faint suspicion that black would like to play the Lion - very popular in the Netherlands - and I was not in the mood for it.)} Nf6 3. Nc3 e5 4. d5 {(The best move is probably Nf3. But just like Schandorff’s books I have neither the classic Kings-Indian opening neither the Counter-fianchetto on my repertoire. Therefore I was curious if a setup a la Sämisch was worth consideration. As a repertoire-book should be, Schandorff is very optimistic. A serious dose of skepticism seems to me wise.)} Nbd7 5. e4 Nc5 6. f3 a5 7. Be3 Be7 8. Qd2 O-O 9. O-O-O h6 (9... a4 10. Kb1 a3 11. b3 {(The comment of Schandorff is characteristic for a repertoire-book: "the queenside is closed and you must ask - who has the better prospects on the kingside? White, of course!" Just like chess is so easy..... )}) 10. Kb1 {(If this move is necessary then any optimism should calm down.)} (10. g4 Nh7 11. Kb1 {(White yet has nothing better.)}) 10... a4 (10... Nh7 11. g4 Bh4 {(To be honest I have to mention that Schandorff only claims a minimal advantage of space for white. But I believe that the chosen route by my opponent is also worth investigating. My next move indicated there is more ongoing than simple throwing the g-pawn and h-pawn forward.)}) 11. g3 (11. g4 Nh7 12. h4 Bxh4 13. Bxh6 Bg5 14. Bxg5 Nxg5 15. Qh2 f6 {(and the white attack is not much, because the Ng1 and the bad Bf1 are not active. I have a lot of experience with the Argentinian attack against the Pirc (same setup for white, but with a pawn on c2). An excellent example is Ree-Donner, NEDch 1967. White could not break through exactly for these reasons.)}) (11. h4 Nh5 12. Nge2 f5 { (is also not what white wants.)}) 11... Nfd7 (11... Nh7 12. h4 f5 13. Bxc5 dxc5 14. exf5 Bxf5 15. Bd3 {(and white maybe is a bit better.)}) 12. h4 c6 13. g4 Re8 (13... Bxh4 14. Bxh6 {(Now this is good for white.)}) 14. Nh3 (14. h5 f6 15. Nge2 Qa5 16. Ng3 {(Rybka is impressed but I am not. How can white breakthrough? On chesspub there was a discussion about this type of positions. It was rightly stated that white is much better if he plays Nf5 and proceeds with pushing c4-c5. But in my exact case this is impossible. This strengthens my skepticism.)}) 14... Qa5 15. g5 h5 16. Be2 {(Preferably I wanted to play f3-f4, moreover the only way to still achieve something. Then I can again use my kings-bishop. And that is surely a headache which Schandorff does not pay attention to. Again the Argentinian attack learned me that it is important to first activate all the pieces if an immediate storm does not give any dividends.)} g6 17. Nf2 {(If I play f3-f4 then I do not want like in the Dragon sometimes happens, to permit a black piece on g4.)} Nb6 18. Rhf1 Bf8 19. f4 a3 20. b3 {(Unfortunately I pushed a few wrong buttons and lost once again my analysis. I am still not convinced white is better. A few articles of Brabo ago I recommended the Old-Indian opening for black and it seems that I do not have to retract that.)} cxd5 (20... exf4 21. Bd4 {(Bxc5 is now bad.)} Bg7 {(Looks logical.)}) 21. Bxc5 dxc5 22. exd5 exf4 { (Black suffers due to a small backlog in development. Therefore maybe better 22...Bg7.)} 23. Nfe4 Bf5 (23... Bg7 24. Rxf4 Be5 25. Rdf1 {(I had no objection against this exchange-sacrifice. My more active pieces, the protected passed pawn and the holes in blacks kings-side provide sufficient compensation. If this is winning, is another question. My goal was mainly a sharp battle with chances. )}) 24. Rxf4 Re5 25. Bd3 Bg7 {(As long there are prospects of an attack, there is no need to avoid opposite bishops.)} (25... Bxe4 26. Bxe4 Bg7 27. Qc2 {(and I like my position. The Nb6 is not well positioned)}) 26. Nd6 Nc8 27. Nxf5 gxf5 28. Kc2 {(Protects Nc3 and guarantees that whites attack will generate an endgame with a pawn extra.)} Nd6 29. Rg1 Kf8 30. g6 Qd8 (30... Bh6 31. Qf2 {(and white enters.)}) 31. gxf7 Qf6 32. Rf3 Re7 33. Rfg3 Rxf7 34. Rg6 Qd4 (34... Qxh4 35. Rxg7 Rxg7 36. Qh6 $18) 35. Be2 Re8 36. Qxd4 Bxd4 37. Bxh5 Bxg1 38. Rxg1 Re3 39. Bxf7 Kxf7 40. Rh1 Kg6 41. Kd2 Rg3 42. Re1 {(The e-file is now in whites hands and the black king is cut out of play.)} Kf7 43. h5 Rh3 44. Re6 {(The h-pawn was beyond salvation. It is nice to exchange the blocking piece.)} Ne4 45. Nxe4 fxe4 46. Rxe4 Rxh5 47. Kd3 Rh1 {(I already know it for years, it still surprises me how bad engines handle these positions. Something like this position here I had never before on the board. I was on my own. Somebody having experience with similar positions -so with a strange far advanced pawn on the rim- is warmly invited to react. As mentioned earlier I lost my analyses. However I do remember that I discovered 2 ways to infiltrate with the king: via the right so like in the game, or via the left by means of b3-b4 and king to b3. After my last 2 moves I did not see how black can prevent both threats.)} (47... Rh2 48. Re2 Rh1 49. b4 cxb4 50. c5 Rb1 51. Kc4 Rb2 52. Re3 Rxa2 53. Kxb4 {(Do not shoot if there is a hole as I was busy many hours during the game analyzing this position and I do not want to do that over again.)}) 48. Re6 Rd1 (48... Rh3 {(A devilish trap.)} 49. Ke4 Rxb3 50. Ke5 $1 Rb2 51. Kd6 Rxa2 52. Re3 $18) 49. Ke4 Rd2 50. Ke5 Rxa2 51. Kd6 Rb2 52. Re7 Kf6 53. Rxb7 a2 54. Ra7 1-0
But what I have to think exactly of the Sämisch against the Old-Indian opening is still not clear to me. Next time I will just try it again.

For the ambitious beginner I can recommend 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.f3 (I don't care if this is imprecise) Lg7 5.Le3 O-O 6.Dd2 c6 7.O-O-O to play as I did for years. Without the experience I likely didn't win that game. Therefore I want to end with a light rapid-game, once again against a stronger opponent:
[Event "Lincoln Rapidtoernooi Paramaribo (3)"] [Date "2003"] [White "Nieuweboer, M."] [Black "Lo Kim Lin, F."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B07"] [PlyCount "31"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nc3 g6 3. e4 d6 4. Be3 Bg7 5. f3 O-O 6. Qd2 c6 7. O-O-O Nbd7 8. h4 h5 9. Bh6 e5 10. dxe5 dxe5 11. g4 hxg4 12. h5 Nxh5 13. fxg4 Nf4 14. Qh2 f5 15. Bc4 Rf7 16. Bxg7 1-0
Black didn't understand the difference between the Pirc and the Kings-Indian.

Mark Nieuweboer