I very seldom get excited about new chess books, unless of course they are my own publications! Yet I pre-ordered The Czech Benoni in Action by Asa Hoffmann and Greg Keener and you can find a link to order the book underneath the annotated game below. I’ve added my own annotations and borrowed a few comments from Asa Hoffmann’s book Chess Gladiator. Based on ownership of that book, my knowledge of how Asa plays and his expertise of the Czech Benoni I highly recommend getting this book. I can’t wait for my copy to arrive! Enjoy the game and please feel free to leave comments or ask questions.


A game that I liked (ChessBase 12)

[Event “New York”]
[Site “?”]
[Date “1980.??.??”]
[Round “?”]
[White “Dzindzichashvili, Roman”]
[Black “Hoffmann, Asa”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[ECO “A56”]
[Annotator “Paul Powell”]
[PlyCount “64”]

{GM Roman Dzindzichashvili for short he is called Dzindzy (jin-jee) is one of
the most fierce GM’s in US chess history. He earned the GM title in 1977
and came to the USA in 1979 winning the famous Lone Pine tournament the
following year. If world champions were made of talent alone Dzindzy could
have become world champion, he’s that good. Yet discipline, goal setting,
prioritizes and many other life factors determine how far you will excel at
chess. I shall avoid telling tales out of school and just say that Dzindzy is
a character. Asa Hoffmann is a Fide Master and a fixture of the NYC chess
scene. Asa is so much more than a just an FM, he’s a chess legend and a
blitz chess specialist. He’ll offer time odds against class players and
often sweeten the deal and let them pick the square that he must checkmate
them on. Which means if they say e4, Asa must check mate them on e4 before
running out of time or he loses the game, if he mates them on any other square
he loses the game! Asa plays chess to win but he also plays to create art. He
is a true warrior at the board. All of battles with Asa had been at
Blitz chess except for one game a 30minute Sudden Death time control. Deep in
the money rounds we faced off, I had White and played 1.e4. Asa played an old
fashion Philidor Defense. I honestly don’t recall the outcome of the game
but I’m pretty sure I drew or lost. What I do recall was the post-mortem we
were joined by GM William Lombardy former Catholic priest who was Bobby
Fischer’s second for the 1972 World Chess Championship. Having little
theoretical experience in the Philidor I went for simple exchanges in order to
reach a playable middle game and not exhaust all my time in the opening.
Lombardy was becoming very frustrated because each exchange I made improved
Asa’s position but my game was still playable. Every several moves he took
control of the board trying to prove I was lost but could never really finish
it off. Finally in frustration he said “Chess is a tough game, bad move
after bad move and you are not dead yet.” Ironically I was 3 full points
ahead of Lombardy at the stage of the tournament and cashed and Lombardy did
not.} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 e5 {Asa steers for the Czech Benoni a
positional battle that fixes the center and takes on a defensive role but with
possibilities of pawn breaks and counter shots.} ({Both are called Benoni but
take a look at this structure from the Modern Benoni.} 3… e6 4. Nc3 exd5 5.
cxd5 d6 6. e4 g6 {Not the same creature, right!}) 4. Nc3 d6 {Black clamps down
for the long haul and puts on his patience hat.} 5. e4 Be7 6. Be2 Nbd7 7. Nf3
O-O {Black is in no rush, maybe he’s try to break f7-f5 or b7-b5 but only
after he is in the middlegame and has properly prepared the breaks.} 8. h3 a6
9. a4 {White works to eliminate the idea of Black getting in the b7-b5 breaks.}
b6 10. g4 Kh8 11. Be3 g6 {Asa gives himself a question mark for this move in
his book Chess Gladiator. I’m not sure that I agree, Black’s position is
very resourceful and while g6 creates a target I’m not sure it’s fully
exploitable.} 12. Bh6 Ng8 $6 {Asa admits that Ng8 was a panic move as he
feared the consequences of Ng5 if he moved his Rook to safety.} (12… Re8 13.
Ng5 Kg8 14. Qd2 Bf8 {It does look dangerous!}) 13. Bxf8 Nxf8 {One advantage of
giving up the Rook is that it makes g6 looks like part of the master plan.} 14.
Qd2 g5 $1 {Asa writes in Chess Gladiator “A move only a Master or a patzer
would make!,” they were wont to say in the old books. He states that his
idea was to maneuver his Knight to f4 to create a blockade. I believe g5 to
be his best move of the entire game.} 15. a5 (15. O-O-O Ng6 16. Rdg1 Nf4 17. h4
{I would prefer to give Mr. Hoffmann his Knight at f4 in return for making the
White King safe.}) 15… Rb8 16. h4 {White is playing on both sides of the
board, a risky strategy as it’s difficult to dominate on both.} gxh4 17. b4 {
Black has no choice if White is going to pry him open he’s got to grab all
the pawns and defend until the punches subside.} cxb4 18. Na4 bxa5 19. c5 Ng6
20. c6 {White’s pawn on c6 is a huge long term threat.} Nf6 $2 (20… Nf4 21.
g5 h3 22. Nb2 f6 {Black is coming back strong!}) 21. Qe3 Ne8 {Asa annotates
this move a question mark in Chess Gladiator. The Knight covers a lot of good
squares from e8 so I don’t hate this move.} 22. Qa7 Qc7 23. Qxc7 Nxc7 {
Taking Queens off in this position has to be better for Black, now he can
breathe a little easier.} 24. Nd2 Nb5 25. Nb3 Nf4 $1 26. Nxa5 Nxe2 27. Kxe2
Bxg4+ 28. f3 (28. Kd3 f5 29. Rag1 h5 {It’s getting complicated!}) 28… Nd4+
29. Kf2 Bxf3 30. c7 Rc8 31. Rhc1 h3 $1 {Now the dark square Bishop plays an
active role in the game.} 32. Nb6 Bh4+ {Draw by agreement as the White King
will only move to f2 or e3, due to a mating net. However it is possible that
Black is winning with 33.Ke3 Rxc7 34.Rxc7 h2!} 1/2-1/2



This game is an example of playing within your comfort zone at 1 minute per person chess (bullet chess). Pattern recognition was my key to victory for this game and is the subject of an upcoming book on Dragon patterns. Have a question? Comments are welcome, see the form below.

A game that I liked (ChessBase 12)

[Event “Live Chess”]
[Site “Chess.com”]
[Date “2014.11.14”]
[Round “?”]
[White “ccarnevale”]
[Black “Powell, Paul”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “B34”]
[WhiteElo “1759”]
[BlackElo “2275”]
[Annotator “Microsoft”]
[PlyCount “64”]
[EventDate “2014.??.??”]
[TimeControl “1”]

1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 {Expecting 3.c3 the Smith-Morra Gambit a popular line it
bullet chess. This ultra sharp gambit has won many a games at this time
control as Black eats up precious time trying to find his way to safety.} 3.
Nf3 Nc6 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 {Foregoing 5… d6 in favor of a hyper-modern
dragon structure that I’ve played many times before.} 6. Be3 (6. Nxc6 bxc6 7.
e5 Nd5 8. Nxd5 cxd5 9. Qxd5 Rb8 10. Bc4 e6 {Down a pawn with an awkward pawn
structure is home court advantage. I’ve played this position successfully in
hundreds of speed games.}) 6… Bg7 7. Be2 O-O 8. O-O d5 {By not playing d6, I
gained the advantage of playhing a developing move and now I get to d5 in one
move instead of two moves (d6, d5).} 9. Nxc6 bxc6 10. e5 Nd7 11. f4 e6 {I’ve
played many positions very similar to this one. I discuss pattern
recognition as a method to learn openings in an upcoming book on Dragon themes.
} 12. Na4 {A must move for White or else I get in c5 for free.} Qc7 13. Nc5
Rb8 14. Bd4 Re8 15. Ba6 Bf8 {Almost all of my play occurs behind the 5th rank.
White attacks and I simply hold a solid position while he works to find his
own demise.} 16. Bxc8 Qxc8 17. Nxd7 {White’s plan should have been to hold
the c5 square instead of running his bishop to a6 only to exchange it off. Now
what can he do to stop my c pawn from advancing?} Qxd7 18. Qd2 c5 19. Bf2 Rxb2
20. Rfb1 Rxb1+ 21. Rxb1 Qc7 22. Rb5 Rb8 23. Qa5 $2 {White finds what would be
a clever move if it was not completely losing. Better was to exercise caution
and retreat the rook.} (23. Rb3 a5 24. Qc1 a4 25. Rb1) 23… Qxa5 24. Rxa5 Rb1+
25. Be1 Rxe1+ 26. Kf2 Rc1 27. Rxa7 Rxc2+ 28. Ke3 c4 29. Ra8 Kg7 30. Kd4 Bb4 31.
g4 {White feels safe with his King in the center of the board and decides upon
rushing his pawns.} Be1 32. f5 Bf2# {Even at the ultra fast time control of
one minute per person you don’t have to take unwarranted chances with the
Black pieces, just make sounds moves and hold your own.} 0-1


Fischer,Robert James – Darga,Klaus [C19]

Fischer – Darga [Germany]     FRG-USA Berlin West, 1960     French Defense This games took place during the height of the Cold War (1960-1964).  The Western Allies set up a western German constitutional convention with a goal of ultimate reunification. The USSR refused to acknowledge this and in May 1949, the Western Allies established the […]

Read the full article →


A BUST TO THE KING’S GAMBIT by U.S. Champion Bobby Fischer International Grandmaster The King’s Gambit has lost popularity, but not sympathy. Analysts treat it with kid gloves and seem reluctant to demonstrate an outright refutation. “The Chessplayers Manual” by Gossip and Lipschutz, published in 1874, devotes 237 pages to this gambit without arriving at […]

Read the full article →

London Calling

5. …. Nf6 a waste of time, better is h6 10…. Bxf3, why not Bh5 13…. g5 so now he decides to get frisky

Read the full article →