Jan '00 Update
The e-pawn emperor's next 'monthly update' will be posted on this Internet site towards the end of February 2000, and in the meantime he will, as always, reply personally to as many e-mail messages as possible which come to MrMo@ChessPublishing.com.
Right now, though, there's a tasty new collection of fresh games, puzzles, and other treats to bring you endless hours of enjoyment. Traditionally, 21 has often been called a 'lucky' number. Well, we're certainly starting the 21st century in style, since the goodies include TWO brand-new features!! Yes, the mouth-watering menu is now even juicier with Mr Mo's Bonus Brainteaser and The Birthday Game. Enough suspense...let's swiftly move up a gear or two to tackle the first new special bonus coming rapidly towards us...
Imagine that Black has just captured his opponent's last pawn, and now White's only remaining piece is his king somewhere on the e-file. That lone white monarch is currently in check from a black bishop AND a black rook situated on the same rank as the bishop. Black's only other 'units' are his king (situated on the square between the rook and bishop), and one pawn.
a) Who is to move now?
b) What exactly was the other player's last move?
c) What exactly was the first player's move just before that?
d) What is the exact position on the board now?
e) Can you find a possible way for White to allow Black to deliver checkmate in just two more moves?
May the intrigued mind find peace by piecing together the parts of this brainteaser (and not lose too much sleep before the solution appears in the next 'update' on this site at the end of February)!
The puzzle was as follows. In this e4-e5 site, it's fitting that we concentrate mainly on the e-file. So, imagine that the white and black kings are sitting on e6 and e8 respectively. Furthermore, Black has an invisible knight and pawn somewhere on the board. It's a nightmare for White, because although he has three invisible pawns and it's also his turn to move, he cannot prevent Black from delivering immediate checkmate in one move. (i) Can you deduce the exact position on the board? (ii) Imagine now that Black could wave a magic wand and change his knight to a bishop or a rook without changing the location of the piece. Would you choose a bishop, or would you prefer a rook?
(i) White: Ke6, Pd5, e5, f5; Black: Ke8, Ne2, Pe7. Even though it is White to move, he cannot avoid being checkmated by 1 d6 Nf4# or 1 f6 Nd4#.
(ii) It's easier if Black chooses a bishop rather than a rook, because immediate mate will follow with 1 d6 Bc4# or 1 f6 Bg4#.
This second brand-new feature will put the spotlight on a player of the past or present whose birthday was or still is a day in the current month. For example, Estonia's Paul Keres (7.1.1916-5.6.1975) was a truly world-class 'January birthday' player, and for our game G13.9 I've chosen his elegant 26-move victory from Parnu 1971 as Black in the Ruy Lopez against fellow-countryman Tonu Oim (who is the only player ever to win two World Correspondence Chess Championships: the most recent championship, and a previous one in 1982).
Would YOU like to star in The Birthday Game? If so, please send an e-mail to MrMo@ChessPublishing.com sometime between the 1st and 15th day of the month preceding your birthday month, and include the following information to be considered by Mr Mo: your name, date & place of birth, and one of your own games starting with 1 e4 e5 (or another acceptable move-order such as 1 e4 Nc6 2 Nf3 e5 or 1 e4 d6 2 d4 Nf6 3 Nc3 e5).
Although annotations are not strictly necessary (since Mr Mo will always analyse the game too), your own personal notes would certainly be most welcomed. Please do mention where and when the game was played, and also state the players' names (together with ratings, if applicable). Don't be shy- let us celebrate YOUR birthday too!
Special thanks to Joe Bacon, James Coleman, Elaine Rutherford, and Janus Theron, all of whom sent in very useful information which certainly enhances the quality of this e4-e5 Internet site.
This fourth update (after the previous launch material) is dedicated to my wife, Jenny, whose constant support always encourages me to try to make my work here better and better so that readers may find ever more benefit and enjoyment from it.
Lots of fresh mouth-watering goodies await us, including a mega dose of Ruy Lopez games in the quintet G13.9-G13.13. The King's Gambit always provides tons of excitement too, and this month one can enjoy a new dynamic duo in the battles G4.12 and G4.13. The second of those contains several very useful supplementary bonuses.
If you want even more, then go ahead and play all night long with the Two Knights Game in G12.8 and the Four Knights Game in G11.6!! The latter also features the story of a remarkable young Scottish female World Champion who is our Hero of the Month. Not so good news for Scotland is the result of game G9.9, a crushing win for Black against the Scotch Game.
In general, the action-packed clashes are made even more irresistible by the presence of related challenging puzzles, which can also be seen in the section called "Puzzle Paradise". Further stimulating material appears in the Reflection Zone, but only subscribers can access that section and all the juicy annotated games too.
It's a personal choice, but for me the three Most Outstanding Moves of the games within this month's update material are the roasting rook sacrifice 34 Rxc6!! by Grandmaster Nevednichy of Romania in game G12.8; Paul Keres' knock-out blow 26...Nd4!! which immediately floored his opponent in game G4.12; and the highly noteworthy 8...c5!! that I played in G4.13 after picking up the idea from GM Mark Hebden just a few weeks before.
The key idea here is that (although in general we focus on recent happenings) it still pays off to study some memorable older material. For example, the latest dynamic duo of King's Gambit battles, G4.12 and G4.13, were actually played years ago, but today those games are still highly instructive (and entertaining too!). The same is true of the Worrall Attack double-bill in games G13.10 and G13.11, and also of the marvellous Marshall Attack featuring in G13.12, as well as Paul Keres' brilliant use in G13.9 of the Deferred Steinitz- yet another fascinating line within the rich realm of the Ruy Lopez. And in G11.6 a little lady demonstrates that nothing could be more right than White's Four Knights!
The previous launch and update material laid the foundations for further exciting adventures with 1 e4 e5 as our chosen starting point, and there still remains much for us to discover. By not letting ourselves become too bogged down in masses of theory, we can enjoy learning together and exploring with a free creative spirit. Personally, I've been working on this site for around nine months already, and I'm finding that I now really know and understand, far better than I ever did before, the numerous e4-e5 openings and important associated key ideas. So a very appropriate motto, that applies to all people, is given by the following words which my friend Nicholas Martyn said to me in Tervuren, Brussels, on 16 January 2000: "Your patience is rewarded".
Recently I've had an influx of very interesting e-mail messages from a number of players, and some of the most thought-provoking examples follow now, along with my responses after having reflected upon the various points in the received messages.
(bold indicates that the player had White)