Saturday, October 31, 2020

The Cordonsky Attack

A frequent correspondent had generously given us some games from Czerniak's 64 Mishbatzot (64 Squares) which we have been missing. One, from pp. 329-330 (1958, exact issue missing, game #213 in 64 Mishbatzot), between Cordonsky (Czerniak's spelling) and Zalman, shows some example of the nice treasures one can find about theory in old magazines. 

Surely no modern player will go to old reports of the IDF's 1958 championship, of all places, looking for theoretical novelties. And yet Czerniak notes that Black, due to one inaccurate early move, is lost after the 8th move in an extremely popular opening variation - but that, this opportunity being missed, White executing the very idea two moves later already loses! 

Czerniak - somewhat tongue in cheek - dubs this combination the "Kordonsky Attack."

Cordonsky - Zalman

Sicilian Paulsen [B94]

IDF Championship, Israel, 1958

Source & Annotator: see above

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 White threatens to take on f6, prevents the Dragon setup, and forces e6 or Nbd7. 6... Nbd7 7. Qd2 Qc7 The Paulsen variation. The idea is to develop counterchanges on the QS, even without solving the KS issues. 8. O-O-O b5?

Instead of this careless move, better is to first secure the KS with, e.g., 8... h6 9. Bh4 g6 and 10. Bg7. 9.g3? White missed an opportunity to win immediately. The combination he executed in the 11th move should have been done at once: 9. Bxf6 Nxf6 10. e5! dxe5 11. Ndxb5! axb5 12. Nxb5 Qb6 13. Qc3! and wins. 

9... Bb7 10. Kb1 White needs to move the king from c1 for his planned combination. 10... g6! Did Black realize this moves saves him? 11. Bxf6 The beginning of a nice combination, which came too late. 11... Nxf6 12. e5!? dxe5 13. Ndxb5!? axb5 14.Nxb5 Qb6 14... Qc8 (or Qc6) 15. Na7! and 16. Bb5+; 14... Qc5 15. Qb4! 15. Qe3 Now it is clear why the White king had to move from c1. 15... Qa5 16. Qa3

This move should have been - according to White's calculations - the winning move. He threatens a queen exchange and immediate mate. For example:

16... Qxa3 17. Nc7# 

16... Qb6 17. Nc7+! Qxc7 18. Bb5+ 

16... e6 (still) 17. Nc7+!

16... Bh6! A surprising save. 16...Re8! also puts White's victory in question as well, but now, when Black's king has an escape square at g7, White has no way to continue the attack, especially as Black is threatening mate on a2. 17. Qxa5 Rxa5 Black is now safe, and won due to his material advantage (0-1).

Sunday, October 18, 2020

From the Israeli Film Archive


The above is a cut from the Israeli Film Archive (requires registration, but it is free) search for the term "Chess" (in English). There are quite a few newsreels of many Israeli tournaments, in particular the 1964 Olympiad held in Tel Aviv, naturally featuring many well-known players (the USSR team, in particular). There is also a 1935 Marmorosh Simul already posted on this blog, Najdorf's visit (1961), and much more.