Friday, January 16, 2009

Off-hand Games

In target rifle shooting "off-hand" shooting refers to what is more formally known as the standing position. In chess, "off-hand" games are fun games, unrated and usually without a clock. I suppose "skittles" are the same, unless they're candy.

Last Monday at the Juneau Chess Club there were just two of us, Tom and me. Tom is a guy I played a few tournament games against 15-18 years ago, and though I won them all he was a pretty tough opponent, rated in the 1400-1500 range.

On this night we played off-hand games, as he didn't want to use a clock, and I decided after the first game to record them in case any interesting positions arose. Tom wasn't having a good night, and I won most of the games in short order. The following was no exception, but something about this short game appealed to me, so here it is. I am White:

1. g3 e5 2. d3 d6 3. Bg7 c6 4. e4 (this position has actually been reached by masters; Black played 4. ... f5) Na3 5. Ne2 f5

6. 0-0 g5? (Black should know better) 7. Nec3 (moving the same piece twice in the opening!) Bh6 8. Qh5+ Kf8 9. exf5 Bxf5 10. Ne4 Bxe4 11. Bxe4 d5 12. f4!

Qd6 13. fxe5+ 1-0

Obviously Black made some blunders, but for me there was a certain charm to this brief game. I've rarely played without a clock in the last 25 years, and this little game refreshed my appreciation of the "off-hand" game that was the staple of Philidor, LaBourdonnais and Morphy.


Douglas L Stewart said...

Took me a minute to figure it out, but you've got 7 .. Ba3 instead of what I believe was really played 7 .. Bh6. I think that move is really the problem. I haven't looked at this on a board or in Fritz, but 7 .. h5 seems more consistent with Black's previous play. In my mind at least there Black has a very aggressive and possibly okay position. I thought a better refutation of Black's strategy (again off the top of my head) was maybe 7 f4, where I don't think some pawn trades favor White's better development, and there are bad ideas available like 7 .. g4? where 8 gxf5 Bxf5? 9 fxe5 wins a pawn.

Wahrheit said...

Thanks Douglas, I fixed the notation error. It's just a funny little game, but thanks for your suggestions. I agree 7. f4 is probably better, but the paradoxical nature of Nec3 appealed at the moment.

Eric said...

Hi Robert, Eric Shoemaker here. How are things in Alaska? You should see my 1st Round game against Soltani. It was a King's Indian Defense. My blog is haphazard these days. But you can reach it by clicking on my name and then going to the Wizard's Castle. I start the Qualifier off right in this game, and I play Peterson later today. Hope things are going well for you and may you be inspired by great games, even if mine do not cut it.


Eric Shoemaker said...

Sorry Robert, that won't work. You have to go to the Reno Chess site and click on one of my comments, rare though they are these days and click there. I'll try and fix this. Eric

Anonymous said...

Qd6 is probably worst possible move after f4 lol

Anonymous said...

just realized this is 9 years old but move 5...Na3 is not correct it is Na6. :-)