Saturday, 19 June 2010

Launching Pieces

One of the difficulties in teaching openings to new (junior) players is that they don't see the point of opening principles. Taking the time to move each piece once only isn't as much fun as playing for the 4 move checkmate, or going on the rampage with the queen. Even if they are shown how horribly wrong such an opening strategy can go, the vast majority of their games are played at such a level that 'bad' openings are just as effective as 'good' openings.
So I've decided to take a slightly different tack. Rather than stress the positional features of 'good' openings, I've simply shown how some openings can lead to a quick checkmate. No, not Scholars mate, but quick knockouts where almost all the pieces join in. One game I use as an example is the Marshal v Burn, 1900. Also known as "The Pipe Game", Marshall develops his pieces and then overwhelms Burn with a kingside smash. And unlike some other common example games (eg Morphy's Opera Box Game), when White sacrifices, he does so with a clear return in sight.

Marshall,Frank James - Burn,Amos [D55]
Paris IT Paris (14), 12.06.1900

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e3 0-0 6.Nf3 b6 7.Bd3 Bb7 8.cxd5 exd5 9.Bxf6 Bxf6 10.h4 g6 11.h5 Re8 12.hxg6 hxg6 13.Qc2 Bg7 (D)
14.Bxg6 fxg6 15.Qxg6 Nd7 16.Ng5 Qf6 17.Rh8+ 1-0

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