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is chess in the Olympics

  There is currently no chess in the Olympiad. The Chess Olympiad is a chess competition officially organized by FIDE since 1927 and takes place in even-numbered years. Before World War II the event was occasionally held every year. There was also an unofficial Chess Olympiad series that ended in 1976. Although chess is covered in the sports sections of many newspapers around the world, it is not one of the recognized sports in the Olympic Games. However, FIDE is now a member of the International Olympic Committee and follows its rules. This means that chess could one day become an Olympic event, although most knowledgeable observers say this is unlikely. The World Chess Championship is a competition held annually by the international chess organization FIDE to determine the World Champion of chess. Both men and women are eligible to participate in this championship. The World Champion does not have to be the player with the highest Elo rating: the 2006-2007 World Champion, Vladimir Kr

5 Traps in the Scandinavian Defense

The Scandinavian Defense is generally considered a solid reply to 1. e4 by Black. It is characterized by the moves 1. e4 d5, immediately attacking White’s center with the d-pawn in order to fight and gain control over the center.

There are many lines that have come out from the Scandinavian but most of the opening moves are pretty standard and logical moves because there aren’t a lot of complicated theoretical lines surrounding it. So it won’t necessarily be a difficult time for Black to get used to this kind of setup.

In my experience, White is the one having to think of ways to breach Black’s virtually impenetrable defense with his c- and e-pawns clamping down on the d5-square and smooth development. Sure, Black may seem passive but that is well compensated by the fact that there are no weaknesses in his position so he can comfortably bring his pieces out and castle to safety.

Despite the solid defense and the seeming lack of weak points, White does have ways to force Black’s fortress open however, that would only happen if Black slips up and makes a mistake somewhere along the way. Here, we have several games in which White takes advantage of Black’s naiveté and overwhelms him with a roaring attack.

Mieses – Ohquist, Nuremberg, 1895

Let’s try to break things down for this game. All the moves that were made until move 4 are pretty standard in the Scandinavian. Black’s next move, Nc6, isn’t the best move and we see from this game why that is the case.

Usually, Black wants to clamp down on the d5 square so that it would prevent White from advancing further with his d-pawn. White, in turn, wants to blast open the position if he is given the opportunity as is in this case.

Currently, White does have a slight lead in development and that is his main point of contention against Black. Whereas, Black should keep White at bay with a very solid structure. Though Black may seem passive, he can simply ride out the opening unscathed and take his chances in the middle game, when all of his pieces have been developed and his king has been brought to safety.

We don’t have that here in this game. Instead, because Black played his knight to c6 too early without having any preparation like e6 or Nf6, this creates complications that Black may not be able to recuperate from if he doesn’t address it properly.

With White sacrificing his queen for the attack, we see how Black has compromised his position too much by being too greedy and losing a lot of tempo in the process. When White pushed Black’s knight away, Black should have simply retreated it.

It may seem counterintuitive, an ugly move to make but it would have been Black’s best chance at regrouping and trying again to make sure that he solidifies his position first before going gung ho with his pieces.

And we see the aftermath of Black’s lack of preparation and foresight with a nice checkmate from White.

Balode – Sondore, Riga, 1965

Sometimes, there are similarities between openings and tactical combinations because they use the same motifs. It has already been said countless times in articles I have written and in games that I have seen that the f7 square (or the f2 square) is the weakest point in front of the king and that’s why many would want to come after it.

The concept can be seen once again being displayed for our learning and enjoyment here in this game. It even overlaps somewhat to the concept in the Legal’s Trap and the Legal’s Mate which has already been featured in one of the articles here as well.

Oftentimes, we would see a knight and bishop, and sometimes even a queen, converging against the f-pawn in front of the king. They all want to deliver mate and capture the poor monarch who has no choice but to be stripped of all his defenses while his forces lay around doing nothing to defend him.

Black might have thought that he was pinning White’s knight to the queen and so there wasn’t much trouble. But once White throws caution to the wind, letting Black take his powerful queen in exchange for checkmate, Black needed to take a step back and watch bewildered as White prepares to slay the king.

He could have defended against this attack by simply playing Be6 but White would still have an advantage in terms of tempo, development, and a better structure once the bishops are exchanged. In the end, White ended Black’s misery with a glorious queen sac that left Black no choice but to surrender.

Wiesel – Weigel, 1923

Since Black’s queen often takes back the pawn, she would usually be harassed by White’s pieces. However, that is not necessarily a problem as long as Black is able to bring her back safely. In some lines, the queen retreats back to d8 and in other more popular lines, the queen goes to a5 but retreats back to c7 after c6 is played.

In this game, we see the Black queen being chased by White’s pieces as the number of safe squares she has continued to diminish. At some point, Black’s queen was caught in the sidelines and White was quickly ramping up the pressure against the king. If White could have played the move O-O-O in move 7, he would have been able to survive the attack.

However, Black wasted a move by retreating the queen and moving it back to the square it came from one move later. Then it was only a bit of time before White was able to trap the queen and forced Black to resign.

Ourmet – Cierniak, Paris, 1989

This is probably the least abject position for Black among these games. Black was actually doing well until move 7, at which point, one mistake cost him the game. Although technically he could have forged on but he would have been playing in a much worse position so he opted to throw in the towel.

This tactic is not something that can be proactively initiated rather it is more of a reactive attack that capitalizes on one mistake.

NN – Krueger, Stettin, 1920

Black isn’t always the one on the receiving end of these traps. In this game, it is White who finds himself getting caught in another tactical motif similar to the Legal’s Trap. For most of the game, the two sides are even until White makes the pivotal mistake at move 8 with Ne4. This move launches the sequence of moves that is all too familiar.

Instead, White could have continued his development and played a good game. But if he did, we wouldn’t have this game to discuss and analyze, so it’s all on perspective.

Cracking the solid defense

Playing against the Scandinavian Defense is not an easy thing to do because you would have to slowly progress and accumulate advantages in order to come out on top.

Although a lot of Scandinavian games end in draws because it’s a very solid opening and with the right play, it can help Black players who don’t really want to spend a lot of time and effort in a grueling struggle for equality. It’s not too theoretical either so you don’t have to look deep into its lines and variations.


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