BITS AND PIECES
Shifa Somji enjoys learning, playing, and reading about chess.
Chess4Girls held a chess strategy session with Grandmaster Greg Serper at the Bellevue Public Library. In an engaging session, GM Serper discussed his famous game against Ioannis Nikolaidis. The game was played in 1993 and is endearingly named “The Usurper.” The game highlights an aggressive style of play, one Chess4Girls would like to inculcate in all chess playing girls. Here, I analyze some of the best positions from the game.
The set of moves, leading to the first position found below, are as follows:
1. c4 g6 2. e4 Bg7 3. d4 d6 4. Nc3 Nf6 5. Nge2 Nbd7 6. Ng3 c6 7. Be2 a6 8. Be3 h5 9. f3 b5 10. c5
In the first position, even ten moves into the opening, White has a clear advantage. White’s pawns dominate the center and White pieces are far more active than Black pieces.
The next set of moves, leading to the second position found below, are as follows:
10. … dxc5 11. dxc5 Qc7 12. O-O h4 13. Nh1 Nh5 14. Qd2 e5 15. Nf2 Nf8 16. a4 b4 17. Nd5
This Knight sacrifice, the first example of aggressive play in the game, further demonstrates White’s advantage.
The next set of moves, leading to the third position found below, are as follows:
17. … cxd5 18. exd5 f5 19. d6 Qc6 20. Bb5 axb5 21. axb5 Qxb5 22. Rxa8 Qc6 23. Rfa1 f4 24. R1a7 Nd7
White’s rooks dominate the last two ranks of the board, highlighting the benefits of playing aggressively. Most of Black’s pieces are controlled simply by White’s rooks and queen and Black needs to tread cautiously.
The final position, 1-0, is the fourth position in the gallery below.
While White won convincingly, the amazingly bold style of play made the game a memorable one.
Overall, the session was very insightful. Through Serper’s beautiful game, girls who attended the session learned about the power of an aggressive style of chess and how it can be incorporated to win tournament games. Chess4Girls hopes to host more sessions in the future.