More on Byrne – annotated games of the master

by ChessBase
4/17/2013 – Last Friday we had to pass on the sad news that the great American chess player, academic and writer Robert Byrne had passed away, just days before his 85th birthday. Our eulogy was followed by a tribute from his friend Lubomir Kavalek. Today we bring you a number of games of the master, annotated by GM Alex Baburin (Chess Today), Tryfon Gavriel and Andrew Martin, the latter two with videos.

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GM Robert Byrne, April 20, 1928 – April 12, 2013

Robert Byrne and his younger brother Donald were among the talented young “Collins Kids” who developed under John W. (Jack) Collins in the mid-20th century. Between 1952 and 1976, he won seven medals over the course of nine Olympiads, attained the U.S. Open title in 1960, and participated in several team matches between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.

However, academic pursuits limited his opportunities for competitive play. After graduating from Yale in 1952, he went on to become a professor of philosophy at Indiana University, where he spent several years before gradually turning professional in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Besides his Olympiad participation, he tied for another U.S. Open title in 1966 and scored victories at the 1972 U.S. Championship and the 1973 Leningrad Interzonal.

Known for his contributions in several opening systems, preparing for a match against Byrne was always a challenge. His competitive play tailed off during the 1970s after succeeding Al Horowitz in 1972 as chess columnist for the New York Times, a position he held until his retirement in 2006. He contributed frequently to Chess Life and released three books. He also worked with the U.S. Chess Federation in an administrative role, chairing the committee on masters’ affairs and serving as one of the organization’s vice-presidents. – Source: World Chess Hall of Fame

The editor of Chess Today provided analysis of the following exciting game from fifty years ago:

[Event "US op"] [Site "Boston"] [Date "1964.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Byrne, Robert Eugene"] [Black "Mazuchowski, Tom"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E57"] [Annotator "Alex Baburin ("] [PlyCount "41"] [EventDate "1964.??.??"] [EventRounds "9"] [EventCountry "USA"] [Source "Chess Today"] [SourceDate "2013.04.12"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 {This move was recently used by Kramnik against Svidler - yet another example of how theory develops in spiral. } 5. Nf3 c5 6. e3 Nc6 7. Bc4 cxd4 8. exd4 Be7 9. O-O O-O 10. Re1 {Diagram # This position is typical for both the Semi-Tarrasch Defence and the Panov Attack of the Caro-Kann. Another very popular version of this system is where White has his bishop on d3.} Nf6 ({The most popular move is} 10... Bf6) ({ Black also often plays} 10... Nxc3 11. bxc3 b6) ({Note that the immediate} 10... b6 $6 {leads to a passive position after} 11. Nxd5 $1 exd5 12. Bb5 Bb7 13. Bf4) 11. a3 $1 {White prevents ...Nb4 and prepares Qd3 and Bc4-a2-b1.} b6 12. Ba2 Bb7 13. Qd3 Rc8 14. Bg5 {Diagram #} Re8 (14... Qd7 15. d5 $1 exd5 $2 ( 15... Nxd5 16. Nxd5 exd5 17. Bxd5 $16) 16. Bb1 $1 g6 17. Rxe7 $1 Nxe7 (17... Qxe7 $142 18. Nxd5 Nxd5 19. Bxe7 Ne5 20. Qd1 Nxf3+ 21. gxf3 Nxe7 $16) 18. Bxf6 $18 {Zhukova-Muhren, Wijk aan Zee 2005 (CT-1531)}) ({It made sense to clarify the situation with the g5-bishop -} 14... h6 $5 15. Bh4 Nh5) 15. Rad1 Nd5 16. Ne4 ({Houdini 3 promises White clear edge after} 16. Nxd5 Bxg5 17. Nc3 Bh6 18. d5 exd5 19. Rxe8+ Qxe8 20. Bxd5 {but in the resulting position White's advantage can easily fizzle out.}) 16... h6 ({It might be better to exchange bishops - after} 16... Bxg5 17. Nexg5 g6 18. h4 {White has some initiative, but Black is doing OK.}) 17. Bc1 Bf8 18. Bb1 g6 (18... f5 $142 19. Nc3 Na5) 19. Ne5 Nf6 $4 {Diagram #} ({Black loses the game in one move - he should have got rid of the e5-knight. After} 19... Nxe5 20. dxe5 Qh4 $5 {Black would have decent counter-play.}) 20. Nxf7 $3 Qe7 ({Black is also doomed after} 20... Kxf7 21. Ng5+ hxg5 22. Qxg6+ Ke7 23. d5) 21. Ned6 1-0

Video commentary by Kingscrusher

The author of the following videos is Tryfon Gavriel, also known as "Kingscrusher" on the Internet. He is a FIDE Candidate Master (CM), British Regional Chess Master, and has run a popular Youtube channel for many years. He also does the weekly "Kingscrusher Radio show" on on Tuesday evenings at 21:00 GMT. Kingscrusher is also the Webmaster of the correspondence style chess server

Fischer vs Byrne, US Championship 1965

Byrne vs Larry Evans, US Championship 1965

Twenty years later: Byrne vs Joel Benjamin, US Championship 1984

Svidler plays the Byrne system

Following his recent tribute to Robert Byrne Andrew Martin shows us a game from the present day between two for the world's top players, in which it seems like they have transported Byrne's ideas from the 1970s and 80s into the year 2013. The game shows us that the King's Indian Defence is still in business!

Caruana-Svidler Russian Team Championships 2013

Andrew David Martin (born 18th May 1957 in West Ham, London) is an English chess player with the title of International Master. He has won various national and international tournaments and has been playing for years in the Four Nations Chess League, at present (July 2009) for Wood Green Hilsmark Kingfisher, previously for the Camberley Chess Club. Martin received his IM title in1984. He earned his first grandmaster norm in the British Championship of 1997 in Brighton. Martin was a commentator on the chess world championship between Kasparov and Kramnik in 2000.


On the 21st February 2004 Martin set a new world record for simultaneous chess. He faced 321 chess players at the same time. His result was: 294 wins, 26 draws and only one loss. Martin is known as a professional chess teacher and head trainer of the English youth team. He trains eight schools (Yateley Manor, Aldro, Millfield, Sunningdale, Waverley School, St Michael’s Sandhurst, Wellington College, Salesian College). Martin is a chess columnist, an author of chess books and the author of various instructional videos. He was the publisher of the series Trends Publications. Martin lives in Sandhurst, England, is married and the father of two daughters and two sons. His present Elo rating is 2423 (as of July 2009).

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