The Bremer Counter Attack

4/1/2015 – Can an opening be solved, can a line be thoroughly refuted and unplayable? How about the Anglo Scandinavian (1.c4 d5) being used to bust the English Opening? Timo Immonen has done some remarkable work towards this end, and the announcement of it comes in the unusual form of a chapter in a trilogy of fictional thrillers, presenting the main anti-English line.

ChessBase 14 Download ChessBase 14 Download

Everyone uses ChessBase, from the World Champion to the amateur next door. Start your personal success story with ChessBase 14 and enjoy your chess even more!


Along with the ChessBase 14 program you can access the Live Database of 8 million games, and receive three months of free ChesssBase Account Premium membership and all of our online apps! Have a look today!

More...

We all know novels that include chess games, but most use games taken from old tournaments, or have
trivially invented moves. We have found a novel with a meaningful new game, one that uses the Anglo
Scandinavian (1.c4 d5) to allegedly bust the English Opening. The author has done some remarkable work to back up his theory. With his permission, we present the relevant chapter.

The author, Timo Immonen, using the pen name Alexander Jalo, has just finished a trilogy, a thriller based
on U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s warning about three great threats to freedom and democracy:
the military-industrial complex, global banking and the scientific-technological elite. The books are packed
with information about history, international politics, the present financial crisis and hypermodern science.
Their English names are: Traces, Moves and The Light. The books are written in Finnish and are yet to be
published. The author is currently looking for an international publisher.

Book covers designed by Marke Kaikkonen

As volume two clearly indicates, chess is the center of the story. It consists of different levels. First of all,
the book features a real chess game which is very beautiful and never before seen anywhere else. At some point, the storyline follows that game concretely. On another level it’s about political games in symbolic chess terms, and the whole story is about the Grand Chessboard and the Endgame at hand. As with the Sindarin language devised by J. R. R. Tolkien for his books, the veracity and reality of the opening is pivotal. Its theoretical background is almost mystical and gives us a hint about the anomalous science in the third book: if the chess theory is unbelievable but true, then what about all the other information.

The following excerpt from the book “Moves”, given below translated into English by the author and
Jennifer Saalinki, introduces the opening in question: Anglo Scandinavian 1.c4 d5.


Bremer Counter Attack of the Anglo Scandinavian Defense

By Timo Immonen

Chapter 3 from the book “Moves”

The name of the TV-program was Brainstorm and with good reason. Crystal Randall had devised a talk show that had instantly become an international success with an almost cult-like reputation. Guests of the show were exceptional talents from various fields with whom Randall had managed to develop a deep relationship of trust. She herself was multitalented with a deep understanding of almost any subject, which amazed the audience as much as it amazed the guests themselves. Time after time her broad and holistic knowledge seemed to steer the guests toward interdisciplinary thoughts and incitements, which led to further studies and even scientific breakthroughs. Many of the spectators who had visited the show spoke about an almost tangible collective consciousness in the audience. Randall had a habit of inviting random participants from the audience, and like a miracle, they often proved to be almost equally as talented as the invited guests themselves. An invitation to the stage brought instant fame and success to many new talents.

From the outside, the Beacon Theatre looked as modest as the surrounding buildings. Its existence was exposed only by the entrance canopy that reached over the pavement and was illuminated by neon signs advertising the show, while the rest of the façade blended in with the wall of the other buildings. The number of people around the canopy denoted its popularity. The mist created by the breath of the people hovering around the area was lit up by the neon lights. It made me realize that the temperature was below zero, but it was the humidity of the air and the cold wind that forced me to raise the collar of my jacket as I approached the crowd.

An African-American man in his 40’s was leaning against the wall. As I was about to pass him, he suddenly fixated his eyes on mine and said something. Without actually hearing anything, I realized he was offering black market tickets for the Randall Show. I already had a ticket, but my curiosity got the best of me, and I immediately walked up to him.

“How much are you asking?” I asked in a quiet voice.

“One gee apiece,” he replied.

I understood what he was saying, but couldn’t grasp it.

“Excuse me?”

“I said one grand. These are hot.”

“Wow! I’m lucky I’ve got one already.”

“I can fix you up with a better seat for a small fee. What’s your seat number?”

“Well, I haven’t checked.”

I dug for my ticket in my breast pocket and realized, at the same time, that the guy could be planning some kind of sleight of hand. Instead of giving him my ticket I squeezed it tightly between my fingers and checked the number myself.

“AA109,” I read from the ticket.

“Are you some kind of celebrity? Your seat is in the front row of the orchestra pit! I’ll give you another ticket and a grand on top of it,” he said while staring at my ticket in disbelief.

“What orchestra? I don’t play any instrument.”

“Ha-ha, you must be a funny guy. It’s the area nearest the stage. Do we have a deal?”

“Sorry, I think I’ll keep my ticket.”

My conscience started to rear its head before I had even finished my sentence; after all, I had taken up his valuable business time without any intention to buy. I dug in my pocket for some cash and handed him a 50 dollar bill.

“What’s that for?” he asked astonished.

“I wasn’t intending to buy anything. Thanks for the good intel.”

“Man, are you crazy? If I were you, I’d hurry up. They’re starting to let in the VIPs. With that ticket of yours, you are definitely one of ‘em.”

I thanked him for the tip.

People were crowding around the entrance in order to see the celebrities going in and for whom the doormen had cleared a passageway to the front door. A limousine stopped in front of the canopy and some remotely familiar-looking people got out of the car. Cameras flashed and people cheered. Much like on a conveyer belt, car after car started to arrive and the same cheering and flashing storm continued for anyone who stepped out of one of those cars. Suddenly I started to doubt the advice from the scalper: what if he had been messing with me? How and from where could Laura have received such a ticket? She said that she had received it as a gift, so maybe some famous writer had donated it to her. Gambit – I'll just rush in with confidence, I thought, and started to go around the crowd to the street on my right. From there I would have access to the passageway. At the same time, another limousine arrived in front of the canopy and Garry Kasparov got out of the car with his wife. I hesitated at first, but when I came out from behind the car into the open, a security guard guided me to follow the Kasparovs. This took me by surprise, but I started to follow in close proximity, almost immediately being blinded by the flashing cameras. I wondered what would have happened, if I would have walked in alone – without any cheering or flashing lights, I would have looked very suspicious. A few seconds later, we were at the door and it was opened for us. A doorman greeted Mr. Kasparov by name without even looking at his ticket, while another doorman smiled at Kasparov’s wife. Neither of them paid any attention to me, nor did they want to see my ticket, as though I was irrelevant. However, they proceeded to keep the door open until I made it in. At that moment I realized I must have appeared as Mr. Kasparov’s bodyguard. I had no intention of finding out if I would have gotten in anyway; instead, I stayed close behind and tried to observe the surroundings, like a true bodyguard would have.

The theatre's high-ceilinged and circular lounge was bewilderingly glamorous. There was white marble and objects covered in gold leaf everywhere I looked. A huge chandelier hung from the center dome. The place was like a journey back through time, to the glory days of the 1920s. While I was marveling at the ceiling, the Kasparovs had moved further away and were already on the other side of the lobby, where they were guided forward. Luckily the scalper had told me my seat was on the lower level, so I followed them without hesitation and without even so much as a glance toward the upstairs. The ticket inspector stopped me at the door and was about to ask me something, when I suddenly decided to carry on playing bodyguard and told him that I was with Mr. Kasparov. Right at that moment I realized that I was wearing a coat, while the Kasparovs had emerged from the limousine without any. I feared the inspector might require me to leave my coat in the cloakroom, but he just nodded and let me in. I thought I saw a sympathetic look in his eyes just before he turned his head toward the people behind me. It seemed like the role of a bodyguard suited me better than that of a VIP.

If the lobby had been brilliant, the hall was nothing short of dazzling. Golden statues and artifacts decorated the walls and their splendor was heightened by a thick, crimson curtain, the same color as the auditorium seating. The ceiling ornaments created the effect of a huge, glowing Persian carpet. The Kasparovs had already reached the middle of the front row and sat down. My heart skipped a beat as I realized that my seat was directly beside Mr. Kasparov. I had barely managed to sit down, when Kasparov extended his hand in greeting.

“I was wondering why you were following us so closely. Crystal told me you would be sitting next to me.”

It took me a while before I remembered I had somebody else’s ticket. Only I didn’t know whose ticket it was. I began to worry that the situation was escalating in an unpleasant way and decided to avoid any further lies and pretending.

“I figured you would be sitting in the front row too, and it felt easiest to follow you. I hope I wasn’t too intrusive,” I said.

“Not at all! You are the writer, aren’t you... I can’t seem to recollect your name, but I read your book about street chess,” Kasparov explained.

That was it! My theory was confirmed. My ticket was originally meant for a chess writer, who for some unknown reason had skipped the show. This was my last chance to clip the wings of the misunderstanding, before I would drown in its consequences.

“It was Crystal who told you?” I asked, just to make sure.

Kasparov could hardly have been in contact with Laura.

“That’s right,” he answered.

“Thing is, I’m also a writer just not the one you are referring to. And by the way, I don’t know anything about him. I got this ticket from my publisher,” I explained.

“And your name is?” he asked casually.

“Daniel Bremer. From Finland,” I answered.

“Are you also a chess writer?” he continued.

“Oh no! I’m certainly no chess expert and as a matter of fact, I only play sporadically,” I answered while letting out a sigh of relief.

Suddenly he had a mischievous grin on his face and said almost laughingly.

“In that case this is gonna get very interesting!”

“How come?” I asked confused.

“You’ll see...” he said still smiling.

On the stage, two seats had been placed face to face so that the audience could observe them both from the side. Between the seats lay a chessboard with the chess pieces already set up for play. A third seat had been placed behind the chessboard, facing the audience. On the left side of the stage hung a huge screen displaying a computer chessboard, and on the right side, a similar screen for streaming live footage from the group of chairs on the stage. While it was obvious that there would be a chess game played on the stage, the presence of Garry Kasparov strongly suggested that the plan was for him to be one of the players. He had retired from competitive chess several years prior, but kept on surprising his opponents year after year in exhibition matches or casual games. He and Paul Sawyer had been offered spectacular prizes to play a match, but Kasparov had categorically declined. If Crystal Randall had managed to persuade Mr. Kasparov, this evening’s show would definitely become one for the history books.

The hall was filled to the last seat and finally the lights dimmed. At first there was a quiet murmur here and there, but when the theme music started, all eyes turned to the stage. Suddenly a tall, slim woman appeared from behind the curtains. She walked so briskly that her long, blonde hair flowed behind her. She halted at the center of the stage and bowed to the audience with her hand on her heart. The music continued as she started to walk towards me. Before I had time to react, Mr. Kasparov stood up and grasped Crystal’s hand. Her whole face lit up with a friendly smile and her green eyes sparkled. Her friendliness and soft demeanor created a charming contrast to her intelligent, fearless glare. Her entire appearance had a kind of magical radiance to it. Suddenly the music stopped and Crystal, in a low voice while extending her right hand towards Kasparov, said:

“Ladies and gentlemen – Garry Kasparov!”

There was loud and sustained applause, which was as much for the hostess as for Mr. Kasparov, who was very popular among American chess circles. Crystal walked to the group of seats on the stage and took the chair facing the audience while the applause continued. She raised her hand to quiet the crowd and a deafening silence filled the hall.

“Tonight we have a guest who took the world by surprise by reaching the top of the chess rankings at an adult age; from absolutely nowhere, and in no time whatsoever. He has never lost a single game, and was the first human to reach 3000 ELO -points. We know that this all raised some serious suspicions about computer assisted cheating, but he retaliated against those rumors by challenging the best chess engines! After beating all of them – most of them strict draws – he managed to defeat any suspicions as well. Not only is he a chess genius, but he is also at the top of the world IQ-ranking. With an average score of 220 from several tests, one might say that he is a downright superhuman!”

The audience held their breath.

“Ladies and gentlemen, Paul Sawyer!”

A tall, broad-shouldered man in his early 30’s appeared from behind the curtains. His appearance was more of a swimmer than of a chess master. His grey jacket, the way his black shirt had several buttons unbuttoned and the cavalier way in which he walked across the stage gave the impression that he was an assertive world traveler. He was surprisingly handsome and could easily have been mistaken for a world-famous movie star. The applause continued while Sawyer and Crystal exchanged kisses on both cheeks. He took her hand between his and whispered something in her ear, which made her blush. They were both grinning at each other, and there was no doubt that they enjoyed each other's company. Crystal showed him to his seat on her left and they sat down simultaneously. Sawyer straightened his legs under the table and lifted his right arm over the seat back. For a short moment their eye contact was so intense that it seemed as if they were alone in the hall full of people. Looking around the hall, I could clearly see women gazing at him as if they were willing to offer their hearts to this perfectly groomed man with striking features and radiant intelligence. The thundering ovation wasn’t about to die down, so Crystal had to raise her hand in order to stop it.

The interview was flowing effortlessly. They connected right away; Mr. Sawyer was multi-talented like Crystal. Music and mathematics were their greatest passions and they both praised them as windows to the universal truth. When Crystal, in that connection, asked about the meaning of chess for Mr. Sawyer, he surprised everybody with his answer by declaring that he was playing chess more out of obsession than love of the game. With an apologetic expression on her face, she suddenly asked:

“You have often been asked whether you have a specific role model and you have always answered that you follow the footsteps of Paul Morphy, who stunned the chess world for a short time 150 years ago.”

“That’s correct.”

“You say you follow in his footsteps, but you never specifically call him your role model. Why is that?”

“What do you mean?”

“I have been told that under hypnosis you have revealed that you are a reincarnation of Paul Morphy.”

“That’s not true. I mean I don’t believe that and I'd prefer not to talk about it!”

His eyes were burning, but they radiated a freezing coldness. A painful silence filled the hall but it was soon broken by Crystal’s words:

“Is this the right moment to move on to our exhibition game?”

“Why not,” Sawyer answered with tension in his voice.

“I have a slightly unusual opponent for you. I want you to take the game seriously and share your perspective with us. You see, I've heard that you see the game very differently from other grand masters. If my intuition is correct, your opponent will bring out something new about you, and, indeed, about chess in general.”

Crystal got up from her seat and walked to the edge of the platform to stand right in front of me. First she looked at me and then turned her eyes to the man sitting on the other side of the Kasparovs. After a short moment she looked at me again and our eyes met. I managed to see disbelief and fear in her eyes just before she turned her head towards Mr. Kasparov, who signaled his refusal with a quick gesture of his hand, out of sight of the audience. At that point, her eyes were already desperately pleading for mercy, but Mr. Kasparov confirmed his decision by shaking his head in refusal. The movement was hardly visible, but its meaning wasn’t lost on those immediately around him: he had no intention to get up on that stage. Finally Crystal looked quizzically at me and asked:

“You sir, there beside Mr. Kasparov… I dare you to climb up on the stage!”

My heart froze. The situation was absurd and insane. My opponent was the all-time best player in the world and it had been a long time ago since I had played a single game, let alone competitive chess with the whole world watching it on television. I wasn’t afraid of losing, because it was self-evident, but I foresaw it escalating into complete confusion. Someone with an obviously predetermined role was intended to sit in my seat. Maybe he got cold feet? I felt at a loss for words or even thought; I was so dumbstruck that I didn’t even have the capacity to be afraid. According to Crystal’s introduction, I was supposed to bring out something new in Mr. Sawyer, but the closest I could possibly manage to do was to make him laugh. Mr. Kasparov smiled knowingly while I stood up.

I didn't even know how I was supposed to get up on stage, but I estimated that the front edge of the stage would be low enough and jumped straight in front of Crystal. She looked surprised and I hoped that a good entrance might break the ice. The more I could dispel the seriousness of the situation, the smaller the risk of confusion. My plan was blown to pieces, however, when Crystal reached me and whispered in my ear:

“No more fooling around. You give your best whatever happens. What’s your name?”

“Daniel Bremer.”

Crystal grinned again and, while extending her arm towards me, announced:

“Let’s hear it for Daniel!”

This time the applause was a far cry from the previous standing ovation and it died down within a few seconds. Crystal showed me to my seat and Mr. Sawyer and I shook hands. There was some kind of Svengali appearance to his eyes. His gaze was intimidating and almost menacing, which began to disconcert me. He wasn’t going to show mercy even with an amateur like me. But instead, it seemed that he intended to smash my ego completely. His grip was unusually strong and was intended as a message. I squeezed my hand just enough not to feel any pain and responded with a friendly smile. I needed to avoid any negative feelings and only think well of him in order to avoid his spell. At that very moment I felt like I was slipping away from reality. All sounds were fading away and everything was slowing down. I sat down and noted that Crystal had stopped a crew member from placing a microphone on me. Obviously I wasn’t supposed to speak – all well and good. Suddenly I was filled with an absolute self-confidence, although I didn’t understand why or how.

I watched how their lips were moving silently in slow motion, but the only thing I could hear was some kind of humming. Crystal’s eyes were blinking from the reflection of the stage lights and I was thinking how intelligence embellished her face when it was accompanied by benevolence. I stopped to look at Sawyer’s eyes and found myself wondering if it’s really possible for anyone to truly have eyes that were that shade of navy blue. They looked unreal. The chessboard seemed to be dizzying patterns of red and green, and I was afraid of losing my mind.

* * *

“Usually you like to play the English Opening. How come?” Crystal asked Sawyer.

“It’s simply reliable and flexible, not to mention the number of lesser known variations compared to e4 or d4.”

“Are you going to open with c4 if you get the white pieces?”

“If you want me to. But that means that I’m hardly in for any surprises.”

“Ladies and gentlemen! Before we start I’ll explain once again the time control. Both players have one minute per move, but while I’m speaking, the clock will be stopped. If a player runs out of time, the extra time he needs, will be taken away from the next move. Three consecutive overtimes means you’ve lost the game. The time control is handled by a computer. It warns the players when there are only ten seconds left on the clock. Do you understand the rules?”

Daniel and Sawyer nodded simultaneously.

“Fine. Let the game begin.”

Sawyer started with 1.c4 as he had promised and looked challengingly at Daniel. Daniel smiled warmly and extended his hand in order to move his piece without even glancing at the board. The audience began to stir even before he had managed to finish his move. 1...d5?!

“Was that intentional? Or did you do it by mistake, because you didn’t even look at the board?” Crystal asked, obviously nervous.

“Was there something wrong with it?” Daniel said in amazement.

“I have never seen that move being played against the English. Paul, are you familiar with this variation?”

“I think it’s called the Anglo-Scandinavian after the Scandinavian Defense 1. e4 d5. The Scandinavian Defense is a pretty standard opening, but the Anglo-Scandinavian must be one of the rarest. I suppose it says something about its quality,” Sawyer answered with a smile on his face.

“We are already receiving comments from the TV viewers,” Crystal said while looking at the monitor in front of her.

She continued: “One of the commentators says that there are only a few hundred Anglo-Scandinavian games in a database of over five million games and that according to the theory books, it’s simply a losing move for Black.”

She scoffed at the comments and shot Daniel an irritated look before she instructed the game to continue.

2.cxd5

“If you would have played 2.c4, the English Opening would have transposed into the Queen's Gambit. However, taking the pawn seems better, doesn’t it?” Crystal asked and stopped the clock again.

“Since the Anglo-Scandinavian is no good, why shouldn’t I take the pawn,” Sawyer answered.

The following moves happened quickly.

2...Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5

“Some of the TV viewers predicted 3…Qd8. Wouldn’t that only have lost tempo and in the Scandinavian Defense the usual move is precisely Qa5?” Crystal asked Sawyer.

“I would also have played Qa5, but one must remember that this is not the Scandinavian Defense in which the e-file is open. In here it’s the c-file instead.”

4.d4

“I apologize for my continuous commenting, but isn’t that move the most common one against the Scandinavian Defense? It just occurred to me that because all grandmasters play intuitively based on their experiences, is there a risk that this small but significant difference creates blind spots in your intuition?” Crystal asked.

“You are absolutely right if we consider other grandmasters, but my way of seeing the board is very different. The best way to describe it is that I see the relationships between the pieces as geometrical forms and the dynamics of a position as different shades of colors,” Sawyer explained without showing any signs of indignation.

“I think that probably went over everybody’s heads, so let’s just continue the game,” Crystal said.

Daniel made his move without looking at the board. 4...e5!?

Daniel’s move caused a stir in the audience yet again and Crystal looked at him with a strange expression on her face. Sawyer was staring at the board when Crystal addressed him with a new question: “Isn’t this called the Andersen Counter Attack in the Scandinavian Defense?”

“It must be, I think. It looks aggressive, but in the Scandinavian its reputation is poor. In a blitz or against an amateur maybe, but as a move by an amateur against a world champion...”

“Here is an interesting anecdote from a TV viewer. This is good! Do you, Paul, or anybody in the audience know who played this variation for the first time?” Crystal asked. An answer came from the audience straight away: “Adolf Andersen.”

“Of course it was Adolf Andersen, but who was playing the white pieces?” Crystal continued.

There was no answer and Crystal gave a hint: “It was in Paris and the date was the 25th of December 1858…” Sawyer paled in shock and answered in what was almost a whisper: “Paul Morphy.”

“Do you know what happened in that game?” Crystal asked Sawyer. “Of course. Morphy captured the pawn on e5 and Andersen continued 5…Qxe5+. Andersen’s idea was to get an open game by exchanging the central pawns. What a stupid idea against Morphy! The game ended already in move 25.”

The game clock was restarted and the following moves were played quickly: 5.dxe5 Nc6

“There is a comment that in the Scandinavian 5…Bb4 is usually played. Did the information about Andersen’s false strategy have any effect on your move?” Crystal asked Daniel, but remembered right at the same moment that he wasn’t wearing a mic.

Daniel turned his eyes towards Crystal, who interrupted his answer by raising her hand. “Perhaps it’s time to move into a silent game mode. All the comments can be seen from the big screen on the stage, but the players themselves won’t be able to see them.”

* * *

Sawyer was thinking longer than he had with any of the previous moves. On the big screen, there was an analysis of the position made by a super computer. The best options for White seemed to be 6.f4 or 6.Nf3. In both cases White had an advantage of about half a pawn. There were also suggestions from the TV viewers and the most popular seemed to be 6.e4. One game was found in the database: Ortega – Cabezas had continued in 1997 with 6.Bg5 and had ended with a draw. Finally the game clock gave the ten-second warning and the super computer changed its second option from 6.Nf3 to 6.e4. Sawyer moved just before the time limit.

6.f4 and Daniel replied with 6...Bb4

There were no comments about Daniel’s move, but analyses about Sawyer’s move started to pour in. The pseudonym “Expert” commented that Sawyer was looking for a more dynamic game than 6.e4 would have resulted in and the point was not to pin the pawn on e5.

The computer was calculating again. The first option was now 7.Bd2 and 7.Nf3 as the second alternative. It was still a half-a-pawn lead for White. On the other screen there was a camera picture of a drowsy Mr. Kasparov deep in his thoughts. Sawyer didn’t use all his time and moved: 7.Bd2 and the computer expected a reply of 7…Nge7, but Daniel had other plans and replied immediately 7...Be6.

The computer proposed 8.Nf3 as the best move for White and gave a slightly higher advantage for White than before. The second option was 8.Qc1 with a half-a-pawn advantage. Just before Sawyer moved, the computer changed its mind from 8.Nf3 to 8.Qc1.

8.Nf3. Daniel replied within seconds: 8...0-0-0

The computer proposed 9.Qc2 as the next move and evaluated the position at over half a pawn better for White. Its second option was 9.Qc1. The comments from the audience varied and many saw a move with the e-pawn as necessary in order to get the bishop in f1 out of the way for a castling. Many opposed moving the e-pawn and claimed that White would only lose its advantage. The pseudonym “Expert” proposed 9.e3 with 9…Nge7 or 9…f6 for Black. Just before Sawyer’s move, the computer managed to ‘see’ 9.e3 and finally 9.Qc1.

9.Qc2

Daniel bent over the board for the first time and took a breath as if he was enjoying the moment. While he was waiting, the computer managed, for the first time, to calculate options for him as well. The first option was 9…Nge7 where White’s advantage had narrowed down to one third of a pawn. After a short moment Daniel’s hand made a sharp movement.

9...Nh6

The computer gave first 10.e3 for Sawyer, but its calculation turned quickly into an even score and 10.a3 became the first option. There were no comments before Sawyer moved 10.a3. Daniel glanced at Sawyer’s eyes and replied unexpectedly 10...Rxd2.

Sawyer cringed and made a small move toward the board. Finally he bent over, pressed his elbows against his knees and stared at the board. He frowned at first, but soon gave a smile of relief.

The computer was proposing 11.Nxd2 with an advantage of half a pawn, but the longer it calculated, the closer to zero the advantage got. Finally the estimate showed an even position. Sawyer continued to think and the computer to calculate. When time was about to run out, Sawyer made his move while the computer was still showing a draw.

11.Nxd2. Daniel stayed perfectly still and watched Sawyer instead of the board. Sawyer answered to the challenge by staring back. Crystal got so confused that she couldn’t keep quiet.

“Daniel, your time is running out,” she blurted.

Daniel didn’t pay any attention to Crystal but continued to watch Sawyer. The computer suggested 11…Bc5 for Daniel, but soon changed its mind to 11…Ng4 with equal opportunities. When the ten-second warning was at hand, Daniel made his move. 11...Ng4

“Some seem to suspect that Daniel is being aided by a computer. I have to point out that we have prepared ourselves with the latest signal detector system, but in order to be sure, we’ll also do a manual search for any electronic equipment,” Crystal said and asked an assistant to do the examination.

A guy came up from behind the curtains with some kind of a signal detector in his hand. He asked Daniel to stand up and swept his body all around. The only thing that was found was his mobile phone that was switched off. Sawyer was not examined at all.

“I don’t think this phone would help him in any way, but if you’ll humor me, I would like to hang on to it for the remainder of the game?” Crystal asked Daniel while showing it to the audience and the TV -cameras.

Daniel shrugged and sat back down. Meanwhile, Sawyer had been thinking of his next move, and so had the computer, proposing 12.Rc1 with equal opportunities. The game clock was restarted and the next moves followed very quickly again.

12.Rc1 Qb6 13.Nde4 Ne3 14.Qb1

Daniel leaned back in his seat, watching Sawyer again. The computer was calculating and gave 14…Bxc3+ or 14…Be7 as its first options. It couldn’t find any advantage for neither of the players. The clock was ticking, but Daniel didn’t seem to care.

The pseudonym “Expert” commented on the game again, this time with only one word: “Anaconda”. That message started an intense discussion about White’s situation. Sawyer’s pieces looked indeed wrapped up, like a noose tightening around them. However, the computer couldn’t find any advantage for Black. Sawyer seemed to have a hunch about something and he didn’t raise his eyes from the board anymore. He bent over the edge of the board and was staring at the left corner of his side. The computer continued to calculate and was still giving equal chances for both sides. One of the cameras was focusing on Mr. Kasparov, who now looked alert and vigilant. A noiseless anxiety had filled the hall. Finally, just before the warning sound, Daniel grabbed his bishop at e6.

14...Bb3!

Sawyer didn’t move from his position and continued to stare at the board. The computer suggested 15.g3 or 15.Nd2 with equal opportunities. A moment later it abandoned the first one. The pseudonym “Expert” gave a continuation 15.Nd2 Ng4 16. Nde4 Ba5 17.h3 Ne3 -+ and commented that 15.axb4 would lose after 15…Nxb4. Finally the computer returned back to 15.g3 with a slight advantage for Black. Sawyer seemed to hesitate when he moved: 15.g3.

Daniel replied automatically. 15...Ba5 and the following moves followed in a row 16.Bh3+ Kb8. Right away the computer suggested 17.Kf2 with a lead of half a pawn for Black. The spectators were asking in their comments if White really had to give up the castling. Wouldn’t Nd2 be a better move? The computer analysis seemed to go deeper very cautiously, hinting at the complexity of the position. Sawyer looked nervous when he moved his king.

17.Kf2. Daniel had his reply ready: 17...Rd8!

The computer was showing 18.Kf3 with equal possibilities and the pseudonym “Expert” commented: “The king is escaping and leaving his mistress in enemy hands?” At the end of the time, the computer was already showing a lead of a whole pawn for Black, but the king’s escape was inevitable. Sawyer’s reluctance to grab his king was becoming clear, when he first almost touched it, drew his hand away and finally pushed it:

18.Kf3. Daniel was sitting perfectly still, but suddenly took a deep breath and bent over the board. The computer was proposing 18…Nc4.

18...h5! The pseudonym “Expert” was commenting again: “The more White is fighting back, the tighter the squeeze will get…” The computer didn’t foresee any catastrophes and reduced Black’s advantage down to half a pawn after 19.Rhe1. Obviously Sawyer had seen the same thing since he made his move early. 9.Rhe1

Daniel extended his arm and with his little finger adjusted his pawn’s position in the square a7. The audience let out a big, heavy sigh. Sawyer lifted his head up and looked at Daniel with a mischievous smile on his face.

“You must have known that in order to adjust a piece the player must first alert their opponent of their intention by saying J'adoube or I adjust. I’m afraid you have to move that pawn,” Crystal said, clearly disappointed.

Daniel shrugged and pushed his pawn again. 19...a6!!!

There was a live picture on the big screen of Mr. Kasparov, who was shaking his head with an astonished smile on his face. He seemed to see the situation as something of a 'gimmick', but the rest of the audience was almost up in arms; how can one ruin such a beautiful game with such a stupid mistake? Sawyer’s facial expression changed quickly from hubristic to somber. The computer was showing a tie score for a short while, but it soon realized Black’s advantage. 20.a4 was the only reasonable move to play for White and the computer estimated the position to be a pawn better for Black. It didn’t take long for Sawyer to realize that even that move would be a disaster. All of his options seemed suddenly miserable and yet he had to move.

20.a4 and Daniel replied immediately 20...Nb4.

After the last move the computer finally realized the misery of White. There were no more reasonable moves for White and its estimates of Black’s position started to increase. Sawyer was seemingly suffering, because he saw his own end but couldn’t resign yet – at least not without losing face. He wanted a quick end and started to move quickly.

21.Rg1 Rd4! 22. Rh1 Nbc2 23.Rxc2 Bxc2 24.Qg1 Rxe4 25.Nxe4 Bxe4+

Sawyer froze in his seat and the computer was showing a lead of a whole queen for Black. Comments were pouring in from the TV -spectators and one of those was from the pseudonym “Expert”: “We’ll meet soon…” Suddenly Sawyer’s face turned red and he hit the board with his fist.

[Event "Exhibition match"] [Site "New York"] [Date "2012.12.20"] [Round "?"] [White "Sawyer, Paul"] [Black "Bremer, Daniel"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A10"] [PlyCount "50"] [EventDate "2012.??.??"] 1. c4 d5 2. cxd5 (2. d4 {would transpose into the Queen's Gambit.}) 2... Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qa5 4. d4 e5 {The Andersen Counter Attack in the Scandinavian Defense.} 5. dxe5 Nc6 6. f4 Bb4 7. Bd2 Be6 8. Nf3 O-O-O 9. Qc2 Nh6 10. a3 Rxd2 11. Nxd2 Ng4 12. Rc1 Qb6 13. Nde4 Ne3 14. Qb1 Bb3 15. g3 (15. Nd2 Ng4 16. Nde4 Ba5 17. h3 Ne3 $19 {"Expert"}) (15. axb4 {loses after} Nxb4) 15... Ba5 16. Bh3+ Kb8 17. Kf2 Rd8 18. Kf3 h5 19. Rhe1 a6 $3 20. a4 Nb4 21. Rg1 Rd4 22. Rh1 Nbc2 23. Rxc2 Bxc2 24. Qg1 Rxe4 25. Nxe4 Bxe4+ 0-1

* * *

I returned to consciousness when one of the pieces bounced off my forehead and fell into my lap. I grabbed it automatically and noticed that I was holding the white queen. There was full-blown chaos around me. Sawyer was standing on the other side of the table flailing his arms about like a windmill while Crystal was trying to calm him down. “Why did you have to bring up Morphy? This must be a curse! 25 moves exactly like in the game between Morphy and Andersen! Who brought that game up?” Sawyer was yelling, red-faced.

The stage was suddenly teeming with assistants, who were using their bodies as visual obstructions between Sawyer and the audience. Someone was shouting for the cameramen to stop filming. I had no idea what was going on and had no intentions to stay and find out. In my opinion, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and had to get out. I stood up, walked straight to the edge of the stage and jumped down. There he was, waiting for me with his hand already extended.

“What a beautiful game! My congratulations! I would never have thought. With skills like yours, you have quite a future, and after that game there you are already famous,” Mr. Kasparov said with a broad smile on his face.

“I really don’t know what happened and I’m not even supposed to be here. I have to get out!” I answered without even attempting to hide my confusion.

“Take it easy. You haven’t done anything wrong. The situation will calm down soon and I'm sure the media wants to know everything about you,” Mr. Kasparov reassured.

“No, no... I have to go,” I faltered.

I grabbed my coat from the seat and headed straight for the exit. The chaos absorbed the audience's whole attention and only a few, if anybody, noticed me leaving. Once the door shut behind me, I sprinted across the lobby. The doorman at the front door stepped towards me and I was forced to slow down. At first I thought he would try to stop me, but instead he smiled and slipped something into my hand as I passed him. As soon as I was on the street I stopped and opened my fist to have a look. The doorman had slipped me a neatly folded piece of paper.

What the heck are you doing in New York? We have to meet up immediately, but in such a way that nobody sees us together. This is not about us but about something much bigger. Daniel, I beg you to meet me – if for no other reason, then do it in honor of our time in Paris.

The Irish Pub, 839, 7th ave.

I will be sitting at the bar, but don’t come near me. We’ll discuss through the bartender. Just treat me like a woman you are interested in, but be careful not to disclose that you know me. Please, come as fast as you can, but burn this paper first!

Sarah from the bookshop

About the author

Timo Immonen (M.Sc.), born in 1961, is a Finnish author. He is a self-taught player with a street-chess kind of style, but he has no experience in competitive chess, never having joined a club. However, he was passionate about chess as well as about mathematics and later programming in his youth, but soon realized that, with his character, he would likely drift too deeply into his own inner world with any of them. Writing became a way to vent his creativity, while different fields of research represent his intellectual hobbies. These areas include history, economics, international politics, mathematics, quantum physics, human physiology, and chess opening theory. After 25 years in business life, he decided to fulfil his dream: to become an author and use all his findings in order to paint a holistic view of the world order we are living in right now.

Timo's work on the Anglo-Scandinavian started in 1993 with a correspondence game. Since then, he has used 200,000 machine hours, out of which 50,000 have been human assisted with creative ways of integrating human reasoning and computer analysis. He has a 65 MB database based on 40,000 games. They are not just random games but an evolution over the years. The best lines are marked with "main move" and the false moves with "don’t play in tournament". Most have been analyzed very deeply.

Stay tuned for more information on Timo's effort to bust the English Opening.


Topics Openings
Discussion and Feedback Join the public discussion or submit your feedback to the editors


Discuss

Rules for reader comments

 
 

Not registered yet? Register

brendan omalley brendan omalley 4/4/2015 03:59
I enjoyed reading this, and would definitely read the books. I found a typo, and a grammatical error, and point them out to you in the hope of being of service:

"If you would have played 2.c4" should read "If you would have played 2.d4". (1.c4 was already played.)

"It couldn't fine any advantage for neither of the players" should read "...for either of the players".
Bobbyfozz Bobbyfozz 4/1/2015 08:05
Lots of factual stuff here. Using a book trilogy was very bright of the author. Well done.
ArqueiroNegro ArqueiroNegro 4/1/2015 07:36
wow, I'm hoping this isn't your April Fool's joke of the year, as I would love to read a book such as this. Fantastic.
dhochee dhochee 4/1/2015 04:27
marcwordsmith: "One dead giveaway is that the author on the book cover is Alexander Jala, not Timo Immonen." Really? The story specifically addressed that and noted it's his pen name.

Anyhow, a very impressive setup and delivery for some interesting opening theory. The analysis was remarkably accurate. It was clever to build the story around a line which has such deep analysis that the computer takes a long time to correctly evaluate it. However, I think they took a bit of liberty describing the inferior 20.a4 as "the only reasonable move to play for White," but Black did in fact have a sizable advantage at that point. In the final position, White is still up a rook and the win is not trivial to calculate. Nice work.
KevinC KevinC 4/1/2015 02:40
I am pretty sure that there are people out there still looking for he Kimo 1.0 engine. :)
KevinC KevinC 4/1/2015 02:35
While this one is utter BS, the one about a minor planet being named after Anand is probably true since they have discovered 678789 minor planets according to their all-time running total.
idratherplay960 idratherplay960 4/1/2015 01:10
Hope it is the April Fool's joke. The biggest clue being that they say it wasn't translated but had such a large excerpt in English, written relatively well.

Either way the author should revise the negatively stereotypical ticket scalping character and wording beginning with: "An African-American man in his 40’s" followed by the character being the only one with colloquial speak. How would the the same writer describe a white man briefly? That should be his starting point and if he wants, sure cap it with a simple so-and-so 'black man'. It would be a lot less awkward in these times.
ChessHulk ChessHulk 4/1/2015 12:35
Well this seemed too obviously an April Fools joke, and well, it is April Fools day after all!
marcwordsmith marcwordsmith 4/1/2015 12:06
One dead giveaway is that the author on the book cover is Alexander Jala, not Timo Immonen. But nice work! I love chessbase's april fool jokes so much! :-)
BelowZero BelowZero 4/1/2015 09:30
Dangit! I fell for it like a log :)
jhoravi jhoravi 4/1/2015 06:51
It's April 1st here. How about in your country?
Lorfa Lorfa 4/1/2015 03:29
Nice. You guys put some time into this one :-)
kayatoast kayatoast 4/1/2015 03:07
Wow ! You couldn't have made this up. This has to be true. Normally, you don't go beyond a paragraph or two without grammatical errors - unless you copy someone else's text :-)
1