UON 29 - Associazione Scacchistica Italiana Albin Counter Gambit Games by Quentin Mason 25 About UON

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Transcript of UON 29 - Associazione Scacchistica Italiana Albin Counter Gambit Games by Quentin Mason 25 About UON

  • UON 29 September 2011


    1. Durkins Attack: An Investigation by N Earl Roberts 1

    2. Basmans Chess Inheritance by Davide Rozzoni 9

    3. Fishing Poles by Brian Wall 11

    4. Damianos Defence f6 as Black! by Domingos Svio Perego 17

    5. Inter-Service Chess by Sgt. Nicholas Wolff 19

    6. Zilbermints by Lev Zilbermints 21

    7. Two Albin Counter Gambit Games by Quentin Mason 25

    About UON - UON 29 (c) September 2011. All articles are property of their respective authors and are only to be used with

    their permission. Some images used are clipart. Clipart images are the property of Microsoft Corporation and cannot be used

    for profit. Chess material for future UONs can be sent to the editor at penswift@yahoo.com ; the subject line should state

    UON submission.

    About the UON 29 Cover - The cover is a computer-altered photograph. The original source photo was taken by

    Rosa M. Gifford. Image is a 1947 Florentine Chess Rook (owned by editor). The original rook is resting on green beach glass.

    The computer program Corel PainterTM Essentials 4.0 was used to transform the image to its current state.


  • Durkins Attack An Investigation UON 29 Sept. 2011

    Page 1

    Durkins Attack: An Investigation. By N Earl Roberts

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    I have always wanted to write an article about an opening but I have always had this

    doubt about it. Not any kind of self doubt mind you but whether any sort of article would

    be worth the time and effort.

    You certain do have to wonder what sort of angst authors of opening treatises go through

    to see their labour of love dissected and ultimately pronounced as a load of old crap by

    certain people largely on the back of running such binary demons as Fritz (insert your

    number here) and Rybka (whatever) over night. Chess Publishing.com is a good example

    of this.

    The other thing also is, what to write about? Not only does one have pseudo grandmasters

    with their pet binary demons to plague ones thoughts, there are people out there who

    actually do know their stuff and have written bucket loads on a great deal of this and that.

    Making any sort of sensible pronouncing on an opening is not without its dangers so

    maybe its best I pick something that is consider to be crap to begin with and see what I

    can do (or find out).

    Whos Attack ?

    So much is said about how an opening is named or what it should called. My own

    personal philosophy is that it doesnt really matter what an opening is named or called, as

    long as it is not backed up by clearly outrageous comments (such as calming to have

    invented something that already exists).

    So just who is or was Durkin? The 1996 edition of The Oxford Companion to Chess1

    Durkin is identified through the opening that bears his name as one Robert Durkin of

    New Jersey. It does seem though that Robert Durkin is or was a bit of an enigma as

    subsequent searches of the public domain (the internet and ones local chess sources)

    have only turned up little snippets on the man and his chess.

    To begin with it is widely reproduced that Robert Durkin was born on the 9th

    of May

    1923 in Milwaukee Wisconsin2, which is on the west shore of Lake Michigan.

  • Durkins Attack An Investigation UON 29 Sept. 2011

    Page 2

    A blog I found Tartajubow On Chess II3, reports that Robert Durkin began his foray into

    chess at one of Milwaukee play grounds and at the age of 12 attending a class conducted

    by Arpad Elo4 who was Milwaukee State Chess Champion at the time. Durkin was to

    move from this to the Lapham Park Chess Club under the guidance of one Bruno Esbjorn

    where he apparently was to make his biggest advancement. The blog further states that in

    the following year, 1936, Durkin aged 13 took part in his first tournament where he

    scored +9 -3 =3 and by 1939, aged 16, he tied for first in a local masters tournament,

    second in the county championship and third in the (presumably Milwaukee) city


    Of course like everything you find on the internet, you have to take it with the metaphoric

    grain of salt. However, the one piece of information stemming from this blog which is

    independently mentioned else where, is that sometime in his adult life time Robert

    Durkin moved to Ventnor (just south of Atlantic City), New Jersey where he was to

    become a long time member of the Ventnor Chess Club5 and apparently, one of their best

    players. An article by Fide master Alex Dunne for the United States Chess Federation

    website about Robert Durkin6 mentions that it was the New Jersey of the Fifties and

    Sixties that was to be Durkins stomping grounds which it should be noted was also the

    domain of such players as Weaver Adams7 and Tony Santasiere, famous players for the

    time. Where it can be presumed as Alex Dunne notes that, at one stage ,Durkins rating

    crossed the master threshold of 2200 Elo.

    As for the man himself and his opening 1.Na3, according to Alex Dunnes article, Durkin

    did not want his name linked to such a 1st move, he repudiated it and even stopped

    playing it but took it up again when his results started to suffer. By all accounts, Alex

    Dunne is quite correct where he states that Durkin was quite fearless in his use of 1.Na3,

    in 1959 hand typed pamphlet (book?) Knightmare A New Chess Opening there are

    not 1 but 3 examples of Durkin defeating Weaver Adams with his opening!

    The one last question that remains is, what happen to Robert T Durkin? Alex Dunnes

    article was written either late 2008 or early 2009 and in it he states that Durkin had died

    sometime twenty years ago placing the time of his passing around 1986 at which time

    Alex Dunne notes that Durkin disappeared from the January rating list of that year.

    However though, JimWest in his blog, Jim West on Chess8, in his annotation of a game

    between Robert Durkin and a Miss Nancy Schaef gives a score of a game he played

    against Durkin as Black in the Hamilton Quad in December of 1987 at which time

    Durkin would have been 64 years old but the Alex Dunne article is compelling in one

    respect that it states that he (Alex Dunne) received a phone call from an acquaintance of

    Durkin sometime after Durkins apparent death wanting to know if he would be

    interested in his (Durkin) memorabilia which Alex Dunne notes he duly received.

    Like I have said, you have take things you find on the internet with the metaphoric grain

    of salt but if Robert T Durkin is still a live today he would be 87 and if he is not, like all

    good chess warriors that have gone before him at least his games are his legacy and at

    most the opening that grew out of protest at over booked up opponents9

    1.Na3! The mighty mighty Durkins Attack

  • Durkins Attack An Investigation UON 29 Sept. 2011

    Page 3

    So what does it mean?

    Simply put, when it comes to the theory on Durkins Attack, there is not a lot of it. At

    best, you are only likely to find the odd foot note containing less than inspiring


    The 1983 single volume openings reference book Batsford Chess Openings apparently

    by Gary Kasparov and Raymond Keene refers in a footnote to 1.Na3 (Durkin Attack)

    generally intends the follow up c4. All sensible replies equalise.. This, if Durkins own

    book Knightmare A New Chess Opening is anything to go by, is not altogether

    accurate. There the formation of Na3 and c4 appears in only 11 of the 50 games

    apparently given and only in 1 game in its pure form. This perhaps is not the perfect

    indicator but it is a good starting point. Not unsurprisingly then, any reference to

    Durkins Attack was gone by the time 1989 Batsford Chess Openings 2 hit the


    From all the games played by humans that I have gone through featuring Durkins

    Attack, there have been many plans and ideas used in the set up of the White pieces:

    Dutch Defences in reverse, forms of the Kings Indian Attack, Zvjaginsev attack of the

    Sicilian Defence and even left handed Alekhine Defence like manoeuvres. So on the

    evidence it would appear there is a lot flexibility that can a company 1.Na3 so not

    unsurprising so few have been willing or dared to tie their name and efforts to something

    like 1.Na3

    Thats all well said and done but does it work?

    Oddly enough, that is a question that can not be answered with any sort of object

    certainty, after it is a first move that this is all about and it is the subsequent deployment

    of ones pieces and what attack that can be achieved which will provide the winning of the

    attack and I have intimated above there are quite few paths that can be followed.