The Classic 80’s Part 2- Jose Cuchi and Heraldica

Not many people know that before the NY Open ever happened, Jose Cuchi put together the Heraldica Imports FIDE Invitational Round Robin in 1980. I came very close (within 0.22 points) of a GM norm there.

Mark Ginsburg vs GM Leonid Shamkovich
Heraldica Imports Round Robin 1980

Here I take revenge for a Swiss System loss that Leonid inflicted on me way back in 1977.

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 b6 3. Bg2 Bb7 4. O-O e6 5. c4 Be7 6. Nc3 O-O 7. b3 d5 8. cxd5 exd5 9. d4 Ne4 10. Qc2 Nxc3 11. Qxc3 Nd7 12. Bb2 Nf6 13. Rac1 c5 It should be stressed I knew no theory whatsoever and was playing by inspection. Fortunately this opening allows white a wide range of sensible moves.

14. Ne5 Rc8 15. Qd3 Rc7 16. Rfd1 Qc8 17. e3


17…Rd8 18. dxc5 bxc5 19. Qb5 Qe6 After this initial bit of fencing, the position is approximately equal.

20. Nd3 Qb6 21. Qa4 Ne4? 21… Rcc8!, improving piece coordination, is stronger. Then, 22. b4? is bad due to the simple 22…Bc6 and the craven 23. Bh3 Ra8 23. Bxf6 Qxf6 24. Nxc5 Bxc5 25. Rxc5, winning a pawn, is rudely met by 25…d4! with very strong counterplay.

22. b4! This is a very strong move. White completely takes over the position by exploiting black’s poor piece placement.


22…c4 22…cxb4 23. Bd4 is no fun at all.

23. Bd4! Black’s center pawns are now fixed, hanging, and vulnerable.

23…Qa6 24. Qxa6 Bxa6 25. a3? A strong player would not miss 25. Nf4! Bxb4 26. Nxd5! Rxd5 27. Bxe4 Rd8 28. Bc3!, a very nice tactical blow, which leads to victory after 28…Rxd1+ 29.Rxd1 Bf8 30. Rd8 Rc8 31. Rd7 Bc5 32. Bd5 Rf8 33. a4 Bc8 34. Rc7 Bb6 35.Bxf7+! Kh8 36. Rxc4.


25… g5? Instead of this impulsive weakening, black had to play more circumspectly with 25… Bc8! 26. Nf4 Bf5!, protecting the N/e4, and after 27. f3 Ng5 28. Bc5 Bxc5 29. bxc5 Rxc5 30. e4 Bc8 31. Nxd5 Kf8 32. f4 Ne6 33. Kf2 Bb7 he is fighting hard with a good chance for a draw. The text is a very surprising lapse from the normally positionally sound Grandmaster.

26. f3 Nd6 27. Nc5 White once again has a huge plus.

27…Bc8 28. Be5 Be6 29. f4 Rcc8?! 29… Rxc5!? was a good chance here. 30. bxc5 Nf5 31. Bd4 gxf4 32. gxf4 Rc8 33. Kf2 and White is better but not totally winning.

30. Bxd5 Bxd5 31. Rxd5 Although I had a hard time believing it at the time, I now have a winning position. White is simply up material for no compensation.

31…Nf5 32. Rxd8+ Rxd8 33. e4 Ne3 34. Kf2 Ng4+ 35. Ke2 Nxe5 36. fxe5 The ending is hopeless but black plays on until the bitter end.

36…a5 37. Rxc4 axb4 38. axb4 g4 39. Nd3 Ra8 40. Ke3 Kf8 41. Rc2 Ke8 42. Rb2 Ra3 43. Kd4 Bd8 44. Nc5 Ra1 45. Kd5 Bc7 46. e6 Rd1+ 47. Kc6 Be5 48. exf7+ Kxf7 49. Rf2+ Ke7 50. Rf5 Rd6+ 51. Kb7 Bc3 52. b5 Rh6 53. b6 Ba5 54. Na4! A very convincing winning move.


55…Be1 55. Rf1 Faster would have been 55. Ka7! to unblock the passed pawn.

55…Bd2 56. Kc7 Rxh2 57. b7 And here, 57. Rf5! prevents a bishop move to a5 and wins very quickly.

57… Ba5+ 58. Kc6 Rh6+ 59. Kd5 Rd6+ 60. Kc4 Bc7 61. Nc5 61. Nc3! is an elegant maneuver; 61… Rc6+ 62. Kd4 Bb8 63. Nd5+ Kd7 64. Rf7+ Kd6 65. e5+ Ke6 66. Re7+ Kf5 67. Re8 wins.

61… Rd8 62. Rh1 Black is paralyzed.

62…Rh8 63. Kd5 Here black, probably disgusted with defending this losing ending for so long, gave up.


He can’t contend with the split passed pawns; a sample line might go 63…h5 (or 63… Bxg3 64. e5 h5 65. Ra1 (not 65. Rxh5?? Rxh5 66. b8=Q Rxe5+ 67. Kd4 Rd5+ 68. Kxd5 Bxb8 with a draw) 65… Rd8+ 66. Ke4 Bf2 67. Ra8 Rd4+ 68. Kf5 Rb4 69. Ne4 Rxb7 70. Nxf2 and wins) 64. e5 Bb8 65. Na6 (65. Ne6! wins also) Ba7 66. Nb4 Bb8 67. Nc6+ Kd7 68. e6+ Kc7 69. Rf1 Kxb7 70. Nxb8 Kxb8 71. e7 and wins.

Although I certainly did not play very accurately, I was far enough ahead to start that I scored an ending victory versus the GM – quite a thrill after dispatching Dzindzi with a few tactical blows in the Chicago Open in 1979 – see “The Fabulous 70s” for details of that macabre encounter. This game was a big confidence booster in this event and helped me get a big score vs the likes of Dzindzi, Mednis, Alburt, Canadian IM Leon Piasetski, Colombian FM Fabio LaRota, and others.

One Response to “The Classic 80’s Part 2- Jose Cuchi and Heraldica”

  1. Jose cuchi | Graigor Says:

    […] The Classic 80′s Part 2- Jose Cuchi and Heraldica « IM Mark …Jul 18, 2007 … Not many people know that before the NY Open ever happened, Jose Cuchi put together the Heraldica Imports FIDE Invitational Round Robin … […]

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