The Fabulous 00s: USCL Week 7

USCL Week 7:  Sicilian Kan Excitement

Matthew Herman (NY) – Ilya Krasik (BOS)  USCL Week 7  Sicilian Kan

My favorite opening!  Black got a good game…

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. g3 Bb4 7. Bd2 I think 7. Ne2 is stronger with a later slow advance h3, g4, and Ng3.  Kudrin played this way against me in a Bar Point International in the 1980s and a hard-fought draw resulted.

7…Nc6 8. a3 Be7 9. Be3 Nf6 10. Bg2

Some hidden ICC knowledge here.

10…Ne5 On ICC a certain Israeli GM who always shouts “ooh la la chess” has demonstrated to me in blitz that the surprising but logical 10… h5! is strong here.  For example, 11. h3 h4 12. g4 and now 12…Ne5 13. O-O Nc4 14. Bc1 O-O 15. b3 Ne5 16. Bb2 Ng6! and through craftiness, eyeing f4, black is fine.  Play could continue 17. Re1 d6 18. Nce2 Bd7 19. f4 d5! with excellent chances.

11. O-O Nc4 12. Bc1 O-O 13. b3 Na5 14. Bb2 Nc6 15. Kh1 d6 16. f4 Bd7 17. g4?! Hyper-aggressive – quite Bulgarian.  But white’s name does not sound Bulgarian….

17…Nxd4 18. g5 The “point” of the 17th move.  But this doesn’t really work.  I guess you could say it’s a high class bluff.

18…Nc6 In a Boylston blog entry, Marc Esserman points out 18…Nxe4! is a very good alternative here.  For example, 19. Qxd4 Nxc3 20. Bxc3 f6! 21. f5 e5 22. Qd5+ Kh8 and white is out of steam.  Or, 19. Nxe4 Nf5!  20. c4 Bc6 with insufficient compensation for white’s pawn minus. The text is also fine.

19. gxf6 Bxf6 Marc Esserman mentions 19…gxf6!? – after 20. Qh5 Kh8 21. Ne2!? Qa5!? chances are equal.  But after 21. Rf3?! Rg8 22. Qxf7 Rg7 black is a little better.

20. e5 dxe5(!) 20…Be7 21. Ne4 leads to unclear complications after both 21…d5 22. Nf6+!? and 21…dxe5 22. fxe5.  The text looks risky, but due to black’s improvement on move 21 I think it is good.

21. Ne4 White is certainly making menacing moves.  But his king is also open.  This is the key moment.

21…Be7? A reflexive retreat but this piece jams up black’s defenses. Also not good is 21… Bh4? 22. Qh5 Be7 23. fxe5 g6 24. Qh6 Nxe5 25. Ng5 Bxg5 26.Qxg5 and black collapses.  Nevertheless there is a great resource here.  It is 21… Kh8!! 22. Nxf6 (22. Qh5? g6 followed by Bg7 and black wins) 22…gxf6.

Now if 23. Qf3 Nd4! 24. Qxb7 Qxb7 25. Bxb7 Rab8 leaves black on top.  Let’s say white plays the more aggressive 23. Qh5. Doesn’t this look scary for black?  No!  23…Rg8! and ignore what white is doing!  White can never play Bg2xc6 because Bd7xc6 is CHECK.  This is black’s secret weapon – the naked white king. Note in passing 23…f5? is weak due to 24. Rae1 f6 25. fxe5 Nxe5 26. Rxe5! fxe5 27. Re1 and white has exploited a tactical hole.

After 23…Rg8!, if 24. Rad1 Rg6 25. fxe5 Na5! is a subtle and good answer, similar to the next line, which is 24. fxe5.  On 24. fxe5, play might continue 24… Na5! — a very powerful shot to clear c6 for the bishop and hit c2.  These are hard moves to find. If 25. Rf2 Bc6 26. Rg1 f5! and black has eliminated problems on the b2-h8 diagonal.  27. Qh4 Rg6! and he’s on his way to victory since he has completely taken over the initiative.  This defensive motif deserves a picture.

Position after 27…Rg6! (analysis).  Black takes over the attack.

Black’s game mistake of 21…Be7? is easy to understand. It’s very hard though to accept Ne4xf6 and the ruining of the pawns around the king, and the scary looking dark square holes with white’s bishop sitting on b2.  In most Sicilians, black preserves at all cost the dark square bishop.  This case was a big exception.   In the game, black got into a logjam and after further inaccuracies white quickly broke through.

22. fxe5 Kh8! 22… Rfd8 23. Qh5 Rf8 24. Nf6+ is crushing.

As Matthew Herman points out in the comments, black is already lost.

23. Qh5 g6? A fatal misstep in a tough position.  23…h6!? 24. Rxf7 Rxf7 25. Qxf7 Rf8 is good for black.  But white can improve with 24. Nf6! Bc5 25. Rad1 Rad8? 26. Bc1! intending Bxh6.  Black in turn can improve here with 25…Be8 and if 26. Bc1 Qxe5 and he fights on, although it’s good for white after 27. Qh3.   Best seems the cold-blooded 23…Rad8! and if 24. Nf6 h6 25. Rad1 Nb8!! (very difficult to spot, defending and counter-attacking)  26. Bc1 Qxc2 27. Bxh6 Qg6! deals with white’s mating plans!

As Matthew Herman points out in the comments, 23….Rad8 24. Rf6! wins for white. as does 23…h6 24. Rf6!  A nice interference theme with the same winning move as the famous debacle Fischer-Benko US Championship 1963. Amusingly, Benko blamed this loss in his autobiography on too much partying with the ladies the evening prior.

24. Qh6 Nd8 25. Nf6 1-0

And for Something Different: Bellwether

On the financial news today, I heard the phrase “IBM is the bellwether of technology stocks.”   I knew the term meant “an indicator” – as it goes, so do the tech stocks.  I thought the word was “belleweather” as is “good weather” but that doesn’t make sense.  I was wrong, it’s spelled “bellwether”.  Where does this word with its strange spelling come from?   I looked it up and I was surprised to see “castrated male sheep” was part of the word’s origins (www.dictionary.com).   Ow!  See below.

And ‘bell’ may well  indeed be from ‘belle’ (French, old English for ‘pretty’) – note the female connotations in the definition for ‘belle’ below applied then to the castrated male sheep in the compound word ‘bellwether’.  What a fascinating word!  Bellwether!    Queens is the bellwether of the USCL East.   A counter-argument can be made that ‘bell’ is just a bell so the Bellwether is the male castrated sheep with a bell around its neck (an “indicator” of the herd’s travels).  We might have to time-travel back to Hastings, 1622, to learn the truth.

Belle  –noun

1. a woman or girl admired for her beauty and charm.
2. the most beautiful, charming, or engaging woman or girl among a number: the belle of the ball.

Main Entry: bellwether1
Part of Speech: n
Definition: an indication of a trend
Etymology: Middle English belle ‘bell’ + wether ‘castrated male sheep’

This website is the bellwether of posts about bellwether. Ron Young is the bellwether of USCL Predictors.

To prove the topicality of this apparent dribble, this just in on October 10th, 2008:

“On Friday, General Electric (GE, Fortune 500) reported third-quarter financial results that were in line with estimates. The company posted a 10% drop in earnings from continuing operations and an 11% gain in revenue, meeting analyst expectations.

The company is considered a stock market bellwether, so its financial results are closely watched. The company had previously lowered its guidance, citing the financial crisis. GE reaffirmed that outlook and also said its financial services arm, which has been hard hit by the crisis, reported a 30% drop in profit that met forecasts. GE shares rose 1% Friday morning.”

And there’s even a bellwether town in Ohio. High-pitched baa!

And on the Chess Teaching Front:

From: Precious Garcia

Hello,I am Precious Garcia,My son is coming for an holiday in your area,His name is Andre,14 years.I want him to be busy in the day. I have decided to let him attend your lesson for 1 hours in a day in the morning or time that you will be chance. i want you to calculate the cost of 1 hours each day for Mon, Wed & Fri for the whole 1 Month and send me the total cost,i will be paying you with Certified check ,so get back to me with your cost.I have someone that will always drive him down to your house or lesson venue.Kindly get back to me with.1.YOUR CHARGE FOR 1 HOUR. 2.TOTAL CHARGES FOR 1 MONTH THAT HE WILL BE TAUGHT 3 TIMES PER WEEK.3. FULL NAME AND ADDRESS WITH ZIP CODE.4.YOUR PHONE NUMBER.Don’t hesitate to e-mail with your total charges.Thanks and looking to hearing from you soon. With Best Regards.Precious Garcia

I gave the usual response of converting in Pounds Sterling and awakening the Caissic Intermediates.  Waiting for Andre.

Comic Interlude

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson went on a camping
trip. After a good meal and a bottle of wine, they
were exhausted and went to sleep.

Some hours later, Holmes awoke and nudged his
faithful friend. “Watson, look up at the sky and tell
me what you see.” Watson replied, “I see millions and
millions of stars.”

“What does that tell you?”

Watson pondered for a minute. “Astronomically, it
tells me that there are millions of galaxies and
potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I
observe that Saturn is in Leo. Time wise, I deduce
that the time is approximately a quarter past three.
Theologically, I can see that the Lord is all
powerful and that we are small and insignificant.
Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a
beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you?”

Holmes was silent for a minute, then spoke.

“Watson, you idiot, someone has stolen our tent.”

Editor’s note:  depending on your audience, substituting ‘asshole’ for ‘idiot’ in the punchline may generate more laughs.

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2 Responses to “The Fabulous 00s: USCL Week 7”

  1. Matthew Herman Says:

    Mark, thanks for taking a detailed look at this game. Just got home, and want to take some time with this, but wanted to point out that Krasik is lost after 22. ..Kh8. I intended to respond to 23. ..h6 (or other moves like Rad8/Be8 for that matter) with 24. Rf6!! winning instantly.

  2. Granny O'Doul Says:

    I guess you know that that Holmes/Watson/tent bit was determined by the British Association for the Advancement of Science to be the world’s funniest joke. Isn’t it disspiriting to know that nothing you run here in the future will ever be as funny?

    When I heard it I knew it was gold. LarryC has some other really good ones.

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