The Fabulous 00s: USCL Week 10 — I cause the Scorpions to Miss

Narrow Miss for the Scorpions

Arizona defeated Seattle 2.5 – 1.5 in Week 10 but if we had scored 3-1 we would have made the playoffs on tiebreak, edging out both Seattle and Chicago, because Chicago (despite IM Pasalic defeating IM Bartholomew) lost to Dallas 1.5 – 2.5.

The Arizona match started well with IM Altounian holding += (and eventually drawing) vs GM Serper, and NM Harper winning a nice attacking game a while later on board 4 vs NM Lee.  That left Robby Adamson on board 3 playing WGM K. Rohonyan and me on board 2 as black against FM Slava Mikhailuk.

S. Mikhailuk (SEA) – M. Ginsburg (ARZ)  Catalan Accepted

1.c4  e6  2.Nf3  d5  3.d4  Nf6  4.g3  dxc4  5.Qa4+  Nbd7  6.Bg2  a6  7.Qxc4  b5  8.Qc2  Bb7  9.Bg5  c5 I had prepared something different but in the game white avoids the most critical paths.
10.0-0  Rc8  11.Qd2?! Trying to draw? 11…h6  12.Bxf6  Nxf6 Black has no problems and, as happened in the game, can put his dark-squared bishop to very good use.

13.dxc5  Bxc5  14.Qxd8+  Kxd8  15.Nbd2 15. Ne5? Bxg2 16. Nxf7+ Ke7 17. Nxh8 Be4! and white loses.

15…Ke7  16.Rac1  Bd5?! After a long think, a rather irrelevant move.  The simple and natural 16…Rhd8! 17. Nb3 Bb6 18. Ne5 Ne4! leaves black with a significant advantage.  For example, 19. Nd3 a5! with pressure.  I missed 18…Ne4! totally.   In addition, 16…Rhd8! might cause a miniature:  the plausible 17. Rfd1?? Ng4 18. e3 Nxe3! and wins immediately.

17.Ne5  Bd4!? 17…Bb4 18. Nb3 Bd6 is equal but I was anxious to “keep winning chances alive” – too bad the match situation eventually did not require that!

18.Nd3  a5

The computer spots 18…Bxa2!? 19. Nb4 Bxb2 20. Rxc8 Rxc8 21. Nxa2 a5! with interesting complications.

19.Bxd5  Nxd5  20.Nb3  Bb6  21.Ne5  a4  22.Nd2  a3! 22…Nb4 23. a3 Nc2 is also about equal, but with black more active.  The text frees up c3 as a post for black’s knight.

23.bxa3  Nc3  24.Kg2  Rhd8  25.Nb3  Nxe2?! Too hasty.  Correct, and a move I had seen but inexplicably did not select, was the “ejecting” f7-f6 and black has an edge.

26.Rc6?! Better is 26. Nc6+ Kf6 27. Nxd8 Nxc1 28. Rxc1 Rxd8 29. Rc6 Rb8 30. Nc1 Ke7 31. Nd3 with only a very small black edge.

26…Bc7  27.Nf3  Bd6  28.Rb6  Nc3  29.Nfd4  Kf6  30.Nxb5  Nxb5  31.Rxb5  Bxa3  32.Ra5  Ra8!  33.Rxa8  Rxa8 The smoke has cleared somewhat and black has a solid edge.  He has a better minor piece and pressure against the weak pawn.  This is actually a textbook example of the bishop’s superiority over the knight in an open board.

34.Rd1

Position after 34. Rd1.  Black to play and torture white for a long, long time.

34…Bb4?? Totally wrong.  34…e5!  keeps the a-pawn locked up, prevents Rd4, and black continues  to improve his game with kingside pawn advances.   He can press for a long time for the full point.  At this point I had a psychological problem – I had glanced at Robby’s game and Rohonyan had a strong knight on d4 but some weak pawns.  It looked unclear to me.  Since we were about to go up 1.5 – 0.5 (Harper was winning) I wasn’t sure if I needed to win or draw.  This uncertainty persisted, because as I got low on time I didn’t recheck (a blunder) Robby’ game – he shortly won a pawn and was on his way to winning, but I never knew that.  If I knew he was winning, I would have saved a lot of energy and time just drawing and not pressing crazily for a win.

35.Rd4! Now white’s a2-pawn escapes its tomb and gets to a4 and it’s equal.

35…Bc3  36.Rc4  Be5  37.a4  g5  38.Kf3  Ke7  39.Ke4  Bd6  40.Nd4  f5+  41.Kd3  g4  42.Kc2  h5  43.Kb3  f4 43…Rb8+ 44. Nb5 Rb6! 45. Rc8 Kd7 46. Rh8 Bc5! is equal and easy to play.  In addition, 43…Kd7 (doing nothing) for example 44. Nb5 e5! preventing Rd4.

44.Nb5  fxg3 44…f3 is not bad either.  For example, 45. Rc6 Be5 46. Kb4 Rd8! 47. Rc2 Rd1 48. a5 Ra1! is dead equal.

45.hxg3  Rf8  46.Rc2  h4?! Too frisky.  46…Rb8! just waiting is correct.

47.Nxd6

Position after 47. Nxd6:  Problem-like continuation possible

47…Kxd6?!

The aesthetic 47…hxg3!! is a great move in sudden death.  On the very plausible 48. Ne4 black has the problem-like 48… g2! 49. Rc1 g3!! and only white can worry now.  In time-trouble white would probably choose the safe 48. fxg3 Kxd6 49. a5 and then 49…Rb8+! sidelines the white king — 50. Ka4 e5 51. a6 e4 and black will make a draw.

48.gxh4  Rf3+  49.Kb4  Rh3  50.Kb5  Rxh4  51.a5  Rh1  52.Rc4  Rf1  53.a6  Rxf2  54.a7  Rf8  55.Rxg4  Kd5  56.Rg7  e5  57.Rd7+  Ke4  58.Kb6 Even after black’s inaccurate play (considering the dream risk-free edge after the 33rd move), this position is still fairly easily drawn.

58…Ra8?? Why this passive move?  If 58..Kf3? white has the elementray tactic 59. Rf7+!, but with a little more time I spot the simple 58…Ke3! to assist the e-pawn and draw.  58…Ke3! 59. Rb7 threatens Rb8, but then 59…Ra8 60. Rb8 Rxa7 61. Kxa7 e4 and it’s a simple draw.   The text makes black’s drawing path narrower.  I had very little time left and was tortured by thoughts of “not winning” (not realizing Robby was winning) and didn’t know I only had to draw!  Bad team play.

59.Kb7  Rxa7+  60.Kxa7  Kf3  61.Rf7+  Ke3  62.Kb6

Position after 62. Kb6

The entire playoff comes down to this diagram.  Only one way to qualify…

62…Kd4?? At this late stage, it was still drawn.  The blunder in the game is the final straw.  A student of endings knows, without needing time to think, 62…e4! 63. Kc5 Kd3 64. Rd7+ Kc3 65. Re7 (65. Ra7 comes down to the same thing) 65…Kd3 66. Ra7 e3 67. Ra3+ Kd2 68. Kd4 e2 69. Ra2+ Kd1 70. Kd3 hoping for 70…d1=Q?? 71. Ra1 mate.  But black underpromotes, 70…d1=N+! and after 71. Kc3 Nf3! black draws and we make the playoffs.    Of course it would be tragicomic here if black had set ‘always queen’ on in Blitzin and that caused 70…d1=Q.    Very disappointing.

63.Kb5  e4  64.Kb4  Kd3  65.Rd7+  Kc2  66.Re7  Kd3  67.Kb3  e3  68.Rd7+  Ke2  69.Kc2  Black resigns 1-0

Robby won a few minutes later against WGM Rohonyan to give the Scorpions a 2.5 – 1.5 match victory  😦

An agonizing playoff miss by the narrowest of margins.

Unrelated:  Remind me why the ban on assault weapons was lifted?

The availability of weapons that spray out lots of bullets really fast is not exactly the best thing for society.  Let’s see two recently examples (every day there are more).  Conversely but not surprisingly, it’s hard to find a story where “Joe Six Pack” owning an AK-47 or an Uzi is a “good thing” for society.  In any case, thanks, NRA for this Halloween merriment!

SUMTER, South Carolina (AP) 11/01/08 — An ex-convict who said he thought he was being robbed gunned down a 12-year-old trick-or-treater, spraying nearly 30 rounds with an assault rifle from inside his home after hearing a knock on the door, police said Saturday.

And thanks NRA for good-timey machine-gun shoot-offs!

Westfield, MA 10/26/08

An event at a Westfield gun club turned tragic today when an 8-year-old boy accidentally shot himself in the head and later died at a Springfield hospital, Westfield Police said.

The child’s death — caused by a fully automatic Uzi machine gun — appears to have been an accident; but it remains under investigation, police said.

The Westfield Police Department released a statement about what they described as a self-inflicted, accidental shooting, which occurred at 2 p.m. at the Westfield Sportsman’s Club on Furrowtown Road.

In a telephone interview tonight, Westfield Police Officer Carl Girard confirmed the boy died of his injuries — a wound to the right side of the head — at Baystate Medical Center. Police did not release the child’s name, nor did they say where he lived. The Springfield Republican reported that the child was not from Westfield.

“Witnesses state that he was shooting the weapon down range when the force of the weapon made it travel up and back toward his head, where he suffered the injury,” the police statement read.

The boy’s father was at the event and accompanied him to the hospital, police said.

The sportsman’s club was hosting its annual “Great New England Pumpkin Shoot” during the weekend, police said. Officials from the club could not be reached.

The event was organized by C.O.P. Firearms & Training, an Amherst company which, according to its website, organizes machine gun shoots throughout New England. Officials from that group also could not be reached.  (if they started to talk about the fundamental right to own assault weapons, that might generate further bad press).

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2 Responses to “The Fabulous 00s: USCL Week 10 — I cause the Scorpions to Miss”

  1. a Says:

    glad to see your not all chess mark !

    so should the Kalashnikov opening be outlawed ?

    it seems like the NRA type of opening !

    remember the Washington Bullets changed their name to the Washington Wizards, because so many young men were being killed by bullets !

    I thought it was stupid to change the Bullets name. The problems in DC are not made worse by basketball teams. The Bullets were my favorite team. With center Wes Unseld at only 6′ 7″, they won the finals!

    so should well-intentioned chess players , change the name of the Kalashnikov to the Wizard opening?

    That would be stupid too. 😀

    just a thought, love your website


    Merci. Watching the Obama massacre on TV? I am enjoying watching all the happy people.

  2. Arizona Scorpions » Scorpions Barely Miss Playoffs! Says:

    […] can see all of his annotations to his game and his thought process during the match on his blog at https://nezhmet.wordpress.com/2008/11/01/the-fabulous-00s-uscl-week-10/ . Although he had a couple of draws or more clear cut moves with 1-2 minutes on the clock this is […]

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