The Fabulous 00s: USCL Week 7 Opening of the Week (OOTW)

Let’s explore an interesting junior battle.

Gerald Larson (TEN) – Trevor Magness (CHI)  USCL Week 7

Ruy Lopez Exchange

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.0-0 Bg4 6.h3 (?!)

Let’s try NOT doing h3 yet (this committal move gives black a ready-made lever on the kingside).  I’m going to recommend here 6. d3!? Qf6 7. Nbd2 O-O-O 8. a4!? awaiting events.  For example, 8. a4 g5 9. h3 Bh5 10. Qe2! Kb8 11. g4! Bg6 12. Nc4! and white has an edge.  Delaying h2-h3 looks foxier. It also probably has the advantage of taking black out of the well-known channels.

6…h5! Of course! Known to be bad for white now is 7. hxg4 hxg4.

I enjoy junior games.  There will always be the sharpest twist on the most innocuous starting positions.  No theoretical verdict has been reached on this line.  Let’s see what happened…

7.d3 Qf6 8.Nbd2 Ne7 9.Re1 Ng6 White is fairly tied up now due to the pressure on f3.  His next move alters the structure but he could also eat on g4 at this moment.

Key Moment

Key Moment


After the only optically risky 10. hxg4!? hxg4 11. Nh2? Bc5! black had a big edge and won in Fressinet-Kazhgaleyev, Paris 1996.  Correct is 11. g3! and white holds after some adventure: 11. g3! Bc5 12. Nb3! Bb6 (Looks terrible for white, doesn’t it?  But… white escapes!) 13. Bg5 Qxf3 14. Qxf3 gxf3 15. Nd2 f6 16. Be3 Ba5! 17. c3 O-O-O 18. Rad1!! Rxd3 19. Nc4! and draws!

10…Nf4 11.dxe5

I guess it’s too much to ask for the nice trap 11. hxg4 hxg4 12. Nh2 Nxg2!! winning, as has occurred in a bunch of games.

11…Qg6! 12.Nh4! The only way to hold the balance!  Still, black can and should have posed problems before white reaches safety.

12…Bxd1 13.Nxg6 Nxg6 14.Rxd1 0-0-0 15.e6 fxe6 The foxy 15…f6!? is perfectly possible but it’s still equal.  15…f6!? has the virtue of keeping things relatively speaking more complicated.

16.Re1 Bb4?! 16…Ne5! sets practical problems and black has the easier time of it.  The text forces white to make a useful move.  Anyway, we’re far afield of the opening now — black’s setup passed the theoretical test!

17.c3 Bc5 18.Nb3 Bb6 19.Be3 Rd3 20.Bxb6 cxb6 21.Rad1 Rhd8 22.Rxd3 Rxd3 23.g3 Kd7 24.Kf1 Ke7 25.Ke2 Rd8 26.Rd1 Rxd1 27.Kxd1 Ne5 28.Nc1 Nf7 29.h4 Kd6 30.Ke2 c5 31.Nd3 g5 32.hxg5 Nxg5 33.f3 Nh7 34.e5+ Kd5 35.Ke3 b5 36.Kf4 a5 37.Nf2 a4 38.Ne4 Kc4 39.Ke3 b4 40.Nd6+ Kd5 41.f4 b6 42.c4+ Kc6 43.Ke4 Kd7 44.Kd3 Nf8 45.Ne4 Ke7 46.Nf6 h4 47.gxh4 Ng6 48.h5 Nxf4+ 49.Ke4 Ne2 50.h6 Kf7 51.Nd7 Nc3+ 52.Kd3 Nxa2 53.Nxb6 a3 54.bxa3 bxa3 55.Nd7 Nb4+ 56.Kc3 a2 57.Kb2 Kg6 58.Nxc5 Kxh6 59.Nxe6 Nd3+ 60.Kxa2 Nxe5 61.c5 Kg6 62.Kb3 Kf6 63.Nd4 Ke7 64.Ka4 Kd7 65.Kb5 Kc7 66.Ne6+ Kb7 67.Nf4 Kc7 Game drawn by mutual agreement 1/2-1/2

And Did You Know?

For those curious about iPhone chess engines….

flyer tells you: hi…tried Shredder vs. Hiarcs (both on iPhone)…Hiarcs won!

tell flyer u can play engine vs engine on a phone?
(told flyer)

flyer tells you: my friend’s vs. mine!

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