The Fabulous 70s and The Fabulous 90s: Two Chestnuts

Chestnut 1

The scene:  Fairfax, VA.  1976 US Open.  Smoking allowed!  GM Bill Lombardy, 1957 World Junior Champion (he won every game), puffing away on a cigar versus young upstart John Fedorowicz.

Thanks to Bill Whited for finding this game.  I had confused it in another post on the US Open 1976 with a Lombardy-Diesen encounter.  I think the time control was the bizarre 50 moves in 150 minutes (need to check that).  I played in this event, drawing Wozney and Blocker (Ohio power!) but drawing an old lady (a photo of me vs. old lady graced the pages of The Washington Post).  The skittles room was dominated by a loud, blustery, rather irritating man who would shush people left and right – I later found out it was Hanken.  Smoke filled the tournament room.  Good times.  Trivia fact: Kurt Stein informs me that National HS Champ Ric Kaner was hassled/almost mugged in DC walking from a train station.

[Event “US op Fairfax (5), 1976”]
[Date “1976.08.??”]
[Round “5”]
[White “Lombardy, William”]
[Black “Fedorowicz, John P”]
[Result “0-1”]
[WhiteElo “2520”]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Bg5 Qb6 7. Nb3 e6 8. Be2 a6 9. O-O Be7 10. Bxf6 Bxf6 10…gxf6! = has stood the test of time.

11. Qxd6 Black doesn’t have enough for the pawn but it’s entertaining.

11…Be5 12. Qd2 O-O 13. Kh1 Rd8 14. Bd3 Bd7 15. f4 Bb8

16. a3? 16. Rad1 is better.

16…Na5 17. Nxa5 Qxa5 18. Qe1 Ba7 19. b4 19. e5 is stronger than this lunge. While not totally horrible, the text move does not give a good impression.

19…Qc7 20. a4 Rac8 21. Ne2 Bb6 22. Ra3 Bc6 23. b5 Ba5 24. Qb1 Be8 25. Rb3 axb5 26. axb5 f6! Now black is fine.

27. e5 fxe5 28. c4 g6 29. fxe5 Qxe5 30. Ng1 Bc7 31. Nf3 Qh5 32. Qe1 Bd7 33. Be4 Rf8 34. g3 34. h3 was much tidier.

34…Ra8 Black gets frisky.  34…b6 is equal.

Can white snap on b7?

35. Kg2? Falling for what essentially was a bluff. Surprisingly, and this is not easy to see in time trouble, 35. Bxb7! Ra2 36. Nh4! is good for white.

35…Ra2+ 35…Bb6, waiting, was a good alternative.  The text lets white make a couple of quick moves and keep control.

36. Rf2 Rxf2+ 37. Qxf2 Qg4 38. Qd4 Weirdly, 38. Qe1 keeps a definite edge.

38…Bc8 While nothing special, 38…Bb6! works tactically and would cause white to take some time.

39. b6? Falling for a devilish tactical trick; the typical fate of a time-trouble addict. 39. c5! was good for white with the nice variation: 39. c5! Rd8 40. Qe3 e5 41. b6! with a big plus.  I am sure white envisioned something like this but mixed up the order of the pawn moves.

39…Bxb6! 40. h3?? Completing a collapse. 40. Qd3 equal, or 40. Rxb6 Rxf3 41. Rb2 equal. Bill had the unfortunate habit of minimizing his results in time trouble. As Korchnoi said, “In time trouble, there are no heroes.”

40..Qxf3+ Winning a full piece.  Disgruntled and disgusted and not hiding his emotions, Lombardy plays on.

41. Bxf3 Bxd4 42. Bxb7 Bxb7+ 43. Rxb7 e5 44. g4 h6 45. Rc7 e4 46. Re7 e3 47. Re4 Bc5 48. Re5 Rc8 49. Kf3 Kf7 50. Ke2 Kf6 51. Rd5 0-1 It may be (needs confirmation) that Lombardy adjourned at this point and forced his opponent to attend an early morning resumption the next day – whereas Bill did not show up. An interesting “gambit”. I can see Korchnoi pulling this stunt too. In the old days, we had quaint things like “adjournments” and “resumptions”.

In a 1977 Lone Pine, CA rematch, Lombardy had every chance to gain revenge, but again (probably time trouble!) let the win slip away and only drew.

Chestnut 2

Not for the faint of heart.  The scene:  Glendale, CA. World Student Teams, 1994.  The USA-Armenia match. 

[Event “USA-ARM”]
[Site “Glendale”]
[Date “1994.??.??”]
[Round “2”]
[White “Anastasian, Ashot”]
[Black “Gurevich, Ilya”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “A15”]
[WhiteElo “2545”]
[BlackElo “2585”]
[EventDate “1994.05.??”]
[EventType “team”]
[EventRounds “4”]
[EventCountry “USA”]
[Source “ChessBase”]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. b4 Bg7 4. Bb2 O-O 5. e3 d6 6. Be2 e5 7. d3 a5 8. b5 Nbd7 9. O-O a4 10. a3 Nc5 11. Nbd2 Re8 12. Qc2 Bf5 13. Rad1 c6 14. Qc3 cxb5 15. d4
Nce4 16. Nxe4 Nxe4 17. Qb4 bxc4 18. Bxc4 Qb8 19. Bd5! exd4 20. Bxd4 Nc5 21. Ng5 Be6 22. Qc3! Bxd4 23. exd4 Bxd5 24. dxc5 Bb3 25. Rxd6
With excellent play up to here, white has gained a large edge. Black’s king is very lonely.

25…h6 26. Nf3 Qc7 27. Ne5 Be6
28. Rc1 Rac8 29. Qd2 Qe7 30. Qd4 Bf5 31. f4 h5 32. h3 Qh4 33. Kh2 Red8 34. Rf1 Be6 35. Nf3 Qe7 36. Rd1 Re8 37. Re1 Qc7 38. Re5 Bb3

It’s all roses from white’s point of view.  He has maneuvered very well and his pieces are all in optimal attacking positions.  Now, 39. Rxh5! is evident and wins immediately.

White to play and win (2 solutions)

39. Ng5?? The first major miscue.  It won’t be the last.  To point out how terrible white’s 39th move was, also winning was the easy 39. Rd7! Qc6 (39… Qa5 40. Rg5 Rc6 41. f5! wins) 40. Rxe8+ Rxe8 41. Ne5 Qf6 42. Rxb7 and wins.

39… Rxe5 40. Qxe5 Bc2 41. Qd5 Re8 42. Qd4 Qc8 43. Rd7?

Tacticians will spot 43. Nxf7! Kxf7 44. Rf6+winning; for example 44…Kg8 45. Qd5+ Kh8 46. Rf7 Qd8 47. Qxb7 g5 48. Qb2+!

43… Bb3 44. Ne4 Rxe4 45.Rd8+ Re8 46. Rxc8 Rxc8

White has won the queen.  He’s still winning, of course.

A matter of technique.

47. g4? Simplest is a move to break up the pawns:  47. f5! gxf5 48. Kg3! and white wins with no problems.  Such a move begs to be played.

47… hxg4 48. hxg4 Rc6 49. Kg3 Kf8 50. Qd8+ Kg7 51. Kh4 Kh7 52. Qd4 Kg8 53. Kg3 Kf8 54. Qd8+ Kg7 55. Kf3 Be6 56. f5 gxf5 57. Qg5+ Kf8 58. gxf5 Bd5+
59. Ke3 Ke8 60. Kd4?
60. Qf4! and the critical b7 pawn falls; white wins. White seems to moving aimlessly (time trouble?).  Maybe he’s not winning. But is he losing?  That is a stretch…

60… Bb3 61. Qf4 Kd7 62. Qb8 Rc7 63. Qa7 Kc8 64. Qa8+ Kd7 65. f6 Kc6 66. Qe8+ Rd7+ 67. Kc3 Be6 68. Kb4 Kc7 69. Kxa4 Rd8 70. Qe7+ Rd7 71. Qf8 Rd4+ 72. Ka5?? Oh no!  72. Kb5 Bd7+ 73. c6! (Clearance to avoid mate!) 73…Bxc6+ 74. Kc5 Rd7 75. Kb4 and white can continue aimless shuffling without losing.

72… Bd7 0-1 Suddenly, white is mated.  A game that goes beyond the pale of your everyday garden-variety swindle.


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One Response to “The Fabulous 70s and The Fabulous 90s: Two Chestnuts”

  1. David Moody Says:

    I can offer some confirmation for the Lombardy vs. Fedorowicz adjournment story. The tournament bulletin from Fairfax 1976 states: “White apparently chose to grab some extra sleep by not showing up to resume the game.”

    I can also confirm that the time control was 50/150, followed by 20/1. That was the standard time control at the US Open for many years both before and after Fairfax. No sudden death in those days.

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