Archive for the ‘The 1990s’ Category

The Fabulous 10’s: Some Humoristical Think-Quick Endgames

February 27, 2011

Either You Know It or You Don’t

In an ICC 5-minute blitz game I found myself battling LeopoldStotch.  This person’s profile says he is 9 years old, from Colorado, and the current rating of the child genius at least in ICC blitz is 2506!

Let’s pick up the action at the very end, where I have 12 seconds left and the nine year old, (typical for nine year olds), has more than a minute.  Blitz is the ultimate arbiter asking “Do You Know This Position?”  A person “inventing a solution” for the first time, i.e. muddling through, won’t win in the 12 seconds!

IM Aries2 – LeopoldStotch (2506)

White to move

Well, 1. Kb6?? stalemate does not suggest itself.    1. Rf7 Ba7  2. Kc6 B-somewhere doesn’t get anywhere either!  I found the key idea, a tempo loss,

1. Rg8 (or other rook moves along the 8th rank).  Black’s reply is forced:


Do you see the win now?    Escaping me in the time remaining was the very simple 2. Rg7+ Ka8 3. Kb6 B-somewhere 4. a7! nailing the black king in and preventing the bishop return to b8.  Even if the bishop can now check the white king, the white king finds haven on a6 and there no stalemates, so white wins.

This tempo loss motif finds its way into other endings where white has to break down a compact black formation.

One such position is discussed in Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual.







White to play


In a blitz or regular game sudden death finale, it really pays to know this, because otherwise one would run out of time!

The annoyance is that a player’s first tendency is to use the White King close up to mate the counterpart, but 1. Qa6? Rc7+ 2. Kb6 Rc6+! 3. Kxc6 is stalemate!  A typical blunder where the king and queen were just too close!

The win is quite elegant and not the most obvious.

1. Qe5+! Ka8 (or 1…Ka7, same thing) 2. Qa1+! (using the long-range power of the queen) 2…Kb8 3. Qa5! reaching the same position as our starting one except now it’s black to move.  It turns out black cannot keep his rook near the king, and it must move far away, where it is lost in a few moves due to the checks.  For example, 3…Rb1 (3…Rh7 4. Qe5+ Ka8 5. Qa1+! (this again!) 5…Kb8 (or 5…Ra7 6. Qh8 mate!) 6. Qb1+ is another excellent example of the queen’s range, picking up the rook) 4. Qd8+ Ka7 5. Qd4+ Ka8 6. Qh8+ Ka7 7. Qh7+ picking up the errant rook!

As Dvoretsky points out, Philidor introduced this study in 1777.  It demonstrates very well how the queen can make use of all the squares on the board. If I had seen it anytime between 1777 and 2009, I would have defeated IM Pruess in the Mesa International!  I could not figure out how to separate the K & R in a sudden death finale.

And never mind the time I could not defeat IM Danny Edelman at the Manhattan Chess Club in a Game/30 game, because I mistakenly believed in K&B&N versus lone king, the B&N *must* keep the opposing king penned to the last rank and shepherd it to the right corner.  That false idea kept me from executing the correct B&N mate, where the superior side *does* allow the lone king some breathing room while it is shepherded to the corner of the bishop’s color.  At least it was a moral victory of sorts since it was a good game before the botch (I recall I was white in a Winawer, but lost the game score.)  This game, of course, was a long time ago because the poor Manhattan Chess Club does not exist anymore.

Now I’m 0 for 3 in these things, but at least have started to collect the failures!


Try this agonizing puzzle from Dvoretsky’s excellent “Endgame Manual 2nd Edition”!

White to play and win.

A Real Head-Scratcher

The first moves are obvious: 1. b6 axb6 2. a6 Kb6Kc6  Now what?


Many readers are asking about 14-year-old GM Illya Nyzhnik (2530) from Ukraine (note: this is a Chessbase spelling, some people prefer Nyzhnyk which is cooler).  For example what does he look like?

Here he is.

The Nyzh


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

March 20, 2010

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.

The Fabulous 90s: From the Vaults – San Francisco 1999 Dake Memorial

August 22, 2009

The Arthur Dake Memorial was a 9 round invitational held at the venerable Mechanics Institute Chess Club in downtown San Francisco (Post Street, visit it at some point!).  I think I tied for 2nd by defeating NM Lobo in the last round.  My only loss was to IM Guillermo Rey. Here is a miraculous escape versus Vinay Bhat, who scored an IM norm in this event.  I believe Jesse Kraii did as well and also Omar Cartagena.  Most of the games were contested in the main room, but former US Champion John Grefe and I played our game in a drafty back room for some reason.

[Event “Arthur Dake Int”]
[Site “San Francisco”]
[Date “1999.07.14”]
[Round “4”]
[White “Bhat, Vinay S”]
[Black “Ginsburg, Mark”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[ECO “B06”]

[WhiteElo “2388”]
[BlackElo “2381”]

1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 d6 4. Be3 a6!? 5. a4 Nc6 I don’t think 5. a4 is the most testing move.  Black is all right now. In fact, I equalized quickly with this line vs Ben Finegold, Brugges Belgium 1990.  Queenside castling is out for white.

6. h3 Nf6 7. g3 e5 8. Nge2 d5! How dynamic and natural enough versus white’s slow buildup!  It’s still about equal.

The Center Blows Up

The Center Blows Up

9. dxe5 Nxe5 10. Bg2 Nc4 11. Bd4 The line 11. Bg5 h6 12. Bxf6 Bxf6 13. b3 d4! 14. bxc4 dxc3 15. Qxd8+ Bxd8 seems OK for black.

11… dxe4 But here black had a serious choice.  Probably safer is 11… Nxb2! 12. Qb1 Nc4 13. exd5 O-O and black is solid.

12. Nxe4 O-O 13. Nc5 Qe7 14. O-O Rd8 15. Nd3! I really missed most of white’s regroupings in this phase of the game and my opponent got control of all the key squares.

15..Ne4? A huge lemon.  If black develops with 15… Bf5! 16. b3 Na5 17. Re1 he should be able to hold.

16. Bxg7 Kxg7 17. Nef4! Totally missed by me.

17…Nc5? Flustered, I make an even worse mistake.  Required was 17… Nf6 18. Re1 Qd6 19. Qc1! and white has a big plus.

18. Nd5 Qd6 19. Nxc5 Qxc5 20. b4! I can resign!  From a good position on move 8 to this?  Boo.

20…Qd6 21. Qd4+ Qe5 22. Qxc4 Be6 It is blind luck that I’m not losing a piece.

23. Qxc7 Rxd5 24. Qxb7 Rb8 25. Qxa6? White is somewhat short of time and I start to get rays of hope.  Very pretty was the decisive tactical blow 25. Rae1!! Rxb7 26. Rxe5 Rxe5 27. Bxb7 Bxh3 28. Rd1 Bf5 29. c4 Bc2 30. Rd6 Bxa4 31. Rxa6 and white wins.

25… Rd6 26. Qa5 Qxa5 27. bxa5 Ra6 28. Rfb1 Rxb1+ 29. Rxb1 Rxa5 30. Rb4 Rc5 31. Rb2 It’s also hard work after 31. Bf1 Rxc2 32. a5 Ra2 33. a6 Bd5 34. Rb5 Bf3 35. Rb1 Kf6; black always has activity.  The shot missed on move 25 looms large.

31… Ra5 32. Bc6 Rc5 33. Bb5 Bxh3 34. a5 Rc3 35. a6 Be6 36. Bd3 Ra3 37. Kf1 h5 38. Ke1 More accurate is 38. Ke2.  The position is very easy for black to play and for white, without much time, it’s not a lot of fun.  But on move 39 (see the note) white could have gotten back on track.

38… g5 39. Rb6?! The computer likes the aesthetic 39. Rb4 Kf6 40. f4! gxf4 41. Rxf4+ Ke5 42. Rb4 and white has clarified the kingside and should be winning without too many problems.

39… h4! Of course.  Who knows how real it is, but it is counterplay.

40. gxh4 gxh4 This pawn looks scary so the players agreed to a draw here.  The position is a hard slog.  For example, 41. Kf1 Kf6 42.
Kg1 Ra1+ 43. Kh2 Kg5 44. Kg2 Bd5+ 45. f3 Kf4 46. Kf2 h3 47. Rb4+ Ke5 48. f4+ Kd6 49. Kg3 Rh1 50. Ra4 Ba8 51. a7 h2 52. Bc4 Rf1 53. Kxh2 Rxf4 and it’s still work.


International Quiz

The Return of Polugaevsky

A recent e-mail banter exchange.

The query:
dewaynepittman wrote:
I am SSG Dewayne Pittman, an active American soldier serving in Iraq, I am serving in the military of the 1st Armored Division in Iraq, as our mission here is highly exclusive due to insurgents everyday and car bombs are attacking our peaceful mission here. We managed to secure funds from the war zone. The total amount is US$ 9 Million dollars in cash.

We want to move this money out of this place,this place is a war zone, so that you may keep our share for us till when we will come over to meet you.We will take 70%, my partner and I.You take 30%. No strings attached, just help us move it out of Iraq, Iraq is a war zone. We plan on using diplomatic courier and shipping the money out in a large box, using diplomatic immunity.

If you are interested I will send you the full details, my job is to find a good partner that we can trust and that will assist us. Can I trust you? When you receive this letter, kindly send me an e-mail signifying your interest including your most confidential telephone/fax numbers for quick communication also your contact details.

This business is risk free. The box can be shipped out in 48hrs if you want to handle the deal with us as brothers.

SSG Dewayne Pittman

The response:

Sounds great.

I am Lev Polugaevsky and I watched as Soviet tanks rolled into Afghanistan.   The next move is yours, mein Freund.

Stay tuned — let’s see if we can catch some bait with this lure.

The Fabulous 00s: Almost a Curious Double Manufactured at Biel 2009

July 29, 2009

Game One

In our first game, we get one hot off the Presses at Biel 2009:

[Event “Biel 2009”]
[Date “2009.07.28”]
[White “Alexander Morozevich”]
[Black “Maxime Vachier-Lagrave”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “B80”]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. f3 e6 7. Be3 b5 8. Qd2 Nbd7 9. g4 h6 10. O-O-O b4 11. Nce2 Qc7 12. h4 d5 13. Nf4 e5 14. Nfe6!

This is not the first time Vachier-Lagrave has stepped on a land mine opponent preparation.  Nakamura demolished him spectacularly with homework in the Benko Gambit at Cap D’Agde, 2009.  Having sharp, narrow repetoires makes it fairly easy for nasty accidents to occur.

14… fxe6 15. Nxe6 Qa5 16. exd5 Qxa2 17. Qd3 Kf7 18. g5 Nxd5 19. Bh3 Nxe3 20. Nd8+ Ke7 21. Nc6+ Kf7 22. g6+?

This was the first golden chance to put away the young French player who so far, had just been carried along by the tide.

22. Be6+!!

This would have been one of the best games of 2009

This would have been one of the best games of 2009

Position after 22. Be6+!! (analysis)

It’s a chessic shame that Moro missed this amazing, deep shot.

22…Kxe6 (clearly 22…Qxe6 23. Nd8+ wins)  23. Qg6+ Nf6 24. gxf6 gxf6 25. Qe8+ Kf5 26.  Nd4+!! Kf4 27. Ne2+ Kf5 28. Ng3+ Kf4 29. Nh5+!

This is a fantastic pendulum!

Pendulum .... Guillotine

Pendulum .... Guillotine

29…Kxf3 (29… Kf5 30. Rd4 Qa1+ 31. Kd2 wins) 30. Qc6+ e4 31. Qxf6+ Bf5 32. Rh3+ Kg2 33. Rh2+ Kf3 34. Rf1+ Nxf1 35. Qxf5+ Ke3 36. Qf2 mate!   This would have been a fitting end to the game.  Of course, it’s a Caissic horror that Moro goes on to miss a more banal and crude win on move 26.  Pauvre Moro.

22… Kg8 23. Qxe3 Bc5 24. Qe4 Nf8 25. Rd8 Bb7 26. Rxa8? Another big miscue.   White had the rather crude 26. Rxf8+! Rxf8 (26… Kxf8 27. Qf5+ Ke8 28. Qxe5+ wins; 26…Bxf8 27. Qxe5 hits c5 and threatens Be6+, this wins too.   If 27. Qxe5 Bc8, 28. Qe8! mates!  Let’s play over the rest of the sickness without comment because I want you to compare the positions arising from 22. Be6+!! to Game 2!

26… Bxa8 27. h5 Rh7 28. Re1 (28. gxh7!+ Kh8 29. Kd2) 28… Bxc6 29. Qxc6 Bd4 30. Kd2 Qxb2 31. Qc4+ Kh8 32. Kd3 a5 33. Qc8 Qa3+ 34. Ke4 b3 35. cxb3
a4 36. Rb1 Qb4 37. Qc4 Qb7+ 38. Qd5 Qb4 39. Qc4 Qd2 40. Bg4 a3 41. Qf7 Qc2+ 42. Kd5 Qc5+ 43. Ke4 a2 44. Rc1 a1=Q 45. Rxc5 Bxc5 46. Qd5 Qe1+ 47. Kd3 Qd1+ 48.
Kc4 Qxd5+ 49. Kxd5 Ba3 50. Bf5 Kg8 51. Kxe5 Rh8 52. Kd5 Nh7 53. gxh7+ Kf7 54. Bg6+ Kf6 55. f4 Bc1 56. f5 Bd2 57. Kd6 Be1 58. Kd7 Bb4 59. Kc7 Ke5 60. Kd7 Ba3
61. Kc6 Kd4 62. Kc7 Kc3 63. Kd7 Kb4 64. Kd6 Kxb3+ 65. Kd5 Bb2 66. Kd6 Bf6 67. Kc5 Kc3 68. Kd6 Kd4 69. Kc6 Rd8 70. Kb6 Kd5 71. Kc7 Kc5 72. Bf7 g5 73. fxg6 Rd6
74. Be8 Be5 75. Kb7 Rb6+ 76. Kc8 Kd6 0-1

Game 2

Here’s the Doppelganger, note the very curious positions of the Kings.

IM Ginsburg – NM Jack Young, New England 199?

Dutch Defense, Sjödin Gambit

1. d4 e6 2. Nf3 f5 3. e4 fxe4 4. Ng5!?

The strange Sjödin Gambit (so named, as explained to me by GM Ferdinand Hellers, after a Swedish amateur player). Sjödin is a tough word to pronounce! It’s something like “Shuhhh-DEEN.” Joel Benjamin tried this move versus a Russian 2400+ and was successful, although his game was not without chances for black.

4…Nf6 5. f3



Black must seriously consider 5…h6 6. Nh3, one of the main alternatives to drive the menacing WN offside. In addition, I think Joel’s opponent played 5…c5!? to challenge the dark squares and got a good game; the trick is 6. fxe4 cxd4 7. e5?? Qa5+! picking up the e5-pawn.

6. Qxf3 Nc6 7. Bd3?

7. c3 was circumspect. The wild text move is unsound. But if it had not been played, we wouldn’t have the following (possibly unique? – see below) crazy game. Them’s the breaks.

7…Nxd4 Of course. If your opponent hangs center pawns, take them.

8. Qh3 d5! Refuting white’s coffeehouse antics.

9. Nxh7 Nxh7 10. Bxh7 Nxc2+ 11. Ke2 Kd7!


Very convincing. White has very few resources left.

12. Rf1 Nxa1 13. Rf7+ Kc6?! A fairly easy win is 13…Be7 14. Bg5 Re8 15. Qc3 b6 and white runs out of steam. Black is still winning after the text, but he’ll need to find a tough move shortly.

14. Qc3+ Kb6 15. Be3+ c5 16. b4 At least white is making a little trouble now. The game is starting to take on very strange overtones. Watch the black king double back now and head into the center!



Finally black goes wrong. The difficult deflection, using a ‘doomed piece’, 16…Nb3!! still wins. For example, 17. axb3 d4! and white doesn’t have the b2 queen check as in the game. Or, 17. Qxb3 Bd7 18. bxc5++ Kc7 and black wins as well.

17. bxc5+ Bxc5 18. Qb2+ Kc6 19. Nc3? Too fancy, I was carried away. Correct is 19. Be4+! Kd6 20. Bxd4 and white wins.

19…Qb6? 19…dxc3 loses simply to 20. Be4+ Kd6 21. Bxc5+ Kxc5 22. Qxc3+ Kb6 23. Qb4+ Ka6 24. Rxb7 and mates. Black needed to play 19…a6! to take b5 away from white. For example, 20. Be4+ Kd6 21. Bf4+ e5 and there’s nothing more white can do. Now white is back on track again.

20. Be4+ Kd6 21. Nb5+ Ke5 22. Bf3!


Black’s king finds himself in a really bizarre mating net. His attempts to avoid it just lead the game into more and more surrealistic situations without changing the verdict: black’s king is trapped and cannot wriggle free. Enjoy this sideline: 22. Kd3! Rh4 23. Bf2 Rf4 24. Bg3 g5 25. Bxf4+ gxf4 26. Bc6!! (protecting the N on b5 temporarily is an important point)


Position after 26. Bc6!! (Analysis)

26…Qxc6 27. Qe2+ Kd5 28. Qe4 mate!

Or this, even more amusing: 22. Kd3! Rh4 23. Bf2 Rxe4 24. Kc4!!! and mate is forced in 10 moves! It’s really strange to have both kings participating in the center in the middlegame, with one king sealing the mating net on the other. Perhaps it’s unique in the history of chess!?? (readers??) Can you imagine this game played in the 19th century and some bearded fellow such as Steinitz announcing Mate in 10 in a grovelly voice?


Position after 24. Kc4!!! (Analysis) – Unique Tableau?

Here’s one of the shorter mates from this position: 24…g5 25. Bg3+ Rf4 26. Qe2 mate.

22…Rh4 23. g4! Caveman chess, brutally effective. White doesn’t need his queen anymore.

23…g5 24. Bxg5 Rxh2+ 25. Kd1 Rxb2 26. Bf4 mate

Not quite a pure mate; the N on b5 is not needed (guarding d6 twice).


It’s always nice to end a game with a queen sacrifice. This game was really way out there in deep orbit. It doesn’t stand up to serious analysis, but it did produce some unique situations.


If Moro had found 22. Be6+, there would have been a whole set of weird similarities between the two games!  Alas, Vachier-Lagrave (the modern day Dus-Chortimirski, bad openings and resourceful fighting in middlegame) went on to carry the day.

Some More Blitz

Let’s take our mind off the previous absurdities with two absurd blitz games.

Aries2(IM) – Smallville(GM) ICC 5 minute game, March 2009.   ‘Smallville” is Nakamura’s ICC alias.

1. e4 a6 2. d4 h6 Don’t worry, the game returns to normal channels soon.

3. Nc3 e6 4. Nf3 b5 A truly hypermodern opening.  White hits upon a good blitz plan of getting a minor piece near black’s king.

5. a4 b4 6. Ne2 Bb7 7. Ng3! One exclamation point covering moves 5 to 7.  When playing a stronger player, it is incumbent to try to mate!

7…d5 8. Bd3 Nf6 9. Qe2 Nbd7?! 9…dxe4 is correct with a fully acceptable game. At this point,  after black’s actual 9th move 10. e5! is obviously strong and I can’t explain why I didn’t do it.

10. O-O?! c5! Now the game is double-edged.

11. exd5 Bxd5 12. Re1 Qc8 13. b3 cxd4 14. Nxd4 Bc5 15. Ndf5 O-O White to play.  Is the sacrifice on g7 correct?

Sacrifice?  Yes, it is time.

Sacrifice? Yes, it is time.

16. Nxg7! Answer:  yes it is correct, because black’s king doesn’t have very many defenders at the moment.  But this is a good tactical quiz position, because some of the follow-up lines are not totally straightforward.

16…Kxg7 17. Bxh6+? The wrong way to do it.  As a GM kibitzer told me immediately after the game, 17. Nh5+! is right.   Black cannot take that knight due to forced checkmate.  17. Nh5+! Nxh5? and now 18. Bxh6+! (a clever move inversion from the game) forces mate.  So on 17. Nh5+, the black king must move.  17…Kh8?! 18. Nxf6 Nxf6 19. Bb2 looks insanely risky, so that leaves 17…Kg8.   In that case, the computer thinks black holds on after 18. Bxh6 Qd8! 17.  Rad1 Kh8! but it’s really necessary in blitz to make black find all these moves.

17…Kh8 18. Nh5?? This is an even worse lemon.  18. Bxf8 Qxf8 19. Be4 and both sides have chances.  Now black assumes the attack and white is lost.

Rg8 19. Nf4 Qc6 {White resigns} C’est la vie.


1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Be7 4. c3 Nf6 5. d3 O-O 6. O-O d6 7. Bb3 Be6 8. Re1 8. Bxe6 fxe6 9. Qb3 Qc8 is all right for black.

8…Bxb3 9. Qxb3 Rb8 10. d4 Nd7?! 10…Qd7 and 10…a6 are less clumsy.

11. Na3 Bf6 12. Be3 a6 13. d5 Ne7 14. Ba7 Nc5 If I was white, I’d just take that horse and get a structural edge.

Snap the Horse

Snap the Horse

15. Qd1(?! but white gets another chance next move) Rc8 16. b4 Same comment; I’d snap off the horse on c5 and be happy.

16…Nd7 17. Be3 Ng6 18. c4 Nh4? Weak.  18…Be7 is solid and fine.  Black can get counterplay on the queenside with a later c6 and/or a5.

19. c5 Nxf3+ 20. Qxf3 Bg5 21. Nc4 Bxe3 22. Qxe3 Qe7 23. c6 bxc6 24. dxc6 Nf6 25. a4 Rb8 26. Rab1 Qe6 27. Qd3 Nxe4? Not good, but exciting and leading us to the fabulous quiz position after black’s 31st.  Just the normal 27…Rfd8 to keep going.

28. Qxe4 d5 29. Qxe5 dxc4 30. Qxc7 Rxb4 31. Rbd1 Qf6 This is a great tactical quiz position, pretty much impossible for humans to solve in blitz.

Quiz Time

Quiz Time

32. Rd6?? Correct is the rather difficult 32. Qd7! Rc2 33. Qd4! getting a winning ending.  The deep point (hard to work out in blitz) is that 33…c3 34. Qxf6 gxf6 35. Rc1 Rb3 36. Re3! uses all pieces to maximum effect breaking black’s resistance.

Another variation that pulls up lame but hard to fully see in blitz is 32. Rc1? c3 33. Qd7 (too late!) Rc4! 34. c7 Qf4! and the pawn on c7 is lost!

The text gives black an unexpected loophole.  So unexpected that I blitz out a weak reply not exploiting my chance.

32…Qc3?? When presented with a gift horse… well, find out about the gift!   32…Qe5!! leads to a black edge after 33. Rf1 c3; 33. Red1?? just loses to 33…c3.  33. Red1?? c3 34. Qc8 is a typical last-ditch attempt, but it’s rudely met by 34…Qxd6! using white’s back rank yet again.  Positions with mutually weak bank ranks and mutually threatening passed pawns are the sharpest in the pantheon of heavy piece middlegames!  Now all is silence.

33. Qe7 g6 34. c7 {Black resigns} 1-0

Postscript – US Car History

Some curious stuff I learned about the Ford Edsel. The more diverse factoids a chess player knows, the better he or she is off?!?!

Quoting from the Time.Com “50 Worst Cars of All Time” story,

“That’s why we’re all here, right? To celebrate E Day, the date 50 years ago when Ford took one of the autodom’s most hilarious pratfalls. But why? It really wasn’t that bad a car. True, the car was kind of homely, fuel thirsty and too expensive, particularly at the outset of the late ’50s recession. But what else? It was the first victim of Madison Avenue hyper-hype. Ford’s marketing mavens had led the public to expect some plutonium-powered, pancake-making wondercar; what they got was a Mercury. Cultural critics speculated that the car was a flop because the vertical grill looked like a vagina. Maybe. America in the ’50s was certainly phobic about the female business. How did the Edsel come to be synonymous with failure? All of the above, consolidated into an irrational groupthink and pressurized by a joyously catty media. Interestingly, it was Ford President Robert McNamara who convinced the board to bail out of the Edsel project; a decade later, it was McNamara, then Secretary of Defense, who couldn’t bring himself to quit the disaster of Vietnam, even though he knew a lemon when he saw one.”

Change of Pace Poll

The Fabulous 90s: The Swiss Teams

July 4, 2009

N’oublie pas La Suisse

You’ve heard of the French teams and the famous Bundesliga, the German teams.  And the 4NCL.  But what about Switzerland?

Switzerland actually also has a very active chess league, A, B, and C divisions with many strong players in the A group:  Yusupov, Andrei Sokolov, Robert Huebner, Danny King, and so on, and so forth.  Here is a collection of games from the 1999 season (I was in Basel from ’99 to 2000 and played for Riehen, a suburb of Basel).  Maybe some of the ones presented here aren’t  (yet) in Chessbase!

On To the Games!

[Event “Swiss Team 99”]
[Site “Wollishofen vs Zuerich”]
[White “Umbach, A.”]
[Black “Atlas, Valery”]
Black is an IM from Austria.
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “B81”]
[WhiteElo “2270”]
[BlackElo “2428”]
Sicilian, Keres Attack

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e6 6. g4 One of my favorite lines to analyze, the Keres Attack.

6…h6 (!) The most circumspect.

7. h4 Be7 8. Bg2 Nc6 9. g5 hxg5 10. hxg5 Rxh1+ 11. Bxh1 Nh7 12. f4

Decision time.  ....Nf8 or ...e5?

Decision time. ....Nf8 or ...e5?

12…Nf8!? A very interesting position that is about balanced.  Black also had the nice 12… e5! 13. Nf5 Bxf5 14. exf5 Qb6! with equal chances, for example, 15. Qg4 Nb4! 16. Be4 d5! 17. a3 dxe4 18. axb4 Bxb4 19. fxe5 Qd4 20. Bd2 Rd8 21. O-O-O Bxc3 22. Bxc3 Qxd1+ 23. Qxd1 Rxd1+ 24. Kxd1 g6 25. fxg6 fxg6 26. Ke2 Nxg5 27. Ke3 Kd7 28. Kf4 Nf7 29. Kxe4 Ke6 and a drawn ending!  This violent central counter-blow crops up quite often in Keres Attack variations and typically leads to very sharp situations.  In this case, without the 14…Qb6! resource, 12…e5! would not have had its desired effect.  But the crux of the position is that white’s king has been opened by the early kingside pawn advances.

13. Be3 Bd7? Here black had the simplifying 13… Nxd4! 14. Qxd4 e5 15. fxe5 Bxg5 16. Bxg5 Qxg5 17. exd6 Qh4+ 18. Ke2 Qh2+ 19. Qf2 Bg4+ 20.
Bf3 Bxf3+ 21. Kxf3 Qxd6 and he is fine.

14. Nf3 Qa5 15. Nd2 Rc8 16. Nb3 Qc7 17. Qd2 Qb8 18. Nb5 a6 19. N5d4 b5 20. O-O-O b4 21. Kb1 Qc7 22. Bf3 Nxd4 23. Nxd4 a5 White is just better here.

24. f5 a4 25. Rc1? 25. Be2! a3 26. fxe6 fxe6 27. Nb5 and white has a big edge.

25… a3 26. Qxb4? Correct was the safe 26. b3! e5 27. Ne2.

26… axb2 27. Qxb2 e5 28. Nb3 d5 Also black had 28… Qc3! 29. Qxc3 Rxc3 30. Re1 Bxg5 31. Bxg5 Rxf3 32. Bd2 g6 33. fxg6 Nxg6 34. Bb4 Rf6 35. Na5 Ne7

29. exd5 Bxf5 30. Bd2 Nd7 31. Re1 Bxc2+ 32. Ka1 Qa7 33. Rc1? The last straw.  White should have tried 33. Rh1! Ba3 (33… Bf5 34. Rc1 Rxc1+ 35. Qxc1 Qf2 36. Qc8+ Bd8 37. Ba5 Qf1+ 38. Kb2 Qb1+ 39. Ka3 (39. Kc3? Qc2+) 39… Nb6 40. Qc3 Qd3 41. Qxd3 Bxd3 42. Bxb6 Bxb6 43. Nd2 Be3 44. Ne4 Bxe4 45. Bxe4 Bxg5) 34. Rh8+ Nf8? (34… Bf8!) 35. Qxe5+)

33… Ba3 Now it’s just over.

34. Qxc2 Rxc2 35. Rxc2 Qg1+ 36. Bc1 Bxc1 37. Rxc1 Qe3 38. Bg4 Nb6 39. d6 Kd8 40. Rc2 Qg1+ 41. Kb2 Qxg4 0-1

GM Michele Godena (ITA) playing for Mendrisio (in Swiss/Italian Alps) – GM Vadim Milov (playing for Biel)  Sicilian Alapin

[ECO “B22”]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. c3 Nf6 4. e5 Nd5 5. d4 cxd4 6. cxd4 d6 7. Bc4 Nc6 8. O-O Be7 9. Qe2 O-O 10. Nc3 Nxc3 11. bxc3 dxe5 12. dxe5 Qa5 13. Rb1 Rd8 14. Qe4 Qxc3!
Black should grab a pawn for his troubles.

Pawn munch - now what?

Pawn munch - now what?

15. Rb3?! The correct move is the somewhat paradoxical 15. Be3! – it’s funny that white can seek compensation in the ending in the following wild line: 15…Nd4 16. Ng5 Qc2 17. Rfd1 Qxe4 18. Nxe4 Nc6 19. Rxd8+ Nxd8 20. Rd1 Nc6 21. f4 b6 22. Nd6 Bxd6 23. Rxd6 Bb7 24. Rd7 Na5 25. Be2 Bd5 26. a4 and by some strange immutable chess law white is all right even though he’s still down the gambitted pawn!   In passing, note it takes good intuition to switch from attacking the king with queens on to pressing in an ending with queens off.   But in this position that was the best course.

15… Qa5 16. Bg5 h6 17. Be3 Qa4 18. Rc3 Rd1 19. Rxd1 Qxd1+ 20. Bf1 Qd5 21. Qf4 Qxa2 22. Qg4 Kf8 23. Qe4 Kg8 24. Qg4 Qb1 25. Rd3 Qb4 26. Qg3 Kf8
27. Nd4 Nxd4?
A huge inaccuracy. 27… a5! leaves white hurting big-time.  Now white is right back in it.

28. Rxd4 Qb1 29. Rg4 g5 30. h4! Bd7 31. hxg5 If 31. Rc4 Bc6 32. hxg5 h5 and we get a motif similar to the game.

31… h5 32. Rf4 Qg6 On the apparently dangerous 32… Bb5! 33. g6 Bxf1 34. Rxf7+ Ke8 35. Rg7 Rd8! 36. Kh2 Qf5 37. Rxe7+ Kxe7 38. Bg5+ Kf8 39. Bxd8
Qg4! is a nice neutralizing move.  Black has a small edge in the ending.  After the text, the key moment is reached.

33. Bd4?? This awkward move loses.  White had to play 33. Rd4!  achieving total coordination and putting black in a bind. Then, 33…Rd8 34. Bd3 Qg7
35. Rh4 Ba4 36. Be4 Rd1+ 37. Kh2 Bc6 38. Bxc6 bxc6 39. Rxh5 and white is doing great.  Now the game turns 180 degrees.

33… Bc6 34. Bd3 Qxg5 35. Qh2 Rd8 36. Be3 Rxd3 37. Rxf7+ Kxf7 0-1

[Event “Swiss Team 1999”]
[Site “Lucerne vs Winterthur”]

[White “Yusupov, Artur”]
[Black “Forster, Richard”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “B06”]

Here’s an upset of a former WC candidate.

1. d4 g6 2. e4 Bg7 3. Nc3 d6 4. f4 a6 5. Nf3 b5 6. Bd3 Nd7 7. O-O
(7. e5! immediately is correct)

7…c5 8. e5! This is still strong. 8… cxd4 9. Be4 Rb8

Which way to take back on d4?

Which way to take back on d4?

10. Nxd4 The computer finds the dangerous line 10. Qxd4!? Nc5 (10… Nh6? 11. Qa7! Qb6+ 12. Be3! Qxa7 13. Bxa7 b4 14. Nd1 is the whole point, and white wins!) 11. Bc6+ Bd7 12. Bxd7+ Qxd7 13. Qb4 Nh6 14. Be3 Ne6 and black hangs on.  The text is also strong.

10… dxe5 11. Nc6 Qb6+ 12. Kh1 Ngf6 13. Nxb8 Qxb8 14. fxe5 Yusupov misses his first chance to deal with his young opponent’s impetuous play.14. Bc6! Qc7 15. Bxd7+ Bxd7 16. Qe2 exf4 17. Bxf4 Qc5 18. Rae1 Be6 19. Qe5 Qxe5 20. Bxe5 O-O 21. a3 and there is very little doubt white will convert.

14… Nxe4 15. Nxe4 Nxe5 16. Bf4 Qb6 17. Qe2 O-O 18. Rae1 Qc6? Black should play the solid 18… Nc6! 19. c3 Be6 20. b3 Bf5 and he is fine.

19. Nd2?! Yusupov is making an uncharacteristic number of inaccuracies in this game.  Correct was 19. Ng5! Bb7 20. Rf2 Nc4 21. Qxe7 and white will win.

19… Bb7 20. Rf2 Qc5 21. Nb3 Qb6 22. Be3 Qc7 23. Bd4 Rd8 24. h3 Rd5 25. c3 Strong was 25. Qe3  a5 26. Qf4 e6 27. c3 a4 28. Nd2.

25… a5 26. Qe3 e6 27. Qf4! a4 28. Nc1 After the simple 28. Nd2! h6 29. Nf3 g5 30. Qg3 f6 31. Bxe5 fxe5 32. Qg4 White will win with no problems.

28… g5! 29. Qxg5? Not well timed.  Safe and correct was 29. Qg3! h6 30. Nd3 f6 31. a3  and again, white wins with no problems.

29… Ng6 30. Qg4 h5! 31. Qe2 Nf4 32. Qe3 e5 33. Bb6? A bad blunder.  On 33. Qg3! exd4 34. Rxf4 dxc3 35. bxc3 Rd2 36. Re8+ Kh7 37. Ne2 Qd7 38. Rd8!!  Qxd8 (38… Bxg2+ 39. Qxg2 Qxd8 40. Rxf7 Qg8 transposes) 39. Rxf7 Bxg2+ 40. Qxg2 Qg8 41. Qe4+ Kh8 42. Rf5 Bh6 43. Rxh5 Qf8 and black is in a passive situation.

33… Qc6 34. Rg1 Rd6 35. Ba7 Rg6 36. Qf3? White had to try 36. Kh2 Nxg2 37. Qc5 Qe4 38. Qb4 Qd5 39. Qc5 Qd7 40. Rgxg2 Bxg2 41. Rxg2 Rxg2+ 42. Kxg2 Qd2+ 43.
Kf3 Qxc1 44. Qxb5 and the fight continues.

36… Qc8 37. Qe3 Nxh3 Black also could win with the sadistic 37… h4!

38. Rd2 Nxg1 39. Kxg1 Bh6 0-1

[Event “Swiss Team 1999”]
[Site “Lucerne vs Winterthur”]
From the same match as Yusupov-Forster,  we see another game involving a former WC Candidate, Robert Huebner!

[White “King, Danny”]
[Black “Huebner, Robert”]

[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “C17”]
French Winawer, …Ba5 line

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 Ne7 5. Nf3 c5 6. a3 Ba5 7. dxc5 Bxc3+ 8. bxc3 Nd7 9. Bd3 Nxc5 Black has a comfortable game but he’s not better yet.

10. O-O Bd7 11. Rb1 Qc7 12. Rb4 Ng6 13. Re1 Nxd3 14. cxd3 a5 15. Rb1 O-O 16. Be3 Rfe8 17. Bd4 b5 18. Nd2 Qd8 19. Nf1 Qe7 20. Ra1 b4 21.
axb4 axb4 22. Qd2 bxc3
The dangerous try 22… b3!? 23. g3 Reb8 24. f4 Bc6 25. Qb2 Bb5 26. Qxb3
Bxd3 27. Rxa8 Rxa8 28. Rd1 Bc4 29. Qb6 still seems to be equal.

23. Bxc3 h6 24. d4 Bb5 25. Ng3?! 25. g3! Qg5 26. Qxg5 hxg5 27. Bb4 and it’s drawish.

25… Qh4 26. Rxa8 Rxa8 27. Rb1 Careful is 27. Qb2 Bc4 28. Ra1 Rxa1+ 29. Qxa1 and white is holding on.

27… Bc4 28. h3 Nf4 29. Qe1 Ra3 The next note shows this move might not be good.

30. Rb7 (not sure if this was played or Rb8) Kh7 (this makes more sense if Rb8 was played on  move 30 but the bulletin says 30. Rb7) 31. Qb1+ If the game score is correct, white missed a chance here with 31. Rxf7! Nd3 32. Qb1 Rxc3 33. Qb7 Qg5 34. Nh5! and his attack is faster! Somehow I doubt that could have happened.

31… Nd3 32. Bb2 Ra2 33. Rb3 Rxb2! Black forces a very pleasant ending.

34. Rxb2 Qxd4 35. Rd2 g6 36. Nf1 Qc3 37. Qc2 Qa3 38. Ne3 Nxe5 39. Ng4? It’s not good to simplify this way.  White should hang tight with 39. Qb2 Qd6 40. Qd4! and await events.
39… Nxg4 40. hxg4 Qa1+ 41. Rd1 Qf6 42. Re1 Qd4! Black methodically trades queens and continues to seek chances, but it’s not over yet.

43. Qd1 Qxd1 44. Rxd1 g5 45. f3 Kg6 46. Kf2 h5 47. gxh5+ Kxh5 48. g3 Kg6 49. f4? Here white can put up tough resistance with the unusual defensive wall 49. Ra1 e5 50. g4! creating problems.  For example, 50…f5 51. Rb1 fxg4 52. fxg4 d4 53. Rb4 Be6 54. Kf3 Bd5+ 55. Ke2 Kf6 56. Rb6+ Be6 57. Kf3 Ke7 58. Rb5 and we’re just dancing around now.

49… Kf5 50. Kf3 f6 51. Rh1 d4 52. g4+ Kg6 53. Rh8 Bd5+ 54. Kg3 gxf4+ 55. Kxf4 e5+ With the beautiful pawns free to advance, it’s now quite over.

56. Kg3 Be4 57. Rd8 Kf7 58. Kf2 Ke7 59. Rb8 Bc6 60. Kg3 Ke6 61. Rf8 e4 62. Rc8 Kd5 63. Kf4 e3 64. Rb8 Kc4 65. Rc8 e2 66. Rxc6+ Kd3 67. Re6 Kd2 0-1

I lost something similar to Huebner in the Swiss Teams 1999, an agonizing ending where I was ground down slooooowly. Robert was very nice post-mortem, taking as much time as I needed to understand some of the reasons I went down in flames.

Next up we have Yusupov gaining revenge vs. Hungarian GM Kallai.

[Event “Swiss Team 1999”]
[Site “Bern vs Lucerne”]

[White “Kallai, Gabor”]
[Black “Yusupov, Artur”]


1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Nbd7 5. cxd5 exd5 Artur Yusupov’s beloved QGD.

6. Bg5 Be7 7. e3 O-O 8. Bd3 Re8 9. O-O c6 10. Qc2 Nf8 11. Rab1 Bd6 12. Bf5?! This doesn’t do much.

12…Ng6 13. b4 a6 14. a4 b5!? 15. Bxc8 Rxc8 16. axb5 axb5 17. Ne2 h6 18. Bxf6 Qxf6 19. Nc1 Nh4 20. Nxh4 Qxh4 21. g3 Qh3 22. Nd3 h5! 23. Qe2 White is also suffering in a line like 23. Ra1 h4 24. Ra7 Re6 25. Re1 hxg3 26. fxg3 Rce8 27. Ne5 Bxe5 28. dxe5 Qh5 29. Rf1 Qxe5 30. Rfxf7 Qxe3+ 31. Qf2 Qc1+ 32. Kg2 Rg6! – it’s often surprising to the amateur how black can get attacks in such staid openings.  The secret is that black systematically shifted units to the kingside, trading off key white defenders.

23… Re6 24. Qf3 h4 25. Rfe1 Rce8 26. Rbc1 hxg3 27. hxg3 Rh6 28. Ra1 Ree6 29. Qg2 Qf5 30. Nc5? It’s a mistake to let black get rid of this knight.  But what should white do?   The following surprising line offers resistance: 30. Ra8+ Kh7 31. Ra3 Reg6 32. Rc3 Rh5 33. Rec1 Rh3 34. Rxc6 Rgxg3 35. fxg3 Rxg3 (at first glance, this appears crushing) 36. Rxd6 Qf3 37. Rc2 Qd1+ 38. Kh2 Rxg2+ 39. Rxg2 Qxd3 40. Rg3! and white can fight on due to immediate threats to black’s king.  Black is better but not winning yet.

30… Bxc5 31. bxc5 g5! 32. g4 32. f3 g4! 33. f4 Rh3 34. Kf2 b4! is crushing.

32… Qh7!  Black’s initiative is decisive.  Too many heavy pieces participating and not enough white defenders, very instructive.

33. Qg3 White is helpless.  In another nice line, 33. Ra8+ Kg7 34. Rd8 b4 35. Rd7 b3 36. Rb7 Rh4 37. Rxb3 Reh6! mate in 10! at the most! –  38. Kf1
Rh1+ 39. Ke2 Qc2+ 40. Kf3 Rf6+ 41. Kg3 Rh3+!! – beautiful! –  42. Kxh3 Qh7+ 43. Kg3 Qh4 mate!

33… Rh3 34. Qb8+ Kg7 35. Kg2 Qe4+ Mate in 7!   White resigned.


For example, 36. Kf1 (36. Kxh3 Qf3+ 37. Kh2 Rh6+ 38. Kg1 Rh1 mate) 36… Qxg4 and mate.

Next we have another former WC Candidate, GM Andrei Sokolov, making short work of a Swiss International Master.

[Event “Swiss Team 1999 A Division”]
[Site “Reichenstein vs Bois Gentil”]

[White “Sokolov, Andrei”]
[Black “Landenbergue, Claude”]

[ECO “B93”]
Sicilian Najdorf, 6. f4.

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. f4 e5 7. Nf3 Nbd7 8. a4 Be7 9. Bd3 O-O 10. O-O exf4 11. Kh1 Nc5 12. Bxf4 Bg4 13. Qe1 Bh5 14. Bc4 Rc8 15. e5 dxe5 16. Nxe5 Qd4! 17. Ne2!? White sharpens play to the outmost and sets black difficult challenges.  Black immediately plays a second-best continuation, justifying white’s minor gamble.

17…Bxe2?  Conceding the bishop pair and getting a bad game without a struggle.  Black must take: 17… Qxb2! 18. Ng3 Bd6 and he has enough defensive resources in all lines as Rybka shows.

18. Qxe2 Ne6 19. Bg3 Ng5 20. c3 Qc5? A blunder. 20… Qe4! 21. Rae1 Qxe2 22.  Rxe2 Bd6 23. Ba2 and white has a significant edge, but it’s not over.

21. b4 Sokolov does not have to be asked twice.  White is now just winning.

21…Qc7 If 21… Qb6 22. Bh4! Ne6 23. Bxf6 Bxf6 24. Nd7 Qc6 25. Bxe6 fxe6 26. Nxf8 and wins.

22. Ng6 Qxc4 23. Nxe7+ Kh8 24. Qe5 Rfe8 25. Rxf6 Qxc3 26. Qxc3 Rxc3 27. Rf5 f6 28. Re1 Rd8 29. Rd5 A rout. 1-0

Conticello on MCC

April 28, 2008

A Manhattan Chess Club Timeline [Abridged]

by Nicholas W. Conticello

Italicized Supplemental Notes by IM Mark Ginsburg

1901- Frank J. Marshall wins the first of three Manhattan Chess Club (MCC) titles.

1909- MCC organizes match between Marshall and young member Jose Raul Capablanca. The unknown Cuban demolishes the World Championship contender by +8-1=14 and goes on to become the third World Champion.

1915- Capablanca wins NY International ahead of Marshall.

1924- MCC board members arrange legendary New York international featuring most of the leading players of the era. Lasker takes first with 16-4 ahead of Capablanca, Alekhine, Marshall, Reti, etc. Capa’s loss to Reti in the fifth round is the Cuban’s first defeat in 8 years.

1927- MCC board sponsors a six-player event supposedly to select a challenger for Capablanca’s title. Capa wins without loss of a game, while Alekhine confirms his status as challenger with a convincing second. Alekhine’s ensuing victory in their match later in the year by +6-3=25 will shock the chess world and end MCC’s grip on the World Championship.

1936- MCC member Samuel Reshevsky wins first US Championship tournament of the 20th century.

1945- On Sept. 1 Club is site of American half of USA-USSR radio match. Soviets win by 11 points in 20 games and begin their 27 year grip (to the day!) on world chess.

1948- Members Reshevsky and Reuben Fine are invited to play in World Championship tournament to choose a successor to Alekhine. Fine, fearing Soviet collusion, cites his studies in psychology as his reason for not playing. Reshevsky plays anyway and finishes third.

1951- Reshevsky wins MCC’s Wertheim Memorial ahead of Max Euwe and Miguel Najdorf.

1952- Future GM and World Junior Champion William Lombardy joins the Club.

1955- Reshevsky wins the Rosenwald tournament (de facto US Championship) ahead of Arthur Bisguier and Larry M. Evans. 12-year-old Robert J. Fischer joins.

1956- Fischer is invited to the Rosenwald at age 13. He is beaten by eventual winner Reshevsky on time (his only known time forfeit) and runnerup Bisguier ( the latter’s only win against Fischer) but defeats Donald Byrne in what TD and Club Manager Hans Kmoch eulogizes as the “Game of the Century” and scores a respectable 4.5/11.

1957- In the space of one year, Donald Byrne wins the Western Open, Gisela Gresser wins the US Women’s title, Fischer wins the US Open and US Junior, Lombardy wins the World Junior Championship (11-0!), Arthur Bisguier wins the US Closed, and Samuel Reshevsky is crowned “Champion of the Western Hemisphere” by virtue of a match victory over Miguel Najdorf. The year will end with 14-year-old Bobby Fischer taking the first of a record 8 US Championships without the loss of a game.

1962- Larry Evans defeats William Lombardy for the Edgar Trophy.

1963- Fischer wins the US Championship for the sixth time with a perfect 11-0 score. The event is held at the Henry Hudson Hotel, which also was home for the Club.

1964- Benko defeats Bisguier in a match for an Interzonal spot vacated by Fischer, who declined his invitation to the Amsterdam event.

1971- The Club moves from the Henry Hudson to E. 60th St. just off Fifth Avenue. In August, the Club sponsors an invitational Master Rapids. Fischer swamps the field with 21.5-0.5 (the draw going to six-time Club Champion Walter Shipman.) This was the soon-to-be World Champion’s last appearance at the Club.

1973- The peak of the “Fischer Boom” sees the Club’s membership exceed 400.

1974- The “Boom” goes bust, and the Club must move again, to 155 E. 55 St. In February Viktor Korchnoi wins another special Master Rapids.

1976- The Club sponsors the first New York International since 1951. IM Norman Weinstein ties for first with recent emigre GM’s Anatoly Lein and Leonid Shamkovich. 12-year-old Joel Benjamin, making his international debut, wins a game from Canadian IM Bruce Amos.

1977- Anatoly Lein wins the Moses Mitchell Tournament of Champions ahead of Sal Matera, Bernard Zuckerman, and future Club President Neil McKelvie.

1978-14-year-old Joel Benjamin wins the first of six Club titles.

1984- The Club moves to the Carnegie Hall Studios, 155 W. 57 St, for the second time.

News flash 5/17/11 from Mark Pinto“Records are probably lost but I tied with [Walter] Shipman in 1984 and he was given the title on tiebreaks. [… ] Going from memory (not as reliable as it used to be) wins against Asa [Hoffmann] , Eric Cooke, drew with B[ernie] Zuckerman(a Nadjorf where I was white), drew with Shipman not sure who else I played. ”

1988 – IM Mark Ginsburg (Yay!) wins the MCC Championship for the first time, with a field including MCC stalwarts Zuckerman and Shirazi. The 10th floor Carnegie Hall location features an 11th floor bathtub for the grimy combatant.

1989- Gata Kamsky’s American debut after defecting during the New York Open is the Club’s 4 Rated Games Tonight. Kamsky will play frequently at the Club over the next five years.

MG: I play Kamsky in an MCC quad. We have cordial post-game analysis until his father yanks him away mid-sentence, much like a bad vaudeville act gets the cane.

1989- The Club runs a Knockout Qualifier with sixteen of the country’s strongest players vying for the right to meet Kasparov in a two game 25 minute match at the New York Public Library. Gata Kamsky, a last minute substitute, wins the event ahead of many GM’s.

1990 – IM Mark Ginsburg (Yay!) wins the MCC Championship for the second time, granting a draw from a position of strength to FM Danny Shapiro in the last round. Leonid Bass and Mark are just in time to Maxim Dlugy’s wedding.

1991 – Despite having won the event two years previously, the gruff manager Russell Garber omits to invite MG to this year’s championship and MG misses it, not knowing its exact dates.

1992 – The Club and the American Chess Foundation purchase a building at 353 W. 46 St. in the hopes of providing the Club with a permanent home and enabling the Foundation to expand its activities. The site is called the American Chess Center.

1993- By June the Club is unable to maintain its share of the building and cedes its part ownership to ACF. Billy Colias is hired as manager in July, charged with running the Club and the ACF’s bookstore. he dies Nov. 4 from an accidental overdose of an over-the-counter-medication.

1994- Kamsky celebrates his match victory over Anand with a final appearance in the Thursday Night Action. He scores 4-0, defeating Lombardy and IM Danny Edelman en route.

1997- Jay Bonin becomes the first player to win the championships of the Marshall and Manhattan Clubs and the State of New York to become the only triple Crown winner in NY State history.

1999- Maurice Ashley gains his final GM norm in an International held at the Club, beconing the first African-American Grandmaster.

2000- The Club’s lease at 353 W. 46 St. expires. it moves to the New Yorker Hotel on May 1. A few weeks later GM Max Dlugy wins a Master Rapids event held concurrently with the New York Open to celebrate the Club’s reopening. In November Eric Cooke wins atwo-game blitz playoff from Asa Hoffmann to become the Club’s last champion in the 20th century.

2001 – MG visits the almost defunct club in this sad New Yorker Hotel (some non-descript room on a high floor) location.

2002- On Feb. 1, after two years of unstoppable decline, the Club closes its doors for the last time.

Copyright 2008 Nicholas W. Conticello. All rights reserved.

For Further Reading

More MCC trivia and amusement here.

Pathos from the Readers

This I heard on ICC 4/28/08:

jonesey tells you: watched my then 13 yr old son play in the last tourney at the manhattan while they were carrying stuff out. sad

The Fabulous 90’s and 00’s: More Photos

January 31, 2008

Here I am playing white in Trinidad 1991 versus a Cuban IM. I think this is Marcel Martinez told me this is IM Jorge Armas, I might need reader’s help here. GM John Fedorowicz is watching. I guess Texaco was a sponsor. The game ended up drawn. The 4 Cuban IMs in this tournament were: Juan Borges (Cuban Champ), Jorge Armas (Cuban Champ), Wilfredo Sariego. and the oldest one of the group, Adelquis Remon. Unfortunately Mr. Remon passed away sometime in the 1990s. Fedorowicz wound up winning; Ilya Gurevich and I were not far behind. When I check on various online databases, none of the Trinidad 1991 games are included! I will have to post some so we can get some record of this funny event which included Kevin Denny (Barbados), and other scrappers.


IM Mark Ginsburg (white) versus a Cuban IM Jorge Armas in Trinidad 1991.  John Fedorowicz is seated next to the players.

And here is Jennie Frenklakh in Las Vegas, 2000. I am pretty sure this was in a little-known kareoke place behind Bally’s hotel.


NM Jennie Frenklakh, Las Vegas, 2000

And now here is dearly departed IM Richard Delaune (left) and GM Alex Ivanov on the right. I don’t know the tournament or year, but I would guess the World Open in the early 1990s.


IM Richard Delaune and GM Alexander Ivanov, World Open? 199x

And here is Patrick Wolff (white) versus Michael Rohde. I would guess either a World Open or a NY Open in the early 1990s.


Patrick Wolff (left, playing black) vs. Michael Rohde, somewhere, sometime.

A brief time warp back to the 80s:

Now for some good solid Soviet footage, let’s jump to GM Josif Dorman, I think this was the Berlin Summer Open 1989. It may have been the NY Open 1988, but the stage looks too nice, so I’ll go with Herr Seppelt’s Berlin Summer Open 1989. This tournament occurred just before the Berlin Wall fell in the fall of 1989.

GM Josif Dorfman (ex-CCCP) – Berlin Summer Open 1989

And what photo collection is complete without oil and gas billionaire, and former World Champion, Anatoly Karpov (pictured with his wife – “wife” is a placeholder; I don’t know her name) and TD Carol Jarecki at St. Maarten, May 1991).


Anatoly Karpov, his wife, and TD Carol Jarecki, St. Maarten, May 1991

Fabulous 90s: More Photos

October 5, 2007

Let’s start off with young Jorge Zamora (now Sammour-Hasbun). I believe this was Needham, MA 1992 – I am in the foreground playing Jorge a skittles game – photograph by Chris Bernstein.


Moving right along, here are two Ivanovs. Alexander Ivanov and the dearly departed Igor Ivanov – I would guess it’s the World Open in some year in the 1990s. Of course it might be the 1980s. 🙂


And now we have GM Jaan Ehlvest with a sharp plaid jacket! Photo by Bill Hook. The site and year are unknown as of this writing.


And now we have a photo with an official caption (bestowed by the photographer, Chris Bernstein): “The Mystical Hertan.” Photo year: 1992.


I believe this photo was probably taken at the Needham, MA tournament. Yes, it’s FM Charlie Hertan! He recently wrote an article in Chess Life magazine about the mysteriously disappeared and presumed dead junior talent Peter Winston. I might “retaliate” someday with a memorial to the known deceased Billy Adam (a junior talent from Syracuse, NY). Billy’s incredibly short, meteoric life was from 1963 to only 1982. He spent his last years in Stony Brook, NY. As a sidenote, I must confess for many years I thought Charlie was an IM. I was *shocked* to see his title as FM in Chess Life.

Boxing News

News update: John Fedorowicz boxed Billy Adam on W 74th Street without training helmets in 1981. John Fedorowicz boxed me a few years later on W 170th Street (with red training helmets).

News postscript: apparently in 1981, Billy Adam’s practice boxing with John Fedorowicz almost turned into a fistfight because I forgot to say “ding” (the end of the round). According to John on Oct 5, 2007, “it became a fistfight when Bill punched me in the month.” He continues, “I ended the fight with a brutal uppercut… you (this author) were laughing.” Good times. 🙂 He adds, “One of your girlfriends uppercut me as well.” I asked who, and he said “Sue”. Ah yes, my Princeton buddy! Sue Kazmaier!!! John adds, “she snapped my head back into a brick wall.” I remember our apartment on W 74 Street and we did have a brick wall, so it’s all coming back!

More Photos

OK moving on. we have the dearly departed IM Victor Frias, photographed March 1994 eating breakfast. Photographer and site unknown as of this writing.


Victor Frias was the referee in the aforementioned Fed-MG boxing match, Washington Heights, Mid 1980s. I will dig up a photo of that classic event.

For something completely different now I present an award I got in 1991 (during my graduation from NYU with an MBA in Stat/Operation Research) from Dr. W. Edwards Deming – considered a Very Important Person in quality control and, as I understand it, revered by the Japanese.  To wit: “The Deming prize was instituted by the Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers and is awarded each year in Japan to a statistician for contributions to statistical theory.  The Deming prize for application is awarded to a company for improved use of statistical theory in organization, consumer research, design of product and production. “

Dr. Deming was 90 years old when I got the award in May of 1991!   The typo in my handwritten last name did not bother me. 

Dr. Deming passed away a few years after (20 December 1993) I received this accolate. 


An award from Dr. W. Edwards Deming, NYU, 1991.

3 Decades of a Variation

October 1, 2007

I have always been interested in sidelines, particularly in Gruenfeld structures. Here are two games spanning 27 years on the same theme.

Let’s start with the happier, and more recent, game.

IM M. Ginsburg – NM Ralph Zimmer

North American Open, Las Vegas, NV 12/28/05

1. c4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 g6 (?!) Purists believe this move order is slightly inaccurate. However, it might not be true – see the Ibragimov game mentioned in the note to the 8th move and if you believe in black’s position, try it out. The text gets ?! in some books, but it may not be necessarily so.

4. e3! Nf6 The text is correct, preparing a Gruenfeld-like d7-d5 advance. A further inaccuracy, which is important to mention because it occurs frequently, is 4….Bg7?!. White then plays the simple 5. d4 cxd4 6. exd4 d6 7. d5! and stands seriously better. For example, 7…Ne5 8. Nxe5 Bxe5 9. Bd3 Bd7 10. O-O Nf6 11. h3 O-O 12. Be3 a6 13. Rc1 Bd7 14. Na4! b5 15. Nb6 Rb8 16. Nxd7 Nxd7 17. cxb5 axb5 18. b4! with a nice bind, M. Ginsburg-Gilruth, Harry Nelson Pillsbury Open New England, 1987. White duly won in 46 moves.

5. d4 cxd4 5…d6 6. d5! with a small white edge is playable.


In 1989 I faced Senior Master S.C. Sahu (2417) at the Manhattan Chess Club and had a pleasant experience: 6. d5 Ne5 (6…Ng8 just admits opening failure) 7. Nxe5 Bxe5 8. e4 Nf6 9. Bd3 Ng4? The Rybka-approved line, 9…Bd7 10. O-O Qb6!? 11. h3 O-O, looks highly unnatural but the text is simply bad. 10. h3 Nf6 11. Bh6 Rg8 12. Qd2 Qa5 13. f4 Bd4 14. Nb5! Bf2+ 15. Ke2 Qxd2+ 16. Kxd2 Kd8 17. e5 Ne8 18. Rhf1 a6 19. Nxd6! White wins easily. 19…Nxd6 20. Rxf2 Nf5 21. Bg5 h6 22. Bxf5 gxf5 23. Bxh6 f6 24. d6 Be6 25. dxe7+ Kxe7 26. exf6+ Kf7 27. Bg5 Rad8+ 28. Kc3 Rd4 29. b3 Rgd8 30. Re1 b5 31. Rfe2 R8d6 32. g4 bxc4 33. gxf5 Rd3+ 34. Kb2 c3+ 35. Ka3 Bxf5 36. Re7+ Kg6 37. Rg7+ Kh5 38. f7 Rd8 39. Bxd8 Rxd8 40. Rg8 1-0


6. exd4 d5 7. cxd5 Nxd5 8. Bc4 Nxc3? It is this move that is seriously wrong. Here, 8…Nb6 is the only correct move in my opinion. Play might proceed 9. Bb3 Bg7 10. Be3!? (10. d5 Na5 is nothing) 10…O-O 11. O-O Na5 12. Bc2 Nac4 13. Bg5!? with murky play, Ibragimov-Kedrov, Moscow 1996. Black lost this game, but he’s OK here and only lost via blunders in the middlegame.

9. Qb3!


The first important moment. The zwischenzug text is accurate, because 9…Ne4? 10. Bxf7+ Kd7 11. Qe6+ and 12. Qxe4 is clearly out of the question. I had this game in a 1993 USATE playoff and won easily. The position is very good for white.

9…e6 10. bxc3 Na5 10…Bd7 11. Bb5! (or 11. Bd3 right away, for example 11…Qb6 12. O-O Qxb3 13. axb3 Bg7 14. Ba3 and white is much better, and won, in Charbonneau-Tan, Oropesa del Mar 2001) 11…a6 12. Be2 Na5 13. Qc2 b5 14. O-O is very good for white. In the next game, we will see the semi-insane “gambit” 10….Bd7 11. d5??! (THEORETICAL LEMON, TL) Na5 12. dxe6 relying on the fact that the queen is immune for the time being. However, as we shall see, 12…fxe6 is basically the refutation of this “junior” attack. See the second game for more on this crazy line.

Black can also try 10…Bg7. But after 11. Ba3, stopping castling, white is better. For example, 11…Bf8 (what else?) 12. Bxf8! Kxf8 13. O-O and white is much better. Note for historical purposes the American future GM Ken Rogoff played the fine 12. Bb5!? here and stood better, but lost due to a later blunder vs. the Frenchman Huguet in Malaga 1970. 12. Bb5 was also seen in a drawn Botvinnik-Petrosian game, Moscow 1983. Another good move is 12. O-O! and white also stands better here.

11. Bb5+ Bd7 12. Qa4 Nc6 13. d5! 13. O-O is good for white, and the well motivated attacking text aims for even more. Clearance sacrifices, exposing the enemy king, are always extremely difficult to meet in practical play.


13…exd5 14. O-O Be7 15. Bh6 f6? A much better try is 15… Qa5 16. Qb3 O-O-O 17. c4 d4 18. Ng5 Bf8 19. Bxf8 Rhxf8 20. c5 Qc7 and black stays afloat. The text weakens e6 severely and could have had fatal consequences in the near-term.

16. Rfe1 Kf7


17. Qf4? The text looks and is absurd. The best move is extremely simple-minded 17. Rad1!. This position is a good test of attacking abilities. Those with a quick eye will recognize that 17…Be6 is smashed (note in passing that 17…a6 18. Bc4!! dxc4 19. Qxc4+ Ke8 20. Bg7 Rf8 21. Qh4 Rf7 22. Qxh7 Rxg7 23. Qxg7 wins, for example 23…Ne5 24. Qg8+ Bf8 25. Qxg6+ Ke7 26. Nxe5 Be6 27. Qf7+ Bxf7 28. Ng6 mate which is especially gruesome) by 18. Rxe6!! which is completely crushing. Once the white squares fall, the black king is cornered. 18…Kxe6 19. Bc4 and white wins shortly.

17… Bf5 18. Rad1 Bd6 19. Qd2 Ne7 19… Be7 20. Qb2 threatening c4 is very good for white.

20. Nd4 Bg4 21. Rb1 Curiously, 21. Qe3! is strong here.

21…a6 22. Be2 Bc8 23. Bd1 Re8 24. Bb3 Bc5 25. h3?! Here, 25. c4! Bxd4 is met by the surprising zwischenzug 26. cxd5! (26. Qxd4 is also good, but this is stronger) and white is much better.

25… Bxd4 26. Qxd4 Be6?? A bad blunder. Necessary is 26…b5! 27. Rbd1 with a white edge but nothing decisive yet. Now we have yet another tactical exercise with the same solution!


27. g4?? A blunder in return. 27. Rxe6!!, a thematic blow we’ve already seen above, wins nicely. For example, 27…Kxe6 28. Qe4+ Kf7 29. Rd1! is a very pleasing double pin and black is paralyzed and loses shortly. For example, 29…f5 (equally bad is 29… g5 30. Rxd5 Nxd5 31. Bxd5+ Qxd5 32. Qxd5+ Kg6 33. Bxg5 fxg5 34. Qxb7 and wins) 30. Rxd5! fxe4 31. Rf5 double checkmate is a nice geometric spectacle.

27…Nc6 28. Qf4 Qb8 Now black is right back in the game. Also acceptable is 28… Kg8 29. Re3 g5 30. Qg3 Bf7 31. Rxe8+ Qxe8 32. f4 d4.

29. Qd2 Qd6 The position is about level.

30. Bf4 Qd7? 30…Ne5! is rock solid for equality.

31. Re3 Now, 31. Rxe6! Kxe6 is still a good try: 32. Bg3 Ne5 33. Bxe5 fxe5 34. Bxd5+ Qxd5 35. Rb6+ Qc6 36. Rxc6+ bxc6 37. f4 exf4 38. Qxf4 Re7 39. g5! with some winning chances for white. It stands to reason that white is still blind to this possibility.

31… Kg7 32. Bh6+ 32. Rbe1 Bf7 33. Bh6+ is a small edge to white.

32… Kh8 33. Qe2 Ne5 This is fine. Also fine is 33… Bf7.

34. Re1 Bf7 35. g5 Nc4?! Solid is 35… Kg8 36. gxf6 Nc4 37. Bxc4 Rxe3 38. Qxe3 dxc4 and black is fine.

36. Bxc4? Very weak. 36. Re7! poses some problems for black.

36…Rxe3 37. Qxe3 dxc4?! Another inaccuracy. But black had no time and cannot be criticized. In fact, at this moment, black forfeited on time still a few moves shy of the time control at move 40. A good defense was 37… Re8 38. Qd2 Rxe1+ 39. Qxe1 dxc4 40. gxf6 Qe6 and it’s completely drawn.


After the weak text, white could find 38. Qb6 Qc6 39. Qxc6 bxc6 40. Re7 Kg8 41. gxf6 a5 42. a4 with a rather unpleasant ending for black.


Now let’s go back to my 1978 game in the ECI Youth tournament, Sas Van Gent, Holland. This is the tournament where I met the personable British youth player Suzzane Wood! Note her first name is not misspelled.

M. Ginsburg – NM Erik Pedersen (DEN)

ECI Sas Van Gent, Holland August 1978

1. c4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 g6 4. e3 Nf6 5. d4 cxd4 6. exd4 d5 7. cxd5 Nxd5 8. Bc4 Nxc3 9. Qb3! So far, as above.

9…e6 10. bxc3 Bd7!? Pedersen’s specialty, he played it another European tournament – Groningen 1978 (perhaps later, I’m not sure about that). However, the position is good for white!

11. d5??! THEORETICAL LEMON, TL. 11. Bb5, 11. Be2, and 11. Bd3 are all very good for white. 11. Be2 Na5 12. Qc2 Qc7 13. Ne5! (13. O-O is also good for white) Rc8 14. Bd2? (14. Rb1! or even the simple 14. Nxd7 Qxd7 15. O-O and white is better) 14…Bg7 15. f4? (15. Qe4!) and white even lost with this bad structural weakening, Grinberg-Pederson, Groningen 1978. See the first game for other examples of white doing well here.

12…Na5 12. dxe6 My “amazing point.”


12…fxe6! Oh. He had that? I had “expected” 12…Nxb3?? 13. exf7+ Ke7 14. Bg5+ Kd6 15. Rd1+ Nd4 16. Bxd8 Rxd8 17. Nxd4 and I win easily. A very naive “junior” assessment. The text is the start of a very cold shower.

13. Qd1 What else? This is my “secondary point” – that 13….Nxc4 14. Qd4 “wins the piece back”.

Time for another tactical quiz. What’s black’s best move?


13…Bg7? Wrong. The text is winning (and black did win the rather long, drawn-out ending after 14. Be2 Bxc3+), however black had better: (quiz solution:) 13…Nxc4 14. Qd4 Ba4!! A very unusual and crushing shot! Black can safely leave a couple of pieces hanging. 15. Qxh8 Qd1 mate is unplayable and so is 15. Qxc4 Qd1 mate, so black remains a piece up!

At any rate, black had no problem converting the pawn up ending in about 50 moves (he correctly didn’t accept the exchange sac on a1 and just played an ending with one pawn more).





The Classic 90s: Lloyds Bank 1991

September 3, 2007

Lloyds Bank 1991 was a hoot. Taking place in its typical venue (Cumberland Hotel, Marble Arch, London, England [near Hyde Park]) lots of strong players participated.


Here is Alexei Shirov (2610) with the white pieces (foreground, left) tangling with fellow Latvian Alex Shabalov (2535 at the time). It looks like Shirov is having a good time – it appears the game is actually over judging from the official ChessBase game score: 1. a4 1/2-1/2..

At the rear left, that looks a lot like GM Igor Novikov who now resides in the USA. Center, right, it’s future GM Mark Hebden from England.