Archive for the ‘Patrick Wolff’ Category

Once in a Lifetime Structures: Pawn Diamonds and Pawn Boxes

November 21, 2007

Sometimes a structure, a certain arrangement of pieces or pawns, occurs on the chessboard so outlandish, so absurd, so … je ne sais quoi…. it’s apparent it’s not going to happen again – at least to the player who created it.  Oh by way check out this nice companion blog from the UK while we are on the subject.

The Tale of the Pawn Diamond

The Pawn Diamond is one of those inimitable structures. Another related ‘situation’ (of wacky material imbalance) occurred in the 80s in my game against NM Alan Williams (Bar Point Chess Club, NYC) where I had 3 Queens and a Rook versus a Queen and 2 Rooks for many moves, but that’s a different story (the Williams game for some time was a record holder in Tim Krabbe’s world records compendium). But here we are talking about structures – pieces or pawns’ placements relative to one another. So I would say the Pawn Diamond is my strangest absolute structure. It’s so powerful!

Let’s see it. Or, in Lord of the Rings terms, “All shall see it and despair.”

Patrick Wolff – IM Mark Ginsburg NY Open 1983

1. e4 Young Patrick was quite tardy for the game which did not help him when the game got complicated.

1…g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 d6 4. f4 Nc6 5. Be3 Nf6

Well, with the black knight committed to f6, it’s really a Pirc now. Still, the game gets really crazy.

wolff1.png

6. Be2 O-O 7. Nf3 a6 8. Qd2 b5 9. a3 Bb7 10. f5 b4 11. axb4 Nxb4 12. fxg6
hxg6 13. Ng5 e5!
It’s always correct to act in the center when the opponent is acting on the wings. White’s structure is very loose now.

wolff2.png

14. d5 c6 15. Na4 a5 16. c3 cxd5 17. Bb6 Qe7
18. cxb4 Bh6!
White gets into a very nasty pin and it turns out black gets overwhelming compensation for the lost piece. The problem in the opening basically is that white played too much on the wings and black stayed central.

19. h4 Nxe4 20. Qd3 axb4 21. Nxe4 dxe4 22. Qh3
Kg7 23. O-O f5
The very rare ‘pawn diamond’ starts to be formed. There is very little to do constructively that white can undertake, especially in practical play where advancing pawn phalanxes take on a life of their own.

wolff3.png

24. h5 Rac8 25. hxg6 Qg5 26. Qh5 Qxg6 27. Rad1
Rf6 28. Qxg6+ Kxg6 29. Bb5 e3 30. Rfe1 f4 31. b3 Bg5!
Every piece gains maximum activity This is reminiscent of another Pirc/Modern game that worked out very well with a sacrifice; versus J. Shahade Las Vegas National Open 2003.

32. Bc4 Bh4 33. Re2 d5! The d-pawn is immune because white has a back-rank problem.

34. Bb5 d4 And there it is. The stuff of legends. The pawn diamond. Does anyone have access to a structural search; in how many other games has this occurred? White, of course, is dead – the diamond is worth at least 2 minor pieces. At this point, Inna Izrailov walked past and gawked in amazement.

wolff4.png

35. Bc5 f3 It’s craven to break up the diamond and cash in, but at some point the game does have to be won.

36. gxf3 Bxf3 37. Rf1 Kh5! It’s pleasing to have the king help out too.

38. Ra2 Rg8+ 39. Kh2 Bg3+ 40. Kh3 Bf2 0-1

Well. I can definitely say I never got a Pawn Diamond again – yet.

PGN

I have to show you one more – perpetrated on me by future GM Ilya Gurevich – the humorous Pawn Box. In a weird cosmic coincidence, both Patrick and Ilya at the time were strong New England juniors. Remember, it takes two to create these structures so credit must be given to their uncompromising styles.

The Saga of the Pawn Box

IM M. Ginsburg – I. Gurevich, World Open 1985. King’s Indian, Bayonet Attack

If there was ever a time to beat Ilya, this was it. He was young and up and coming and got a not very good opening after my good prep in the Bayonet Attack King’s Indian. But then… the pawn box! Let’s see it.

1.c4 g6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 O-O 6.Be2 e5 7.O-O
Nc6 8.d5 Ne7 9.b4 Nh5 10.c5!
A very under-rated system. White jettisons the two bishops, clears the g7-a1 diagonal, and is very quick on the queenside. And the best thing of all? His king never gets mated in this line – no crushing pawn storms. Nowadays, of course, Kramnik and Van Wely have popularized 10. Re1.

10…Nf4 11.Bxf4 exf4 12.Rc1 h6 13.a4 g5 14.cxd6 cxd6 15.h3 White has a very comfortable game.

ilya1.png

15…Ng6 16.Nb5 Qe7 17.Re1 Rd8 18.Rc7 Rd7 19.Qc2 Rxc7 20.Qxc7 Qxc7 21.Nxc7 Oh yes. White has gotten the queens off, has initiative, and stands better.

21…Rb8 22.Nb5 Bd7! 23.Nxd6 Bf8! An ingenious resource. However, I thought I still had things under control.

24.e5 Bxd6 25.exd6 Bxa4 26.Nd4 Bd7 27.Bg4! A winning shot, so I thought – to gain f5 for my knight.

27…Bxg4 28.hxg4 Rd8 29.Nf5 Nh4!! I never saw this coming – the very essence of black’s defensive concept. Black deforms his structure maximally to gain enough activity to draw. This conforms to the Russian maxim, “all rook endings are drawn.” At the time, I was shocked that young Ilya was escaping. And so he did after the remaining moves…

30.Nxh4 gxh4 31.Re7 Rxd6 32.Rxb7 a6 33.Ra7 Kg7
34.Kh2 Kg6 35.Kh3 f6!
Establishing the amazing pawn box! Of course, white’s next move destroys it (nibbles it), but at least we had it on the board for a half-move. The most aesthetic thing about the box is that the move 35…f6! is actually useful, sheltering the black king from checks and preparing to eat the morsel on d5.

ilya2.png

36.Kxh4 Rxd5 37.Kh3 Rd4 1/2-1/2

PGN

I would ask readers here, too, is there a structural search to show how many prior games had Ye Olde Boxe?

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Chess, Bridge, Wall Street, and Huge Amounts of Money

October 31, 2007

I chanced upon this New York Times article today.  Turns out a top Bear Stearns executive, Warren Spector, was ousted due to the subprime mortgage mess and the collapse of two major Bear Stearns hedge funds.  That name was familiar to me.  When… where…?  Suddenly I remembered.

The year was 1979 and I was playing in an intramural bridge tournament.  One of my opponents was the very same Warren Spector, a former “King of Bridge” (a high school player with the most yearly “Master Points”.)   At this point we were both classmates at Princeton, but as I read in some other Internet bio article, he recently donated so much money to St John College (Annapolis MD) they built a dorm in his name.  He must have transferred there, since he graduated in 1981.

I am “declarer” in the hand and I start running my trumps in desperation.  Spector makes what seems to me to be a terrible discard, letting me take the rest of the tricks when he threw away an honor card.  He mutters, “You just executed a guard squeeze and didn’t even know it!”  He gave the impression of haughty imperiousness. But he was right.  I didn’t know a guard squeeze (a complicated bridge ‘endgame’ maneuver) from shinola; I was just running my trumps and from my perspective, he had made an elementary blunder. This is a typical injustice of strategic games; it happens in chess too. An opponent stumbles into a resource that draws or wins for him, having seen nothing.

Returning to the impression of imperiousness, that’s what they said in the Bear Stearns ouster article too!  “Mr. Spector is a cool, aloof man who has the casual confidence of one who achieved significant professional success at a young age.”   They say also, “[he is] a smooth and at times imperious man with a wide-ranging intellect.”  A leopard does not change his spots, but he acquires plenty of them!  Witness this mind-boggling Spector compensation report from the Forbes bio sheet:

Cash Compensation (FY November 2006) Salary $250,000 Bonus $16,194,430 Latest FY other long-term comp. $18,847,625 Total CASH $35,292,055 Stock Options (FY November 2006) Number of options Market value unexercised 510,607 $46,257,839 unexercisable 247,372 $9,892,364 Total OPTIONS 757,979 $56,150,203

Not a bad combined compensation package for this imperious card player.  There was a strange (or maybe not so strange, a good example of narrow-focused nepotism?) bridge link amongst all the top Bear Stearns executives:  “Ace” Greenberg, the CEO Jimmy Cayne, and Spector are all very good players.  An analogy in a game more familiar to us would be GM Patrick Wolff working for Clarium Capital, an investment fund captained by a chess player, Peter Thiel, the famous founder of PayPal.  Another one is the famous surge by Bankers Trust into chess in the early 1990s that hired Norman Weinstein and Max Dlugy as traders. Let’s hope the chess connection trumps (get it?  hahaha) the “deck of cards” which might “topple” at any time. Abusing a tired metaphor!

Conclusion?   There might be more lucrative things to do than chess or bridge.  Still doubting?  Ask Stephen Feinberg, another classmate at Princeton!  If memory serves, he was either a high expert or low master at his USCF peak. His investment fund Cerberus is always in the news, gobbling up companies left and right. 

MG Addendum 6/29/08:  Currently Cerberus LLC is running Chrysler (a car company) into the ground.  Poor Chrysler is not long for this world.

In a weird coincidence, both he and I worked at some point for the toppled titan Drexel Burnham Lambert (felled by the misdeeds of junk bond king Michael Milkin).  Stephen’s compensation is not public but estimated to be at least $50M/year.   Do you think Feinberg and perhaps the newly “disgraced” Spector might be convinced to run a chess tournament?  The “intensely private” Feinberg might cough up a few bucks (as might Spector) if we name it after them. Note: there’s something to be said for running PRIVATE companies. No embarrassing inspection of one’s net worth on public web pages.


So we reach the Caissic Crisis: who will approach this titanic duo to organize the first $10 million Open prize fund tournament? All the spokesperson needs to do beforehand is think of how it benefits the interests of Spector and Feinberg. There has to be an angle! Maybe play the Princeton card.  Or we could play the Harley card. Both Stephen and I enjoy riding Fat Boys, Sportsters, Dyna Glides, what have you.

The Fabulous 00s: Some Interesting Modern/Pirc Games

October 23, 2007

The Modern Defense with an early a6!? is a tricky beast. I first tried it versus William Costigan (one of the Costigan brothers) in the 1970’s. I next had success versus Patrick Wolff in the 1980’s (although that game transposed into a strange Pirc, because black after some delay placed his KN on f6). It’s always had pleasant memories.

In this installment, first off we have a battle from Copenhagen, Denmark (Politiken Cup, 2000). The opening choice proves perfect against an impatient and over-aggressive handler of the white pieces.

NM Jorgen Hvenekilde – IM Mark Ginsburg

Politiken Cup 2000, Round 5 Modern Defense

1. d4 g6 2. e4 Bg7 3. Nc3 d6 4. Be3 a6!? This move is approved in GM Tiger Hillarp-Person’s “Tiger’s Modern” treatise on the Modern Defense.

Here is Tiger pictured at the Rilton Cup, January 1994 (cover of Swedish Schacknytt chess magazine). I apologize for the Photo Editor effects that I applied.

persson.png

 

After this psychedelic tidbit, let’s get back to the merits of the opening. I like the snake-like pawn structure. It is challenged in modern times by a quick f2-f4 and e4-e5, but even that treatment is probably not the final word. This sytem for black, as ex-CIS chess commentators like to say, “has the right to exist”.

mod1.png

 

5. Qd2 b5 6. O-O-O Bb7 7. f3 The wing thrust 7. h4!? is interesting.

7…Nd7 8. g4?! The developing 8. Nh3!? comes into consideration. I don’t like these early, non-developing, pawn moves.

8…c5 9. Nge2 Rc8 10. h4 b4! Clearly white has played inaccurately because already black is more comfortable.

11. Nb1 Ngf6!? The cat and mouse maneuver 11…Qa5!? 12. a3 Qc7!? is interesting. The text prepares a speculative sacrifice.

12. h5

mod2.png

12…Nxe4! Having said “A”, black has to say “B”. The situation is quite unclear but in practical play black’s chances must be rated more highly.

13. fxe4 Bxe4 14. Rh2 Bxc2! 15. Re1?? A gross blunder. White must play 15. Qxc2 cxd4 16. Nxd4 Rxc2+ 17. Rxc2 with counter-chances.

15…Be4?? A blunder in reply. Black wins with the obvious 15…cxd4 16. Nxd4 Ba4+ 17. Nc3 bxc3 18. bxc3 Qa5. I must have overlooked something very simple at this stage.

16. d5! Of course. White prevents the opening of the c-file and should turn the tables.

16…Qa5 17. Ng3 Bf3 18. Bh6? 18. Bf4! is correct with a big plus.

18…Be5 19. Rxe5! dxe5 White’s counter-sacrifice clarifies the situation and it’s about equal.

20. Be2? Yet another blunder. 20. d6! is OK for white and so is 20. hxg6 hxg6 21. Bg5.

20…Bxe2 21.Rxe2 Qxa2 Now black is simply winning.

22. Ne4 Qc4+ 23. Kd1 If 23. Qc2 Qxc2+ 24. Kxc2, black has the crushing 24…Rg8! and wins.

23… f5! 24. gxf5 gxf5 25. Ng5 Rg8! A perfect square. White has no moves left.

26. Rf2 Nf6 27. Qe2 Qxd5+ 28. Nd2 c4 29. Rxf5 c3 30. bxc3 bxc3

0-1

Moving ahead a few years, here’s an exciting Modern Defense Game from the North American Open, December 2003, Las Vegas. This game was featured in the online games collection ChessGames.com as a “Game of the Week” and drew a lot of commentary.

J. Shahade- M. Ginsburg Las Vegas 2003

1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 d6 4. Nf3 a6!? 5. a4?! White has fallen into an opening trap with this reflexive reaction. Correct is to ignore black with 5. Be2.

5…Bg4 Now black has no problems at all.

6. Be3 Nc6 7. Be2 e5 8. d5 Ben Finegold played 8. dxe5 and got nothing vs me in Belgium, 1989, and a draw was quickly agreed. It’s really handy that the move pair …a6 and a2-a4 are in for black, because the important b5 square is denied to white’s minor pieces. This is a very important point.

8…Bxf3 9. Bxf3 Nce7 In Svidler-Manion, NY 1995, black played 8….Nce7 and on 9. h3 he played 9…Bd7?! (he could have played 9….Bxf3(!)). Svidler won that game. My 8th move gets rid of the WN immediately. Often times, when black breaks with f7-f5, he has to worry about a knight leap Nf3-g5 so there is definitely something to be said for getting rid of the horse.

10. Be2 f5 11. f3 Bh6! Positionally well motivated to get this bishop onto an active diagonal.

12. Bf2 Nf6 13. O-O O-O 14. a5 Nh5 15. Re1 Kh8 16. b4 Ng8 17. Rb1 Nf4 18. Bf1 Nf6 19. Be3 White’s play looks slow but it has purpose. The game is very double-edged.

19…fxe4 20. g3 g5!? Speculative. But otherwise the white bishop arrives unimpeded on h3 and black will be suffering.

jenn1.png

21. fxe4 Qd7 22. gxf4! It is correct to accept this sacrifice.

22…gxf4 23. Bf2? But now white goes wrong. Correct is 23. Bc1! and the impassive computer rates black’s compensation as insufficient. I had missed this retreat during the game.

23…f3!

This is exactly the variation I expected; the pawn wedge really ties white up since 23. Qxf3? Ng4 is impossible. Black can calmly bring pieces over and the attack is too strong. So white’s 23rd was really the big turning point. This game is a good example of how a human can drastically over-rate chances.

24. Kh1 Qg4 25. Qd3 Qh5 26. Nd1 Ng4 27. h3 Rf7 28. c4 Rg8 With every piece participating, black piles on for a mating attack.

29. Rb2 Nxf2+ 30. Rxf2 Rfg7 31. Rxf3 Rg1+ 32. Kh2 Qg6 White resigned.

jenn2.png

0-1

There is no stopping one of the dual mate threats, for example the primitive 33…Qg2+ 34. Bxg2 R8xg2 mate or the clearance 33…Rh1+ 34. Kxh1 Qg1 mate.

View PGN

The next game is along the same lines, except I don’t need a speculative piece sacrifice – instead I make a pseudo-sacrifice of the exchange in a situation where I have all the positional trumps. It shows exactly why this system is a perplexing good weapon — if white just drifts along, black can achieve his strategic aims and expand all over the board.

K. Stancil – M. Ginsburg World Open 2004

1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 d6 4. Be3 a6 5. Be2 b5 6. Qd2 Bb7 7. f3 Nd7!?

Preparing …c7-c5. Again, I refer readers to GM Tiger Hillarp-Persson’s interesting book “Tiger’s Modern” for more details on this provocative treatment. It’s ideal in situations where only a win will do as black.

8. Nh3 c5 9. Nd1?! Clearly, once a move like this occurs black has no problems. But it’s another thing entirely to win a chess game – further progress is needed.

stancil1.png

9…cxd4 10. Bxd4 Ngf6 11. O-O O-O 12. a4 Bc6 13. a5 Qc7 14. Bd3 Rfe8 15. Kh1 Qb7 16. Ndf2 e5! Exactly right. Black achieves the lion’s share of the center.

17. Be3 Rad8 18. Bg5 Nc5 19. Ng4 White forces black to play a good move.

stancil2.png

19…Nxg4! An obvious “sacrifice” to increase my advantage. White plays to give back the exchange; personally I would have tried to hold onto it just to put up some kind of fight.

20. Bxd8 Nxh2?! Stronger is 20…Rxd8 21. fxg4 d5! with initiative.

21. Bb6? Very bad. White had to play 21. Kxh2 Rxd8 22. Qe3 and hunker down.

21…Nxf1 22. Bxf1 Na4 23. Be3 Nxb2 24. Rb1 Na4 25. Qxd6 Qd7 26. Qb4 Bf8 27. Qe1 Nc5 28. Rd1 Qc7 29. Qf2 Ne6 30. Qh4? White should have kept the a5 pawn with 30. Bb6 but it was a very bad position after 30..Qb7.

30…Qxa5 White is material down with a worse position as well.

31. Nf2 h5! 32. g4 Qc3 33. Rd3 Qe1

stancil3.png

White could have given up here. It’s horrific. Look at the f4 square beckoning to black’s knight.

34. Qh3 Nf4 35. Bxf4 exf4 36. Qg2 Bc5 With both sides in time trouble, black’s moves come very easily and he develops a crushing initiative.

37. Nh3 hxg4 38. Nxf4 gxf3 39. Qh3 Qxe4 In time trouble, black misses the mating move 39..Qf2! and finis.

40. Nxg6 Qxg6 With the time control made, white resigned.

0-1
View PGN

Finally here is a World Open 2005 game vs Felix Movilla.

Felix Movilla (2301) – IM Mark Ginsburg World Open 2005

1. d4 g6 2. e4 Bg7 3. h3?! c5 4. c3 cxd4 5. cxd4 Qb6 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. e5 d6 Possible is 7… f6 8. Nc3 (8. exf6 Nxf6 9. Nc3 d5 10. Be2 Ne4 11. O-O Be6) 8…fxe5 9. dxe5 Nxe5 10. Be2 e6 11. O-O Ne7 and black stands well. Also possible is 7… Nh6!? 8. Na3 O-O 9. Nc4 Qc7 10. Bf4 d5 11. exd6 exd6 12. Bxd6 Re8+ 13. Be2 Qd8 with interesting play.

8. Nc3 dxe5 9. dxe5 Nxe5 10. Nxe5 White can also play 10. Bb5+ Bd7 11. Bxd7+ Nxd7 12. O-O Bxc3 13. bxc3 Ngf6 14. Ba3 Ne4 15. Rb1 Qc6 16. Re1 Nec5 and black is holding.

10… Bxe5 11. Bb5+ Kf8 12. Qe2 Bxc3+ Black can try to keep this bishop with 12… Qc7 13. O-O Kg7 14. Be3 (14. Nd5 Qd6 15. Rd1 Nf6 leads nowhere for white) 14… Nf6 and black is OK.

13. bxc3 Be6 14. Be3 Qc7 15. O-O h5 16. Bd4 Nf6 17. Bd3 h4 18. f4? More sensible is 18. Qe3 Nd5 (18… Rh5 19. Bxg6 Nd5 20.Qe4 Rh6 21. Bf5 Bxf5 22. Qxf5 Qc6 23. Rfe1) 19. Qf3 Rh5 20. Bxg6 Rg5 21. Be4 Rd8 with a sharp game.

18… Rd8 19. Rab1?! 19. Rad1 looks more to the point.

19… b6 20. Rb5 Rxd4! A very nice positional exchange sacrifice. Black can also play 20… Rh5 21. Re5 Bc8 22. a4 but the text poses a lot of problems.

21. cxd4 Qc3

movilla1.png

22. f5 It’s already hard to give advice. 22. Rd1 Qxd4+ 23. Qf2 Qxf2+ 24. Kxf2 Kg7 25. Bb1 Rc8 26. Re5 Rc4 is very good for black.

22… gxf5 23. Re5 Qxd4+ 24. Rf2?? Losing – the proverbial ‘sacrificial shock’. However 24. Qe3 Qxe3+ 25. Rxe3 Rh5 26. Ref3 Rg5 27. Bxf5 Bxa2 28. Ra1 Bd5 29. Rf2 a5 30. Rb1 a4 31. Rxb6 a3 32. Ra6 a2 is complete torture as well and black should convert this position.

24… Ne4! 25. Rxe4 fxe4 26. Bxe4 Rg8 27. Kh1 Rg5 28. Bd3 Re5 29. Qf1 Re3 30. Bg6 f6 31. Qc1 Qe5 32. Rf1 Bxh3?! It’s not often that there is the luxury of two winning captures. Here Black had 32… Rxh3+! 33. gxh3 Bd5+ mating , but the more prosaic and weaker text wins as well.

0-1

 

If you are wondering about my enjoyment of Modern structures, it all harkens back to the “Pawn Diamond” game I had against future GM Patrick Wolff way back in 1983. It bears a quick look:

 

Patrick Wolff – IM Mark Ginsburg NY Open 1983

1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 d6 4. f4 Nc6 5. Be3 Nf6

Well, with the black knight committed to f6, it’s really a Pirc now. Still, the game gets really crazy.

wolff1.png

6. Be2 O-O 7. Nf3 a6 8. Qd2 b5 9. a3 Bb7 10. f5 b4 11. axb4 Nxb4 12. fxg6
hxg6 13. Ng5 e5!
It’s always correct to act in the center when the opponent is acting on the wings.  White’s structure is very loose now.

wolff2.png

14. d5 c6 15. Na4 a5 16. c3 cxd5 17. Bb6 Qe7
18. cxb4 Bh6! 
White gets into a very nasty pin and it turns out black gets overwhelming compensation for the lost piece.  The problem in the opening basically is that white played too much on the wings and black stayed central.

19. h4 Nxe4 20. Qd3 axb4 21. Nxe4 dxe4 22. Qh3
Kg7 23. O-O f5
The very rare ‘pawn diamond’ starts to be formed.  There is very little to do constructively that white can undertake, especially in practical play where advancing pawn phalanxes take on a life of their own.

wolff3.png

24. h5 Rac8 25. hxg6 Qg5 26. Qh5 Qxg6 27. Rad1
Rf6 28. Qxg6+ Kxg6 29. Bb5 e3 30. Rfe1 f4 31. b3 Bg5! 
Every piece gains maximum activity This is reminiscent of the J. Shahade game, above.

32. Bc4 Bh4 33. Re2 d5!  The d-pawn is immune because white has a back-rank problem.

34. Bb5 d4  And there it is.  The stuff of legends.  The pawn diamond.  Does anyone have access to a structural search; in how many other games has this occurred?  White, of course, is dead – the diamond is worth at least 2 minor pieces.

wolff4.png

35. Bc5 f3  It’s craven to break up the diamond and cash in, but at some point the game does have to be won.

36. gxf3 Bxf3 37. Rf1 Kh5!  It’s pleasing to have the king help out too.

38. Ra2 Rg8+ 39. Kh2 Bg3+ 40. Kh3 Bf2 0-1

PGN 

 

The Fabulous 70s Part 10: US Junior Open

July 21, 2007

In August of 1976 I ventured up to rural Storrs, Connectictut to the U Conn campus for the US Junior Open along with fellow IM-to-be Steve Odendahl. This event had New England juniors Jim Rizzitano, Charlie Hertan, and NY hopeful Eric Moskow. A hurricane swept through Storrs during the event with high winds and blackouts. We also had the joy of random acts of participant “playfulness” damaged the Dean’s car, resulting in the event getting banned from Storrs in the future for life. Readers who participated are welcome to comment further! C’est la vie.

James Rizzitano [1868] – Mark Ginsburg (2095)

US Junior Open Storrs, CT 1976. Round 6. 40/90.

Sicilian Smith-Morra Declined, transposing to 2. c3.

Of course Jim Rizzitano, a famous New England IM, is well known to the chess world. He entered the work-force after making IM (as did I) and recently he made a Caissic comeback and authored some books, Understanding Your Chess and How to Beat 1. d4, as well. Watch this space for another game I played against a New England player, Charlie Hertan, in this event.

1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 Nf6?! One should be brave and accept this gambit.

4. e5 Nd5 5. cxd4 d6 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. Bc4 e6 It doesn’t make too much sense to shut in the bishop on c8. 7…Nb6 is stronger theoretically. Then, 8. Bb5 Bd7 (or 8…dxe5 9. Nxe5 Bd7) leads to positions where black should be able to equalize with careful play. One recent example is 8…dxe5 9. Nxe5 Bd7 10. Qb3 e6 11. Be3 Bb4+ 12. Nc3 Bxc3+ 13. bxc3 Nxe5 14. dxe5 Bxb5 15. Qxb5+ Qd7 16. Rb1 Qxb5 17. Rxb5 Kd7! 18. O-O (18. Ke2!?) 18…Kc8! (A very creative defensive resource, this sudden king run!) 19. Rfb1 Rd8 20. Bxb6 axb6 21. Rxb6 Rd7 22. R6b2 1/2-1/2, E. Sevillano – N. DeFirmian, World Open Philadelphia 2004. Black alertly uses his rook on the original square of a8 to gain play. A sample continuation would be 22…Rc7 23. Rc2 Ra5! 24. f4 g5! 25. g3 gxf4 26. gxf4 Rac5 27. Rb3 Rc4 with a level game. IM Sevillano is dangerous with this opening and can bite as well as bark, as GM Erenburg found out in the National Open 2007.

8. Qe2 Be7 9. Nc3 dxe5 10. dxe5 Nxc3 11. bxc3 At the time, I thought splitting white’s queenside pawns means I have a good game. Of course, theory tells us white’s activity gives him a plus here. The only thing working in black’s favor is that a white misstep and inappropriate trades land him in a bad and possibly losing ending.

11…O-O 12. O-O b6 13. Qe4 Bb7 14. Bd3 g6 15. Bh6 Re8

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16. Rfe1 Theoretical Novelty! White is better. 16. Rad1 Qc7 17. Qf4 is also good although 17…Rad8 18. Rfe1 Rd5 19. Be4 Rxd1 20. Rxd1 Rd8 21. Rxd8+ Nxd8 22. Nxb7 Nxb7 23. Qa4! Bf8 Barle-Jansa, Sombor 1976, and black salvaged a draw.

In a strange coincidence, fellow New Englander Patrick Wolff had this position as black in a very important game in the US Championship 1992. Boris Men was white. Patrick played into this risky with 16.Rad1 Qc7 17. Qf4 Rad8 and Men played 18.Be4 (transposing to Barle-Jansa game with fewer moves) 18…Rxd1 19. Rxd1 Rd8 20. Rxd8+ Nxd8 21. Bxb7 Nxb7 22. Qa4! (the critical move as in the Barle game). Now black is in a very bad way after Wolff’s miscue of 22…Qd8? indirectly protecting the a-pawn for the moment by eyeing white’s back rank. He should have played 22…Bf8! witih good chances to hold as Jansa played in the Barle game. Let’s look at this position.

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Position after 22…Qd8, Men-Wolff US Champ. 1992 (Analysis)

Men immediately went quite wrong with the inexplicable and very weak 23. Nd4? Na5!, Wolff equalized, and went on to win the game and the event! In any successful tournament, the winner can always look back and point to some combination of good moves and good fortune making up for not-so-good moves. The natural move 23. h4!, leaving the knight on f3, gives white a big plus. For example, 23…Na5 (23…a5 24. Be3 Nc5 25. Qb5 with an obvious edge) 24. Ng5! (24. Bg5! is also good, for example 24…Bxg5 25. Nxg5 and white has a large advantage) 24…Qb8 25. g3!? preparing Ng5-e4. 25. Qf4!? f6 26. Nf3 is also very good. White is clearly better in all lines. This is important theory for 2. c3 fans.

In addition the mysterious 16. Qe3!? was successful for white in two outings, 16…Bc5 17. Qe2 Qc7 18. Rfe1, Nunn-Pritchett, Decin 1975, and 16…Qd5 17. Rad1 Qc5 18. Qf4, Markun-Sale, Bled 1995.

16… Na5 17. Qe2 Possible is 17. Qe3 Qc7 18.Bg5 Qxc3 19. Bxe7 Rxe7 20. Qg5 Rd7 21. Bb5 Rdd8 holding (not 21…Rd5 ?? 22. Qh6 mating). But there is room to explore in this gambit line: white has compensation after, e.g., 20. Rac1!? Qb2 21. Qf4 where black should hurry with 21…Bxf3!

17… Rc8 18. Bb5! Bc6 18…Nc6 19. a4 is not fun for black.

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19. c4? Much stronger is 19. Nd4! Bxb5 20. Nxb5 Rc5 21. Rad1 Qb8 22. Nd6! Bxd6 23. exd6 Nc4 24. d7 Rd8 25. Rd4 with a clear edge to white.

19… Qc7 20. Rad1 Qb7 21. Nd4 Red8 22. Nxc6 Nxc6 23. Rxd8+ Black survives the tactical blow 23. c5 Nd4 24. Rxd4 Rxd4 25. Ba6 Qc6 26. Bxc8 Qxc8 27. cxb6 axb6. He is also OK after 23. Qf3 Na5 24. Qxb7 Nxb7 25. Ba6 Rxd1 26. Rxd1 Rc7.

23…Rxd8 24. Qe4 Na5 25. Qg4 No better is 25. Qf4 a6 26. Ba4 Qc7 27. Rc1 Qc5 and black is slightly better.

25… a6 26. Ba4 Qc7 27. Re4 Rc8 28. Bb3 b5! Now black is starting to assert himself and gains a powerful passed pawn thanks to white’s back rank problems. White rapidly goes downhill.

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29. Bd2 29. Qe2 bxc4 30. Bc2 Qc5 is also good for black.

29… bxc4 30. Ba4 c3 31. Bc1 Qb6 32. Bc2 Qb5 33. Qf3 Qd5 34. a4 Nb3 35. Bxb3 Qxb3 36. Qd3 Rd8 37. Rd4 Rxd4 38. Qxd4 Qc2 39. Qe3 Qd1+

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Emulating “The Man Who Fell to Earth”, I would lose in the next round to Sweeney (2186), ruining my tournament.

Here is my previous round debacle versus FM-to-be Charlie Hertan, aka Mister Donkey, aka Eeh-Yaw. I believe for a certain time, the US Chess Federation actually accepted his alias “Mister Donkey” as an official tournament name so New England pairing sheets would have pairings like “Curdo vs Kelleher, Donkey vs Ivanov.”

Mark Ginsburg (2095) – Charlie Hertan (2120) US Junior Open

Round 5. 40/90.

Larsen’s Opening 1. b3

1. b3 d5 2. Bb2 e6 3. e3 Nf6 4. Nf3 c5 5. Bb5+ Bd7 6. Bxd7+ Nbxd7 7. O-O Be7 8.c4 dxc4 9. bxc4 O-O 10. Nc3 Ne8 11. Rc1 Nd6 12. d3 Bf6 13. Qe2 Rc8 14. Nb5?! 14. a4 or 14. Rfd1 are normal.

14…Nxb5 15. cxb5 Qa5 16. Bxf6 Nxf6 17. Qb2 Nd5 18. Ne5 18. Rc4 is better.

18…Rfd8 19. Rfd1 Qb4 20. Qxb4? A terrible move. 20. Nc4 was about equal.

20…cxb4 21. Rc4 Nc3 22. Rd2 f6 23. Rxc8 Rxc8 24. Nc4 Nxb5 Now black should be easily winning. Somehow he bungles it and I get a chance to draw later…

25. g3 Na3 26. Nd6 Rc7 27. d4 a5 28. e4 b6 29. d5 exd5 30. exd5 Rd7 31. Nf5 Nc4 [88] Mr. Donkey is in big time trouble!

32. Rd4 b5 33. d6 g6?! 33…Kf7 wraps the game up soon.

34. Ne7+ Kf7 35. Nc8 a4 36. Rd5 Na3 [89] A very easy line is 36…b3 37. axb3 axb3 38. Rxb5 b2 winning but Mr. Donkey had no time to think anymore. Black is winning after the text move too.

37. Rd4 [88] b3 37…Nc2 wins easily. The text, if coupled with Nc2, also wins.

38. axb3 axb3?? With only seconds left, black doesn’t see the crushing intermediate move 38…Nc2! 39. Rd3 a3! and wins, or 39. Rd2 axb3 40. Rd3 Rd8 41. d7 b2 42. Rb3 Rxd7 44. Rxb2 Nd4 and black wins.

39. Rb4 Shockingly, white is fine now. The clock is the last hurdle.

39…Rd8 40. Rxb3?? And white throws the game away. Even though white only had less than a minute left, there is no excuse for this terrible move. 40. Na7! liquidates the pawns and makes a safe draw.

40…Rxc8 41. Rxa3 Ke6 Black, with his active king and passed pawn, wins easily. The Donkey gets the last eee-yah.

42. Ra7 Kxd6 43. Rb7 43. Rxh7 Rb8! wins.

43…Kc5 44. Kf1 h5 45. Ke2 Rc6 46. Kd3 Kb4 47. f4 Ka4 48. Ra7+ Kb3 49. f5 g5 50. Re7 Rc3+ 51. Kd4 b4 52. Re6 Kc2 53. Rxf6 b3 54. Re6 b2 55. Re2+ Kb3 56. Rxb2+ Kxb2 57. Ke5 g4 58. Kf4 Rc2 59. f6 Rxh2 60. Kg5 Kc3 61. f7 Rf2 62. Kxh5 Rxf7 63. Kxg4

White finally throws in the towel in this exceptionally poorly played game.

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I would have to wait until the Fabulous 80s to gain revenge against Mr. Donkey in a Bar Point Chess Club encounter on West 14th Street and 6th Avenue in New York City.