Archive for the ‘Tim Taylor’ Category

The Fabulous 70s: Arthur Bisguier and other American Powerhouses

April 23, 2008

The 1970s (post-Fischer boom) were a great time to play in tournaments in the USA.

Here’s one of the powerhouses of the day, GM Arthur Bisguier, pictured at the 1978 National Open.

GM Arthur Bisguier, National Open, 1978.

Art is still going strong today as a USCF goodwill ambassador and tournament visitor. And we also had Soviet emigres Alburt, Shamkovich, and Lein burning up the field in various Swisses and home-grown talents such as John Fedorowicz, Mark Diesen, Michael Rohde, the Whitehead brothers Jay and Paul, Ken Regan, and more.

Art was Joe Solid at the chessboard. He had an old-fashioned repertoire but was positionally well grounded and conservative. Here is a tough tangle that occurred in 1979 in which I narrowly escaped. Ratings are given from that time as a historical curiosity. I only received the IM title in 1982 – a FIDE diploma signed by Icelandic GM Fridrik Olafsson, then president of FIDE!

GM Art Bisguier [2478] – NM Mark Ginsburg [2355] Liberty Bell Open 1979, Round 2. Nimzo-Queen’s Indian Hybrid. 9/23/79

1. c4 b6 2. d4 e6 3. Nf3 Bb7 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. Bg5 Nf6 6. e3 h6 7. Bh4 g5 8. Bg3 Ne4 9. Qc2 Bxc3+ 10. bxc3 d6 11. Bd3 Nxg3 12. hxg3 Nd7 At the time, this was a popular theoretical position. Nowadays it’s just thought that black is OK.

13. Be4!? c6 An important alternative is 13… Bxe4 14. Qxe4 Ke7 15. a4 (nothing much happened after 15. Nd2 Nf6 16. Qc6 Qd7 17. Qxd7+ Kxd7 18. Ke2 h5 19. f3 Rab8 20. Rab1 Rbg8 21. Rbg1 Rb8 22. Rb1 Rbg8 23. Rbg1 Rb8 24. Rb1 Rbg8 and agreed drawn, 1/2-1/2 Agzamov,G (2435)-Dorfman,J (2505)/Frunze 1981/URS-ch) 15… Nf6 16. Qd3 c5 17. e4 Nd7 18. O-O Qc7 19. Nd2 Rag8 20. a5 h5 21. axb6 axb6 22. f4 gxf4 23. Rxf4 cxd4 24. cxd4 e5 25. Rf5 exd4 26. Qxd4 Ne5 27. Nf3 f6 28. Qf2 Nxf3+ 29. Qxf3 Rg6 30. Rf1 Qxc4 31. e5 Qd4+ 32. Kh1 Rf8 33. Qb7+ Ke6 34. exd6 Qxd6 35. Rb5 and black resigned. 1-0 Milov,V (2590)-Eismont,O (2440)/Biel 1994.

Since we just quoted a Dorfman game, let’s show a picture from the 1978 USSR Championship Playoff! This match ended in a 3-3 tie so both players were awarded the title of Co-Champion. At the time of the match, Gulko was a Grandmaster with a rating of 2581. Dorfman was only an International Master (!!) with a FIDE rating of 2539.

Boris Gulko (left) versus Josif Dorfman, USSR Title Playoff 1978.

14. Qa4!? White got nowhere with 14. a4 a5 15. Rb1 Rc8 16. Nd2 Kf8 17. f4 Kg7 18. Kf2 Ba6 and drawn, 1/2-1/2 Uhlmann,W-Smyslov,V/Monte Carlo 1968.

14… g4 15. Nd2 TN! Previously seen was 15. Ng1 Qc7 16. Ne2 b5 17. cxb5 cxb5 18. Qc2 Nb6 19. Rb1 a6 20. Rh4 O-O-O 21. Rxg4 f5 22. Bxb7+ Qxb7 23. Rh4 Kb8 24. Qb3 Rde8 25. a4 Nxa4 26. c4 Nb6 27. cxb5 a5 28. Rc1 d5 29. Rc6 Rh7 30. Nf4 Rc7 31. Rxh6 Rxc6 32. bxc6 Qxc6 33. Nxd5 Qc1+ 34. Ke2 Qc4+ 35. Qxc4 Nxc4 36. Nc3 Kc7 37. Kd3 Nb2+ 38. Ke2 Nc4 39. d5 Kd7 40. e4 and black resigned, 1-0 Sideif Sade,F (2435)-Felsberger,A (2395)/Pula 1997.

15… Qc7 16. Qc2 Nf6 17. a4 c5 More flexible is 17… Ke7! 18. Rb1 h5 19. Rh4 Qd7 20. Ra1 c5 and black is OK.

18. Bxb7 Qxb7 19. e4 cxd4 Black is now starting to get uncomfortable. If 19… Rc8 20. O-O cxd4 21. cxd4 O-O 22. Qd3 with a white edge. The text is similar.

20. cxd4 Rc8 21. O-O e5 22. a5 O-O 23. Qd3 bxa5 24. Rfb1! White’s edge is increasing.

24…Qe7 25. Rxa5 exd4 26. Rba1 Rfe8 27. Qxd4 Qe6 28. Rxa7 White could also restricted black with 28. f3 !? gxf3 29. gxf3 Nd7 30. Kg2 Ne5 31. Rd5 Nc6 32. Qc3 with a significant edge.

28… Qe5 29. Qe3? A blunder. White had the simple 29. Qxe5 Rxe5 (29… dxe5 30. Kf1 Red8 31. Ke2 Rd4 32. Ra8 and wins) 30. f3! which is an easy win. Now black gets undeserved activity.

29… Nxe4 30. Nxe4 Qxe4 31. Qxh6 Rxc4 32. R7a5 Rc5 33. Rxc5 dxc5 34. Qg5+ Kh7 35. Ra6 Re6 Every time white threatens with a rook, black is ready to interpose with a rook to defuse matters. White only has a tiny edge now.

36. Rxe6 Qxe6 37. Qxc5 Qg6 38. Qe5 Kg8 39. Qb8+ Kg7 40. f3 Qg5 41.Qf4? A blunder, of course, but white would have hard pressed to win this.

41…Qxf4 42. gxf4 g3 43. Kf1 Kf6 44. Ke2 Kf5 45. Ke3 f6 46. Kd3 Kxf4 47. Kd4 f5


Here are a few other games from 1979.

The first was against a player more stodgy and more conservative than Arthur, which is hard to do. It’s none other than venerable future-IM Walter Shipman. If a player wanted exciting chess, he would instead play a US Junior.

NM Walter Shipman – NM Mark Ginsburg National Chess Congress 1979. Round 6 (last). King’s Indian/Pirc/g3 set up.

1. d4 Nf6 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nc3 O-O 6. Nge2 Nbd7 7. h3 e5 8. Be3 This is a very nice and solid system for white; one of Walter’s pet lines. In recent memory Vinay Bhat is a fan. Later in other Walter Shipman games (in the 80s) I figured out a Benoni-type strike with c7-c5 is much more effective versus this system than the King’s Indian e7-e5 break.

8…c6 9. a4 a5 Also not equalizing is 9… exd4 10. Bxd4 c5 11. Be3 Nb6 12. b3 Re8 13. O-O.

10. O-O exd4 11. Bxd4 Re8 More clever, perhaps, is 11… b6!? 12. g4 Nc5 13. Re1 (13. e5 dxe5 14. Bxe5 Bd7 15. Re1 Re8 16. f4 Rc8 17. Qd2 Be6 18. Nd4 Qd7 19. Rad1 with white edge) 13… Qc7 14. Qd2 Re8 15. Nf4 h6 16. Rad1 Bb7 17. Bxc5 dxc5 setting a nice trap – hoping for 18. Qd6? Qxd6 19. Rxd6 Nxg4! 20. hxg4 Be5! with black advantage.

12. g4 Qe7 13. Ng3 Now it’s just nasty for black.

13…Ne5 It’s hard to give advice. 13… Nc5 14. g5 Nfd7 15. Bxg7 Kxg7 16. f4 and white is better.

14. g5 Nfd7 15. f4 c5 No help is 15… Nc4 16. Bxg7 Ne3 17. Bf6 Nxf6 18. gxf6 Qxf6 19. Qd3 Nxf1 20. Rxf1 b6 21. Qe3 Ba6 22. Rd1 Rab8 23. b3.

16. Nd5 Qd8 17. Bc3 Nc6 18. Bxg7 Kxg7 19. Qd2 Nb6 20. Nf6 Re6 Black is going to have to sacrifice the exchange for that horse on f6 but of course he should be losing.

21. f5 Rxf6 Essentially forced. Miserable is 21… Re5 22. Qf4 Nd7 23. Ng4 Re8 24. Rad1 Nde5 25. Nf6 Rh8 26. Rd5.

22. gxf6+ Qxf6 23. fxg6 Qxg6 24. Nf5+ 24. Qf4 is strong. The text move makes things a little harder, but white should still be winning.

24… Bxf5 25. exf5 Qf6 26. Rad1?! The cleanest win is the careful 26. b3! Kh8 27. Rae1 d5 28. Qf4 Rg8 29. Qc7 Nd4 30. Rf2 c4 31. Re7 Kg7 32. c3 Nxb3 33. Re6 and it’s all over. White from this point forward commits a whole series of inaccuracies to let black back in the game, and more. The moral is that unplanned play can be punished when clear material up just as it can be in any other type of position.

26…Nc4 Now the task is more complicated.

27. Qf2 Kh8 28. b3 N4e5 29. c3 More circumspect is 29. Kh2.

29… Rg8 30. Kh1 Ne7 A bluff.

31. Qf4? White should grab: 31. Bxb7! Rb8 32. Qg2 and should win.

31… b6 32. c4 h6 33. Be4 Rg5 34.Rg1 White should safeguard the king: 34. Kh2! Rh5 35. Qg3 Rg5 36. Qe3 Rh5 37. Rf4 and he keeps control. He was probably low on time here.

34… Rh5 35. Rg3? This is the most serious blunder to date. The rather primitive 35. Qg3! Rg5 36. Qh2 Rh5 37. Qg2 Rg5 38. Qd2 Rh5 39. Qxd6 Rxh3+ 40. Kg2 Qg5+ 41. Kxh3 Qh5+ 42. Kg2 Qe2+ 43. Kg3 Qg4+ 44. Kf2 Qf4+ 45. Ke2 Qxe4+ 46. Kd2 and finito.

35… Nxf5 Now black is OK. Flummoxed and short of time, white even contrives to lose now.

36. Bxf5 Rxf5 37. Qe4 Rf1+ 38. Rg1 Qf3+ 39. Qxf3 Rxf3 40. Rxd6? A blunder on the last move of the time control. 40. Kg2! Rxb3 41. Rxd6 Nxc4 42. Rxh6+ Kg7 43. Rc6 Rb4 44. Kh2+ Kf8 45. Ra1 Ne5 46. Rc7 should be drawn.

40… Rxh3+ 41. Kg2 Rxb3 42. Rxh6+? Another blunder. 42. Kh1 Ng6 43. Rd7 Kg7 44. Rb7 Rb4 45. Rf1 Nh8 46. Rg1+ Kf6 47. Rf1+ Ke6 48. Re1+ Kf5 49. Re8 Ng6 50. Rxf7+ Kg5 51. Re3 and play continues.

42… Kg7 43. Rh4 Rb4 44. Kf2+ Kf6 45. Rf4+ Ke6 46. Ke2 Rxa4 And white is lost. An amazing turnaround.

47. Rc1 b5 48. Rb1 Ra2+ 49. Kf1 b4 50. Rd1 b3 51. Rb1 a4 52. Re4 Rc2 53. Rbe1 White lost on time.


According to my scorepad scribbles, I tied for 4th, 5th, and 6th with Art Bisguier and the dearly departed Boris Backzinskyj with 4.5 out of 6 in this event. We all won the princely sum of $66.66. We also won 2.66 Grand Prix points each (remember those? ) – Church’s Fried Chicken donated money for those who had the most Grand Prix points, or as Igor Ivanov called them, “Chicken Points.” I also notated that Dzindzi won the event with 5.5 out of 6 and equal 2nd and 3rd were Vitaly Zaltsman (Max Dlugy’s trainer) and Tim Taylor. with 5-1.

Some More 1979 Encounters

A battle versus a well-known chess book author.

Eric Schiller (1927) – NM Mark Ginsburg (2355) Heraldica Semi-Rapids New York City, October 1979. Modern Benoni

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 c5 4. d5 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. Nc3 g6 7. Nd2 Bg7 8. Nc4 O-O 9. Bf4 Nbd7! It appears sound to leave the d6 pawn hanging. Let’s look at an old Tal loss in the more passive but possible 9… Ne8 10. Qd2 Bxc3 11. bxc3 b5 12. Nb2 a5 (The gambit line 12…Nf6 13. f3 Na6 14. e4 c4 15. Bg5 Re8 16. Qd4 Re5 17. f4 Rxg5 18. fxg5 Nd7 19. h4 Nac5 is very sharp) 13. e4 Qe7 14. Bd3 b4 15. O-O Nd7 16. Nc4 Ba6 17. Rfe1 Bxc4 18. Bxc4 Ne5 19. Bf1 Nc7 20. Bh6 Rfe8 21. f4 Ng4 22. Bg5 f6 23. Bh4 Qg7 24. h3 Nh6 25. Kh1 Nf7 26. Bf2 Rab8?! (26… g5!) 27. a3 f5? (27… b3! 28. Rab1 a4 29. c4 Ra8 30. Rb2 g5! with an OK game) 28. axb4 axb4 29. cxb4 Rxb4 30. e5! (Crushing.) Rb7 31. e6 Nh6 32. Rab1 Reb8 33. Rxb7 Rxb7 34. Bc4 Rb2 35. Qe3 Rc2 36. Rc1 Qb2 37. Rxc2 Qxc2 38. Bb3 Qb2 39. e7 {A blunder!} (39. Kh2 Qf6 40. Ba4 Qe7 41. Qb3) 39… Kf7 40. Bh4 (40. Kh2) 40… Qd4 ? (Losing. Last move of the time control? 40… Qa1+! is correct and it appears black saves himself.) 41. e8=Q+ and black resigned, Borisenko-Tal, Riga 1955.

10. e3 If white grabs the pawn, 10. Nxd6 TN?! Nb6 and also 10…Nh5 are both tempting. Black has good play in both lines. This makes sense, because black is better developed and can fairly easily regain the pawn.

On the other plausible capture, 10. Bxd6 Re8 11. e3 Nb6 12. Bxc5 Nxc4?? (12… Nbxd5! is obvious and equal. 13. Nxd5 Nxd5 14. Be2 Bxb2 15. Nxb2 Qa5+ 16. Qd2 Qxc5 17. Rc1 Qb4 18. Qxb4 Nxb4 19. a3 Nd5 20. O-O Be6 =; note that 12… Nfxd5 is also fine; equal after 13. Nxd5 Nxd5) 13. Bxc4 Qc7 14. b4 white won shortly in Gabriell,R (2260)-Meissner,B (2285)/Germany 1993. In the game, white plays in a non-challenging way that gives black much freedom to maneuver and gain an initiative in typical Benoni style.

10… Nb6 11. a4 Nxc4 12. Bxc4 Nh5! Clearly black stands very well now.

13. Bg3 Nxg3 14. hxg3 Qa5 15. Qd2 Bd7 16. O-O a6 17. Qd3 Rfe8 18. Ra3 Re7 19. Rfa1 Rae8 20. Rb3? It was bad, after e.g. 20. Qd1 Rc8, but the text is an elementary oversight that loses a piece.

20...b5 21. Nxb5 axb5 22. Bxb5 Bxb5 23. Rxb5 Qa7 24. Qb3 Re4 25. Rb6 Be5 26. a5 Rb4 27. Rxb4 cxb4 28. a6 Rb8 29. Ra4 Rb6 30. f4 It is more resistant to play 30. Qc4 b3 31. Ra3 f5 32. Qc8+ Kf7 33. Qc4 Rb8.

30… Bf6 31. Kh2 Rxa6 32. Rxa6 Qxa6 33. Qxb4 h5 34. Qb8+ Kg7 35. b4 Qd3 36. Qe8 Qxd5 37. b5 Qe6 38. Qc6 Qxe3 39. Qxd6 Bd4 40. Kh3 Qg1 41. g4 hxg4+ 42. Kh4 Qh2+ 0-1

A battle versus a fellow US Junior.

Michael Rohde – Mark Ginsburg Liberty Bell Open, Philadelphia 9/24/79. Nimzo-Indian Defense.

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 c5 5. Nf3 O-O 6. a3 The uncompromising Saemisch variation. I did not know it.

6…Bxc3+ 7. bxc3 Nc6 8. Bd3 b6 The move 8….d6!? is more careful.

9. e4 Ne8 In the database, black was unsuccessful twice with 9….d5 10 e5! Even so, after the text, white has an edge. What did black do wrong?

10. O-O Ba6 11. e5 f5 12. d5! Na5 13. Qe2 h6?! Black is playing too provocatively. 13… exd5 is an interesting try to alter the structure and get out of the huge bind: 14. cxd5 Bxd3 15. Qxd3 c4 16. Qc2 Nc7 and white is better but black can fight.

14. Rb1 Qe7 In the game Ryskin-Butnorius, Soviet Union 1967, 14…Bb7 was played. White lost after the hideous 15. g4?? but he had 15. Rd1 or 15. d6 with an edge in either case.

15. h3 The direct 15. d6! Qf7 16. Nd2! g5 17. f4 g4 looks very good.

15…g5 15… Bb7 16. d6 Qf7 17. Nd2 g5!? 18. f4! doesn’t inspire confidence.

16. d6 Qf7 17. Nh2 17. h4! g4 18. Ne1 Qg6 19. g3 Ng7 20. Ng2 Nh5 21. Nf4 Nxf4 22. Bxf4 Bb7 and black is worse but not lost yet.

17… f4 18. h4 18. Bd2!? Bb7 19. Ng4! is a big white edge.

18… Bb7? A clear mistake. 18…gxh4 is the best try and although it does look sick, black only has a small disadvantage after e.g. 19. Bd2 Bb7.

19. hxg5 hxg5 20. Ng4?! 20. Qg4! Qg7 21. Qh5! A very nice two-step. This is completely decisive.

20… f3! 20… Qh5 21. f3 leaves white with an edge. The text introduces confusion.

21. gxf3?! Not good. 21. Qe3! Qf4 (21… fxg2 22. Nh6+ Kg7 23. Qxg5+!) 22. Qxf4 gxf4 23. g3! fxg3 24. fxg3 is a big edge for white.

21… Qxf3 Now, surprisingly, black is totally OK. As Gulko said once, “when a good position collapses, it collapses not to equality, but to ruin” (commenting on one of his Serper playoff games in the US Championship. That phenomenon happens here.

22. Qxf3 Rxf3 23. Bg6? A bad blunder, after which black is much better. (23. Be3! Rh3 24. f3 Bxf3 25. Rxf3 Rxf3 26. Kg2! A nice saving resource, if 26… Rf8 27. Rh1.

23… Kg7 24. Bc2 Rxc3?! 24… Nxc4! 25. Bxg5 Nxa3 26. Rbc1 Nxc2 27. Rxc2 Kg6 28. Be7 Ng7 29. Nh2 Rd3 30. f3 Nf5 and wins for black.

25. Bd1 (25. Ne3 Nxc4 26. Rb3 Rxb3 27. Bxb3 Nxe3 28. Bxe3 Kg6 29. Bc2+ Kf7 30. f3 Ng7 31. Bxg5 Nf5 32. Bxf5 exf5 33. Kf2 Rh8 34. Rg1 Bc6 35. Bf4 Ke6 36. Rg6+ Kd5 and wins)

25… Nxc4 26. Bxg5 Kg6 (Black misses a cute knockout: 26… Rh3! 27. f3 (27. Bh6+ Rxh6 28. Nxh6 Kxh6) 27… Nxe5! {A nice tactic – and wins)

27. Rc1 Rxa3 (Again, 27… Rh3! 28. f3 Kxg5 29. Rxc4 Ba6)

28. f4 (28. Rxc4 Kxg5 wins)

28… Nd2 29. Bc2+ Kh5 30. Nh2 Rg3+ 31. Kf2 Rg2+ 32. Ke3 Rxh2


Here’s an upset from the December 1979 Chicago Masters/Experts.

NM Mark Ginsburg – GM Roman Dzindzihashvili Chicago 1979, Sicilian Kan

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Bd3 Nf6 6. O-O d6 7. c4 g6 8. Nc3 Bg7 9. Bg5!? I had learned this dangerous setup while experimenting in the Kan theme match I played against Eugene Meyer in 1978.

9…Nbd7 10. Kh1 b6 One way to play is 10… O-O 11. f4 Qb6!? 12. Nb3 Qc7 with a complicated game in view.

11. f4 Qc7?! Tougher is 11…O-O 12. f5 Ne5 13. fxg6 fxg6 14. Nf3 Nf7! A key defensive resource. 15. Bh4 Qc7 and black holds on.

12. f5 gxf5? Making matters very bad. The Grandmaster was playing quickly and simply underestimated the kid. He could try 12… e5 13. Nc2 O-O 14. Ne3 Bb7 15. Rc1 Nc5 16. Ned5 Nxd5 17. Nxd5 Bxd5 18. cxd5 Qd7 19. f6 Bh8 20. Bc2 and white ratains some edge.

13. exf5 e5 14. Ne6! This wins. Curiously, 14. Nd5!! is an even nicer win: 14…Nxd5 15. Ne6 fxe6 16. Qh5+ Kf8 17. fxe6+ N7f6 18. cxd5 Qe7 19. Bxf6 (19. Rxf6+ Bxf6 20. Rf1 Bxe6 21. dxe6 Qxe6 22. Rxf6+ Qxf6 23. Bxf6) 19… Bxf6 20. Qh6+ and wins.

14… fxe6 15. fxe6 O-O 16. e7! Bb7 Getting out of the way of the rampaging pawn loses: 16… Re8 17. Nd5 (or 17. Rxf6 Nxf6 18. Bxf6 Bxf6 19. Nd5) 17… Nxd5 18. Bxh7+ Kxh7 19. Qh5+ Kg8 20. Qxe8+ Kh7 21. Qh5+ and wins.

17. exf8=Q+ Rxf8 18. Nd5 Nxd5 19. cxd5 Rxf1+ 20. Qxf1 Nc5 21. Rc1 e4 22. Bxe4 Bxb2 23. Re1 Be5 24. Bf4 Qf7 25. Bxe5 Qxf1+ 26. Rxf1 dxe5 Fortunately this wasn’t a hard ending to convert because I had no practical experience at this point overcoming ending obstacles.

27. Bb1 Bxd5 28. Rf5 Nd7 29. Rh5 Bf7 30. Rxh7 Bxa2 31. Rxd7 Bxb1 32. Rd6 b5 33. Rxa6 Kf7 34. Kg1 Bd3 35. Kf2 Bc4 36. h4 Bd5 37. Rb6 Bc4 38. g4 Bd3 39. Ke3 Bf1 40. g5 Kg7 41. Ke4 1-0

The Fabulous 70s Part 8: The National Open 1978

July 6, 2007

The National Open in 1978 was a breakthrough event for me. Winning clear first with 5-1, I zoomed from low master to high 2300s all in one go.

Here are some of the six games. I faced a lot of name players, outplayed some, and got lucky in others. A perfect combination!

Round 1. Ron Henley (2378) – M. Ginsburg (2255)

Queen’s Gambit Accepted, 4…Bg4 Variation 40 Moves in 110 Minutes, 20/1, 20/1.

This line is quite nice even today as a surprise weapon. Tigran Petrosian used it to defeat Garry Kasparov in a famous and quite incredible game. I am not sure why this strange time control was so popular in the 1970s by the way. Minutes elapsed are shown in square brackets. Readers might remember Ron Henley as a fellow who, by sheer determination and hard work, scored enough GM results to become a GM in the early 80s before retiring to become a Wall Street baron. One of his GM norms was in the marathon Indonesia tournament (Timman, Ribli, Browne, et al.).

1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 Bg4 5. Bxc4 e6

6. h3 6. Qb3 Bxf3 7. gxf3 Nbd7! 8. Qxb7 c5! offers black good compensation, as has been shown in many games.

6…Bh5 7. O-O White often prefers to play g2-g4, corral the black bishop with the N, and redeploy the B on c4 to g2 via f1. That’s how the Kasparov-Petrosian game went.


7…Nbd7 Nowadays I prefer 7…a6 and …Nc6, to enforce the e6-e5 break later. Black has good chances for equality in these lines. The text isn’t bad either, and leads to a Slav-like formation. I managed to beat IM Tim Taylor in a NYC Swiss in the 1980s with the text move, but it does seem a bit more passive than the Nc6 line. Even so, it’s solid.

8. Nc3 Be7 9. e4 [19]Nb6 [15] 10. Be2 O-O 11. Be3 Rc8! A nice preparatory move to support the …c5 break.

12. Ne5 Bxe2 13. Qxe2 Bb4! White has done good optical things but black has a fully equal game!


14. f3 A gambiteer would give serious consideration to 14. Bg5!? Qxd4 15. Bxf6 gxf6 16. Ng4 here. After 16…f5 17. exf5 exf5 18. Nh6+ Kh8 19. Nxf5 Qf4 the game is about even.

14…Nfd7 14…c5 is playable here, for example 15. Rad1 Qe7 16. Qf2 cxd4 17. Bxd4 Bc5. The text leads to a more double-edged game.

15. Nd3 Bxc3 16. bxc3 Now 16…c5?! 17. Rab1 isn’t very good.

16…Nc4 17. Bf2 Qg5!? [59] Simply to bother white a bit and keep him off-balance. Objectively, though, white can meet this well.

18. f4 [71] Qa5 18…Qg6!? is possible.

19. Rac1? 19. a4! is the right move. 19…Qxc3? 20. Rfc1 Qd2 21. Qf3! leads to a big white plus.

19…Rce8?! Too mysterious. The rook later goes back to the d-file. The obvious and simple 19…b5! was fine or even the preparatory 19…a6.
20. Ne5 Ndxe5 21. fxe5 b5 22. Bh4 c5! [80] The thematic hit at white’s center keeps a level game.

23. Rf3?! [91] This move loses a tempo in the following sequence. Better was 23. Rf4.

22…cxd4 24. cxd4 Qd2! Obvious and strong. Black has chances for an edge in the queenless middlegame.

25. Qxd2 Nxd2 26. Re3 Rc8 [84] 27. Rd1 [96] Nc4 28. Rb3 a6


White is not lost here, but it’s not very pleasant for him.

29. Kf2 h6 30. Ke2 Kh7 Black’s moves will prove useful as he can quickly expand on the kingside.

31. Rf1 Rc7 32. Be1 Rd8 33. Rd3 Rcd7 34. Bh4 [108] g5 35. Bf2 Nxe5 36. Ra3 Ng6 Black would have a hard time winning after 36…Nc6 37. Rxa6 Nxd4+ 38. Bxd4 Rxd4 39. Rxf7+.

37. Rxa6 Nf4+ 38. Kf3 Rc8 39. Be3?! The difficult and passive 39. Ra3! was a good move to hold the position.

39…Rc3 40. Rc1 Having made the time control, white offers a draw. But black is having none of it, since there is no risk to play on.


40…Rdc7! Of course! White’s king is insecure. Here, 41. Rxc3 Rxc3 42. g4 is incredibly ugly. Nevertheless, it has its points as 42…Nxh3 43. Ra7 Kg7 44. Rb7 holds.

41. Re1(?!) f5! [101] A very strong break in the center.

42. exf5 exf5 Now black has a big attack again.

43. Rf6 [148] Ng6 44. Kf2 Rc2+ 45. Kf1 f4 46. Bf2 Rxa2 47. d5 Rd2 48. d6 Rcc2 49. Bb6 Kg7! 50. Rfe6 Kf7! Black’s 49th and 50th moves completely halted white’s counterplay and now it’s smooth sailing.


51. Bd8 Nominally a blunder, but white was completely helpless.

51…Rf2+ 52. Kg1 Rxg2+ 53. Kh1 f3?! 53…Nh4 mates much more efficiently. The text fortunately doesn’t ruin anything.

54. Rf6+ Kf7 55. Rxf3


55…Nf4? Naturally, black misses again 55….Nh4! mating or even 55…Rh2+ 56. Kg1 Rcg2+ 57. Kf1 Nh4 mating.

56. Bb6? Allowing a mate after all. Still, the tougher 56. Rxf4 Rh2+ 57. Kg1 gxf4 58. d7 Rcg2+ 59. Kf1 f3!, ignoring queen threats, mates in a slightly more dramatic way.

56…Rh2+ 57. Kg1 Rcg2+ and white resigned since it is mate next move with Rh1#.

This game started an incredible run of victories for me. I will post more of them in this article.


Round 2. Mark Ginsburg (2255)-Tim Taylor (2317)

Reti Opening

My opponent, Tim Taylor, went on to become an IM in the 1980s. He had flaming red hair and many Chess Life readers know him more recently as the madcap action hero in his hedonistic and emotionally charged Hungarian Adventures (I am paraphrasing, not having the CL in front of me). Time passes and his hair is white now, but his Hungarian Adventure articles in Chess Life will long be remembered for their Sturm und Drang – it’s nice to see controversy in the staid pages of CL.

1. c4 e6 2. Nf3 d5 3. b3 Nf6 4. Bb2 Be7 5. g3 O-O 6. Bg2 c5 7. O-O Nc6 8. d3 b6


9. a3 Taimonov beat Kholmov in 1972 with 9. Nbd2 Qc7 10. Rc1 here. For some oddball reason, I was taking my temperature during this game and notated it. I must not have been feeling well and clearly I had a penchant for numbers. So here it was 100.6 degrees.

9…Bb7 10. Nbd2 [23] Rc8 I was simply trying to avoid theory.

11. h3?! Not very useful.

11…Rc7 [7] 12. Qc2 Qa8 13. e3 Rd8 14. Rae1? [44] Extremely awkward. However, I have a good excuse. My temperature has gone up to 101.2.

14…Rcd7 15. cxd4? Making matters worse. I had ceased taking my temperature but clearly my brain was not doing well.

15…Rxd5 16. d4 cxd4 17. exd4 R5d7 18. d5 Nothing else to do. I open lines.

18…Rxd5 19. Nc4 R5d7 20. Ng5 Nd4 21. Bxd4 Bxg2?? [36] With my horrific opening, black must have relaxed. Note he was playing very quickly. He had the simple 21…Rxd4 winning. The text turns the tables completely. This blunder was a really unexpected gift to complete my first day. Since he was playing quickly, no doubt he underestimated the captain of the white forces who had already demonstrated total incompetence.

22. Bxf6 Bxf6 23. Qxh7+ Kf8 24. Ne3! [68]


Maybe this is the move black overlooked. He cannot play 24…Bxf1 25. Qh8+ Ke7 26. Nf5 mate.

To make matters worse, he can’t play 24…Bxg5 either: 25. Qh8+ Ke7 26. Nf5+ Kf6 27. Qxg7+ Kxf5 28. Re5 mate. Since these moves are not possible, he has to play the forced 24…g6 which runs into 25. Nxe6+! (25. Qh6+ transposes to this line) 25…fxe6 26. Qh6+ Bg7 27. Qf4+ Rf7 28. Qb4+! (exploiting the long range of the queen) with a huge edge after 28…Kg8 29. Nxg2. The move played in the game, 24…Rd5?, offers no resistance. Black must have been disoriented.

24…Rd5? [38] 25. Nxd5 Qxd5 26. Rd1 Now it’s really all over.

26…Bxg5 26…Qxd1 27. Nxe6+ fxe6 28. Rxd1 is completely hopeless for black.

27. Rxd5 Bxd5 28. Qh8+ Ke7 29. Qxg7 The rest needs no comment. White wins easily.

29… Bf6 30. Qg4 a5 31. Rc1 Rd7 32. Qf4 Bxb3 33. Rc7 Rxc7 34. Qxc7+ Kf8 35. Qxb6 Black really could have resigned here, but no doubt he was quite embittered.

35…a4 36. Qb8+ Kg7 37. Qd6 Kg8 38. h4 Bg7 39. g4 Bf8 40. Qd8 Kg7 41. Qd4+ Kg8 42. Qb2 Bd1 43. Qc1 Bb3 44. g5 Kg7 45. h5 Bd5 46. Qf4 Be7 47. Qc1 Bb3 48. Qc3+ Kg8 49. h6 Bf8 50. Qc8 Winning a piece.

50…Bc2 51. Qxc2 1-0


Round 3

Camille Coudari (Canada, 2313) – M. Ginsburg

Closed Sicilian

The following day saw more success for me. IM Coudari blundered early on and the Québécois Seperatist went down in flames in a miserable ending that had several features in common with the Round 1 Henley torture.

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 d6 3. d3 Nc6 4. Be3 Nf6 5. g3 g6 6. Bg2 Bg7 7. f4 Qb6!? A very interesting sortie and effective against this particular move order.

8. Rb1 Ng4! The logical follow-up. White has problems.


9. Nd5 The problem here is that 9. Bd2 is met by the very strong 9…c4!. Enjoy this contortion: 10. Nh3 Ne3! (Black already has a significant edge) 11. Bxe3 Qxe3+ 12. Qe2 Qxe2+ 13. Kxe2 cxd3+ 14. cxd3 Bg4+ 15. Kf2 Nb4! 16. Bf1 Bd4+ 17. Kg2 Nc2 and white is bound hand and foot.

9… Nxe3! The strongest move. 9…Qd8 is too accommodating.

10. Nxb6 Nxd1 11. Nxa8 Ne3 12. Nc7+ Kd8 13. Nd5


A very interesting position.

13…Nxc2+ Black could have played the solid 13… Nxg2+! 14. Kf2 e6 15. Nc3 Nxf4 16. gxf4 f5 with an excellent game.The text isn’t bad, though.

14. Kd2 N2d4 15. Nf3 e6 16. Nxd4?? An inexplicable lapse. Was I hypnotizing my opponents in this event? White blunders a piece and the game. After 16. Ne3, for example, the position is level. Black can play 16…Nxf3+ (among others) 17. Bxf3 b5.

16…cxd4 Just like that, white’s knight is trapped. Many years later at the mechanics institute chess club in San Francisco a senior master, Omar Cartagena, would make the identical tactical blunder in the same basic opening and lose to me in the Dake Memorial, 2000 in the first round.

To his credit, Omar recovered in that event to score an IM norm.

17. Nc3 dxc3+ The rest is very simple and in fact much easier than the round 1 Henley struggle. Naturally Camille was very angry at himself.

18. bxc3 Kc7 19. Rhf1 b6 20. Rf2 h5 21. Kc2 Bd7 22. h3 Rc8 23. Kd2 Kd8 24. Bf1 Na5 25. d4 Nc4+ 26. Bxc4 Rxc4 27. Kd3 Ra4 28. Rbb2 Ke7 29. e5 In this hopeless position, White offers a draw!


29…Bc8 No, thanks. This tournament gave me good practice at declining draws. I would decline IM Zaltsman’s draw in a later round.

30. exd6+ Everything loses. For example, 30. g4 Ba6+ 31. Ke3 f6.

30…Kxd6 31. g4 Ba6+ 32. Ke3 h4 33. g5 Bc4 34. Ke4 Ra3 35. Rfc2 b5 36. Ke3 Kd5 37. Kd2 Ke4 38. Rc1 Kxf4 39. Rg1 Rxa2 40. Rxa2 Bxa2 41. Rf1+ Kxg5 42. Rxf7 Bf6 43. Rxa7 Bc4 44. Ke3 Bf1 45. Rb7 Bxh3 46. Rxb5+ Bf5 47. Kf3 h3 48. Kg3 Kh5 49. Rb3 Bh4+ 50. Kh2 Be7 51. Rb6 Kg4 52.c4 Bg5 Black, after some fumbling, finally figured out how to use the two bishops to usher a passed pawn home. White resigns.



Round 4

M. Ginsburg – Robert Gruchacz (2258)

Czech Benoni


Robert Gruchacz, or “Gruch” as he was known, became an IM in the 1980s. He was an investment tycoon who made and lost several fortunes; most of his “action” took place in Chicago. Sadly he passed away in Scottsdale, Arizona in 2006.

1. c4 g6 2. Nc3 Bg7 3. d4 c5 4. d5 d6 5. e4 Nf6 6. Nf3 O-O 7. Bd3 a6 8. a4 e5 9. h3 b6 10. Bg5 Qe8 11. Qd2 Ra7 12. g4!? [39] Kh8 [14] 13. Bh6 White should not have been in a rush to play this move but it doesn’t hurt.

13…Bxh6 14. Qxh6 Ng8 15. Qe3 f6

Black has achieved a reasonable, solid formation typical of the Czech Benoni.

16. Kd2 Re7 17. Rag1


17…f5? [30]

A very bad misjudgment. Black ruins his solid formation. He had the interesting line 17…Bd7 18. b3 b5!? 19. cxb5 Qd8!? with counterplay. Given his speed of play, it is likely that “Gruch” was underestimating his opponent. Amusingly, at the Bar Point chess club (NYC) in the early 1980s, Jay Bonin made the identical mistake versus me and lost very quickly. GM Pal Benko said to Jay afterward, “Hara Kiri.” To reinforce his point, Benko mimed a stabbing motion at his own abdomen. I am not sure if Jay understood.

18. gxf5 [57] gxf5 19. exf5 e4 This entire adventure is clearly dubious with black’s unstable king position.

20. Nxe4

Even stronger was 20. Bxe4 Bxf5 21. Ng5 Bxe4 22. Ngxe4 and white has a decisive advantage.

20…Bxf5 [32] 21. Nfg5 [64] h6? 21…Nf6! was correct to limit white to a distinct, but not decisive, edge.

22. Ne6 Bxe6 23. Nxd6! [73]


Crushing. Black must have overlooked this obvious intermezzo.

23…Bg4? [51] The problem is that the best move 23…Bxd5! runs into the tactical blow 24. Rxg8+! Rxg8 25. Qxh6+ mating, or 24..Kxg8? 25. Rg1+ winning, or 24…Bxg8! (relatively best) 25. Qxh6+ Rh7 26. Bxh7 Rxf2+ 27. Kc1 Qf8 28. Qxf8! with a big edge. Still, 23…Bd5! was by far the best move. The text is totally hopeless.

24. Nxe8 Rxe3 25. fxe3 Bf3 26. Rf1 Nd7

Black could have resigned already. His position is in ruins and he is down masses of material.

27. Rhg1 Ne5 28. Nc7 Nf6 29. Ne6 Rf7 30. Nf4 Ne4+ 31. Kc2 Nd6 32. Ng6+ Nxg6 33. Rxg6 Nxc4 34. Rxh6+ Kg7 35. Rh7+ 1-0


Round 5.

IM Vitaly Zaltsman (2440) -M. Ginsburg

English Opening, Gruenfeld 1. c4 c5

Vitaly Zaltsman was a frequent competitor in the 70s and 80s, and he also trained young Maxim Dlugy. Vitaly and Max could be seen conducting training sessions at the Manhattan CC (now defunct) at Carnegie Hall on 57th Street in New York City. He was a specialist on defending the black side of the Sicilian Rauser and Max played a lot of games with it in his ascent to winning the World Junior and the GM title.

1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nc3 d5

I knew zero theory. Luckily, my opponent chose one of the most untesting variations imaginable (a “soft” variation in Stohl’s parlance) and I had easy moves to find. The result was an extremely promising middlegame for me.

4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e3

See Ginsburg-Simutowe, US Open 2005, for a more recent example of this line.

5…Nxc3! The correct reaction. 5…Nc6? as Simutowe played 6. Bb5 is weaker.

6. bxc3 g6 7. Bc4 Maybe it’s a little harsh to criticize this move, but black does gain a tempo later with Nc6-a5. 7. Be2 can therefore be recommended.

7…Bg7 8. O-O O-O 9. d4 Nc6 10. Ba3 [22] Na5 11. Bd3 b6! [19] As “every schoolboy” knows in the Gruenfeld, black can afford to gambit a queenside pawn. Accepting that pawn exposes white to a concentrated black queenside initiative involving practically all his pieces. See Kasparov-Korchnoi, Candidates 1983 (0-1) for an analogous example of what happens when white takes the gambit pawn.

12. Qe2 White wisely declines.

12…Bb7 Beyond my level of cleverness is the clever 12…Qc7 13. Rfd1 Bd7! aiming at a4, as occurred in Dumitrache-Ghinda, 0-1, Predeal 1988.

13. Rfd1 Qc7 14. Rac1 Rfd8 15. Bb2?! 15. e4 is a more natural move but it appears black can maintain the balance. Then, 15…e6 16. e5 Bh6!? occurred in Trois-Rodriguez, 1/2, Riga Interzonal 1979. In addition, White had a nasty accident after 15. e4 e6 16. dxc5 bxc5 17. Nd2 Bc6! 18. f3 Bh6! 19. Bc2 Bxd2 0-1, Ostl-Lutz German Ch. 1991.

In earlier games, White tried his luck with 15. h4!?, for example 15. h4 Rac8 16. h5 e5!? with sharp play and an eventual draw, Bobotsov-Padevski, Varna 1968.

15… Rac8


16. Ba6?

A strategic error. This gives black all sorts of nice light squares to work on and helps his knight return from offside. Again, 16. e4 was stronger.

16…Bxa6 17. Qxa6 Qb7 18. Qe2 Qc6! Of course! The queen heads for a4 and the knight for c4. This is similar to the Henley torture in Round 1.

19. h3 White offers a draw. I’m having none of it! Black has a beautiful position.

19…Qa4 20. Ba1 Nc4 Black’s pieces get to menacing spots.

21. Qc2 Qxc2 22. Rxc2 b5! Thematic. Black has a huge ending plus.

23. Rcc1



24…cxd4?? What’s this? In one stroke, I ruin everything and give the lifeless white bishop some life. Was I relaxing with my big tournament score? A more experienced player doesn’t make that mistake. Take a look instead at the strong 23…Rd6!, for example, 24. Rb1! (to provoke a6 and stop the rook entry to a6) 24…a6 25. Ng5!? (aiming for e4) 25…f5! 26. dxc5 Rxc5 and black is well on top. That move would keep all my advantages.

24. cxd4 As Mikhail Tal remarked in one of his game, the music has died. There’s nothing left to play for and the game is dead even.

24…a5 25. Kf1 e6 26. Ke2 Bf8 27. Nd2 Nxd2 28. Kxd2 Ba3 29. Rb1 b4 1/2-1/2




There only remained the last round versus the solid IM-to-be Walter Shipman. I won the event at 5-1 so clever readers will guess this game was drawn.


Round 6.

M. Ginsburg – W. Shipman (2231)

The last round and I’m a half point ahead of Zaltsman and a point ahead of Shipman at 4.5/5! Things have gone really well so far. Let’s see if I can manage to play this game without screwing up.

I would go on to play Walter many, many times in the 80s and 90s.  He was always solid – some would say stodgy – and it was always a chore to overcome his resistance.

1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 c6 3. e4 e5?! Not a very good system, especially because it’s easy for white to find good moves. 3…d5! of course is correct.

4. Nf3 Bb4 5. Nxe5 O-O 6. Be2 Re8 7. Nd3! Even knowing no theory, it’s obvious that gaining the two bishops will give white a pleasant game.

7…Bxc3 8. dxc3 Nxe4 9. O-O d5 The position looks like some kind of bad Petroff for black.

10. cxd5 Qxd5 11. Be3 Bf5 12. Nf4 Qe5 13. Qd4! Given the tournament situation, I don’t have to go crazy and the text gives me a safe plus.

13…Qxd4 14. Bxd4 Nd7 15. Rad1 Nb6 16. f3 Ng5 17. Rd2 Ne6 18. Nxe6 Bxe6 19. b3 Nd5 20. f4 f6 21. c4 Ne7 22. g4! The player with the two bishops should try to gain space and open lines. Black’s position is rapidly approaching the critical danger point.

22…f5 23. g5 b6 24. Bf3 Rad8 25. Rfd1 c5

26. Bb2?! Much stronger is 26. Be5! Rxd2 27. Rxd2 Ng6 28. Kf2! Nxe5 29. fxe5 and white has a huge bind. For example, 29…Kf7 30. Rd6. This is the kind of position an experienced player will not foul up.

26… Rxd2 27. Rxd2 Ng6 28. Bh5? Once again, white doesn’t see and thus bypasses the crushing 28. Be5! Nxe5 29. fxe5 Bf7 30. Bc6 Rc8 31. Rd6 with an overwhelming game. Once the winning bind is perceived and stored in memory banks (experience!) it increases the player’s strength.

28… Rc8 29. Bxg6 hxg6 30. Rd6 Re8 31. Be5 Kf7 32. Rc6 Rd8 33. Rc7+ Rd7 34. Rxd7+ Bxd7 35. Bb8 a6 36. Ba7 b5 37. cxb5 Bxb5 38. Bxc5 Be2 39. Bd4 Ke6 40. Kf2 Bh5 41. Bxg7 Thus white wins some pawns but not the game because black has a secure blockade on the kingside. It’s hard to get too upset though with first place in view.

41…Kd5 42. Ke3 Kc6 43. Kd4 Bd1 44. h4 Bh5 45. Kc4 Be2+ 46. Kb4 Bh5 47. Ka5 Kb7 48. b4 Be2 49. a4 Bh5 50. b5 axb5 51. axb5 Be2 52. Kb4 Bh5 53. Kc5 Be2 54. Bd4 Bh5 55. Kd6 Be2 56. Ke7 Bh5 57. Kf7 Ka8



Wow. First place alone and the (then) princely sum of $600. Hurrah.