Archive for the ‘Walter Shipman’ 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 80s: The Conclusion of the Bar Point International 1980

January 22, 2008

The Last 2 Rounds of the Bar Point International, 1980

When we left off, I was needing a perfect 2-0 in the last 2 rounds to score my 2nd IM Norm. The first norm was at Jose Cuchi’s Heraldica-Jennika International Round-Robin, May 1980, where I did well (.2 points shy of a GM norm — GM norm weaker in those days) against Shamkovich, Dzindzi, Piasetski, Mednis, Gruchacz, La Rota, and other well-known NY competitors.

Here is the next to last round of the Bar Point International 1980, Round 10.

NM Walter Shipman – Mark Ginsburg Reti Opening

1. d4 Nf6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 c6 4. Nf3 Bf5 5. Nbd2 h6 6. c4 e6 7. O-O Nbd7 8. b3 Be7 9. Bb2 O-O 10. Ne5 Qb6 11. Nxd7 Nxd7 12. e4 dxe4 13. Nxe4 Nf6 14. Qe2 Walter often employed this nothing system as white. It was up to me to generate winning chances! For the time being, nothing to do but “go along” and allow simplification.

14…Nxe4 15. Bxe4 Bxe4 16. Qxe4 Bf6 17. Rfd1


Position after 17. Rfd1. How to get the required winning chances?

The next few moves are routine. Then I come up with a good idea on move 20.

17…Rad8 18. Rd3 Rd7 19. Rad1 Rfd8 20. Bc3 Qa6! 21. a4 Qb6 22. Bb2 Qb4 Black’s small “hassling” maneuvers with the queen yield an immediate and suprising payoff.


Position after 22…Qb4 – A shocking turn of events unfolds

23. Bc3?? Clearly a bad blunder. Normally Walter, a future solid IM, did not commit these.

23… Qxb3 So obvious no exclamation point is warranted. Now it’s complete torture for white and black duly converts the ending.

24. Ba5 Qxc4 25. Bxd8 Rxd8 26. Rb1 Bxd4 Since Bxf2+ is threatened now, white has no time to grab the b-pawn with the rook.  It’s all over.

27. Kg2 b6 28. a5 Qd5 Quite winning is the convincing 28… b5! 29. Rd2 f5 30. Qf3 b4. There is really no reason to rush to trade queens, but the text doesn’t ruin anything.

29. Qxd5 Rxd5 30. Rc1 Bc5 31. Rxd5 cxd5 32. f4 Kf8 33. f5 Ke7 34. fxe6 fxe6 35. a6 The other move, 35. axb6 axb6, gets ground down: 36. Ra1 h5 37. h3 Kf6 38. Rf1+ Ke5 39. Rf7 g6 40. Kf3 b5 41. Rg7 b4 and wins.

35… e5 36. Kf3 Ke6 37. h4 h5 38. g4 e4+ 39. Kf4 hxg4 40. Kxg4 d4 41. Kf4 Kd5 42. Rg1 Bd6+ 43. Kf5 e3 44. Re1 Bg3 45. Re2 Bf2 0-1

A very surprising easy win over the normally tough Walter.

Now it all depended on the last round. I needed to beat Dan Shapiro; I was white. Let’s see this nervy game. What a game it turned out to be! Hideous blunders, huge reverses, all the items present in nervy norm games.

Mark Ginsburg – NM Dan Shapiro, Round 11. English, Hedgehog.

1. c4 c5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 b6 GM Yudasin favors this slightly dubious treatment. I will go into my game with him from a 2004 World Open in another post.

4. e4 d6 Playable is the provocative 4… Nc6 5. d4 cxd4 6. Nxd4 Bb7 7. Be2 e6 and here, many players favor 8. Bf4!? with chances to reach a small edge. For example, Ljubojevic triumphed over Winants with this move in 45 moves. 1-0 Ljubojevic,L (2620)-Winants,L (2415)/Brussels 1987. On the other hands, 8. Ndb5? Qb8! is simply weak.

5. d4 cxd4 6. Nxd4 Bb7 7. Bd3 e6 8. O-O Be7 9. b3 O-O 10. Bb2 Nbd7 11. Qe2 a6 Many years of study cause me to conclude this position is extremely dangerous for black. White’s bishops are pointing right at the black king. For example, I have 12. Rad1!? here and then 13. f4. In this game, I go a different way with Rae1. I am not sure which is better.


Position after 11….a6. Danger, Will Robinson.

12. Kh1 Re8 13. f4 Qc7 14. Rae1 g6 15. e5 Nh5 16. f5!?


Position after 16. f5!? — The Gauntlet is Thrown Down

16…exf5?? Under immediate pressure, black commits what should have been an immediately losing blunder. Necessary was 16… Nxe5! 17. fxe6 fxe6 18. Nxe6 Qd7 19. Nf4 (19. Nd4 Qh3) 19… Nxf4 20. Rxf4 Bg5 and black is fine. Also white has the dangerous 18. Be4!? and black can defend with 18…Ng7! 19. Bc1!? Bxe4 20. Qxe4 Rac8 21. Bh6 Bd8! and he is solid.

17. exd6?? A horrific blunder in return. On my scorepad of the time, I had notated “monumental hangover.” Note to self: a hangover is not a good idea in an important last round game. I believe Fedorowicz had a related hangover but still managed to draw, and almost beat, GM Alburt. Obvious and crushing was 17. e6! Bf6 18. Bxf5 Nc5 (18… Bxd4 19. exf7+ Kxf7 20. Bxd7+ wins) 19. Nd5 Bxd5 20. cxd5 Bxd4 21. Bxd4 Ng7 22. Bxg7 Kxg7 23. Qb2+ Kg8 24. exf7+ Qxf7 25. Be6! and wins.

17… Bxd6 18. Qxe8+ Rxe8 19. Rxe8+ Nf8 This is the kind of thing white does NOT want. Defending versus black’s active pieces is no fun with white’s uncoordinated army. White is much worse, in fact he is losing. That is how bad my blunder was.

20. Nf3 Nf4 Already black had 20…Bxh2 21. Nd5 Bxd5 22. cxd5 Bd6 23. Rd1 Qd7 24. Ree1 Ng3+ 25. Kg1 Bb4 26. Re3 Qxd5 and wins easily. The text doesn’t ruin it, black is still winning.

21. Bb1 N4e6 22. Nd5 Bxd5 23. cxd5 Qd7 24. Ra8 Nc7 Winning was 24… Qb7 25. Re8 Qxd5.

25. Ra7 Qc8 26. Ne5 Qb8 27. Nc6 Qe8 28. Bd3 Nxd5 29. Nd4 Qe5 30. g3 Ne3 Here, 30… Bc5 31. Nxf5 Qxb2 32. Nh6+ Kg7 33. Nxf7 b5 won for black.

31. Rf3 Bc5 32. Nxf5 Qxb2 33. Nxe3 Bxe3 34. Raxf7 Ne6 35. Bc4 Qa1+? The light square check, 35… Qb1+! 36. Kg2 (36. Rf1 Qe4+ 37. R7f3 Bc5 38. Kg2 b5 39. Bxe6+ Qxe6 wins for black) 36… Qg1+ 37. Kh3 Ng5+ 38. Kg4 h5+ 39. Kh4 Qxh2 mate is quite convincing. Black starts to lose the handle of things.

36. Rf1 Qe5 37. R7f6 Qe4+ 38. R1f3 Bd4 Here, best was 38… Kg7 39. Bxe6 Qb1+ 40. Rf1 Qxa2 41. Rf7+ Kh6 42. h4 Qc2 43. Bd5 Qe2 44. Bc4 Qg4 45. Kg2 b5 and the game continues with black keeping a small edge, but nothing like before.

39. Bxe6+ Kg7 40. Rf7+ Kh6 41. Bc4 Now it is equal. But I need to win!

41…Qb1+? Correct was 41…b5! with equality.

42. Rf1 Qxa2 43. R7f4 Bc5? 43… Be3 is tough: 44. Rh4+ Kg5 45. Rxh7 Qc2 46.Bd5 Qd3 47. Bg2 Qxb3 48. h4+ Kg4 49. Kh2 and white has pressure, but it’s not decisive. The text moves the bishop into a discovered attack which white… fails to execute!

44. Rh4+ Of course, 44. b4 won also.

44… Kg5 45. Rxh7? The correct move is 45. b4! winning.

45… b5? How many blunders can a single game contain? 45… Qc2 is much tougher and nothing decisive can be seen for white.

46. Be6! Finally, white puts an end to this long suffering game. Black’s king is in a decisive mating net.

46…Bf2 47. h4+ Kf6 48. Rxf2!+ 1-0 Black loses the queen after 48…Qxf2 49 Rf7+.


So I made my norm with this incredibly poorly played game. Well, it was a long tournament. Perhaps Walter Shipman was showing signs of fatigue in the Round 10 game presented above.




The Fabulous 80s: NYC’s ‘Bar Point’ Club and its 1980 FIDE International

January 19, 2008

Chess and Music

The Bar Point Club, on 14th street and 6th Avenue, New York City, was an extremely busy chess locus in the early 1980s. It was owned by a backgammon player for some time (readers, I have forgotten his name) and after that, noted chess organizer and politician Bill Goichberg owned it; after that Peter Malick (a card player, and associate of Wayne Kramer from the MC5 60’s Detroit rock group) took over. I only know that Peter knew Kramer because I met, to my shock, Wayne Kramer face to face in one of the crazy late Bar Point nights. I could come up with nothing more clever than “I really like the MC5” and Wayne retorted “Small world”, turned on his heel, and walked off. The Bar Point went defunct for rent non-payment in the the mid 1980s – no more quads, no more IM and GM tournaments, no more back-room poker where I used to play heads-up with Howie Lederer. Sometimes after (or before) a poker skirmish I would then do battle in chess in the front room with Howard (he was a USCF expert).

A Few Words on a Pure Gambling Game: Backgammon

As a side comment on backgammon – this gambling game with “checkers”, dice, and the “doubling cube” could be very profitable to those more skilled than their wealthy but deluded opponents. For exampe, IM Jay Whitehead made thousands in one night playing the owner of a New York City Greenwich Village jazz club owner (one of the major clubs, for example Village Gate, the detail escapes me), and then was generous enough to fund a trip for me and him to play in Lugano, Switzerland 1984 where I played, among other people, ex-WC Boris Spassky. I know the winnings was in the thousands because he woke me up in the middle of the night to help him count the fifites and hundreds that were bulging out of every one of his pants and shirt pockets. Poker is has some similarities with the vast pool of weaker players but the complicated-to-use-properly backgammon doubling cube, rewards more immediately the better analyst. Besides, it’s nice to own a nice Moroccan or Syrian artisan backgammon set. You could also play the simpler Turkish backgammon variant shesh-besh (with no doubling cube).

Some Actual Chess

In 1980 I made my 2nd IM norm with a strong finish. Let’s see some of the games.

Round 1. Bar Point International I

IM Margeir Petursson (ICE) – M. Ginsburg

Of course my opponent went on to become a famous Icelandic Grandmaster and also a very successful lawyer businessman.

1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e6 3. e4 d5 4. e5 Ne4 5. Nxe4 Much safer is 5. Nf3 Nc6 6. Qc2, but then black has the surprising 6…Ng5!! TN – I used this to draw strong Canadian Kevin Spraggett in Toronto 1983. For example, 7. Nxg5 Qxg5 8. d4 Qh4 9. cxd5 Nxd4 10. Qd1 exd5 11. Nxd5 (11. Be3 Nf5 12. Nxd5 Bb4+ 13. Bd2 Qe4+ 14. Be2 Bxd2+ 15. Qxd2 Qxe5 and it’s equal. I don’t remember who showed me 6…Ng5!! TN, but it’s a really good novelty. Maybe I was the first to play it?

5… dxe4 6. Qg4 f5!? TN Black can also play 6… Bd7 7. Qxe4 Na6 8. Nf3 Bc6 9. Qb1 Nc5 10. d3 Nd7 11. d4 Bb4+ 12. Bd2 Bxd2+ 13. Nxd2 O-O 14. b4 a6 15. a4 Nb6 16. b5 with a total mess. The text move, 6…f5!?, is a novelty with great surprise value. Was I the first to play it? Again, I don’t remember who showed me. I was staying with Tisdall and Fedorowicz at the time; so maybe one of them.


Position after 6….f5!? TN. Who showed me this? Is this the first time it was played?

7. exf6 Qxf6 8. Qxe4 Nothing comes of 8. Nh3 Nc6 9. Be2 Qf5.

8… Nc6 9. Nf3 Bc5 10. Bd3? Much stronger is 10. Be2 e5 11. O-O Bf5 12. Qd5 Bb6 13. d4 Nxd4 14. Nxd4 Bxd4 15. Bh5+ g6 with a murky game.

10… Bd7 11. O-O O-O-O 12. Bc2 Nb4 13. Bd1?! Slightly more natural is 13. Bb1 Bc6 14. Qe5 b6 15. Qxf6 gxf6 16. Ne1 Rhg8 17. g3 Bb7 18. d3 Bd4 and black has a nice game.

13… Bc6 14. Qe5 Nd3 15. Qxf6 gxf6


Position after 15…gxf6. White is hog-tied.

The novelty in the opening could not have succeeded more. White is paralyzed and black should have no trouble winning this.

16. a3 a5?! The right move is 16… Rhg8! 17. b4 Bd4 18. Rb1 Be4! (I missed this move) 19. g3 Bxf2+ 20. Kg2 Bd4 and black is easily winning.

17. b4 axb4 Black can also play 17… Nxc1 18. bxc5 (18. Rxc1 axb4 19. d4 Bxf3 20. Bxf3 Rxd4 21. axb4 Bxb4) 18… Nd3 and he stands well.

18. axb4 Bxb4 19. Bc2 19. Ba3 Bxa3 20. Rxa3 Rhg8 21. g3 Nb2 is good for black, but not a decisive edge.

19… b6 20. Ba3 Rhg8 21. Bxd3 Bxf3 22. g3 Bxd2 23. Bc2 f5?! Once again I miss an easy and rather primitive variation: 23… Bc3 24. Rab1 Be2 25. Rfc1 Bd2 trapping the rook and wins.

24. Rfb1 Rg4 25. c5 bxc5 26. Bxc5 Rc4 27. Bb3 Rxc5 28. Bxe6+ Rd7 29. Ra2 Bc3 30. Ra3 Here, white lost on time; fortunate for me because I had been showing shaky technique so far.


Black is on top, but not totally winning. For example, 30…Bd5 31. Bxf5 Bf6 32. g4 Kd8 33. Bxd7 Kxd7 34. Rd1 Bg5 35. h4 Be7 36. Rf3 Kc8 37. Rf5 c6 and the game goes on, with black having an edge but it remains to see if I can convert it.

In Round 4 I encountered New England junior Jim Rizzitano. I include the ratings at that time as a historical curiosity.

Mark Ginsburg – NM James Rizzitano (2352 USCF, 2225 FIDE) Round 4. Leningrad Dutch.

1. c4 f5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. O-O O-O 6. d4 d6 7. Nc3 Nc6?! Of all the Leningrad Dutch lines, (7….c6 8. d5! MG-Sarkar US Ch 2006, 7….Qe8 MG-Bareev Naestved 1988 are popular) this one is the most positionally suspect.

8. d5 Ne5 9. Qb3 Ned7 Perhaps a little better is 9…Nxf3+ 10. Bxf3 Nd7 11. Bg2 Nc5 12. Qc2 and white keeps some edge. GM Anderssson as white managed to beat De la Villa Garcia, Pamplona 1998, in 43 moves in this line.

10. Qc2 Nc5 11. b4! Although many moves have been seen here, the text is obvious and strong.

11…Nce4 12. Bb2 This position has been seen OTB in other games; it simply favors white.

12…e5 Aagard-Rewitz, Aarhus 1999, saw 12…c5 13. dxc6 bxc6 14. Nxe4 fxe4 15. Nd4 and white has an edge. Aagard won in 40 moves. The double-double “A” is very aesthetic: Aagard played in Aarhus. 🙂 Black also was unsuccessful with 12…Nxc3 13. Bxc3 Bd7 14. Nd4 Qc8 15. Rac1 c6 16. dxc6 bxc6 17. b5 c5 18. Nc6 and white won in 48 moves, Haba-Trapl, Czechoslovakia 1994.

13. dxe6 Nxc3 14. Bxc3 Bxe6 15. Rad1 Qe7 16. Ng5 White did absolutely nothing clever and he has a huge edge. That means black’s opening was poor.

16…c6 17. b5 Bd7 18. Qd3 Ne8 19. Bxg7 Kxg7 20. Qd4+ Kg8 21. h4 h6 22. Nh3 Kh7 23. Rfe1 Rd8 24. e4 Qf7 25. exf5 Bxf5 26. Nf4 The easiest was 26. Qxa7 Nc7 27. Qb6.

26… Rc8 27. Bf3 Ng7 28. Qxd6 Qxc4 29. bxc6 bxc6


Position after 29…bxc6. White to play and win.

30. Re7? A tactically alert player would find the immediately decisive and aesthetic 30. h5! gxh5 (30… g5 31. Ng6 Rfe8 32. Qf6 wins) 31. Re7 Rf7 32. Bd5! (interference theme!) and wins.

30… Qc3 31. Qd4 Once again, 31. h5! g5 (31… gxh5 32. Nxh5 and wins) 32. Ne6 Bxe6 33. Qxe6 Rxf3 34. Rdd7 Rxg3+ 35. Kh2 Rh3+ 36. Qxh3 Qxh3+ 37. Kxh3 Rg8 38. Rxa7 wins.

31… Qxd4 32. Rxd4 Kg8 33. Rxa7 Rf7 34. Rxf7 Kxf7 35. Rd6 c5 The last chance was 35… g5 36. hxg5 hxg5 37. Ne2 and it’s not all over yet.

36. Nxg6! c4 37. Bd5+ Ne6 38. Nf4 c3 39. Rxe6 c2 40. Rc6+ Ke7 41. Rxc8 Bxc8 42. Ne2 Bf5 43. Nc1 1-0

Middle Round Disasters

All was not sweetness and light. I suffered a nasty reverse playing the white pieces versus Icelandic future Grandmaster and World Championship candidate Johann Hjartarson. Recall that Hjartarson defeated Korchnoi in a match! And then I threw away a completely won game and lost ignominiously to the eventual tournament winner, now sadly retired from OTB play to pontificate and author various tomes, IM John Watson. It took GM Larry Evans in a newspaper column to rudely show me the winning line. Readers will commiserate when they see the diagrams tell the woeful story of the Watson game.

Round 5.

IM John Watson – M. Ginsburg English Opening

1. c4 John’s fearsome specialty. Not a bad move; I used it myself in numerous Mikenas Attack encounters (1. c4 Nf6 2. nc3 e6 3. e4!?, later taken up by Nakamura, e.g. Nakamura-Zarnicki 1-0 HB Global Chess Challenge, Minneapolis 2005).

1…Nf6 2. Nc3 c5 3. g3 e6 4. Nf3 b6 5. e4 Bb7 6. d3 d5? A really bad move. 6…Nc6 is fine for black.

7. cxd5 exd5 8. e5 Nfd7 Black has handled the first phase very poorly.


Position after 8…Nfd7. Black has a very poor game.

9. d4? A miscue in return. The surprising 9. Bh3! is extremely good for white. For example, 9…d4 10. Ne4 Bd5 11. O-O Be7 12. e6! fxe6 13. Nfg5 with strong pressure.

9…cxd4 Now black is OK again.

10. Nxd4 Nxe5?! This pawn grab looks and is too risky. The more sedate 10…Bc5 and much more sensible is quite playable for black.

11. Bb5+ Nbd7 12. Qe2 White had 12. Bf4! Bd6 13. O-O O-O 14. Nf5! with a big plus.

12…Qe7 13. O-O O-O-O 14. Be3 Kb8 15. a4 This idea is not bad,; 15. Rae1 is another valid way to handle the position.

15…g6?! The inaccuracy festival continues. This is rather slow. Correct is the challenging 15…Qf6!, e.g. 16. a5? Bc5! threatening to eat on d4 then fork on f3 with Nf3+. In that position, Black is fine and even has chances to gain the initiative. White should play 16. Bxd7! Rxd7 17. Bf4 Bd6 18. Ncb5 g5 18. Bxg5! Qxg5 20. Nxd6 with some advantage.

16. a5 Bg7


Position after 16…Bg7. Time to act.

17. b3?! Hesitant and weak. Correct is the simple 17. axb6 Nxb6 18. Ba6 and white has a big edge. And on 17….axb6? 18. Bf4! eyeing Nc6+ is completely crushing, e.g. 18…Qd6 19. Ba6 Bc6 20. Ncb5! and white wins. Also strong is the evident 17. a6! Ba8 18. Rfe1 with a bind.

17… bxa5? Another error. 17…Rc8! is correct, e.g. 18. Rfc1 Qb4! to lure the rook to a4: 19. Ra4 Qe7 and black is holding the position. Now 20. axb6 Nxb6 would hit the rook on a4 and let black have room to breathe (and defend).

18. Rfc1?! White had the tempting 18. f4! and black has to walk a narrow path just to not lose right away. He has to play 18…a6! (18…Ng4? 19. Nc6+ Bxc6 20. Bxa7+ wins) 19. Ba4 Rc8! 20. Rac1 Rc7! (Black must acquiesce to the inevitable loss of a piece; he has some pawns for it) 21. fxe5 Nxe5 and black is worse but not lost.

18…Rc8 19. Rxa5?! 19. f4! will transpose to the above note after 19…a6! 20. Ba4 Rc7! 21. fxe5 and white enjoys a sizeable plus.

19… Rxc3! This seems like desperation but in fact it’s black’s best try.

20. Rxc3 Qb4 21. Ra2? The situation is confusing. 21. Bd2 Qxd4 (21…Qxa5 22. Rc8+ is good for white) 22. Ra4 Qb6 23. Be3 Nf3+ 24. Qxf3 d4 25. Qf4+ Be5 26. Bxd4 Bxf4 27. Bxb6 Nxb6 28. Rxf4 Nd5 29. Rcf3 Nxf4 30. Rxf4 Rd8 31. f3 f5 32. g4 is a crazy sample line that fizzles into a draw. Still, the text is an outright blunder. White must have overlooked something.

21… Qxc3 22. Bxd7 Qd3! Strong! Black now has some hopes of getting the upper hand. This is the kind of move that white may have overlooked in preliminary calculations; now he gets really rattled.

23. Qe1?? A really bad blunder. Correct is 23. Bb5! Qxe2 24. Bxe2 Re8 25. Kf1 with a level game, or 25. Nb5 Nc6 26. Nxa7 Nb4 again with a draw. White must have hallucinated a mate or something, but this clunker just drops a piece.

23…Nxd7! I don’t know why I indicated 23… Qxd4? as good in my scorepad after the game. That move only seems to draw: 24. Bxd4 Nf3+ 25. Kf1 Nxe1 26. Bxg7 Rd8 27. Be5+ Ka8 28. Kxe1 Rxd7 29. Bd4 Bc6 and it’s equal. The text grabs a free piece and the game should be all over.

24. Bf4+ A last check before white has to give up.


Position after 24. Bf4+. One last “puzzle” to solve, and I fail ignominiously.

24…Kc8??? What the heck – a mutual hallucination? Maybe I was low on time, but my scorepad doesn’t have the times in it. Did Watson give off weird mental vibes after his irrational 23rd that I “caught” and “echoed?” Only a while after the game (I was really eager to forget it) did I read GM Larry Evans column that “informed me” that 24… Ka8 would win. White doesn’t have any threats, let alone a potential mate. Could I have overlooked that 25. Qa5 Bxd4 guards a7? It is true that backward diagonal moves are often overlooked … More likely, I thought the desperado 25. Rxa7+ “worked”. In reality, 25. Rxa7+ Kxa7 26. Qa5+ Ba6 27. Qc7+ Ka8 28. Qc6+ Bb7 29. Qa4+ Qa6 also wins for black. Pretty simple stuff. Whatever the case, the text is suicide and after white’s next, it is clear black loses many pieces all with check. Did I really do this, move my king to a losing square when the other square obviously wins? Yes, I did!

25. Qc1+ I’m losing. A serious blow to my IM norm chances. Boo! I am now losing to John Freakin’ Watson.

25…Kd8 26. Qc7+ Ke8 27. Re2+ Ne5 28. Bxe5 Bxe5 29. Qxe5+ Kd7 30. Qe7+ Kc8 31. Rc2+ Kb8 32. Qe5+ 1-0 Ugh! I was really angry. Time to rebound! The winner of this game won the tournament, with a big score of 8.5 out of 11, reaffirming the adage ‘winners make their own luck’.

Theory Interlude: Blowing Kudrin’s Mind in a Dragon

In the eighth round, I had the opportunity to surprise Kudrin with a TN in the Dragon. This doesn’t happen often to the well-prepared Sergey. He employed my TN with white the next year!

M. Ginsburg – Sergey Kudrin, Round 8 Sicilian Dragon, Yugoslav Attack.

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 The Yugoslav attack. The only real way to deal with this opening. Anatoly Karpov had some beautiful wins with it, including a famous Informant masterpiece over Viktor Korchnoi (WC Match), in this variation.

7…O-O 8. Qd2 Nc6 9. O-O-O! This move cuts down on the amount of material white has to know. For that reason, it has high practical value.

9…Nxd4 A whole different story is 9… d5 10. exd5 Nxd5 11. Nxc6 bxc6 12. Bd4 e5 13. Bc5 Be6 14. Bc4 Re8 15. Ne4 h6 16. g4 f5 17. gxf5 gxf5 18. Rhg1 Kh7 19. Qg2 and white won, 1-0 Fedorov,V (2425)-Eletsky,E/Oviedo 1993. There have been many games in this line, and current thinking is that white has a small edge.

10. Bxd4 Be6 11. Nd5 White can try 11. Kb1 Qc7 12. Bb5 a6 13. Ba4 b5 14. Bb3 b4 15. Na4 Rab8 16. h4 [If 16. Bxe6 fxe6 17. b3 Qc6 18. h4 Rfd8? (Better is 18… Nh5 19. Bxg7 Kxg7 20. Qe3 h6 21. g4 Nf4 with equality) 19. g4 e5 20. Bb2 h6 21. g5 Nh5 22. gxh6 Bf6 23. c4 Nf4 and white won, 1-0 Nijboer,F (2534)-Janssen,R (2445), Wijk aan Zee 1999.] As Bernard Zuckerman told me, 11. Bb5? right away is really bad: 11…Qa5 12. Ba4 Rfc8! and white cannot complete his defensive idea and is hence lost (BZ). The computer verifies Bernie. For example, 13. Bb3 Bxb3 14. axb3 Qa1+ 15. Nb1 a5! and black has a big plus.

11… Bxd5 12. exd5 Qc7 13. Kb1 Rac8 (13… Rfc8 14. Rc1 a6 15. h4 e5? 16. dxe6 fxe6 17. g4 Qf7 18. h5 e5 19. hxg6 hxg6 20. Be3 d5 21. Bh6 Bh8 22. Qh2 Nh7 23. Bd3 Rc6 and white won, Kuzmin,G (2495)-Alterman,B/Voroshilovgrad 1989.

14. Rc1! TN


Position after my novelty 14. Rc1! TN

I know this is a good move, because Kudrin adopted it as white the next year, 1981! I also have vague memories of discussing this move with someone (perhaps they told me about it) but I am not sure about that. Previously seen was the anemic 14. c4? b5! 15. Rc1 (15. b3 bxc4 16. bxc4 Rb8+ 17. Ka1 Rb6 18. Be2 Rfb8 19. Rb1 Nd7 20. Bxg7 Kxg7 21. Qd4+ Kg8 22. Rxb6 Rxb6 23. Rb1 Rxb1+ 24. Kxb1 Qa5 and black went on to win, 0-1 Dhar Barua,S (2225)-Shaw,J (2390)/Manchester 1997. 15… Rb8 1/2-1/2 Bertok,M-Vidmar,M/Ljubljana 1955.

14… a6 The passive 14… Nd7 is good for white: 15. Bxg7 Kxg7 16. h4 Nf6 (16… h5 17. g4 Rh8 18. Qd4+ f6 19. Qxa7) 17. h5 gxh5? (17… Nxh5 18. g4 Nf6 19. Qh6+ Kg8 20. Bd3 Qc5 21. g5 Qe3 22. f4! Qxf4 23. Rcf1! wins) 18. Bd3 {1-0 Smeets,J (2311)-Didderen,G/Hyerois 2001}

15. c4! Also playable is 15. h4 e5 16. dxe6 fxe6 17. g4 e5? (Correct is 17… Qc6 18. Be2 Nd5 19. Bxg7 Kxg7 20. h5 Nf4) 18. Be3 Qc6 19. Be2 Nd5 20. h5 Nxe3 21. Qxe3 Qc5 22. Qb3+ d5 23. hxg6 hxg6 24. Rcd1 Rfd8 25. Bd3 and white won, S. Kudrin (!) Mark,D (2256)/Palo Alto 1981. This game proves the worth of the 14th move novelty! The position on the board now is simply good for white.

15… Rfe8 The rash ‘breakout’ 15…b5? 16. cxb5 Qxc1+ 17. Qxc1 Rxc1+ 18. Kxc1 Rc8+ 19. Kb1 Nxd5 20. Bxg7 Kxg7 21. bxa6 is obviously very good for white.

16. Bd3 e6 17. dxe6 fxe6 and I had a huge edge with the bishop pair and black’s hanging pawns. Unfortunately, I only drew eventually and I can’t find the scoresheet. The fact that Sergey used this as white in the very next year is heart-warming (a fact I didn’t know until I looked it up recently).


The Exciting Conclusion of the Tournament

So in the last two rounds I needed a perfect 2-0 score to get the norm. In the next to last round I was black against future IM Walter Shipman and in the last round I was white against future FM Dan Shapiro. Well, I got the job done very smoothly and easily against the normally stodgy and solid Shipman. But the Shapiro game was another story. I posted them in a separate installment – the last game in particular, a nervy norm game, was not for the faint of heart.