Archive for the ‘Lone Pine 1980’ Category

The Classic 80s Part 1B: More Lone Pine 1980

August 9, 2007

Archival Photo

Let’s start with a nostalgia photo from Lone Pine 1980 that my sister recently discovered in my parents’ Bethesda, MD house – buried for many decades but now unearthed like an archaeological treasure.


What we have here is in the foreground, left, former Candidate GM Yefim Geller tussling with red-haired bearded ex-World Junior Champ IM Julio Kaplan (hailing originally from Puerto Rico). Seated in the back left is a very young IM Victor Frias. I cannot tell who he is playing – readers, have any ideas? I guess we could deduce this answer if somebody has the bulletins. Strolling in the back with the trademark cap is veteran U.S. world championship contender the one and only GM Sammy Reshevsky.

More Lone Pine Action

Continuing with my Lone Pine saga, here’s a tussle versus a former US Champion, John Grefe.

John A Grefe vs Mark Ginsburg
Lone Pine Open, 1980

Ruy Lopez, Cordel Variation, early Queen ‘Development’ Madness

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Bc5 4. O-O Qf6!?

Postscript 3/23/08: It’s heartwarming to see IM Lenderman try this rare but playable variation (and win!) in Foxwoods 2008 versus FM R. Negata!

5. b4!? 5. c3! is the best move here (or 4. c3!). John goes in a completely new direction. It’s a sort of perverted Evans Gambit!


5… Bb6 6. Bb2 Nge7 7. c4 Nd4 8. c5 White plays the most actively. Black must start capturing things and hope to stay afloat.

8…Nxb5 9. Bxe5 Qg6 10. a4


A really unique position has been reached after only 10 moves! Black might be a little bit worse here.

10… d6 11. axb5 dxc5 12. bxc5 Bxc5 13. d4 Bb6 14. Nc3 O-O 15. Na4 Bg4 16. Nxb6 Qxb6 17. Qc2 Bxf3 18. gxf3 Ng6 Now black is reasonably happy, having placed a knight somewhere near white’s weakened kingside pawns.

19. Qxc7 Qxb5 20. Bd6 Qg5+ 21. Kh1 Qf6 22. f4 Rfd8

The pawn count doesn’t matter here. Black is super-active.


23. e5 Qxf4 24. Qxb7 Qxd4 25. Rad1 Qa4 26. f4 Nh4 27. Rc1 Nf5 28. Rc7


28… Qa2 29. Rfc1 Qe6! An ideal centralization with a secret point. You’ll see it very soon.

30. Rd1 Rab8! Methodically, black activates every last unit and prepares for a hidden crushing blow.


31. Qxa7 Ng3+!! A very pleasing move to play. White has no defense against this bolt from the blue.

32. hxg3 32. Kg2 Qg4! mates similarly.

32…Qh3+ 33. Kg1 Qxg3+ 34. Kf1 Qf3+ 35. Ke1 Rb2 0-1

White is mated and hence gives up. Too bad I lost many games in the event, but still this one was a thrill.


The Classic 80s Part 1: Lone Pine

July 8, 2007

Lone Pine, California was a town in the middle of nowhere, halfway between Los Angeles and Reno, Nevada. Looking around, one could only see tumbleweeds, a few streets, a few saloons, and the majestic Mt. Whitney.

Yet strangely it was the site of the strongest recurring Swiss on American soil in the 1980s, thanks to millionaire Louis Statham. Predictably, when Statham died, so did the tournament.

Here are some tangles from my only participation, Lone Pine 1980. This was a famous year since I turned 21 on March 27 during the event.  At 11 pm on March 26th, while  trying to get a drink at the “Last Chance Saloon”, the bartender was having none of my underaged condition and said “There’s the door, pardner” to the great mirth of onlooker Fedorowicz.  As John pointed out to me, I triumphantly returned and got my drink after midnight (i.e. about an hour) later.

Another amusing episode at LP ’80 was GM Dzindzi successfully giving 5 to 1 time odds in blitz to numerous players, such as IM Larry Kaufman. Dzindzi’s superb clock handling was quite amazing. Dzindzi and defector GM Lev Alburt battled it out for top honors in the main event. In an offday, some intrepid travelers tried to go up Mt. Whitney. We discovered it is a very high mountain with not much oxygen and snowy up there and so we gingerly came back down. If memory serves, Jerry Hanken drove the vehicle and IM Bruce Rind was one of the explorers.

GM Anatoly Lein vs Mark Ginsburg
Lone Pine 1980

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. Bg5 Bg7 4. Nbd2 O-O 5. e3 d6 6. Bc4 Nbd7 7. c3 a6 8. a4 b6 9. O-O Bb7


I haven’t done anything really bad yet. But in the upcoming sequence I play like a positional butcher. Even so, thanks to my opponent’s later inaccuracies, somehow I get a playable game.

10. Qe2 h6 11. Bh4 g5 12. Bg3 Nh5 13. Ne1 Nxg3 14. fxg3! c5 15. Nd3 Qc7 16. Nf2

Let’s take stock. I’m trying to give away as many light squares as I can. Objectively it’s just horrible for black.


16… e5 17. d5 f5 18. g4 f4

I might as well try Ye Olde Bum’s Rush with my pawns.

19. Nfe4 Nf6 20. Nxf6+ Bxf6 21. Ne4 Kg7 22. Qd3 Be7 23. h3 Qd7 24. b4 cxb4 25. cxb4 Qe8 26. b5 a5

At least the white bishop on c4 is a bit dead.


27. Bb3?

The simple 27. exf4 gxf4 28. g3! gives white a big edge.

27… Rc8 28. Rac1 Qg6 29. Ba2 h5 Now black is completely OK.

30. Bb1 hxg4 31. hxg4?

31. Nxg5!? is interesting. There follows 31…Qxd3 32. Ne6+ Kf6 33. Bxd3 Rxc1 34. Rxc1 Rc8 or 34…Rg8, in both cases keeping the balance. The text could have gotten white into big trouble.


31…Qh6! is also strong. After 32. Nf2 Rc5 white just has a bad game.

32. Kf2?

This is a blunder. I have no doubt that my incoherent lurching play up until now confused the veteran Anatoly. Because precisely here I could have achieved a fantastic position! But it’s hard to give white advice. 32. Rxc8 Bxc8 also leads to problems.


32… Rh2

Black had the strong 32…Qf7! here. Take a look. 32…Qf7! 33. Rcd1 (protecting d5) 33…Rh4 and white’s position is coming apart. 32…Qh6 is less effective: 33. Ke2 Rxc1 34. Rxc1 Bc8 white has 35. Nf2! protecting g4. The text doesn’t ruin anything -black is well on top.

33. Rh1 fxe3+ 33…Qh6 is also tough to handle.

34. Kxe3

So far, so good. Now what?


No!!! I blew it! 34…Rxc1! 35. Rxh2 (35. Rxc1 Qf7!) 35…Re1+ 36. Kd2 Rxb1!! 37. Qxb1 Bxd5 38. Nc3 Qxb1 39. Nxb1 Bb3! would be an incredible turnaround, with …d6-d5 coming up. Black would have every chance of winning. That would have been a great accomplishment for me in my first and only LP appearance. But it was not to be.

35. Rxc8 Bxc8 36. Qf1!

Ugh! I set myself for the only tactic that white could possibly have! The upcoming Ne4xd6! is going to hurt, since white controls the f-file now. My moment in the sun passed and all that is left are ruins. At the time, fortunately, I didn’t quite see what I had missed and I only had vague feelings that I might have had something good.

36…Rxg4 37. Nxd6 Rg3+ 38. Kd2 Bxd6 39. Bxg6 Bb4+ 40. Kc1 Kxg6 41. Qf2 Ba3+ 42. Kb1 Bf5+ 43. Ka1 Rb3 44. Qxb6+ Kf7 45. Qc7+ Kg8 46. Qd8+ Kf7 47. Qc7+ Kg8 48. Qxe5 1-0


As a reminder, you can play over this game and all the 1980s games in the collection at our Replay Server.