Posts Tagged ‘Adelberg’

The Fabulous 10’s: When Scorpions Attack (Each Other)

November 13, 2010

Intra-Scorpion Matchups at the 2010 Arizona State Championship

When two Arizona Scorpions play OTB, it’s always a hard-fought encounter.

In Danny Rensch’s tournament the Copper State International (Mesa 2010) I sacked an exchange to reach what I thought was a promising attack with a well-cooperating queen and knight duo.  However, my opponent Robby Adamson had more resources than I thought, and went on to score a victory and a final IM norm!

Does somebody have that game score? I want to post it here.

More recently, the 2010 Arizona State closed championship is underway.  We’ve already had many Scorp/Scorp matchups.

Here’s an interesting encounter from Round 1.

AZ State Championship  Tucson, AZ  11/12/10  Round 1

David Adelberg (2277) – Mark Ginsburg (2446)  Modern Defense

1. d4 g6 2. c4 Bg7 3. Nf3 d6 4. Nc3 Bg4 Not a scare system, but Timman did use it to draw the solid Lajos Portisch in Wijk aan Zee, 1975 (an excellent tournament book by RHM Press covering that event!).

5. e3 c5 6. Be2 The plan for better or worse is 6. dxc5 Bxc3+!? 7. bxc3 dxc5.   I think Leonid Bass played Adelberg’s way against me in the 1980s.

6…cd 7. ed Nc6 8. d5 Bxf3 9. Bxf3 Ne5 10. Be2 White could castle and leave the B on f3 for the moment.


White deviates from Portisch's Recipe

11. f4!? Deviating from Portisch-Timman where white put a bishop rather passively on d2.  In that game, Timman’s queen got to d4 via b6 and black was very active, holding a draw comfortably.

11…Nd7 12. Be3 Nf5 13. Bf2 h5 Black cements his knight on f5 but is left with not that much to do.  White has to be a bit better.

14. O-O Bxc3 Not very inspiring.  15. bxc3 Nf6 16. Bd3 Qd7 I really didn’t like my game and offered a draw.  White thought for some time and declined; however his next few moves don’t meet the requirements of the position as Soviet chess analysts used to like to say.

17. Qc2 Now, or soon, I would as white play a rook to the b-file and then advance with a2-a4-a5.  White is better.

17…O-O 18. Rae1 Again, I would play a rook to the b-file.

18…Rfe8 19. Re2?! This is the most serious gaffe so far. The mechanical doubling on the e-file allows black’s next which gives black much needed breathing space.  White should have simply prevented the b5 break.

19….b5!  20. Rfe1 bxc4 21. Bxc4 Rec8! 22. Ba6? A big lemon.  Black is just better after the obvious sac in reply.

22…Nxd5 Of course.  23. Bxc8 Rxc8 And now it’s very hard for white to defend.  Black just stays compact and uses the Q & Knights combination to effectively attack, whereas white’s rooks completely lack coordination.

Very hard for white to hold on in practical play

24. Rc1 Nxf4 25. Re4 e5! This is strong because the black queen gains access to g5 (see 27th move for black).

26. Bg3 Ne6 It’s easy for black to play. The Bishop on g3 isn’t doing anything so black just grabs space and goes back on the attack in a few moves.

27. Qa4 Qe7! Going to g5.  A false trail would be to occupy the a8-g2 diagonal (although tempting) as the g5 square is much more productive.

28. Rc4 Rd8 Just staying out of the way in order to resume the attack momentarily.  29. Qa3 Qg5 The end is near now.  30. Qb2 h4 31. Be1 Nf4 And now it’s resignable; white loses back material with a two-pawn deficit.

The Two Knights Attack

I credit GM Yermolinsky with my coherent middle-game play.   Out of the many times I played him, in one specific game (I think in Las Vegas), he instructively time and again put his pieces where they coordinated and stayed compact.  He explained his thinking process as just that, staying compact.    My 25th through 28th moves were all exactly that – a compact formation that can uncoil and grab more space.

32. Qd2 Nothing else to do.   32…Nd3 and 32….Ne2+ were both threatened and white can’t stop both.  32…Ne2+ 33. Qxe2 Qxc1 34. Rc7 Rb8 It’s over.

35. Qd2 Rb1 36. Qxc1 Rxc1 37. Kf1 Rc2 38. Rxa7 Ne3+ 39. Kg1 Rxg2+ 40. Kh1 h3 Completing white’s king’s entombment.  41. a4 Ng4 42. a5 Rxh2+ 43. Kg1 Rg2+ 44. Kh1 Ra2 45 Kg1 h2+ and white finally resigned.


To Adelberg’s credit, he bounced back in Round 2 and in a sharp Sozin Najdorf as black, defeated fellow Scorp IM Aldama.

In other Scorp action, Levon Altounian won with a 2. c3 Sicilian vs NM Nick Thompson and when I left the playing hall tonight after drawing IM Altounian, NM Thompson was battling NM Adelberg.

After 4 rounds I was in the lead with 3.5 out of 4.  My nearest competitors were Altounian and Adelberg with 3 out of 4.  They were due to play in the last round and I had black against fellow Scorp, IM Dionysio Aldama.    I had just come off a very long game, eventually winning in a Sicilian Kan vs NM Nick Thompson.  Altounian wound up making a draw with white vs Adelberg’s solid Slav, so it turned out all I needed was a draw for clear first.  The problem, though, was that I achieved the most unpleasant of situations: a winning position in the opening!

Round 5 (final round)

IM Aldama – Ginsburg  Tricky Eugene Meyer Sicilian

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 e6 3. f4 d5 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. Bb5 Nf6 6. Ne5 I think 6. e5 is much more common, but black will try the same trickery as the game (early disrupting c5-c4).

6….Qc7 7. Qe2 (7. Qf3!? is a move that occurred to me at the moment, pressuring d5, not sure if it’s anything real) 7….Be7 8. O-O O-O 9. Bxc6 bxc6 10. d3 c4!

Eugene Meyer move

As shown and played by Eugene Meyer.  Black achieves excellent dynamic play.

11. dxc4 Ba6 12. Bd2? A weak move.  White needs b2-b3.  12…Nd7 13. exd5 cxd5 14. Rfe1

After the game my opponent asked me what I would play on 14. Nxd7.  Can I take on c4, I inquired?  No!  14. Nxd7 Bxc4 15. Nxd5!! wins for white!  If I stopped to think here, I would find 14. Nxd7 Qxd7! and black has a great game.

14…Nxe5 15. dxe5 Qxc4?! Although black of course stands well now, there was no reason to pass up 15…Qb6+! 16. Kh1 Qxb2 17. Rac1 Bxc4.  I was worried that my pieces could not easily aid my king after, e.g, 18. Qg4, but of course that’s not a real attack.

16. Qxc4 Bxc4  17. Nd1 White needs to regroup his terribly placed pieces. 17…Rfc8 18. Be3 f6 An interesting moment. I also have 18…f5!? and I also have 18…Ba6!? just leaving the f-pawn alone for the moment. 

19. Bd4

Position after 19. Bd4

Here, I could play the “Dzindzihashvili bypass maneuver” with 19…f5!? with the idea of further space gains on the kingside, g7-g5, and so on.  White can do little. I am calling it this because I saw GM Roman do it once – offer a pawn exchange then craftily bypass the next move, ruling out en passant!  My chosen move is not bad either.

19…fxe5 20. Bxe5 Bc5+ 21. Ne3 White is barely holding on.  I started wondering about Rc8-f8-f1+ but that leads nowhere.

21…Ba6 22. c3 Bd3 At this point Adelberg looked solid (he in fact did hold the draw) so I offered a draw; I still thought black was better.  Aldama refused and played:

23. Rad1 Be4 24. b4 Well, white has to do something! 24…Bb6 25. a4

Position after 25. a4

25…a6? I played this inaccurate move quickly.  After the game Altounian pointed out the very strong and fairly obvious 25….a5! with the idea 26. b5 Rc4!.  Clearly my brain was not working too well after the prior rounds (some of them very long).    To make matters worse, Aldama was going off for quick rejuvenating smoke breaks quite often.  He was gaining energy!

26. a5 Ba7 27. h3 Rc4 At least I found this safety move -coupled with black’s next it *should* remove all danger!

28. Kh2 Bxe3 Of course this plan handing over the bishop pair was not required and perhaps even suspect, I was just afraid of any specter of N vs B endings.  But why give up the bishop pair like this?

29. Rxe3 Rf8 30. Rd4 Rf2! This rook never should have left the seventh rank!

31. Rg3 g6 How can black lose?   The problem was I started thinking about using both rooks to attack white’s king and win!

Position after 31....g6

32. Rg4 I had no idea what white was up to besides the Rgxe4 trick. I considered the safe 32…Rxd4 with a complete draw but decided just to bring the c-rook around to the f-file.  A bad practical decision!

32…Rc8 Not a bad move, but white now plays the shocking:

33. Rgxe4! The only chance to get out of the bind!  I completely fail to reorient.

33…dxe4 34. Rxe4 A transformation!  Black should now be paying attention to the majority and find the obvious 34…Rc2! defending and keeping the pawns at bay.  Needless to say, black is fine there.  Altounian’s computer said black is practially winning!  Instead I unfurled

34…Rf5?? An example of not thinking anymore.  I was luring white to play the incomprehensible 35. g4? then I play 35…Rf3!.  See the note to black’s 30th move!

He quickly played instead the unpleasant: 35. c4! and now white’s pawns are a huge headache.  I saw nothing better than the lame game continuation:

35…Kf7 36. b5 Ke7 37. b6 Rxe5 38. Rxe5 (38. b7? Rec5) 38…Rxc4 39. Rb5! Yes, I saw that one coming.  Not a nice turn of events with white very low on time but with moves like this available.  It now appears that white wins, barely, in the upcoming rook ending by one tempo.  Brutal!

Position after 39. Rb5!

39….Rc8 40. b7 Rb8 41 Rb6 Kd7 42. Kg3 e5 43. Kf3 Kc7 44. Ke4 Rxb7 Fortunately white loses by one tempo if he plays 45. Rxb7 here, at least that is what I calculated. I guess Aldama thought the same thing so he played 45. Rxa6 and now I found 45…Rb3! creating problems by going for the g3 square!   Drama continues!

Position after 45...Rb3!

A very interesting rook ending.  I think white played the right way now:  46. Rf6 (!) Rg3 47. Rf2 Kb7 48. Kxe5.

At this point black can go for the 48…g5 move to keep the rook on g3, but it appears he gets broken down by zugzwang:  white puts the rook on the a-file and keeps the white king close to the g5 pawn; black runs out of moves.  Similarly, 48…h5 and 49…h4 also lose to a zugzwang.  Black tried another option which also lost (barely).

48…Rg5+ 49. Kf6 Rxa5 50. Kg7 Rh5 This position is a little tricky!  51. Rf3! White aims for g2-g4 trapping the rook.

Position after 51. Rf3!

51…g5 Trying for a g5-g4 trick.

52. Rf6!   White has it all worked out. 52…g4 Last try!  53. hxg4 Rg5+ 54. Kxh7 Rxg4 55. Rg6 With a book win. G-pawns are surprisingly easy to win.

55…Rh4+ 56. Kg7 Kc7 57. g4 Kd7 58. g5 Ke7 59. Ra6 Rh1 60. Re1! and white won shortly.


Amazingly after I resigned I learned that I had won the tournament on tie-break (because in round 1 I defeated one of the co-winners).  Never before has this happened to me.

Wow.  Even so, it was a bitter pill to lose this game considering the opening!


I found a PDF file documenting prior Arizona State Championships. I don’t know who the author of that document is (the person that contributed the updates up to 2009). Curiously they omitted Angelina Belapovskaia who tied with me in 2004, I believe.   That tournament was played in Mesa, Arizona at one of Danny Rensch’s chess-house sites.    I was surprised to see I had tied for first apparently three times before (I thought it was twice before).  So now, apparently, I have tied for first four times!

In other personal State Championship historical news, in 1982, I won the Maryland version by defeating Richard Delaune in the last round.   This was actually a really good game that you can find on  In 1989, I tried to win the NY State in Albany NY (defeating IM Shirazi in a nice game that featured a highly unusual queen sac) but I believe some Grandmaster luminary took top honors that year.  All I can remember about Albany 1989 is visiting a jazz club where Grandmaster Larry C drummed on the table to express solidarity with the musicians.  I haven’t been that active, clearly, in trying to win state honors here and there.  I lived in New Jersey for a while but never tried that one.

Timeline Photos


Baby Mark in 1960 had not yet conceived of “state championships”.

Manhattan Chess Club, 1988

I won the Manhattan CC Championship (a now defunct club, located at the glamorous Carnegie Hall, 57th and 7th, NYC) twice in 1988 and 1990.  Sandwiched between these was my unsuccessful run at the NY State Championship in Albany 1989.

The Fabulous 00s: The Scrappy Western Chess Congress 2009

March 9, 2009

Nostalgia in Concord

It was quite enjoyable play in a Bill Goichberg event in Concord, CA.  There was a lot of nostalgia.  For example, I saw IM Walter Shipman battling on the black side of a stodgy Cozio in the last round vs NM Yulia Cardona and the position looked like a stodgy game where I played Walter in the 1989 Manhattan CC Championship!  (I failed to win, narrowly, and missed tying for first in that ’89 event).   By the time I left, it looked like Yulia too would not breach Walter’s tough defensive line.  I also saw Dmitry Zilberstein.  The last time I played Dmitry (not counting an Az – Ca CoC online US Champ. qualifier matchup that he won), it was the 2000 “Universe Open” in San Francisco and we were busy dropping “powerbombs” on each other in a wildly inaccurate King’s Indian.  Many “name” players didn’t do well and dropped out before the end:  Donaldson, Mezentsev, Shankland.  Strugatsky also had big problems and didn’t wind up with a prize.

In the notes that follow, “The Computer” stands for Rybka 3.1.

Big Kid and Little Kid

The event was won by Daniel “Kid” Naroditsky with 4 out of 5.  It is my fault, I squandered a white against him in Round 4 in a misfired attempt to “surprise” and could only produce an anemic draw.   Naroditsky did produce a nice win earlier, soundly defeating Shankland’s mishandled Scheveningen (I have no doubts we will see that game annotated elsewhere).

I also saw an even younger and littler kid (yes, this is possible) David Adelberg, rated only 2095, who produced a big score of 3.5 out 5 (same as me; we tied for 2nd along with Tate, Zilberstein, and De Guzman).   In my last round encounter, I frustratingly mixed up the middlegame move order in a not terribly tricky position and all my winning chances disappeared vs NM Zierk.

Here is a funny Adelberg game from the last round. I might have the introductory move order wrong but at any rate take a look at the crazy position that resulted right out of the opening:

Yanayt had 2.5 out of 4 going into this and Adelberg had 3.  There was a big class prize for Adelberg on the line!

NM Eugene Yanayt (2298) – David Adelberg (2095)  King’s Indian Western Chess Congress, Round 5.  40/2, SD/1

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 d6 3. Nc3 Nbd7 4. e4 e5 5. Nf3 c6 6. Be2 g6 7. O-O Bg7 8. Qc2  O-O Maxim Dlugy used to pay rent by squeezing hapless opposition after 9. d5.  Maxim loved static space advantages.

9. Rd1 cxd4 10. Nxd4 Qc7?! This is a very dubious and passive spot for the queen.

11. Be3 Nc5?! 12. b4 Ne6

Black’s treatment, omitting the “necessary” a7-a5,  looks highly dubious.  Thus far he looks like a victim on the wrong side of a simul. Yanayt goes for what looks like a quick kill.  If he had played 13. Nb3, he could have established a huge edge positionally.

13. Nxe6 Bxe6 14. Bf4 Rfd8 15. c5 Ne8 16. cxd6 Nxd6  17. Nb5

A nice (even if obvious) double pin.  Game over?

Is the Kid Dead Meat?

Is the Kid Dead Meat?

17…Qe7! Game not over!  The kid has a funny “kid” habit of banging out blitz type moves like this very emphatically; shades of a young Jay Whitehead.

18. Bxd6 Rxd6 19. Nxd6 Bxa1

Last chance for Yanayt to continue the fight with a small edge.

20. Nxf7?

Wrong.    I will leave the right plan as an exercise to the reader. After the text move, black had no problems drawing in short order after 20…Bxf7.

The right choice to continue the battle was the difficult 20. f4! Bg7 21. e5.  By leaving the N on d6, white poses practical problems. For example, 21…a5?! 22. b5! +=. Or, 21…Rd8 22. Bc4! Bxc4 23. Qxc4 Qe6 24. Qxe6 fxe6 25. Kf2 +=. The right reaction for black is 21…g5! but this is hard to decide on in a position where it looks like there are safe alternatives. After 21…g5 22. g3 gxf4 23. gxf4 Qh4! 24. Rf1 a5! black has enough counterplay.  This is not an obvious line and deviations give white the edge.

Stay tuned, I will present some interesting games I played vs Gutman, IM De Guzman, FM Naroditsky, Yanayt, and Zieck.

And now my own games.

Josh Gutman (2190) – M. Ginsburg, Round 1.
Sicilian Kan

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. Nc3 a6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Qc7 6. Bd3 Nf6 7. Qe2 Nc6(!) It’s really a Taimanov now, but one where it looks like black has solved his problems.

8.  Nb3 This decentralizing move cannot offer anything.  On the other hand, after 8. Nxc6 bxc6 9. e5 Nd5 10. O-O Be7 11. h3 O-O 12. Qe4 g6 13. Bh6 Re8 black is OK too.

8…Be7 9. f4

Could try something strange now

Could try something strange now

9…d6 It’s noteworth that  the computer likes the surprising 9… h5!? that I never considered.  If 10. h3 (10. e5!? Ng4 11. h3?! (11. O-O b5 (11… Nb4?! 12. Be4 d6 13. a3) 12. h3 Qa7+ 13. Kh1 Bb7 14. a4 b4 15. Ne4 f5 16. Nd6+ Bxd6 17. exd6 Kf7 18. c3 Kg6 with a strange game) 11… Bh4+! 12. Kf1 Nf2 13. Rg1 Nxd3 14. cxd3 d6 and black is very happy) 10…d6 11. Be3 b5 12. O-O Bb7 and black is all right.

10. Be3 b5 Hunting down the B/d3 with 10… Nb4?! 11. O-O O-O 12. a3 Nxd3 13. cxd3 Bd7 14. Rac1 Bc6 15. Nd4 gives white an easy position to play.

11. a4 This plan is slow and black equalizes with no problems.

11…b4 12. Nb1 12. Nd1 e5 13. O-O O-O 14. Nf2 d5 15. f5 Rd8 16. a5 d4 17. Bd2 Bb7 is fine for black.  Basically, once the N/c3 has left, black has a lot of say in the center.

12… O-O 13. O-O Bb7 The immediate 13… e5! is nice.  I did not consider it.  Black can make do without the fianchetto on b7. For example, 14. N1d2 exf4 15. Bxf4 Ng4 16. h3 Nge5 17. Nc4 Be6 with equal chances.

14. N1d2 e5 Someone like Ulf Andersson would play 14… Rfe8! which is more psychologically clever – delaying e5, and hoping  white misplaces his pieces. For example, 15. a5 e5 16. f5 d5 17. Bb6 Qb8.  The text is OK, it just reduces the possibilities.

15. Nc4  d5 Here black had the evident 15… exf4 which is good enough for equality. 16. Bxf4 (16. Rxf4 Ne5 17. Bb6 Qd7 18. Nba5 Nxc4 19. Bxc4 d5 is interesting but not forced) 16… Rfe8 17. a5 Ne5 18. Nb6 Rad8 and black is comfortable.

16. Nb6? A bad tactical miscue.  One good move was 16. Bb6! forcing the black queen back first.  Then, 16…Qb8 17. exd5 Nxd5 18. Bxh7+ Kxh7 19. Qd3+ Kg8 20. Qxd5 exf4 21. Qe4 f3!? with bizarre complications.  White also had the simple capture 16. exd5 Nxd5 17. fxe5 (Not now 17. Bxh7+? Kxh7 18. Qd3+ Kg8 19. Qxd5 Nd4! and witness the following powerful sequence: 20. Qxe5 Qc6!  21. Rf2 Bh4!! 22. Rd2 (22. Raf1 Bxf2+ 23. Rxf2 Rfe8 24. Qxd4 Rad8 25. Nba5 Rxd4 26. Nxc6 Rd1+ 27. Rf1 Rxf1+ 28. Kxf1 Bxc6 29. b3 Bd5 30. Bd2 Bxc4+ 31. bxc4 a5) 22… Nf3+!!  23. gxf3 Qxf3 and wins! – a very nice sideline) 17… Nxe5 18. Nxe5 Qxe5 19. Bd4 Qc7! and it’s about even in the middlegame.  On the other hand, the queen trade 19… Qxe2? is very bad; 20. Bxe2  is a good ending for white.

16… dxe4! Now white quickly goes down the drain.

17. Bc4 White has to play this depressing move; the point is that 17. Nxa8 exd3! 18. Nxc7 dxe2! wins since the N on c7 gets trapped.  For example,  19. Rfe1 Bd6 20. Bc5 (20. Nb5 axb5 21. axb5 Nd4 22. Bxd4 exd4 23. Rxe2 Bxf4 24. Nxd4 Ng4 25. Nf3 Be3+ 26. Kf1 (26. Kh1 Bc5) 26… Bb6 wins) 20… Bxc7 21. Bxf8 Kxf8 22. Rxe2 exf4 and wins.  White played his 16th move too quickly not seeing the N/c7 cannot get back.

17… Rad8 Now, with …Nd4 threatened and a solid extra center pawn for black, white is just lost.

18. fxe5 Black wins after 18. a5 Nd4 19. Nxd4 exd4 20. Bf2 Rfe8 21. Kh1 Bc5.

18… Nxe5 19. Bxa6

Nothing helps.  If 19. h3 Rd6 20. a5 Rc6!  is a self-blocking, computer-style move that… wins.

19… Neg4! A typical Kan overloading.  White must lose heavy material.

20. Rxf6 Qxh2+ 21. Kf1 Nxe3+ 0-1

Round 2. I continue my winning ways briefly before going on a drawing rampage in rounds 3 through 5.

IM M. Ginsburg – NM E. Yanayt   King’s Indian, Saemisch, 6. Bg5

1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 g6 3. e4 d6 4. d4 Bg7 5. f3 O-O 6. Bg5 My old favorite from the 1980s; I defeated IM Israel Zilber in Canada in a sharp game and Marcel Piket in Holland (GM Jeroen Piket’s brother).

6…c5 I faced 6…Nc6!? vs. Danny Edelman OTB and versus Naroditsky in ICC blitz.  White should probably not react hyper-aggressively as I did with 7. d5 Ne5 8. f4 as I did in those games.

7. d5 e6 8. Qd2 exd5 9. cxd5 a6 10. a4 h6 11. Be3

White might get a small edge after 11. Bxh6 Nxe4 12. Nxe4 Qh4+
13. g3 Qxh6 14. Qxh6 Bxh6 15. Nxd6 Nd7.

11… Nbd7 12. Nh3 Kh7 Some prior games have featured h5, Nh7, and f5 with a wild game.

13. Nf2 Rb8 14. Be2 Qc7 15. O-O c4?

This is an over-ambitious idea, donating d4 to white.   Black can hang tough with 15… b6 16. b3 Re8.

Vacuum on d4

Vacuum on d4

16. Bd4! Filling the vacuum. 16. a5  is also a good move but the move in the game might be stronger.  The computer gives the nice regrouping 16. a5  b5 17. axb6 Nxb6 18. Bd4 Re8 19. Rfc1 h5 20. Ncd1! Bh6 21. Ne3 Nfd7 22. Qa5 with a big edge.

16… Nc5? On 16… b5 17. axb5 axb5 18. Ra7! Qd8 19. b4!? (or 19. Rfa1) white is much better.   Still he should try this as the text just drops material.

17. Bxc4 Nxa4 18. Nxa4 Qxc4?! This loses quickly.  Relatively best was 18… b5 19. Be2 (The computer’s choice – also 19. Bxb5 axb5 20. Rfc1 Qb7 21. Nb6 is great for white) 19… bxa4 20. Rxa4 Nh5 21. Rc1 Qd7 22. Bxg7 Kxg7 23. Qd4+ Kh7 24. Nd3 Bb7 25. f4 Ng7 26. Rb4 Rfe8 27. Bf3 will win; this line is just more complicated than 19. Bxb5.

19. Ba7 Bd7 20. Rfc1 Qb5 21. Nc3 Qc4 22. Ne2! The queen is caught with Ne2-d4 coming up.


Round 3. The start of my drawing “reign of terror.”

IM De Guzman (2396) – IM Ginsburg  Modern Defense

1. d4 g6 2. Nf3 Bg7 3. c3 d6 4. e4 Nf6 5. Bd3 O-O 6. O-O Nc6! A long time ago in the 1970s I tried this as white versus IM Sal Matera and got nothing.

7. Bg5 Nd7 8. Nbd2 Qe8 9. Re1 e5 10. Nb3! Excellent play.  I had only anticipated exchanging on e5 with a level game.

Position after 10. Nb3!

Position after 10. Nb3!

10… h6 11. Bh4 b6?! Not a good reaction but I was feeling uncomfortable.    I spent a lot of time and came up with this awkward move.  Better was the accurate 11… exd4 12. cxd4 a5! 13. a4 (13. Rc1 a4 14. Nbd2 a3 15. b3 g5 with sharp play) 13…Nb4 14. Rc1 c6! neutralizing the c-file and black has ‘tidied up’ nicely.

12. Bb5 Bb7 13. Qd3!? Very interesting.  White operates with Qc4 threats.

13…exd4 I didn’t understand that 13… a6!? was playable after all –  14. Bxc6 Bxc6 15. Qc4 Nf6 16. d5 Bb5 17. Qxc7 Qb8 18. Qxb8 Raxb8 19. Bxf6 Bxf6 with quite decent compensation.

14. cxd4 Rc8 15. Rac1 Ncb8 16. a4 a6 17. Bc4 Nc6 18. Qd2 Nd8 19. Qe2 Ne6!? I am just flipping pieces around and now make this semi- bluff.  I am just waiting for my chances.  I didn’t like the looks of 19… a5 20. h3 Ne6 21. Qd2 and black is suffering.

20. Bg3? The only clear error by White in this game.  He believes black’s semi-bluff and moves his bishop onto a bad square.  Correct was the grab  20. Bxa6! Bxa6 21. Qxa6 g5?! (21… Nf6 22. Qc4 Ra8 23. Ra1 Qd7 24. Bxf6 Bxf6 25. e5 d5 26. Qb5 c6 27. Qd3 Be7 28. Nbd2 Nf4 29. Qc3) 22. Bg3 g4 23. Nh4 Nxd4 24. Nxd4 Bxd4 25. Qe2 h5 26. Nf5 Bf6 27. h3 and white is better.  If he had played 20. Bxa6, I would not have played the committal g6-g5-g4 idea; rather, I would have kept pressure on the queenside pawns and hoped for some kind of compensation.

20…Nf6! Now black is very much OK.

21. d5 Ng5!? The computer likes 21… Nc5 22. Nxc5 bxc5 23. b3 Rb8.    The text is also quite good.  Black has excellent dynamic play.

22. Nxg5 hxg5 23. Ra1 If 23. Bxa6 Bxa6 24. Qxa6 Nh5 (24… Ra8 25. Qd3 Rxa4 26. Rxc7 Rxe4 27. Rf1 Qd8 28. Rc6 Rfe8 29. Rxd6 Nd7 30. Qb5) 25. a5 Bxb2 26. Rc2 Nxg3 27. hxg3 Be5 28. axb6 Ra8 29. Qb7 cxb6 30. Rc6 g4 31. Qxb6 Qb8)

23… Nh5! Black offered a draw and white accepted.  I could have played on since after  24. Bxa6 Nxg3 25. hxg3 Bxa6 26. Qxa6 Bxb2 although chances are equal black has the easier game to handle with the strong unopposed bishop.


Round 4.

Ginsburg – Naroditsky  King’s Indian Defense   “Smyslov Bg5”

The kid was ‘en fuego’ fresh off a convincing win over Shankland.  My job was to calm him down.

1.. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. c4 Bg7 4. Nc3 O-O 5. Bg5 Unfortunately this sideline is harmless as black demonstrates quickly in the game.

5…d6 6. e3 c5 7. d5

What happens if White avoids 7. d5?  Here’s a cautionary tale between an ex-WC and a fellow who once tied Botvinnik in a WC match: 7. Be2 Nc6 8. O-O Bf5 9. dxc5 dxc5 10. Qxd8 Rfxd8 11. Rad1 Ne4 12. Nxe4 Bxe4 13. b3 h6 14. Bf4 Nb4! 15. a3 Na2! 16. Rxd8+ Rxd8 17. Rd1 Rxd1+ 18. Bxd1 Nc3 19. Nd2 Bd3! and white resigned due to 20. Bf3 e5! winning a piece, Smyslov-D. Bronstein, Teeside 1975. Elegant geometry by Bronstein. White also had zero after 7. Be2 cxd4 8. exd4 h6 9. Bf4 Bf5 and black won eventually, Smyslov-Epishin Rostov 1993. We start to get the sense that 7. d5 is the only “test” but it’s not much of a test.

A very well motivated and computer-looking move to avoid the g5-d8 pin.

Position after 7...Qb6!

Position after 7...Qb6!

It was too much to hope for junior crudity with  7…h6 8. Bh4 g5? and white got a crushing advantage on the light squares in Ehlvest-Liu, Marshall CC Summer International 2008 (although Ehlvest blew numerous wins then gave Liu a forced mate which he missed; talk about adventure).

8. Qc2(?!) Ehlvest elected 8. Rb1 and this might be a little more challenging. After 8. Rb1 Na6 9. Nd2 h6 10. Bh4 g5 11. Bg3 Bf5 12. e4 black should have retreated with 12…Bg6 keeping good chances, but he went for 12…Nxe4?! and lost in Ehlvest-Garcia Luque, San Roque 1996.

8…e5 Black is also OK after 8… Na6 9. a3 Bf5 10. Bd3 (10. e4 Bd7) 10… Bxd3 11. Qxd3 Qxb2 12. O-O Qb6 13. Rab1 Qc7)

9. dxe6 9. Be2 Na6 is zero.

9… Bxe6 10. Rd1 Nc6! 11. a3 Weirdly the computer indicates 11. Rxd6(?) Nd4! 12. Rxd4 cxd4 13. Nxd4 Rae8 14. Nxe6 Rxe6 as being all right for white but what human would like that?

11… Rad8 Black is also doing well after 11… Na5.

12. Bd3 I hated my game here so i offered a draw.

I was afraid of 12…Na5! and black is starting to build a nice initiative.  After this, if 13. Nd5 I’d definitely rather be black. Naroditsky was focusing more on the rather inferior 12…h6 so he accepted.
Next time I will try a main line with Nd2 or Ne1!


Round 5. It all come down to this.  Since on other boards De Guzman was drawing Naroditsky and Tate was drawing Zilberstein, I needed to win.  And at a certain moment I had my chances…

NM S. Zierk – M. Ginsburg   Sicilian Kan

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Bd3 Qb6 6. Nb3 Qc7 7. Nc3 Nf6 8. O-O b5!? 9. f4 Bb7 10. e5 Nd5 I was modeling my play after some vague recollection of DeFirmian-Charbonneau, where black won a nice positional game  (World Open, I think, a few years ago).

11. Nxd5 Bxd5 12. Qe2 Nc6 13. c3 d6 Black is fully OK – so the opening is a success.  Conversely, from white’s point of view, he has not played in the most challenging way.

14. exd6 Bxd6 15. Be3 O-O 16. Nd2 Na5 17. Ne4 Be7 18. f5 exf5 19. Rxf5 Bc4 The computer indicates the fearless 19… Rad8 20. Rd1 Nc4.  The text is very safe.

20. Rh5? Very weak.  Now I have real chances to win the tournament.  Once upon a time I put a piece offside vs GM Jan Smejkal and he just smirked and won by technique.  Let’s see my technique…
White would do better with e.g. 20. Bd4 Bxd3 21. Qxd3 and it’s equal.

20… g6 Since this move helps black, white’s last move was pointless.
21. Rh3 Really *the* moment of the tournament for me.


Position after 21. Rh3.

21…Rad8? What a frustrating inaccuracy this will turn out to be!  The obvious 21… Bxd3 22. Qxd3 Nc4 23. Bd4 f5!  gives initiative and a great structure.  For example,  24. Nf2 Bc5 25. b3 Bxd4 26. Qxd4 Rad8.   The nature of black’s edge is fantastic piece coordination along with the nice h7,g6,f5 pawn structure.

22. Bd4 f5 23. Nd2 Bf6 Black has no winning chances anymore after this lame move.  The tactical blackout I had on move 21 was 23… Bxd3?? 24. Qe6+ Rf7 25. Qxg6+ ! and white wins.  I made the offside rook on the h-file make sense!  So I am *not* getting off the d3 bishop with no problems anymore.   A tournament winner needs to be alert!  The last chance by the way to keep the game going here was 23….Bd5.

24. Bxf6 Rxf6 25. Bxc4+ Now the game is dead . Boo!  First place was $1200 and second place was $900.  A whole slew of not terribly alert players tied for second (Tate missed an easy win vs Zilberstein).
If I had won, i would have tied for first with Naroditsky.

25…Nxc4 26. Nxc4 bxc4 27. Re1 Rfd6 28. Rh4 Rd2 29. Qxc4+ Qxc4 30. Rxc4 R8d7! Cute, but it’s still a draw.

31. Kf1 Rxb2 32. Re2 Rd1+ 33. Kf2 Rdd2 34. Rxd2 Rxd2+ 35. Kf3 Rxa2 36. Rc7 Black has won a pawn and according to the well known rule of rook endings, it is still hopelessly drawn.

36…Rc2 37. h4 a5 38. g4 fxg4+ 39. Kxg4 a4 40. Ra7 Rxc3 41. Rxa4 White offers a draw and black out of inertia “tries” a few more moves.

41…h5+ 42. Kg5 Rg3+ 43. Kh6 Kf7 44. Ra6 Rg4 45. Rb6 Rxh4 46. Rxg6 Rh1 47. Ra6 h4 48. Kh5 Draw agreed.  The five
players with 3.5 out of 5 (MG, Zierk, Tate, Zilberstein, De Guzman) each win
the paltry sum of $340.  Chess doesn’t pay well to the unalert ones.