Posts Tagged ‘Irina Krush’

Canadian Kamikaze Weirdness

September 2, 2008

Canadian Bayonet Attack Weirdness

I chanced upon this report of Montreal 2008 at US Chess online.

It says (from Round 1 action), talking about the IM Roussell-Roozman – GM Charbonneau game….

“The first round also featured some hot King’s Indian theory cooked up by Canadian-American GM Pascal Charbonneau and IM Irina Krush. Pascal told CLO “It’s the first time ever I have had someone walk right into (home prep) like that…where it happens to be totally crushing. The final position is actually in our files.” Pascal also gave his “second” in Montreal, Irina due credit: “Irina found Nh4.” Nh4 contains the threat Bh3!, “it’s really super complex.” In the final position White resigned in view of the devastating entry of the queen into the attack after hxg1+ Rxg1 Qh4.”

I’m interested in the Bayonet Attack, particularly from white’s point of view.  To the casual observer, black broke every positional rule in the book to arrive at this quick victory and there’s something very illogical behind the scenes.   White’s responses were distinctly strange at several moments and it’s hard to believe Pascal and Irinia anticipated what looks like gross white inaccuracies.   Let’s take a closer look at what appears to be preparation versus a blunder!

IM Roussell-Roozman – GM Charbonneau, Round 1, Montreal 2008

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. d4 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. O-O Nc6 8. d5 Ne7 9. b4 Ne8 A rather passive move, but black has coupled it with a kamikaze attack idea.  Let’s see it

Position after 9…Ne8.  Canadian Loony Tunes Ahead.

10. c5 f5 11. Nd2 Nf6 12. f3 f4 13. Nc4 g5 Can’t argue with white’s play yet.

14. a4 Here’s an important moment. What about 14. Ba3 speeding up things by dispensing with a2-a4?  Not playing a2-a4 and gaining a whole tempo might be huge in this race on opposite wings.  For example, 14…Ne8 (14… Ng6!? is stronger) 15. Rc1 h5 16. Qb3 g4 17. b5 Rf7 18. Bb4! is a very nasty idea.  White looks to be faster. Keep this in mind as we follow the game.   If nothing further on appeals to white, we need to go back here and consider 14. Ba3!? more carefully.

9/7/08:  Here is my first attempt.  For example, 14. Ba3(!) Ng6 15. cxd6 cxd6 16. b5 (this move order doesn’t allow black the d6xc5 transformation) Ne8 (forced) 17. Rc1 h5 18. Rf2 Rf7 19. h3 b6 20. Bb4! Bf8 21. a4 Rg7 22. a5 Nh4 23. axb6 axb6 24. Na4! with a plus. If 24…Rb8?? 25. Naxb6 wins. So 24…Rb7 is forced, diverting an attacking piece.

14… Ng6 15. Ba3 Rf7 16. b5

Position after 16. b5.  Black’s next is real shock-horror.

16…dxc5 Positional Shock-horror! Giving up the pawn structure looks to be suicide, but they had prepared this!  Wow.   With best play for both sides, from this point, chess logic demands that white stands better! 🙂  But can we really find a way?   We have to start somewhere….

By the way, Roussel-Roozman has an interesting comment on this move:  “16…dxc5 is in fact a very strong positional move that allows black to get rid of his d6 weakness. Tactically speaking, it’s the only reasonable move as well since 16…Bf8? runs into 17.b6! with a huge positional advantage for white.”

I wouldn’t think of it as positional since d5-d6 is always possible now and e5 hangs sometimes, but an interesting perspective!  Maybe it’s completely tactically motivated!  Whatever the case, we need to look hard here because something good for white is swimming under the surface.

17. Bxc5 h5 18. a5 g4 19. b6 There are other moves here but this looks to the point.

19…g3 A very important moment.

Position after 19…g3.  Do or die.

20. Kh1 The fairly obvious 20. bxc7 deflecting black from his intentions and furthering white’s play in the center at first glance looks very good here.

Note in passing that the awkward 20. bxa7? runs into 20…Nd7! with the idea of Qh4 and that is too risky (not 20…gxh2+? 21 Kxh2 h4 22. d6! and white smashes through.)

Let’s see our first idea: 20. bxc7 gxh2+ 21. Kxh2 Qxc7 22. Bf2 and this looks terrible for black.   Also grim, similarly, is 21…Rxc7 22. Bf2.  No attack for black is to be seen.

Another bad line for black: 20. bxc7 Rxc7 21. Bb4 gxh2+ 22 Kxh2 Nh7 23. Nb5! is smashing.

All of this leads us to find the real nature of black’s trick: 20. bxc7 Rxc7 21. Bb4 Nxe4! 22. Nxe4 Qh4.   After this, black has a great attack.  The same variation would follow 21. Ba3, by the way.

20… Bf8 21. Bg1

Now if white tries it again, 21. bxc7, NOT 21…Qxc7?  22. Bd6!! Bxd6 23. Nb5 Qd8 24. Nbxd6 with domination but instead black has the stronger 21…Rxc7! 22. Bg1 h4! with good counterplay.

And if  21. Bxf8 Nxd5! 22. Bc5 Qh4 23. Bg1, the knight on c3 hangs:  23…Nxc3 and black stands somewhat better.

21… Nh4 As noted in the quote above, black threatens Bh3 nastiness.  And this, of course, is a critical point.

Position after 21…Nh4.  The real acid test.

22. Re1?? A fatal misstep.

22. hxg3! fxg3! is correct, not 22…Nxg2?  23. Nxe5 Rg7 24. Qd2 (or 24. Qb3 Rxg3 25. d6+ and wins) Ne3 25. Bxe3 fxe3 26. Qxe3 Rxg3 27. Rg1 h4 28. Rxg3+ hxg3 29. Qg5+ Bg7 30. Rg1 Qe8 31. f4 and white wins.  After the faulty 22…Nxg2? white can also venture the scary looking 23. Kxg2 Rg7 and live:  24. Nxe5 Rxg3 25. Kh1 Nd7 26. Ng6! guarding h4, and diverting the rook from its menacing position.  White has an edge after 26…Rxg6 27. bxc7.

Returning to 22. hxg3 fxg3, if 23. Qd2 Rg7 24. d6 Bh3! 25. Ne3 Qc8! and this illustrates well black’s cheapo potentials.  However, white has better: 23. Be3!. This move is also a lemon.

Now 23…Bh3 can be handled:  24. Rg1 Qc8 25. Bf1!  and the crawling into a ball formation not only saves white, it happens to win!   Note that 24…Qd7 is even worse, because at the end of this line the fact that e5 is hanging makes matters worse for black.

So I would need to see more on black’s best after 22. hxg3 fxg3 23. Be3! because crude attempts to get the BQ to h4, mating, do not work:  23…Nd7 24. bxc7! Qf6 25. Qd2! and white wins.

To try to answer my own question, maybe black’s chief concept is the rather crude 23. Be3 Ne8!? to prepare the queen’s line to h4.   After this move it’s really crazy.   One humorous draw is 24. Qc1 Nxf3!? 25. Rxf3 Qh4+ 26. Kg1 Bh6!! (wow!) 27. Rxg3+ Qxg3 28. Bxh6 Qf2+ with a perpetual!   Another nutty line is 24. Qd2 Bh3!? 25. Rg1 Qc8! (again, this motif!) and now if 26. Bd1 Bb4! the computer is starting to like black!  Yet another is 26. Bf1 Bxg2+ 27. Rxg2 Qxh3+ (wow!!) 28. Rh2 Qxh2+ 29. Qxh2 gxh2 with “chaos on board”. Update 9/6/08:  Commentator Kurt Stein points out 23. Be3? Nh7! wins for black!

22… Nxg2! Decisive.  Maybe white missed this altogether when playing his last move.

23. Kxg2 Rg7 24. Nxe5 Everything loses. The computer shows 24. hxg3 Rxg3+ wins quickly for black.

24…gxh2+ 25. Kh1 Nxe4! After this elementary blow, clearing lines to mate the hapless wk, white gave up.


USCL Week 2 Results

I enjoyed for aesthetic reasons (nice Q&N coordination) Yeager’s win over Ray Kaufman.   Also interesting was some post-mortem analysis on Rensch-Bartholomew, a game that was unfortunately truncated after an uncharacteristic blunder by Danny.

ICC Intellectualism

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The Fabulous 70s: Rewarding the Clock-Punching Monkey

June 2, 2008

The Good and the Evil Inherent in Clock Punching Monkeys

I was titillated to read in a recent CLO Irina Krush’s protest against Anna Zatonskih’s blitz tactics in their US Women’s title playoff match.

Her open letter ends,

“To conclude, I will state that sharing the title would be an acceptable outcome for me, but I would certainly welcome any initiative to decide the title in over-the-board games, with real time controls that don’t degrade the participants into clock punching monkeys.” (emphasis mine).

The bold-faced phrase brings back rich, nostalgic memories. Turn back the clock to 1975 and the scene is the Silver Spring chess club, managed by Larry Kaufman and frequented by such personalities as Diana Lanni, me, future IM Steve Odendahl, and other riff-raff. Since we were young and highly immature, Steve and I invented a game that was solely to reward the clock-punching monkey. The game was called “Clock”. It is fun for all ages and invariably reduces the participants to gasps of laughter, unless of course one of the players is Ray Keene or some other dour type. I want to stress a chessboard and pieces are not needed! Here is how you play:

The Immortal and Skillful Game of ‘Clock’

  1. Set the clock to one minute each (this was the old fashioned clock that ticked, but I imagine you could subject a Chronos to this too).
  2. ‘White’ bangs his or her fist on the table then bangs the clock to start the game.
  3. ‘Black’ must bang his or her fist on the table and only then can he or she bang the clock to start the opponent’s clock.
  4. In response, now ‘White’ must bang his or her fist on the table before he or she can hit the clock.
  5. And so on, alternating steps 3 and 4, until somebody flags.

No Chess Involved! Any hit of the clock without first banging the fist on the table is an immediate forfeit!

Overturning: A Nuance of the Game

The 1975 version of the game naturally resulted in the clock often overturning and sitting on its side. It was unclear who should right it and clearly in such a thrilling game neither player really wants to right it. I suggest playing with the clock in an enclosed case so it can’t overturn.

A Surprise ‘Clock’ Spectator

In one uproarious ‘Clock’ incident, the clock had just overturned and both players were howling loudly. A small, dapper gentleman gave Steve and me a pitying glance. And this was the first time I laid eyes on surprise club visitor GM Lubosh Kavalek.

Enjoy your game of Clock, everyone! For extra thrills, play with a digital clock and set it for 10 seconds each, or try a game of “Clock Odds” to test the speed demon in your neighborhood!

Sad postscript:

Krush didn’t leave sleeping dogs lie and wrote an awful “final letter” to US Chess online. The bad sportsmanship meter is now in the red zone on this issue. Poor Anna Zatonskih could not, and should not, respond to this nasty Krush tirade. Simply change the format going forward if it’s so upsetting!

Happy Post Post-Script

Anna Zatonskih righted the boat with a well-conducted interview. Hurrah for Anna Z.  All is well.