Posts Tagged ‘Liu’

The Fabulous 10s: US Open 2010 Irvine CA

August 5, 2010

US Open 2010!

The US Open, a lengthy sweaty endeavor, finally ended.  It was nestled downtown in an Irvine corporate center (the Hyatt Hotel one of the corporate buildings in the complex).   During the tournament, I spotted some chess personalities from the East Coast circa 1980s: Tim Taylor, Mark Pinto, Walter Shipman!   And Vince McCambridge came to spectate on Thursday!

GM Alejandro was the winner with a huge score of 8 out of 9 (not winning a winning game in the last round – see below), scoring a scintillating win over GM Khachiyan to warm up for the finale; then scoring a lucky win vs Shabalov when Shabalov blundered a piece in a position where Shabalov was just up a pawn (time trouble), then finally only needing a draw versus IM Sandorra which he obtained from a winning game!  (He could have traded queens and played Re1! to Re5 to Rxa5, winning easily, but it’s a luxury to be able to draw and still win the tournament outright!).

Final Standings!

Only a few miles away is Newport Beach and Balboa island, but sadly most pasty chess players won’t see it!

The Balboa Island Watermelon Cow

First Memory of Hanken

This event is in memorial for Jerry Hanken. In 1976 I played in my first US Open in Fairfax Virginia.  Also playing were Junior talents Fedorowicz, Diesen, and Rohde. GM Lombardy was playing and other GMs.  I would guess GMs Shamkovich and Lein were there, because these recent immigrants played everywhere!  I don’t remember who won, but I do remember a very loud guy in the skittles room – Hanken.  He would comment loudly when strong players were analyzing their game, and he would shush people who tried to comment if he did not deem them worthy.  The words “brusque” and “imperious” came to mind.   I had a terrible impression of a GM wannabee who acted a lot stronger than he was. Over the years he definitely mellowed (still loud in the tournament hall though) but I always saw traces of the 1976  big ego in his writings lurking  under a facade of self-deprecation.

It’s still early but there has been some interesting chess.

I was watching the following chaos on an adjacent board to me:

[Event “Jerry Hanken Memorial – 111th US Open”]
[Site “Irvine”]
[Date “2010.08.04”]
[Round “Six Day Schedule- Round 2”]
[White “Abrahamyan, Tatev”]
[Black “Mu, Joshua”]
[Result “0-1”]
[WhiteELO “2385”]
[WhiteTitle “WFM”]
[BlackELO “2075”]
[BlackTitle “”]
[Source “MonRoi”]

1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.c4 Nb6 5.exd6 cxd6 6.Nc3 g6 7.Be3 Bg7 8.Rc1 O-O 9.c5??

When I saw this move executed, I checked the player playing white for signs of fever or delirium.  However she looked calm.  This move, opening things when undeveloped, would never enter my mind!  The worst part of this is that a regular, ordinary, developing move keeps a standard edge with the superior center.

Position after 9. c5??

9….dxc5 10.dxc5 Qxd1+?! Why not the simple 10…Bxc3+! followed by Nd5?  Black would stand very well.

11.Rxd1 N6d7 Moving the horse to this bad square is a consequence of black’s second best choice last move.

12.Nd5 Nc6 13.Bb5 Optically it looks like white is ‘attacking’ but in fact black is fine.

13…Nde5 14.h3?! Appears menacing but black can defend as in the game.  Simply 14. Nf3, developing, and it’s equal.

14…Bf5 15.f4 a6! I am sure this obvious zwischenzug was not missed by white; the real miscue occurs on move 24.

16.Be2 Nd7 17.Bf3 Bxb2 18.g4 Be6 19.Nc7 Rad8 20.Nxe6 fxe6 21.Ne2 Ba3 22.Bxc6 bxc6 23.Nd4 Bxc5 24.Nxc6??

It is time for damage control. 24. Ke2 and a draw is very possible!  The text loses miserably.

24…Bxe3 25.Nxd8 Rxd8 26.Ke2 Bxf4 27.Rd4 Bd6 Now black is just winning and hauls in the upset.

28.Rb1 Nc5 29.Rb6 e5 30.Rd2 Kf7 31.Rc6 Rb8 32.Rc2 Ne6 0-1

In my own games things are good so far.  3/3 vs. low-rated opposition.

Some of the games were brutal for example this round 2 massacre (taking place on the board next to the above game):

[Event “Jerry Hanken Memorial – 111th US Open, “]
[Site “Irvine”]
[Date “2010.08.04”]
[Round “6 day schedule, Round 2”]
[White “Liu”]
[Black “Ginsburg, Mark”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “B42”]
[WhiteElo “2044”]
[EventDate “2010.08.04”]
[Source “MonRoi”]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Bd3 Qb6 6. Ne2 This strange move is not bad but on the other hand, not particularly testing.

Nf6 7. O-O d6 8.Nbc3 Be7 9. Be3 Qc7 10. f3? This passive construction has been discredited for many decades, for example an ancient Martz-Benko US Championship game.  There is no white pawn on c4 (it’s not a Maroczy bind) so white cannot contain forever black’s pawn breaks.  Worse, white has no plan while black has lots of “improvement” moves before engineering the pawn break.

O-O 11. Qe1 Nc6 12. Qf2 b5 13. Nd4 Ne5 14. Rfd1 Bb7 15. Rac1 Rac8 16. Kh1 b4 17. Nce2 d5! Executing one of the thematic breaks.  Black’s pieces are much more active than white’s.

18. exd5 Nxd5 19. Bd2 Nxd3 20. cxd3 Qd7! This position is a dream for black.  White quickly goes down the drain.

Smooth Sailing

21. b3 a5 22. Nc2 Ba6 23. Be1 Bg5 24. f4 Bf6 Bishop crossfires are always a pleasure to set up.

25. Ne3 Rxc1 26. Nxc1 Bd4 This permanent pin wins.

27. Bd2 Qa7 28. Re1 Rc8 29. Qg1 Rc2 A gruesome finale.  It does not merit an exclamation mark since 29…Nxf4 wins trivially too.

30. Nxc2 Bxg1 31. Rxg1 Qf2 32. Rd1 Nc3 The rude computer prefers 32…Bb7! as the most efficient!

33. Bxc3 Qxc2 34. Rf1 Bb7 0-1

In Round 3 I beat Eric Zhang although I made numerous bad moves.

[Event “Jerry Hanken Memorial – 111th US Open,”]
[Site “Irvine”]
[Date “2010.08.06”]
[Round “3”]
[White “Ginsburg, Mark”]
[Black “Zhang, Eric”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “D94”]
[Source “MonRoi”]

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. c4 c6 4. Nc3 d5 5. e3 Bg7 6. Bd3 O-O 7. O-O Re8? What the heck?  Just 7…Bg4!

8. Ne5 e6 9. b4 Nfd7 10. f4 f6 11. Nf3 Nb6? A huge waste of time.

12. c5 N6d7 13. e4 a5 Well, black has played the opening terribly.  Time for punishment? 

14. exd5? (A terrible move. The right move, for which white needs sharp tactics, is 14. b5! dxe4
15. Nxe4 f5 16. Nd6 Nxc5 17. Nxe8!  (I saw this far) 17… Bxd4+ 18. Nxd4 Qxd4+ 19. Kh1 Nxd3 (But I dismissed this, thinking black has too many threats) 20. Bb2!! {
The key move I missed, real computer genius connecting the rooks!} Qxb2 21. Qxd3 Nd7 22. bxc6 bxc6 23. Rab1 and white wins)

14… cxd5? A really bad blunder in reply.  Black had 14…cxb4 15. dxe6 Nxc5! (I missed this) and he has a slight edge.  On the other hand, 14…exd5? 15. b5! would also be a big white edge.  The text hands white a crushing queenside pawn majority.

15. b5 f5 16. Ba3 Nf6 17. Rc1 Ne4 18. Na4! Ouch.  b6 beckons.

18…h6 19. Ne5? First, of course, the extremely obvious 19. Nb6! Ra7 and only now 20. Ne5! and black is smashed.  I played many bad moves in this game.

19…Nd7 20. c6?! Now it’s time to buckle down.  We need a little tactics: 20. Bxe4! Nxe5 21. Bxf5! Nc4 22. Bxg6 Nxa3 23. Nb6 Rb8 24. Bxe8 Qxe8 25. Qa4 Nc4 26. Nxc4 Bxd4+ 27. Kh1 dxc4 28. Qxc4 Bf6 29. f5! and white wins.  It makes sense to get rid of black’s central horse to start. Every inaccuracy I make reduces my edge, and in the game it becomes nil!

20… bxc6 21. bxc6 Nxe5 22. dxe5 Ra7 23. Bxe4 fxe4 24. Qd4? This thoughtless centralization, played quickly, is very weak.  In fact, it sets up a pin on g7-d4 which prevents me playing Bd6 in many situations, so it’s entirely counterproductive! Crushing is the paralyzing 24. Bd6! Qh4 25. Nb6 Kh7 26. c7 Rg8 27. Rb1 Ba6 28. Qc2 Bd3 29. c8=Q and white wins by brute force.

24… Rf7! 25. g3 Ba6 26. Rfd1 g5! Black is all right now!

27. Nc5 Bc8??  A losing blunder.

Black has two ways to an equal game. 27… Qb6!! 28. Nxe6 Qxd4+ 29. Nxd4 gxf4 and black is fine!  For some reason 27…Qb6!! had escaped my attention; I had only seen the possible 27…Bf8.  Weirdly it turns out 27..Bf8 holds too after the tough defense 28. c7 Qc8!.

28. Nxe4! Winning with the simple pin motif.

gxf4 29. Nd6 fxg3 30. Nxf7 It’s all over now with a direct attack on the lonely black king.
gxh2+ 31. Kxh2 Kxf7 32. Qf4+ Kg8 33. Rg1 Kh7 34. Rxg7+ Kxg7 35. Rg1+ 1-0

And this entertaining clash occurred:

GM A. Ramirez – FM M. Casella US Open 2010

1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 g6 3.e4 d6 4.d4 Bg7 5.Nf3 O-O 6.Be2 e5 7.O-O Nc6 8.d5 Ne7 9.b4 Ne8 10.Nd2 f5 11.c5 Nf6 12.cxd6 cxd6 13.b5 Bh6 14.exf5 gxf5 15.Nc4 Bxc1 16.Rxc1 Ng6 17.g3 f4 18.Bf3 Bh3 19.Re1 Qd7 20.Ne4 Nxe4 21.Bxe4 Rf6 22.b6 a6 23.Qh5 Rc8 24.Nd2 Kg7 25.Bf3 fxg3 26.hxg3 Nf4 27.Qg5 Rg6 28.Rxc8! Rxg5 29.Rc7! Black is enmeshed in an unbreakable bind!

29…Nd3 30.Re3 Nc5 31.Nc4 Rg6 32.Bh5 Rg5 33.Be8 Qxc7 34.bxc7 Kf6 35.Nxd6 Rg7 36.Rf3 1-0

In Round 4 action, I drew FM Bryant.

Noteworthy because in post-game discussion it turned he was not very familiar with Pillsbury and Pillsbury knight outposts on c5 (a motif that occurred in the game).

FM Bryant – Ginsburg  Round 4

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.c3 d5 4.exd5 exd5 5.Bb5+ I had never faced this move before.

Bd7 6.Bxd7 Qxd7 For some reason I was scared of 6…Nd7 but computers prefer that move a bit.

7.d4 cxd4 8.O-O Nc6 9.Re1 Be7 10.Bg5!? In gambit style.  I would just play 10. Nxd4.

10…O-O-O!? The computers try to defend after 10…dxc3 11. Nxc3 O-O-O and they do so successfully.  To me it looked too risky.  However I missed that 12. Be3? loses to 12…d4 – a key defensive resource.

11.Bxe7 Ngxe7 12.cxd4 Ng6! Black is fine now; the knight has double duty observing e5 and threatening to hop into f4.

13.Nc3 Rhe8 14.Qd2 Qf5 15.Rxe8 1/2-1/2 He promised to take a look at the book “Hastings 1895”.

Here’s a another cool game:

[Event “Jerry Hanken Memorial – 111th US Open, Denker, College”]
[Site “Irvine”]
[Date “2010.08.05”]
[Round “Six-4”]
[White “Bercys, Salvijus”]
[Black “Sadorra, Julio”]
[Result “1-0”]
[WhiteELO “2467”]
[WhiteTitle “IM”]
[BlackELO “2471”]
[BlackTitle “IM”]
[Source “MonRoi”]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.a3 Bxc3 5.bxc3 c5 6.e3+ Qc7 7.Qg4! I’ve never seen this French Winawer motif in a Nimzo  before!

7…f5 8.Qg3 Qe7 9.a4 Nf6 10.f3 Nc6 11.Bd3 e5 12.Ne2 e4 13.Bc2 dxc4 14.Ba3 b6 15.fxe4 Nxe4 16.Bxe4 Qxe4 17.Qxg7 Rf8 18.dxc5 Rf7 19.Qg8 Rf8 20.Qg7 Rf7 21.Qg8 Rf8 22.Qxh7 Ne5 23.c6 Nd3 24.Kf1 Nc5 25.Bxc5 bxc5 26.Qg6 Ke7 27.Rd1 Be6 28.Nf4 Rab8 29.Qg7 Ke8 30.Ng6 1-0

In Round 5 action I overcame after a long struggle expert Karas.  Also in Round 5 we had GM Khachiyan battling in an inferior position vs GM Alejandro Ramirez…. and Eric Zhang resurfaced to inflict an upset on IM Tim Taylor after Taylor dropped a full piece.

Round 5 Games

[Event “Jerry Hanken Memorial – 111th US Open, Denker, College”]
[Site “Irvine”]
[Date “2010.08.05”]
[Round “T6S5F3”]
[White “Ginsburg, Mark”]
[Black “Karas, Nicholas”]
[Result “1-0”]
[WhiteELO “2431”]
[WhiteTitle “IM”]
[BlackELO “2108”]
[Source “MonRoi”]

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.d4 O-O 6.Be2 e5 7.O-O Na6 8.Re1 c6 9.Bf1 exd4 10.Nxd4 Ng4 11.h3 Nxf2!?

Obviously my theoretical knowledge is out of date.  In the past I experimented with 11…Qb6  but after 12. hxg4 Qxd4 white has a nagging edge after 13. g5.  Still, the text looks like “it’s not quite enough.”   It was disconcerting for him to blitz out the moves and disappear from the vicinity of the board in today’s computer age, but later I spotted him toddling around with headphones listening to music.  The “threat” of computers and long absences from the board  is quite serious though in today’s chess.  I recommend that players stay more or less put for appearance’s sake during tournaments when “computer-y” developments break out in the opening phase.

12.Kxf2 Qb6 13.Nce2 f5 14.Kg1! Correct.  Let black eat the center pawn then blockade and get piece coordination.  Since white’s game is easy now, I would look for improvements for black on move 13.

fxe4 15.Be3 Qxb2 16.Nb3! Sidelining the a6 knight.

Qe5 17.Qd2 Qh5 18.Rad1 Nc5 19.Qxd6 Nxb3 20.axb3 Be5 21.Qe7 Bf6 22.Qc5 Be5 23.Bd4 Bxd4 24.Qxd4 Qg5 25.Kh2 Bf5 26.Qe5 Rae8 27.Qg3 Qe7 28.Qe3 Qe5 29.Kg1 a5 Black thoughout the game puts up dogged resistance but it’s just a conversion project for white.

30.Nc3 Qe7 31.g4 Bc8 32.Nxe4 Qh4 33.Qg3 Qxg3 34.Nxg3 b6 35.Ne4 Kg7 36.Nd6 Rxe1 37.Rxe1 Ba6 38.Re7 Kf6 39.Ra7 Ke6 40.Ne4 To save time I can just eat on a6 and then b6 here.

40…Bc8 41.Ra8 Ke5 42.Bg2 Rd8 43.Kh2 Kd4 44.Rb8 h5 45.g5 b5 46.cxb5

Nothing is wrong with 46. c5 winning, again I choose the longer way.

46…cxb5 47.Rxb5 Bf5 48.Rxa5 Rb8 49.Ng3 Bc2 50.Rd5 Ke3 51.Rc5 Bxb3 52.Rc6 Bf7 53.Rf6 Be8 54.h4 Rb4 55.Re6 Kf4 56.Rxe8 Kg4 57.Re6 57. Re4+ leads to K N and B  versus King!   I find a quicker way.

Kxh4 58.Ne4! This seals it.  The N and  B coordinate perfectly.

58…Kg4 59.Rxg6 Rb2 60.Rh6 Rb8 61.Rf6 Rb2 62.g6 h4 63.g7 1-0

Before the Merge

Before the merge in Round 7, there were multiple sections. Here’s an entertaining miniature from the 4-day featuring a young IM and a veteran of US Championships from the 1960s!

[Event “Jerry Hanken Memorial – 111th US Open”]
[Site “Irvine”]
[Date “2010.08.06”]
[Round “FourD-4”]
[White “Stopa, Jacek”]
[Black “Saidy, Anthony F”]
[Result “1-0”]
[WhiteELO “2554”]
[WhiteTitle “IM”]
[BlackELO “2331”]
[BlackTitle “IM”]
[Source “MonRoi”]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4

IM Saidy had probably studied the Evans 3 Stopa lifetimes ago.


Theory considers accepting best and declining a safe edge for white.

5.c3 Be7 Isn’t this already a little strange?

6.Qb3 Nh6

This?  I’m no Evans expert, but this looks strange.

7.d4 Na5 8.Qb5 Nxc4 9.Bxh6 gxh6 10.Qxc4 exd4 11.cxd4 O-O

The smoke has cleared and black’s ruined pawns give him an uncomfortable game.

12.Nc3 d6 13.O-O Bg4 14.Nd2 c6 15.Qd3 Qd7 16.h3 Be6 17.Rae1 d5? This unfortunate choice loses a piece.  Not one for Saidy’s anthology.

18.exd5 Bxd5 19.Qg3+ Oops.  If 19…Kh8 20. Qe5+ picks up the bishop.

19…Bg5 20.h4 1-0

Nerdy T-Shirts Spotted

A.  “Armed with Math Instructional Equations”

B.  “I’m not thinking very much, therefore I might not be.”

C.  “Everything I say is fully substantiated by my own opinion.”

Amusing Incident in the Bar

A bunch of strong players in the bar. Tony Rich decided to organize a blitz tournament with Ramirez, Stopa, Bercys, etc.   Khachiyan asks me if I want to play.  Tony is typing in names into a computer pairing system and asks for my name, saying “Are you Tim Taylor?”

Round 6.

I drew Bercys.

Bercys-MG  Nimzo Qc2

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O 5. Nf3 d5 6. a3 I was not sure how to play after 6. cxd5.  Should I take back with the Queen?

6…Bxc3 7. Qxc3 dxc4 8. Qxc4 b6

A sensible way to play.

9. Bg5 Bb7 10. e3 Nbd7 11. Ne5?! Asking too much.  11…c5! 12. Nxd7 Qxd7 13. Bxf6 gxf6 14. dxc5 Insanely risky, but what else can white do?

14…Rfd8 15. Qc3! The best move.  It seems like white can finish developing here; i.e. there will be no miniature win for black.

15…Rac8 16. b4 bxc5 17. b5 (forced) and now black could find no convincing way to attack and the game petered out to a draw.

It ended: 17…Qd5 18. f3 c4 19. Be2 a6 20. bxa6 Bxa6 21. Kf2 Qe5! and it’s totally dead.  1/2-1/2

Meanwhile, GM Ramirez won a phenomenal high-energy game vs GM Khachiyan, who always seemed a half-move short in complications!

GM Khachiyan – GM Ramirez Sicilian Scheveningen

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.Nc3 a6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Qc7 6.Be2 Nf6 7.O-O d6 Black doesn’t go for 7…Bb4 which has a so-so theoretical basis.

8.a4 Nc6 9.Nb3 b6 10.f4 Be7 11.Bf3 Bb7 12.Be3 O-O 13.Qe2 Nd7 14.Rad1 Rfe8 15.Kh1 Bf8 16.Bf2 Nb4 17.Bg3 This looks unnatural.

e5 18.f5 Nf6 19.Bh4 Be7 20.Qd2 Rad8 21.Bxf6 Bxf6 Now obviously black is happy, but how to break down white’s formation?  The game is now a textbook example of exploiting dynamic factors.

22.Nb1 a5 23.c3 d5!! 24.Qe3 d4 25.Qf2 Na2!! 26.cxd4 exd4 27.Nxd4 Qc5 28.e5 Bxf3 29.Qxf3 Bxe5 30.Nb5 Rxd1 31.Rxd1 Bxb2 32.Nd2 Nc3 33.Nxc3 Qxc3 34.Qxc3 Bxc3 35.Nc4 Bd4 36.g3 Bc5 37.Rd7 h5 38.Nd6 Re1 39.Kg2 Re2 40.Kh1 Rd2 41.Rd8 Kh7 42.Nxf7 Rxd8 43.Nxd8 b5 44.axb5 a4 45.Nc6 a3 46.Na5 a2 47.Nb3 Kh6 48.h4 g6 49.fxg6 Kxg6 50.Kg2 Kf5 51.Kf3 Ke5 52.Ke2 Kd5 53.Kd3 Bd4 54.Kc2 Be5 A very pleasing textbook domination of B & Outside passed pawn versus knight ending; a good conclusion to a well played game throughout.

55.b6 Kc6 56.Na1 Bxa1 57.Kb3 Kxb6 58.Kxa2 Be5 59.Kb3 Kc5 60.Kc2 Kd4 61.Kd2 Ke4 62.Ke2 Bd4! 0-1

What a great game!

Round 7. (post-Merge)

I beat a young expert, Brown in a Queen’s Gambit Accepted..  The game had a very nice tactic.

During this round, a really weird incident occurred.

Expert Sam Hamilton was playing next to me and had white against Daniel Naroditsky. Sam played a 4 pawn attack King’s Indian . He offered a draw standing very well and Naroditsky said “I’ll think about it” and instantly made a move (not thinking about it, hee hee).  After Hamilton’s reply Naroditsky already had a terrible game and offered a draw himself.  Hamilton pointed out Naroditsky had to make a move first.  Naroditsky made some random move not changing anything and Hamilton, no doubt with his competitive urges fully activated due to the incident, declined and went on to win a pawn and threaten to win a second pawn in an ending.  Then, incredibly enough, Hamilton more or less immediately after achieving a winning ending started making blunder after blunder and lost a full rook to a knight fork.  This half point gift for Naroditsky was very important competitively as eventually Daniel reached a monster score of 7.5/9!   That was on my right… on my left GM Khachiyan played a very tough expert Mo and only won a long, long ending by the narrowest of margins.  Therefore after this round Khachiyan, Naroditsky and I were all doing great with 6 out of 7.  My game was the cleanest of the bunch:

IM M. Ginsburg – Michael Brown

1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.e3 Nf6 4.Bxc4 e6 5.Nf3 a6 6.O-O c5 7.dxc5 Bxc5 8.Qxd8 Kxd8 9.b3 b5 10.Be2 Bb7 11.Bb2 Nbd7 12.Nbd2 Ke7 13.a4 b4 14.Nc4 Bd5 15.Rfd1 Rhc8 16.a5 Ne4 17.Rac1 f6 18.Ne1 Ba7  Black  19.Nd3 Ndc5 20.Nxb4 Nxb3 21.Nb6!! A crushing hit!  Black is lost.  A very strange tactic!

Rxc1 22.N4xd5 exd5 23.Nxd5 Kf7 24.Bxc1 Rc8 25.Ba3 Rc2 26.Nf4 Bc5 27.Bd3 Ra2 28.Bxc5 Nexc5 29.Bxh7 Rxa5 30.Bg6 Ke7 31.h4 Ra1 32.Rxa1 Nxa1 33.Kf1 a5 34.Ke1 Nab3 35.Nd5 Kd6 36.Nc3 Nd7 37.Kd1 Ne5 38.Bc2 Nc5 39.f3 Nc4 40.Ke2 Nd7 41.g4 Nde5 42.g5 Ke6? A weird blunder after long thought.  42….fxg5 keeps the game going.

43.Bb3! Ke7 44.f4 Nxe3 45.Kxe3 Ng6 46.h5 Nf8 47.Nd5 1-0

Round 8.

I drew GM Gurevich with black in a classical King’s Indian.  I resurrected an old system tried by Boris Spassky in the 1960s and at a critical moment, I found a funny tactic to hold things together.

Dmitry Gurevich – M. Ginsburg  Classical King’s Indian  Spassky System Bg4, c5

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 O-O 6.Be2 c5 7.O-O Bg4 8.d5 a6 9.a4 Nbd7 10.Bg5 Qc7 11.Qd2 Rae8 12.h3 Bxf3 13.Bxf3 e6 14.dxe6 Rxe6 15.Rfe1 Ne5 16.Be2 Nc6 17.Nd5 The expected move that I had to worry about when deciding on 14…Rxe6 (14…fxe6 looked very risky after 15. Rad1).  Still, due to the effectiveness of black’s response, this obvious move may not be good.

17… Qa5!!

This is a great move. 17…Qd8?? 18. Qf4! and otherwise white has the nasty idea of Bxf6 and  Bg4 overloading the rook on e6.

18.Qxa5 Nxa5 19.Bxf6 1/2-1/2

Black’s point is that 19…Bxf6 20. Bg4? Bxb2 21. Rb1 Bd4! is terrible for white.  Black has great winning chances there, dominating the board.

So white should go for 20. Nxf6+ Rxf6 and bring his Rook to d5 with the e4-e5 idea; liquidating for a draw.  The horse and its juicy dark square outposts are not enough to win. Still, black should decline white’s draw offer and check that white will not go for the terrible 20. Bg4? material win.

Round 9.

I drew IM Andranik Matikozian as white in a Averbakh King’s Indian.  I mised up things in the opening but there were still some sharp developments in a R & B vs R & N ending.  Eventually it was black that found an accurate drawing continuation.

IM Ginsburg – IM Matikozian  Round 9

1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 g6 3.e4 d6 4.d4 Bg7 5.Be2 O-O 6.Bg5 Na6 7.Qd2 e5 8.dxe5 dxe5 9.Qxd8 Rxd8 10.Nd5 Rd6 11.Nxf6 Bxf6 12.Bxf6 Rxf6 13.Nf3 Bg4 14.O-O-O Rf4 15.Rhe1 Rxe4 16.h3 Bxf3 17.Bxf3 Rxe1 18.Rxe1 Nc5 19.Kc2 Re8 20.b4 Na6 21.a3 c6 22.b5 Nb8 23.bxc6 bxc6 24.Rb1 Kg7 25.Rb7 e4 26.Be2 Na6 27.Rxa7 Nc5 28.a4 Ne6 29.a5 Nd4 30.Kd2 c5 31.Bd1 Rd8 32.Ke1 Nc6 33.Rc7 Nb4 34.Ke2 Nd3 35.Ke3! At this point I expected to win after 35…Nxf2?? 36. Bc2! and wins the ending with the monster a-pawn!  However, my opponent’s reply doesn’t give me the time to get that perfect K & B coordination.

35…Ra8! 1/2-1/2

The N/d3 P/e4 combination keeps me at bay long enough!  Unfortunately 35. Bg4!? Rxa5 36. Be6 Ne5 37. Kxe4 Kf6 38. Bd5 Ra2! 39. f4?? Re2 is checkmate!  If I can’t do that, I have no winning attempt at all!

The ultra-sharp opening in Ramirez’s last game:

GM Ramirez – IM Sandorra Round 9

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.g3 dxc4 5.Bg2 b5 6.O-O Bb7 7.a4 a6 8.Nc3 b4 9.Nb1 Bd5 Black’s play is very risky.

10.Bg5 c5 11.dxc5 Nbd7 12.Nbd2 h6 13.e4!


13…Bb7 14.Bxf6 Nxf6 15.e5 Nd5 16.Nxc4 Bxc5 17.Nfd2 O-O 18.Ne4 Ba7 19.Ncd6 Bc6 20.Qc2 Ne7 21.Rac1 Qa5 22.Nf6 gxf6 23.Bxc6 Nxc6 24.Qxc6 Qxe5 25.Nxf7 Kxf7 26.Qd7 Kg6 27.Rc7 f5 28.Qh7 Kh5 29.Rxa7 Rxa7 30.Qxa7 a5 31.Qe7 Qf6 32.Qc5?

Ramirez missed a clear win here (and a monster, Fischer-like result overall) with the simple 32. Qxf6 Rxf6 33. Re1! with the unstoppable Re1-e5 and Re5xa5.

This blunder could have had very serious consequences as Akobian was crushing Naroditsky and well on his way to 8/9 (the score Ramirez gets with a draw).  See the next game in this article to visualize Akobian’s absolute stranglehold on the position. However, incredibly enough, Akobian blew several easy wins and only drew to reach 7.5.  Thus this lemon had no ill effects on the result!

32…Re8 33.Qb5 Qd8 34.Re1 Kg6 35.Re5 Kf6 36.Qxa5 Qd4 37.Rb5 Qxb2 38.Rxb4 Qc1 39.Kg2 Qc6 40.Kh3 Qf3 41.Rf4 Qh1 42.Qb5 Rd8 43.Qe2 Qd1 44.Qxd1 Rxd1 45.Rh4 Kg6 46.Rb4 Ra1 47.Rb6 Rxa4 48.Rxe6 Kg7 49.Kg2 Rb4 50.Rd6 Ra4 51.h4 h5 52.Kf3 Re4 53.Ra6 Rb4 54.Ke3 Re4 55.Kf3 Rb4 56.Re6 Ra4 57.Ke3 1/2-1/2

I am not understanding the draw here (does black have an elementary path to a draw? I don’t see it). Maybe Ramirez just did it to clinch the tournament, assuming Akobian had already blown it (see next game).

It’s incredible that GM Akobian did not beat Daniel Naroditsky from a completely winning game in this round, but that is what happened.  A very uncharacteristic lapse from the normally very accurate Akobian.

GM Akobian – Naroditsky

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.Nf3 O-O 5.Bg5 d6 6.e3 h6 7.Bh4 c5 8.d5 Qb6 9.Rb1 e5 10.Nd2 Nh7 11.g4 f5 12.gxf5 Bxf5 13.e4 Bd7 14.Rg1 g5 15.Bg3 Nf6 16.Be2 Bh3 17.Bf1 Bd7 18.Be2 Bh3 19.Nf1 Qa5 20.Qd2 a6 21.Ne3 Nbd7 22.Bf1 Bxf1 23.Kxf1 b5 24.Qd3 Nb6 25.b3 bxc4 26.bxc4 Na4 27.Nxa4 Qxa4 28.Nf5 Rab8 Black is already lost.  White could play 29. Rxb8 Rxb8 30. Nxd6 and win easily.

29.Kg2 OK, but the line given above is simpler.

29..Qxa2 30.Nxd6 Rxb1 31.Rxb1 h5 32.Rb7 h4 33.Rxg7+? Why?  33. Nf5 is completely crushing.  The most pleasing variation is 33. Nf5 Rf7 34. Rb8+! Kh7 (34…Rf8 35. Bxe5 wins) 35. Bxe5 Ng4 (last try) 36. Qf3!! and wins (36…Nxe5 37. Qh5+).  With plenty of time, it’s amazing that Akobian passed on the 33. Nf5 move which is supremely obvious.

33…Kxg7 34.Bxe5 Kg8 35.Qe3 Nh7 36.h3 g4 37.Nf5 Rxf5 38.exf5 Qxc4 39.d6 Qd5 40.Kh2 g3 41.Kg1?

41. fxg3 wins easily after a few checks; the ending is winning because the h8 square is a dark square!

Qd1 42.Kg2 gxf2 43.Kxf2 Qc2 44.Kg1 Qxf5 45.Qb3 Qf7 46.Qd1 Qg6 47.Kh2 Qe6 48.d7 Qxe5 49.Kh1 Qe4 50.Kh2 Qe5 51.Kh1 1/2-1/2

What a painful botch by Akobian. A lucky way for Naroditsky to reach 7.5 points and qualify for the US Championship!


The heroes of the tournament were Fred and Moira, hosting the fabulous after-party in their beautiful home.


Tournament Winner Ramirez on the left getting a huggy from D. Gurevich

Good hair day - GM Nakamura and friends at the afterparty


Toiling against IM S. Bercys


The Fabulous 00s: Close but no Mohata

July 11, 2008

Chess Life Online Weirdness

Often times, Chess Life online articles are written hastily (presumably to keep their entertainment value fresh) and the readers really miss out on what’s going on.

In a World Open 2008 article that just appeared, FM Todd Andrews presents some endings in an article titled “Endgame Joy in Philly”.

Let’s look at a particularly bizarre example – since it’s presented without notes and we are led to believe WGM Mohata playing black was somehow ground down (she was ground down earlier that day vs FM Andrews) – but what actually happened?  White was Andrews’ buddy FM John Bick.  CLO readers are having Caissic wool pulled over their eyes here.

Let’s start the action from Andrews’ first diagram.  Black to move.

Position after white’s 39th move in FM Bick – WGM Mohata.   Mohata all the way in this position.

Are you thinking what I’m thinking?  GONGING NOISE: Mohata stands better! The classical advantage of a 3 on 2 majority versus a 4 on 3 majority plus white’s b2 and a3 pawns are on the same color as the white bishop.  White has a bad game!   Mohata’s got the joy goin’ on!  GONG!!  CLO Readers WAKE UP!!! I can only hope that GM Benko never sees this article. He gets offended when the superior side loses.

To compound white’s difficulties, black can constantly threaten to make a K&P ending and invade with her king versus white’s rickety king-side pawns as the variations will show.  How could she lose?  It took something special, and something quite illogical. These are the questions Andrews might have talked about in the article.  But since the remaining moves (where White wins?!?!?!) have no notes, the reader might just believe Mohata was somehow outplayed.  The truth is black can easily win this position in many plausible lines and white at best can hope for a draw.  For black to lose is totally outside the pale of human dignity.

Let’s see how black can reel in the Bick for a full point using the above-named advantages in some sample lines where white makes even tiny inaccuracies.

For convenience, I will just call this move number 1.

1….Ke6! Always king to the center first before undertaking operations.  The f4 hole beckons.  1…Bd4? 2. Bc3 Be5?? (2…Bg1 =) 3. Bxe5 fxe5 4. Kc3 Ke6 5. Kb4 Kd6 6. Ka5 Kc6 7. g5! wins for white (not 7. Kxa6? g5! drawing).

2. Bc3 Bc7 3. h3 a5 4. Ke3 g5! and by fixing the hole on f4 black is totally winning.  For example, 4. Kd4 Bb6 mate! Or 5. Ke2 Be5 and black easily wins the K&P ending.  OK that defense didn’t work out for white.  Let’s try again.

4. Kc2 This hunker-down is plausible but not so easy to play OTB; the usual instinct is to stay more active.  4…a4!? A possible try. 5. Bd2 Bb6 6. f4 g5! A nice shot; if white takes twice on g5 black has Ke5 and Kxe4.  So white plays 7. fxg5 fxg5 8. Bc3! keeping the king out.  I don’t see a win then.

Let’s go back and see some more ideas.

1…Ke6  2. Ke2? This passive move is crushed!  2…Bd4!  3. Bc3 Ke5! White is running very short of move.   Do you want to see another nice move/plan?  The foxy 3…Be5! 4. h3 Bxc3! 5. bxc3 Ke5 6. Ke3 g5! (Always this move, fixing white’s f4 hole) and black wins. This suggests 4. h3? is a blunder crippling white’s majority and let’s try 4. h4! instead.  Now, 4…Bxc3 5. bxc3 Ke5 g5 is only a draw because white gets a protected passed pawn.  So after 4. h4, black should play 4…h5! fixing the h-pawn on black and retaining good chances.  If 4…h5! 5. Ke3? Bg3! wins.  White must play 5. Kf2 to guard the g3 square for the time being.  Then 5…Bf4 does not seem to lead anywhere; white can move his own bishop.  How about 5…Kf7!? establishing what may be a very pretty zugzwang?

5…Kf7 – Zugzwang!?

For example, 6. Kg2? (moving the king too far afield) and now the thematic 6…a5! winning.   A very nice shot here: 6…a5! 7. Kf2 Bxc3 8. bxc3 g5! making a passed h-pawn.  As has been written in many ending manuals, the white king cannot dance at two weddings!  Or, 6. gxh5 gxh5 7. Kg2 a5! with the brutal finale 8. Kf2 b4 9. axb4 Bxc3 10. bxc3 a4 and queens!  8. g5 Bxc3 9. bxc3 fxg5 and once again black will have his two remote passed pawns which decide.  Note also that 6. gxh5 gxh5 7. Bxe5 fxe5 just lands white in a lost K&P ending with inevitable zugzwang giving black’s king decisive entry points.

4. Kd2 a5! and black is way on top. A nice tactical motif.  For example, 5. h4 Bxc3+ 6. Kxc3 (6. bxc3 Kf4 wins) Kf4 7. a4 (or 7. Kd4 Kxf3 8. g5 fxg5 and wins queen and pawn ending) 7…bxa4 8. Kxc4  Kxf3 9. g5 (last try) 9…fxg5 and black wins the queen and pawn ending.

Let’s go back and try some other lines.

1….Ke6 2. Bf8 (Waiting).  2…Ke5 3. Bg7 With a USA-style subtle threat.  3…g5!! (Cold shower) and black wins.  Note how black can afford, in many position, to fix her kingside on black because white is so hopelessly compromised on black squares in the 3 on 2 majority situation on the queenside.

1…Ke6 2. f4! A plausible move getting rid of the hole on f4.  Now, if black plays 2…Bc7 3. Ke3 g5 4. f5+ Kf7 5. h3 Bf4+ 6. Ke2 Be5 7. Bc3 Bxc3 8. bxc3 the single white problem, the backward pawn on e4, won’t be enough. 8…Ke7 9. Ke3 Kd6 I do not see a win in this K&P ending, because if black’s king goes too far on the queenside white can break with e4-e5.  That position is a draw as long as white does not go crazy with 10. Kd4 a5 11. a4?? bxa4 12. Kxc4 Ke5 and black wins.

So let’s try the immediate  1….Ke6 2. f4 g5!? as a trickier try.  Of course, 3. f5+?? now loses to 3…Ke5 4. Bc3+ Bd4! and white has to resign.

White could answer with 3. fxg5 fxg5 4. Bc3 trying to keep the king out, but then black has the nice switcheroo with 4…Bc7! 5. h3 Be5! (The thematic idea to capitalize on the 3 on 2 majority).  Now, 6. Bxe5?? Kxe5 lands white in a lost ending with black using the usual motif of decoying with the remote passed pawn to win white’s remaining pawns.  He must stay calm with 6. Ke2 and hold on passively – indications are he can hold it unless I am missing a black resource.  There is actually a nice variation buried here to show how narrow the path is.  6. Ke2 Bxc3 7. bxc3 Ke5 8. Ke3 a5 9. Kf3 Kd6 10. Ke3 Kc5 (the only try) 11. Kd2 b4

Position after 11….b4 (analysis).  Close but no Mohata.

and now black is hoping for the blunder 12 axb4??+ axb4 13. cxb4+ Kxb4 14. e5 Kc5 15. Kc3 Kd5 16. e6 Kxe6 17. Kxc4 Ke5 and wins!  Correct for white is the tactical 12. cxb4+! (a narrow saving resource!) 12…cxb4 13. a4! Only move! 13…Kd4 14. a5 c3+ 15. Kc1 Kd3 16. a6 b3 17. a7 b2+ 18. Kb1 Kd2 19. a8=Q c2+ 20. Kxb2 c1=Q+ 21. Ka2 Qc2+ 22. Ka1 and draw.  Whew!

Let’s look at another, more craven, formation.

1…Ke6 2. Kc2 (Passive cowering). 2…Ke5 Black can also torture with 2…Bg1.

3. Bd2 (More passive cowering).  3…Bg1 4. h3 This incredibly passive formation is the best white’s been doing so far!  Maybe, just maybe, he can hold this one and make a draw.   There is a cool K&P variation hidden here:  1…Ke6 2. Kc2 Ke5 3. Bc3+?  Bd4 4. h3 Bxc3 5. Kxc3 Kf4 6. Kb4 and now black to play and get good winning chances.  Take a look.  Solution next time.  Hint, don’t play 6…Kxf3?? 7. g5! and white wins!  That would lose the game for Mohata, imagine that!

What’s the most iron-clad draw?  Many of the ‘draws’ above are kind of scary for white. Some of the lines above point out tenuous white draws.   But black is certainly pressing. Andrews should have pointed out Mohata’s fundamental advantages starting from his first diagram but I concede many Chess Life Online articles are crazy rush jobs.  I welcome readers’ inputs on these lines and also it would be nice if someone had a definitive evaluation from the diagram – black wins or a draw?    Poor Mohata – she lost the actual game. None of the instrinsic advantages were used.  Did I mention that?

3% Vicary

Elizabeth Vicary had minimal contribution to this post.

Postscript:  A Curious Warrior Gambit Opening Omission in Chess Life

In the curious article “The Bathhouse & the Indian” (yes, an ampersand was employed in this article’s title, Earth calling CL Editor) GM Kraai omits an important move that was known in the time of the Toltecs or, failing that, at least the To’hona Oodham and the Yavapai.  I did enjoy references to truck grease but I wish the article had included somebody eating the worm out of the tequila bottle.  Let’s get to the chess.

In his notes to  Johnston vs Leeds-Tilley, after the moves

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 0-0 6. Be2 e5 7. 0-0 Nc6 8. d5 Ne7 9. b4 For some reason, Kraai awards this an exclamation point.  Radjabov wouldn’t like that!

9. … Nd7? A huge lemon simply because it allows so many juicy white continuations.  Every Russian schoolboy knows about 9…Nh5!

Now, in the game, white played 10. Be3 and very oddly, this move passes by without comment.  White has a far more entertaining option.  Let’s go back to the position after black’s 9th move to summon the spirit of what is known from the past.  Eugene Meyer must have shown me these lines 30 years and many moon ago.

10. c5!

10. c5! Ye Olde Toltec Gambit.

Summoning the spirit of <insert deity/deities>.  Accepting is very risky.  For example, 10…dxc5 11. bxc5 Nxc5 12. Ba3 Nd7? 13. Nb5! with a juicy edge. For example, 13…c5 14. dxc6 e.p. bxc6 15. Nd6 with complete paralysis as in Schenk-Braun Boeblingen 2003.  Or, 12…b6 13. Bxc5 dxc5 14. Na4 and white has scored very heavily starting from here, for example 14…Nxd5? 15. Qxd5 Qxd5 16. exd5 e4 17. Nd2 Bxa1 18. Rxa1 and white won easily, Savchenko-Maier, Porto San Giorgio 2000.

Declining is the Better Part of Valor

In this gambit, declining looks like a better bet. For example 10…f5 11. Ng5 Nf6 12. f3 h6!? is not ridiculous. 13. Ne6 Bxe6 14. dxe6 d5 15. exd5 Nfxd5 16. Nxd5 Qxd5! is murky as practice has shown.  White might do better with  11. Ng5 Nf6 12. Bf3!? but here, black has what may be a TN, 12…a5!, with counterplay.  That suggestion is hot off the Rybka griddle. I don’t think that position has been seen before.

This gambit stuff would make the Yavapai proud!  Very bold and thematically fitting into the article.  I would lose the ampersand in the title, though – editor?

GM L. Ftacnik, Hero!!

Wish I had seen this.  From J. Shahade’s CLO World Open 08 story,

“Co-winner GM Lubomir Ftacnik became heroic to some and notorious to others early in the tournament when he grabbed the mike and yelled “Shut-up” repeatedly when announcements began, even though some of the games had been going on for 20 minutes”.    Is there any question?  Hero!!!!

By the way, Ftacnik was a runner-up in the epic World Junior Championship that the USA’s Mark Diesen won way back in 1976.  Ftacnik got there by swindling pre-tourney favorite Vladimirov.

What’s New Elsewhere

I just posted the blunderfest Ehlvest-Liu from the NY International 2008 Part Deux.

Awesome Error Message

From the site at 12:23 EST Sunday July 13, trying to read an article, I get:

Fatal error: Out of memory (allocated 262144) (tried to allocate 6144 bytes) in /nfs/eagle/export0/www/docroot/global/ on line 464

That’s better than the article!  All I wanted was a measly 6144 bytes!

Unrelated Query

Presumably correspondence players, having plenty of time to think (and even access to chess engines) should be able to find good moves.  Why is it that correspondence games presented in Chess Life magazine are usually of such poor quality?