Posts Tagged ‘Michael Goeller’

The Fabulous 00s: The end of the 2009 USCL Season for the Arizona Scorpions

November 13, 2009

Scorpions Squished

San Francisco defeated the Scorpions comprehensively last Wednesday 3.5 – 0.5.

Some observations about the 2009 USCL season:

A) The Scorpions are a much improved squad with the addition of GM Alejandro Ramirez. In addition, we had more communication pre-match although sometimes players would switch away from openings they had discussed with other team members at the last minute, with highly variable results.

B) We still suffer from logistical problems since our Tucson site and our Mesa (greater Phoenix) site are quite far apart.  This leads to roster problems, scheduling problems, etc.   Even so, the Abstrax site in Mesa is phenomenal.   The Tucson site is much improved too since we added a separate commentary room to herd the noisy onlookers.  Although there still is texting and giggling sometimes in the playing room.  Levon could not hear Wolff’s draw offer, although his sound was on, due to that sort of “ambient noise” !

C) I hated being an Alternate and sitting by passively watching the playoff.  Both Aldama and I had played two games, but he somehow was not an alternate although the playoff was in Tucson and he could not travel.  Ugh!!!  So there I am in the commentary room and it was Veterans Day and we had only 1 or 2 spectators.  All I could do was read HA81 (a better name is PA for Passive Aggressive) trashing Krasik on various blog sites  and vice versa (Karmic that their teams lost as well as our battlin’ Scorps – but I do feel sorry for LarryC, he played really creatively vs. Kach).

D) One of our highest scoring members, David Adleberg, was away at the World Youth and missed the playoff!  Unlucky!

E) Many of our players suffered from playoff nerves, understandably so, and it showed in shaky playoff openings.

F) Switching away from nerves into the simply bizarre, although Naroditsky’s bizarre ….Ng4?!?! foray in the Poisoned Pawn opening actually “worked” in some sense, I am at a loss of words to describe it!

The game (Adamson-Naroditsky Board 3) went:

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 Qb6!?

8. Nb3 Qe3+ 9. Qe2 Ng4 ?!?! (or alternatively !?!? it’s truly shocking – an OTB inspiration?  It’s illogical in its face, but has value in the USCL time control!)

naro

Wow! So much for "don't move same piece twice"!

Now Robby found 10. Nd1!. The game went on 10…Qxe2 11. Bxe2 Nf6 and here probably best for white is 12. Bxf6 gxf6 13. Ne3! +=. That horse always is thinking about hopping to c4. The computer reveals 13…Nc6 14. Kf2! to meet 14…b5 with 15. a4! +=.   The position is difficult for play, for example 14. O-O-O?! would take away this resource for white and forfeit much, if not all, of his edge.

Further note 11/16/09: based on feedback from IM John Donaldson, 12. Bxf6 gxf 13. Ne3 Nd7 idea b6, Bb7 might be all right for black.  John and I both studied Bg5 Najdorfs in the early to mid 70s. At least I was able to surprise Jakovenko recently in an ICC blitz game in a different Bg5 Najdorf.  John says the most “name” player to previously try 9…Ng4 was Litinskaya (2375), former Women’s Candidate.

Another way to play for white is 12. Nf2!? and castles short, keeping the bishop pair.  As always, white wants to avoid castling long in order to always meet b7-b5 with a2-a4. After 12. Nf2 white has a small edge.

In the game white elected to keep the bishop pair and appeared to be a bit better as well, but black developed surprising counter-chances later.

G) I have some funny pre-match video of the team yipping and yapping which I will post within 2 days.  (along with team amanuensis Ben Marmont and the ever-stylish Amanda Mateer).

H) Our squad, along with Amanda and Ben, did make it for one last Applebees at 11:30 pm. They closed at midnight. The waitress addressed Amanda by saying “Whaddya want, Lady?”  to great merriment.  I called Ben a “Frosty Haired Choad” stunning the waitress because I had just rented “I Love You, Man”.   Danny Rensch queried the waitress “ISN’T IT TRUE EVERYTHING IN APPLEBEES IS MICROWAVED I KNOW IT IS MY COUSIN WORKED THERE AND IT IS”?    The waitress was assured she was getting a big tip.

Rules Reform Needed in USCL Playoffs

I think teams getting draw odds in the USCL playoffs are too great an odds.  So do others, judging from blog posts I’ve seen around the league.  I understand the desire to give higher seeds an edge, but this edge is too high.  It’s an easy rule to reform and still bestow the desired small edge to the higher seed.

Here are some proposals.

A) A single Armageddon game between Board 1 (or Board 2 at the higher seed’s choosing) with the proviso the opponents must be within 150 points of one another.  It will last only 12 minutes maximum and add thrills, and yes, more chess to the playoff!  An Armageddon game, let me remind the readers is:   Black gives white  7 min. to 5 min. time odds in a blitz game, but white gives black draw odds.  A very tense situation.

The higher seed can choose colors in the game – I put in that rating differential proviso to avoid the absurd scenario of the higher seed fielding a 2900 vs a 2400 or some such.

B) Some other proposal (I’ll leave it open to readers’ imagination).

USCL Finals Coverage – Ben ‘n Me

This just in – ICC Chess.FM will cover the USCL finals.  GM Ben Finegold and I  will do the honors.  So visit chessclub.com or logon to ICC in December (but not too late, figure out when the finals actually are :)) and watch the final matchup!

Dan Scoones Enlightens the Canadians

Re: Best Chess Blog/Site


I would add the blogs conducted by Michael Goeller and Mark Ginsburg:http://www.kenilworthchessclub.org/kenilworthian/
https://nezhmet.wordpress.com/Always interesting, and there are substantial archives.

For Happy News Click Me

Hot Danish chess chick Carina Jorgensen.

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The Fabulous 00s: Chess Opening Blog, Meet the Soviet Logical Aesthetic

October 23, 2008

Ugly Duckling for White, Beautiful Swan for Black

I noticed a really ugly variation in the CyberVerse, 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. g4?, presented/espoused by Dana Mackenzie [DM] with some Fritz peppered in.  Let’s check the Caissic horror.

Note: recently (November 2009) Mackenzie tried to espouse this variation once again with a new set of recommendations; I’ll label the new attempts DM-1109 and deal with them accordingly in the body of this article. To give an executive summary: logic will deal with the new tries as well. 🙂

The atrocity (kudos for bravery, though) starts out with the particularly unaesthetic lunge

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. g4? Eww! The Aesthetics Police are mobilized! As a general rule of thumb, if a move looks disgusting, there is a reason. 🙂  Or, as the Soviet School of Chess likes to say, Pawns-Do-Not-Move-Backward. I think this easy to grasp Soviet principle has been responsible for over 100,000 Swiss System defeats of American players.   A corollary:  If you are leaving gaping holes in your position, you had better be doing it for immense material gain and/or checkmate.

Position after 4. g4? – Ewww!

4…Be4! The cowardly 4… Bd7 can be well met by the simple 5. c4! e6 6. Nc3 Ne7 and white could’ve tried 7. Qb3 here to press his future-WC opponent,  David Bronstein – Tigran Petrosian, USSR Ch. 1959, Tbilisi.  That game was drawn after some adventures.  4…Bg6? is just weak with white scoring well in many games after either 5. h4 or 5. e6.  Black should force more dark square weakenings before retreating.

5. f3 Bg6 6. h4

Note 11/11/09: DM-1109 says:

My second and more important argument is White can avoid Ginsburg’s line by playing a different move order! I did not realize this when I wrote my original series of posts on Bronstein’s Folly (formerly the Homo Erectus Variation). The move order I would now like to recommend is 4. … Be4 5. f3 Bg6 6. Ne2.

Response: why is Dana infatuated with this ugly position?  6. Ne2 is not a scare move. To me it harkens back to the bad old days when Americans were one of the most poorly prepared players on the international stage (shades of old US-USSR radio broadcasts).  Black can play any sensible move, for example 6…e6 7. h4 h6! and as any Caro player knows, if you have a hiding square for your bishop and have e7-e6 in as well, you’re happy.  For some strange reason, Mackenzie only considers the provocative and unnecessary 7….h5?! there.  Why?  7…h6! is fine. Example (and you don’t need special prep to see this is good for black): 7…h6! 8. h5 Bh7 and …c7-c5 is coming.  It’s a French WITH the queen bishop outside the pawn chain WITH senseless weaknesses created by white. I have noticed that Mackenzie often goes wrong in his optimistic lunge analyses by not considering the best moves for black. This occurred here too; he did not consider the most obvious Caro move 7…h6!

Humorous epilog: blindfold I started wondering why not 6. Ne2 e6 7. Nf4 first (then h2-h4) to cause problems to black’s bishop.  Only on setting up the board did I then see 7. Nf4? Qh4+ oops!

We now return the programming to the original post.

6…h5! DM correctly points out 6…h6 is much weaker.

7. Ne2 DM correctly points out that 7. e6? Qd6! is bad for white.  But keep this motif in mind, it will bite white on the rear repeatedly in the variations that follow.

7… hxg4 8. Nf4 Bh7! Black adheres to the Soviet principle, Do-Not-Give-Opponent-Anything.

Position after ice-cold Soviet refutation-mode 8…Bh7!

9. fxg4

DM labels 9. e6 (?) “Top Choice of Fritz”.  But what Fritz?  9. e6?  looks terrible after the simple 9…fxe6
10. fxg4 (10. Nxe6 Qd6! 11. Nxf8 Qg3+! and white is feeling ill) 10… Qd6! (this pesky idea again) 11. Nc3 and already black can break with 11… e5 12. dxe5 Qxe5+ 13. Be2 d4! and white is in a total shambles.  Notice in these lines how Soviet logical this is.  “e6 gives me d6; I will use it.”  Thus have so many American players gone down the drain.

Note 11/11/09 : DM-1109 says the following:

I have two arguments to make against Ginsburg [ ….] First is that in his refutation, 4. … Be4 5. f3 Bg6 6. h4 h5 7. Ne2 hg 8. Nf4 Bh7! 9. e6 fe 10. fg Qd6! he does not consider White’s answer 11. Qe2. If he was thinking of 11. … Be4 12. Rh3 e5? then he would run into 13. de Qxe5 14. Ng6. However, I am not going to press this argument too hard because I think that Black can play more patiently with 11. … Nd7 and still be doing quite well for the basic reasons that Ginsburg outlines.

Response to DM-New: 9. e6? gets a BIG FAT JUICY QUESTION MARK – it’s a terrible move!   Why?  Because in the above line 11. Qe2 runs headlong into 11…Na6! and this is completely embarrassing to white. Black is doing fine with 11…Nd7 but 11…Na6 preparing Nc7 is even stronger.    11…Na6! 12. Qxe6 Nb4 is a comfortable plus for black; 12. Nxe6? Be4! is even worse; and on the insipid 12. a3 simply Nc7 and castles long and black should convert to the full point with no particular difficulties.

9…e6 10. g5 DM says “Fritz says white has to play 10. g5 to distract black from his counterplay.”

This pawn move, not developing, is, to say the least, not scary.  Once again, this position looks completely miserable for white after 10..Ne7.  Black can also play 10…Be4 and 11. Rh2 Ne7 12. Nc3 Nf5 13. Nxe4 dxe4 14. Bg2 Qxd4 looks like a fizzle-out draw.

For example, 11. Nc3 Nd7 12. h5 and now either 12…Bf5 (or even the wild 12… Nf5 13. g6 Bxg6!
14. Nxg6 fxg6 15. Qg4 Qe7 16. Bg5 Qb4 17. O-O-O gxh5 18. Rxh5 Nxe5!! cross-pin) are fine for black.  White’s position is riddled with holes and black has no difficulties developing. An amusing Soviet-style variation: 12. h5 Bf5 13. Be3 c5! 14. Bd3 cxd4 15. Bxd4 Qb8! 16. Qe2 (16. g6 Nxe5 with an edge) 16..Nc6! and black is just logically attacking the guys white has strewn about while centralizing his minors at the same time.   It’s a cold shower for white.

On white 10th move alternatives, such as 10. Nc3, black can simply play 10…Nd7 11. Be3 Bb4 and he faces no problems.  It is white that has to watch out for sudden Be4 incursions.

Conclusion:  4. g4? is, in the late, great, IM Victor Frias’s words, “a steaming pile of malooch.”

Let’s bring back the Fantasy Variation 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. f3!  (less holes).

Bravo, Chess Opening Bloggers

I enjoy chess opening discussions (good, bad, and unclear lines) alike of the sort presented by Dana and Michael Goeller over at the Kenilworthian. It’s nice how the CyberVerse leads to rapid idea generation, refutation, and idea refinement (of course, chess engines play a big part). Keep ’em coming!

And for something Different:  Chess Rental

Chessqueen83 (on ICC) set up this Rental and what a nice one it is.  Available now for your chess and non-chess needs!

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11th North American FIDE Invitational

May 22, 2008

Selected Games from the 11th North American FIDE Invitational

Here are some games from the 11th North American FIDE Invitational, held at IM Angelo Young’s Touch Move Chess Center on Ashland Avenue in Andersonville, Chicago.

Round 1

M. Ginsburg – NM Stamnov Semi-Slav

1.c4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Nc3 Nbd7 6.Qc2 Bd6 7.Be2 O-O 8.O-O dxc4 9.Rd1 Qe7 10.a4!? e5! 11.Nd2 exd4 12.Nxc4 Bc7 Black doesn’t want to grab a pawn and surrender the two bishops just yet.

13.Rxd4 Ne5 14.b3 Nxc4 15.Rxc4 Rd8 16.Nb5 Bxh2+!? But now he goes for it. The situation is murky.

17.Kxh2 cxb5 18.Rf4 Nd5 19.Rd4 bxa4 20.Raxa4 Be6 21.Qd2 Qc7 22.g3 Nb6? Moving this horse to c3 would cause white problems!

23.Rxa7! Did black miss this simple move?

23…Rxd4 24.Rxa8 Nxa8 25.Qxd4 Bxb3 26.Bb2 f6 27.Bd3 Bf7 28.Qe4 Bg6 29.Bc4 Kh8 30.Qe6 Qd8 31.Bd4 I’m doing all sorts of good things but am low on time. The game toddles on.

31…h5 32.f4 Nc7 33.Qb6 Be4 34.Be2 Bc6 35.Qc5 g6 Black’s pawns are rickety but when I go after them, the queens come off and my winning chances disappear.

36.Qg5 Kh7 37.Qxf6 Qxf6 38.Bxf6 Be4! Black has achieved safety.

39.Kg1 Kg8 40.Kf2 Kf7 41.Be5 Ne6 42.Bc4 1/2-1/2

Stamnov played pretty solidly in this first round encounter. Two rounds later, he went a little nuts, though:

Loncarevic, Robert (2100) – NM Stamnov Two Knights Defense Round 3.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Bc4 Nc6 4.Ng5 Bc5? The famous uhhh unsound line. What do they call it, the Traxler? The Wilkes-Barre? It’s not good. The simple and time-tested 4….d5 5. exd5 Na5! gives black ample compensation. Even Fischer had to admit this in his white experimentations.

5.d4?! “As every Russian schoolboy knows”, after the correct 5. Bxf7+! Ke7 6. Bd5! black has insufficient compensation and the lines aren’t that complicated – I refer the readers to a comprehensive deconstruction of this variation in a New In Chess treatise. It pays to study the refutations of the more common bad lines, because they do crop up now and again.

5…Bxd4 6.c3 Bb6 7.Nxf7 Bxf2+ For some reason, black was playing all his moves instantly as if he were a Kasparovian “monster with a thousand eyes.”

8.Kxf2 Nxe4+ 9.Kg1 Qh4 10.g3 Nxg3 11.Nxh8 Nxh1 12.Qd5! Ne7? This lu-lu was also played immediately. White took his sweet time over the sobering response.

13.Qf7+ And mate next move on f8.

1-0

In my 2nd round, I was able to use a system I had used previously to score a solid draw vs. the dangerous Danny Rensch in an Arizona event a year or so back.

Round 2

Dennis Monokroussos – M. Ginsburg Sicilian Taimonov

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Qd2 Bb4! Versus the English Attack set-up, it makes a lot of sense to speed things up and omit a7-a6. In a later round, versus Pasalic (see Round 6 below), for some reason I went for 5…d6 and avoided a possible repeat of this line. My tentative conclusion is that if white is really gunning all-out for an English Attack, this setup (without a6) is a very effective antidote – not possible, of course, from a Najdorf because there, a7-a6 has occurred on the 5th move!

8.f3 Nxd4 9.Bxd4 It is probably better to take with the queen here. People like GM Yannick Pelletier have shown that black has good play, though.

9…e5 10.Be3 Bxc3 11.Qxc3 11. bxc3 is possible with level chances.

11…Qxc3+ 12.bxc3 d6 13.c4 And here it might be more circumspect to leave this pawn where it is. White is drifting into an uncomfortable ending situation.

13… Be6 14.Rb1 b6 15.a4 Ke7 The king is great in this ending-type of middlegame in the middle of the board.

16.a5 Nd7 17.Kd2 Rhc8 18.Bd3 bxa5 19.Ra1 Bxc4 20.Rxa5 Bxd3 21.Kxd3 a6 22.Rb1 Rc6 23.Rb7 Kd8 24.h4 Kc8 25.Rb2 Kc7 26.Rba2 Nf8 27.h5 Ne6 28.R5a4 g6 29.h6 f5 30.Rb4 fxe4+ 31.fxe4 White is getting low on time which simplifies the technical task.

31…a5 32.Rb1 Nc5 I can’t make progress without trading knight for bishop, so I get that over with.

33.Bxc5 Rxc5 34.Rab2 Kd7 35.Rf1 Rc7 36.c4 a4 37.Kc3 Ke6 38.Rbf2 a3 39.Ra1 Ra4 This finishes it.

40.Kb3 Rcxc4 41.Raf1 Rcb4 42.Kc3 Rxe4 43.Rf6 Kd5 44.Rf7 Rf4 45.Rd1 Rad4 46.Rxf4 Rxd1 47.Ra4 Rh1 48.Rxa3 Rxh6 0-1

Round 5

IM Mark Ginsburg – IM Angelo Young Sicilian Kan

1.d4 e6 2.Nf3 c5 3.e4! Trying to recreate my win over Dzindzi that occurred in a Kan 29 years ago (!!!) in Chicago December 1979.

3…cxd4 4.Nxd4 Qb6!? Not knowing this line, I wondered about 5. Nb5 with the idea of 5…Bc5 6. Be3. However, 5…a6 6. Be3 Qa5+ seems to be a significant objection. After my response, it is most likely to transpose to a conventional Kan aka Modern Paulsen.

5.Nb3 Qc7 6.Bd3 Bb4+? Terrible. This move loses a full tempo.

7.Nc3! Since black cannot seriously contemplate eating on c3, the bishop move proves futile.

7…Nf6 8.O-O a6 9.Bd2 Be7 10.f4 d6 11.Qf3 Nc6 12.Kh1 Bd7 13.Rae1 h5 Black cannot move his king to the kingside so makes a semi-aggressive waiting move. But this allows white to break in the middle and get a big edge.

14.e5! Ng4 Clearly 14…dxe5?? 15. fxe5 Nxe5 16. Rxe5! Qxe5 17. Bf4! traps the black queen and wins instantly. So the text is forced.

15.exd6 Qxd6 16.Ne4! Qc7 17.Bc3! All these moves are logical and strong. Black must now “gambit” and hope for the best.

17…O-O-O Forced.

18.Nec5? White misses the very strong capture 18. Bxg7! Rhg8 19. Bc3 Nb4 (what I had feared, gaining the 2 bishops) 20. h3! and white is much better. The point is that the N/g4, the key to black’s game, must retreat and that spells disaster. It’s OK to give up the Bishop on d3, opening the c-file and keeping the all-important Bishop on c3. For some reason, I had only looked at 20. Bxb4? (horrible) donating black permanent compensation on the dark squares and so dismissed this entire line. I start making one bad move after another and lose all my advantage.

18…Bxc5 19.Nxc5 Nce5 20.fxe5? 20. Qxb7! is correct and white keeps an extra pawn in a rather drawish ending after a lengthy set of mutual captures.

20…Qxc5 21.Be4? An outright blunder.

21…Bb5! Oops. 22. Qxf7? Rd7! wins for black so I must go back.

22.Bd3 1/2-1/2 Black can even play on with the simple Bxd3 but decided to call it a day; as owner/operator of the club Angelo has definite socialization duties with visitors.

Round 6

FM Mehmed Pasalic – IM M. Ginsburg, Sicilian Scheveningen

1.e4 c5 2.Ne2 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Be2 Be7 8.Qd2!? O-O 9.O-O-O a6 10.f4 Nxd4 11.Qxd4 Nd7! Angling for …e5 to equalize in certain positions.

12.Kb1 b5 13.h4!? Rb8! It’s correct to drive the N/c3 off then hit in the center with ….e5 if possible.

14.h5!? b4 15.Na4 h6 I thought it made most sense to halt white’s h-pawn advance.

16.Qd3 Qa5 17.b3 Bb7 18.e5! White avoids danger with this move.

18…Nc5! 18…d5? closing the B/b7 off is too risky.

19.Nxc5 dxc5 20.Bf3 Rfd8 21.Qe2 Qc7 22.g4 Bxf3 23.Qxf3 c4 24.Qe4 cxb3 24…c3? would be bad; black cannot attack and white simply carries on with a kingside advance.

25.axb3 Rxd1 26.Rxd1 Rd8 Although white has space here it’s very hard for him to attempt anything. Likewise black also has nothing particular to do.

27.Rd4 Rxd4 28.Bxd4 Qc8 White declined a draw around here but a few moves later he offers one.

29.f5 Bf8 30.Bb2 Qc5 31.Bd4 Qc8 32.Bb2 1/2-1/2 This felt like a very logical game.

Round 8

IM M. Ginsburg – IM Emory Tate Round 8. Budapest Gambit. G/90 + 30 sec increment. Budapest Gambit.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 Emory was rather late and then blitzed off this Budapest.

3.dxe5 Ng4 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.Bf4 Bb4 6.Nc3 Qe7 7.Qd5 O-O? But what’s this? 7….f6 is necessary.

8.h3 Nh6 9.e3 Nf5 10.Bd3 Bxc3 11.bxc3 Nh4 12.Nxh4 Qxh4 13.O-O Re8 14.Bg3 Qh6 15.Rad1 a5 16.c5 a4 17.Bc4 Qe6 18.Qxe6 fxe6 19.Rb1 Ne7 20.e4 g5 21.h4 c6! Emory ingeniously makes some counterplay on the queenside.

22.hxg5 Ra5 23.f4 Rxc5 24.Bd3 Rxc3 25.Rbd1 c5 26.Rf3 Nc6 27.Bb5 Rxf3 28.gxf3 Nd4 29.Bxa4 Ne2+ 30.Kg2 Nc3 31.Bxd7 Forced but strong.

31…Nxd1 If 31…Rf8, 32. Bxc8! Nxd1 33. Bxe6+ wins quickly. And of course if 31…Rd8? 32. Bxe6+ wins.

32.Bxe8 Fortunately for white, the king side pawn majority is too strong.

32...Kf8 33.g6! hxg6 34.Bxg6 Kg7 35.Be8 Kf8 36.Ba4 Nc3 37.Bc2 Nxa2 38.Be1 b5 39.Bd2 b4 40.Bb3 Nc3 41.Bxc3 Also 41. Be3 of course but this simplification is decisive.

41…bxc3 42.Kf2 Ke7 43.Ke3 Bd7 44.Bc2 Bb5 45.f5 Bf1 46.f4 The pawn box!

46…Kd7 47.Bb3 exf5 48.exf5 Bh3 49.Be6 Kc6 50.Kd3 c4 51.Kxc3 Kc5 52.Bc8 Bg2 53.f6 Bd5 54.f5 Bg8 1-0

After this game, Mehmed Pasalic, hanging around outside, was congratulated by Emory and me as he made his final IM norm in this event with a clinching draw. Bravo. He had beaten Stamnov in a “double-header” (Stamnov game played immediately after a long draw with Loncarevic).

Round 9

Loncarevic, Robert – Ginsburg, Mark Modern Defense

1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.Be2 a6 5.h4?! I don’t like this move. It causes problems for white in the game; it hangs in certain lines, and it doesn’t help get the king to safety.

5…h5! One time I made the mistake of allowing h4-h5 versus Sherzer and lost an agonizing middlegame.

6.Be3 b5 7.a4?! b4 8.Na2 a5 9.c3 bxc3 10.Nxc3 So the horse winds up on c3 again but black has gained open lines on the queenside.

10…Nf6 11.f3 Nc6 12.Bc4 O-O 13.Nge2 Nb4 14.Nf4 This all looks very artificial.

14...c6(!) Less interesting but OK was 14…Ba6.

15.d5? White could have tried to confuse here with 15. e5. But of course not 15. Nxg6?? d5 and wins material and the game (the knight gets trapped on f8).  Even so, 15. e5 Nfd5! (the best) 16. Ncxd5 cxd5 17. Nxd5 Nxd5 18. Bxd5 Rb8 19. e6 Bxe6! 20. Bxe6 fxe6 21. Qd3 Rf5! with advantage to black.

15…cxd5 16.Nfxd5? Last chance but of course bad for white was 16. exd5 Bf5. Now black’s initiative grows unopposed and it’s all over.

16…Nfxd5 17.Nxd5 Nxd5 18.Bxd5 Rb8 19.Bd4 Bxd4 20.Qxd4 Rb4 21.Qc3 Qb6 22.b3 Ba6 0-1

White cannot finish developing and the upcoming e6 and Rfc8 will be decisive (in either order). A rout.

Postscript: My Loss Pops Up in the Blogosphere

I was pleased to see my only loss in the event (to FM Tom Bartell) well annotated by Michael Goeller in ‘The Kenilworthian’.  These annotations taught me information I really should have known before the game, but the last time I had tried it out was quite a while ago!