Posts Tagged ‘Naroditsky’

The Fabulous 00s: The 2009 North American Open

December 30, 2009

Vegas and Chess, Makes Sense

A true American classic – this year’s edition of the Bill Goichberg North American Open (at Bally’s Hotel, Las Vegas) was very hard fought in all seven rounds.

The abridged standings (click here for the complete standings as reported by the CCA):

1 GM Varuzhan Akobian 2690 CA W48 W27 W41 D5 W12 D3 D4
2 GM Alexander Shabalov 2669 PA W69 W29 D18 L12 W62 W19 W15
3 GM Victor Mikhalevski 2666 ISR W92 D42 W31 W18 D15 D1 W16
4 GM Joshua Ed Friedel 2609 NH L23 W25 W76 W32 W21 W11 D1
5 GM Alex Yermolinsky 2583 SD W37 W45 W49 D1 D11 D12 W14
6 GM Sundarajan Kidambi 2616 IND W59 W43 L12 W29 D13 D18 W27 5
7 GM Dmitry Gurevich 2526 IL W79 W35 D13 D19 D41 W42 D12 5
8 IM Lev Milman 2510 NY W78 D31 D32 D34 W53 W22 D9 5
9 IM Mark Ginsburg 2427 AZ W38 D33 H— W47 D44 W28 D8 5
10 FM Kazim Gulamali 2418 GA W80 W36 D44 L13 W31 D34 W30 5
11 FM Steven C Zierk 2387 CA W25 D23 W33 W17 D5 L4 W34 5
12 FM Daniel Naroditsky 2375 CA W62 W94 W6 W2 L1 D5 D7 5
13 David Alan Zimbeck 2293 CA W53 W90 D7 W10 D6 D15 D18 5
14 Siddharth Ravichandran 2489 NY L49 W93 W78 W43 D22 W40 L5
15 GM Mesgen Amanov 2448 IL W24 D32 W58 W28 D3 D13 L2
16 FM Alexander Kretchetov 2444 CA D60 W51 D47 W45 D42 W41 L3
17 FM Charles R Riordan 2411 MA W50 D47 X23 L11 L34 W55 W46
18 FM Michael Lee 2399 WA W61 W34 D2 L3 W36 D6 D13
19 IM Emory A Tate 2375 CA D70 W64 W56 D7 D40 L2 W39
20 FM Darwin Yang 2370 TX L63 L62 W99 W94 W49 W44 D23
21 GM Anatoly Y Lein 2355 OH W71 D66 H— W49 L4 D24 W48
22 Alex Cherniack 2280 MA H— W65 D52 W60 D14 L8 W45
23 FM William J Schill 2203 WA W4 D11 F17 D77 W66 W68 D20
24 Ryan J Moon 2188 GA L15 W84 W26 L41 W57 D21 W42
25 Christopher Heung 2168 FL L11 L4 W84 W87 W43 D45 W44

Here are my games.  I took a bye in the 3rd round to drink and gamble, making my effort a 6-rounder.

Round 1.

M. Ginsburg – S. Higgins (attended some Robby Adamson camps)

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 Nc6 3. d4 e6 4. a3 d6?! 5. Nc3 g6 6. d5! This move gives an edge in all lines. As black, I like to try the Tango a little differently:  in ICC blitz 4…g6!? 5. Nc3 Bg7 6. e4 d5!? is recommended with crazy Gruenfeld-like complications.  I haven’t looked up if that particular try has been seen OTB.

6…Ne7 7. e4 e5 8. c5! Bg7 9. Bb5+ Nd7 9..Bd7 is quite playable.

10. b4 The computer is quick to point out the logical 10. cxd6 cxd6 11. O-O O-O 12. Be3 f5 13. Ng5 but the text move is all right.

10… O-O 11. O-O h6 12. Bb2 f5 13. Bc4 Kh8 14. Rc1 Nf6 15. exf5?! Cleaner is 15. Nd2! with the possible line 15…f4 16. Be2 g5 17. cxd6 cxd6 18. Nb5 Ne8 19. Bh5!! (a fantastic move to gain c7) 19…Nf6 20. h3 a6 21. Nc7 Rb8 22. Be2 and white is dominating; he can choose when to play Ne6 with crushing effect.  This is exactly what white wants – a route to e6.

15… g5?!

Puzzle. White to play...

16. Re1? Very weak.  The computer points out the elementary tactic 16. h4! g4
17. Ng5! hxg5 18. hxg5 Bxf5 19. gxf6 Bxf6 with a big edge to white.  For whatever reason, I played my move fast, never bothering to look for anything.  A sign of first-round laziness?  At least I was well ahead on time at this point.  I had some vague notions of Bishop back to f1 and clearing the c-file.

16… Bxf5 17. Bf1 17. h3!? Ng6 18. Qb3 Qd7 19. c6!? bxc6 20. dxc6 Qxc6! 21. Bd5 Qe8 22. Bxa8 Qxa8 and black has good compensation.

17… Bg4 18. Be2 Bf5 19. Qb3 Ne8? No reason for this retreat. 19… g4 20. Nd2 h5 is all right.

20. Nd2 Ng6 21. Bf1?! A continuation of a second-best idea.  The obvious reflex denying the f4 square, 21. g3! gives white a pleasant edge.

21… Nf4 22. Nde4 Qe7 23. Nd1 Nothing wrong with the solid 23. f3! — the game move somehow works out after a pair of knights comes off the board.

23… Nf6 24. Nxf6 Rxf6 25. Ne3 Bd7? Now white breaks through and should be winning.  But since both players are in time trouble, black more than white, crazy adventures await.

26. cxd6 cxd6 27. Rc7 Qd8 28. Rec1 b6 29. Qc2 Rf8 30. g3! After the game, I thought this move was terrible giving black all kinds of chances, but it’s actually correct and the fastest win.

A more practical move is 30. Qe4 with domination.  Black can barely move.

30… Nh3+ 31. Bxh3 Bxh3 32. Qg6? A huge lemon.  Consistent is 32. g4! locking out the bishop on h3.   32. g4! Qf6 (note that 32… Rf4 is met by an unusually nice combination: 33. Qg6 Qf6 34. Rc8+ Rxc8 35. Rxc8+ Bf8 36. Qxf6+ Rxf6

Position after 36...Rxf6 (analysis)

37. Bxe5!! {Wow!} dxe5 38. d6 Rxd6 39. Rxf8+ Kh7 40. Rf3 and wins the errant bishop!

Returning to 32. g4 Qf6, 33. Nf5 Rg8 34. f3 h5 35. Qe4 and white has things under control and wins.

32… Qf6 My preliminary calculation had 32…Rg8 33. Qh5 “with the dual threat of Qxh3 and Rxh6 mating” — but the rook on c7 really cannot jump to h6 like that.  Also I hadn’t even noticed the game defense.

33. Qxf6 Rxf6 34. g4 Late, but still good.  Not as good, though.

34…Raf8 35. Nf5 Rg6?! A better try is 35… h5! 36. Rxg7 (The optically “nice” 36. R1c2 is insufficient due to a fantastic resource:  36… Bxg4 37. f4 (37. Nxd6 Kxg7 38. Bxe5 Kg6 39. Bxf6 Kxf6 40. Ne4+ Kf5 41. Nd2 Ke5 42. Rc7 Rc8! is equal) 37…Rxf5 38. Rcc7 Rc8!! {Wow!} 39. Rh7+ Kg8 40. Rcg7+ Kf8 41. Rd7 Kg8 and draw!

36. f3?! Another miscue.  The players have no time. Correct is the difficult 36. R1c6!! Bxg4 37. Nxd6 Bf3 (37… Kg8 38. Rxa7 Rf4 39. Rcc7 Bf8 40. Nc4 Bh3 41. Ne3 Re4 42. Rc6 and wins) 38. Nf7+ Kh7 39. Nxe5 Rxc6 40. Nxc6 Rg8 41. Bxg7 Rxg7 42. Ne7 and wins.  This is the kind of line that needs a little time to see.

36… h5! Very confusing.

37. Nxd6? White has become totally confused.  He should play 37. gxh5! Rgf6 38. Rxg7! forced — (38. Nxg7??  Rxf3  wins for black: 39. Nf5 R3xf5 40. Rc8 Rxc8 41. Rxc8+ Kh7 42. Rc1 Kh6 and wins) 38…Rxf5  (if 38…Bxf5 39. Rxa7 and white should win) 39. Rcc7! R8f6 {Forced.  But now comes an amazing combination:

40. Rh7+ Kg8 41. Rcg7+ Kf8 42. h6 Rf7 A good tactics puzzle now.  White to play and win.

Note in passing 42… Rxh6 43. Rxh6 Rxf3 44. Rxh3 Rxh3 45. Rxa7 and white wins.

White to play and win. Position after 42...Rf7 (analysis)

43. Bxe5!! {A great shot.} dxe5 (43… Rxf3 44. Rxf7+ Rxf7 45. Rxf7+ Kxf7 46. h7 wins) 44. d6 Rxf3 (44… Rxg7 45. hxg7+ Kg8 (45… Kf7 46. d7) 46. d7 A quite unusual combination hanging the rook and having black’s pieces blocked from the promotion by interference! 46…Kxh7 47. d8=Q Kxg7 48. Qd7+ Kg6 49. Qxa7 Rxf3 50. Qxb6+ Kf5 51. Qa6 and wins) 45. Rh8 mate!)

37… hxg4? Black only had seconds left. 37… Rxd6 38. Rxg7 Kxg7 39. Bxe5+ Rdf6 (or 39… Rff6 40. gxh5 Kf7 41. Bxd6 Rxd6 42. Rc7+ and white might draw) 40. gxh5 Kf7 41. Rc7+ Ke8 42. Bxf6 Rxf6 43. Kf2 with chances to draw.  That would be embarrassing indeed but at least white is not totally lost.

38. Nf7+ Kg8 39. Nxe5 Rgf6

Position after 39...Rgf6

40. Rxg7+! Nasty.  At least I saw this one on the last move of the time control. White wins now.

40…Kxg7 41. Nd7 The black bishop “sight” to d7 was blocked by the pawn on g4.

41…gxf3 42. Nxf6 Kg6 43. Kf2 1-0

It was very strange how the two behind the scenes combinations that occurred in the analysis both involved the star move Bxe5!!.

Stay tuned, I will post Rounds 2, 4, 5, and 7.

Round 2

FM E. Yanayt – M. Ginsburg

To prepare for my half-point bye in round 3, I had this virtually unplayed game in Round 2.

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 Bb4+ The best winning attempt here is 3…c5.

4. Bd2 Bxd2+ 5. Qxd2 d5 6. Nf3 Qe7 7. Bg2 O-O Somehow 7…Ne4 and then the Qe7-b4+  follow-up didn’t look very impressive.

8. O-O Rd8!

I have seen this line a lot (I was always white) in ICC blitz versus eastern-bloc GM’s.  It’s a very solid system.

9. Qc2 c5 10. cxd5 cxd4 11. Nxd4 Na6!? Seems good, with the idea to pop into b4.  The game is about even.

1/2 – 1/2

Round 3

During my bye-round, the following reversal of fortune occurred.

D. Naroditsky – GM S. Kidambi (2616)

Black may have been hexed in this game due to the fact I have never heard of him although he has a high rating.

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Nf3 Ngf6 6.Nxf6 Nxf6 7.Bc4 Bf5 8.O-O e6 9.c3 Bd6 10.Qe2 Qc7 11.h3 O-O 12.Nh4 c5 13.Nxf5 exf5 14.Bd3 g6 15.Bg5 Rfe8 16.Qd2 Ne4 17.Bxe4 fxe4 18.dxc5 Bxc5 19.Rad1 Re6 20.Be3 Rd6 21.Qe2 Bxe3 22.fxe3 Rad8 23.Rd4 Rxd4 24.cxd4 f5 25.Qd2 Rc8 26.Qb4 b6 27.Qb3 Kg7 28.Qe6 Rf8 29.Kh1 Rf6 30.Qe8 Rc6 31.d5 Rc2 32.Rd1 Qg3

This obvious move places white into an unbreakable zugzwang and it is hard to fathom that black did not win, much less lost.

33.Qe7 Kh6 34.Qf8 Kh5 35.Rg1 Rd2 36.Qf7 h6 37.b4

Black to play and avoid winning

Black is completely winning.  But, I am guessing he had not much time left.  Even so, what follows is a complete botchery.

37…Rxa2? Why? 37…a5 preserves the zugzwang situation.   The even simpler solution 37…Qxe3 was also completely winning.  White cannot make any threats.

38.d6 Rd2 39.d7 Qd6? Time-trouble? It was safe to play 39…Qxe3 and black should win.

40.Rf1? Maybe mutual time-trouble. 40. Qg7 was equal.  The text aims for a cheapo but should lose.

40…Qxd7?? OK probably time-trouble.  I was drinking and gambling at the Bellaggio and didn’t witness this debacle. 40…Kg5! eliminates all cheapoes and wins easily.

41.Rxf5+ Oops.  White wins.  Black must have felt sick, given he had iron-clad zugzwang a few moves ago.

41…Qxf5 42.g4+ How embarrassing.  Black totters on a few moves.

42…Kh4 43.gxf5 Kxh3 44.Qxg6 Rd1 45.Qg1 Rxg1 46.Kxg1 a5 47.bxa5 bxa5 48.f6 1-0

Round 4

M. Ginsburg – H. Liou  Dutch NIC SOS Special

1. d4 f5 2. Qd3 I saw this in a New in Chess “SOS” supplement; the game in question occurred in the “B” section of the German Bundesliga.

2…d6 As the NIC states, Leningrad players are reluctant to play the strongest move in the position, 2….d5.   Now, white gains enormous white square pressure with the game sequence.

3. g4 fxg4 4. h3 Nf6 5. hxg4 Bxg4 6. Bg5! Be6 This unhealthy retreat signals black already has problems.  White was threatening the crude Bxf6 and Qe4.

7. Nc3 c6 8. Bxf6 gxf6 I would prefer 8…exf6 to try to keep white’s plus to manageable proportions.

9. Rxh7 Rxh7 10. Qxh7 Qa5 11. Bh3 Bf7 12. O-O-O Na6 13. d5! This move cutoffs black’s queen from the kingside for the time being.

13…cxd5 14. Nf3 d4  15. Nxd4 Qh5 16. Qd3 Nb4 17. Qb5+ The smoke clears and white is left with a huge advantage due to light square control.  How many Dutch games have been lost due to black not being able to observe the squares he weakened on move 1?  I recommend readers get the tournament book San Antonio 1972 and read Petrosian’s comments to Petrosian-Larsen.

17…Qxb5 18. Ncxb5 Kd8 19. Ne6+ Bxe6 20. Bxe6 Black is now totally paralyzed.

20…a6 21. Nc3 Bh6+? Making matters worse, but it was very bad anyway.  The ill-fated bishop gets trapped shortly.

22. e3 Kc7 23. a3 Nc6 24. Nd5+ Kb8 25. Nb6 A complete rout. I would resign as black now.

25…Ra7 26. Rh1 Nd8 27. Bb3 Bg5 28. f4 Kc7 29. fxg5 fxg5 30. Rh8 e6 31. Nc4 d5 32. Rh7+ Kc6 33. Ne5+ Kd6 34. Nf7+ Nxf7 35. Rxf7 Ke5 36. Kd2 Ra8 37. Rg7 Kf6 38. Rxb7 g4 39. Ke2 Kg5 40. e4 Rd8 41. exd5 exd5 42. Ke3 Re8+ 43. Kd4 g3 44. Bxd5 Kf6 45. Rb3 1-0

Round 5

I could not overcome the solid Hungarian I. Somogyi!

I. Somogyi – M. Ginsburg  King’s Indian g3 line

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. g3 O-O 5. Bg2 d6 6. Nf3 c6
7. O-O Bf5
As successfully played in Schroer-Benjamin, USCL 2009.  White in my game plays more strongly.

8. Nh4! Be6 9. d5! Bd7 10. e4 Na6 11. h3 cxd5 12. cxd5 Nc5 13. Be3 Qa5
14. Rb1 Na4!
Keeping the balance.

15. Nxa4 Bxa4 16. b3 Bb5 17. Re1 Qa3 18. Qd2 Rac8 19. Bd4 Nd7 20.
Bxg7 Kxg7 21. Nf3 Ne5!
Still equal.

22. Nxe5

Black survives the dangerous attempt 22. Nd4!? Ba6 23. Qg5!? Rce8! (23…Rc7 is all right is black is careful: 24. Nf5+ Kh8 25. Nxe7 f6 26. Qh6 Rf7? 27. Rbc1! wins nicely – I saw that during the game; but 26…Re8 holds) 26…24. Nf5+ Kh8 25. Nxe7 f6 26. Qh6 Rf7 27. f4 Rfxe7 28. fxe5 fxe5)

22… dxe5 23. Rbc1 f6 24. h4 Bd7 25. Kh2 Qd6 26. Rxc8 Rxc8 27. Rc1 e6? Careless.  Correct is 27… Rxc1! 28. Qxc1 e6 =

28. Rxc8 Bxc8 29. Qc3? 29. Bh3! sets a great trap.  If 29…Bd7? (correct is 29… b6! 30. Qd3 Qc5 31. Kg2 exd5 32. Bxc8 Qxc8 33. exd5 Kf7 34. h5 =) 30. Qa5! and black has big problems.  If 30… exd5? (30… Qb6 31. Qxb6 axb6 32. dxe6 Bc6 33. f3 Kf8 34. Kg1 Ke7 35. Kf2 is very good for white as black cannot round up the e6 pawn) 31. Qd8 suddenly wins!

29… Bd7 30. dxe6 Bxe6 31. Bh3 Bf7 32. Bf1 Be6 33. Bh3 1/2-1/2

Round 6

Interestingly, in othe Round 6 action, Friedel played what appeared to many to be a ludicrous variation of the 2 Knights – but it worked and his opponent, NM Zierk, blundered and lost.  I have posted elsewhere on this opening (2 Knights “Ulvestad”); it looks very bad for black and I think its days are numbered.

M. Ginsburg – FM J. Dean          Main line Tarrasch Defense

1. Nf3 d5 2. c4 e6 3. g3 Nf6 4. Bg2 Be7 5. O-O c5 6. cxd5 exd5 7. d4 Nc6 8. Nc3 O-O 9. Bg5 cxd4 10. Nxd4 h6 11. Be3 Re8 12. Qb3!

GM Portisch Special

GM Lajos Portisch’s excellent treatment, I believe covered in one of Kasparov’s My Great Predecessors volumes.  When the Queen is chased by the knight, the knight winds up not having a happy home.  Similarly, if the black knight on f6 chases the B/e3, it also does not have a happy home after the bishop moves away.

12…Na5 13. Qc2 Nc4 14. Bf4 White looks better here.  The Black knight on c4 is very unstable and that is one of the my points of 12. Qb3.

14…Be6 15. Rad1 Qc8 Black has problems.  The most normal move, 15… Rc8 16. Nxe6 fxe6 17. Qg6 Kh8 18. b3! Nd6 19. Be5 leaves white with a simple plus.

16. Nxe6 fxe6 17. e4? A big lemon! It’s always right to kick the advanced knight with 17. b3! (obvious) 17… Nd6 18. Rc1 Rf8 19. Qd3 Qe8 20. Rfd1 Rc8 21. e4 Ndxe4 22. Nxe4 dxe4 23. Bxe4 and white is much better.

17… e5! This move completely escaped my attention.  White is still better, but not as much.
18. Bc1 d4 19. Nd5 Nd6 20. Qd3? Another significant inaccuracy.  20. Qb3!   Nc4 and only NOW 21. Qd3 leaves white with a plus.

20… Nxd5 21. exd5 Bf6! I totally bothced it. Black is fine.  The center pawns are mobile.  Black’s only problem is a severe lack of time.

22. Qg6? Practically speaking with black having less time, white should play 22. Rfe1 Qd7 23. Bd2 Rac8  but of course Black is all right.

22… Qf5! 23. Qxf5 Nxf5 24. Be4 Nd6 25. Bg6 Re7 26. Rfe1 e4?? Any reasonable queen rook move is equal.  Unfortunately, black was in severe time trouble already. This move loses a pawn and the game.

27. Bf4 Be5 27…Rd8 28. Bxd6 loses for black in the long run.  Although there are bishops of opposite colors, too much material remains.  It’s similar to Yermolinsky-Naroditsky North American Open 2009 except there white fell into a last-ditch stalemate trick and Naroditsky saved it!

28. Bxe5 Rxe5 29. Rxd4 Rd8 30. Bxe4 Nxe4 31. Rexe4 Black has no chances in the single rook ending.

31…Rxe4 32. Rxe4 Rxd5 33. Re7 Rb5 34. b3 a5 35. Kg2 a4 36. bxa4 Rb4 37. a5 Rb5 38. Re8+ Kh7 39. Ra8 Rb2 40. a6 Black resigned.


The move 40. a4! also wins: 40…Ra2 41. a6 b6 42. Rb8 Rxa4 43. Rxb6 and wins.

In the game, black can try a last-gasp 40… b5! move.  Suggested by Siddharth Ravichandran (rating=2489) after the game as drawing – and indeed this is a great try!

40...b5! - Suggested by kibitzer Ravichandran

There is only a study-like refutation: 41. a4!! – only after he suggested 40…b5 (which I did not see in the game) did I notice this move which is a nice interference theme, and white wins.

Position after 41. a4!! - nice interference theme. (analysis)

Also in Round 6, this amusing error-fest:

Zierk – Friedel   2 Knights, Refuted Silly Ulvestad Line

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 I would pay more attention to Karpov’s legendary logic here and try 3…Bc5.

4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 b5(?) Very illogical!  Good in the 1800s, maybe.

6.Bf1 h6 (might as well, 6…Nd4 leads to a bad game too)  7.Nf3?

I don’t want to be a wet blanket, but the fairly obvious 7. Nxf7! results in a big edge for white. This was shown in other examples recently.  At least black is not playing the refuted mainline with 6…Nd4.

7…Qxd5 8.Nc3 Qe6 9.Bxb5 Bb7 10.O-O O-O-O 11.Re1 Bc5 12.Qe2 Nd4 13.Nxd4 Bxd4 14.Nd1 Nd5 15.Bc4 Qg6 16.Bxd5 Bxd5 17.Ne3 Bxe3 18.fxe3 Qxc2 19.d4 Qe4 20.b3 Rhe8 21.Bb2 Re6 22.Qd2 Bb7 23.Rac1 Rdd6 24.Rf1 Rf6 25.Rfe1 Rc6 26.dxe5 Rxc1 27.Bxc1 Rg6 28.Re2 Rc6 29.e6 Rxe6 30.Qc2 Rc6 31.Qb2 Qd3 32.Rf2 Ba6 33.Bd2 Rc2 34.Qd4 Rxd2 0-1

Round 7

Lev Milman – M. Ginsburg  Sicilian Scheveningen

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e6 6. Be2 Be7 7. Be3 O-O 8.
O-O Nc6 9. f4 Bd7
A rare sideline.

10. Qe1 Conventional thinking has 10. Nb3, avoiding exchanges, as white’s best bet.

10…Nxd4 11. Bxd4 Bc6 12. Qg3 g6 13. Qe3 Qa5 Black is threatening  is all right.

14. e5 dxe5 15. fxe5 Nd5 16. Nxd5 Qxd5 17. Bf3 Qc4? 17… Qb5 is more accurate. 18. a4 Qb4 19. Bxc6 bxc6 20. b3 c5 21. Bc3 Qb7 and black has equal chances.

18. b3 Qa6 19. c4 Qa3 20. Kh1 Kg7 21. Rf2 21. Bxc6 bxc6 22. Qe4! places black in a passive situation.

21… h6 Here, best was 21… a5! with equal chances.

22. Bxc6 bxc6 23. Raf1 Rad8? With a draw offer.  But this move is a blunder.

24. g3? A blunder in return.   Surprisingly, white can take.  24. Bxa7! c5 25. Bb6 Rd7 and now the amazing resource 26. Rf3 Rb7 27. Qf2!! and wins.  The f7-point collapses.

24… Bg5 25. Qe4 h5 26. Bc3?! White can preserve something with 26. Rf3 Rd7 (26… Qxa2?? 27. Bc5! winning) 27. Bg1)

26… Qc5 27. b4 Qe3! Judging from white’s reaction, he might have missed this.

28. Qxe3 Bxe3 29. Rf3 Bd4 30. b5! With a draw offer.

When I made my 29th move, I thought black was much better because of the white weak pawns.  However, white’s 30th generates plenty of activity and it’s in fact equal!

For example, 30…Bxc3 (30… cxb5 31. cxb5 Rd5 32. Bb4!) 31. Rxc3 cxb5 (31… Rc8 32. a4) 32. cxb5 Rd5 33. a4 Rd4 34. Rf4! =.

1/2 – 1/2

Tournament Postscript – The Cheater’s Clock Gambit

For completeness, here is amusing cheating I heard about in the skittles room.  In a lower section, someone had 28 minutes left versus 28 seconds left in sudden death in a complicated position.  The person with 28 seconds left simply pressed the clock without making a move.  Rattled, the person with 28 minutes left upon returning to the board assumed the guy with 28 seconds left had made some kind of move and made a move in return.  The guy with 28 seconds left then called the TD and said “I get 2 more minutes on my clock because he made 2 moves in a row.”  In the absence of witnesses, the TD upheld this ludicrous “gambit”.  The guy with 28 seconds left got 2 more minutes on his clock and that was enough for him to win the game.  This kind of stuff can only happen in American Swisses.  Why is that?   Well, that’s not strictly true.  After all,  a many time US Champion did exactly the same thing in a US Championship round-robin invitational. But we won’t get into that.

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!)


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 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: interesting, and there are substantial archives.

For Happy News Click Me

Hot Danish chess chick Carina Jorgensen.

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.