Posts Tagged ‘Onischuk’

The Fabulous 10s: The Thing from Two Centuries Ago

May 18, 2010

Vienna Space Oddity

Hikaru Nakamura laid down what apparently was a fantastic bluff vs Alexander Onischuk in Round 4 of the US Chess Championship in St. Louis.   A bluff in the sense that Onischuk could have forced a favorable ending as black!  Let’s see how.

[Event “US Chess Championship”]
[Site “St. Louis”]
[Date “2010.05.17”]
[Round “4”]
[White “GM_Nakamura”]
[Black “GM_Onischuk”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[WhiteElo “2733”]
[BlackElo “2687”]
[Opening “Vienna gambit”]
[ECO “C29”]
[NIC “VG.03”]

1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. f4 d5 4. exd5(?) Wow!  This just looks bad after black’s response.  In the past, white has tried 4. fxe5 Nxe4 5. Qf3!? which looks pretty silly but actually contains some venom.  There is no reason to suspect Onischuk would not be prepared for that try, though.  However, it’s a legitimate try while this… is not. 🙂

4. exd5 - Revolting!

4…Nxd5 5. fxe5 Having said “A” white must say this “B” since 5. Nxd5, although played by many old-timers in European pastry cafes, is just horrible.

5…Nxc3 6. bxc3 Qh4+ This is a “winning attempt” for white?

7. Ke2 Bg4+! The cowardly 7…Qe4+? to regain the pawn is inferior.  Most players, even not particularly aggressive ones, will prefer the text which is quite a bit stronger.

8. Nf3 Nc6 9. Qe1! White is too smart to play the weak 9. d4? as occurred in Hamppe-Steinitz, 1859!   Black castled long in that game and won.  He could also play Be7 and castle short.  In either event, f7-f6 will pry open roads to the white king!

9…Qh5 ! Playable is the strange switch 9…Bxf3+!? 10. gxf3 Qa4! but black goes the more natural attacking route.

10. Kd1 Good for a laugh.  This was occurring on the top board of the US Championship!

Black to play and get the better side of a draw

10…Nxe5? A very strange black stumble.  The reason we won’t see this line anymore is 10…Bxf3+ 11. gxf3 Qxf3+ 12. Be2 Qd5! and 13. d4?? is unplayable due to the elementary 13…Nxd4.  But if d4 is not playable, white has problems!  Black retains a comfortable plus.  Let’s go a little further.   12…Qd5! 13. Rf1 (best) O-O-O! 14. Bf3 Qxe5 15. Bxc6 (what else?) Qxe1+ 16. Kxe1 bxc6 17. Rxf7 Bd6 and it’s not easy for white.  His pieces except for the lone rook intruder are totally undeveloped.  Black is better in that ending.   I think any of the old masters would have played this way without hesitation (choose from Emanuel Lasker, Botvinnik, Capablanca, Alekhine, Rubenstein).  Onischuk’s game move is bizarre and not good.

11. Be2! Suddenly white is completely OK  even with chances to get an edge if black is not careful!

11…O-O-O?! 11…Bd6 was playable and a bit stronger also but black is no better than equal in any line.

12. Nxe5 Bxe2+ 13. Qxe2 Qxe2+ 14. Kxe2 Re8 15. d4 f6 16. Be3 fxe5 17. d5! Apparently IM Shirazi won a game like this in the past with white… if Shirazi played it, it’s unsound!  (see note to black’s 10th move).

17…Bd6 18. c4 b6 19. a4 Rhf8 20. a5 Kd7 21. Kd3(?!) To play for a win, white had to try 21. Reb1 with the idea of 21…e4 22. axb6 axb6 23. Ra7!.

21…Rf6 22. Rhf1 e4+ 23. Ke2 Bxh2 24. Rxf6 gxf6 25. Rh1 Bd6 26. Rxh7+ Re7 27. Rh8 Rg7 28. Kf1 Bc5 29. axb6 axb6 30. Bxc5 {Game drawn} 1/2-1/2

Well, what can we say?  Onischuk played aggressively then switched to less aggressively and made a draw.  If he had played the best way on move 10 it would be white struggling.  A successful bluff to gain a half-point with even chances for more (see note to white 21st move)!


The Fabulous 00s: Leningrad Dutch Players are Irrational

May 10, 2009

Leningrad Players: What’s with them?

Maybe they are just masochistic.  They get such bad positions in the opening!  Here is GM Onischuk (2736 USCF!) creating for himself a dreadful position right out of the gate then somehow winning a miniature.  Doesn’t seem fair, does it?
Hughes, Tylor 2293 – Onischuk, Alexander 2736
US Championship, Round 2  Leningrad Dutch, Bad Subvariation [E81]

Young Tyler had just defeated Boris Gulko in a sharp struggle in Round 1.  Gulko did not pay attention to the axiom “trade queens against a junior” and fell prey to tactics. He is going for a second upset in a row.  With black’s assistance, he becomes well-positioned immediately to get it!

1. d4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 d6 4. Nh3! g6 5. c3! An excellent sequence of moves from young Hughes. Qd1-b3 becomes intensely annoying.  Antoneta Stefanova crushed Mikhail Gurevich in an analogous setup, Gibraltar 2008.

5… e5?! This move admits a bad game  However, the more natural 5… Bg7 6. O-O c6  (to ward off Qb3) 7. Nd2 O-O 8. Qb3+ d5 (what else?) 9. Nf4 is a simple edge for white. Black outrates white by more than 400 points. But at this stage, if we had to guess blind, we would assign the higher-rated player the white pieces.

Position after 5....e5?! - A Sick Joke?

Position after 5....e5?! - A Sick Joke?

6. dxe5 dxe5 7. Qxd8+ White doesn’t even need this move (which 99.9% of scholastic players would play).  He can play the strong 7. Qb3!  (the primary idea of the setup) 7…e4 (7… c6 8. Ng5 Qe7 9. O-O h6 10. Nf3 Be6 11. c4 Bc8 12. Rd1 Nbd7 13. Nc3 Bg7 14. Nh4! is great for white; a motif well worth remembering to hit the weakened kingside pawns) 8. O-O Bg7 9. Rd1 Qe7 10. Na3 with a big edge.  It’s just an embarrassment of riches for young Hughes.   The text doesn’t ruin anything; see the note to white’s 9th.

7… Kxd8 8. Nd2 Bd6 9. e4?! Again, white doesn’t need this.  He maintains a big edge with the simple 9. Nc4! Ke7– see next diagram.

White could not ask for more

White could not ask for more

Position after 9…Ke7 (analysis)

10. Nxd6 (or the equivalent 10. Bh6 Rd8 11. O-O-O) 10… cxd6 11. Bh6 Rd8 12. O-O-O Nc6 13. Rd2 Be6 14. Kb1 Ng4 15. Bg5+ Nf6 16. Rhd1 and black is suffering.  White has the initiative and the bishop pair, what more could a player want from an opening?  Back to the drawing board for Leningrad players.

9… Nc6 10. exf5 gxf5 11. Nc4 Ke7 12. Bxc6?! White could have done without this.

12…bxc6 13. f4 e4 14. Be3 Indicated was 14. Ne5 c5 15. b3 Bb7 but now black has no problems.

14… c5 15. Nxd6? Positional butchery, fixing black’s pawns.   White’s moves didn’t fit together. The rest of the game is no fun at all for white.

15…cxd6 16. c4 h5 17. O-O-O? The last straw, castling into a winning attack for black.  White might as well put his knight somewhere more useful with 17. Ng5 and try to tough it out with a significant disadvantage. However, black would likely win with no problems given white’s planless shuffling.

17… Ng4 17… Be6 also wins quite easily.  Onischuk must have been totally shocked at this incredibly rapid reversal of fortunes.  Might he try this setup again?  I would like to see that.
18. Bd2 Be6 19. Bc3 Rhb8 20. b3 a5 21. Rd2 a4 22. Rb2 axb3  23. Rxb3 Bxc4 24. Rxb8 Rxb8 25. a4 d5 0-1

It seems unjust that white should lose so quickly from such a great move order in the opening. On the other hand, if we believe in chess underlying logic, we can just say that white’s play was completely disjointed after receiving such a great edge on move 6.

The Next Time

The next time this variation appears on the board, I want someone to repeat Hughes’ crafty setup and get things done!

In Other Round 2 News

In the what-the-hell-is-this category, we have Sevillano-Lawton.  Play this game over for some good ol-timey wincing including a “what?” result. And to what can we attribute Shabalov’s 2nd consecutive loss?  Perhaps someone is hexing him. Old Fox Joel Benjamin somehow benefited from a Krush Kollapse (TM) and Gulko also went down to an improbable second defeat. Hess’s win over Becerra was enjoyable but Christiansen seems off-form so far.  Someone from the Old Guard needs to step up.

In Unrelated News

It’s over 100 degrees in Tucson, AZ currently in the daytimes.  I found this package outside.

A Mysterious Box

A Mysterious Box