Posts Tagged ‘Sicilian English Attack’

The Fabulous 00s: Almost a Curious Double Manufactured at Biel 2009

July 29, 2009

Game One

In our first game, we get one hot off the Presses at Biel 2009:

[Event “Biel 2009”]
[Date “2009.07.28”]
[White “Alexander Morozevich”]
[Black “Maxime Vachier-Lagrave”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “B80”]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. f3 e6 7. Be3 b5 8. Qd2 Nbd7 9. g4 h6 10. O-O-O b4 11. Nce2 Qc7 12. h4 d5 13. Nf4 e5 14. Nfe6!

This is not the first time Vachier-Lagrave has stepped on a land mine opponent preparation.  Nakamura demolished him spectacularly with homework in the Benko Gambit at Cap D’Agde, 2009.  Having sharp, narrow repetoires makes it fairly easy for nasty accidents to occur.

14… fxe6 15. Nxe6 Qa5 16. exd5 Qxa2 17. Qd3 Kf7 18. g5 Nxd5 19. Bh3 Nxe3 20. Nd8+ Ke7 21. Nc6+ Kf7 22. g6+?

This was the first golden chance to put away the young French player who so far, had just been carried along by the tide.

22. Be6+!!

This would have been one of the best games of 2009

This would have been one of the best games of 2009

Position after 22. Be6+!! (analysis)

It’s a chessic shame that Moro missed this amazing, deep shot.

22…Kxe6 (clearly 22…Qxe6 23. Nd8+ wins)  23. Qg6+ Nf6 24. gxf6 gxf6 25. Qe8+ Kf5 26.  Nd4+!! Kf4 27. Ne2+ Kf5 28. Ng3+ Kf4 29. Nh5+!

This is a fantastic pendulum!

Pendulum .... Guillotine

Pendulum .... Guillotine

29…Kxf3 (29… Kf5 30. Rd4 Qa1+ 31. Kd2 wins) 30. Qc6+ e4 31. Qxf6+ Bf5 32. Rh3+ Kg2 33. Rh2+ Kf3 34. Rf1+ Nxf1 35. Qxf5+ Ke3 36. Qf2 mate!   This would have been a fitting end to the game.  Of course, it’s a Caissic horror that Moro goes on to miss a more banal and crude win on move 26.  Pauvre Moro.

22… Kg8 23. Qxe3 Bc5 24. Qe4 Nf8 25. Rd8 Bb7 26. Rxa8? Another big miscue.   White had the rather crude 26. Rxf8+! Rxf8 (26… Kxf8 27. Qf5+ Ke8 28. Qxe5+ wins; 26…Bxf8 27. Qxe5 hits c5 and threatens Be6+, this wins too.   If 27. Qxe5 Bc8, 28. Qe8! mates!  Let’s play over the rest of the sickness without comment because I want you to compare the positions arising from 22. Be6+!! to Game 2!

26… Bxa8 27. h5 Rh7 28. Re1 (28. gxh7!+ Kh8 29. Kd2) 28… Bxc6 29. Qxc6 Bd4 30. Kd2 Qxb2 31. Qc4+ Kh8 32. Kd3 a5 33. Qc8 Qa3+ 34. Ke4 b3 35. cxb3
a4 36. Rb1 Qb4 37. Qc4 Qb7+ 38. Qd5 Qb4 39. Qc4 Qd2 40. Bg4 a3 41. Qf7 Qc2+ 42. Kd5 Qc5+ 43. Ke4 a2 44. Rc1 a1=Q 45. Rxc5 Bxc5 46. Qd5 Qe1+ 47. Kd3 Qd1+ 48.
Kc4 Qxd5+ 49. Kxd5 Ba3 50. Bf5 Kg8 51. Kxe5 Rh8 52. Kd5 Nh7 53. gxh7+ Kf7 54. Bg6+ Kf6 55. f4 Bc1 56. f5 Bd2 57. Kd6 Be1 58. Kd7 Bb4 59. Kc7 Ke5 60. Kd7 Ba3
61. Kc6 Kd4 62. Kc7 Kc3 63. Kd7 Kb4 64. Kd6 Kxb3+ 65. Kd5 Bb2 66. Kd6 Bf6 67. Kc5 Kc3 68. Kd6 Kd4 69. Kc6 Rd8 70. Kb6 Kd5 71. Kc7 Kc5 72. Bf7 g5 73. fxg6 Rd6
74. Be8 Be5 75. Kb7 Rb6+ 76. Kc8 Kd6 0-1

Game 2

Here’s the Doppelganger, note the very curious positions of the Kings.

IM Ginsburg – NM Jack Young, New England 199?

Dutch Defense, Sjödin Gambit


1. d4 e6 2. Nf3 f5 3. e4 fxe4 4. Ng5!?

The strange Sjödin Gambit (so named, as explained to me by GM Ferdinand Hellers, after a Swedish amateur player). Sjödin is a tough word to pronounce! It’s something like “Shuhhh-DEEN.” Joel Benjamin tried this move versus a Russian 2400+ and was successful, although his game was not without chances for black.

4…Nf6 5. f3

young1.png

5…exf3

Black must seriously consider 5…h6 6. Nh3, one of the main alternatives to drive the menacing WN offside. In addition, I think Joel’s opponent played 5…c5!? to challenge the dark squares and got a good game; the trick is 6. fxe4 cxd4 7. e5?? Qa5+! picking up the e5-pawn.

6. Qxf3 Nc6 7. Bd3?

7. c3 was circumspect. The wild text move is unsound. But if it had not been played, we wouldn’t have the following (possibly unique? – see below) crazy game. Them’s the breaks.

7…Nxd4 Of course. If your opponent hangs center pawns, take them.

8. Qh3 d5! Refuting white’s coffeehouse antics.

9. Nxh7 Nxh7 10. Bxh7 Nxc2+ 11. Ke2 Kd7!

young2.png

Very convincing. White has very few resources left.

12. Rf1 Nxa1 13. Rf7+ Kc6?! A fairly easy win is 13…Be7 14. Bg5 Re8 15. Qc3 b6 and white runs out of steam. Black is still winning after the text, but he’ll need to find a tough move shortly.

14. Qc3+ Kb6 15. Be3+ c5 16. b4 At least white is making a little trouble now. The game is starting to take on very strange overtones. Watch the black king double back now and head into the center!

young3.png

16…d4?

Finally black goes wrong. The difficult deflection, using a ‘doomed piece’, 16…Nb3!! still wins. For example, 17. axb3 d4! and white doesn’t have the b2 queen check as in the game. Or, 17. Qxb3 Bd7 18. bxc5++ Kc7 and black wins as well.

17. bxc5+ Bxc5 18. Qb2+ Kc6 19. Nc3? Too fancy, I was carried away. Correct is 19. Be4+! Kd6 20. Bxd4 and white wins.

19…Qb6? 19…dxc3 loses simply to 20. Be4+ Kd6 21. Bxc5+ Kxc5 22. Qxc3+ Kb6 23. Qb4+ Ka6 24. Rxb7 and mates. Black needed to play 19…a6! to take b5 away from white. For example, 20. Be4+ Kd6 21. Bf4+ e5 and there’s nothing more white can do. Now white is back on track again.

20. Be4+ Kd6 21. Nb5+ Ke5 22. Bf3!

young4.png

Black’s king finds himself in a really bizarre mating net. His attempts to avoid it just lead the game into more and more surrealistic situations without changing the verdict: black’s king is trapped and cannot wriggle free. Enjoy this sideline: 22. Kd3! Rh4 23. Bf2 Rf4 24. Bg3 g5 25. Bxf4+ gxf4 26. Bc6!! (protecting the N on b5 temporarily is an important point)

young_analysis.png

Position after 26. Bc6!! (Analysis)

26…Qxc6 27. Qe2+ Kd5 28. Qe4 mate!

Or this, even more amusing: 22. Kd3! Rh4 23. Bf2 Rxe4 24. Kc4!!! and mate is forced in 10 moves! It’s really strange to have both kings participating in the center in the middlegame, with one king sealing the mating net on the other. Perhaps it’s unique in the history of chess!?? (readers??) Can you imagine this game played in the 19th century and some bearded fellow such as Steinitz announcing Mate in 10 in a grovelly voice?

young_anal2.png

Position after 24. Kc4!!! (Analysis) – Unique Tableau?

Here’s one of the shorter mates from this position: 24…g5 25. Bg3+ Rf4 26. Qe2 mate.

22…Rh4 23. g4! Caveman chess, brutally effective. White doesn’t need his queen anymore.

23…g5 24. Bxg5 Rxh2+ 25. Kd1 Rxb2 26. Bf4 mate

Not quite a pure mate; the N on b5 is not needed (guarding d6 twice).

young_final.png

It’s always nice to end a game with a queen sacrifice. This game was really way out there in deep orbit. It doesn’t stand up to serious analysis, but it did produce some unique situations.

1-0

If Moro had found 22. Be6+, there would have been a whole set of weird similarities between the two games!  Alas, Vachier-Lagrave (the modern day Dus-Chortimirski, bad openings and resourceful fighting in middlegame) went on to carry the day.


Some More Blitz

Let’s take our mind off the previous absurdities with two absurd blitz games.

Aries2(IM) – Smallville(GM) ICC 5 minute game, March 2009.   ‘Smallville” is Nakamura’s ICC alias.

1. e4 a6 2. d4 h6 Don’t worry, the game returns to normal channels soon.

3. Nc3 e6 4. Nf3 b5 A truly hypermodern opening.  White hits upon a good blitz plan of getting a minor piece near black’s king.

5. a4 b4 6. Ne2 Bb7 7. Ng3! One exclamation point covering moves 5 to 7.  When playing a stronger player, it is incumbent to try to mate!

7…d5 8. Bd3 Nf6 9. Qe2 Nbd7?! 9…dxe4 is correct with a fully acceptable game. At this point,  after black’s actual 9th move 10. e5! is obviously strong and I can’t explain why I didn’t do it.

10. O-O?! c5! Now the game is double-edged.

11. exd5 Bxd5 12. Re1 Qc8 13. b3 cxd4 14. Nxd4 Bc5 15. Ndf5 O-O White to play.  Is the sacrifice on g7 correct?

Sacrifice?  Yes, it is time.

Sacrifice? Yes, it is time.

16. Nxg7! Answer:  yes it is correct, because black’s king doesn’t have very many defenders at the moment.  But this is a good tactical quiz position, because some of the follow-up lines are not totally straightforward.

16…Kxg7 17. Bxh6+? The wrong way to do it.  As a GM kibitzer told me immediately after the game, 17. Nh5+! is right.   Black cannot take that knight due to forced checkmate.  17. Nh5+! Nxh5? and now 18. Bxh6+! (a clever move inversion from the game) forces mate.  So on 17. Nh5+, the black king must move.  17…Kh8?! 18. Nxf6 Nxf6 19. Bb2 looks insanely risky, so that leaves 17…Kg8.   In that case, the computer thinks black holds on after 18. Bxh6 Qd8! 17.  Rad1 Kh8! but it’s really necessary in blitz to make black find all these moves.

17…Kh8 18. Nh5?? This is an even worse lemon.  18. Bxf8 Qxf8 19. Be4 and both sides have chances.  Now black assumes the attack and white is lost.

Rg8 19. Nf4 Qc6 {White resigns} C’est la vie.
0-1

Curtains(IM)-aries2(IM)

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Be7 4. c3 Nf6 5. d3 O-O 6. O-O d6 7. Bb3 Be6 8. Re1 8. Bxe6 fxe6 9. Qb3 Qc8 is all right for black.

8…Bxb3 9. Qxb3 Rb8 10. d4 Nd7?! 10…Qd7 and 10…a6 are less clumsy.

11. Na3 Bf6 12. Be3 a6 13. d5 Ne7 14. Ba7 Nc5 If I was white, I’d just take that horse and get a structural edge.

Snap the Horse

Snap the Horse

15. Qd1(?! but white gets another chance next move) Rc8 16. b4 Same comment; I’d snap off the horse on c5 and be happy.

16…Nd7 17. Be3 Ng6 18. c4 Nh4? Weak.  18…Be7 is solid and fine.  Black can get counterplay on the queenside with a later c6 and/or a5.

19. c5 Nxf3+ 20. Qxf3 Bg5 21. Nc4 Bxe3 22. Qxe3 Qe7 23. c6 bxc6 24. dxc6 Nf6 25. a4 Rb8 26. Rab1 Qe6 27. Qd3 Nxe4? Not good, but exciting and leading us to the fabulous quiz position after black’s 31st.  Just the normal 27…Rfd8 to keep going.

28. Qxe4 d5 29. Qxe5 dxc4 30. Qxc7 Rxb4 31. Rbd1 Qf6 This is a great tactical quiz position, pretty much impossible for humans to solve in blitz.

Quiz Time

Quiz Time

32. Rd6?? Correct is the rather difficult 32. Qd7! Rc2 33. Qd4! getting a winning ending.  The deep point (hard to work out in blitz) is that 33…c3 34. Qxf6 gxf6 35. Rc1 Rb3 36. Re3! uses all pieces to maximum effect breaking black’s resistance.

Another variation that pulls up lame but hard to fully see in blitz is 32. Rc1? c3 33. Qd7 (too late!) Rc4! 34. c7 Qf4! and the pawn on c7 is lost!

The text gives black an unexpected loophole.  So unexpected that I blitz out a weak reply not exploiting my chance.

32…Qc3?? When presented with a gift horse… well, find out about the gift!   32…Qe5!! leads to a black edge after 33. Rf1 c3; 33. Red1?? just loses to 33…c3.  33. Red1?? c3 34. Qc8 is a typical last-ditch attempt, but it’s rudely met by 34…Qxd6! using white’s back rank yet again.  Positions with mutually weak bank ranks and mutually threatening passed pawns are the sharpest in the pantheon of heavy piece middlegames!  Now all is silence.

33. Qe7 g6 34. c7 {Black resigns} 1-0

Postscript – US Car History

Some curious stuff I learned about the Ford Edsel. The more diverse factoids a chess player knows, the better he or she is off?!?!

Quoting from the Time.Com “50 Worst Cars of All Time” story,

“That’s why we’re all here, right? To celebrate E Day, the date 50 years ago when Ford took one of the autodom’s most hilarious pratfalls. But why? It really wasn’t that bad a car. True, the car was kind of homely, fuel thirsty and too expensive, particularly at the outset of the late ’50s recession. But what else? It was the first victim of Madison Avenue hyper-hype. Ford’s marketing mavens had led the public to expect some plutonium-powered, pancake-making wondercar; what they got was a Mercury. Cultural critics speculated that the car was a flop because the vertical grill looked like a vagina. Maybe. America in the ’50s was certainly phobic about the female business. How did the Edsel come to be synonymous with failure? All of the above, consolidated into an irrational groupthink and pressurized by a joyously catty media. Interestingly, it was Ford President Robert McNamara who convinced the board to bail out of the Edsel project; a decade later, it was McNamara, then Secretary of Defense, who couldn’t bring himself to quit the disaster of Vietnam, even though he knew a lemon when he saw one.”

Change of Pace Poll


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!