Posts Tagged ‘Walter Shipman’

The Fabulous 70s: Leslie Braun!

August 12, 2010

Leslie Braun (1936-1998)!

Leslie Braun was a big gangly guy who was the Marshall Chess Club Manager in the 1970s and 1980s.  One time he kicked out Maxim Dlugy from that venerable club on West 10th Street in Manhattan in the early 1980s for excessive loudness and I was caught up in that maelstrom and also booted.  He was a friendly enough fellow (just didn’t like people horsing around at the Marshall) and would have been a good circus clown with his expressiveness and gesturing.

Here’s a miniature from the 1977 World Open in which I tangled with this unique fellow.

For historical interest, at the time my rating was 2212 and his was 2232.

[Event “World Open”]
[Site “Philadelphia, PA”]
[Date “1977.07.04”]
[Round “9”]
[White “Ginsburg, Mark”]
[Black “Braun, Leslie”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “B87”]
[Annotator “Ginsburg,Mark”]
[SourceDate “2007.04.24”]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bc4 e6 7. Bb3 b5 8. f4

I had not played the Sozin before or since.  “Making things up” was very much in vogue pre-computer.

8…Qc7 8… b4 9. Na4 Nxe4 is a line.  The text is a good move.

9. O-O  Be7 10. f5 e5 11. Nde2 Bb7 12. Ng3

Black has a strong move here.

12…Nbd7 Surprisingly strong is 12… h5 !! 13. Nd5 Bxd5 14. Bxd5 h4 15. Bxa8? (15. Be3 Nc6 16. Ne2 Ng4 17. Qd2 h3 18. g3 Rb8 keeps things equal equal) 15… Qa7+ 16. Rf2 hxg3 17. hxg3 d5!! and black wins.

13. Bg5 Nb6 Again strong was 13… h5 and black is fine.

14. Nh5 Nxh5 15. Bxf7+ (!) Safe and good was 15. Qxh5 Bxg5 16. Qxg5 f6 17. Qh5+ Ke7 18. Be6 Raf8 19. Rf2 Bc8 20. a4! and white is comfortably better.  The text move should be a draw, thus it is not a good move due to the stronger alternative.  Still, it pays off illogically in the game.   The “refutation” where black can make a draw is actually a very tough variation to find and I present it as a tactical puzzle in the alternatives to move 17B.

15… Kxf7 16. Qxh5+ Kg8 17. f6

Decision Time

17…gxf6?? Losing.  A case of sacrificial shock? 17… Bxf6 and now the further sacrifice 18. Rxf6 is defused by 18… gxf6 (18…b4?? 19. Bh6!! wins) 19. Bxf6 Qf7! 20. Qg4+ Qg6 21. Qe6+ Qf7 22. Qg4+ Qg6 {Perpetual check draw.}

As a tactical quiz for the readers, obviously Braun was scared of 17…Bxf6 18. Bxf6 gxf6 19. Rxf6. Qg7 20. Rf3! idea Rg3 winning.  What was the flaw in his thinking?

18. Rf3 ! Now white wins via direct attack as the rook threatens to switch to g3.  A brutal finale.

18…h6 Everything lost, i.e. 18… d5 19. Bh6 Bc5+ 20. Kh1 Qg7 21. Bxg7 Kxg7 22. Rg3+.

19. Qg6+ Kf8 20. Bxf6 Bxf6 21. Rxf6+ Ke7 22. Qg7+ {Black Resigns.} 1-0

Leslie died intestate in January 1998 (see Ron Young comment).   1998 was also my last year living in New York City; I was about to try out the Bay Area in August.   I had been in NYC most of the time since 1981.  End of an era!

Being intestate or being an outright pauper has been an occupational hazard of chess players for centuries (both World Wars have seen some famous players dying of starvation, and young Korchnoi had to pick through the ruins of post-siege Leningrad).  Braun’s body lay unclaimed for a while and kudos to IM Walter Shipman for taking care of the matter.

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.


Conticello on MCC

April 28, 2008

A Manhattan Chess Club Timeline [Abridged]

by Nicholas W. Conticello

Italicized Supplemental Notes by IM Mark Ginsburg

1901- Frank J. Marshall wins the first of three Manhattan Chess Club (MCC) titles.

1909- MCC organizes match between Marshall and young member Jose Raul Capablanca. The unknown Cuban demolishes the World Championship contender by +8-1=14 and goes on to become the third World Champion.

1915- Capablanca wins NY International ahead of Marshall.

1924- MCC board members arrange legendary New York international featuring most of the leading players of the era. Lasker takes first with 16-4 ahead of Capablanca, Alekhine, Marshall, Reti, etc. Capa’s loss to Reti in the fifth round is the Cuban’s first defeat in 8 years.

1927- MCC board sponsors a six-player event supposedly to select a challenger for Capablanca’s title. Capa wins without loss of a game, while Alekhine confirms his status as challenger with a convincing second. Alekhine’s ensuing victory in their match later in the year by +6-3=25 will shock the chess world and end MCC’s grip on the World Championship.

1936- MCC member Samuel Reshevsky wins first US Championship tournament of the 20th century.

1945- On Sept. 1 Club is site of American half of USA-USSR radio match. Soviets win by 11 points in 20 games and begin their 27 year grip (to the day!) on world chess.

1948- Members Reshevsky and Reuben Fine are invited to play in World Championship tournament to choose a successor to Alekhine. Fine, fearing Soviet collusion, cites his studies in psychology as his reason for not playing. Reshevsky plays anyway and finishes third.

1951- Reshevsky wins MCC’s Wertheim Memorial ahead of Max Euwe and Miguel Najdorf.

1952- Future GM and World Junior Champion William Lombardy joins the Club.

1955- Reshevsky wins the Rosenwald tournament (de facto US Championship) ahead of Arthur Bisguier and Larry M. Evans. 12-year-old Robert J. Fischer joins.

1956- Fischer is invited to the Rosenwald at age 13. He is beaten by eventual winner Reshevsky on time (his only known time forfeit) and runnerup Bisguier ( the latter’s only win against Fischer) but defeats Donald Byrne in what TD and Club Manager Hans Kmoch eulogizes as the “Game of the Century” and scores a respectable 4.5/11.

1957- In the space of one year, Donald Byrne wins the Western Open, Gisela Gresser wins the US Women’s title, Fischer wins the US Open and US Junior, Lombardy wins the World Junior Championship (11-0!), Arthur Bisguier wins the US Closed, and Samuel Reshevsky is crowned “Champion of the Western Hemisphere” by virtue of a match victory over Miguel Najdorf. The year will end with 14-year-old Bobby Fischer taking the first of a record 8 US Championships without the loss of a game.

1962- Larry Evans defeats William Lombardy for the Edgar Trophy.

1963- Fischer wins the US Championship for the sixth time with a perfect 11-0 score. The event is held at the Henry Hudson Hotel, which also was home for the Club.

1964- Benko defeats Bisguier in a match for an Interzonal spot vacated by Fischer, who declined his invitation to the Amsterdam event.

1971- The Club moves from the Henry Hudson to E. 60th St. just off Fifth Avenue. In August, the Club sponsors an invitational Master Rapids. Fischer swamps the field with 21.5-0.5 (the draw going to six-time Club Champion Walter Shipman.) This was the soon-to-be World Champion’s last appearance at the Club.

1973- The peak of the “Fischer Boom” sees the Club’s membership exceed 400.

1974- The “Boom” goes bust, and the Club must move again, to 155 E. 55 St. In February Viktor Korchnoi wins another special Master Rapids.

1976- The Club sponsors the first New York International since 1951. IM Norman Weinstein ties for first with recent emigre GM’s Anatoly Lein and Leonid Shamkovich. 12-year-old Joel Benjamin, making his international debut, wins a game from Canadian IM Bruce Amos.

1977- Anatoly Lein wins the Moses Mitchell Tournament of Champions ahead of Sal Matera, Bernard Zuckerman, and future Club President Neil McKelvie.

1978-14-year-old Joel Benjamin wins the first of six Club titles.

1984- The Club moves to the Carnegie Hall Studios, 155 W. 57 St, for the second time.

News flash 5/17/11 from Mark Pinto“Records are probably lost but I tied with [Walter] Shipman in 1984 and he was given the title on tiebreaks. [… ] Going from memory (not as reliable as it used to be) wins against Asa [Hoffmann] , Eric Cooke, drew with B[ernie] Zuckerman(a Nadjorf where I was white), drew with Shipman not sure who else I played. ”

1988 – IM Mark Ginsburg (Yay!) wins the MCC Championship for the first time, with a field including MCC stalwarts Zuckerman and Shirazi. The 10th floor Carnegie Hall location features an 11th floor bathtub for the grimy combatant.

1989- Gata Kamsky’s American debut after defecting during the New York Open is the Club’s 4 Rated Games Tonight. Kamsky will play frequently at the Club over the next five years.

MG: I play Kamsky in an MCC quad. We have cordial post-game analysis until his father yanks him away mid-sentence, much like a bad vaudeville act gets the cane.

1989- The Club runs a Knockout Qualifier with sixteen of the country’s strongest players vying for the right to meet Kasparov in a two game 25 minute match at the New York Public Library. Gata Kamsky, a last minute substitute, wins the event ahead of many GM’s.

1990 – IM Mark Ginsburg (Yay!) wins the MCC Championship for the second time, granting a draw from a position of strength to FM Danny Shapiro in the last round. Leonid Bass and Mark are just in time to Maxim Dlugy’s wedding.

1991 – Despite having won the event two years previously, the gruff manager Russell Garber omits to invite MG to this year’s championship and MG misses it, not knowing its exact dates.

1992 – The Club and the American Chess Foundation purchase a building at 353 W. 46 St. in the hopes of providing the Club with a permanent home and enabling the Foundation to expand its activities. The site is called the American Chess Center.

1993- By June the Club is unable to maintain its share of the building and cedes its part ownership to ACF. Billy Colias is hired as manager in July, charged with running the Club and the ACF’s bookstore. he dies Nov. 4 from an accidental overdose of an over-the-counter-medication.

1994- Kamsky celebrates his match victory over Anand with a final appearance in the Thursday Night Action. He scores 4-0, defeating Lombardy and IM Danny Edelman en route.

1997- Jay Bonin becomes the first player to win the championships of the Marshall and Manhattan Clubs and the State of New York to become the only triple Crown winner in NY State history.

1999- Maurice Ashley gains his final GM norm in an International held at the Club, beconing the first African-American Grandmaster.

2000- The Club’s lease at 353 W. 46 St. expires. it moves to the New Yorker Hotel on May 1. A few weeks later GM Max Dlugy wins a Master Rapids event held concurrently with the New York Open to celebrate the Club’s reopening. In November Eric Cooke wins atwo-game blitz playoff from Asa Hoffmann to become the Club’s last champion in the 20th century.

2001 – MG visits the almost defunct club in this sad New Yorker Hotel (some non-descript room on a high floor) location.

2002- On Feb. 1, after two years of unstoppable decline, the Club closes its doors for the last time.

Copyright 2008 Nicholas W. Conticello. All rights reserved.

For Further Reading

More MCC trivia and amusement here.

Pathos from the Readers

This I heard on ICC 4/28/08:

jonesey tells you: watched my then 13 yr old son play in the last tourney at the manhattan while they were carrying stuff out. sad

The Fabulous 80s: The Conclusion of the Bar Point International 1980

January 22, 2008

The Last 2 Rounds of the Bar Point International, 1980

When we left off, I was needing a perfect 2-0 in the last 2 rounds to score my 2nd IM Norm. The first norm was at Jose Cuchi’s Heraldica-Jennika International Round-Robin, May 1980, where I did well (.2 points shy of a GM norm — GM norm weaker in those days) against Shamkovich, Dzindzi, Piasetski, Mednis, Gruchacz, La Rota, and other well-known NY competitors.

Here is the next to last round of the Bar Point International 1980, Round 10.

NM Walter Shipman – Mark Ginsburg Reti Opening

1. d4 Nf6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 c6 4. Nf3 Bf5 5. Nbd2 h6 6. c4 e6 7. O-O Nbd7 8. b3 Be7 9. Bb2 O-O 10. Ne5 Qb6 11. Nxd7 Nxd7 12. e4 dxe4 13. Nxe4 Nf6 14. Qe2 Walter often employed this nothing system as white. It was up to me to generate winning chances! For the time being, nothing to do but “go along” and allow simplification.

14…Nxe4 15. Bxe4 Bxe4 16. Qxe4 Bf6 17. Rfd1


Position after 17. Rfd1. How to get the required winning chances?

The next few moves are routine. Then I come up with a good idea on move 20.

17…Rad8 18. Rd3 Rd7 19. Rad1 Rfd8 20. Bc3 Qa6! 21. a4 Qb6 22. Bb2 Qb4 Black’s small “hassling” maneuvers with the queen yield an immediate and suprising payoff.


Position after 22…Qb4 – A shocking turn of events unfolds

23. Bc3?? Clearly a bad blunder. Normally Walter, a future solid IM, did not commit these.

23… Qxb3 So obvious no exclamation point is warranted. Now it’s complete torture for white and black duly converts the ending.

24. Ba5 Qxc4 25. Bxd8 Rxd8 26. Rb1 Bxd4 Since Bxf2+ is threatened now, white has no time to grab the b-pawn with the rook.  It’s all over.

27. Kg2 b6 28. a5 Qd5 Quite winning is the convincing 28… b5! 29. Rd2 f5 30. Qf3 b4. There is really no reason to rush to trade queens, but the text doesn’t ruin anything.

29. Qxd5 Rxd5 30. Rc1 Bc5 31. Rxd5 cxd5 32. f4 Kf8 33. f5 Ke7 34. fxe6 fxe6 35. a6 The other move, 35. axb6 axb6, gets ground down: 36. Ra1 h5 37. h3 Kf6 38. Rf1+ Ke5 39. Rf7 g6 40. Kf3 b5 41. Rg7 b4 and wins.

35… e5 36. Kf3 Ke6 37. h4 h5 38. g4 e4+ 39. Kf4 hxg4 40. Kxg4 d4 41. Kf4 Kd5 42. Rg1 Bd6+ 43. Kf5 e3 44. Re1 Bg3 45. Re2 Bf2 0-1

A very surprising easy win over the normally tough Walter.

Now it all depended on the last round. I needed to beat Dan Shapiro; I was white. Let’s see this nervy game. What a game it turned out to be! Hideous blunders, huge reverses, all the items present in nervy norm games.

Mark Ginsburg – NM Dan Shapiro, Round 11. English, Hedgehog.

1. c4 c5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 b6 GM Yudasin favors this slightly dubious treatment. I will go into my game with him from a 2004 World Open in another post.

4. e4 d6 Playable is the provocative 4… Nc6 5. d4 cxd4 6. Nxd4 Bb7 7. Be2 e6 and here, many players favor 8. Bf4!? with chances to reach a small edge. For example, Ljubojevic triumphed over Winants with this move in 45 moves. 1-0 Ljubojevic,L (2620)-Winants,L (2415)/Brussels 1987. On the other hands, 8. Ndb5? Qb8! is simply weak.

5. d4 cxd4 6. Nxd4 Bb7 7. Bd3 e6 8. O-O Be7 9. b3 O-O 10. Bb2 Nbd7 11. Qe2 a6 Many years of study cause me to conclude this position is extremely dangerous for black. White’s bishops are pointing right at the black king. For example, I have 12. Rad1!? here and then 13. f4. In this game, I go a different way with Rae1. I am not sure which is better.


Position after 11….a6. Danger, Will Robinson.

12. Kh1 Re8 13. f4 Qc7 14. Rae1 g6 15. e5 Nh5 16. f5!?


Position after 16. f5!? — The Gauntlet is Thrown Down

16…exf5?? Under immediate pressure, black commits what should have been an immediately losing blunder. Necessary was 16… Nxe5! 17. fxe6 fxe6 18. Nxe6 Qd7 19. Nf4 (19. Nd4 Qh3) 19… Nxf4 20. Rxf4 Bg5 and black is fine. Also white has the dangerous 18. Be4!? and black can defend with 18…Ng7! 19. Bc1!? Bxe4 20. Qxe4 Rac8 21. Bh6 Bd8! and he is solid.

17. exd6?? A horrific blunder in return. On my scorepad of the time, I had notated “monumental hangover.” Note to self: a hangover is not a good idea in an important last round game. I believe Fedorowicz had a related hangover but still managed to draw, and almost beat, GM Alburt. Obvious and crushing was 17. e6! Bf6 18. Bxf5 Nc5 (18… Bxd4 19. exf7+ Kxf7 20. Bxd7+ wins) 19. Nd5 Bxd5 20. cxd5 Bxd4 21. Bxd4 Ng7 22. Bxg7 Kxg7 23. Qb2+ Kg8 24. exf7+ Qxf7 25. Be6! and wins.

17… Bxd6 18. Qxe8+ Rxe8 19. Rxe8+ Nf8 This is the kind of thing white does NOT want. Defending versus black’s active pieces is no fun with white’s uncoordinated army. White is much worse, in fact he is losing. That is how bad my blunder was.

20. Nf3 Nf4 Already black had 20…Bxh2 21. Nd5 Bxd5 22. cxd5 Bd6 23. Rd1 Qd7 24. Ree1 Ng3+ 25. Kg1 Bb4 26. Re3 Qxd5 and wins easily. The text doesn’t ruin it, black is still winning.

21. Bb1 N4e6 22. Nd5 Bxd5 23. cxd5 Qd7 24. Ra8 Nc7 Winning was 24… Qb7 25. Re8 Qxd5.

25. Ra7 Qc8 26. Ne5 Qb8 27. Nc6 Qe8 28. Bd3 Nxd5 29. Nd4 Qe5 30. g3 Ne3 Here, 30… Bc5 31. Nxf5 Qxb2 32. Nh6+ Kg7 33. Nxf7 b5 won for black.

31. Rf3 Bc5 32. Nxf5 Qxb2 33. Nxe3 Bxe3 34. Raxf7 Ne6 35. Bc4 Qa1+? The light square check, 35… Qb1+! 36. Kg2 (36. Rf1 Qe4+ 37. R7f3 Bc5 38. Kg2 b5 39. Bxe6+ Qxe6 wins for black) 36… Qg1+ 37. Kh3 Ng5+ 38. Kg4 h5+ 39. Kh4 Qxh2 mate is quite convincing. Black starts to lose the handle of things.

36. Rf1 Qe5 37. R7f6 Qe4+ 38. R1f3 Bd4 Here, best was 38… Kg7 39. Bxe6 Qb1+ 40. Rf1 Qxa2 41. Rf7+ Kh6 42. h4 Qc2 43. Bd5 Qe2 44. Bc4 Qg4 45. Kg2 b5 and the game continues with black keeping a small edge, but nothing like before.

39. Bxe6+ Kg7 40. Rf7+ Kh6 41. Bc4 Now it is equal. But I need to win!

41…Qb1+? Correct was 41…b5! with equality.

42. Rf1 Qxa2 43. R7f4 Bc5? 43… Be3 is tough: 44. Rh4+ Kg5 45. Rxh7 Qc2 46.Bd5 Qd3 47. Bg2 Qxb3 48. h4+ Kg4 49. Kh2 and white has pressure, but it’s not decisive. The text moves the bishop into a discovered attack which white… fails to execute!

44. Rh4+ Of course, 44. b4 won also.

44… Kg5 45. Rxh7? The correct move is 45. b4! winning.

45… b5? How many blunders can a single game contain? 45… Qc2 is much tougher and nothing decisive can be seen for white.

46. Be6! Finally, white puts an end to this long suffering game. Black’s king is in a decisive mating net.

46…Bf2 47. h4+ Kf6 48. Rxf2!+ 1-0 Black loses the queen after 48…Qxf2 49 Rf7+.


So I made my norm with this incredibly poorly played game. Well, it was a long tournament. Perhaps Walter Shipman was showing signs of fatigue in the Round 10 game presented above.




Caught Between Two Chess Clubs

September 17, 2007

This just in from the new US Chess Life website – an article titled “Fischer: Fame to Fallout” by Al Lawrence. I cite this paragraph where Bill Goichberg is quoted:

Running back-and-forth across the street to play in two tournaments at once

“At the peak, all kinds of people were going into the chess business,” Goichberg remembered. “Parlors, clubs, even full-time clubs were popping up in unlikely places, like Poughkeepsie. I used to hold a quad at the Baptist Church in Jamaica, Queens. Some newcomer began holding tournaments at the same time at the YMCA across the street! One player entered both, running back and forth across the street to make moves in two games at once. I don’t think he did very well.” — Bill Goichberg

This is pretty funny because in the 1980s, it became a one-time practice (not a common practice, mind you, but definitely a viable option) to run/jog/walk fast between the Bar Point Club at 6th Avenue and 14th Street (amusingly and coincidentally, considering the above quote, Bill Goichberg was the Bar Point’s owner during one interval in the 1980s) and the venerable Marshall Chess Club at 23 West 10 Street. This was not a very short distance – in other words, it was inconvenient to jog between the two sites when several games were in progress.

In one such absurd situation, I was playing Robert Feldstein in a quad at the Bar Point in a fast time control game. Feldstein was enjoying a quarter pounder with cheese at the board, he was dead lost, and he was definitely not resigning. The complication here was (due to not-staggered-enough round times) that I was playing IM Walter Shipman at the same time, in a much slower time control game, at the Marshall Chess Club in a more “serious” masters tournament. In a feat of athletic stupidity, I started trotting between the two venues. Finally, Feldstein resigned a ridiculous position and I was able to make my final run back to the Shipman game, panting and sweaty. I was able to settle down and play Walter ‘heads-up’ successfully in a long ending. I don’t think the Marshall saw anything so ridiculous until the statue of Marshall’s head disappeared (temporarily) a year later.

I never tried this stunt again. But it seems like something a young Fischer would have done if he was … caught between two chess clubs. Am I right?

Everybody sing now:

Caught between two chess clubs,

Feelin’ like a fool,

Cuz playing 2 simultaneous chess games,

Is breakin’ sportsmanlike rules!