Friday, September 28, 2012

Youth vs. Experience

IM Angelo Young won the Young Masters vs. Experienced Masters, a Scheveningen System event held at the North Shore Chess Center on Sept. 15-16, with an impressive 3 1/2-1/2 score. NM Sam Schamkel was the top scorer among the youngsters, scoring 2-2.

 I'll be posting several games from this match after I work through the backlog of interesting games from the Illinois Open.

In the meantime, crosstable here (broken link fixed).

First game won for the franchise

Chopper Trading lost its first match to Rogue Squadron in the Chicago Industrial Chess League 4½-1½, but Reza Gholidzadeh had the honor of the team's first individual win...against yours truly.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Hobbit, or There and Back Again

David Franklin annotates a game from the first round of the CICL season. With the center locked, the White king wanders out of the shire and wanders back with a win in its pocketses.

Steinitz was famous for king walks under fire, but Petrosian lifted the idea of the prophlyactic king walk (evacuating His Majesty from the kingside prior to a kingside break) from Nimzowitsch.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Finally, the real winner...

...of the Isaac Braswell Fighting Chess Award from the 2012 Illinois Open.

A couple Reinfeldian truisms to consider:  A pawn on the seventh rank is powerful, but a rook on the eighth rank guarding a pawn on the seventh is meh. When all the pawns are on one side of the board, the knight's flexibility generally trumps the bishop's mobility.

Dmitry has been playing 3...a6!? off and on since the 1980s and is probably the world's foremost practitioner: whose idea was this, Gurgenidze's?

Accepting the Greek Gift

The "Greek Gift" bishop sacrifice against the castled king with Bxh7+ (or ...Bxh2+ as Black) is a very powerful attacking idea. As with so many such ideas, it is first known to have been played by Greco almost 400 years ago.

But it doesn't always work! For example, in Charbonneau-Al-Ali, Olympiad 2008, the Canadian GM's sac was erroneous; he had failed to anticipate an unusual defensive idea (...Qa5+! followed by ...Qf5!). Vladimir Vukovic, in his classic The Art of Attack in Chess, devotes a whole chapter to exploring the sacrifice and when it does and doesn't work.

Vukovic noted that after the typical 1.Bxh7+ Kxh7 2.Ng5+, Black can play ...Kg8, ...Kg6, and ...Kh6. "These three variations must be carefully examined on every occasion, for if any one of them contains a loophole, the whole combination falls to the ground." In the following game, my opponent surprised me with 11.Bxh7+, rather than the sane 11.cxd4 of Rozentalis-Arias, Olympiad 2008. The sac would have worked like a charm if I had robotically played 12...Kg8, e.g. 13.Qh5 Re8 14.Qxf7+ Kh8 15.Qh5+ Kg8 16.Qh7+ Kf8 17.Qh8+ Ke7 18.Qxg7#. However, 12...Kg6! left him without an effective follow-up and I won quickly.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

An old chestnut

Here's another version of a common type of opening trap. Another unusual example is Fernandez-Garbarino, Copa Clarin 2001, which went 1.c4 e6 2.Nc3 d5 3.d3 Nf6 4.Bg5 d4 5.Ne4?? Nxe4! 0-1. Hard to believe that White was rated 2264!

My opponent "improved" over Kostopoulos-Kerimov, 2001, which continued 7...Qa5+ 8.Bd2 Bxd1 9.Bxa5 dxe5 10.Bb5#! In the final position, my opponent resigned in light of 11...Nf6 12.Nxh8 Nxe4 13.Be3, when White will be a knight up even if Black succeeds in trapping the beast on h8.

Monday, September 24, 2012

More from the Illinois Open

Jimi Akintonde is a very talented young player with a predilection for concrete, forcing play. Tam Nguyen may seem mild-mannered, but I've never known him to back down from a fight. And if the opening is the Sãmisch Variation of the King's Indian, the game will be entertaining.

(Not the) Isaac Braswell Fighting Chess Award

10:56 a.m.

I just read my morning email:
Dude - you posted the wrong game as winner - You posted Li-Gurevich instead of Ngyugen-Gurevich which I had stated! --Sevan
I'll have the real winner up sometime this evening. Until then, enjoy this worthy contender. (To add to the confusion, I have yet another game by Tam Nguyen scheduled to post this afternoon: oy.)

 There were a lot of worthy candidates: organizer Sevan Muradian chaired a committee that selected this game Dmitry Gurevich's win against Tam Nguyen.  The winner and loser split the $250 prize for their enterprising play.

The following game isn't the prizewinner, but it is pretty cool.  Enjoy until I fix the mistake.


Dmitry Gurevich had already won two tournaments in the past month: a share of the U.S. Open title and clear first in Indianapolis. Facing his 12-year-old student Zhaozhi (George) Li in round 2, Dmitry wasn’t afraid to take risks in order to win a third event. The light notes below have previously appeared in Chess Life Online.

Zhaozhi Li (2117) – GM Dmitry Gurevich (2529)
2012 Illinois Open

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 a6 3.Nf3 c5 4.d5 b5 5.a4 b4 6.Nbd2 g6 7.e4 d6 8.a5 Bg7 9.Bd3 0–0 10.0–0 e6 11.Re1 Ra7 12.Ra2 Re7 13.b3 Rfe8 14.h3 Nbd7 15.Bb2 Nh5 16.Bxg7 Kxg7 17.Qa1+ e5 18.Nf1 Nf4 19.Bc2 Nf6 20.Ne3
Black to play 

Gurevich writes, "Here I got too excited after seeing some beautiful checkmating variations."


After the game, Dmitry suggested 20...Rg8 with the idea of a slow but sure kingside breakthrough.

21.gxh3 Qc8 22.Nh2
Black to play 


In retrospect, Dmitry though that 22...Nxh3+, with more than sufficient compensation, would have been more prudent.   But prudence does not win awards for bloodthirstiness....


George avoids Dmitry's fantasy mates.

23.Kh1?? Ng4 and White can only choose which square to be mated on; or 23.f3? N6h5! 24.Qd1

Black to play (variation) 

and now 24...Qg2+! leads to a beautiful smothered mate.

Back to the game:

23...h5 24.Qf3 Qc8 25.Qg3 h4 26.Qf3 Rh8 27.Kh1 Rh5 28.Rg1 Kf8 29.Bd1 Re8 30.Ng2! Kg7 31.Nxf4 exf4 32.Re2 Rhe5 33.Bc2 Nh5 34.Ng4 Rg5 35.Nh2 Rge5 36.Rg4! 

 George is not satisfied with a draw.

36...Qd8 37.Re1 Rh8 38.Qg2 Ng3+ 39.Kg1 Qf6 40.Nf3 Reh5 41.e5 dxe5 42.fxg3 hxg3 43.Be4 R8h6 44.Re2 Qd8 45.Bxg6! fxg6 46.Nxe5? 

46.Rxe5! would have put Black on the ropes.

46...Qf6! 47.Qe4 Rh1+ 48.Qxh1 Rxh1+ 49.Kxh1 f3! 50.Re1 g2+ 0–1 


Sunday, September 23, 2012

The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat

We'll be posting games from the 2012 Illinois Open over the next few days, courtesy of FM Albert Chow.

Senior Master Carl Boor had an interesting summer.  Congratulations to Matthew Stevens: it's not every day that a Class B player knocks off a 2400.

62 players at yesterday's Evanston 3x3

Take a bow, Maret Thorpe!

NM Kevin Bachler and provisionally-rated Aamir Ansari tied for first in the Gold Section with 3-0; Jonathan Tan scored 3-0 in the Silver Section; and Matthew Ylinen, Keith Ammann, and Lorenzo Sampson scored 3-0 in the Bronze Section.

Crosstable here.