Thursday, July 11, 2013

A trap in the Sicilian, Tal Gambit

Another game from my recently ended 151-0-0 winning streak on

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

and belated congratulations... GM Yury Shulman for equal first in last weekend's World Open!  Our Downstate friend Nikilish Kumar Kunche had a nice result in the U2400, tying for second.

Evanston Chess - game/40 event this Saturday 7/13

Only $5!  (Free to masters & experts: truly the best deal in town....)  

Levy Senior Center, 300 Dodge Ave., Evanston, IL 60202

Evanston Chess Presents:
July 13, 2013, 9:00am-5:00pm
Tri-Level, 4SS G/40 delay 5
Three Sections, USCF Dual Rated
Our guest master will be NM Sam Schmakel
Section Gold: 1700 and over
Section Silver: 1200 - 1699
Section Bronze: Under 1200 and Unrated

1600 - 1699 may play up to Gold.
1100 - 1199 may play up to Silver.
Published USCF Regular Rating determines eligibility.
Unrated players may be placed up at TD discretion.

Please pre-register if you plan to attend.

Our space is limited and we will cap attendance at 56 players. Priority will be given to players who pre-register by email to before 7 p.m. on July 12 and arrive at the tournament before 9:20 a.m. on July 13. Thanks for your understanding and support.
From time to time Evanston Chess pays one or more titled players to play in our events. We usually do not pair them against each other. Even if they should lose (it does happen) we may pair them with the highest score groups.

Four rounds. Digital clocks are required and will be set to G/40 plus 5 seconds delay. Accelerated or decelerated pairings at TD discretion. Sections may be combined at TD discretion.

Registration from 9:00 to 9:30 AM. Players must check in by 9:30 am; players who arrive late will receive a half-point bye for the first round. First Round 9:45 am, last round over roughly 5:00 pm. No Lunch Break: We need to be finished by 5:00 PM, so there will be no extra time between rounds for lunch.

You may take one half-point bye in any round but the last.

Entry fee is $5, please pay cash (no checks) at the door. Masters and Experts play free.
Pre-registration is encouraged: Help us start on time. Send name, USCF number, and telephone number to

Junior players (under fourteen years) rated 900+ are welcome. Sorry, but we do not accept junior players rated under 900. Must be accompanied by a parent throughout the event.

Bring clocks. -- Wheelchair accessible. No Smoking.

Flogging the Fajarowicz

After three rounds of the Greater Midwest Classic this past weekend, Greg Bungo was the sole leader of the top section with 3-0. I was one of five players a half-point behind. We met on Board 1.

Greg surprised me - pleasantly - with the Fajarowicz Gambit, 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ne4?! The regular Budapest with 3...Ng4, though rarely played by top GMs, borders on respectability. Black usually regains the gambit pawn and it's hard for White to get much advantage if Black plays well. The Fajarowicz, on the other hand, has never made much sense to me. There are a fair number of traps at Black's disposal, but if White avoids them Black doesn't get much for the sacrificed pawn. His knight on e4 often ends up retreating to c5, and then sometimes to e6.

IM Timothy Taylor writes in his excellent book The Budapest Gambit (2009), p. 225, "I don't understand this gambit. Black is a pawn down but, unlike in the regular Budapest, has no threat to get it back and no significant lead in development." "[M]y recommendation for Black is simple: don't play it!" But it has its fans. GM Lev Gutman wrote a whole book on the thing. In the Chicago area, its adherents include NMs Steve Szpisjak and Bungo, as well as Dean Arond.

Greg recovered well from this debacle with a win in Round 5. Unfortunately, a last round loss kept him out of the major prize money. I drew in Rounds 5 and 6 to tie with David Peng, Aaron Jing, Karthikeyan Pounraj, and Maggie Feng for second prize, each of us earning $700. Audrius Macenis, whom Greg beat in Round 2, won his other five games to win the $1500 first prize outright.

Monday, July 8, 2013