Chess Room Newsletter #986 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #986

Gens Una Sumus!

Newsletter #986

September 18, 2021


Table of Contents

Tuesday Night Marathon Round 2 Report

by Abel Talamantez

Round 2 of the TNM saw the underdogs continue strong play, with Ilia Gimelfarb securing a draw against IM Elliott Winslow in a game he was likely winning. Sean Kelly also looked like he was in a winning position against Nathan Fong, but the UC Berkeley grad fought back to hold the position and also draw. Alex Chin fought hard all the way to the end of the night against FM Ezra Chambers, but Chambers got the win to stay on top with 2/2 in the section along with Nicholas Weng. Guy Argo had an exciting win against Kevin Sun giving him 1.5/2. 

FM Paul Whitehead chimes in at the conclusion of the Chambers-Chin game. TD Judit Sztaray getting in on some chess action with an extra rated game against William Thibault.

A strong group of nine players are tied in the under 1800 section with 2/2, which includes Marty Cortinas, Georgios Tsolias, Sebby Suarez and Christopher Dessert, who had a fine win against Teodoro Porlares. 

Here are some games from the round, annotated by GM Nick de Firmian.

(2) Chambers,Ezra (2314) - Chin,Alex (1992) [B01]
MI Sep-Oct TNM 1800+ San Francisco (2.1), 14.09.2012

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6 3.d4 Bg4 4.Be2 Quite unambitious. White is content to have the more advanced center, not trying to take advantage of Black's queen bishop possibly getting in trouble. [A sharp line, recommended by Shaw in his repertoire book, is 4.Bb5+ Nbd7 (You don't want to fall for 4...c6? 5.dxc6 Bxd1?? 6.c7+ 1-0, Winslow-Childress, Mechanics' Wilkerson Memorial TNM, Feb 2020.) 5.f3 Bf5 6.Nc3 a6 7.Ba4 b5 8.Bb3 Nb6 finally recovering the pawn, but White still has significant pressure.] 4...Bxe2 5.Nxe2 Qxd5 6.0-0 Nc6! 0.72/21 [6...e6= 0.26/23 ] 7.c3 -0.28/20 [At least 7.Be3!+/- develops, plus keeps open the option of a knight to c3 attacking the queen. 0.72/21 ] 7...e5= Black has no problems. 8.dxe5

-0.84/20 [8.h3= -0.20/23 ] 8...0-0-0N -0.31/24 [Black could head for total equality or better: 8...Qxd1 9.Rxd1 Nxe5 10.Bf4 Nfd7 11.Nd2 0-0-0 12.Nb3 Bd6 13.Nbd4 Rhe8 14.b4 Nc4 15.Bxd6 Nxd6 White never found time for Nb5. ½-½ (43) Breja,S (2135)-Krajnak,M (2220) Slovakia 2002] 9.Qxd5=/+ This is fine as well. 9...Nxd5 10.e6!?
10...fxe6?! Black accepts a pawn weakness, which plagues him until the end. [10...f6 could round it up later;; But 10...Re8! takes advantage of a pin to capture it with the rook, again with the better side of the balance.] 11.Nd2 Not that White has anything here 11...g5?! But here the younger player gets a bit loose with his pawns. [11...Ne5 heads right away for d3.] 12.Nf3 [12.Ne4! is the better central outpost -- not as far into Black's position, but less assailable.] 12...h6 13.Ned4 Nxd4 14.Nxd4 Rd6 15.Nb5 [15.a4 first is sensible] 15...Ra6 16.Re1 Bg7 [16...Bc5!? (f2 could be a target)] 17.Kf1 Rd8 18.Re4 Rb6 [Unexpectedly 18...e5!? first could then send the knight to the edge.] 19.Nd4 Kd7?! 0.57/22 [Black should play 19...Bxd4!?=/+ -0.34/23 20.Rxd4 e5 leaves Black with some little plusses.] 20.Nb3+/= Ke7 21.h4
and sure enough, White hits those pawns, and stays focused until the end. 21...Rbd6? [%wdl 997,3,0] 3.17/18 [21...Bf6+/= 0.68/21 ] 22.Bd2? 0.60/20 [It's hard to say why Chambers didn't just take the pawn (with quite a won position): 22.hxg5+- [%wdl 997,3,0] 3.17/18 22...hxg5 23.Bxg5+ Bf6 and almost every bishop move still leaves White winning. ( 24.Bf4 might give Black some chance with the bishop for the knight but still)] 22...Kf6? Traffic jam on f6! 2.87/20 [22...Nf6!+/= 0.60/20 23.Re2 gxh4] And here the DGT board, sending the moves to the Internet, lost its way (but the scoresheets still provided the conclusion). 23.Rae1 Ne7?! 4.07/20 [23...Kg6 "unblocks the box" but it's still bad after 1.86/22 24.hxg5 (24.Rxe6+ Rxe6 25.Rxe6+ Kf5+/=) 24...hxg5 25.Rxe6+] 24.Be3 Nf5 25.hxg5+ hxg5 26.Bc5 Rc6 27.g4 Chin must be wondering what he did wrong (after such a promising opening)! 27...Nh4 28.Bd4+ Kf7 29.Bxg7 Kxg7
30.Nd4! wins the exchange when it's just a question of getting the rooks into Black's position. 30...Rxd4 31.Rxd4+- Kf6 32.Re3 Ng6 33.Ree4 b5 34.Rd3 Ne5 35.Rd2 Nc4 36.Rde2 Rd6 37.Kg2 Nb6 38.f4 Nd5 39.fxg5+ Kxg5 intending ...Nf4+. 40.Kg3 Kf6 41.Rh2 Kg7 42.Rf2 c5 43.c4 bxc4 44.Rxc4 Nf6 45.Rcf4 e5
A relaxed "higher rated player wins without effort" but with flaws and instructional moments. [and Alex resigned -- or maybe Ezra had played 45...e5 46.Rxf6! but it didn't make it to the scoresheets: 46...Rxf6 47.Rxf6 Kxf6 48.Kf3 is a classic king and pawn ending, where White's king easily heads for the queenside while Black has to first eliminate the outside passed pawn.] 1-0

(3) Gimelfarb,Ilia (1752) - Winslow,Elliott (2269) [B22]
MI Sep-Oct TNM 1800+ San Francisco (2.2), 14.09.2012

1.e4 c5 2.c3 The quieter, less theory-intensive Alapin Variation stilll leads to interesting positions with winning chances for both sides. 2...Nf6 Black has other ways to play [like 2...d5 (which also tries to take advantage of White's not being able to hit the queen with Nc3)] 3.e5 Nd5 Like the Alekhine Defense, Black draws White's center pawns forward and hopes to take advantage of holes left. 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.Bc4 Nb6 6.Bb3 c4!? Sooner or later White will be compelled to trade off this pawn. 7.Bc2 d6 8.exd6 Qxd6 9.0-0 Bg4 10.Qe2 e6 [In the highest-level game played here White had his pawn problems: 10...0-0-0 11.Na3 Qe6 12.Qxe6+ Bxe6 13.b3 Bd5 14.bxc4 Nxc4 15.Nxc4 Bxc4 16.Re1 Bd3 17.Bxd3 Rxd3 18.Re3 Rd7 19.Ba3 e5 20.Bxf8 Rxf8 21.h4 f6 22.h5 Rfd8 23.Kf1 b6 24.g3 Kb7 25.Kg2 Ne7 26.Re4 Rd3 0-1 (57) Nakamura,H (2736)-Dubov,D (2699) Lindores Abbey Rapid, Final 8, 2.06/0 ] 11.Na3 Qc5

0.96/22 [11...Qf4!?= remains equal. 0.00/24 ] 12.d4?!N -0.31/23 [Predecessor: 12.h3 Bh5 (12...Bxf3 13.Qxf3 with b3 or b4 to come) 13.b4 cxb3 14.axb3 Be7 15.b4 Qd6 16.d4 0-0 17.Bd2 Rfc8 18.g4 1/2-1/2 (77) Bombek,P (2228)-Petenyi,T (2393) Slovakia 2011; 12.b3 is fine too, as ...Qh5 is no concern...] 12...cxd3=/+ 13.Bxd3 Rd8
0.49/24 [while here 13...Qh5= looks to damage White's pawns somewhere, with a bit of plus. -0.11/23 ] 14.h3? -0.82/23 [14.Be4+/= stays ahead. 0.49/24 ] 14...Bxf3-/+ 15.Qxf3 Ne5 16.Bb5+
The players head into a forcing line... 16...Qxb5! 17.Nxb5 Nxf3+ 18.gxf3 a6 19.Nd4 Bc5!? 20.Be3
Now Black neglected to give White's next proper credit. 20...Nc4? -0.16/25 [20...Na4-/+ -0.88/23 ; 20...Rd5-/+ also will turn out to be useful (while stopping White's idea).] 21.Nxe6!= fxe6 The only move [Much worse is 21...Nxe3? 22.Nxd8 Nxf1 23.Nxb7+-] 22.Bxc5 Nxb2?! [22...Rd5!? 23.Ba7 (23.Ba3? Nxa3 24.bxa3 0-0 White might be a pawn up for the moment, but it's Black with all the winning chances.) 23...Rf8 and Black is no worse. (or 23...0-0) ] 23.Rfe1! Kf7?! 1.19/22 [23...Kd7= 0.25/26 ] 24.Rab1+/- Nd3 25.Rxb7+ Kg6? After a few instances of "move A is bad, so I'll play move B and *really* be lost," it should be over... 4.97/21 [25...Kf6+/- is a better chance. 1.27/23 26.Be7+ Double Attack 26...Kf5 27.Re3! still favors White.] 26.Rxe6++-
26...Kf5 27.Rc6 The move Black missed. 27...Ne5 28.Rxa6 g5 8.11/21 [>=28...Rb8 5.08/24 ; Black wanted to play 28...Nxf3+ 29.Kg2 Nh4+ 30.Kg3 Rd3+ 31.Kxh4?? (31.Be3 and it's Black in danger of mate) 31...g5+ 32.Kh5 Rxh3#] 29.Kg2! So much for any problems for White! 29...Ra8 30.Rxa8 Rxa8 31.Rxh7 Rxa2 This should be an easy win. But as is often the case, the inexperienced player loses his way in the ending. 32.Be3 Rc2
33.Rh5?? Wasting no time getting in a pickle. 0.18/24 [Better is 33.Rc7+- , holding the best pawn and aiming for Rc5. 5.50/22 33...Kf6 34.Bd4] 33...Nf7!= And now ...Kg6 would even win! 34.f4 Kg6 35.Rxg5+ Nxg5 36.fxg5 Rxc3 Those diligent readers of the Newsletter will perhaps remember Weng-Mercado from last week, where (with a- and b-pawns for both sides) the very same unusual material happened. There Nicholas won easily; the big difference is there is no trading in the rook for all the kingside pawns (since the other pawns guarantee a win). Also, here, the unfortunate pawn on g5 gives Black's king some great squares. 37.Kg3 Kh5 38.Kg2 Kh4 39.g6?! Short on time (four minutes or so) White overlooks that this pawn is just lost. 39...Rc6 40.Bf4 [40.g7 keeps more tension. 40...Rg6+ 41.Kh2 Rxg7 42.f3 Rf7 43.Bf2+] 40...Rxg6+ 41.Bg3+ Kg5 42.f4+ Kf5 43.Kf3 Ra6 44.Bf2 Rh6 45.h4 Rh8 46.Bg3 Rh7 White offered a draw. Everybody looking at this game thought Black should keep playing! White was down to a few minutes while Black had almost an hour, and the "trend" was in his favor. But the honorable action is to accept -- and getting a half point was achievement enough! Well-played by Ilia (until the unfortunate ending)! 1/2-1/2

(4) Sztaray,Judit (807) - Thibault,William (983) [B51]
MI Sep-Oct TNM Extra Games San Francisco (2.36), 14.09.2012

Judit has been on a roll lately. This game was bound to be a good battle. 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ A good way to avoid the myriad variations of the Open Sicilian. You have to be Mike Walder to play those well. 3...Nc6 4.0-0 Bd7 5.Qe2 e5 I like this move by Black which firmly stakes out the center and prepares to develop the dark-squared bishop. The d5 square is slightly weak, but there are now no worries about White pushing the e-pawn to cause trouble. 6.c3 a6 7.Bxc6! Playing for development as Morphy would do. White could also retreat the bishop and play a kind of Ruy Lopez position. 7...Bxc6 8.d4

8...d5? breaking too early with White developed. [8...cxd4! would force White to play a gambit with 9.Rd1 since (9.cxd4? Bb5 skeweres the queen and rook) ] 9.exd5 Bxd5 10.Qxe5+ Netting a clear pawn at least. 10...Ne7 11.Bg5?! [11.dxc5 Bxf3 12.gxf3 Qd5 13.Qe4 is clearly better for White] 11...Bxf3
[11...f6! 12.Qg3 fxg5 13.Re1 leaves White some compensation for a piece but not enough.] 12.Bxe7! not giving Black any second chances for a fork with f7-f6 12...Qxe7 13.Qxe7+ Bxe7 14.gxf3 cxd4 15.cxd4 White is a pawn up but Black can win it back since d4 is weak. 15...Rd8 [15...0-0-0!] 16.Rd1 Bf6 17.Nc3 Rxd4? Capturing with the wrong piece - 17...Bxd4 was equal. It looks like it doesn't matter, but Judit finds a neat tactical trick. 18.Rxd4 Bxd4
19.Re1+! This intermediate check before attacking the black bishop swings the game to a big white advantage. The black king must hide on f8 since going to the d-file lets white pin and win the bishop. 19...Kf8 20.Rd1 Bf6 [20...Bxc3? 21.Rd8+ Ke7 22.Rxh8] 21.Rd7 The invasion on the seventh rank wins a pawn. Meanwhile it takes some time for the Black rook to get out. 21...h5 22.Rxb7 Rh6 23.Nd5 g5?
23...Bd8 was needed. Black stops checkmate with the last move, yet now White wins with the right idea. 24.Rb6! Kg7 forced [24...Bg7 25.Rb8#] 25.Nxf6! Rxf6 26.Rxf6 Kxf6 27.Kf1 Well evaluated. White has doubled pawns on the kingside but it doesn't matter. The thing that counts is that White has an extra pawn on the queenside in the king ending. 27...Kf5 28.Ke2 Kf4 29.b4 Ke5 30.Ke3 f5 31.a4 Kd5 32.Kd3 g4 33.f4 h4
34.b5! a5 [34...axb5 35.axb5 Kc5 36.b6 Kxb6 37.Kd4 Kc6 38.Ke5 is an easy win as the white king mops up the black pawns] 35.b6 Kc6 36.b7 Kxb7 37.Kd4 Kc6 38.Ke5 Kc5 39.Kxf5 Kb4 40.Kxg4 Kxa4 41.f5 White queens 41...Kb3 42.f6 a4 43.f7 a3 44.f8Q Black resigns. 1-0

(5) Fairchild,JP. (1177) - Hack,Richard (1543) [A87]
MI Sep-Oct TNM u1800 San Francisco (2.17), 14.09.2012

1.d4 f5 Richard has developed a liking for the imbalanced Dutch Defense. 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nf3 g6 4.g3 Bg7 5.Bg2 0-0 6.0-0 d6 7.Nc3 Classical play by both sides in this Leningrad Variation. (Note - the name of the variation has survived even though the city is back to its rightful name of St. Petersburg.) 7...Qe8 8.d5 a5 9.Nb5 looks aggressive but 9...Na6 Black defends c7 with this fine developing move. The black knight probably wanted to go to a6 even if it didn't have to defend c7. 10.Ng5

The white knights are hopping around! 10...c6?! It was probably better to kick the other knight first with 10...h6. Now both white knights can focus on the soft e6 square. 11.Nd4?! [11.dxc6! bxc6 12.Nd4 Bd7 13.Nde6! is a clear advantage for White] 11...cxd5! 12.Nde6?!
12...Bxe6?! [12...h6! wins a pawn since White must play 13.Nxg7 (13.Nxf8? hxg5 leaves the white knight trapped on f8) 13...Kxg7 14.Nf3] 13.Nxe6 Rf7 14.Bxd5 [14.cxd5!] 14...Nxd5 15.Qxd5 Qc8? [15...Qc6! keeps material even] 16.Ng5! e6 The best defense. Better to give up a pawn than the exchange. 17.Nxe6?

Natural, but wrong. 17. Qxd6 is clearly better for White. 17...Nc7?! [17...Nb4! 18.Qxd6 Ra6 19.Qd8+ Qxd8 20.Nxd8 Rd7 21.Bg5 h6! 22.Bh4 g5 would win a piece for a couple pawns] 18.Nxc7 Qxc7 19.Be3 [The slow developing 19.Rb1 would keep the extra pawn for White.] 19...Bxb2 20.Rab1 Ba3 21.Rxb7? After having played a fine game Fairchild miscounts. The black rook is pinned on f7 but it won't be after 21...Qxb7 22.Qxd6? compounding the mistake, though it doesn't matter much [22.Qxb7 Rxb7 (no more pin from the white queen) is an easily winning rook up ending.] 22...Bxd6 An interesting game ended by an unfortunate tactical mistake. 0-1

Watch the broadcast by following this link:

Here are the current standings headed into round 3 next week:

SwissSys Standings. Sep-Oct 2021 Tuesday Night Marathon: 1800

# Place Name Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Rd 7 Total Prize
1 1-2 FM Ezra Chambers 2314 W20 W10           2.0  
2   Nicholas Weng 2001 W13 W14           2.0  
3 3-8 IM Elliott Winslow 2269 W12 D8           1.5  
4   Nathan Fong 2049 W16 D7           1.5  
5   Guy Argo 1938 H--- W15           1.5  
6   Tony Lama 1805 H--- X17           1.5  
7   Sean Kelly 1786 W9 D4           1.5  
8   Ilia Gimelfarb 1752 W18 D3           1.5  
9 9-15 Ako Heidari 1996 L7 W20           1.0  
10   Alex Chin 1992 W21 L1   H---       1.0  
11   Kayven Riese 1900 L15 W21           1.0  
12   Anthony Acosta 1818 L3 W18   H---       1.0  
13   Adam Mercado 1793 L2 W19           1.0  
14   Adam Stafford 1665 W19 L2           1.0  
15   Kevin Sun 1622 W11 L5           1.0  
16 16-17 Samuel Brownlow 1795 L4 H---           0.5  
17   Glenn Kaplan 1766 H--- F6           0.5  
18 18-21 Kristian Clemens 1994 L8 L12         H--- 0.0  
19   Steven Svoboda 1936 L14 L13           0.0  
20   Mark Drury 1830 L1 L9           0.0  
21   Joel Carron 1676 L10 L11       H---   0.0  

SwissSys Standings. Sep-Oct 2021 Tuesday Night Marathon: Under 1800

# Place Name Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Rd 7 Total Prize
1 1-9 Marty Cortinas 1720 B--- W16           2.0  
2   Daniel Wang 1581 W36 W17           2.0  
3   Stephen Parsons 1544 W22 W18           2.0  
4   Richard Hack 1543 W23 W20           2.0  
5   Georgios Tsolias 1538 W43 W25           2.0  
6   Sebastian Suarez 1520 W24 W27           2.0  
7   Aaron Craig 1451 W26 W32           2.0  
8   Paul Reed 1440 W44 W31           2.0  
9   Christopher Dessert 1418 W37 W14           2.0  
10 10-13 Romeo Barreyro 1702 H--- W21           1.5  
11   John Chan 1500 H--- W38           1.5  
12   Jerry Morgan 1462 H--- W33           1.5  
13   Eli Chanoff unr. H--- X34           1.5  
14 14-32 Teodoro Porlares 1749 W42 L9           1.0  
15   Albert Starr 1500 L25 X35           1.0  
16   David Olson 1400 W45 L1           1.0  
17   Nursultan Uzakbaev 1389 W29 L2           1.0  
18   Andrew Imbens 1318 W30 L3           1.0  
19   Matt Long 1306 L31 W44     H---     1.0  
20   Jp Fairchild 1177 W46 L4           1.0  
21   Tobiah Rex 1173 W39 L10           1.0  
22   William Thibault 983 L3 X45           1.0  
23   Thomas Gu 768 L4 W46           1.0  
24   Jeffrey Dallatezza unr. L6 X40           1.0  
25   Deandr Stallworth unr. W15 L5           1.0  
26   Dean Guo unr. L7 W41           1.0  
27   Jabez Wesly unr. W40 L6           1.0  
28   James Dorsch unr. H--- H---           1.0  
29   Anton Maliev unr. L17 W42           1.0  
30   Elias Colfax-Lamoureux unr. L18 W43           1.0  
31   Adam Ginzberg unr. W19 L8           1.0  
32   Trent Hancock unr. W41 L7           1.0  
33 33-39 Nick Casares 1600 H--- L12           0.5  
34   Lisa Willis 1583 H--- F13           0.5  
35   Damien Seperi 1083 H--- F15           0.5  
36   Andrejs Gulbis 1029 L2 H---           0.5  
37   Benjamin Anderson unr. L9 H---         H--- 0.5  
38   Adam Laskowitz unr. H--- L11           0.5  
39   Samuel White unr. L21 H---         H--- 0.5  
40 40-46 Paul Krezanoski 1418 L27 F24           0.0  
41   Richard Ahrens 1210 L32 L26           0.0  
42   Natan Gimelfarb 1139 L14 L29           0.0  
43   David Nichol 546 L5 L30           0.0  
44   Ian Atroshchenko unr. L8 L19           0.0  
45   Ryan Gill unr. L16 F22           0.0  
46   Harry Elworthy unr. L20 L23           0.0  

SwissSys Standings. Sep-Oct 2021 Tuesday Night Marathon: Extra Game

# Place Name Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Total Prize
1 1-7 Brendyn Estolas 2052 U--- W13 1.0  
2   Gaziz Makhanov 1893 U--- W10 1.0  
3   Marty Cortinas 1720 W11 U--- 1.0  
4   ROMEO BE BARREYRO 1702 W12 U--- 1.0  
5   JERRY MORGAN 1462 W14 U--- 1.0  
6   Judit Sztaray 807 U--- W15 1.0  
7   Noah Chambers unr. U--- W11 1.0  
8 8-9 Eli Chanoff unr. U--- D9 0.5  
9   Jeffrey Dallatezza unr. U--- D8 0.5  
10 10-15 Alex Silvestre 2131 U--- L2 0.0  
11   TONY A LAMA 1805 L3 L7 0.0  
12   NICK CASARES JR 1600 L4 U--- 0.0  
13   Albert Starr 1500 U--- L1 0.0  
14   JOHN CHAN 1500 L5 U--- 0.0  
15   William Thibault 983 U--- L6 0.0  

Thursday Night Marathon Report

by Abel Talamantez

The final two rounds of the Thursday Night Marathon online finished with the defending champion coming out on top once again. GM Gadir Guseinov won both games, defeating a game FM Ezra Chambers in round 5 and winning round 6 against Sheel Dandekar to take 1st place with 5.5/6. Guseinov was playing with fire a bit in the final round, as he allowed Dandekar to achieve an even position in the endgame. But Dandekar, rated 2034, had only seconds on his clock, and got mated in the time scramble. 

The game of the tournament was played by FM Max Gedajlovic, who defeated IM Bala Chandra Dhulipalla in round 5 to help him take clear 2nd with 5/6. The game is annoated below by GM Nick de Firmian. 

(1) FM Max Gedajlovic (MMSANCHEZ) (2290) - IM Bala Chandra Dhulipalla (Swarnapuri) (2436) [D31]
Live Chess, 17.09.2021

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 a6 A trendy move now. 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Bf4 Transposing into a version of the Exchange Variation makes sense for White with the pawn on a6. 5...Nf6 6.e3 c5 Black seeks active play in the style of a Tarrasch. Reasonable, yet White gets a target on d5. 7.Nf3 c4 8.Ne5 b5 9.a3 Bb7

10.g4! Black has expanded on the queenside so White charges up on the kingside. The g-pawn can kick the knight on f6 at some opportune moment. 10...Nc6 11.Bg2 Na5?!+/- [11...Nxe5 12.Bxe5 Ne4 would be just a slight edge for White] 12.g5! Ne4 13.Nxe4 [13.Bxe4 dxe4 14.Qh5 g6 15.Qg4 is also good] 13...dxe4+/- 14.Qc2 [14.Qh5 g6 15.Qg4 is again a good plan] 14...Nb3?!+/- The black knight looks good here but doesn't do much. 15.Rd1 Qd5
16.f3! Suddenly the game is opening up and Black is in trouble on the long diagonal. 16...Qe6 [simply losing is 16...exf3? 17.Bxf3] 17.fxe4 f6 18.d5! Qb6 19.Ng4?! giving Black a chance [19.gxf6 gxf6 20.Nc6! is simply winning with the power of the two white bishops along with the great control of the central squares] 19...fxg5 20.Bxg5 Qg6! Black is still in big trouble but this makes a fight of it. White has to worry about the pieces on the g-file. 21.h4 Bd6 [21...h6 22.Ne5! Qd6 23.Bf4 is easy] 22.0-0! The key move to mobilize the white pieces and get the king to (relative) saftey. 22...Nc5
[Probably Black should have tried 22...h6 though 23.Bf4! saves the piece and consolidates with the extra center pawns] 23.Nf6+! A hard shot! Black has no way to recover here. 23...Kd8 [23...gxf6 24.Rxf6 Qg7 25.Rxd6 is materially and positionally winning for White] 24.Qc3! h6 25.e5 The action is happening as both sides take pieces. The big difference is the fully develped white pieces and central control. 25...hxg5 26.exd6 gxf6 27.Rxf6 Qg7 28.Rdf1!
28...Kc8 [no better is 28...gxh4 29.Rf8+! Qxf8 30.Rxf8+ Rxf8 31.Qg7 Nd7 32.Bh3 with mate in a few moves] 29.Qa5 striking from the other side of the board too 29...Kb8 30.Rf7 Qxf7 Black resigned 1-0

Special shououts go to Bryan Hood and Casimir Dudek, who both had strong tournaments, and to Katherine Sunny Lu, who is a rising player whom we will be looking forward to following her progress. 

Here are the tentative final standings, pending cpmpletion of the fair play review. Watch the live broadcast of the round here:

SwissSys Standings. September 2021 Thursday Night Marathon Online: Open

# Name ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Total Prize
1 Gadir Guseinov 17343590 2563 W11 W18 W2 D3 W4 W6 5.5  
2 Max Gedajlovic 14947382 2264 X13 W5 L1 W6 W3 W8 5.0  
3 Bala Chandra Prasad Dhulipalla 30100858 2475 W12 W7 W4 D1 L2 W11 4.5  
4 Ezra Chambers 15191101 2314 W19 W8 L3 W11 L1 W13 4.0  
5 Bryan Hood 12839763 1574 W22 L2 W20 W16 D8 H--- 4.0  
6 Sheel Dandekar 12604772 2034 W9 W23 D14 L2 W7 L1 3.5  
7 Matthew Chan 12541333 1658 W24 L3 D9 W22 L6 W17 3.5  
8 Casimir Dudek 30101045 1649 W21 L4 W12 W14 D5 L2 3.5  
9 Katherine Sunny Lu 16425316 1390 L6 W26 D7 D12 D10 W16 3.5  
10 Robert Smith 12463327 1853 L14 W15 H--- H--- D9 D12 3.0  
11 Joseph Flowers 12691490 1494 L1 W17 W25 L4 W14 L3 3.0  
12 Aaron Craig 12872385 1451 L3 W24 L8 D9 W15 D10 3.0  
13 Charles James 12448028 1426 F2 H--- D15 W24 X18 L4 3.0  
14 Austin Jin 17144712 1318 W10 D16 D6 L8 L11 W19 3.0  
15 Ian Liao 16738735 1161 D16 L10 D13 W19 L12 W21 3.0  
16 Kevin M Fong 17254586 1750 D15 D14 W19 L5 D17 L9 2.5  
17 Stephen Sikes 13058987 1339 L18 L11 W21 W20 D16 L7 2.5  
18 Stewart Katz 12458563 1856 W17 L1 H--- H--- F13 U--- 2.0  
19 Jimolee Gray 30172836 1442 L4 W21 L16 L15 W24 L14 2.0  
20 Alex C Durig 12729479 1290 H--- H--- L5 L17 L21 W24 2.0  
21 Rehaan Malhotra 30118209 1055 L8 L19 L17 W25 W20 L15 2.0  
22 Victor Beauchamp 30154650 889 L5 B--- X23 L7 U--- U--- 2.0  
23 James Hamlett 12374510 1561 W26 L6 F22 U--- U--- U--- 1.0  
24 Bruce Hedman 17344551 1087 L7 L12 X26 L13 L19 L20 1.0  
25 Cleveland W Lee 12814843 524 H--- H--- L11 L21 U--- U--- 1.0  
26 Francisco Ostolaza 30266747 unr. L23 L9 F24 U--- U--- U--- 0.0  

Tony's Teasers

Tony challenges you to solve this problem, white to move and mate in 4.


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FM Paul Whitehead's Column

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Refresh Your Chess

For those starting out, and for those who think they know everything.

In the following diagrams you will be given two tasks.

First you need to define the issue(s) and figure out what is required in the position: it might be how to force the win of material, queen a pawn, or even to deliver checkmate.  It may simply be a continuation that maintains the equilibrium or forces a draw.  There may be more than one road to follow – chess is a complicated game!

Secondly, you are given three or four choices – call them “candidate moves” or possibilities - on a sliding scale of excellent to disastrous.  You may even come up with a perfectly fine - or horrible – move of your own!  Chess gives us a dizzying array of choices, and separating the wheat from the chaff is our responsibility.

Were you able to fulfill the requirements of the position?

The answers are given below.

Choose wisely!


1. It is good practice to keep drilling these positions into your head, no matter how easy they seem.

White moves. What is your task? What is your move?

A) 1.e6

B) 1.Ke6

C) 1.Kc7


2. This position arises from the Ruy Lopez Exchange Variation after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.Nxe5.

Black moves. What is your task? What is your move?

A) 5…Bd6

B) 5…Nf6

C) 5…Qd4


3. King and pawn endings are tricky, but knowing these basic positions can bring home the bacon – or save your hide.

White moves. What is your task? What is your move?

A) 1.Ke2

B) 1.Kf3

C) 1.Kf2


4. After 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d3 Ne7, this position was reached from the Ruy Lopez, Berlin Variation in the game Carlsen vs. Rapport, Norway 2021.

White moves. What is your task? What is your move?

A) 5.Nxe5

B) 5.h3

C) 5.0-0


5. Another king and pawn ending, and another idea well worth knowing.

White moves. What is your task? What is your move?

A) 1.a4

B) 1.Kf5

C) 1.Kf6


6. The Ruy Lopez again, and this position might occur after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.d4 b5 6.Bb3 Be7 7.dxe5 Nxe4.

White moves. What is your task? What is your move?

A) 8.Bxf7+

B) 8.0-0

C) 8.Qd5


7. Another important concept in king and pawn endings is illustrated here, in Carlsen – Naiditsch, Russia 2007.

White moves. What is your task? What is your move?

A) 1.g6

B) 1.f6

C) 1.Kd3


8. This position might arise out of the Open Variation of the Ruy Lopez after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Be7 10.Re1 0-0 11.Nd4 Qd7.

White moves. What is your task? What is your move?

A) 12.Nxc6

B) 12.Kh1

C) 12.Nxe6


GM Nick de Firmian's Column

Nick's column will return next week.

Solution to Tony's Teaser

1. Rb6!!  Ka7  2. Rb5  Ka6  3. Rb4  e5  4. Kb3#

Solutions to FM Paul Whitehead's Column



Your task is to usher in the pawn to queen, and A) 1.e6? jumps the gun. After 1…Kd8! Black has the opposition and draws after 2.e7+ Ke8 3.Ke6 stalemate. B) 1.Ke6! is counter-intuitive (the king steps in front of his own pawn) but white seizes the opposition after 1…Kd8 (or 1…Kf8 2.Kf6) 2.Kd6 and it’s all over after 2…Ke8 3.e7 Kf7 4.Kd7 followed by 5.e8=Q etc. C) 1.Kc7? is wrong-headed: black captures the pawn with 1…Ke7.


Your task is to regain your pawn, and A) 5…Bd6? While developing a piece, falls short. White simply replies 6.Nf3 or 6.Nc4 and is a healthy pawn ahead. Likewise, after B) 5…Nf6? 6.d3. C) 5…Qd4! Is excellent (and full credit for 5…Qg5! Hitting the knight at e5 and the pawn at g2). Although it violates the “rule” against bringing one’s queen out too early, here it is perfectly justified. After 5.Nf3 Qxe4+ 6.Qe2 Qxe2+ 7.Kxe2 the position is equal.


Your task is to stop black from queening, and both A) 1.Ke2? and B) 1.Kf3? fail miserably after the simple 1…Kg2 followed by 2…h2 and 3…h1=Q. The clever C) 1.Kf2! either leads to stalemate for black after 1…h2 2.Kf1, or stalemate for white after 1…Kh2 2.Kf1 Kg3 3.Kg1 h2+ 4.Kh1! Kh3. Draw!


Your task is to continue your development as Carlsen did with C) 5.0-0. The game continued calmly, both players developing in typical fashion with 5…c6 6.Ba4 Ng6 7.Re1 Be7 8.d4 d6 9.c3 0-0 10.Nbd2 etc. B) 5.h3, while not strictly a mistake, is unnecessary prophylaxis at this point. 4…Ne7 is the Mortimer Defense and also an opening trap: C) 5.Nxe5? is a mistake that costs a piece after 5…c6! 6.Nc4 (if 6.Ba4 then 6…Qa5+! picks off the knight at e5) 6…d6! (but not the greedy 6…cxb5?? 7.Nd6 mate!) 6…b5 and black should win.


Your task is to make sure the black king cannot stop your pawn, and B) 1.Kf5! “shoulders” the black king away. After 1…Ke3 2.Ke5! Kd3 3.Kd5 Kc3 4.Kc5 followed by 5.a4 and the pawn will go in to queen. A) 1.a4? is a mistake, allowing black’s king to move inside the “square” of the white pawn, and after 1…Ke4 the pawn is caught: 2.a5 Kd5 3.a6 Kc6 4.a7 Kb7. C) 1.Kf6? does absolutely nothing: 1…Ke4 as in the last variation, and draws.


 Your task is to take advantage of the loose knight at e4 and black’s uncastled king to win material, and A) 8.Bxf7+ is a good move that does both. After 1…Kxf7 2.Qd5+ Ke8 3.Qxe4 white has won a pawn and black can’t castle. This is excellent, but as the saying goes: “If you see a good move, look again. There may be a better one”, and that’s the case here. After C) 8.Qd5! black will lose an entire piece. Mate at f7 is threatened, and the knight at e4 is hanging. Black is dead lost. B) 8.0-0? Is just too lukewarm. Black also castles, and the moment has been lost.


Your task is to queen a pawn! In fact, Naiditsch had resigned a couple of moves earlier. Both A) 1.g6! and B) 1.f6! force a queen using a classic breakthrough sacrifice: after 1.g6 Kd6 2.f6! gxf6 3.g7, etc. Or 1.f6! gxf6 2.g7. C) 1.Kd3? misses the point and the game is a draw after 1…Kd5 2.f6 (too late!) 2…gxf6 3.gxf6 (3.g6 Ke6 4.g7 Kf7 and the pawn is caught.) 3…Ke6 4.Kc4 Kxf6 5.Kxc5.


Your task is to win a piece! This is the famous Tarrasch Trap, where 11…Qd7?? was a bad mistake. A) 12.Nxc6?! However, does little except trade knights. Black is fine after 12…Qxc6 – white has no follow-up. B) 12.Kh1?? means that white has fallen asleep, but 12…Nxf2+! should wake him up. White loses his queen after his senseless move. Surprisingly C) 12.Nxe6! wins a piece as black is caught in two deadly pins. The first is revealed after 12…Qxe6 13.Rxe4! dxe4 14.Bxe6 winning, and the second after 12…fxe6 and again 13.Rxe4! and if 13…fxe4 14.Qxd7.



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