TNM Round 3 Report
by Abel Talamantez
IM Elliott Winslow continues to be the sole leader after three rounds of the TNM, as he defeated Edward Lewis after a long struggle in which he eventaully reached a Lucena position to get the win and remain perfect with 3/3. Kayven Riese, Guy Argo and Adam Stafford also got wins to remain only a half point back with 2.5/3. I have to give a special shout out to Tony Lama, who was in fine form with a sustained pressured attack to get a win over the highly talented Kevin Sun.
(Left) IM Elliott Winslow playing white studies the board against Edward Lewis. (Right) Tony Lama gets an impressive win with the black pieces against Kevin Sun.
In the under 1800 section, Romeo Barreyro and Dean Guo are the only remaining perfect scores after three rounds in the 52 player section. Ronald Allen held the section favorite Adam Mercado to a draw, and in probably the most intriguing game of the night, Samuel Agdamag and Stephen Parsons played to an exciting draw.
We had a very special guest visit the TNM. US Chess Senior Director of Strategic Communication Dan Lucas stopped by while on vacation in San Francisco for his first visit to Mechanics'.
(Left) Stephen Parsons plays white against Samuel Agdamag is an exciting battle. (Right) Dan Lucas pays his first visit to the Mechanics' Institute.
Here are some games from round 3, annotated by GM Nick de Firmian.
(1) Sun,Kevin (1744) - Lama,Tony (1800) [C02]
MI Nov-Dec TNM 1800+ San Francisco (3.13), 16.11.2021
Young against the old! Tony Lama is 86 years old and Kevin is 10. 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 The Advance Variation is one of the principled lines against the French. 3...c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Bd7 6.Be2 f6 This move makes sense, but it isn't the classic Nimzovichian theory which says to attack the base of the pawn chain rather than the tip. Chess theory evolves and Tony is still taking part in opening evolution. 7.exf6 [7.0-0 maintains the e5 point and is probably a better chance at any advantage for White.] 7...Nxf6 8.0-0 cxd4 9.Nxd4?! Black now takes more control of the central squares. 9. cxd4 would be better. 9...Bd6 10.Bg5 0-0 11.Bf3 Qb6
Black has won the opening battle. His pieces are developed and the black center pawns have potential to advance. 12.Nxc6 Bxc6 13.Qc2 Rac8 14.Nd2 Qc7 15.h3 Bf4?!
[15...e5! would give Black a classic pawn center to go with the well placed pieces] 16.Bxf4 Qxf4 17.Rfe1 Rce8 18.Nb3
now Black is pressing again 19.Rad1 e4 20.Be2 Nd7 21.Bf1 Ne5 22.Re3 Rf6 23.Nd4 Ref8 24.Rd2 Qg5
perhaps 24...h5 would help the attack 25.Rg3 Qh4 26.Kh2?
This is the wrong square for the white king. It was safer on g1. 26...Bd7
[26...e3! would be an immediate breakthrough since 27. Re3 Ng4+ wins] 27.Qb3 Ng4+
Now 28. Rxg4 Bxg4 29. Qxd5+ is forced, though Black has a clear edge. 28.Kg1?
28...Qxg3! 29.Qxd5+ Kh8
There is no way out for White. Capturing the queen is mate on f1 while 30. hxg4 Rxf2 crashes through. 30.Qxd7 Qh2#
I look forward to seeing further battles between these two players. 0-1
(2) Clemens,Kristian (1954) - Argo,Guy (1884) [A84]
MI Nov-Dec TNM 1800+ San Francisco (3.5), 16.11.2021
1.Nf3 f5 The risky, unbalanced Dutch Defense. 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 Bb4 This Nimzo-Indian move secures Black in the center. 5.Bd2 0-0 6.g3 b6 7.Bg2 Bb7 8.0-0 a5 9.Ne5 Trading the bishops brings no edge for White. 9...Bxg2 10.Kxg2 Qe8 11.f3 d6 12.Nd3 Bxc3 13.Bxc3 Nbd7 14.Qd2 e5 15.dxe5 dxe5 16.Rae1 [16.Rad1!?] 16...Rd8 17.Qe3 Qe6! 18.b3 [18.Nxe5 Rde8 19.f4 Nxe5! 20.fxe5 (20.Qxe5? Qc6+) ] 18...Rfe8 19.c5 Nd5 20.Qc1 e4 21.Nf4 Nxf4+ 22.Qxf4 Nxc5 23.Qxc7 Rd7 24.Qf4 Red8 25.Qg5 Qg6 26.Qe3 Re8 27.Qc1 e3 28.Rd1 Rf7 29.Kh1 f4 30.g4 h5 31.Rg1
Suddenly Black is attacking with the powerful threat of 32...Nf2 check. It seemed White would have a strong attack on the g-file, but he lacks one move to get it going. 32.Rd5?
This loses, but [32.fxe4 Qxe4+ 33.Rg2 hxg4 34.Qb1 Qc6 with ...f3 coming is tremendous compensation forf the knight. Black would have a clear advantage.; 32.Be1 is relativevly best. 32...Nf2+ 33.Bxf2 exf2 34.Rgf1 hxg4 (34...Rxe2 35.Rd8+ Kh7 36.Qc8!)
35.Rxf2 g3 36.Rg2 Re5 is a clear advantage] 32...hxg4 33.Be1 g3 34.Rg2 Nf2+ 35.Kg1 gxh2+ 36.Kxh2 Qh6+ 0-1
(3) Gimelfarb,Ilia (1760) - Kaplan,Glenn (1735) [B07]
MI Nov-Dec TNM 1800+ San Francisco (3.14), 16.11.2021
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Be3 Bg7 5.f3 0-0 6.Qd2 Nbd7 7.Nge2 c5 8.dxc5 Nxc5 9.0-0-0 Bd7 10.g4
The position is similar to a Sicilian Dragon. White attacks on the kingside and Black on the queenside. Both attacks can be ferocious. 10...b5 11.Ng3?
Black hits on the flank first. 12.Nb1 Qc7 13.Qxb4 Rab8 14.Qe1 Be6 15.Nc3 Nfd7 16.Bd4 Bxd4 17.Rxd4
[18.Nxa2 Nb3+ 19.Kb1 Nxd4] 18...Bxc4 19.Rxc4 Ne5 20.Nd5 Qd7?
[20...Ncd3+ 21.cxd3 Nxd3+ 22.Kd1 Qxc4 wins] 21.Rc3 Rbc8 22.Qe3 Kg7 23.h4 h6?! 24.h5 Rh8 25.b4 e6 26.Nf4
[26.bxc5! exd5 27.exd5 is very good] 26...Na4 27.Rxc8 Qxc8 28.Qxa7?
[28.hxg6! opens Black up] 28...Nc3?
The wrong piece! 28...Qc3 should hold at least a draw as the black queen causes much trouble for the white king. 29.hxg6! Nxg6 30.Ngh5+ Kg8 31.Nxg6 Ne2+ 32.Kd1 Nc3+ 33.Ke1 Qc4 34.Qa8+
White mates after 34...Kh7 35. Qh8+ Kxg6 36. Qg7. 1-0
(4) Parsons,Stephen (1611) - Agdamag,Samuel (1448) [E93]
MI Nov-Dec TNM u1800 San Francisco (3.16), 16.11.2021
1.c4 d6 2.Nc3 g6 3.Nf3 Bg7 Sammy's favorite defense. 4.e4 Nf6 5.d4 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.d5 Now though we are in a classic King's Indian Defense, Petrosian Variation. The locked center means it should be play on the flanks. 7...Nbd7 8.h3 Nh5 9.Be3 Nf4 10.g3?! [10.Bf1 first and then 11. g3 is better] 10...Nxe2?! [10...Ng2+! 11.Kd2 Nxe3 12.fxe3 is very nice for Black] 11.Qxe2 Nb6 12.0-0-0 f5 13.h4! f4 14.gxf4 exf4 The center has opened up, and we have a sharp game with kings castled on opposite flanks. 15.Bd4 Bg4 16.Bxg7 Kxg7 17.c5!? an aggressive pawn sacrifice by Stephen to clear out the center. Declining is the safe option and Sammy chooses that. 17...Nd7! 18.Qd3? worried about the pin White gets into trouble and loses a pawn [18.Rdg1 Bh5 19.cxd6 cxd6 (19...Ne5 20.Ng5!) 20.Qd3 is about equal] 18...Nxc5 19.Qd4+?! giving up the exchange for practical chances. Objectively 19 Qe2 was better, though this is more fun. 19...Kg8 [19...Qf6] 20.Rd3 Nxd3+ 21.Qxd3
Black should have enough extra material to win the game, but the white knights make it tricky. 21...a6 22.Nd4 Qf6 23.f3 Bd7 24.h5 Kg7 25.Qc4 b5?!
[25...c6! keeps full control] 26.Qxc7 Rf7 27.hxg6 hxg6 28.Qb6 Rff8?!
[28...Rh8!] 29.Qc7 Rf7 30.Qb6 Qe7 31.Kb1 Rff8 32.Nde2 b4?!
The pawn's life was given too easily. 33.Qxb4 Rfb8 34.Qd4+ Qe5 35.Qd2 g5 36.Rg1 Kf6 37.Nc1
The game is getting sharp and the black king is a little exposed.Chances are even here. 37...Rb4?
[37...Rh8] 38.Nd3! Qd4?!
[38...Rd4 39.Nxe5 Rxd2 40.Nxd7+ Ke7] 39.e5+?
[39.Ne2! Qe3 40.Qc3+ Kf7 41.Nxb4 Qxe2 42.Qc7 Ke8 43.Rh1 would win the game] 39...Kf5?!
Lots of action here, but 40. Rd1 would keep White ahead. 40...Kxg5 41.Ne4+ Kg6 42.Nxf4+ Kf5 43.Ng3+ Kxe5 44.Nd3+ Kf6 45.Ne4+ Kf7 46.Qf4+ Kg8 47.Nf6+?
[47.Nxb4! gives even chances] 47...Kg7! 48.Nh5+ Kg6 49.Qxd6+ Kxh5
Black is ahead two! rooks here and is winning. There are many checks though so care is needed. 50.Qh2+ Qh4 51.Qe5+ Qg5 52.Qh2+ Kg6
[52...Rh4!] 53.Qd6+ Kh5 54.Qxb4 Qg1+ 55.Kc2 Rc8+ 56.Kd2 Qg2+ 57.Ke3 Re8+ 58.Kd4 Qg1+ 59.Kc3 Rc8+ 60.Kd2 Qh2+ 61.Ke3 Re8+ 62.Kd4 Qg1+ 63.Kc3 Re3
[63...Qe3! keeps control with the extra rook] 64.Kd2
giving up the exchange leaves an equal material game. Black could still win with [64...Bf5!] 65.Kxd3 Bb5+ 66.Ke4 Qg6+ 67.Ke5 Qe8+ 68.Kd4 Qe2 69.f4 Kg4 70.Kc5 Kf5 71.Qd4 Qe7+ 72.d6 Qa7+ 73.Kd5 Bc6+ 74.Kc4!
There is no way for Black to win here. 74...Bb5+ 75.Kd5 Qb7+ 76.Kc5 Qc6+ 77.Kb4 Qe4 78.Qxe4+ Kxe4 79.a4 Bd7 80.Kc5 Kxf4 81.a5 Ke5 82.Kb6 Kxd6 83.Kxa6 Kc6 84.b4 Bc8+ 85.Ka7
draw agreed. A rough and tumble game! 1/2-1/2
(5) Winslow,Elliott (2252) - Lewis,Edward (2017) [A42]
MI Nov-Dec TNM 1800+ San Francisco (3.1), 16.11.2021
1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.c4 d6 4.Nc3 a6 5.Nf3 Nd7
[Black could play 5...Bg4; And 5...Nf6 is a King's Indian with ...a6 tossed in.] 6.Be2!+/- c5 7.0-0
[The old computers like 7.d5 when 7...Ne5 certainly takes the game into curious channels.] 7...cxd4 8.Nxd4
A Sicilian/Maroczy Bind structure, but what is Black's knight doing on d7? There's no pressure on d4. 8...Ngf6
[8...Qb6? 9.Be3!+- Qxb2? 10.Nd5! Kf8 11.Nc2! and Black's queen is a liability, to say the least. 11...Qe5 12.f4 Qxe4 13.Bd3] 9.Re1N
White also doesn't seem to know where his pieces go. [The last game here went 9.Be3 (probably a more consistent move) 9...0-0 10.Qd2 Re8 11.f3 Nc5 12.b4+- Ne6 13.Nb3 b6 14.Rac1 Nd7 15.Rfd1 Bb7 16.Bf1 a5 17.a3 Bc6 18.Rb1 0-1 (44) Rusev,K (2455)-Manolache,M (2501) Albarino 2006] 9...Nc5 10.Bf3 Rb8?? 11.a4?!
[11...Bg4!?] 12.Be3 Ne6 13.a5 Nd7 14.Nd5
[White should try 14.Nxe6+/- fxe6 15.Bg4! (15.Qd2)
15...Ne5 16.Ba7 Ra8 17.Bb6 Qe8 18.Be2 when after a bunch of shuffling, White is getting more than a little edge.] 14...Ndc5?
[14...Bxd4 15.Bxd4 Nxd4 16.Qxd4 b6= when in spite of the vaguely weak a6 pawn and kingside, Black is doing pretty well.] 15.Ra3
White missed some tactical chances: [15.Nf5!+- gxf5 16.exf5 with problems: 16...Nc7 17.Nxe7+ Qxe7 18.Bxc5 Black just can't recover enough pawns to save himself.; 15.e5!? dxe5 (15...Bxe5 16.Nxe6 Nxe6 17.b4!
dares Black to get crushed on the dark squares: 17...Bxa1? 18.Qxa1)
16.Nxe6 Nxe6 17.Bb6 Black seems to have some rare problems: 17...Qe8 18.Nc7 Qd7 19.Qb3 Nd4 20.Bxd4 exd4 21.Nxa6] 15...Bd7?!
White can improve better than Black. [15...Nxd4+/- keeps fighting. 16.Bxd4 Bxd4 17.Qxd4 e5; 15...Nxd4 16.Bxd4 Bxd4 17.Qxd4 e5 18.Qd2] 16.b4+- Bxd4 17.Bxd4 Nxd4 18.Qxd4 Ne6?!
[18...e5 19.Qd2 Ne6 20.Bg4 f5 21.exf5 gxf5 22.Bd1+- is too loose for Black, what with b4-b5 and the rook swinging to the kingside as well.] 19.Qd2 Bc6?
[19...f6 is a sad defensive situation, sure to lead to disaster eventually: 20.h4!?] 20.Bg4! Kg7 21.Rh3! Rh8 22.Qh6+ Kg8
But this is sadder, or should be. 23.Bxe6?!
White tries to cash in, but it's insufficient profit, giving Black some chances. Maybe. [23.Rd3! Ng7 24.h4] 23...fxe6 24.Nf4
[24.Rhe3! works pretty well.] 24...Qf8! 25.Qxf8+?!
[25.Qh4! Qf6 26.Qg4 Kf7 27.Nxe6! It's easy to tell others to keep queens on the board when the opponent's king is in more danger, but when it comes to doing it, it's easy to forget.] 25...Rxf8 26.Nxe6
Black avoids the interesting forcing lines. [26...Bd7!? 27.Nxf8 Bxh3 28.Nxg6 (28.Nxh7
is exactly the same; 28.gxh3!? Kxf8 29.f4
is also a technical win)
28...hxg6 29.gxh3 Rxh3 30.Re3 was the long variation both players had to consider; once White was convinced the pawn ending was winning it was off to the races.] 27.Rc3!+-
White consolidates the extra pawn. 27...Bd7 28.Nf4 Kg7 29.e5!? Rhf8 30.Nd5 Be6 31.Nb6 Rce8
[31...Rc6 was an alternative.] 32.exd6 exd6 33.Rce3 Kf7 34.f4?!
A bit impatient. 34...h5?!
[34...Bf5] 35.Kf2 h4 36.Nd5! Bf5 37.Re7+! Rxe7 38.Rxe7+ Kg8 39.Rxb7
This should be easy, but White seems intent to make it hard. 39...Bd3 40.Rc7 g5 41.g3 Be4 42.Ke3 hxg3 43.hxg3 Bxd5 44.cxd5 gxf4+ 45.gxf4 Rb8 46.Ke4
This is the strongest way forward, but it does require careful calculation. [The momentarily passive 46.Rc4!? Rb5 47.Kd4 intends (or should have!) rook-check and Kc4, squelching Black's counterplay.; 46.Rc6 Rxb4 47.Rxa6 is just great as well.] 46...Rxb4+ 47.Kf5 Rb5 48.Ke6
[48.Kg6! Kf8 49.f5 was White's original intention.] 48...Rxa5 49.f5
[49.Rc8+! Kh7 50.Kxd6 wins with the d-pawn] 49...Ra2 50.Rc8+
[50...Kg7?! 51.f6+ Kg6 52.Rg8+] 51.f6
[51.Kxd6] 51...Re2+ 52.Kxd6
Has the "advantage" of reaching 7 pieces, so the Lomonosov Tablebase can tell all. (It's mate in 25.)
[52.Kf7! a5 53.Rc1 Kh6 54.Rh1+ Kg5 55.Kg7] 52...Kg6 53.Rf8
[53.Rc6! is fastest.] 53...a5 54.Kc7 a4 55.Ra8
Actually best. 55...Kxf6 56.Rxa4
[56.d6] 56...Ke5 57.d6 Ke6 58.d7 Rc2+ 59.Kd8 Rg2 60.Ra6+ Kd5 61.Kc8
The rook blocks the checks on b6. 1-0
(6) Makhanov,Gaziz (1917) - Fong,Nathan (2032) [B33]
MI Nov-Dec TNM 1800+ San Francisco (3.2), 16.11.2021
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Nb3 After a long thought! You'd think he'd never seen the Sveshnikov before! 6...Bb4 7.Bc4 0-0 8.Bg5 h6 B33: Sicilian: Pelikan and Sveshnikov Variations. 9.Bh4 g5 [9...d6=/+ 10.Qd3 Bxc3+ 11.bxc3 Be6] 10.Bg3= Nxe4 11.Qd3
[Previously seen (and perhaps better) was 11...Ne7 12.Qxe4 (12.0-0-0 Nxc3 13.bxc3 Ba3+ 14.Kb1 Qc7 (14...d5!-+)
15.h4 d5 16.Bxd5 Rd8 17.Bxf7+ Kg7 0-1 (44) Ali,S (2051)-Tarigan,G (2132) Penang 2018) 12...d5 13.Bxd5 Bxc3+ 14.bxc3 Qxd5 15.Qxe5 Qxe5+ 16.Bxe5 Ng6 17.Bd4 Re8+ 18.Kd2 Nh4 White is up a pawn, but its value is not so significant.] 12.Bxd5+/-
White took control after the opening but for whatever reason (they did take a lot of time!) acceded to the perpetual. [12...Nxc3 13.Qg6+! Kh8 14.Qxh6+ Kg8 15.Bxc6 bxc6 16.a3! (a familiar trick in many openings) 16...Be7 (16...Bd6 17.bxc3)
17.h4! Perhaps *this* is what Makhanov missed! (17.Bxe5?? Bf6!
and it's Black's attack that wins!)
17...Qd6 (17...g4?? 18.Bxe5 Bf6 (18...f6 19.Qg6+ Kh8 20.Bxc3)
19.Bxf6 Re8+ 20.Kf1 Ba6+ 21.Kg1 Ne2+ 22.Kh2!+- (Did you think that 17.h2-h4 was just about attacking? No, it was an airhole for the king!)) 18.Qh5! Qg6 19.Qxg6+ fxg6 20.bxc3 is slightly in White's favor, and worth continuing if you're not too short on the clock.] 1/2-1/2
(7) Allen,Ronald (1501) - Mercado,Adam (1746) [E99]
MI Nov-Dec TNM u1800 San Francisco (3.6), 16.11.2021
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Be2 0-0 6.Nf3 e5 7.0-0 Nc6 8.d5 Ne7 9.Ne1 Nd7 10.Be3 f5 11.f3 f4 12.Bf2 g5 13.a4 Nf6 14.c5 h5 15.a5 Ng6 16.cxd6 cxd6 17.Nb5 g4 18.Nxa7
Deep in the Mar Del Plata Variation: White and Black are both going all-out here. 18...g3 19.Bb6
[And not 19.hxg3 fxg3 20.Bb6 Qe7 21.Nxc8 Rfxc8-/+ and what's to stop a knight move and ...Qh4?] 19...Qe7 20.Rc1
[20.Bb5+- is the chip choice.; 20.Nxc8 Rfxc8 (20...gxh2+
White has a perfect score, with either taking or hiding in front of it.)
21.Bb5 is rather annoying. White's control of the light squares often permits a solid defense. (21.Kh1
is also good, and has been played.)
[20...Nd7!+/= is the only move: 21.Nxc8 Rfxc8 22.Bb5? (22.Bc7 Nf6 23.Bb6 Nd7)
22...Qh4 23.h3 Nxb6 24.axb6 Qd8 picks off White's favorite pawn, with -- a won game.] 21.Kh1+-
[21...Bd7 has been played, but it didn't turn out well: 22.Rc7 Rab8 23.Bb5 Qe8 24.Qa4 Rf7 25.Bxd7 (25.Rf2!)
25...Nxd7 26.Nd3 Bf8 27.Rfc1 Qe7 1-0 (37) Garcia Roman,D (2427)-Dalo,H (2049) Barbera del Valles 2011 and now snazziest is 28.Nc6!] 22.Rc7 Qg5 23.Qc2
[It's all good: 23.Nxc8 Rfxc8 24.Rxb7+-] 23...Ne7 24.Nd3?!
unnecessary 24...h4 25.Rc1
[Then again, having played A maybe B should follow: 25.Nf2 h3 26.gxh3! is the better capture but both win.] 25...h3 26.Bf1 Kf7?!
Objectively Black is busted, but in practice anything can happen -- just see many games in this line, for instance Beliavsky vs. Nakamura for a famous example. 27.Nc6!?
Flashy, almost a bit too flashy. [27.gxh3 shuts it down. And there's the fatal hint, when the computer considers 27...Kg8 as Black's best move!] 27...bxc6 28.Qxc6 Ba6 29.Qxd6 hxg2+ 30.Bxg2
White wants to mate with Qe6+. 30...Bf6
[30...Bxd3?? 31.Qe6+ Ke8 32.Rc8+ Rxc8 33.Rxc8#] 31.Qe6+
[31.Rxe7+! Bxe7 32.Nxe5+ Kg7 (32...Kg8 33.Qe6+ Kh8 34.Ng6+ Kg7 35.Nxe7
mops up -- Bd4+!)
33.Rc7 would be a crisp finish.] 31...Kg7
32.d6! Bxd3 33.dxe7 Rfe8
[It takes Stockfish a while (and plenty humans would never find it) to play 34.Qd5!+- Qxa8! is the strong threat. 34...Bxe7
35.Rxe7+! Rxe7 36.Qxa8] 34...Raxc8
And Black hangs on... 35.Rxc8 Rxc8 36.Qxc8 Bxe7 37.a6 Qh6
[37...Qf6= 38.Qb7 Qh4 is a nice shift.] 38.Qc7!+/= Qh4
39.a7 [The last chance to try to make something of the ruins: 39.Qxe5+!?+/- Bf6 40.Qa5 Bxa6 41.Qxa6 White has the "chances," but they dwindle after 41...Qe1+ 42.Qf1 (42.Bf1 Ng5) 42...Qxf1+ 43.Bxf1 Bxb2 44.Kxh2 Nf8 45.Bb5 Ng6] 39...Qe1+= 40.Kxh2 Qh4+ Black's defense is rewarded with a draw. Too bad for Tsolias, his sharp and creative play should have been capped with a win!1/2-1/2
SwissSys Standings. Nov-Dec 2021 Tuesday Night Marathon: 1800+
SwissSys Standings. Nov-Dec 2021 Tuesday Night Marathon: Under1800
SwissSys Standings. Nov-Dec 2021 Tuesday Night Marathon: Extra Games
Mechanics' November Championship Quads Report
by Abel Talamantez
We held our November Championship Quads last Saturday with a very solid 34 players despite there being multiple chess events throughut the weekend. Our top quad was won by NM Dipro Chakraborty, a last minute registrant that proved worthwhile for him. We had very balanced sections with average ratings from 2100 down to 1000 in what is proving to be a very popular afternoon monthly event. To see full results, please click HERE. Thank you to all the players for participating!
Tony is back and ready to challenge you to solve this mate in 3
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Scholastic Chess Bulletin #6 is out!
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- Monthly Scholastic In-Person Tournament - 2021 October Report with Player Highlight: Justyn Klot
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- Chess Camps on October 11 - Report
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- Understanding Tournaments - Tiebreaks
- Upcoming Tournament Schedule
- Tournament Results & Featured Games analyzed by GM Nick de Firmian
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FM Paul Whitehead
Problems in the Opening, Part One
As I’ve mentioned before, I dislike studying the opening. Too much memorization seems required, all of those cheap traps and the books that go out of date soon after publication – where’s the artistry, where’s the fun in that?
Truth be told, my reluctance to delve deeply into the opening ultimately held my game back. One just cannot compete at a certain level (against Grandmasters and their ilk) without cracking the opening books. I learned this lesson in the worst possible way, in my very first game of my very first international tournament:
Balinas – Whitehead, Lone Pine 1978.
My opponent was a Grandmaster from the Philippines who had the reputation of being not so strong. But in 1976 he won an international tournament in the USSR, the first foreigner to do so since Capablanca and Fine in the 1930’s!
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 e6 3.Nge2 Nc6 4.g3. White starts out what appears to be a Closed system against the Sicilian. 4…Nf6 5.Bg2 a6 6.0-0 Be7 7.d4. Changing course. 7…cxd4 8.Nxd4 Qc7 9.Re1 Nxd4 10.Qxd4 Bc5. Black is a tempo behind the Fischer – Taimanov, 4th Match Game (white has played Re1, while black has played …Be7 and …Bc5) but that’s not too serious. 11.Bf4! As Fischer played. This should give white a plus no matter how black responds. 11…d6 (11…Bxd4 12.Bxc7 is also good for white with black suffering on the dark squares and behind in development.) 12.Qd2 Ng4 (12…e5?! looks dubious after 12.Bg5, while 12…0-0 13.e5 is downright bad) 13.Re2.
So far so good, but here I overlooked a rather simple trap that I should have been savvy to: after all, it was I who was using this particular variation of the Sicilian!
13…Bd7? Black should play 13…Ne5! with a reasonable game. 14.b4! A crushing blow, and a well-known trap. My only consolation was that a Grandmaster had fallen for it a year earlier. I should have known that game. 14…Bxb4. Going down with the ship. In Popovych-Matulovic, 1977 Black did a little better, trying 14…Bxf2+ 15.Rxf2 Qb6 16.Bxd6 Qxf2+ 17.Qxf2 Nxf2 18.Kxf2 Rc8 19.Ne2 Rxc2 20.Rc1 Rxc1 21.Nxc1, but couldn’t hold the endgame and lost on the 50th move. 15.Nd5! The brutal follow-up. 15…Bxd2. Again, black could put up more resistance with 15…exd5 16.Qxb4 Ne5, although he’s busted after the simple 17.Bxe5 dxe5 18.exd5. 16.Nxc7+ 1-0.
Thirteen years later(!) I got my revenge, defeating GM Balinas in a blitz tournament at the Mechanics’ Institute. The game is lost in the sands of time, but I must have gotten out of the opening.
Nick de Firmian’s Column
Can Magnus Win?
The long awaited World Championship match starts a week from now. It has been three years since the last championship due to the pandemic – a length of time like the old days last century. Now though we get to enjoy a great battle between deserving challenger Ian Nepomniachtchi and King Magnus. On paper Magnus should be a big favorite. He is the highest rated player in history, has held the #1 rating in the world for the last 11 years, and the title of World Champion for the last eight years. Magnus however has trouble winning a game in these World Championship matches, and therefore our question if he can win is not so crazy. He has not led a World Championship match in the (main) classical time control phase since 2014 – a full seven years. He has only won one game in the classical time control since that 2014 match against Anand. That one win was back in 2016 against Karjakin, and he failed to win a single classical time game against Caruana in 2018. Of course you know that he retained his title, due to the fact that he almost never lost himself. Both of the last two matches ended in a 6-6 tie in the classical phase and Magnus showed his clear superiority in the rapid chess tiebreaks.
The question is whether next week we will see a repeat of this cautious, deliberate chess that leads to so many draws. We should understand a reason for this is that the opening preparation is so advanced the players feel they cannot ad lib and play by the seat of their pants. They fear they could walk into a heavily prepared variation done by computer programs together with many grandmaster seconds. One careless or too adventurous move could end in defeat, and wins are very hard to come by. That is the second reason players have been cautious – if you lose a game in the middle of the match you may have only 2 or 3 more games with the white pieces to get back to even. (To win on-demand with Black is too tall an order.) FIDE has tried to improve this by lengthening the match to 14 games instead of 12 games so there is more chances to win games. The most important factor though is likely to be the willingness to take risks. We hope the spirit of Tal descends upon Dubai for the next month. It is fortunate that the challenger, Nepomniachtchi, is an adventurous player. We look for Magnus too to revisit the swashbuckling stye of his youth. Below we give an early game from Magnus and also the last World Championship classical time game, where Magnus should have channeled his inner Tal.
(1) Carlsen,Magnus (2484) - Ernst,Sipke (2474) [B19]
Corus-C Wijk aan Zee (12), 24.01.2004
Here young Magnus (13 years old at the time) plays against a player of the Dutch Olympic Team. 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 The solid Caro-Kann! 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.h4 h6 7.Nf3 Nd7 8.h5 Bh7 9.Bd3 Bxd3 10.Qxd3 e6
We show this position because it is one the most solid lines of the Caro-Kann. To beat it you have to attack it with great energy and courage. 11.Bf4 Ngf6 12.0-0-0 Be7 13.Ne4 Qa5 14.Kb1 0-0 15.Nxf6+ Nxf6 16.Ne5 Rad8 17.Qe2 c5?!
Courageously throwing a knight into the frey. 18...fxg6?!
[probably needed was 18...Rfe8] 19.Qxe6+ Kh8 20.hxg6!
Not taking the bishop on e7, but pushing the position to it's limit! 20...Ng8
21.Bxh6! gxh6 22.Rxh6+! Nxh6 23.Qxe7
A rook and a knight down, White is winning. 23...Nf7 24.gxf7 Kg7 25.Rd3 Rd6 26.Rg3+ Rg6 27.Qe5+ Kxf7 28.Qf5+ Rf6 29.Qd7#
We can only hope we see the return of this Magnus in the World Championship match. 1-0
(2) Fabiano Caruana - Magnus Carlsen [B33]
Carlsen - Caruana World Championship Ma London ENG (12), 26.11.2018
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 Magnus has used the Sveshnikov Variation his entire career. It is sharp but good, and he needs such a defense against the highest level of competition. 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Nd5 Caruana plays a slightly unusual line with some new ideas. 7...Nxd5 8.exd5 Ne7 9.c4 Ng6 10.Qa4 Bd7 11.Qb4 Bf5 12.h4 h5 13.Qa4 Bd7 Magnus must stop the discovered check and there is no other reasonable way to do it. This is accepting a repetion with the Black pieces, but that is the needed strategy in a World Championship match. 14.Qb4 Bf5 15.Be3 Fabianio plays for the win. He has White and no doubt he wasn't looking forward to rapid tie-breaks agains his opponent. [15.Bg5!?] 15...a6 16.Nc3 Qc7 17.g3 Be7 18.f3 Nf8!
Bringing the knight back to the queenside solves all Black's problems there. 19.Ne4 Nd7 20.Bd3 0-0 21.Rh2
[21.Nf6+ Nxf6 22.Bxf5 b5 siezes the initiative] 21...Rac8 22.0-0-0 Bg6 23.Rc2 f5!
Black starts to gain an edge 24.Nf2?!
[slightly better is 24.Ng5 Bxg5 25.hxg5 e4 26.Bf1 f4 27.Bxf4 Nc5 28.fxe4 Bxe4 29.Qc3] 24...Nc5 25.f4?!
safe but timid [with an aggressive mindset Magnus would have chosen 25...exf4 26.Bxf4 b5! 27.Kb1 a5! leaving White in terrible shape since 28.Qxb5? Be8 wins the queen] 26.Qd2 e4 27.Be2 Be8 28.Kb1 Bf6 29.Re1 a4 30.Qb4 g6 31.Rd1 Ra8
Draw agreed. Fischer never would have done that. Black is clearly more comfortable, but Magnus didn't want to risk anything. He felt confident he could win in the rapid playoff, yet classicists wish he would play the game to a conclusion here. 1/2-1/2
Solution to Tony's Teaser
1. Qh6!! f3 2. Qa6 Ke2 3. Rc2#. On ...1 Ke2 2. Rxf4 Kd2 3. Rf2# (2...e2 3. Qa6#) (1...h2 2. Qxh2 e2 3. Qxf4#
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