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Scholastic Chess Bulletin
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Mechanics' Institute Scholastic Chess Bulletin
Scholastic Chess Bulletin #7 is out!
In this issue:
Monthly Scholastic In-Person Tournament - 2021 November Report
Mechanics' Institute Thanksgiving Gobbler Kids - Friday, November 26 @ 9:30AM
Chess Enrichment Highlight: Alice Fong Alternative School
Upcoming Chess Camps
Why I like Quads by Andrew Ballantyne
Understanding Tournaments: Moves, moves, moves
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 Four
There’s one opening that we all know, for better or worse: the King’s Indian Attack (KIA). As played successfully by Karjakin in his must-win victory over Shankland in the World Cup 2021, the simple sequence of moves 1.Nf3, 2.g3, 3.Bg2 and 4.0-0 – no matter what black plays! – seems to guarantee the perfect answer to that never-ending question: how do I get out of the opening alive?
Apart from being a safe beginning to the game, the King’s Indian Attack is also a way to take the game into your own territory:
“You thought you were playing a French after 1.e4 then 1…e6? Well, then 2.d3! Take that!”
“Nice Sicilian Defense you got there, pal. We wouldn’t want anything bad to happen to it now, would we? 1.e4 c5 2.d3!”
Here’s the above-mentioned game:
Karjakin – Shankland, World Cup 2021.
1. e4 e6 2. d3.
Avoiding main-stream theory - here we go!
1…d5 3. Nd2 Nf6 4. Ngf3 Be7 5. g3 a5 6. Bg2 a4 7. a3 c5 8. O-O Nc6 9. Re1 O-O 10. e5 Nd7 11. Nf1 b5 12. h4 Bb7 13. h5 h6 14. Bf4 Qb6 15. Qd2 Rfc8 16. g4 Qd8 17. N1h2 Ra6 18. Kh1 b4 19. Rg1 Nf8 20. axb4 cxb4 21. d4 Na5 22. g5 Nc4 23. Qc1 hxg5 24. Bxg5 b3 25. Bxe7 Qxe7 26. Bf1 a3 27. Rxg7+!!
This is what it’s all about.
Kxg7 28. Ng4 f5 29. exf6+ Qxf6 30. Nxf6 axb2 31. Qg5+ Kf7 32. h6 Ng6 33. Nh4 bxa1=Q 34. Qxg6+ Ke7 35. Qg7+ Kd6 36. Qd7# 1-0
Trailing his opponent by a game, this victory essentially put Karjakin into the next Candidate’s Tournament.
However, The King’s Indian Attack is not suitable as an opening if your intention is to just play some moves and think you don’t have to worry about anything. Chess doesn’t work that way, as many have found out:
Nezhmetinov – Korchnoi, 21st USSR Championship 1954.
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d3 Nf6 4. Nbd2 g6 5. g3 Bg7 6. Bg2 O-O 7. O-O d5 8. Re1 e6 9. c3 b6.
Black is using one of numerous possible setups against the KIA.
10. e5 Nd7 11. d4 f6 12. exf6 Qxf6 13. Qe2 Bb7. If white now goes for the e-pawn he loses the d4 pawn and gets nothing. But giving up the center completely, as he now does, is worse. 14. dxc5 Nxc5 15. Nb3 Ba6 16. Qe3 Ne4 17. Nbd2 Nc5 18. Nb3 Ne4 19. Nbd2 Nxd2 20. Bxd2 e5.
White’s drifting play has landed him in hot water, and “Victor the Terrible” turns up the heat: 21. Ng5 Rad8 22. f4 e4 23. Nh3 Rfe8 24. Nf2 Na5 25. b3 Bf8 26. g4 Bc5 27. Qg3 e3 28. Rxe3 Bxe3 0-1
If 29.Bxe3 Qxc3, etc.
All well and good you might say: what an insipid opening! But die-hard advocates of the King’s Indian dream of conducting incredible mating attacks like this:
Petrosian – Pachman, Bled Yugoslavia 1961.
Annotations by Bobby Fischer.
1.Nf3 c5 2.g3 Nc6 3.Bg2 g6 4.O-O Bg7 5.d3 e6 6.e4 Nge7 7.Re1 O-O 8.e5 d6 9.exd6 Qxd6 10.Nbd2 Qc7 11.Nb3 Nd4 12.Bf4 Qb6 13.Ne5 Nxb3 14.Nc4. Very nice tempo move.
14…Qb5 15.axb3 a5 16.Bd6 Bf6 17.Qf3 Kg7 18.Re4. Now Petrosian is preparing for a very beautiful finish. 18… Rd8.
19.Qxf6+! Kxf6 20.Be5+ Kg5 21.Bg7!! This is a real problem move. 1-0
Black cannot avoid mate.
Already a steady user of the KIA, Fischer produced his own immortal version six years later:
Fischer – Myagmarsuren, Sousse Interzonal 1967.
1. e4 e6 2. d3 d5 3. Nd2 Nf6 4. g3 c5 5. Bg2 Nc6 6. Ngf3 Be7 7. O-O O-O 8. e5 Nd7 9. Re1 b5 10. Nf1 b4 11. h4 a5 12. Bf4 a4 13. a3.
This odd move, slowing down black’s queen-side attack considerably, is Fischer’s patent.
12…bxa3 14. bxa3 Na5 15. Ne3 Ba6 16. Bh3 d4 17. Nf1 Nb6
18. Ng5 Nd5 19. Bd2 Bxg5 20. Bxg5 Qd7 21. Qh5 Rfc8 22. Nd2 Nc3
What follows is a model white attack, precise and elegant in its execution.
13…Qe8 24. Ne4 g6 25. Qg5 Nxe4 26. Rxe4 c4 27. h5 cxd3 28. Rh4 Ra7 29. Bg2! Setting the stage. 29…dxc2 30. Qh6 Qf8 31. Qxh7+!! 1-0
Another explosive finish. 31…Kxh7 32.hxg6+ Kxg6 (32…Kg8 33.Rh8#) 33.Be4#!
But for all of these brilliancies, there’s always a cold shower somewhere for white, and another example of pointless play ruthlessly punished:
Ljubojevic – Kasparov, Niksic Yugoslavia 1983.
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d3 Nc6 4.g3 d5 5.Nbd2 g6 6.Bg2 Bg7 7.O-O Nge7 8.Re1 b6 9.h4 h6 10.c3 a5 11.a4 Ra7.
A very dynamic set-up for black in this opening. 12.Nb3 d4 13.cxd4 cxd4 14.Bd2 e5 15.Nc1 Be6 16.Re2 O-O 17.Be1 f5 18.Nd2 f4.
White is already lost, and the axe falls over and over again, without mercy:
19.f3 fxg3 20.Bxg3 g5! 21.hxg5 Ng6! 22.gxh6 Bxh6 23.Nf1 Rg7 24.Rf2 Be3 25.b3 Nf4 0-1
Finally, I must confess: I too, from time to time, have come under the hypnotic sway of this opening. But only out of laziness and cowardice – my games with white have resembled those of Nezhmetdinov and Ljubojevic, not those of Petrosian and Fischer, I’m afraid.
The year 1978 was my best in chess: I tied for 1st in the American Open and the US Junior, and won the Northern California State Championship held at the Mechanics’ Institute, tying with my brother Jay. I also got lucky a few times, as a quick look at the following gruesome game will show:
Whitehead – Kennedy, No. California State Ch. / Bagby Memorial 1978.
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3 b6 3.Bg2 Bb7 4.0-0 e6 5.d3 Be7 6.Nbd2 0-0 7.e4 d6 8.Re1 c5 9.c3 Qc7 10.a4 Nc6 11.Nc4 Rad8 12.Qe2 Rfe8.
Black’s opening set-up has been a success, while white’s moves are pretty pointless. The trend continues. 13.Bh3 a6 14.b4? cxb4 15.Be3 Nd7 16.cxb4 Nxb4 17.Rec1 Nc5 18.Ra3 Bc6 19.a5 bxa5 20.Nxa5 Nbxd3.
21.Qxd3? Ridiculous. White sacrifices his queen for three minor pieces and a lost game. 21.Nxc6 Nxc1 22.Nxe7+ Rxe7 23.Bxc1 Nxe4! was unappealing, but white has 2 bishops vs a rook and 3 pawns. The a-pawn is weakish and the rooks are not doing much. Unclear? But that was better than the game. 21…Nxd3 22.Rxc6 Qb8 23.Rb6 Qa8 24.Rxd3 Qxe4 25.Ne1 Rb8 26.Bg2 Qf5?! 26…Qxe3! wins on the spot. Now white equalizes. 27.Rxb8 Rxb8 28.Nc6 Re8 29.Nxe7+ Rxe7 30.Rxd6 h5 31.Nd3?! Misplacing the knight, which would have more potential on f3. 31…a5 32.h3?! This pawn belongs on h4. 32…Re8 33.Kh2 Rb8. Black’s failure to play …h4! breaking up white’s king position here or sometime in the next few moves is puzzling. Time pressure for both sides is taking a toll. 34.Bc6 Rb3 35.Nf4 Kh7 36.Be8 Rb1 36…h4! 37.Bc6 Qe5 38.Rd7 f6?! 39.Re7! Rd1? Last chance for 39…h4! Now white takes over, and the minor pieces swarm in. 40.Rxe6 Qc3 41.Be4+ f5 42.Bxf5+ Kg8 43.Re8+ Kf7 44.Bg6+ Kf6 45.Re6+ Kg5 46.h4+. Missing mate in one: 46.Nd3#! 46…Kg4 47.f3+ 1-0.
After 47…Kxf3 48.Bxh5#.
The King’s Indian Attack is like a piece of chocolate cake: sweet, but don’t eat too much.
Nick de Firmian’s Column
Long Live the King!
Magnus Carlsen has retained his title at the World Championship match in Dubai. (Technically it’s not over at this writing, but it’s over and will probably be official by the time you read this.) He strengthens his already impressive legacy among world champions, having defended his title four times. You may recall that the great Capablanca never had a successful defense of his title. He beat Lasker in 1921 and lost his first challenge to Alekhine in 1927. Kasparov beat Karpov and Anand in title defenses then lost to Kramnik. Alekhine won several matches defending his title (lost to Euwe but trounced him in the rematch). He and Fischer had the distinction of going to their deaths with the claim of champion, but avoiding the strong challengers make that claim weak. Botvinnik held the title for 15 years but is not in the running for greatest world champion as he never won a match against a challenger (a tie with Bronstein and a tie with Smyslov). To his credit he won the rematches against Smyslov and Tal, though he seems to have benefitted from a favorable system to keep the title that long. Lasker kept the title an astounding 27 years and we must pay him his due even though the world (and chess world) was a very different place then.
Magnus dispatched Nepo with relative ease in this 4rth title defense. How long can he keep it up? Already people are looking ahead to the next world championship match and wondering if young Firoujza or a re-energized Caruana can finally dethrone Carlsen. One can only wait and see, though I wouldn’t bet against the king. He showed all the qualities of a great champion in Dubai while his opponent didn’t match his skill, determination and experience. Below we give two games with key moments of the match.
(1) Carlsen,Magnus - Nepomniachtchi,Ian [D02]
World Chp, 03.12.2021 Game 6
This was the most important game of the match. It went back and forth in the opening/early middle game and then settled into a long, hard battle which tested both players stamina and determination. 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.g3 e6 4.Bg2 Be7 5.0-0 0-0 6.b3 A slow move instead of the usual 6. c4 Catalan continuation. 6...c5 7.dxc5 Bxc5 8.c4 dxc4 9.Qc2 Qe7 10.Nbd2!? Magnus offers a pawn sacrifice. 10...Nc6 Nepo chooses saftey and declines the offer. On [10...cxb3 11.Nxb3 Bd6 12.Na5 White has good compensation] 11.Nxc4 b5 12.Nce5 Nb4 13.Qb2 Bb7 14.a3 Nc6 15.Nd3 Bb6 16.Bg5 Rfd8 17.Bxf6 gxf6 Black has doubled pawn but the bishop pair in compensaton. Chances are equal. 18.Rac1 Nd4 19.Nxd4 Bxd4 20.Qa2 Bxg2 21.Kxg2 Qb7+ 22.Kg1 Qe4 23.Qc2 a5 24.Rfd1 Kg7 25.Rd2
Chances are still equal and the spectators may have expected another draw. The players are in a fighting mood however. 25...Rac8!?
This trades two rooks for the white queen. Now the game is imbalanced. 26.Qxc8 Rxc8 27.Rxc8 Qd5 28.b4 a4 29.e3 Be5 30.h4 h5 31.Kh2 Bb2 32.Rc5 Qd6?! 33.Rd1?!
[33.Rcc2! Bxa3 34.Nf4 Qxb4?! 35.Rd7! gives White a strong attack and a big advantage] 33...Bxa3 34.Rxb5 Qd7 35.Rc5 e5?!
[35...Bxb4! 36.Rcc1 Be7 leaves Black with a big advantage] 36.Rc2 Qd5 37.Rdd2 Qb3 38.Ra2 e4 39.Nc5 Qxb4 40.Nxe4 Qb3 41.Rac2 Bf8 42.Nc5 Qb5 43.Nd3 a3
The game is still roughly even yet there is lots of play in the position with the imbalanced material. 44.Nf4 Qa5 45.Ra2 Bb4 46.Rd3 Kh6 47.Rd1 Qa4 48.Rda1 Bd6 49.Kg1 Qb3 50.Ne2 Qd3 51.Nd4 Kh7 52.Kh2 Qe4?!
Now White will have all the chances. The black queen is not as powerful with all the pawns on one side of the board. 53...Qxh4+
taking the h-pawn instead of the exchange is likely best 54.Kg1 Qe4 55.Ra4 Be5 56.Ne2 Qc2 57.R1a2 Qb3 58.Kg2 Qd5+ 59.f3 Qd1 60.f4 Bc7 61.Kf2 Bb6 62.Ra1 Qb3 63.Re4
The white e-pawn is weak and it's very hard to make progress. Magnus shows his character by being extremely patient. 63...Kg7 64.Re8 f5 65.Raa8 Qb4 66.Rac8 Ba5 67.Rc1 Bb6 68.Re5 Qb3 69.Re8 Qd5 70.Rcc8 Qh1 71.Rc1 Qd5 72.Rb1 Ba7?!
the bishop is not well placed on the seventh rank. Better would be [72...Bc5] 73.Re7 Bc5 74.Re5 Qd3 75.Rb7
It still hard to make progress but the white rooks are getting strong 75...Qc2 76.Rb5 Ba7 77.Ra5 Bb6 78.Rab5 Ba7 79.Rxf5 Qd3
now what? If either rook to e5 there comes anyway 80...Bxe3+! 80.Rxf7+! Kxf7 81.Rb7+ Kg6 82.Rxa7
now White has a rook, knight and two pawns for the queen. The is no win in sight but Black will be struggling to draw for a long time. 82...Qd5 83.Ra6+ Kh7 84.Ra1 Kg6 85.Nd4 Qb7 86.Ra2 Qh1 87.Ra6+ Kf7 88.Nf3
White must retreat to stop the checks. 88...Qb1 89.Rd6 Kg7 90.Rd5 Qa2+ 91.Rd2 Qb1 92.Re2 Qb6 93.Rc2 Qb1 94.Nd4 Qh1 95.Rc7+ Kf6 96.Rc6+ Kf7 97.Nf3 Qb1 98.Ng5+ Kg7 99.Ne6+ Kf7 100.Nd4 Qh1 101.Rc7+ Kf6 102.Nf3 Qb1 103.Rd7 Qb2+ 104.Rd2 Qb1 105.Ng1 Qb4 106.Rd1 Qb3 107.Rd6+ Kg7 108.Rd4 Qb2+ 109.Ne2 Qb1 110.e4!
Finally a move forward! 110...Qh1 111.Rd7+ Kg8 112.Rd4 Qh2+ 113.Ke3 h4 114.gxh4 Qh3+ 115.Kd2 Qxh4 116.Rd3 Kf8 117.Rf3 Qd8+ 118.Ke3 Qa5?!
[118...Qb6+ 119.Nd4 Qb1] 119.Kf2 Qa7+ 120.Re3
Now the white king is safe and White can look to moving forward again. 120...Qd7 121.Ng3 Qd2+ 122.Kf3 Qd1+ 123.Re2 Qb3+ 124.Kg2 Qb7 125.Rd2 Qb3 126.Rd5 Ke7 127.Re5+ Kf7 128.Rf5+ Ke8 129.e5! Qa2+ 130.Kh3
White is rolling ahead. The white king finds shelter on the side so the pawns move forward. 130...Qe6 131.Kh4 Qh6+ 132.Nh5 Qh7 133.e6!
White wins by tactical themes 133...Qg6 134.Rf7! Kd8
[134...Qxe6 135.Ng7+ Kxf7 136.Nxe6 Kxe6 137.Kg5 is a winning ending with just the one pawn] 135.f5 Qg1 136.Ng7
Nepomniachtchi resigns since the white king escapes checks by running up the board to g8. This was a game of will where Magnus showed true grit and determination. It was not just the win of one point. The effect of this marathon game began to break Nepo's spirit. 1-0
(2) Carlsen,Magnus - Nepomniachtchi,Ian [C43]
World Chp, 05.12.2021 Game 8
A match will usually have some mistakes (and even blunders) from both participants. Nepo was down in the match and had to remain steady. It seems he was still suffering from the grueling 136 move defeat and couldn't stay completely focused. 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 Petrov's Defense is a good match weapon - just trying to draw with Black. 3.d4 Nxe4 4.Bd3 d5 5.Nxe5 Nd7 6.Nxd7 Bxd7 7.Nd2 Nxd2 8.Bxd2 Bd6 9.0-0 h5!?
[an interesting choice, avoiding 9...0-0 10.Qh5 It provoked a long think from Magnus.] 10.Qe1+ Kf8?!
[10...Qe7 11.Bg5 Qxe1 12.Rfxe1+ Kf8 is only a tad better for White. This would be great drawing chances.] 11.Bb4! Qe7 12.Bxd6 Qxd6
White has a small middle game edge after the exchange of dark-squared bishops. 13.Qd2 Re8 14.Rae1 Rh6 15.Qg5 c6 16.Rxe8+ Bxe8 17.Re1 Qf6 18.Qe3 Bd7 19.h3 h4 20.c4 dxc4 21.Bxc4
White is a little more active with a slightly safer king. Now 21...Kg8 would be best. Instead Nepo makes a miscalculation. 21...b5?
Black must lose a pawn. [22...Qd6 23.Qxa7 bxc4? 24.Qa8+ is mate in two.] 23.Qxa7 Qd8 24.Bb3 Rd6 25.Re4 Be6 26.Bxe6 Rxe6 27.Rxe6 fxe6 28.Qc5
White has an extra pawn and better pawn structure in the queen ending. There is no one in the world that is likely to save the game against Magnus - the best endgame player on the planet. 28...Qa5 29.Qxc6 Qe1+ 30.Kh2 Qxf2 31.Qxe6+ Kh7 32.Qe4+ Kg8
White is two pawns ahead but must be careful to avoid perpetual checks. Magnus played slowly and carefully, realizing the game was his if he would be very accurate. 33.b3 Qxa2 34.Qe8+ Kh7 35.Qxb5 Qf2 36.Qe5 Qb2 37.Qe4+ Kg8 38.Qd3 Qf2 39.Qc3 Qf4+ 40.Kg1 Kh7 41.Qd3+ g6 42.Qd1!
safegaurding the back rank to stop checks. The white pawns are ready to march forward 42...Qe3+ 43.Kh1 g5
desparetely going for counterplay 44.d5 g4 45.hxg4 h3
46.Qf3! White is 3 pawns up and stops the checks. Nepo resigned. 1-0
Solution to Tony's Teaser
1. Rb7!! Kd5 2. Nd8 Kc5 3. Be5!! Kd5 4. Rb5#
If 2...Kd6 3. Bd4 Kd5 4. Rd7#
If 1...Kf5 2. Rb6 Kf4 3. Kf2 Kf5 4. Rf6#
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