Youth is Not Always Served

One of the on-going stories in the local chess clubs is rise of youngsters to the top level. Over the decades I have watched Mike Valvo, Jimmy MacFarlane, Jim Bovay, Carl Magnuson, Deepak Aaron and Patrick Chi come in as school boys and develop into chess masters. Schenectady now has a couple of young players that may follow the same path; Zachary Calderon and Dilip Aaron, Deepak’s younger brother. Continue reading “Youth is Not Always Served”

Some News and a Game From This Weekend

I have been neglectful of my self-imposed duty to keep content flowing to this blog. During the last week of September output slowed to a trickle. We, the chess community, had not too much happening in the weeks before the season begins, and I had some chores around the house demanding attention. Today I am back with some news and a game. In a couple of weeks the club championships will get underway. I expect to then have a steady stream of games to write about.

A week ago the Schenectady Chess Club’s annual Speed tournament was held. It was a good turnout. Fifteen pretty strong players showed up. The event was won Continue reading “Some News and a Game From This Weekend”

A Game From Which to Learn

This is a long article where I wax philosophical a bit and have a lot to say about a game that is not too important from a sporting point of view.

I have not published many games by Michael Stanley. Mostly it is because he has not won many over the few years he has been playing tournament chess. Today’s game is not a win or a draw either, but Michael played a difficult opening well. Continue reading “A Game From Which to Learn”

Section A Decided at Schenectady

Thursday last saw one of the questions about the qualifiers to the Schenectady Finals answered. Two of the younger participants met to decided who would take the third chair from Preliminary Section A. In a mild upset Zack Calderone won a sharp Sicilian, and now will make his first appearance in the Finals.

Aaron, Dilip – Calderone, Zack [B90]
SCC Prelim A Schenectady, NY, 22.12.2011

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.f3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.Be3 Be7 9.Qd2 Nbd7 10.0–0–0 0–0 11.g4 b5 12.h4,..

Up to here this has been topical at top level chess for a very long time. Robert Byrne and Bobby Fischer argued the merits of the line in a blitz game in 1971. Note Byrne used the recommended plan for White; an early g4-g5 to shunt the Black Nf6 to h5 to cut down Black piece activity in the center. A creative middle game saw the advantage wax and wane for both sides until Fischer emerged with a winning endgame.

(88454) Byrne, Robert E – Fischer, Robert James [B90]
Manhattan blitz New York, 1971
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.f3 0–0 9.Qd2 Be6 10.0–0–0 Nbd7 11.g4 b5 12.g5 Nh5 13.Nd5 Bxd5 14.exd5 Rc8 15.Bh3 Rc7 16.Na5 Nb8 17.Bg4 Nf4 18.h4 f5 19.gxf6 Bxf6 20.Bb6 Rxc2+ 21.Qxc2 Qxb6 22.Nc6 Rf7 23.Nxb8 Qxb8 24.Kb1 Rc7 25.Qb3 Ne2 26.Qe3 Nf4 27.Rc1 h5 28.Be6+ Kh7 29.Qe4+ g6 30.Rhg1 Kh6 31.Rc6 Rxc6 32.dxc6 Qb6 33.Rc1 Nxe6 34.Qd5 Nc7 35.Qxd6 Bg7 36.Qe7 Kh7 37.a3 a5 38.Rd1 Qxc6 39.Rd7 Ne6 40.Rd6 Qxf3 41.Qxe6 Qf5+ 42.Ka2 e4 43.Qe7 Kh6 44.Rd7 Qf6 45.Qxf6 Bxf6 46.Rd5 e3 47.Rd3 e2 48.Re3 Bxh4 49.Rxe2 Bg3 50.Kb3 h4 51.a4 bxa4+ 52.Kxa4 h3 0–1

Almost forty years later the soon to be World’s number one played the line in a blindfold game against a very strong Chinese GM. He tried a similar plan to the one Byrne used, with same result. Once more Black obtained a winning endgame.

(1244292) Carlsen, Magnus (2714) – Bu Xiangzhi (2692) [B90]
World Cup blindfold Bilbao (3), 17.10.2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.f3 Be6 9.Qd2 0–0 10.0–0–0 Nbd7 11.g4 b5 12.Rg1 b4 13.Na4 Qc7 14.Qxb4 Rfc8 15.Qd2 a5 16.g5 Nh5 17.Kb1 Rcb8 18.Nc1 Rb4 19.Nc3 Rab8 20.b3 Nb6 21.Ka1 d5 22.exd5 Nxd5 23.Nxd5 Bxd5 24.Be2 a4 25.Qxd5 Rd8 26.Qxd8+ Bxd8 27.Nd3 Rb8 28.Nc5 Be7 29.Rd7 Qa5 30.Ne4 axb3 31.cxb3 Ra8 32.Rd2 Bb4 33.Rc2 Nf4 34.Bc4 Nd5 35.Bxd5 Qxd5 36.Rgc1 h5 37.g6 fxg6 38.Ng5 Kf8 39.Bc5+ Bxc5 40.Rxc5 Qd2 41.Rc8+ Rxc8 42.Rxc8+ Ke7 43.Rc7+ Ke8 44.Ne4 Qd1+ 45.Kb2 Qxf3 46.Rc4 Qe2+ 47.Kc3 Qxa2 48.h4 Kd7 49.Ra4 Qe2 50.Rc4 Qe1+ 51.Kc2 Ke7 52.Ng5 Qf2+ 53.Kc3 Kd8 54.Re4 Kd7 55.Rc4 Qg3+ 56.Kc2 Qh2+ 57.Kc3 Kd6 58.b4 Qg3+ 59.Kc2 Qf2+ 60.Kc3 Qe1+ 61.Kc2 Qa1 62.Kb3 Qd1+ 63.Kc3 Qb1 64.Nf7+ Kd5 65.Rc5+ Ke6 66.Ng5+ Kd7 67.Rc4 Qf1 68.Ne4 Qf3+ 69.Kc2 Qe2+ 70.Kc3 Qe1+ 71.Kb3 Qd1+ 72.Kc3 Ke7 73.b5 Qb1 74.Rb4 Qe1+ 75.Kb3 Qxh4 76.b6 0–1

Enough of these less than fully serious games. Now we look at Anand winning a game contributing to his reaching the world title. Black takes a slower route (9…, Nb6), and White wins in the ending this time.

(1233567) Anand, Viswanathan (2792) – Morozevich, Alexander (2758) [B90]
World Championship Mexico City (11), 25.09.2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.f3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.Be3 Nbd7 9.g4 Nb6 10.g5 Nh5 11.Qd2 Rc8 12.0–0–0 Be7 13.Rg1 0–0 14.Kb1 Qc7 15.Qf2 Nc4 16.Bxc4 Bxc4 17.Nd5 Bxd5 18.Rxd5 f5 19.gxf6 Rxf6 20.Qe2 Nf4 21.Bxf4 Rxf4 22.Rd3 Qd7 23.Nc1 Rcf8 24.a3 Kh8 25.Na2 Qh3 26.Rg3 Qh5 27.Qg2 Rh4 28.h3 Qh6 29.Rb3 b5 30.Nb4 Rh5 31.Qf1 Rh4 32.Qg2 Rh5 33.Nxa6 Bh4 34.Rg4 Bf6 35.Qe2 Rxh3 36.Rxb5 Bd8 37.Rb8 Qf6 38.Nb4 Rxf3 39.Nd5 Qf7 40.Qa6 h5 41.Rg2 h4 42.Qxd6 Be7 43.Qxe5 Rxb8 44.Qxb8+ Kh7 45.Qc7 Bf8 46.Qxf7 Rxf7 47.Rg4 Rf1+ 48.Ka2 Rh1 49.e5 Bc5 50.e6 Kh6 51.Rc4 h3 52.Rxc5 h2 53.Ne3 Ra1+ 54.Kxa1 h1Q+ 55.Ka2 Qe4 56.Re5 1–0

12…, b4

Sharpest and may be the best course for Black. Opposite side castling puts a premium value on time. Getting to grips with the opposing King’s guardians makes a serious difference. In the following game Black takes time to shift a Knight to b6 (12…, Nb6) and White wins once more.

(318628) Tolnai, Tibor (2490) – Henriksson, Christer (2355) [B90]
EU-chT (Men) Debrecen (1), 1992
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.f3 Be6 9.Qd2 Nbd7 10.0–0–0 0–0 11.g4 b5 12.h4 Nb6 13.g5 Nfd7 14.Kb1 Qc7 15.h5 Nc5 16.g6 b4 17.Nd5 Nxd5 18.exd5 Nxb3 19.axb3 Bf5 20.Bd3 Bxd3 21.Qxd3 Qd7 22.Rdg1 Bf6 23.gxh7+ Kh8 24.Bg5 Qe7 25.Qf5 Bxg5 26.Rxg5 Qf6 27.h6 1–0

Just to illustrate there are more strings to the bow for White, here is a game from a recent European Cup. In this one White plays 8 Bg5, and 9 Bxf6, not being tied slavishly to general principles (keeping the better of his Bishops) in the interest of eliminating a Black Knight that can be influential in the center.

(909314) Fejzullahu, Afrim (2302) – Arizmendi Martinez, Julen Luis (2531) [B90]
EUCup 20th Izmir (1), 03.10.2004
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.f3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.Bg5 Be7 9.Bxf6 Bxf6 10.Nd5 Bg5 11.g3 Nc6 12.h4 Bh6 13.g4 Bf4 14.Nxf4 exf4 15.Qd2 Qf6 16.0–0–0 Rd8 17.Nd4 d5 18.Nxe6 fxe6 19.g5 Qe5 20.exd5 Rxd5 21.Bd3 0–0 22.Rhe1 Qd6 23.Rxe6 Qxe6 24.Bc4 Kh8 25.Bxd5 Qe8 26.Re1 Qh5 27.Qf2 Rd8 28.Bxc6 bxc6 29.Re4 Qf7 30.b3 Qd5 31.Qe2 Rf8 32.Re8 Qf7 33.Rxf8+ Qxf8 34.Qxa6 Qe8 35.Qd3 h6 36.Qe4 1–0

A general conclusion is White does better if he can do something about the Black Knight on f6; drive it or trade it to reduce Black’s influence in the center. Returning to our game:

13.Nd5 Bxd5 14.exd5 a5 15.Qh2?!,..

This move struck me as unusual when it was made. I could not see how White was going to open the h-file quickly. The best idea I came up with was: h4-h5, g4-g5, and g5-g6, thinking about sacrificing the Be3 on h6 if Black advances that pawn. There problems with the idea; Black is on the move and can make threats, the White d-pawn is not well defended, and the several moves it would take to carry out the plan means the Black Q-side pawns will close with the White King’s defenders well before the White K-side pawns can do the same. White had to play 15 g5, pushing the Nf6 away from the center. Failing to do so lets Black carry out a sparkling attack.

15…, a4 16.Nd2?!,..

Better than the ugly 16 Na1, but not enough better to hold the game.

16…, Nxd5 17.Bf2?,..

Here White had to try 17 Nc4?!. Black then can take the Be3 right away, or first push 16…, b3; and either way he has good chances with the exposed White King on which to focus. The text leads to a quick finish.

17…, Nf4!?

Sharpest is 17…, a3; then a) 18 Bc4 axb2+ 19 Kxb2 Qa5; and White is in trouble. If a1) 19 Kb1 Nc3+ 20 Kxb2 Qa5; is worse, and b) 18 b3 Nc3 19 Re1 d5; looks horrible.

18.Ne4?!,..

If White just did not blunder the d-pawn, this move must be the idea behind the pawn sacrifice. From e4 the Knight can go to g5 and give itself up on h7; the problem is finding the time to make this happen. A little more resistant is 18 Bg3, then 18…, Ne6 19 Kb1 Qc7 20 Nc4 Nb6 21 b3 Nxc4 22 Bxc4 Ra5; when Black has a solid advantage, but White can still fight on.

18…, d5 19.Ng5 b3

Making contact well before White can do so on the other side of the board. One useful guidepost when calculating in opposite side castling situations; the side that closes with the enemy defenders first most often wins. The threats and checks that become possible are so forcing that the opposing attack is stalled.

20.axb3,..

White has only the choice of how he wants to be mated now. The alternative 20 a3, is met with 20…, bxc2 21 Rd2 Bxa6; completing the destruction of the house of the White King. Mate will occur very shortly after say; 22 Rxc2 Bd6 23 Be3 a6; etc.

20…, axb3 21.c3 Qa5!

My first reaction here was 21…, Ra1+ 22 Kd2 Rxd1+?!; but White can resist with 23 Kxd1 Qa5 24 Be3, and things are not quite clear yet. The text ups the ante immediately. With the Queen on the field mate looms.

22.Bd3,..

Also lost is 22 Bg3 Qa1+ 23 Kd2 Qxb2+ 24 Ke1 Qxc3+.

22…, Nxd3+ 23.Rxd3 Qa1+ 24.Kd2 Qxb2+ 25.Ke1 Ra1+ 26.Rd1 Rxd1+ 27.Kxd1 Qc2+ 28.Ke1 b2 0–1

White will soon be down a whole Rook, and worse still, Black retains a strong initiative that will permit him to force off most of the remaining pieces leaving a won ending.

Quite an interesting game from these two youthful players maybe foretelling an important rivalry for the next few years at Schenectady. Such clashes between up and coming youngsters have in the past been key to the Schenectady Club’s being the largest of the local clubs. When we get a couple of rivals battling for a higher place in the pecking order, it seems to attract others to the club wanting to measure themselves against the rivals. Here’s hoping this is the case now.

More soon.