The end of winter is playing havoc with my chess schedule. First, loss of power from the ice storm for 4 days and my attempts to rectify that situation kept me from going to the club on March 8, when 6 players attended. Then my subsequent illness that the lack of heat from the failed power had caused prevented me from attending on March 15, when there was a good turnout of 11 players. The weekend of March 22nd saw another strong showing of 10 players. Again we saved the best for last with 15 players attending on March 27th, this even with several regulars absent to play in an area tournament. Included were 6 younger players, always a good sign.
Speaking of younger players, the middle school team coached by Eric Zeigler finished FIRST in the NC State Championship, a superlative result for all involved. Nice work! .
In other local chess news regular club attendees Keith Carson and Charles Pole finished first and second in the recent 2nd Annual Bobby Fischer Memorial Chess Tournament held in Youngsville. This is a testament to the fact that there are some very strong players in our club, which I'm sure is no great revelation to any of you.
The cycle of chess goes on. No sooner is a new champion crowned than the next Candidates' Tournament begins to choose his challenger. This 14 round double round-robin tournament is currently underway in Khanty-Mansyisk, Russia between "Vishy" Anand, Levon Aronian, Veselin Topalov, Vladimir Kramnik, Peter Svidler, Sergey Karjakin, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, and Dmitry Andreikin. With one round remaining, former World Champion Viswanathan Anand has clinched first place with a 1-1/2 point lead at 8 points over five others at 6-1/2 points - Kramnik, Andreikin, Karjakin, Mamedyarov, and Aronian - and will play a return title match with Champion Magnus Carlsen later this year.
To bring about a definitive conclusion to a game when you have a significant but not necessarily permanent advantage may sometimes require a sacrifice of material, something that I with my conservative, materialistic nature have always found it difficult to do, particularly if I couldn't see an immediately decisive result. The first time I ever made such a sacrifice was in a game long ago when I was forcefully coerced into that action. In that game, which follows, I was impelled into sacrificing my B when it was about to be trapped and in effect became a "desperado". In such a case you try to gain the most compensation from your loss that you can. Here I was able to prevent the enemy K from castling by the sacrifice as well as to draw him out into the center where he was subject to further attack. The resulting win did a lot for my confidence in being able to make a subsequent sacrifice when I thought the situation called for it. And this game went as far in its own way toward my understanding of the value of material as an earlier game with an Expert did when I had been given R odds, the first time I even became aware of material's importance. In my games prior to that I would continuously attack the K regardless of whatever material it cost, a certain formula for defeat.
Philidor Defense, C. Conero vs. P. Short , 1959 - 1. e4, e5; 2. Nf3, d6; 3. Bc4, h6
(to stop Ng5); 4. Nc3, c6
(to prevent the incursion of the QN); 5. d3, a5
(He likes pawn moves! The first few were prophylactic, to keep out my pieces, but this one is sneaky.); 6. Be3?
(Overlooking the fact that my KB can be trapped), b5
(Trapping the B, but Black now lags far behind in development); 7.Bxf7+
(Since my B is now a "desperado", I'll do as much damage with it as I can. This will keep black from castling.), Kxf7; 8. d4, Be7?
(to protect the Q after a center pawn swap [9.de, de
], but the remaining center pawn will be unprotected. I had noticed a change in his demeanor after the B sac, and he seemed worried now.); 9. de, de; 10. Nxe5+, Ke6;
11. Qg4+ (Emboldened by the apparent success of my earlier sacrifice, I make another, speculative one to draw the K further out into the open, which took some daring on my part. This was possible because of Black's laggard development), Kxe5; 12.Qf4+! (Now there's a forced mate in 3 for white), Ke6; 13. Qf5+, Kd6; 14. Bf4 mate. In spite of my early inaccuracy, I always considered this my "Evergreen Game".
One of our newer player's dedication to chess is paying off. In the following recent club game, Jeff pulls off a neat win after falling behind, showing a positive, never-say-die attitude. Ruy Lopez, Anon. vs. Jeff, 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d3 a6 5.Bc4 b5 6.Bb3 Bc5 7.00 00 8.c3 d6 9.Nbd2 Bg4 10.Qc2 b4 11.Nc4 d5 (the correct freeing move) 12.Ne3 Bh5? (..., Bxf3 here would break up the White K-side pawn structure. ..., d4 or ..., dxe4 are other acceptable moves since the Bg4 is protected by the Nf6) 13.exd5 Nxd5? (this loses a piece) 14.Bxd5 Qd6 15.Bxc6 Qxc6 16.Nxe5 Qf6? (..., Qe6 or..., Qe8 were preferable) 17.Nd7 (winning the exchange) Qe7 18.Nxf8 Kxf8 19.d4 Bd6 20.Nd5 Qh4 (lining up on h2) - (see diagram)
21.Nxb4?? (concentrating only on his own plans, White makes a fatal oversight. 21.g3 or h3 would hold) Qxh2 mate Maybe you could call this a swindle, but I give Jeff credit for not giving up and continuing to fight even when down a R.
This issue's "Master Blunder" occurred in a game between two GM's in 2008. The higher rated player, Bacrot, made an incredible mistake
on his 23rd move, hanging his Q to the Black Knight. If you've ever missed a Knight move, you can sympathize. Ruy Lopez, Etienne Bacrot (2705) vs Ernesto Inarkiev (2684), Baku, 2008, 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. O-O Be7 6. Nxe5 Qd4 7. Nf3 Qxe4 8. d3 Qg4
9. Nc3 Be6 10. Re1 h6 11. h3 Qh5 12. Re5 g5 13. Ne2 Qg6 14. Ned4 Bd7 15. Qe2 f6 16. Ne6 Kf7 17. d4 Bd6 18. Nc5 fxe5 19. Nxd7 Qf5
20. Ndxe5+ Kg7 21. Nc4 Rf8 22. Nxd6 cxd6 (see diagram),
23. Qe7+?? 23..., Nxe7 24.Resigns
Issue 117's first problem is solved by 1.Ng2, hg+; 2.Kg1, h5; 3.Kh1, h4; 4.Nf4 mate
(if1..., Kh2; 2.Nxh4,Kh3; 3.Nf5, h5; 4.Kg1, h4; 5.gh
Black wins in 117's problem #2 by 1...., Qh3+!; 2. Kxh3, Nf4+; 3. Kg3, Nxe2+; 4.K moves, Nxc3 winning
And last issue's "Novice" problem is solved by White's playing 1.Qxc5, bxc5; 2.Bxh6
, winning the N. If he played 1.Bxh6 first, then Black would play 1...., Bxd4+; 2.K moves , Ng8, saving the N. Jeff solved the problem.
The first of this issue's problems is a composed mate. Although I normally decry these as being too artificial, this one is uncluttered and is also quite instructive. White is to move and mate in three moves.
a b c d e f g h
White is to move first in problem #2. What's a good plan against Black's somewhat haphazard development?
It's Black's turn to move in this month's "novice" problem. Considering the various forms of tactics (forks, pins, skewers, discovered attacks, etc.), is there one that he can take advantage of here to win material?
Chess Quote, - "The passed pawn is a criminal which should be kept under lock and key. Mild measures, such as police surveillance, are not sufficient." - A. Nimzovitch
Late news flash: Roz Katz has just informed me that "The Queen of Katwe" Phiona Mutesi, the impoverished Ugandan teen-age chess prodigy who is using her chess skills to try to escape a bitter life, is being brought to the Cary area for a visit in May by the Gates Foundation, tentatively scheduled for the 13th. As of 2011 Phiona was the three-time Women's Junior Champion of Uganda. She is the youngest person ever to win the African Chess Championship. There was a cover photo and write-up about her in the November, 2012, Chess Life magazine. Roz is hoping to get some of our local chess players involved in the visit. Stay tuned for more details.