Monday, September 21, 2009

Kotrc-Weigl, Vidni 1912

Not every great game has a great name. This little gem deserves to be better known.

Kotrc - Weigl
Vidni, 1912


1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d4 exd4 5. 0–0 Bc5 6. e5 d5

The Max Lange Attack leads to exciting play, but it has two drawbacks -- it's been analyzed to death, and it can't arise unless both players agree to it.

7. exf6 dxc4 8. Re1+ Kf8

A rare sideline, seeking to avoid the long variations arising after 8. ... Be6.

9. Bg5 gxf6 10. Bh6+ Kg8 11. Nc3

The back-rank weakness allows the Knight to enter play quickly. If 11. ... dxc3 12. Qxd8+ Nxd8+ 13. Re8+ Bf8 14. Rxf8 mate.

11. ... Bg4 12. h3 Bh5 13. Ne4 Bb6


14. Nxd4!

The fun begins. White initially gets only one minor piece for his Queen, but his superior development, plus the useless Rook at h8, put him on top.

14. ... Bxd1

The alternative
14. ... Nxd4 15. Qxh5 f5 16. Bg5 would avoid the brilliancy but wouldn't save the game.

15. Nxc6 bxc6 16. Raxd1 Qe7 17. Ng3 Qc5 18. Re3 f5

Hoping to weasel out with 19. Rde1 f6, but ...

19. Ne4 1–0

Too many threats! If 19. ... fxe4 20 Rg3+ and mate next, or 19. ... Qe5 20. Rg3+ Qxg3 21. Nf3 mate.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Mote, beam

Today on her blog, Susan Polgar wrote:

"I first learned about the world of blogging on May 23, 2005 from my friend Amy. Today, the 19,000th post was made.

How things started and my vision:

Chess news used to be monopolized by a few major chess media sources. It was appalling for me to see news about chess tournaments and events published sometimes weeks and months later or not at all. To make matters worse, some tournaments, organizers, and players were blackballed because of dirty chess politics or other petty reasons.

This is why I decided to take on the “establishments” and started this blog over 4 years ago. I want to give the “little guys” a voice. If organizers want to promote his / her events, just send me the announcements, updates, or reports, and I will publish them.

I am happy to see countless chess blogs and websites popping up in the last few years. If players unite and do the right things for chess, we will succeed in making our wonderful game a lot more visible globally.

The “typical” approach to chess in the past few decades is not working. It is time to “rock the boat” and push through new and refreshing ideas to make our game more appealing for the media, the public, and young people, especially girls.

People often tell me that chess is not attractive or exciting enough for the media or the general public. Wrong! Just come to Lubbock, Texas and you can see how chess has exploded in this city in just 2 years. Look at St. Louis, MO, Fresno, CA, and Bellevue, WA. Look at what the AF4C or Chess in the Schools have done. Those are just a few of many chess success stories.

Many of the long time and stagnant chess establishments are now “irrelevant”. We can succeed if we move ahead in the right direction instead of just sitting still and procrastinate. It is time for action. A special thank you to all of you for your continued support!"

Sigh. Susan has done a terrific job with her blog, and I highly recommend it. She’s also done a lot of good things with SPICE and Texas Tech. Why can’t she be content with highlighting her very real achievements, rather than searching for enemies? This sort of paranoid approach – “There are those who …”, conveniently unnamed but tagged with plenty of negative adjectives – only makes her look small. “It is not enough to succeed; all others must be seen to fail.” Polgar and Truong are not the only ones in the chess world with that attitude, but they are among the minority who could have succeeded on their own merits. It’s a shame.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Lewitzky - Marshall, Breslau 1912

Though not quite the equal of Lasker or Capablanca, Frank Marshall was for many years one of the top half-dozen players in the world, and a formidable tournament competitor. His aggressive attitude, combinational flair, and imagination produced a great number of brilliant games like this one. It is said that after the spectacular conclusion, the spectators showered the board with gold coins. Another version, though, is that wealthy Russian emigres had bet on their compatriot Lewitzky, and were paying off their losses ...

Lewitzky - Marshall
Breslau, 1912

FRENCH DEFENSE, Marshall Variation

1. d4 e6 2. e4 d5 3. Nc3 c5

A double-edged system which Marshall played with success, for he did not hesitate to accept a positional weakness in exchange for tactical chances.
4. Nf3 Nc6 5. exd5 exd5 6. Be2 Nf6 7. 0-0 Be7 8. Bg5 0-0 9. dxc5 Be6 10. Nd4 Bxc5 11. Nxe6
A dubious idea; Black obtains strong central pawns and an open f-file, and White will never have time to exploit the potentially weak pawn at e6.
11. ... fxe6 12. Bg4 Qd6 13. Bh3 Rae8 14. Qd2?!
Now Black obtains a clear advantage. The defensive 14. a3 was correct.
14. ... Bb4 15. Bxf6 Rxf6 16. Rad1
White had to meet the threats of both ... Nf6-e4 and ... d5-d4, but now Black’s Rooks become very active.
16. ... Qc5 17. Qe2
Embarking on what he believes to be an exchanging combination, but Marshall has calculated more deeply. Better was 17. a3 Bxc3 18. Qxc3 Qxc3 19. bxc3, though Black stands clearly better in the endgame.
17. ... Bxc3 18. bxc3 Qxc3 19. Rxd5 Nd4 20. Qh5
White had seen this far -- on 20. Qe5? Nf3+! 21. gxf3 Rg6+ wins. Correct, however, was 20. Qe4, and if 20. … Rf4 21. Qe5 the position remains unclear. Now if 20. ... g6 21. Qe5 is playable, but ...
20. ... Ref8 21. Re5
Perhaps White had planned 21. Rc5, overlooking 21. ... Rxf2! (22. Rxf2 Qe1+, or 22. g3 Ne2+ 23. Kh1 Rxf1+).
21. ... Rh6 22. Qg5
On 22. Qg4, 22. ... Nf3+, discovering on the undefended Rook at e5, would win routinely.
22. ... Rxh3 23. Rc5


Not 23. gxh3? Nf3+. Now White hopes for something like 23. ... Qb4 24. Rc7 g6 25. Qe5, but Black has other plans.
23. ... Qg3!, White resigns
The Queen is en prise three ways but cannot be captured -- 24. fxg3 Ne2+ 25. Kh1 Rxf1 mate, 24. hxg3 Ne2 mate, or 24. Qxg3 Ne2+ 25. Kh1 Nxg3+ 26. Kg1 Nxf1, with an extra piece.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Southern Cal Open final

GMs Melikset Khachiyan and Alejandro Ramirez shared first place with master Evgeny Shver, all on 5-1. Khachiyan takes the state championship title on tiebreak. They reached the winner's circle by different routes: Ramirez, in clear first, had committed to a last-round bye. Shver upset GM Jesse Kraai, in a game that went the full six hours. And Khachiyan, on board 1, defeated 11-year-old sensation Kayden Troff, who had previously upset an IM and two masters.

Other section winners included Esteban Escobedo (Premier), Reneray Valdez (Amateur), Sven Myrin (Reserve), and Leonard De Leon (Booster).

Full standings are posted here.

Prize Winners


1st-3rd: GM Melikset Khachiyan, GM Alejandro Ramirez, Evgeny Shver, 5-1; 4th-7th: IM Enrico Sevillano, IM Dionisio Aldama, Joel Banawa, Alexandre Kretchetov, 4½-1½; U2300: 1st: Vadim Kudryavtsev, 4½-1½; 2nd: Ryan Porter, Avram Zaydenberg, 4-2; U2200: 1st-2nd: John Funderburg, Kayden Troff, 4-2; 3rd-4th: Robert Akopian, Konstantin Kavutskiy, Show Kitagami, Michael Brown, Raoul Crisologo, Leo Raterman, Jared Tan, 3½-2½.


1st: Esteban Escobedo, 5-1; 2nd: Jesse Orlowski, 4½-1½; 3rd-4th: John Badger, Luke Neyndorf, Madhaven Vajepeyam, Christian Glawe, 4-2.


1st: Reneray Valdez, 5-1; 2nd: Mike Bynum, 4½-1½; 3rd-4th: Marcos Ferrer, Ronaldo Salenga, 4-2.


1st: Sven Myrin, 5-1; 2nd: Craig Hilby, 4½-1½; 3rd-4th: Timothy Jao, Steven Dahl, Thomas Glazier, 4-2.


1st: Leonard De Leon, 5-1; 2nd: Willie Roy, 4½-1½; 3rd-4th: Ramon Umadhay, Jennifer Lu, 4-2; U1200: 1st: Claire Negus, 4-2; 2nd: Kenneth Xu, Shelley Anthopoulos, 3½-1½.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Southern California Open, day 3

As we begin the final round, no fewer than eight players remain in contention for first place. GM Alejandro Ramirez, who led with 4.5 out of five, was committed to a last-round bye and finishes with 5-1. Battling it out with 4-1 are GMs Melikset Khachiyan and Jesse Kraai, masters Joel Banawa, Alexandre Kretchetov and Evgeny Shver, and youthful Expert Kayden Troff from Salt Lake City. Troff, rated only 2100, faces Khachiyan on Board 1 after upsetting IM Ed Formanek and masters Gregg Small and Giovanni Caretto. Complete standings are posted here, and will be updated as sections finish.

Alexandre Kretchetov (2403) – GM Jesse Kraai (2584) [D00]

Southern California Open, San Diego 2009

1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 d5 3.Bxf6 exf6 4.e3 Bd6 5.Bd3 Nd7 6.Qf3 Nb6 7.Nd2 Be6 8.Ne2 Qd7 9.h3 0–0 10.c3 c5 11.dxc5 Bxc5 12.Nb3 Bd6 13.Nbd4 Rad8 14.Nf4 g6 15.Nh5 gxh5 16.Qxh5 Rfe8 17.Qh6 Qc7 18.Bxh7+ Kh8 19.Bg6+ Kg8 20.Bh7+ Kh8 ½–½

GM Melikset Khachiyan (2610) – IM Dionisio Aldama (2489) [B85]

Southern California Open, San Diego 2009

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.Be2 Nf6 7.0–0 Nc6 8.Be3 d6 9.a4 Be7 10.Nb3 b6 11.f4 0–0 12.Bf3 Bb7 13.Qe2 Rfe8 14.Rad1 Bf8 15.Bf2 Rab8 16.Bg3 Ne7 17.e5 dxe5 18.fxe5 Nd7 19.Ne4 Nf5 20.Nd6 Nxg3 21.hxg3 Bxf3 22.Rxf3 Bxd6 23.exd6 Qc6 24.Rd4 b5 25.Rc3 Qb6 26.a5 Qa7 27.Qf2 Rbc8 28.Rdd3 Qxf2+ 29.Kxf2 e5 30.Rc7 Rcd8 31.Nc5 Nxc5 32.Rxc5 Kf8 33.Rc6 e4 34.Rd5 e3+ 35.Ke2 Re6 36.Rxa6 Rg6 37.Kxe3 Re8+ 38.Kf4 Rf6+ 39.Rf5 Rfe6 40.Ra7 Re4+ 41.Kf3 Re3+ 42.Kg4 f6 43.Rxb5 Re1 44.Re7 R8xe7 45.dxe7+ Kxe7 46.b4 Rf1 47.Rb7+ Ke6 48.Rxg7 h6 49.a6 1–0

(Photos: GM Jesse Kraai in a blue mood; Kayden Troff faces GM Melikset Khachiyan on Board 1.)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Southern California Open, day 2

After three rounds, three players are tied for the lead: GM Jesse Kraai, IM Enrico Sevillano, and Alexandre Kretchetov with 3-0. Half a point behind is a large group on 2.5, including GMs Melikset Khachiyan and Alejandro Ramirez and IM Dionisio Aldama. Click here for updated standings of all sections.

In the election for the SCCF Executive Board, winners were: John Hillery and Randy Hough (27), Elliot Landaw (21), Jerry Yee (20), and Chuck Ensey and Mick Bighamian (19). Steve Morford was subsequently elecetd to full the unexpired term of Ulric Aeria, who is relocating to Guam.

GM Melikset Khachiyan (2610) – Avram Zaydenberg (2204) [C68]

Southern California Open, San Diego 2009

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.0–0 Bg4 6.h3 Bxf3 7.Qxf3 Nf6 8.d3 h6 9.Nd2 Bd6 10.Nc4 Nd7 11.Qg3 g5 12.b4 Nf8 13.a4 Ng6 14.Qg4 0–0 15.Ne3 Nf4 16.Nf5 Qf6 17.g3 h5 18.Qd1 Nxh3+ 19.Kg2 g4 20.f3 Qg6 21.fxg4 hxg4 22.Nh6+ Kg7 23.Qxg4 Nf4+ 24.gxf4 exf4 25.Nf5+ Kg8 26.Kf3 Qxg4+ 27.Kxg4 f6 28.Rh1 Kf7 29.Rh7+ Ke8 30.Nxd6+ cxd6 31.Bxf4 1–0

GM Jesse Kraai (2584) – Konstantin Kavutskiy (2157) [E01]

Southern California Open, San Diego 2009

1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 e6 3.g3 c5 4.Bg2 Nc6 5.0–0 Nf6 6.c4 Be7 7.dxc5 Bxc5 8.a3 0–0 9.b4 Be7 10.Nbd2 b6 11.Bb2 Bb7 12.Rc1 Rc8 13.Qa4 a5 14.cxd5 Nxd5 15.b5 Nb8 16.Rxc8 Qxc8 17.Rc1 Qd8 18.Ne5 Ne3 19.Bxb7 Qxd2 20.Qd4 Qxe2 21.Nc6 Bf6 22.Ne7+ Kh8 23.Qxf6 Qxb2 24.Qxb2 1–0

Kayden Troff (2100) – IM Ed Formanek (2266) [A80]

Southern California Open, San Diego 2009

1.d4 f5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Bf4 d6 4.e3 Nh5 5.Bg5 g6 6.Bc4 Bg7 7.0–0 Nd7 8.Nbd2 Ndf6 9.Re1 h6 10.Bxf6 Nxf6 11.Nh4 d5 12.Bb3 g5 13.Ng6 Rh7 14.c4 e6 15.cxd5 exd5 16.Bc2 Be6 17.Nb3 b6 18.Bd3 Qd6 19.Qc2 Ng4 20.g3 Qd7 21.f3 Nf6 22.Ne5 Qc8 23.Qc6+ Kf8 24.Ba6 Qe8 25.Qxc7 h5 26.Qd6+ Kg8 27.Bb5 Nd7 28.Bxd7 1–0

(Photos: 1) Short & the long of it? Kayden Troff faces master Gregg Small. 2) Alexandre Kretchetov vs. GM Melikset Khachiyan. 3) GM Jesse Kraai vs. IM Enrico Sevillano.)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Southern California Open, day 1

The 2009 Southern Cal Open, held at the luxurious (though somewhat spread-out) Crowne Plaza Hotel in San Diego, has begun with a field of 130. The top section included three GMs (Khachiyan, Ramirez and Kraai) and three IMs (Sevillano, Aldama and Formanek). Standings will be posted throughout the weekend at this link.

John Gurczak (2098) – GM Melikset Khachiyan (2610)
Southern California Open San Diego 2009
[D86] GRUENFELD DEFENSE, Exchange Variation

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Bc4 0–0 8.Be3 Nc6 9.Ne2 e5 10.0–0 Qe7 11.Qd2 exd4 12.Nxd4 Qxe4 13.f3 Qe8 14.Nb5 Ne5 15.Be2 Qe7 16.Nxa7 Rd8 17.Nxc8 Raxc8 18.Qc2 Ng4 19.fxg4 Qxe3+ 20.Kh1 Rd2 0–1

IM Ed Formanek (2266) – Jamison Pryor (2027)
Southern California Open San Diego
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 d5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 c5 7.Bd3 Qa5 8.Bd2 dxc4 9.Bxc4 cxd4 10.cxd4 Qg5 11.Nf3 Qxg2 12.Rg1 Qh3 13.Rxg7 Nc6 14.Rb1 Ne4 15.Ke2 Bd7 16.Rxb7 Nd6 17.Rxd7 Kxd7 18.Qa4 Nxc4 19.Rxf7+ Ke8 20.Rc7 1–0

Pairings for Round 3 are now available. Note that all pairings are subject to change until ten minutes before round time.