I was in DC all weekend feasting on delicious food (shellfish mostly: mussels, belon oysters, lobster, scallops, shrimp, more mussels) while everyone else was in Parsippany doing battle at Amateur Team East. While I definitely received some interesting games from friends of mine, the below game from Jay Bonin is one of the more interesting games sent my way. The clever Nd5 sac is the kind of move I would never conceive of- and to think the middle game complications expire into a straightforward ending!
I was more or less certain that I had lost the race to 2000. Boris, against whom I have been racing for the last year, blew past me reaching 1940 while I was wallowing all the way back at 1820. However, a few tournaments later and I have surged ahead to 1916 while Boris has taken a step backwards to 1893. It would appear to be anyone’s race at the moment, with a top shelf bottle of scotch on the line, I’m going to hit the books hard and try to cross the finish line before the end of the year.
Below, find a game that we played recently in which I ventured the tried and true 1…Nh6!
After more than 50 years- the NYTimes ended it’s chess coverage with a tiny note at the end of the page : Read After Rocky Start, Grand Prix Finds a Favorite in the Lead.
My game this week in the swiss event I’ve been playing in Harlem was a French Winawer. I used 1.Nc3- one of my favorite surprise weapons- to try and avoid any opening knowledge that my opponent may have had- only to find myself in the thicket of a winawer. Luckily, I was able to get a quick kingside attack and go home early. The two moves I’m most proud of are Rh3- which holds the c3 pawn as well as threatening the uncastled king- and Nxd5 which was a nice find that required some calculation.
This weekend I spent some time in harlem, and had the pleasure of playing in a G/60 as part of my professional development. The game was a miniature, in which I was able to quickly pressure my opponent’s king.
If you’re bored, google “harlem shake chess.” Among many other things… I found this interesting game.
My comrade Pavel was kind enough to invite me out to Queens to participate in the 2014 Queens Team Championship, which we also played in last year with mixed results (Pavel did very well and I… did not.) In the first round, I was paired with the tenacious Frank Paciulli, who used to be a regular at the Marshall though we haven’t seen him in a while. I think the last time I spoke with him it was about an ending that he was analyzing with a few other people, and when I disagreed with his variation his response was that he wasn’t interested in my opinion because I was a TD -not a chess player- and probably had a low rating. Part of working in the customer service industry is biting one’s lip at times such as these. In any case, he is a nice guy if a bit loud at times, and I knew that he played the najdorf and worked on it. I recall him pouring over his chessbase database before and after games. When he started my clock, I sat for nearly a minute trying to decide whether I should chicken out and play 1.d4 or man up and walk into the briar patch. Almost mechanically, I played the first 6 moves of my 1.e4 repertoire and then stalled after 6…Qb6.
I got pretty thoroughly walloped this weekend on my own turf, losing every single game that I played and tanking my rating to 1832. My opponents played well, and I’m looking forward to getting revenge in our next event.
My most interesting game was against Cameron Hull, in which he simply wiped the floor with me. I had the speculative idea of playing Nxc6 and following up with Ng5– giving up a central pawn for pressure– but it turned out to be little more than a mirage.
Burt Reynolds also stopped by, beating me and picking up a few rating points as well as directing his first tournament ever!
Friday night blitz at Brooklyn Stoopswill hopefully become a regular thing- if you’re interested in attending shoot me an email on friday and see if we’re headed over. Stoops is at 748 Myrtle Ave near the Myrtle Willoughby stop on the G train.
Charu more or less dominated last night, though I did get a few lucky games in here and there. You’re going down next friday Charu!
While everyone else was enjoying a relaxing three day weekend this president’s day, I was doing battle in parsippany at the amateur team east tournament with another 1,126 participants.
Our team, “The Marshall Plan,” won the best performing team from a historic club prize, and I’ve been told there will be a plaque in our honor displayed at the marshall chess club, perhaps even with an honorary reception/lecture commemorating our stellar performance.
Our team average was 2159, with Alex King, Matan Prilleltensky, Ted Belanoff and myself combining to crush all comers. Our last round loss was unfortunate, as we might have finished 5th overall had we won- however- it was our 3rd round loss to “en passant riot” that hurt the most.
Below, find one of the games I won undeservingly (as opposed to one of the games I lost that I deserved to win)
Take a look at this- it’s crazy game between two Polish romantics. Kopiecki beat me three times last year- in one of those games I had the White pieces and in the same line after 6…d6 I played something pretty irrational, cursing myself for not castling, so this time I just castled and didn’t really remember what the book tells me to do later. Very soon after I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw 9…Na5 because it just couldn’t be good, and this guy always out-prepared me before. I’m not sure if giving up an exchange is the right decision for him, but he likes to play with initiative, so this was giving him some chances to be active. And active he was, too much. I like my position after I get all my pieces out with 17.Nbd2, but soon after I don’t like it as much after 23…Bc6- when playing 22 .a4 on the previous move I overlooked this simple, yet annoying , threat. But seems like I was able to hold this together. I liked that I was able to get my rook to the 7th rank and play a5. He was running low on time, I think my moves were giving him problems. But probably there are a lot of tactics missed by both of us- very sharp game with an open board and rooks and bishops cutting through it. Let me know what you think.
I have had the chance to play in a few tournaments recently with mixed results. However, one opening has really done well for me statistically in tournament play over the past year, and that is the Czech Benoni. Below, are two of my recent games in my favorite pet line.
In the first one against Ralph Monda I managed to win a rook and knight v. rook and knight ending though did not have a chance to notate the second half of the game because it was a quick time control. However, in that game missed an early idea I should have seen with 11…Nh4! Threatening the family fork. If for instance 12.0-0-0 Nf3 13. Qc2 Nd4! when Black has a dominating position and will be able to play for b5 and a queenside attack. 27…Qxf4 is an oversight, as it loses an important pawn. It appears that White might trap black’s queen with 19.Rb3, but this was in fact precisely the move I was hoping for as it allowed 19…Bxa4! My opponent mentioned after the game that he had seen this trap and was happy to have avoided it. Better for Black was was 27…Ng6 when black would actually have an edge according to my engine- but in any case it would remain complicated with even material.
This game was a bit more of a dog fight. Here I missed a computer like 17…Bxb2 18.Rb1 Bf5 when the b7 pawn is immune from capture- for instance if 19.Rxb7 f3+ 20.g3 Bxh3 21.Kxh3 Qc8+ picks up the rook. Instead I played a bit more simply, assuming that the middle game with opposite color bishops would favor the attacker, though actually the position was likely level-ish. I played 26…a5 when I realized that White really had very few useful moves, and plenty of ways to go wrong. 28.Qh1 looks like an interesting idea that will help White regain control of the g-file and simplify to a drawish ending, however, it was actually just the sort of mistake I was hoping for as it allowed the simple tactic Bxf2, after which Black’s attack is enveloping.