Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Big win for MacKenzie in the Farley Memorial Summer League

Randy MacKenzie upset Daniel Johnston Monday Night in round two of the Rawle Farley Memorial League playing the white side of an unusual (2. a3!?) Sicilian Defense in which he proffered a true gambit pawn with 3. b4 cxb4 4. axb4 Nxb4.

Already a pawn down, White met 14...Na5 with an exchange sac. Black had extra material but his position was fragile and his pieces were disorganized. With 30. Rc1 and then 31. Re1 White further discoordinated Black's pieces. 33. e6 was crushing, winning back material and opening the Black king to a final assault. Unable to mount a defense Black soon resigned.

Notes in the text are from Randy MacKenzie. PGN file follows at end of blog for copying and pasting. 

 MacKenzie getting loose with some speed chess vs. Hanan Dery.  

Also on board one Lev Paciorkowski defeated Rolando Scrubb in a Queen's Gambit Declined.

PGN File:

[Event "Rawle Farley Memorial League XXIV"]
[Site "Rochester, NY"]
[Date "2017.07.18"]
[Round "2"]
[White "MacKenzie, Randy"]
[Black "Johnston, Daniel"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B20"]
[WhiteElo "2000"]
[BlackElo "2200"]
[PlyCount "87"]

1. e4 c5 2. a3 Nc6 3. b4 cxb4 4. axb4 Nxb4 5. c3 Nc6 6. d4 d5 7. Bb5 g6 8. h4
h5 9. c4 e6 10. Nc3 Bb4 11. Nge2 Kf8 12. Qb3 Qe7 13. O-O dxc4 14. Qxc4 Na5 15.
Rxa5 Bxa5 16. Qa4 Bc7 17. Bg5 f6 18. Bc1 a6 19. e5 Kg7 20. Ne4 Rb8 21. Bd3 fxe5
22. Bg5 Qd7 23. Qa1 Bd8 24. f4 exd4 25. Rb1 b5 26. Bxd8 Qxd8 27. Nxd4 Qb6 28.
Kh1 Kf8 29. Ng5 Rb7 30. Rc1 Bd7 31. Re1 e5 32. fxe5 Ne7 33. e6 Be8 34. Nf5 Nxf5
35. Qxh8+ Ke7 36. Bxf5 gxf5 37. Rd1 Bc6 38. Qg7+ Ke8 39. Qg6+ Kf8 40. Nh7+ Rxh7
41. Qxh7 Bxg2+ 42. Kh2 Qb8+ 43. Kxg2 Qe8 44. Rd8 1-0

Friday, July 7, 2017

Lionti 1/2 - Trowbridge 1/2

Mike Lionti and I played a Grunfeld Defense on Wednesday. There was a little activity in the middle-game during which I may have had a small advantage but I must have misplayed it and it came to nothing. We ended up in a bishops-of-opposite-color ending and played on for many moves, neither of us willing to make a draw offer in spite of the position. Eventually a perpetual all but forced itself on us.

Mike played good chess, I thought 14. Ne4 and 18. f4 were particularly well played. I have to be more aggressive and take more chances.


2...g6 After 2...e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. a3 Bxc3+ 5.bxc3 O-O 6.Bg5 h6 7. Bh4 d6 8.Qc2 Nd7 = though white went on to win Lionti-Trowbridge, CCCR Wed May 2016.

7...Nb6 7...Nxc3 8. bxc3 c5 9. O-O Bg4?! 10. h3 Bf5 += Lionti-Trowbridge, CCCR Wed June 2015

8...e6? Many moves have been tried here before, but you don't usually see 8...e6. Its sole accomplishment is to keep black's c8 bishop from developing.

10. Bd2     This also is a little inaccurate. The bishop doesn't do anything here although it does get in the way of its own queen. Our eighth and tenth moves seem to have cancelled themselves out.

13...Bg4! A good move. Black has improved his lot in life over the last few moves.

14. Ne4! I was more worried about 14. Bc1 but this is a good response.

14...Bxf3 I could not decide on 14...Bxf3 or Nxe5. After a long think they both seemed to leave  Black with good chances so I made a random decision. It was the wrong decision however.

18. f4! It's evident that black has squandered his opportunities and now only the smallest of advantages, if that, remain.

20...Nc3 The potential path of white's knight through c5-b7 or -e6 gave me a lot of fear so I rather incorrectly assumed it was best to trade it off. Afterwards the game is just very drawish.

26. Bxd1   Apparently our strategy is to hope the other player blundered as that's the only way to make anything of this other than a draw.

41. Kxf4 White has casually thrown a pawn away but in this ending that's still nothing. It's totally drawn.

45. Kd5 White will now go on to regain the pawn he lost.

53...Bb4   The white king is stalemated but of course black can't make any progress either.


Sergei Karjakin meets with Putin

World chess championship challenger Sergei Karjakin blogged and tweeted re his meeting with Vladimir Putin today about the development of chess in Russia. The United States falls furthers behind, sigh. I really want to know what those books are on the desk he apparently brought with him.

Look up the word "jejune".

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Trowbridge 0 - Nesci 1

Here's my recent loss to Matt Nesci. I told Cliff Kharoubbi that if I keep losing to his students I'm going to have to take lessons from him myself.


5...a6 The Sicilian Taimanov.

6. Nxc6  6. Nb3 Nf6 7. Bd3 d5 8. exd5 Nxd5 9. Nxd5 Qxd5 10. O-O = Trowbridge-Phillips, CCCR Championship Trnmt 2013. 6. Be2 and 6. Be3 are the more usual moves.

7...Bb4 7...Qc7 is more common. For example 8. Qe2 Rb8 9. g3 Ne7 10. Ne4, Svidler-Cossin, FRA ChT 2009.

8. Bd2 The computer likes 8. Qg4! and 8...Bxc3+ 9. bxc3 Ne7 (or 9...g6 10. Bd3+-) 10. Qf6+-.

9. a3 I seem to throw away pawns very early in the game. It might be because chess comes at the end of the day and I'm tired. On the other hand maybe I'm just undisciplined. During the post-mortem Kharroubi was completely unconcerned. "So? Grandmasters gambit pawns away all the time!" That, my friends, is chess wisdom.

12. Be3? Another oversight. 12. Bxg5 wins the pawn back as 12...Qxg5 and either 13. Qxd6 or 13. Ne4.

17. Bd3 to prevent the forced exchange of another piece by ...Ne4.

23. Qe3? A final and decisive mistake. I missed 23. Rxe6+! fxe6 24. Qg7+ Kd8 (24...Ke8 25. Bg6+ is lost for Black) 25. Qxh8+ with a strong advantage for white. 23. Rxe6 is a difficult sacrifice to find, although probably easy for 1900+ players.

23...Bc6 The computer prefers 23...Qc6 with a strong advantage but black has to find some "only" moves or he may allow white to equalize, e.g. 24. Be4 and now A) 24...Qxa4 25. Bxb7 Rb8 and 26. Bd5 or 26. Bg2 equalize; B) 24...Qxe4 25. Qxe4 Bxe4 26. Rxe4 d5 27. Re2 and black keeps his pawn advantage but white has chances; and C) 24...d5 is probably best but it's tough to find. 25. Bg2 Qxa4 and now white has to find 26. fxg5. If then 26...hxg5 white has 27. Rxf7+! Kxf7? 28. Qxe6+. The line is beautiful but it's not likely either of us would have found those moves.

25...Qb6! The forced exchange of queens practically wins for black. 29. f6+ I spent a long time on 29. fxe6 deciding which one might give white more opportunity for "tricks". They both looked losing however, and indeed the rest of the game is lost for white.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Kasparov Redux!

Big news. Former world champion - arguably the greatest player ever - will return to competitive rated play this August as a wildcard player in the St. Louis leg of the Grand Chess Tour Rapid and Blitz tournament.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Big result for Howard Decker

Howard Decker

Here's the game Howard Decker won in a Saturday tournament against Rick Motroni. Howard was swinging up over 600 points. Nice game Howard!

 A couple of opening notes: 3. Nf3 I have one of these big databases that has over 50 games with this line. A lot of the white players are 1800-2100. This actually looks like it could be a fun opening - at least worth a try once or twice for surprise effect. If you want to try it, I'll help with the research!

3...e6 a portent of how wild and messy this game is going to get. . 3...dxe4 straight up and White has to show some real magic or at least a little bluff.

4. Nc3 (reached by transposition: 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 c6 4. Nf3) 4...Bb4 5. Bd3 dxe4 6. Bxe4 Nf6 7. Bd3 Steinitz-Czarnowski, Paris 1867.