Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Big Win against the Defending Champs

Last night the Mechanics' entry in the US Chess League turned in one of its best ever results defeating the defending two-time league champions the Dallas Destiny. The match started strangely with two games ending in less than hour. Chess is a fascinating game but also a cruel one - witness two very strong players losing quickly in known ways.

What was once a four game match was now down to two with the score knotted. The Mechanics' struck first blood with 12-year-old Master Yian Liou defeating his Dallas rival, 14-year-old Adarsh Jayikumar in what was unbeknownst to both players a theoretical duel. The two youngsters followed theory for over twenty moves until White went wrong with the decentralizing moves 24.Nb3?! and 25.Qb6?. The latter was strongly met by 25...Ne6 when Adarsh was left with no reasonable moves.

Dallas third board Salvjius Bercys was tasked with equalizing the match against the US Chess League's all time best percentage scorer (15 from 18 before last night) IM (soon-to-be-GM) Sam Shankland. The latter is gifted with a preponderance of fast twitch muscle fiber and seems to feel right at home with the League's time control. It's not uncommon for Sam to be ahead of his opponent by 20-30 minutes when the game reaches its critical phase and that is exactly what happened last night. Bercys was down to three minutes by move 30. He kept his head above water for a longtime before finally blundering with 43...Bf5??

This was a good win against a strong team but there is no time to celebrate. Next week we meet our friends and rivals from Miami who are off to a great start this season and lead the division.

Here's the rundown, board-by-board, along with all of the games with light notes:

Friedel,Josh (2612) - Zivanic,Marko (2551) [B48]
USCL San Francisco vs Dallas 2009

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.Be3 a6 7.Bd3 Nf6 8.0-0 h5

Zivanic also plays 8...Bd6 which looks safer.

9.h3 Bd6

Zivanic plays just as he did against Patrick Wolff in one of one of the regular season matches between San Francisco and Dallas.


Patrick tried 10.Re1 with the idea of a4 and Nd5. The text looks stronger.


Black could have tried to bail out of what follows by 10...Bc5. Then White might try 11.Be2 or 11.Nf5 along the lines of 8...Bd6 9.f4 Bc5 10.Nf5. The question is who is favored by the inclusion of h3 and ...h5 in this position? This is probably the test of 10.f4 and possibly the way to rehabilitate 8...h5.

11.e5 Bc5

11...Bxe5 12.fxe5 Qxe5 13.Qd2 gives White tremendous compensation for the pawn.

12.exf6 Nxc2

GM Miezis once got away with 12...Nf5 but 13.Bxc5+ Qxc5+ 14.Rf2! gxf6 15.Bxf5 Qxf5 16.Qd6, as in Roa-Morales, Madrid 2002, can only be described as crushing. After the game Josh pointed out to us that White is threatening Nc3-a4-b6 and even 16...a5 doesn't stop it - 17.Na4 Qb5 18.Nb6 Ra6 19.Nxc8!.

13.fxg7 Bxe3+ 14.Kh1 Rg8 15.Bxc2 Rxg7 16.Qxh5 Bd4 17.Qh8+

White could also play 17. Nd5 but the text is more precise. Neither player was aware of it but they are following a previously played game and continue to do so almost until the very end.

Ke7 18.Nd5+ exd5 19.Rfe1+ Kd6 20.Qf8+ Kc6 21.Ba4+ b5 22.Rac1+ Kb6 23.Rxc7 Kxc7 24.Rc1+ Kb7

24...Kb6 25.Qd8+ 1-0, Haker-Budisin, Germany 1995.

25.Bb3 Ka7 26.Rxc8 1-0

Ludwig,Daniel (2543) - Kraai,Jesse (2552) [C07]
USCL San Francisco vs Dallas 2009

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 c5 4.exd5 Qxd5 5.Ngf3 cxd4 6.Bc4 Qd6 7.0-0 Nc6 8.Nb3 Nf6 9.Nbxd4 Nxd4 10.Nxd4 Bd7 11.b3 Be7 12.a4 a6 13.Re1 Qc7 14.Qf3 0-0 15.Nf5 Bc6??

15...Bd8 as in Tiviakov-Anderson, Haninge 1992. Maybe Ludvig had found a way for 16.Nxg7 to work in his preparations but it doesn't look very clear.


Winning on the spot.

16...Qxg3 17.Nxe7+ Kh8 18.hxg3 Be4 19.Bb2 1-0

Shankland,Sam (2564) - Bercys,Salvijus (2503) [A84]
USCL San Francisco vs Dallas 2009

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 c6 4.e3 f5 5.Bd3 Nf6 6.0-0 Bd6 7.b3 Qe7 8.Bb2 0-0 9.Qc1 Ne4 10.Ba3 Nd7 11.Bxd6 Qxd6 12.Nc3 b6 13.cxd5 exd5 14.Ne2 Bb7 15.Qb2 Rae8 16.Rac1 Rf6 17.Rc2 Rh6 18.Ng3 Qf6 19.Qa3 a6 20.Rfc1 g5 21.Nd2 Nxg3 22.hxg3 g4 23.Nf1 Rh5 24.f4 gxf3 25.gxf3 Rg5 26.Rg2 Kh8 27.Rcc2 c5 28.Qb2 c4 29.Be2 b5 30.f4 Rg7 31.Bf3 Nf8 32.Kh1 Ba8 33.Rh2 Rc8 34.Qc1 a5 35.Rh5 Ra7 36.Qb1 c3 37.Rch2 Rf7 38.Bd1 Bc6 39.Bc2 Bd7 40.g4 Qe7 41.gxf5 Rf6 42.Qe1 Qf7 43.Qh4 Bxf5??

Black had to leave the pawn on f5 but overlooks a neat tactic seriously short of time. Note that 43...Rxf5 would not by met by 44.Bxf5 but by the much stronger 44.Rh6! planning 45.Ng3.

44.Rxf5 Rxf5 45.Qg4! Rxf4 46.Qxf4 Qxf4 47.exf4 Re8 48.Rh3 Re1 49.Kg1 b4 50.f5 Kg7 51.Re3 Ra1 52.Re5 Rxa2 53.Ne3 Rb2 54.Re7+ Kf6 55.Ra7 Kg5 56.Rxa5 Nd7 57.Rxd5 Nf6 58.Re5 Kf4 59.Ng2+ Kg4 60.Ne1 h5 61.d5 h4 62.d6 h3 63.Re6 Kg5 64.Kh2 1-0

Jayakumar,Ardash (2173) - Liou,Yian (2149) [A87]
USCL San Francisco vs Dallas 2009

1.d4 f5 2.c4 Nf6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.Nc3 d6 6.Nf3 0-0 7.0-0 Qe8 8.d5 Na6 9.Rb1 Bd7 10.b4 c6 11.dxc6 Bxc6

Kindermann, in his authoritative book on the Leningrad, prefers the more dynamic but riskier 11...bxc6.


This is considered to be White's best here in preference to 12.b5 or the less commonly seen 12.c5.

12...Ne4 13.Bb2 Nxc3

It's possible that 13...Bxc3 is more precise as the text gives White an extra option.

14.Bxc3 Bxc3 15.Qxc3

15.c5+!? e6 16. Qxc3 dxc5 17.b5 lead to very sharp play in Kramnik-Malaniuk, Moscow (ol) 1994.

15...Rc8 16.Qd4

As recommended by Khalifman in his Opening for White according to Kramnik series.

16...Be4 17.Nd2(!)

Exclamation mark by Khalifman.


17...Bxb1 is met by 18.Bxb7!

18.Kxg2 Qc6+ 19.Kg1 Nc7 20.Qxa7 Ra8 21.Qe3 Rxa2

So far the players have been following M. Gurevich - Rebers, Netherlands 2000, where 22.Rfd1 preparing c4-c5 was played.

22.Ra1 Rfa8 23.Rxa2 Rxa2 24.Nb3?!

It only takes two mistakes for White to lose this game.

24...Qe4! 25.Qb6 ?

This is the fatal error taking the Queen away from the center.


The game is over.

26.Nc1 Rc2 27.Qb5 Nd4 28.Qd5+ Qxd5 29.cxd5 Rxc1 0-1


At 12:38 PM, Blogger Mark Ginsburg said...

16. Qe3! looks very strong in the board 4 game. If 16...Be4? 17. Qh6! e6 18. Ng5!. I don't see any way for black to keep an equal game.

At 1:12 PM, Blogger Von_Igelfeld said...

Very well-written post! It's great that the league is including these aspiring young players and as a result allowing everyone to see the great quality of chess they're able to produce. With the ages of players at 12 years old, it makes a recent high school graduate seem like a cagey veteran (has Shankland gotten all his norms for GM yet?). In any case, I have a selfish request for you if possible to add diagrams at critical positions for the annotated games, that would help tremendously.


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