Friday, October 09, 2009

This was a tough match against a longtime rival and the final result, a 2-2 tie, helped neither team as Seattle moved a point ahead in the division.

San Francisco 2 vs Miami 2

1. GM Patrick Wolff (SF) vs GM Julio Becerra (MIA) 1-0
2. FM Marcel Martinez (MIA) vs GM Jesse Kraai (SF) 1-0
3. FM Daniel Naroditsky (SF) vs NM Eric Rodriguez (MIA) 1/2-1/2
4. Miguel Recio (MIA) vs NM Yian Liou (SF) 1/2-1/2

Defeating Julio Becerra is always an accomplishment, doubly so in the USCL where he reigns supreme. His 73 MVP points heading into the 2009 season put him well ahead of second place Vinay Bhat's 46. Here Patrick uses 3.Bc4 to steer in a Ruy Lopez setup. After Black's eighth move White is three tempi ahead of a regular Spanish but as Patrick pointed out just who are those three tempi ( ...a6, ...b5, ...Bb7) good for. Play was delicately balanced until White started to get the better of it with 18.b4 and after 30.Qg3 he had a large advantage which he converted. This battle should be a strong contender for Game of the Week.

Wolff,Patrick (2623) - Becerra,Julio (2615) [C55]USCL San Francisco vs Miami (6), 2009
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d3 Be7 5.0-0 0-0 6.Re1 d6 7.a4 Na5 8.Ba2 c5 9.Nc3 Nc6 10.Bg5 Nb4 11.Bc4 Be6 12.h3 Nd7 13.Bd2 Nb6 14.Bxe6 fxe6 15.Ne2 Nc6 16.Ng3 Qd7 17.c3 Bf6 18.b4 Nc8 19.Qb3 N8e7 20.bxc5 dxc5 21.a5 Ng6 22.Be3 Be7 23.Nf5 Rac8 24.Red1 Kh8 25.Nxe7 Qxe7 26.Ng5 Nd8 27.d4 exd4 28.cxd4 Nf4 29.Bxf4 Rxf4 30.Qg3 Rf6 31.dxc5 Rg6 32.f4 h6 33.Qh4 Qxc5+ 34.Kh1 Qc2 35.Qh5 Rf6 36.Qe8+ 1-0

White always use to meet the McCutcheon with 9.Bd3 Nxd2 10.Kxd2 but since about 2004 has scored very well with 9.Qf4 planning to recapture with the Queen and not the King on d2. It says a lot that Igor Glek, one of the great exponents of 4...Bb4, has suffered several serious defeats in this variation.

Jesse could have captured the h-pawn ( 20...Qxh4 but after 21.Qb4 White would have enjoyed a serious initiative. One idea might to induce ...b6 by doubling Queen and Rook on the a-line. Once ...b6 was playing a4-a5 would be natural and strong. Jesse tried to mix things up by sacrificing the exchange for play along the long diagonal but it did not work out.

Martinez,Marcel (2475) - Kraai,Jesse (2552) [C12]USCL San Francisco vs Miami (6) 2009
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Bb4 5.e5 h6 6.Bd2 Bxc3 7.bxc3 Ne4 8.Qg4 g6 9.Qf4 c5 10.Bd3 Nxd2 11.Qxd2 Nc6 12.Nf3 Qa5 13.dxc5 Qxc5 14.h4 Bd7 15.Rb1 0-0-0 16.0-0 Kb8 17.Rb5 Qe7 18.Rfb1 Bc8 19.Nd4 Nxd4 20.cxd4 Rd7 21.g3 g5 22.h5 Rc7 23.Qa5 b6 24.R5b3 Bb7 25.Qd2 Rc4 26.Bxc4 dxc4 27.Qb4 Qd7 28.Qxc4 Ka8 29.Ra3 Rc8 30.Qb4 Qc6 31.f3 g4 32.Qxb6 Qxb6 33.Rxb6 gxf3 34.Rxb7 f2+ 35.Kg2 Kxb7 36.Rf3 Rxc2 37.Rxf7+ Kc6 38.Rxf2 Rc4 39.Rf6 Kd5 40.Rxh6 Rxd4 41.Rh7 Rd2+ 42.Kh3 Rxa2 43.g4 Kxe5 44.Rf7 Ra1 45.Kg2 Ra2+ 46.Kg3 Ra3+ 47.Kh4 Ra1 48.Kg5 a5 49.h6 a4 50.h7 Rh1 51.Kg6 a3 52.Ra7 Kf4 53.Ra4+ Kg3 54.g5 e5 55.Kg7 e4 56.h8Q 1-0

Daniel played a great game but in too complex a style for G/60 + 30 second increment. Had he not been down to a minute on his clock he would have undoubtedly found 30.Qf3 or 32.Bxh6, in both cases with a significant advantage for White.

Naroditsky,Daniel (2371) - Rodriguez,Eric (2290) [C79]USCL San Francisco vs Miami (6), 2009
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.d3 d6 6.0-0 Bd7 7.c3 g6 8.Nbd2 Bg7 9.Re1 0-0 10.Nf1 Qe8 11.Ng3 Kh8 12.Bb3 Ng8 13.h3 f5 14.exf5 gxf5 15.d4 f4 16.Ne4 Rd8 17.d5 Nce7 18.c4 Nh6 19.Bc2 Nhf5 20.Bd3 Ng6 21.g4 fxg3 22.fxg3 h6 23.h4 Rf7 24.h5 Nge7 25.g4 Nd4 26.Nxd4 exd4 27.g5 Rf5 28.Nf6 Rxf6 29.gxf6 Bxf6 30.Bg6 Qg8 31.Rxe7 Bxe7 32.Qxd4+ Qg7 33.Qxg7+ Kxg7 34.Bd2 Bf6 35.Re1 Be5 1/2-1/2

Yian was a little better on the board after 25...c4 but way ahead on the clock. He was a pawn up in the ending after 38...Qd5 but Recio defended very well to split the point. Maybe 41...a5 intending 42...b4 was a better winning try.

Recio,Miguel (2164) - Liou,Yian (2149) [A90]USCL San Francisco vs Miami (6), 20091.d4 f5 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nf3 e6 4.g3 d5 5.Bg2 c6 6.0-0 Bd6 7.b3 Qe7 8.Bb2 0-0 9.Ne5 Nbd7 10.Nd2 Bxe5 11.dxe5 Ng4 12.Nf3 b6 13.Qd2 Bb7 14.Rac1 Rfd8 15.Qf4 Nf8 16.h3 Nh6 17.Rfd1 c5 18.e3 Nf7 19.cxd5 Ng6 20.Qc4 Bxd5 21.Qe2 Rac8 22.h4 Bxf3 23.Bxf3 Ngxe5 24.Bg2 Rxd1+ 25.Rxd1 c4 26.bxc4 Nxc4 27.Rc1 Nfd6 28.Bd4 Qf7 29.Rd1 b5 30.Bf3 a6 31.Bg2 Rd8 32.h5 h6 33.Bc3 Qc7 34.e4 Nxe4 35.Rxd8+ Qxd8 36.Bxe4 fxe4 37.Qxe4 Qd1+ 38.Kg2 Qd5 39.Qxd5 exd5 40.Kf3 Kf7 41.Ke2 g6 42.hxg6+ Kxg6 43.Kd3 Kf5 44.Kd4 Ke6 45.Kc5 h5 46.f4 Nd6 47.Kb6 Ne4 48.Be1 Kd7 49.Kxa6 Kc6 50.f5 d4 51.Ka5 d3 52.Kb4 d2 53.Bxd2 Nxd2 54.f6 Kd6 55.Kxb5 Ne4 56.f7 Ke7 57.a4 Nc3+ 58.Kb4 Nxa4 59.Kxa4 Kxf7 60.Kb3 Kf6 61.Kc2 Kf5 62.Kd1 Kg4 63.Ke1 Kxg3 64.Kf1 Kh2 65.Kf2 h4 66.Kf1 Kh1 67.Kf2 Kh2 1/2-1/2

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Opening preparation is very important in the US Chess League and last night New York was very well prepared indeed picking up two points almost straight out of the opening. We will need to do better against Miami next week.

New York 3 vs San Francisco 1

1. GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) vs GM Josh Friedel (SF) 1-0
2. GM Jesse Kraai (SF) vs IM Irina Krush (NY) 1/2-1/2
3. NM Matthew Herman (NY) vs FM Daniel Naroditsky (SF) 1-0
4. NM Yian Liou (SF) vs NM Yaacov Norowitz (NY) 1/2-1/2

Kacheishvili,Giorgi (2666) - Friedel,Josh (2612) [E45]
USCL (5) 2009

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 b6 5.Nge2 Ba6 6.a3 Be7 7.Nf4 d5 8.cxd5 Bxf1 9.dxe6 Ba6 10.exf7+ Kxf7 11.e4

This is much stronger than 11.Qb3+.

11…c5 12.e5

This move, it would seem first played by Aronian, is a substantial improvement over 12.Be3 of Lombardy-Keres, Mar Del Plata 1957.

12… Nc6

This looks like a novelty. White is 3-0 after 12…Re8 and 12…Qxd4. The latter has been suggested as possibly Black’s best with the line running 13. e6+ Kg8 14.Qf3 Nc6 15.Qxc6 Rc8 17.Qf3 Qe5+ 17.Be3 Bc4 with slightly better chances for White. Likely Kacheishvili has an improvement in store.

13.exf6 Bxf6 14.Qb3+ c4 15.Qa4 Qe8+ 16.Be3 Na5

All of this is analysis by Gavrikov in ChessBase (in his comments to Kharlov-Zaja, Warsaw 2005) where he gives only 17.Qxe8+ Rhe8 and “White is only a little better”. He didn’t have the new version of Rybka at hand which gives a strong preference for 17.Qc2 awarding White with a sizeable advantage.

17.Qc2! Nb3 18.Rd1 Nxd4 19.Rxd4!

This exchange sacrifice breaks Black’s position.

19…Bxd4 20.Qf5+ Bf6 21.Qd5+ Kf8 22.0-0

22.Ne6+ might have been even more precise ending Black’s suffering straightaway. As it is Josh fights on for the team but the result is never in doubt.

22…Rd8 23.Ne6+ Ke7 24.Nxd8 Qxd8 25.Bc5+ bxc5 26.Qxc5+ Kf7 27.Qxa7+ Qe7 28.Qxa6 Qe6 29.Qxe6+ Kxe6 30.Re1+ Kf5 31.Ne4 Bxb2 32.Nd6+ Kf6 33.Nxc4 Bd4 34.Re4 Bc5 35.a4 Ra8 36.Ne3 Rb8 37.g3 Rb2 38.Kg2 h5 39.h4 g6 40.Kf3 Kf7 41.Re5 Bd4 42.Rd5 Rb4 43.Nc2 Rb3+ 44.Ke2 Bf6 45.Rb5 Rc3 46.Rb2 Bd8 47.Nb4 Ba5 48.Nd5 Ra3 49.Rb7+ Ke6 50.Nf4+ Kf6 51.Ra7 Ra2+ 52.Kf1 Ra1+ 53.Kg2 Be1 54.Ra6+ Kf7 55.Nxg6

Kraai,Jesse (2552) - Krush,Irina (2478) [D27]
USCL (5), 2009

1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 dxc4 4.e3 e6 5.Bxc4 c5 6.0-0 a6 7.dxc5 Bxc5 8.Qxd8+ Kxd8 9.Nbd2 Ke7 10.Be2 Nbd7 11.Nb3 Bd6 12.Nfd4 Nb6 13.Na5 e5 14.Ndb3 Rb8 15.f3 Be6 16.e4 Rhc8 17.Be3 Nc4 18.Bxc4 Bxc4 19.Rfc1 Bxb3 20.axb3 Rxc1+ 21.Rxc1 Nd7 22.Rc4 Nf8 23.Ba7 Ra8 24.Bb6 Nd7 25.Be3 b6 26.Nc6+ Ke6 27.Kf2 a5 28.Ke2 Nc5 29.b4

Due to the circumstances of the match (we were down 2-0) Jesse had to play for a win from a position in which he had a tiny edge at best. At this point he has already over played his hand but maybe 29.Rc3 planning to meet 29….Kd7 with 30.Nxa5 Rxa5 31.b4 was a better practical try to draw.

29…axb4 30.Kd2 Nb3+ 31.Kd3 Na5 32.Rc2 Kd7 33.Nxa5 bxa5 34.b3 a4 35.bxa4 Rxa4 36.Bd2 Ra1 37.Rb2 Rg1 38.Bxb4 Bxb4 39.Rxb4 Rxg2 40.Rb7+ Ke6 41.Rb6+ Ke7 42.Rb7+ Kf6 43.h4 g6 44.Rb6+ Kg7 45.Rb5 Rh2 46.Rxe5 Rxh4 47.Ke3 Rh2

By now the match was already decided ( 2.5-.5 for New York) but the interesting rook ending that has now arisen still provided interest for spectators. Three versus two Rook endings are usually easy draws unless one side has a passed pawn. Almost inevitably when four versus three endgames simplify down the best the superior side can hope for is a passed e-pawn with both sides having g and h pawns. You can find hundreds of examples of such endings in Mega Database. The structure that has arisen in the game, where Black has a passed h-pawn is much, much rarer. This makes sense - how many times does ones g and h pawns disappear from the board without at least one of the opponent’s kingside pawns missing as well.

If White’s pawns were on f2 and f3 ( instead of f3 and e4) and his King were on g2, the position would be an easy draw ( see for example the classical example Suetin-Kholmov, USSR 1954 – colors reversed.

The text does not seem to be well covered in the literature. Emms in his The Survival Guide to Rook Endings. Gives to examples but neither seems completely relevant. In the first example White is much more active than in the game and in the second ( with colors reversed) Black’s King and Rook are horribly misplaced. The text does not seem to be well covered in the literature. Emms in his The Survival Guide to Rook Endings. Gives two examples ( Anderson - Hug, Las Palmas 1973, and Korchnoi - Lputian, Sarajevo 1988), but neither seems completely relevant. In the first example White is much more active than in the game and in the second ( with colors reversed) Black’s King and Rook are horribly misplaced.

During the game I was thinking it made sense to leave the pawns on f3 and e4 for the moment and instead improve the position of the White King and Rook ( say the King on g3 and the Rook on the 7th rank) but I don’t see how to do it – 48.Kf4 Rg2 cuts the King off.

The position is now almost identical to: Cuellar – Jimenez, Havana 1966, except Irina’s h-pawn is further advanced.


With the h-pawn further advanced Irina has a possibility not available to Jimenez. As Josh pointed after the game Black didn’t have to get out off the way of the threatened e6. Instead 50…h3 was possible. After 51.e6 Black has 51…Re2+! which looks like it wins after 52.Kxe2 h2 but White saves himself with 53.Rxf7+ Kg8 54.Rh7!. Black is a pawn up in the resulting Queen ending after 54…Kxh7 55.e7 h1 (Q) 56.e8(Q) Qh2+ 57.Ke3 Qg3+ but the position is drawn.

51.Ra7 h3 52.Kf3 Rb2 53.Kg3 h2 54.Ra8+ Ke7

This looks like the better route for the King than …Kg7-h6 as played by Jimenez.

55.Rh8 Ke6 56.Rh7

56.Kg4 doesn’t help White as Black simply plays 56…Kd5.

56… Kd5 ?

Now this is a mistake. Instead 56…Ra2 wins a tempo as either the Rook has to remove its attack on f7 or the King can no longer keep attacking g3. Black will play 57…Kd5 with …Ke4/…g5 in the offing. I believe Black should be winning.

57.Rxh2 Rxh2 58.Kxh2 g5 59.fxg5 Kxe5 60.Kg3 Kf5 61.Kh4 f6 62.gxf6 Kxf6 1/2-1/2

Just like board one Hermann rattled his opening moves off very quickly and by move 15 was 40 minutes ahead on the clock, but unlike the other game matters were quite tense and only resolved when Black found himself short of time and blundered with 25…Nd7.

This game will undoubtedly be analyzed for a long time so the following are just preliminary observations.

While White’s attack looks extremely strong there appear to be some interesting resources for Black. One example is taking the Bishop right away without inserting …a3. For example 20…exd5 21.hxg7 Re8 22.Qh2 Bh4 23.Nf5 bxa2 24.Nxa2 a3 looks exciting or in the game instead of 24…dxe4 allowing White to activate his Rook maybe 24…Nxb3+ is possible with the idea 25.Kb1 dxe4 26.Rxd6 Qc8 27.Nxh4 exf3 28.Nxg6 Qf5+. Both of these variations are difficult to see with only a few minutes on the clock.

Herman,Matthew (2275) - Naroditsky,Daniel (2371) [B87]
USCL(5), 2009

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 b5 8.f3 Nbd7 9.Be3 Nc5 10.Qd2 Bb7 11.0-0-0 Be7 12.g4 Nfd7 13.g5 Ne5 14.h4 0-0 15.h5 b4 16.Nce2 a5 17.g6 a4 18.h6 Nxg6 19.Bd5 b3 20.Nc3 a3 21.cxb3 exd5 22.hxg7 Re8 23.Qh2 Bh4 24.Nf5 dxe4 25.Rxd6 Nd7 26.f4 Re6 27.Bd4 axb2+ 28.Kb1 h5 29.Rxe6 fxe6 30.Nh6+ Kh7 31.g8Q+ Qxg8 32.Nxg8 Rxg8 33.Rg1 Ndf8 34.f5 1-0

Halfway through the season Yian Liou and Yaacov Norowitz have established themselves as two of the top fourth boards in the League. Their game last night was evenly contested throughout with first Black and later White having a very small advantage. A draw was a fair result.

Liou,Yian (2149) - Norowitz,Yaacov (2354) [B16]
USCL (5) 2009

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nf6 5.Nxf6+ gxf6 6.c3 Qd5 7.c4 Qe4+ 8.Be3 e5 9.Ne2 Na6 10.Nc3 Qg6 11.a3 Bf5 12.d5 Nc5 13.Bxc5 Bxc5 14.Qf3 0-0 15.Be2 Rac8 16.g4 Bc2 17.h4 Bd4 18.Rc1 e4 19.Qf4 Bxc3+ 20.bxc3 Bd3 21.d6 Rcd8 22.Bxd3 exd3 23.Kd2 f5 24.gxf5 Qxd6 25.Rcg1+ Kh8 26.Qxd6 Rxd6 27.Rh3 Rfd8 28.Rgg3 Rf6 29.Rf3 Kg7 30.Rhg3+ Kf8 31.Rf4 c5 32.Rfg4 Rdd6 33.Rg8+ Ke7 34.Re3+ Kd7 35.Re5 Rh6 36.Rf8 Rxh4 37.Rxf7+ Kc6 38.Ree7 Rxc4 39.Rc7+ Kd5 40.Kxd3 b6 41.Rxh7 Rf4 42.Rhe7 b5 43.Rxa7 Rf3+ 44.Ke2 Rxc3 45.Rab7 Rxa3 46.Rxb5 Rf6 47.Rc7 Rc3 48.Kd2 Rc4 1/2-1/2