Shakmaty Bereolos - The Official Chess Site of Peter Bereolos

6/27/04 - Bereolos-Bisguier, Emory/Castle Grand Prix

In the final round I was once again paired with a grandmaster, this time I had the White pieces against GM Arthur Bisguier. While Bisguier's rating has dropped considerably in recent years, his vast experience still makes him a dangerous opponent. 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bg5 c6 6. Qc2 Na6 7. e3 Nb4 8. Qd2 Bf5 9. Rc1 a5 10. a3 Na6 11. f3 This seems to be a new move in this position. It is probably better to play the immediate 11. Nge2, a flexible move that has been played by players as disparate as Shirov and Petrosian. I observe that I twice played f3 in this tournament before Nge2, which may indicate lazy thought. Just sort of saying, "well, I'll play f3 so I don't need to worry about ...Ne4." Since Black's knight maneuvers had weakened his control over e5, I also considered the active 11. Nf3 Be7 12. Ne5 O-O 13. f4 but decided this wasn't so great with his bishop already controlling e4. 11... Be7 12. Nge2 Nc7 13. Ng3 Bg6 14. Bd3 Ne6 15. Bxf6 Bxf6 16. Nf5 O-O 17. O-O c5 This nice move leaves Black with no particular problems. 18. Ne2 18. dxc5 Nxc5 is very comfortable for Black. The weakness of the b3 square means White will have to play with 2 knights against two bishops. The only other alternative is to try to hold up Black's queenside play with 18. Nb5!? c4 19. Bb1 Qd7 20. a4 18... c4 Now, the plans for each side are pretty clear. Black has firm control on the queenside and has restrained any central break by White. White has to go for the kingside attack. 19. Bb1 b5 20. g4 Re8 This move surprised me a bit. He wants to make f8 available for his knight, but moving the rook may be mistimed. Since the b-file will eventually be opened this rook may find better work there, so I think the immediate 20... Rb8 was better. 21. Neg3 Rb8 22. f4 so f2-f3 ended up not serving much of a purpose 22... Bxf5 23. Nxf5 b4 24. axb4 Rxb4 25. g5 Be7 26. Qg2 Since ...Nf8 will neutralize attacks along the b1-h7, I turned my focus to the g-file. 26... Nf8 27. h4 Qd7 28. h5 Qe6 a somewhat dangerous move. He wants to provoke Rf3 to relieve the pressure on the d5 square from the White queen, but on e6 the queen is potentially vulnerable to the move f5. 29. Rf3 Reb8? On the surface this doesn't look like a mistake since he attacks the b-pawn with tempo, but 29... Qb6 was the consistent move. Now I get to finish the game tactically.

30. Nh6+! gxh6 30... Kh8 31. f5 is no better 31. gxh6+ Ng6 32. f5 highlighting the problem of the black queen's position. 32. hxg6 fxg6 33. f5 was also strong 32... Rxb2 Moving the queen allows a mating attack. For example, 32... Qd6 33. fxg6 fxg6 34. hxg6 hxg6 35. Bxg6 Kh8 36. Rf7 +- He never has time to take on b2 in these lines since White will capture or move to h7 with double check. 33. Qxb2 Rxb2 34. fxe6 Nh4 34... Nh8 35. exf7+ Nxf7 (35... Kf8 36. Bxh7) 36. Bxh7++- 35. Rxf7 Bg5 36. Rg7+ Kf8 37. Rf1+ [1:0] This win was sweetened when all of the games on other boards went the way I needed them to in order to emerge as clear first in the 2200-2400 class.

6/26/04 - Becerra-Bereolos, Emory/Castle Grand Prix

The next morning, I got paired up to face GM Julio Becerra with the Black pieces. This turned out to be not much of a game. I played an inferior move in the opening and then blundered a pawn less than a dozen moves later. 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 After several recent losses with the open variation, I decided to put it in the shop for awhile and return to the closed variation, which I had played with relative success from 1983-1993. Looking back at the database, it isn't entirely clear to me why I stopped playing it. 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. h3 Bb7 10. d4 Re8 11. Nbd2 Bf8 12. d5 Nb8 13. Nf1 Nbd7 14. N3h2

14... c6?! better is the normal 14... Nc5 15. Bc2 c6 16. b4 Ncd7 17. dxc6 Bxc6 18. Bg5 when in comparison to the game, the white's light-squared bishop has been pushed off the a2-g8 diagonal and White has weakened his queenside. I was surprised to find that a great player like Beliavsky had once played the text move in a loss to Short in the first FIDE KO. It was also somewhat annoying to find Short's notes to this game in New In Chess. It was the game immediately following Beliavsky's notes to Beliavsky-Short (naturally, since it was the second game of their mini-match) that I had just been looking at in relation to the game Bereolos-Mayers at the Chicago Open. Short also mentions 14... h6 as another alternative. 15. dxc6 Bxc6 16. Bg5 this is the position to comare to the one in the note to Black's 15th. After White exchanges his dark-squared bishop for Black's knight, he has an advantage in minor pieces that can fight for the d5 square and there is no corresponding weakness in the White camp. 16... h6 Beliavsky tried 16... Qc7 17. Bxf6 Nxf6 18. Ng4! Nxg4 18... Nxe4 19. Qf3 d5 else White gains two pieces for a rook and has an iron grip on the d5-square. 20. Rxe4 dxe4 21. Qxf7+ Kh7 22. Qg8+ Kg6 23. Bf7+ Kg5 24. Qh7 should soon be mate. 19. Qxg4 Qg5 20. Qf3 20. Qxg5 hxg5 should be a fairly comfortable edge for White, but I think Becerra's move is stronger as the Black queen lands on an awkward square. 20... Qf4 21. Qe2 a5 22. Rad1 Rab8 23. Bd5

23...Bxd5? A horrendous move, dropping material, that I really can't explain, especially when it seems like I anticipated White's last move in deciding which rook to play to b8. Black's only trump in the position is the long range potential of the two bishops, so he should simply retreat 23... Bd7 when White has the edge, but Black is still fighting. Even 23... Rec8 24. Bxc6 Rxc6 is playable when Black can get some counterplay with ...b4. 24. Rxd5 the rest doesn't need much comment. Black is losing a pawn for no compensation. I give up another pawn for the illusion of some activity, but Becerra's accurate play left no further chances. 24... b4 25. Rxa5 bxc3 26. bxc3 Rec8 27. Qc2 d5 28. Rxd5 Ba3 29. Rd2 Rb2 30. Qd3 Rcb8 31. Rxb2 Rxb2 32. Re2 Qc1 33. Rxb2 Bxb2 34. c4 Bd4 35. Qe2 Qa3 36. g3 Bb2 37. Qc2 Bd4 38. Kg2 Kf8 39. Nd2 Ke7 40. Nb3 Qb4 41. Qd3 Qb6 42. Qd2 g5 43. Qa5 [1:0] On 43... Bxf2 44. Qxe5+ Kf8 45. c5 costs Black his bishop.

6/22/04 - Bereolos-DePeaza, Emory/Castle Grand Prix

In round 3, I had the White pieces against Terrence DePeaza. After 16. Nc3

he unleashed complications with 16...Ne5!? 17. Nb5 17. dxe5 Rxd2+ 18. Kg1 Rxe5 is very bad for White with all his pieces huddled in the corner. 17... c6 18. Nc7 Qd3 19. Rd1! It was very tempting to play 19. Nxe8 looking to gain a large material advantage. However, the bishop on d2 is really holding White's position together, while his "extra" rook in the corner is not participating. After 19...Qxd2+ All of Whites options look grim (20. Kf1 Nd5; 20. Kg1 Nd5 21. dxe5 Nxe3) 20.Kg3 Nh5+ 21. Kh3 (21. Kh4 Qxg2) 21... Nd3 22. Rc2 Qxe3 and the Black pieces swarm the White king. 19... Neg4+ White also looks to be better after 19... Qxb1 20. Raxb1 Nd3+ 21. Kf1 (I didn't think 21. Ke2 Nf4+ 22. Kf1 Re7 was quite as good for White) 21... Re7 22. Rxb7 holding Nc7 while Nd3 is still in some difficulties. 20. fxg4 Nxg4+ 21. Kg1 Rxe3 22. Qxd3 The greedy 22. Bxe3?? leads to the famous smothered mate 22...Qxe3+ 23. Kh1 Nf2+ 24. Kg1 Nh3+ 25. Kh1 Qg1+ 26. Rxg1 Nf2# 22... Rxd3 23. d5! One final accurate move to achieve a technically won position. With some small tactics, White manages to trade the weak d-pawn instead of losing it outright. 23...cxd5 24. Bg5 Rxd1+ 25. Rxd1 f6 26. Nxd5 with the point 26... fxg5 27. Ne7+ Kf7 28. Rxd8 Kxe7 29. Rb8+-. After 26...Kf7 I converted the extra piece.

6/20/04 - Kayma-Bereolos, Emory/Castle Grand Prix

In the second round, I had Black against Thomas Kayma, and fell into an opening trap. 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. d4 exd4 6. O-O Be7 Against the same opponent in the first round of the 1999 Chicago Open, I tried to liven things up with the Riga Variation 6... Nxe4, but he showed the problem with trying to play that variation for a win with Black after 7. Re1 d5 8. Nxd4 Bd6 9. Nxc6 Bxh2+ 10. Kxh2 (10. Kh1 or 10. Kf1 lead to complicated play); and Black only has perpetual check starting with 10... Qh4+ 7. e5 Ne4 8. Nxd4 Nxd4 9. Qxd4 Nc5 10. Nc3 O-O 11. Bg5 I should have known something was up by the speed in which he played that move. Afterwards he admitted that perhaps in the future he would not make this move so quickly in order to bait the opponent into the following trap. 11... Nxa4 12. Bxe7 Nxc3??

It wasn't too late to play 12... Qxe7 with an approximately equal game 13. Qh4 and White has a completely won game. This was a case where I had looked at the alternatives 13. Qb4?? (this move was played in the only prior game I found in this variation that Black didn't lose). 13... Nd5; 13. Qc5? d6; and 13. Bxd8?? Ne2+ costs White a piece but as soon as I captured the knight I noticed Qh4. The only explanation I could come up with for this blind spot is that in the position after Bg5 when I first began pondering this combination, both Qb4 and Qc5 directly attack the knight on e7, while Qh4 only supports the attack. Of course once the bishop lands on e7 that all becomes irrelevant.

Since I didn't feel like resigning 10 minutes into the round, I played on. Somehow I was still alive more than 40 moves later. He may have rushed things a little bit in the rook vs. bishop ending, but was still winning after 55... Ke4

56. Re8+ Simplest is to overload the bishop by 56. h4 c4 (56... Kf5 57. Rd5+) 57. a6 d3 58. cxd3+ cxd3 59. Rxd3 Kxd3 (59... Bxd3 60. a7) 60. a7 Bf3 61. h5+- 56... Kf3 57. Rxe2? He could still do the same thing with 57. h4 c4 58. h5 d3 59. cxd3 cxd3 60. Rd8 +- 57... Kxe2 58. a6 c4 59. a7 d3 60. cxd3 cxd3 61. a8=Q d2+ 62. Kc2 d1=Q+ with a drawn ending. [½:½] on move 77.

6/19/04 - Bereolos-Mabe, Emory/Castle Grand Prix

In the first round I had White against Chris Mabe. This was our third game already this year. 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 dxc4 In the Land of the Sky Tournament he tried the fashionable 4... a6 here 5. a4 Bf5 6. Ne5 Nbd7 7. Nxc4 Qc7 8. g3 e5 9. dxe5 Nxe5 10. Bf4 Nfd7 11. Bg2 g5!?

One of the many ideas in the Slav that Morozevich has brought to prominence. 12. Ne3 12. Nxe5 gxf4 13. Nxd7 is the other primary option for White 12... gxf4 13. Nxf5 O-O-O 14. O-O White generally prefers to defer castling with 14. Qc2, but we soon transpose back into the main channels. The original game in this variation Kasparov-Morozevich, Wijk aan Zee 2000 continued (after 14. Qc2) Ng4?! 15. a5! with the idea of Ra4. Later Moro improved the line by moving the other knight 14...Nc5 15. Qc2 Ne6 16. Rad1 Bb4 Morozevich prefered 16... Bc5 against both Kramnik (Astana 2001) and Bareev (Wijk aan Zee 2002) moving the bishop to b4 only after 17. Ne4 when White no longer has Na2 available. Both of those games ended in draws. I didn't find any examples of the text move being played in this position, but did find a game between two Russian IMs in the 2002 Moscow City Championship where it was played in answer to 16. Rfd1. In that game (Nureev-Asanov) White also put the question to the bishop immediately with 17. Na2 Now Black has an unpleasant choice. If he retreats the bishop (as played unsuccessfully by Asanov in the similar position) then 18. b4 gives White a very comfortable initiative. But instead the alternative 17...a5 18. Nxb4 axb4 19. Qe4 fxg3 20. hxg3 is also awkward for Black 20...c5 This loses the exchange. The alternatives also lose material 20... Qa5 21. Nd6+ Kb8 22. Nxf7; 20...b3 21. Qb4 21. Nd6+ Rxd6 22. Rxd6 Qxd6 23. Qxb7+ Kd8 24. Qa8+ Ke7 25. Qxh8 Qd4 26. Qxh7 Of course, White needs to avoid 26. b3?? Nf3+ 26... Qxb2 27. Qe4 and White won.

6/16/04 - Emory/Castle Grand Prix

I played in the Castle chess camp's closing event at Emory University last weekend. I had a pretty good result, finishing with 3.5/5 in a top heavy open section, which turned out to be enough for clear first for the 2200-2399 class. I also defeated GM Bisguier in the final round. I'm going to take a few more days to digest the games before I post them.

6/11/04 - 2004 Chicago Open, Day 4

On the morning of the last day, I had White against Jason Drake. This is another game that still needs some more serious analytic work, but I've tried to highlight the key points. 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 e6 5. Bg5 dxc4 6. e4 b5 7. e5 h6 8. Bh4 g5 9. Nxg5 hxg5 10. Bxg5 Nbd7 11. exf6 Bb7 12. g3 Qc7!? I had looked for a book on the Botvinnik in the bookstore after my game with Shabalov, but hadn't seen one. I hadn't thought to look at the NIC yearbooks either. So I had to decide if this was the latest thing or if he had seen my game with Shabalov and was ready to spring an improvement. I decided it was the former, and since I was happy with the position I got against Shabalov, I continued down that road. 13. Bg2 c5 14. O-O Bxg2 15. Kxg2 Qb7+ 16. f3 O-O-O 17. dxc5 Nxc5 18. Qe2 Nd3 19. Rad1 once again employing my novelty. 19... Bh6 20. h4 Qc6

Finally deviating from the Shabalov game, although he probably should throw in 20... Bxg5 21. hxg5 to shorten White's options on the next move. 21. b3 I also considered 21. Bxh6 Rxh6 22. Qe3 Rxf6 23. Qxa7 but decided I liked the position on the kingside to be closed. 21... Bxg5 22. hxg5 Rd4 I had expected 22... Qc5 trying to bring the queen into the attack via f5 23. Qe3 Rhd8 Here 23... e5!? is interesting. 24. g6 fxg6 25. f7 R4d7 26. Qg5 26. Qe4 appears to be stronger. I didn't really consider it, I guess my thought process was that e4 belonged to the knight. 26... cxb3 27. Nxb5 Qc2+ 28. Kg1 e5 29. Nxa7+ Kb7 30. Qe3 b2 better is 30... bxa2 but the Black king is so exposed, that White should be able to at least achieve perpetual check even at the cost of a piece. A sample variation is 31. Nb5 Ka6 32. Na3 Qc3 33. Ra1!? Qxa3 34. Rf2 Qb4 35. Rfxa2+ Kb5 36. Qg5 and it looks like White should be holding 31. Nb5 Rh8?

This move looks very strong, threatening a mate that it looks like White can only stop by letting the b2 pawn promote. However, White is able to turn the tide with a direct attack on the Black king. The computer suggests the remarkable 31... Kc6 with perpetual check after 32. Na7+ Kb7 33. Nb5, but White could try the double-edged 32. Na3; also possible is 31... Ka6 32. Na3 Qc3 33. Nb1 Qd4 32. Qa7+ Kc6 32... Kc8 33. Qa8# 33. Qa6+ Kc5 33... Kd5 34. Nc7+ Rxc7 35. Rxd3+ Kc5 36. Qa5+ Kc4 37. Qd5+ Kb4 38. Rb3+ 34. f8=Q+ Rxf8 35. Na3! much better than 35. Qa3+ Kxb5 36. Qxf8 Nc1 35... b1=Q 36. Rxb1 Nb4 a blunder in serious time pressure (less than 30 seconds to reach move 40), but there was no defense. 37. Qb5+ [1:0]

That left me placed fairly well entering the final round. Unfortunately, I produced a horrible game with the Black pieces against Mehmed Pasalic from Germany. 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Nxe4 6. d4 b5 7. Bb3 d5 8. dxe5 Be6 9. Nbd2 Nc5 10. c3 Be7 11. Bc2 Bg4 12. Re1 O-O 13. h3 Bh5 14. Nb3 Ne6 sacrificing a pawn for the bishop pair with 14... Ne4!? is interesting, but probably not quite sound 15. g4 Bg6 16. Bf5 Re8 17. Be3

17...Bxf5? Horrible, especially since I knew Qd7 here or on the previous move was the correct reply. 18. gxf5 Ng5 19. Nxg5 Bxg5 20. f4 Be7 20... Bh4 gaining a tempo, is marginally better; 20... Bh6 was tried in the game Brajovic-Glodeanu, Bucharest 2000, but was also a disaster for Black. 21. Qg4 Bf8 21... f6 22. e6 with clear advantage to White, would probably extend the game longer, but Black has no counterplay. 22. Rad1 Qc8 23. Bc5 g6 24. e6 Bg7 25. Rxd5 gxf5 26. exf7+ Kxf7 27. Rxf5+ Kg8 28. Rxe8+ Qxe8 29. Rf8+ Qxf8 30. Bxf8 Kxf8 30... Rxf8 31. Qe6+ 31. Qf3 [1:0]

6/10/04 - 2004 Chicago Open, Day 3

I got paired up again in Round 4. This time I faced the reigning US Champion, GM Alex Shabalov with the White pieces. I was really looking forward to this game, especially since I had a feeling I was going to get to play the Botvinnik Variation with one of the world's leading experts on it. This was a very complex game that I have already worked on for a bit, but still feel I have just scratched the surface. So for now, just some "light" notes. 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 e6 5. Bg5 Here we go! I suppose one could be cheeky and play the Shabalov-Shirov gambit 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Bd6 7. g4 against its inventor. 5... dxc4 6. e4 b5 7. e5 h6 8. Bh4 g5 9. Nxg5 hxg5 10. Bxg5 Nbd7 11. exf6 Bb7 12. g3 Qc7!?

This was a new move to me (although I'd become even more familiar with it a couple of rounds later). Checking the New in Chess website, I see that in Yearbook 70 there is a survey titled "The Cuban Variation" by Alexander Shabalov on this variation! (I presume the name is because Cuban GMs Dominguez and Vera are champions of this line). 13. Bg2 c5 14. O-O ECO gives 14. d5 Qe5+ 15. Qe2 O-O-O 16. dxe6 Qxe2+ 17. Kxe2 Bxg2 18. e7 Bxe7 19. fxe7 Rdg8 20. Bf4 Re8 21. Nxb5 Rxe7+ 22. Kd2 Bxh1 23. Nd6+ Kd8 24. Rxh1± There are of course several places Black can deviate, but the statistics for games I found with 14. d5 seem to favor White. 14... Bxg2 15. Kxg2 Qb7+ 16. f3 O-O-O 17. dxc5 Nxc5 18. Qe2 Nd3 19. Rad1 19. Ne4 was Ruban-Savchenko, Tbilisi 1989 Informant 47/518 which ECO quotes with slight advantage to White. I thought it was better to hold back this move since the Nc3 is preventing ...Qd5 and putting pressure on the b5 pawn. 19... Bh6 20. h4 20. Bxh6 Rxh6 21. Ne4 also deserves consideration 20... Bxg5 21. hxg5 Rh5 21... b4 might be a bit better, since it looks like Black is trying to provoke Ne4 so he can play Qd5. 22. Ne4 I rejected the immediate 22. g6!? because of 22... Rg5 threatening both Rxg6 and Nf4+, but it looks like White can then play 23. gxf7 Qxf7 (23... Nf4+ 24. Kf2+-) 24. f4 with an edge 22... Qd5 23. Rh1 Rxh1 24. Rxh1 Qd4

25. g6 25. Rh7 is another move that needs to be examined 25... fxg6 26. f7 26. Rh7 was GM Blatny's suggestion after the game 26... Nxb2 (26... Qxb2 27. Qxb2 Nxb2 28. Rxa7; 26... e5 27. f7) 27. Qe1 with some initiative (27. Re7 Nd1); Another idea is the thematic 26. b3 undermining Nd3 while getting the b-pawn out of harms way. 26... Rf8 Played after a very long thought, and I think this is about the only move 27. Ng5? Now Black gets the upper hand. 27. Nc3 Kd7 (there are several other choices here. 27... Qd7; 27... Qb6; maybe even 27... Rxf7) 28. Nxb5 Qxb2 29. Qxb2 Nxb2 = 27. Rh7 is still interesting since 27...Qxb2 28. Qxb2 Nxb2 29. Nc5 is winning for White since Black does not have ...Kd7 27... Qxb2 For some reason I had overlooked this. I guess because with the knight still on e4 White can follow up with Qxb2 Nxb2 Rb1 regaining the pawn, but now I found myself in a lot of trouble since the c-pawn is very fast. 28. Qxb2 Nxb2 29. f4 29. Rh7 Kd7 30. Rg7 c3 31. Nh7 Ke7 -+ 29. Rh6 is tricky, but Black still seems to come out on top after 29...c3 30. Rxg6 Rxf7 (30... c2 31. Rg8) 31. Rg8+ Kc7 (31... Kd7 32. Nxf7 c2 33. Ne5+ Kc7 34. Rg7+ Kb6 35. Nd7+ Kc6 36. Ne5+=) 32. Nxe6+ Kb6 33. Rb8+ Ka5 34. Nd4 Rd7 35. Nb3+ Kb4 29... Kd7 30. Kf3 c3 31. Ke4 Ke7 32. a3 a5 33. Rc1 A final trap might have been 33. g4!? so that if Black continues as in the game with 33...b4 34. axb4 axb4 35. Ra1 c2 36. Ra7+ Kd6 37. Ra6+ Kd7 38. Ra7+ Kc6 39. Nxe6 c1=Q 40. Rc7+ Kd6 41. Rxc1 Kxe6 42. Rb1 Nc4 43. f5+ draws. 33... b4 34. axb4 axb4 35. Ra1 c2 36. Ra7+ Kd6 37. Ra6+ Kd7 38. Ra7+ Kc6 39. Nxe6 c1=Q 40. Rc7+ 40. Nxf8 Qh1+ 41. Ke5 (41. Kd4 Qg1+) 41... Qh8+ 40... Kd6 41. Rxc1 Kxe6 42. Rb1 Nc4 43. Rxb4 Nd6+ 44. Kf3 Rxf7 45. g4 45. Kg4 might have held out longer, but Black is still winning 45... Kd5 46. Ra4 Rc7 47. Ra6 Rc3+ 48. Kg2 Rc6 49. Ra4 Ne4 50. Kh3 Rf6 51. f5 g5 52. Kg2 Rc6 53. Kf3 Rc3+ 54. Ke2 Ke5 55. Ra5+ Rc5 56. Ra1 Kf4 57. Kd3 Rd5+ 58. Kc4 Rd6 59. Re1 Nf6 [0:1] An exciting game with a disappointing result

In the evening round I played Black against Jon Burgess from England, who I had played earlier this year in Kentucky. He had also had an adventurous morning. Playing on the 2-day schedule, he found himself in an 8-player group that had 4 GMs! He managed to knock off Shulman and emerged from the 4 quick games with an even score. We played a mostly careful maneuvering game and reached a balanced major piece ending after 34. Rxd5

34...c4 35. Rc1 Qb6 36. Rf1 with a draw offer. I declined mostly because that move is so passive. I also saw the potential for a couple of cheap shots 36... Rb3 with the rather transparent threat 37...Rxg3+ 37. Kg2 Qf6 38. Qxc4 Qf3+ 39. Kg1 Rxb2 Playing for an attack with 39... g5? backfires after 40. Qc6 Re6 41. Qc8+ Kh7 42. Rd8 +- 40. Qc6 Reb8 threatening ...Rxf2 41. Qc7 Ra8 42. Qxe5 Re2 43. Rd7 avoiding the last trap 43. Rd4 Rxf2-+ [½:½] one possible conclusion is 43... Rxe4 44. Rxf7 Qxf2+ 45. R1xf2 Rxe5 with total equality

6/8/04 - 2004 Chicago Open, Day 2

I went from playing one of the oldest players to one of the younger players in Round 2 when I had Black against reigning US Junior Champion Varuzhan Akobian. Again (as turned out to be the case every round) the round started late, but this time there was the more normal lack of pregame conversation. 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. Nf3 O-O 5. Bg5 d6 6. e3 Nbd7 7. Be2 e5 8. O-O h6 9. Bh4 g5 I played 9... c6 against Eric Vaughan in the 2000 Knoxville City Championship, but here decided to follow the game Ruban-Judit Polgar 1993 PCA qualifier. 10. dxe5!

A big improvement on Ruban's 10. Bg3 which allows Black to capture the bishop with 10... Nh5 10... dxe5 11. Bg3 Qe7 Now 11... Nh5 allows 12. Bxe5 with clear advantage to White according to Judit from there 12...Bxe5 13. Nxe5 Nxe5 14. Bxh5 Nxc4 has been tried a couple of times. 12. Qc2 c6 13. Nd2 Re8?! This move doesn't really accomplish much. Shirov won a game in the Budesliga with 13... Ne8 looking to cover the e4 square with ...f5 14. a3 b6 14... a5 might be a small improvement, but White likely continues in similar fashion to the game. 15. Rfd1 e4 Trying to stop Nd2-e4-d6, but unleashing Bg3 and weakening d4. 16. b4 Nf8 17. Nb3 Bg4 18. Nd4 Bd7 19. Rd2 an impressive move. I had expected 19. b5, but Akobian realizes that Black can't do anything constructive with his position so first doubles rooks on the open file. 19... N6h7 20. Rad1 f5 21. b5 Qf6 22. bxc6 Bxc6 23. Nxc6 Qxc3 24. Qxc3 Bxc3 25. Rd5 Re6 26. Nd4 Bxd4 27. R1xd4 Rf6 28. Be5 Rc6 29. Rd6 Rac8 30. Rxc6 Rxc6 31. c5 Nf6 31... bxc5 32. Bc4+ Ne6 33. Rd7 is brutal 32. Rd6 Rxd6 33. Bxd6 much stronger than 33. cxd6 when Black can hold out for awhile by blockading the d-pawn. 33... Ne8 loses immediately, but 33... bxc5 34. Bxc5 and the a-pawn drops off, so it doesn't look like Black has much hope. 34. Bc4+ Kg7 35. Be5+ Kh7 36. c6 Ng6 37. c7 Ne7 38. Be6 [1:0] One of those head scratcher games where you lose without making an obvious mistake. I'm not used to being so seriously outplayed.

I had an interesting chat with Kurt Stein during this round. He thanked me for finding his FIDE rating, but was still puzzled as to how things got mangled, since although Walter is his middle name, he said that he doesn't use it and has no idea how FIDE would have gotten it. He thought perhaps someone was playing a joke on him.

In Round 3, I met an opponent from my past, Lester van Meter. Although we were both top players in Indiana at various times, the only tournament game we had played was in the 1989 Indiana Masters Invitational. However, we did play 4 times in 1993 as the top board in "friendly" matches between Purdue and the Midwest Chess Center. 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. g3 O-O In one of the above mentioned match games, he played the main move 4...c5 here, but I came out on top.5. Bg2 d6 6. Nf3 Ne4 7. Qd3 f5 8. O-O Bxc3 9. bxc3 Nd7 10. Rb1 a mini-novelty, placing the rook on the semi-open file to increase pressure on b7 before taking action against Ne4. Both 10. Ne1 and 10. Nd2 have been seen before. 10... Rb8 11. Ne1 Nb6 Dealing with the threat to Ne4 tactically, but the Black knight isn't especially well placed on b6, so I think 11... Nef6 is better, but not 11... Ndf6? 12. f3 and the knight is trapped. 12. f3 Nf6 13. e4 Qe7 14. Ba3 c5 15. e5 Nfd7 16. f4 Rd8 17. Qe2 dxe5 18. dxe5 18. fxe5 keeping the center fluid deserves attention 18... Nf8 19. Rb5 Nbd7 20. Nc2 Qe8 trying to sidestep Nd4, but now White can break through with an exchange sacrifice, so perhaps 20...a6 was better.

21. Rxc5!? The other way of sacrificing the exchange looks OK in the main line 21. Bxc5 a6 22. Bxf8 axb5 23. Bd6 but if Black simply captures the bishop on move 21 or 22 he has good compensation for the pawn because of the outpost for his knight on c5 and the doubled White pawns 21... Nxc5 22. Bxc5 b6 I expected 22... Qa4 23. Nd4 with compensation, but he decided to immediately return the exchange. 23. Bd6 Rb7 24. Nd4 better than 24. Bxb7 Bxb7 which may give Black counterplay down the long diagonal. 24... Rbd7 25. Nc6 Rxd6 26. exd6 Rxd6 27. Nxa7 Ba6 28. Nb5 Bxb5 29. cxb5 Qd8 30. Rf2 Rd1+ I was more worried about 30... Nd7 coming to c5 with perhaps some compensation for the pawn. 31. Bf1 Qd5 32. c4 Qd4 33. Kg2 Kf7 34. Qb2 Qe4+ 35. Kh3 Ng6 When I talked to Lester later in the tournament he claimed he was winning with 35... h6 with the simple idea ...g5 ...Ng4 and ...g4 mate. That move is better than the text, but White has several ways of coping with the threat, such as Be2-h5 or Bg2-c6 giving the king an escape at g2 and retaining a small advantage.. 36. c5 Rb1 37. Qd2 bxc5 38. Bd3 Qb4 39. Bxb1 Qxb1 40. a4 Qe4 41. Qc2 With the time control reached I had time to avoid the trap 41. Re2? Nxf4+ 42. Qxf4 (42. gxf4 Qf3+ 43. Kh4 Qg4#) 42... Qxe2 and White will be hard pressed to avoid perpetual check. Now, I gradually advanced the queenside pawns to victory. 41... Qd5 42. b6 c4 43. Qd2 Qc6 44. Qb4 Ne7 45. b7 g5 46. b8=Q g4+ 47. Kh4 e5 48. Q8d6 Ng6+ 49. Kg5 Qc8 50. Qf6+ Kg8 51. Kh6 [1:0]

6/6/04 - 2004 Chicago Open, Day One

In the first round I had Black against one of the oldest participants in the tournament, 82-year-old Dan Mayers. In an unusual twist for CCA tournaments the round didn't start on time, so I got to chat with my opponent for a bit. It turned out that he had worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory during the Manhattan Project and had known Richard Feynman. He also fancied himself a bit of a magician, but before he could demonstrate a trick the round finally started. Unfortunately for him he made a piece disappear on move 12. 1. d4 e6 2. c4 b6 3. e4 Bb7 4. Bd3 f5 5. exf5 Bb4+ I think this is the best way to avoid the massive complications associated with 5... Bxg2. In a recent game at the Knoxville Chess Club, Robert Hydzik tried the immediate 5... Nf6 against me, but I don't really understand why Black wouldn't want to first displace the White king. 6. Kf1 Nf6 7. Be2 Despite the fact that I drew Shabalov in 1999 with 7. fxe6 , there don't seem to be any more recent games with that move. The text was first introduced by Beliavsky against Short in the first FIDE KO in Groningen 1997. The point is that after the immediate 7.c5 bxc5 8. a3, Black has time to throw in 8...c4. With the text, White threatens both 8. c5 and 8. Bh5+. At the time of the game with Short, Beliavsky opined that 7. Be2 buried the entire line for Black, but in 2002 he won a quick game from the Black side against Slovenian IM Igor Jelen. 7... exf5 This doesn't seem to have been tried before in this position. Normal is 7... O-O. Now his position gets a bit awkward. 8. c5 bxc5 9. a3 Ba5 10. dxc5 c6 11. Bc4 Bc7 12. Nc3 12. b4 also comes into consideration 12... Na6??

If Black wants to play on the queenside, he must preface this move with 12... a5. I expected 12... d5 13. cxd6 with a small advantage 13. Qe2+ Qe7 14. Bxa6 Bxa6 15. Qxa6 Qxc5 and I eventually won with the extra piece after 16. Be3 Unfortunately, after the attempt to win immediately 16. Qb7 Black can rescue himself with 16...Bb6 17. Be3 Qc4+

6/4/04 - 2004 Chicago Open

I played in the Chicago Open last weekend. The open section had its usual strength with over 20 grandmasters. I had somewhat of a disappointing result, finishing with an even score. However, with the exception of a last round opening disaster, I played fairly well. I even had a reasonable chance of derailing the Shabalov Express in Round 4. Alas, it was not to be and the US champ rolled up a 6-1 score to win yet another big open (GM Jaan Ehlvest tied with him). I'll post some games this weekend.

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