NJKO vs. Queens Pioneers

The first round of US Chess League action on Monday, August 27, 2007, featured exciting play on every board. Games were broadcast live on ICC.

Board 1

Benjamin-NJ (2651) - Stripunsky-QNS (2686) [B42]

ICC 90 30 u/Internet Chess Club 2007


1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Bd3

This is a very popular line right now, as evidence by its appearance in two out of four games in this match!

 

5... Ne7!?

5... Nf6 6. O-O e5!? is a shocking idea discussed in SOS 3.

 

6. Nc3 Nbc6 7. Nb3 g6!?

An increasingly popular way of handling the Kan, though the dark squares look like Swiss cheese.

 

8. Bf4 d6 9. Be2 Ne5 10. Qd2 N7c6 11. a4 b6 12. Bg5 f6 13. Be3 Bg7

I am at a loss to explain Black's play. But hedgehog formations are always difficult to play against. What follows is some deep maneuvering, like Sumo wrestling.

 

14. f4 Nf7 15. Bf3 Na5 16. Qd3 Rb8

16... Nxb3 17. cxb3 Bb7

 

17. Nd4 Qc7 18. Rd1 O-O 19. O-O Re8

19... Nc4 20. Bc1

 

20. Bc1 Bb7 21. Bg4 f5!

Fritz likes Black!

 

22. exf5 exf5

22... gxf5! says my German friend.

 

23. Bf3 Bxf3

23... Qc5!

 

24. Rxf3 Qc5 25. Rf2 Rbc8 26. g3 Qb4 27. Kg2 Rc4?!

A bad concept in a totally complex position. Black's pieces now get in each others way and fall under attack to White's Knights and pawns. Maybe 27... Nc4!? 28. Nd5! Qc5 29. Nxf5! gxf5 30. b3 wins back the piece 30... Re4 (30... Na5 31. b4) 31. bxc4 Rce8

 

28. Nd5! Qc5 29. Nf3 Nc6

29... Rxa4 30. b4 Rxb4 31. Ba3 Rb3 32. cxb3 Qxa3 33. Re2

 

30. Be3! Rxe3 31. Qxe3 Qxe3 32. Nxe3 Rxa4

Black has bailed out into a lost Exchange-down ending.

 

33. c3 b5 34. Nd5 b4 35. Re2 bxc3 36. Re8+ Bf8 37. bxc3 Kg7 38. Rb1 Ra2+ 39. Kf1 Nfd8 40. Nd4 Kf7 41. Nxc6 Nxc6 42. Rc8 Na5 43. Rbb8 Bg7 44. Rc7+ Ke6 45. Nb4 Ra1+ 46. Ke2 Bh6 47. Re8+

Black resigns

1-0

Board 2

Vovsha-QNS (2495) - Bartell-NJ (2427) [B12]

ICC 90 30 u/Internet Chess Club 2007


1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Nc3

Of course, I prefer the immediate "Caveman Caro-Kann" method of 4. h4 h5 5. Bg5!? (5. c4 is better known) 5... Qb6 6. Bd3!! Bxd3 7. Qxd3 Qxb2 8. e6!! Qxa1 9. Qb3 b5 (9... Qxd4 10. Be3) 10. Ne2 followed by O-O and Nd2, killing the Queen like a mastodon fallen into a trap.

 

4... a6

Getting out of book and inviting White to advance on the kingside.

 

5. h4

5. g4 Bd7! with the idea of transposing into a good French set-up with ...e6 and ...c5, in the belief that White's kingside demonstration has only weakened his position long-term, or to fight immediately on the kingside with 6. Bg2 h5! 7. gxh5 (7. g5 Bf5) 7... Bf5 and Black has good play.

 

5... h5 6. Bd3 Bxd3 7. Qxd3 e6 8. Nf3

White also seems to get good play by 8. Bg5!? Which makes it difficult for Black to castle. 8... Qc7 (8... Be7!?) 9. Nf3 c5 10. O-O Nc6 11. Ne2 cxd4 12. Nexd4 Nge7 (12... Nxe5? 13. Nxe5 Qxe5 14. Rae1) 13. Rfe1 Nxd4 14. Nxd4 Nc6 15. Nxc6 Qxc6 16. Rad1 b5 17. Qg3 Rc8 18. c3 Bc5 19. Rd3 Bb6 20. Rf3 Rh7 21. b3 Bd8 22. Ree3 Bxg5 23. Qxg5 Rc7 24. Rf4 Qc5 25. a4 Qe7 26. Qg3 g6 27. axb5 axb5 28. Kh2 Kd7 29. Qf3 Ke8 30. Rb4 Rb7 31. Re1 Kf8 32. Qf6 Ke8 33. Ra1 Qxf6 34. exf6 Kd7 35. Ra8 e5 36. c4 d4 37. Rxb5 Rxb5 38. cxb5 d3 39. b6 Kc6 40. Rb8 d2 41. Rd8 Rh8 42. Rxd2 Rb8 43. Rc2+ Kd5 44. Rc7 Rxb6 45. Rxf7 Ke6 1/2-1/2 Anand,V-Karpov,A/Monaco blind 2000.

 

8... c5

Black appears to be getting his "good French" set-up, but White is way ahead in development and has induced a potential weakness in the ...h5 advance. I like White.

 

9. dxc5! Bxc5 10. Be3 Nd7?!

A natural looking move, and it would have been hard to predict White's next without deep opening preparation. Much safer seems. Maybe 10... Bxe3 11. Qxe3 (11. fxe3!? Nc6 12. O-O-O Qa5!) 11... Nd7 12. O-O-O Nh6! which looks good for Black who threatens speedy pressure on e5 with ...Ng4 and ...Qc7.

 

11. Nxd5!!

White's big lead in development and Black's otherwise solid position practically requires aggressive action like this lest Black gain a nice French ending. Not 11. Bxc5 Nxc5 12. Qe3 Rc8 13. O-O Nh6!

 

11... exd5 12. e6!

This follow-up is key.

 

12... Bxe3

12... fxe6 13. Qg6+ Kf8 (13... Ke7 14. Qxg7+) 14. Ng5 Qe8 15. Nxe6+ Ke7 16. Qxe8+ Rxe8 17. Nxc5 is a lovely won ending for White.

 

13. exd7+ Qxd7 14. Qxe3+ Qe7 15. Qxe7+ Nxe7

Black appears to have survived the onslaught, but now his isolated d-pawn provides White a nice long-term plus.

 

16. O-O-O O-O-O 17. Rhe1 Nc6 18. Ne5

18. Ng5!? Rhf8 19. Rd3

 

18... Rhf8 19. Re3 f6?!

 

 

 

This loses a pawn to a nice Knight maneuver, but Black is struggling.

a) 19... d4!? is interesting but ultimately losing after 20. Nxc6 dxe3!? (20... bxc6 21. Re4) 21. Nxd8 exf2!? (21... e2 22. Re1 Rxd8 23. Rxe2) 22. Nxb7 Kxb7 23. Rf1 Re8 24. Rxf2 f6 25. Kd2 (25. Rf5 Re2) 25... Re4 26. g3

b) 19... Kc7 bringing the King into the defense of the d-pawn was an idea.

 

20. Ng6! Rf7 21. Nf4! d4 22. Red3 Re8

Black must lose a pawn in any event.

22... Rfd7 23. Ne6! Re8 24. Nxd4

 

23. Nxh5 Rh8

This misguided attempt to recover the pawn leads to speedy defeat. But Black has little hope long term.

 

24. Ng3 Rxh4?

 

25. Nf5!

Black resigns

1-0

Board 3

Molner-NJ (2335) - Coleman-QNS (2297) [B42]

ICC 90 30 u/Internet Chess Club 2007


1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Bd3 Ne7

Deja vu!

 

6. O-O Nbc6 7. Nb3 g6 8. Be3 Bg7 9. N1d2 d5

Black handles the position in the more traditional fashion (compared to Baord 1) and quickly gains equality.

 

10. c3 O-O 11. Nf3 Qc7 12. Qe2 e5 13. Rad1 dxe4 14. Bxe4 Bf5 15. Bxf5 Nxf5 16. Bc5 Rfd8 17. Nfd2 b6 18. Ba3 Nd6 19. Bxd6 Rxd6 20. Nc4 Rxd1 21. Rxd1 Rd8 22. Rxd8+ Qxd8 23. Ne3 b5 24. Qf3 Qd6 25. Qd5 Bf8 26. Nd2 Qxd5 27. Nxd5 f5 28. b4!?

The only thing White has going for him is his queenside majority. This doesn't seem the best way to activate it.

 

28... Kf7 29. a3 Bd6 30. c4 Ke6 31. Nc3 bxc4 32. Nxc4 Be7 33. Kf1 Nd4 34. Ke1 e4

Black's piece activity denies White any chance to make progress.

 

35. Kd2 Bg5+ 36. Kd1 Nb5 37. Ne2 Kd5 38. Nb6+ Kc6 39. Nc4 Bf6 40. Kd2 Nd4 41. Nc3 Bg5+ 42. Kd1 Bf4 43. h3 Bc7 44. Kd2 Nb5

There is no good winning plan for Black, either, since he cannot easily defend his pawns in the center to try to advance them. The draw is inevitable.

 

45. Na4 Kd5 46. Ne3+ Kc6 47. Nc4 Bf4+ 48. Kd1 Bc7

Game drawn by mutual agreement

1/2-1/2

Board 4

Shiber-QNS (2098) - Ju-NJ (2303) [C01]

ICC 90 30 u/Internet Chess Club 2007


1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 exd5

White's job is to draw the stronger player, so he chooses the Exchange Variation of the French, which is the classic drawing line. But handing Black equality early in the game is not a good way to draw a master.

 

4. Bd3

I prefer 4. c4

 

4... Nc6 5. c3 Bd6 6. Ne2?!

6. Nf3 Nge7 7. O-O Bg4 8. Nbd2 is most natural, followed by Re1 and perhaps queenside play with a4 and b4, trying to get in Nb3-c5 perhaps.

 

6... Qh4!

Uh oh.

 

7. Nd2 Bg4! 8. Nf1

I think Black would have played a gambit after 8. Qb3!? O-O-O! 9. Qxd5 Nf6 10. Qxf7 Rhe8 11. g3 Qh3 with more than sufficient compensation even for two pawns.

 

8... O-O-O 9. Be3 Nf6

Too ambitious. I think 9... Nge7 10. Qc2 Qf6 11. O-O-O Bf5 gives Black a better Bishop, but he wants more. He should have settled for a safe edge.

 

10. Qc2 Ne4!? 11. O-O-O!

Perhaps Ju expected 11. Bxe4?! dxe4 12. Qxe4 Rhe8 13. Qd3 f5

 

11... Bd7 12. g3 Qg4 13. Nf4 Bxf4 14. Bxf4 Rhe8 15. Ne3! Qe6 16. f3 Nd6 17. Rhe1

Suddenly the tables have turned and White has the edge!

 

17... g6 18. Re2 f6

 

 

 

19. Nf5! Nxf5 20. Rxe6 Bxe6 21. g4 Nd6 22. Bxd6 Rxd6 23. Re1 Rdd8

23... Nxd4! 24. cxd4? Rc6

 

24. Qd2 Bg8 25. Rxe8 Rxe8 26. Qf4 Rf8 27. Kd2 Ne7 28. Qh6 Rf7 29. Qe3 Kd7 30. h4 f5 31. Qe5 c6 32. g5 Nc8

Black uses the best strategy in this situation, which is to build a fortress and challenge White to find a breakthrough.

 

33. Qb8 Kd8 34. c4?

This allows Black a nice trick, trapping White's Queen.

 

34... Rc7 35. b4 dxc4 36. Be2 c3+! 37. Kxc3 Bxa2 38. Bc4 Bxc4!

Gladly removing the last active piece. Now there is no way for White to get play with his Queen trapped.

 

39. Kxc4 Kd7 40. Kd3 Kd6 41. Kc3 a6 42. Kd3 Kd7 43. Kc3 Kd8 44. Kd3 Kd7 45. Kc3 Kd6 46. Kd3 Ne7!?

Suddenly Black gets ambitions of trying to win perhaps? But White settles for the draw.

 

47. Qf8 Rd7 48. Qb8+ Rc7 49. Qd8+ Rd7 50. Qb8+ Rc7 51. Qd8+ Rd7 52. Qb8+

Game drawn by repetition - an amazing escape by the NJ Champion!

1/2-1/2

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