Tom Bartell in Chicago
By Michael Goeller
New Jersey FM Tom Bartell made an excellent showing in Chicago at the 11th North American FIDE Invitational, May 17-23, 2008, finishing tied for fourth in a strong 10-man field. He had an unbeaten record going into the last round and likely would have scored an IM norm, but he lost his final game. Still, he should be proud of his performance, especially since he beat the two strongest IM competitors at the event (both of whom finished tied for 2nd and 3rd).
FM Tom Bartell (2365) - IM Mark Ginsburg (2373) [D25]
11th North American FIDE Invitational/Chicago (4) 2008
Tommy played a very strong game against IM and chess blogger Mark Ginsburg
White gains a lot of space in this line.
This should probably be seen as a slight inaccuracy, since Black's best method of battling for the e5 square is by Nfd7, Nc6, and Bd6 if necessary. Black does much better than in the game after 9... Nfd7! 10. Nxg6 hxg6 11. Bf1! (better than the older 11. Qf3 Nc6) 11... Nc6
(11... e5?! seems premature, and White has done well after 12. Bg2 (or 12. Qb3!?) 12... c6 13.
O-Oexd4 14. exd4 Be7 15. Re1 O-O16. Qb3 Bh4? (16... b5 17. d5) 17. Be3 (17. Qxb7) 17... Qb6 18. Qxb6 Nxb6 19. d5 Nc4 20. Bc5 Rc8 21. Be7 f6 22. b3 Nb6 23. Rad1 cxd5 24. Nxd5 N8d7 25. Re2 Ra7 26. Nxb6 Nxb6 27. Bd8 Na8 28. Rd7 Kh7 29. Ree7 Rc1+ 30. Bf1 Rc2 31. Rxg7+ 1-0 Martin,A-Littlewood,J/West Bromwich 2003)
12. Bg2 Nb6 13. Qb3 (13. Bxc6+!?)
13... Qd7 14. Bd2
The Bishop is redeployed on the long diagonal where it also helps cover White's King after the inevitable O-O. This is probably one of those moves that Tommy would say "just feels right."
This strengthens White's control of the center.
a) 15... N5b6!? might be best, when one game continued 16. Qe2
O-O17. Be3 c5 18. e5! Be7 19. Rac1 Rac8 20. dxc5 (20. d5!?) 20... Bxc5 21. Ne4 Bxe3+ 22. Qxe3 Nc4 23. Qf2 Qb6 24. Rcd1 Rc7 (24... Rfd8 25. Nd6) 25. b3 Qxf2+ 26. Kxf2 Ncb6 27. Nd6 g5! 28. Rc1?!
No better is 28. Bxb7 Rc2+ 29. Kf3 Rxa2 but perhaps best is 28. a4! gxf4 29. a5 Rc2+ (29... Nc8 30. Rc1! Rxc1 31. Rxc1 Nxd6 32. exd6) 30. Kg1 Rxg2+!? 31. Kxg2 Nd5 32. Nc4 g5 33. Rf3 when White keeps an edge, though less than in the game.
28... Rxc1 29. Rxc1 gxf4 30. Rc7 Nxe5 31. Rxb7 Nd5 32. Bxd5 exd5 33. Ra7 d4 34. Rxa6 d3 35. Ra5 f6 (35... Rd8 36. Rd5) 36. Rd5 Rd8 37. Rd4! White's connected passed pawns will eventually assert themselves and Black will be in trouble. The game concluded 37... Kf8 38. a4 g6 39. Nb5 Rxd4 40. Nxd4 Ke7 41. a5 Kd6 42. a6 Kc7 43. Ne6+ Kb6 44. Nxf4 f5 45. gxf5 gxf5 46. Ke3 Kxa6 47. Nxd3 Ng6 48. Nf4 Ne5 49. h4 Kb5 50. Nd3 Nf7 51. Kf4 Nh6 52. Kg5 Ng8 53. Kxf5 1-0 Prohaszka,P-Fodor,T/Budapest 2007 (53).
This makes sense superficially because White's King looks somewhat exposed, but it will be much easier for White to shut down Black's play on the h-file than for Black to shut down White's play on the b-file. However, it is hard to recommend an alternative, which suggests that Black must improve earlier. White is simply better due to his two Bishops and central control.
Black has to try something, but long-term this advance gives White too much power in the center and the open f-file spells trouble. Black had to retreat with 18... Be7 19. Rb1 Qc7 20. c4 and hope to hold the fort.
IM Emory Tate (2368) - FM Tom Bartell (2365) [A30]
11th North American FIDE Invitational/Chicago (5) 2008
Emory Tate is well known for his opening experiments and his enterprising play. But here his attempts to mix things up tactically simply backfire against Tommy's excellent calculation and control.
I do not see much point in this move, and neither have the hundreds of GMs who have reached this position.
5. Bg2 is the norm.
Perhaps immediately 5... Bxf3! is best.
A principled response to White's play. The doubled pawns and potentially weak d-pawn give White lots to worry about.
White has managed to rebalance the pawn structure, but Black's better pieces give him a slight edge and the doubled f-pawns are still a potential liability.
Preventing b4 and clearing the way for Black's Rooks to gain the central files.
Black is simply a pawn up.
Bartell's moves are simple and strong. A promising alternative was 16... f4 17. Nxf4 Nxf4 18. Bxf4 Nd4! and White's Queen has no good square, while Black threatens Ne2+ and Nf3+ gaining a big edge, e.g.: 19. Qc4 (19. Qd3 g5!) 19... Nf3+ 20. Kh1 Nd2 21. Bxd2 Rxd2.
This may actually be the best of bad alternatives. But now Black gains a slight material edge.
The pin on the Bishop prevents White from regaining material, leaving Black up two pieces for a Rook and pawn.
Rather desperate play, but White is in desperate straits and needs to get the Queens off the board lest he get mated.
White has had to seek an ending to avoid getting slaughtered in the middlegame, but he is simply lost. Black has a slight material edge made even stronger due to his better pawns and pieces.
Black handles the remainder of the game quite nicely, always adding to his advantage.
28. Re8+ Kh7 29. Rc8 Ne5 30. b4 axb4 31. axb4 Bxb4 32. fxg7 Kxg7 33. f4 Nd3 34. f5 Bc5+ 35. Kh1 Kf6 36. h4 Ne5 37. Rg8 Rd4 38. Rh8 Ng4 39. Rg1 Rf4 40. Rg3 Kxf5 41. Rh5+ Ke4 42. Kg2 f5 43. Kh3 Rf1 44. Rxg4+ fxg4+ 45. Kxg4 Rg1+ 46. Kh3 Bd6 47. Rg5 Rxg5 48. hxg5 Kf5 0-1
Games in PGNMore information available from the NACA site and Monroi.