NJ Knockouts Beat the Blitz

The New Jersey Knockouts had good luck in their match against the Boston Blitz in Round Four of US Chess League action on Wednesday night, September 17, 2008. On Board One against New Jersey's Joel Benjamin, GM Larry Christiansen blundered a piece on move 8(!) in a tricky line of the c3-Sicilian. On Board Two, Boston's Denys Shmelov rejected two draws to press an edge against Dean Ippolito, but then made a costly error that handed Black a dangerous initiative that Ippolito used to win the game. And Charles Riordan lost a messy game against NJ Champ Mac Molner on Board Three. The only clean win of the night was Marc Esserman's brilliant handling of the Smith-Morra Gambit against Jason Lian on Board Four -- a game that should warm the hearts of all gambiteers (no matter if they also feel loyalties to New Jersey!) It was a messy win, but a win is a win, especially against the powerful Boston Blitz.

Board One

Joel Benjamin (2644) - Larry Christiansen (2670) [B27]

ICC 90 30 u/Internet Chess Club 2008


1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 g6 3. c3 d5 4. exd5 Qxd5 5. d4 Nf6 6. Na3 cxd4 7. Bc4 Qe4+

7... Qa5 8. Qb3 e6 9. Qb5+ Qxb5 10. Nxb5 Na6 11. Nbxd4

8. Be3 Bh6??

It's very surprising to see a GM blunder so early in the game. Perhaps Christiansen overlooked the fact that the Bishop at c4 can "retreat" to attack his Queen. He also got a little too aggressive for his own good, which is not uncommon in his play. There were a number of alternatives, but maybe only one or two good ones.

a) 8... Bg4?! 9. Nb5! Bxf3 (9... dxe3?? 10. Nc7# or 9... Na6 10. Ng5 Bxd1 11. Bxf7+ Kd7 12. Nxe4 dxe3 (12... Nxe4 13. Rxd1) 13. Nxf6+ exf6 14. Rxd1+ Ke7 15. Bd5 Nc5 16. fxe3) 10. Nc7+ (10. gxf3? Qc6! 0-1 Khakpoor,A-Annageldyev,O/Beirut LIB 2000 (55)) 10... Kd8 11. gxf3 Qc6 12. Nxa8

b) 8... e5!? 9. cxd4 exd4 10. Qxd4 Bb4+

c) 8... dxe3? 9. Bxf7+ Kxf7 10. Ng5+ Kg7 11. Nxe4 Nxe4 may actually be better than the game continuation.

d) 8... Be6! 9. Bd3! Qg4 10. Bxd4 Nc6 (10... Qxg2?? 11. Rg1 Qh3 12. Nb5) 11. h3 Qf4 12. Be3 Qb8 13. Qa4 Bd7 (13... Bg7!) 14. Qh4 Nd5 15. Bd2 Ne5 16. Be2 Nxf3+ 17. Bxf3 Qe5+ 18. Kf1 Bc6 19. Re1 Qd6 20. Nc4 Bb5 21. Kg1 Bxc4 22. Qxc4 Nb6 23. Qb5+ Qd7 24. Qxd7+ Nxd7 25. Bxb7 Rb8 26. Bc6 Rxb2 27. Be3 Bg7 28. Rd1 O-O 29. Rxd7 Rxa2 30. Rxe7 1-0 Markovic,M-Marcetic,N/Petrovac SCG 2004.

 

 

9. Bd3! Qxd3

The best of a bad lot, since Black has no other way to prevent White from winning the loose Bishop at h6.

9... Qe6 (any other move, besides that played in the game, allows the immediate 10.Bxh6) 10. Nxd4 Qe5 11. Nc4 and White wins the piece anyway.

10. Qxd3 dxe3 11. fxe3 Nc6 12. O-O O-O 13. e4 Be6 14. Nc2 Ng4 15. h3 Nf6 16. Ncd4 Rad8

Black has absolutely no compensation for his material deficit.

17. Qe2 Nh5 18. Rfd1 Nxd4 19. Rxd4 Rc8 20. Qf2 b6 21. Kh1 Bg7 22. Rd2 Bh6 23. Rd4 Bg7 24. e5 f6 25. exf6 Rxf6 26. Rad1 Rcf8 27. Rd8 Bxa2 28. Rxf8+ Rxf8 29. Qh4 Nf6 30. Re1 e6 31. Ng5 e5 32. Qa4 Bd5 33. c4 Bf7 34. Nxf7 Rxf7 35. Rxe5 h6 36. Re1 Kh7 37. g4 Rc7 38. b3 Bf8 39. Qa1 Bg7 40. Qa3 Kg8 41. Qd6 Rf7 42. Qe6 g5 43. Rf1

Black resigns, since he is practically in zugzwang.

1-0

Board Two

Denys Shmelov (2446) - Dean Ippolito (2500) [E20]

ICC 90 30 u/Internet Chess Club 2008


1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. f3 Nh5 5. Nh3

5. g3!? f5 6. e4 O-O 7. Bg2 c5 8. d5 fxe4 9. fxe4 Qf6 10. Qc2 Qd4? 11. Nf3 Bxc3+ 12. bxc3 Qf6 13. e5! Qd8 14. O-O d6 15. dxe6 dxe5 16. Bg5 Nf6 17. Nxe5 Qc7 18. Bd5 Nxd5 19. Rxf8+ Kxf8 20. Qxh7 1-0 Colias,B-Chistensen,W

5... c5 6. d5 d6!?

Grabbing pawns is too dangerous here, e.g.: 6... Qh4+ 7. Nf2 Qxc4 8. e4 Bxc3+ 9. bxc3 Qxc3+ 10. Bd2 Qd4 11. Qc1 exd5 12. Bc3 Qa4 13. Qg5 d4 14. Bd2 O-O 15. Qxh5 c4 16. Be2 Nc6 17. O-O b5 18. Ng4 Re8 19. Nh6+ gxh6 20. Bxh6 Re6 21. f4 Qa3 22. Rf3 d3 23. f5 Qc5+ 24. Kh1 dxe2 25. Qg5+ Rg6 26. fxg6 1-0 Flear,G-Franklin,M

7. Nf2 f5!? 8. e4

8. g4!?

8... exd5 9. exd5 O-O 10. Be2 Re8 11. O-O Bxc3 12. bxc3 Qh4 13. g4 Ng3!?

Playing for a draw.

14. hxg3 Qxg3+ 15. Kh1 f4 16. Ne4 Rxe4










17. Qe1!

A brave and accurate decision, since White could allow a draw by 17. fxe4 Qh3+ 18. Kg1 Qg3+=

17... Re8!?

17... Qh3+ 18. Kg1 Re8 19. Bxf4

18. Qxg3 fxg3 19. Re1 Nd7 20. Kg2 Ne5 21. Bf4 Bd7 22. Kxg3 Re7 23. Bg5! Ree8 24. Bf4 Re7 25. Bg5 Ree8 26. Bf4 Re7 27. Bf1

27. Bg5= would have been a draw by three-fold repetition.

27... Rae8 28. Bg5 Rf7 29. f4 Ng6 30. Bd3 Ne7 31. f5 h5










32. Re6!?

An enterprising if risky way of shutting down Black's counterplay.

32... hxg4 33. Kxg4 g6 34. f6?










White is still much better after 34. Rxd6 Bxf5+ 35. Bxf5 gxf5+ 36. Kf4 Kg7 37. Bh6+ Kh7 38. Rh1

34... Nc6! 35. Bxg6 Ne5+ 36. Kh5 Bxe6 37. dxe6 Rxe6! 38. Bxf7+ Kxf7 39. Rg1 Re8 40. Bh6 Rh8 41. Rg7+ Kxf6 42. Rxb7 Nf7 43. Rxa7 Rxh6+ 44. Kg4 Ne5+ 45. Kf4 Rh3

White resigns. I'm sure his team wishes he had taken one of the two forced draws available in the game, but Shmelov played very well -- except for the error at move 34 which surrendered all advantage. A lucky break for NJ.

0-1

Board Three

Mackenzie Molner (2397) - Charles Riordan (2326) [C55]

ICC 90 30 u/Internet Chess Club 2008


1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d3 Be7 5. O-O O-O 6. Re1 d6 7. a4 Na5 8. Ba2 c5 9. c3 Nc6 10. Nbd2 Be6 11. Bxe6 fxe6 12. Rb1 a6 13. Nf1 Qd7 14. Ng3 b5

Black is doing well and may have the easier game to play at this point.

15. axb5 axb5










16. d4?! exd4 17. cxd4 cxd4 18. Nxd4 Nxd4 19. Qxd4 Ra4! 20. Qd1 d5 21. b3 Ra2 22. e5 Ne8 23. Be3 g6 24. Re2 Rxe2 25. Qxe2 Ng7 26. Ra1 Rc8 27. Ra7 Rc7 28. Ra8+ Bf8 29. h4 Qc6 30. Qa2 Rc8 31. Ra6? Qc3 32. Ra8 Rxa8 33. Qxa8 Qxe5

Time pressure affects both players throughout this game.

33... d4!

34. Bc5 Qf4 35. Ne2 Qf7 36. Nd4 Ne8 37. Bxf8 Kxf8 38. Nxb5 Qd7 39. Qb8 Ke7 40. Nd4 Qc7 41. Qb4+ Nd6 42. Qe1 Qd7 43. Qe5 Nf7 44. Qg7 e5 45. Nf3 Qf5?










46. Qxh7?!

46. Ng5! e4 (46... Qb1+ 47. Kh2 Qf5 48. f3) 47. Qxh7

46... Ke6

46... Kf6

47. Qg8 Kf6 48. Qf8 Qb1+ 49. Kh2 Qxb3 50. Nxe5

50. Ng5! d4? (50... Qb7 51. Nh7+ Ke6 52. Qg7) 51. Ne4+ Kf5 52. Nd6+ Kf6 53. g4!

50... Kxe5 51. Qxf7 Qc2 52. Qg7+ Ke6 53. Qg8+ Ke5 54. Qg7+ Kd6 55. Qf8+ Ke6 56. Qe8+ Kd6 57. Qf8+ Kc7 58. Qf4+ Kc6 59. g4 Qd3 60. h5 gxh5 61. gxh5 Qd2?? 62. Qxd2

Black resigns. A messy win for New Jersey, but we'll take it against this powerful Boston team!

1-0

Board Four

Marc Esserman (2307) - Jason Lian (2142) [B21]

ICC 90 30 u/Internet Chess Club 2008


1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 dxc3 4. Nxc3 Nc6 5. Nf3 e6 6. Bc4 Nge7 7. Bg5 f6

The natural 7... h6? walks into a typical trap in this line: 8. Nb5! d5 9. exd5 hxg5 (9... exd5? 10. Bf4) 10. dxc6 Qa5+ 11. Qd2! and the threat of Nc7+ hangs in the air.

8. Be3 Ng6 9. O-O Be7










10. Nb5!

This move appears to be an important improvement upon an earlier game Esserman played with the line:

a) 10. Nd4 (the thematic move, clearing the way for f4-f5, but allowing a useful exchange for Black) 10... Nxd4 11. Bxd4 O-O 12. f4?! Qc7! 13. Bb3 (13. Qb3 Nxf4 14. Nb5 Qb8 15. Qe3 a6! 16. Rxf4 axb5 17. Bb3 (17. Bxb5? e5) 17... Bd6) 13... Nxf4 14. Kh1 Ng6 15. Rc1 Qd8 16. Nd5? exd5 17. Bxd5+ Kh8 18. Qh5 d6 19. Rc3 Ne5 20. Rf4 g6 21. Qh6 Rg8 22. Bxg8 Qxg8 23. Rc7 Qf7 24. g4 Kg8 25. g5 f5 26. b3 Be6 27. Rxb7 Bxg5 0-1 Esserman,M-Shabalov,A/Ledyard USA 2008

b) 10. Qe2 a6? (10... O-O 11. Rfd1 d6! Keene 12. Nb5!?) 11. Na4! Qc7 (11... b5 12. Bb6) 12. Nb6 Rb8 13. Rac1 O-O 14. Rfd1 f5 (14... Kh8) 15. exf5 Rxf5 16. Qd3 Kh8 (16... Rxf3!? 17. gxf3) 17. Nxd7 Bxd7 18. Qxd7 Qxd7 19. Rxd7 Nf8 20. Rd2 Bb4 21. Re2 Rd8 22. a3 Bc5 23. Bxa6 Bxe3 24. Rxe3 bxa6 25. Rxc6 Rb5 26. b4 a5 27. bxa5 Rxa5 28. g3 Rdd5 29. Rc8 Kg8 30. Rb3 Kf7 31. Rb7+ Nd7 32. Ne5+ 1-0 Adams,M-Watson,W

10... O-O 11. Rc1 Kh8

11... a6 12. Nd6 Qc7 13. Nf5

12. Qd2!? Nge5

12... f5!?

13. Nxe5 Nxe5 14. Nxa7 Nxc4 15. Rxc4

White has r egained his material and now has a distinct advantage due to his contol of the c- and d-files.

15... d5?

Black should not open up lines, especially since this leads to the loss of material.

There was still some hope in 15... d6 16. Rxc8 Rxc8 17. Nxc8 Qxc8 18. Rc1 and White's queenside majority and control of the c-file give him winning chances, but it should be a fight.

16. exd5 exd5

Surrendering a pawn, since the alternative looks more dangerous:

16... Qxd5 17. Qc2 Qd8 (17... Bd7 18. Rd4) 18. Rd1 Qe8 19. h3! (a little luft) and White already threatens to exchange at c8 and then invade by Rd7 winning.

17. Rxc8 Rxc8 18. Nxc8 Qxc8 19. Qxd5 Rd8 20. Qb5 Bd6 21. Rc1 Qb8 22. g3 Be5 23. b4 h6 24. a4 Bd4 25. Bf4 Qa7 26. Rc2 Ra8 27. Kg2! Qxa4?










28. Rc8+ Kh7 29. Qf5+ g6 30. Rc7+ Kh8 31. Qxg6

Black resigns as mate is unavoidable. A great day for the Smith-Morra Gambit.

1-0

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Game in PGN

Copyright © 2008 by Michael Goeller