NJ Knockouts vs. Baltimore Kingfishers
US Chess League 2008, Round 6
By Michael Goeller
The NJ Knockouts were lucky to tie 22 with the Baltimore Kingfishers on Wednesday, October 1, 2008, in Round 6 of US Chess League action. The Knockouts had beaten the Kingfishers earlier this season, 31, but this time faced a much more determined team that probably should have won the match 31 but for an amazing turn of events on Board 2 late in the evening, when IM Ippolito managed to turn a likely loss into victory after one slip by his opponent. All of the games were of interest because they were played in complicated positions with continued interest to theory.
On Board 1, Benjamin used the Panov Botvinnik Attack to get a classic isolani position against Erenburg, eventually gaining a great attack along the b1h7 diagonal. Erenburg chose a fascinating strategy of marching his King out of the danger zone and through the middle of the board, after which Benjamin's Queen was out of position, giving Erenburg the chance to seize the initiative and win material. On Board 2, Enkhbat and Ippolito contested a known position in the Catalan where Black accepts a damaged structure in exchange for open lines and piece activity. Ippolito seemed to have gotten a good attack in exchange for a pawn, but Enkhbat seized the initiative and gained a winning ending advantage. However, one slip changed the outcome of the game and the match. On Board 3, Molner and Ray Kaufman contested a well known position in the Steinitz French where Black sacrifices a piece for three pawns. Though Kaufman's rare move 13...OO!? held some promising ideas, he did not succeed in making it work, leaving his King vulnerable to a direct assault aided by the extra piece. And on Board 4, Shen used the standard Queen's Indian Hedgehog counter to Kahn's Torre Attack (which was actually the preferred method of defense as far back as Moscow 1925 when Torre first started using his line). Shen showed some excellent tactical thinking in this game and should have at least equalized, but he allowed Kahn to gain a favorable piece position to support his outside passed pawn, which Kahn brilliantly turned into a winning advantage.
All in all, it was a great match with some very good chess! And, despite the draw, the NJKO are still in title contention, especially with a loss by the previously undefeated Queens Pioneers.
Board 1
GM Joel Benjamin (2644)  GM Sergey Erenburg (2592) [B14]
US Chess League 2008/Internet Chess Club (6) 2008
1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. c4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e6 6. Nf3 Bb4 7. cxd5 Nxd5 8. Bd2
In "An Attacking Repertoire for White," Sam Collins says this "looks like and is a concession." Collins instead recommends 8. Qc2 Nc6 9. a3 Ba5 10. Bd3 Nxc3 11. bxc3 Nxd4 12. Nxd4 Qxd4 13. Bb5+ Bd7 14.
In another game, Erenburg chose 9... Be7 10.
11. Qe2!? Nxd4 Always grabbing the isolani (compare note above)  but this time the pawn should have cost him something: 12. Nxd4 Qxd4 13. Nb5! Qxb2 14. Rfd1 Bxd2 15. Rab1? (15. Rdb1! Qxa1 16. Rxa1 Bf4) 15... Qxa2 16. Rxd2 Qa5 17. g4 Nd5 01 Pruess,DErenburg,S/Oak Brook 2007 (25)
11... Be7
Another time, Erenburg tried 11... h6 12. Be3 b6 13. Qd2 Bb7 14. Rad1 Re8 15. a3 Bf8 16. Bb1 Ne7 17. Rfe1 Nfd5 18. Ne5 Nf5 19. Ne4 Ndxe3?! 20. fxe3 g6 21. Qf2 Hendriks,WErenburg,S/Dieren 2006 (75).
12. Rc1!?
Putting the Rook on the cfile can lead to exchanges, but it also makes it difficult for Black to find a good square for his Queen. The more standard method of developing is to place the Rooks on d1 and e1, with the Bishop on c2 and Queen on d3, prepared by a3 to prevent a Nb4 fork: 12. a3 b6 13. Re1 Bb7 14. Bc2 Re8 (14... Rc8 15. Qd3 g6 16. Rad1 Nd5 17. Bh6 Re8= 10 Kornev,AVirovlansky,S/Voronezh 2007 (54)) 15. Qd3 g6 16. Rad1 Rc8 with the standard setup for White in the isolani position. Black has done ok from here though: 17. Ba4 (17. Bb3!?) 17... Nd5 18. Bxe7 Rxe7 19. Ne4 Rec7 20. Ne5 Nce7 21. Nxf7 Kxf7 22. Qh3 Ng8 23. Qxh7+?! (23. Qg3! h6 24. Nd6+) 23... Kf8 24. Qxg6 Rg7! 01 Hossain,EPrakash,G/New Delhi 2008 (52).
12... h6 13. Be3 b6 14. Ne4 Bb7 15. Nxf6+ Bxf6 16. Be4 Na5 17. Bb1 Qd5 18. Qd3 Rfc8!?

Erenburg here undertakes a rather surprising King march, which leaves White's Queen buried behind enemy lines with no clear target of attack. Though I think White should have been able to exploit the King's centralized position, the concept is clearly a brave sporting decision.
The safer option appears to have been 18... g6, when Black should recover his pawn after 19. Bxh6 Rfd8 20. Be3 (20. Qd2! Bxd4 21. Qxd4 Qxd4 22. Nxd4 Rxd4 23. Be3 gains White the two Bishops in an open position.) 20... Qh5 21. Nd2 Qh8! 22. Qe2 Bxd4 23. b4 Bxe3=.
It's difficult to suggest improvements on White's play, since flushing out the King "just has to be good."
20. Bd2
20. b3!? prevents Nc4 and keeps the Knight out of play.
Perhaps it is at this point where White could improve with 21. Bb4+ Kd7 22. Rcd1!? (22. Rfd1!? Nc4! (22... Rxc1 23. Rxc1 Rc8 24. Rxc8 Kxc8 25. Qg8+ Qd8 26. Qxf7 Bxf3 27. Qxe6+) 23. Bc2!?) 22... Nc4 23. Ne5+ Kc7 24. f3 Qb5 25. a3 a5 26. Be1 Nxe5 27. Bg3 Kb8 28. dxe5 Bxe5 29. Qxg7!
21... Rxc1 22. Rxc1 Kd7 23. Bf4
It is very hard to believe that White is not better here, and your chess computer will certainly agree. But White's Queen is at risk of getting completely out of play.
23... Nc4! 24. b3 Nd6 25. Be5!
It's hard for White to attack the King in the center. For example: 25. Ne5+?? Bxe5 26. dxe5 Qxg2#
25... Qa5 26. Bxd6 Kxd6 27. Be4 Rc8! 28. Rxc8 Bxc8 29. Qg8 Qc3! 30. g3 Ke7 31. Kg2 Qc7
32. h4?!
I think this is one of those cases where White did not adjust quickly enough to the new circumstances and recognize that now is the time to play for equality.
32. d5!? exd5 (32... Bb7 33. d6+ Kxd6 34. Qf8+ Be7 35. Qxf7 Bxe4 36. Qf4+) 33. Bxd5 Bh3+ 34. Kxh3 Qd7+ 35. Kg2 Qxd5 36. Qb8=
34. d5! still holds out good chances of equality.
After this, White is completely busted.
36. Bf3 Qc3 37. Qh8 b4 38. Qg8 Bd7 39. Qa8 Qc5 40. Qb8 Bb5 41. Qb7+ Kf6 42. Qb8 Ke7 43. Qb7+ Bd7 44. Qb8 Qc2 45. Qe5 Qxa2 46. Qxg7 Qd2 47. Qe5 a4 48. bxa4 Bxa4 49. Qc5+ Kf6 50. Qa5 Bb3 51. Qa1+ Qc3 52. Qa5 Qd4 53. Qa8 Kg7 54. Qb8 Bc2 55. g4 b3 56. Qc7 Bd3 57. g5 b2 58. g6 Qf6
White resigns. A brilliant victory by Erenburg (his second against Benjamin this season), though you have to wonder what Benjamin missed.
01Board 2
FM Tegshsuren Enkhbat (2446)  IM Dean Ippolito (2500) [E04]
US Chess League 2008/Internet Chess Club (6) 2008
1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. g3 dxc4 5. Bg2 Nc6 6. Qa4 Bb4+ 7. Bd2 Nd5 8. Bxb4 Ndxb4 9.
14. Qxc6 Qxd4 15. Rfd1 Qe5 16. Rd2 Rb4 17. Rc1 Bb7 18. Qd7 Qc5 Gurevich,DWojtkiewicz,A/Geneve 1996 (37).
14... Qd6
14... Rxb2 15. Rab1 Rb6 16. Qc5 f6 17. a4 Re8 18. a5 Rxb1 19. Rxb1 Qd6 (19... e5!) 20. Qxd6 cxd6 21. Rb6 e5?! 22. Ne4! Rd8 23. Rxc6 Bb7 24. Rxd6 Rxd6 25. Nxd6 10 Krasenkow,MMednis,E/Palma de Mallorca 1989 (54).
15. Ne4
15. e3 Rxb2 16. Rab1 Rxb1 17. Rxb1 e5 18. dxe5 Qxe5 19. Rb8 Qd6 20. h4 h6 21. Kh2 Qd7 22. Ne2 Qd2 23. Kg1 Qe1+ 24. Kh2 Qxf2+ 25. Kh1 Qxe3 26. Rb3 Qf2 27. Qe4 Be6 01 Kanter,E (2336)Kharlov,A (2538)/Kazan RUS 2008.
A thematic break, which appears to be better than taking the dpawn:
16... Qxd4 17. b3 Rb5 18. Rfd1 Qe5 19. Rac1 Rd5 20. Nc5 Rfd8 21. b4 Qd6 22. Rd3 Rxd3 23. Nxd3 e5 24. Qxc6 Qxc6 25. Rxc6 e4 26. Nc5 Bh3 27. f3 exf3 (27... e3 28. Nd3) 28. exf3 Rd2 29. Rxa6 Rg2+ 30. Kf1 Rxg3+ 31. Ke1 Rg1+ 32. Kf2 Rg2+ 33. Ke3 h5 34. a4 Rxh2 35. a5 Ra2 36. Rc6 Bg2 37. Rxc7 h4 38. Ne4 h3 39. Ng5 g6 40. Nxh3 Bxh3 41. Kd4 g5 42. Rc5 f6 43. Rc7 Bg2 44. Rc3 Kf7 45. Kc5 f5 46. Kd4 g4 47. fxg4 f4 48. Rc5 Kg6 49. Rf5 f3 50. Ke3 Re2+ 51. Kd3 Rb2 52. Kc3 Ra2 53. Kb3 Re2 54. a6 f2 55. a7 Be4 56. Kc3 Ra2 57. Kb3 Re2 58. Kc3 Bxf5 59. a8=Q f1=Q 60. Qg8+ Kh6 61. Qf8+ Kg5 01 Ulibin,M (2520)Miedema,R (2303)/Bucharest ROU 2008.
In exchange for his structural weakness, Black has a Bishop for the Knight and open lines for his pieces. He now plays for a kingside attack.
18. Nc3 Bh3 19. Rfd1 f5 20. Rd3 f4 21. gxf4 Qh5! 22. Qc1 Rb4
Black may have gotten more out of lifting the other Rook: 22... Rf6! 23. Rg3 Rh6
24... Rfd8 25. f5 Kh8 26. f3! Rd2

It appears that Black's attack is working beautifully, but White has a nice resource and makes a series of powerful moves.
28. Rxh3! Qxh3 29. Qxd2 cxd5 30. Qg5 Re8 31. f6! Qd7 32. Qxd5 Qxd5 33. exd5?!
33. fxg7+ Kxg7 34. exd5 seems stronger, but Enkhbat apparently valued the tempo more than the material.
33... gxf6 34. Rc1 Rd8 35. Rc5 Rd7 36. Kf2 Kg7 37. Ke3 Kg6 38. Kd4 Kf5 39. Rc6 a5 40. Ra6 h5 41. Kc4 h4 42. Rxa5 Kf4
White appears absolutely winning, but Ippolito discovers a "second resource."
43. Ra3 Rg7 44. Kc5 h3 45. Ra6 Rf7 46. Ra7 Kxf3

47. Ra8?
An amazing reversal of fortune for Ippolito!
It is very close, but it appears White can win by 47. Kc6! Kg2 48. d6! Kxh2 49. d7 Rf8 (49... Rxd7 50. Kxd7 f5 51. Rxc7 f4 52. a4 f3 53. a5 f2 54. Rc1 Kg2 55. a6 h2 56. a7 f1=Q 57. Rxf1 Kxf1 58. a8=Q) 50. Kxc7 f5 51. d8=Q Rxd8 52. Kxd8 f4 53. Rf7 Kg3 54. b4 h2 55. Rg7+ Kh3 56. Rh7+ Kg2 57. Rxh2+ Kxh2 58. b5 f3 59. b6 f2 60. b7 f1=Q 61. b8=Q+
47... Kg2 48. Rg8+ Kxh2 49. a4 f5!
Suddenly it looks like a giant error not to have removed this pawn at move 33.
50. a5 f4 51. a6 f3 52. a7 f2 53. a8=Q f1=Q
Though material is equal, Black is winning due to his advanced passed pawn.
54. Qa4 Qc1+ 55. Qc4 Qxb2 56. Qb4 Qf2+ 57. Qd4 Qc2+ 58. Qc4 Rf2 59. Qxc2 Rxc2+ 60. Kb5 Kh1 61. Rg7 h2 62. Rg6 Rg2 63. Ra6 Rb2+ 64. Kc5 Kg1 65. Rf6
White resigns. A great example of the "second resource" or "second chance." This game finished last and kept everyone on the edge of their seat waiting for the result.
01
[Michael Goeller]
Board 3
SM Mackenzie Molner (2397)  NM Ray Kaufman (2348) [C11]
US Chess League 2008/Internet Chess Club (6) 2008
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. f4 c5 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. Be3 Qb6
This move usually leads to a very complicated piece sacrifice that has been played off and on for many years.
9... c4 10. b4 Nxb4!? (10... Qc7)
11. cxb4 Bxb4+ appears to be the less dangerous piece sacrifice, as White has done well after: 12. Kf2 b5 13. Nb2 Ba3 14. Qc2 Nb6 15. g4 b4 16. f5 exf5 17. gxf5 Bxb2 18. Qxb2 Bxf5 19. Rg1 g6?! (19...
10. b4
10. Nxd4? Nxd4 11. Bxd4 b5 12. Nc5 Bxc5 13. b4 Bxb4 14. cxb4 Qxb4+ wins material for Black.
10... Nxb4
Black is not exactly compelled to sac a piece, but the alternative is not attractive: 10... Qc7 11. Nxd4 Nxd4 12. Bxd4 and White has a powerful bind on the dark squares.
In a previous game of Molner's with this line, he had an easy time of it after 12... b5?! 13. Nb2 Bc3? 14. Nxd4! a6 15. Nb3 Qb4 16. Bxc3 Qxc3+ 17. Qd2 Qc6 18. Rc1 Qb6 19. Qd4
This is a fascinating move, which should have worked out better for Black and which may make an important addition to Black's possibilities here. There are three more standard moves, against which White has done well:
a) 13... b6
With the idea of Ba6 and Nc5 hoping to force an exchange at c5 which will strengthen Black's central pawn mass.
14. Bd3
White has tried many different moves here, but one of the oldest was recently revived: 14. Rb1!? Ba6 15. Bxa6 (15. Qb3?! Rc8 16. a3 Bxf1 17. Rxf1 Bronstein,DPortisch,L/Amsterdam 1964 (40))
15... Qxa6 16. Nf3 Nc5 17. Nb2 Qxa2 18.
14... Ba6
Not 14... Nc5 15. Nxc5 bxc5 16.
Less good seems 15... Bxd3 16. Nxd3 Nc5 17. Nf2 Na4 18.
16. Bxa6 Qxa6 17. Qe2! (17. a4!?) 17... Qa3
Perhaps 17... d3!? 18. Qe3 Qa3 19. Qd4 Psakhis,LDizdar,G/Portoroz 1987 (40).
18. Qb5+ Ke7 19.
b) 13... b5 (here the idea is to exchange the Knight at c4 instead) 14. Nb2 Qc3 15. Nd3 Nb6 16. Rb1 Bd7 17. Rb3 Qa5 18. Nb4
c) 13... g5!? (and here Black hopes to break up White's pawns and win the epawn) 14. Rb1! (14. Nb2 b6! 15. Qf3 Qc3! 16. Rb1 Qe3+ 17. Be2 gxf4 18. Nbc4? dxc4! 19. Qxa8 d3! 20. Qf3 Qxe2+ 21. Qxe2 dxe2 22. Nf3 Rg8 23. Rg1 Bb7 24. Kxe2 Be4 25. Rbe1 Nc5 26. Kd2 Ke7 27. Kc3 Bd3 28. Nd2 Na4+ 29. Kb4 c3 30. Ne4 b5 31. Nxc3 a5+ 01 Friedel,JFurman,L/Boston 1998  while 14. fxg5?! Nxe5 of course plays into Black's plans) 14... gxf4 15. Bb5 Rb8 16. Nc5 Qc3 17. Nd3 a6 18. Rc1 Qa3 19. Qb3 Short  Timman, Amsterdam 1994. This game seems to have put 13...g5 into question.
14. Be2!?

a) 14. Bd3 is practically the only move played in the available games, when Black seems to do well 14... b5! (14... f6!? has not worked out well in practice: 15. exf6 e5!? (15... Rxf6 16.
b) 14. Rb1?! f6! looks good for Black also.
14... b5?!
This drives White's Knight to a good square via Nb2d3, which appears to be why White chose Be2 over Bd3 in the first place. I begin to doubt Kaufman's preparation here, since computer analysis suggests a fascinating concept in 14... d3!! 15. Bxd3 b5 (15... Qb4! threatening b5 or Qxf4 might be even stronger.) 16. Nb2 Qb4 17. Qc1!? (17. Qc2 Qxf4 18. Bxh7+ Kh8 19. Bd3 Qxe5+) 17... Qxf4 18. Nf3 Qb4+ 19. Kf2 Nxe5! 20. Nxe5 Qd4+ 21. Qe3 Qxb2+ 22. Be2 f6
16... Nc4 17. Ndxc4 bxc4 18. Qxd4
17. Rf3! d3 18. Nxd3 Qd4+ 19. Kh1 Nc4 20. Nb3 Qb6 21. Qe1!
Black's initiative has evaporated and White sets about using his extra piece to force checkmate, as Black's King now looks like a sitting duck on the undefended kingside.
21... Bb7 22. Qh4 d4 23. Rh3 h6 24. Ndc5! Bd5 25. Rg3 Ne3?
25... Kh8 might have inspired some typical wild brilliance on Molner's part with 26. Rxg7!? Kxg7 27. Qf6+ Kg8 28. Qxh6 Qc7 (28... Ne3? 29. Nd7) 29. Qg5+ Kh8 30. Bd3 f5 31. exf6

27. Rxg7+! Nxg7 28. Nd7 Bxg2+ 29. Kg1
Black resigns as he must lose his Queen or get mated.
10Board 4
NM Aaron Kahn (2291)  NM Victor Shen (2265) [A46]
US Chess League 2008/Internet Chess Club (6) 2008
1. d4 Nf6 2. Bg5 e6 3. e3 c5 4. Nf3 b6 5. Bd3 Bb7 6. Nbd2 Be7 7. c3 cxd4
This Queen's Indian Hedgehog mode of defense against the Torre Attack is basically the one developed against Torre himself in Moscow 1925. Black typically waits for White to commit his Knight to d2 before initiating the exchange of pawns, as otherwise White might seek a slight but persistent edge by simply playing cxd4 followed by Nc3.
8. exd4
The alternate recapture is still interesting: 8. cxd4!? Nc6 9. a3 Nd5 10. Ne4 d6 (10... Bxg5 11. Nd6+ Ke7? 12. Nxg5)
11. Rc1
8... d6 9. Qe2 Nbd7 10.

We have reached practically a standard position in the Torre Attack, where both sides have chances.
11. a4!
11. Rfe1 Re8 12. Bh4 Qc7 13. Bg3?! Nh5 14. Ne4 Nxg3 15. hxg3 Nf6 16. Neg5 g6 17. Bb5 Bc6 18. Bxc6 Qxc6 19. Rad1 Bf8 20. Ne4 Nxe4 21. Qxe4 Qxe4 22. Rxe4 d5! led to a brilliant demonstration of the Minority Attack by GM Ermenkov: 23. Re2 Rec8 24. Ne1 b5 25. Nd3 a5 26. Kf1 Rc7 27. a3 b4 28. axb4 axb4 29. Nxb4 Bxb4 30. cxb4 Rb8 31. Red2 Rxb4 32. Ke2 Rcc4 33. Ke3 Rb3+ 34. Ke2 h5 35. Rb1 Kg7 36. Rd3 Rbb4 37. Ke3 Kf6 38. b3 Rc2 39. Kf3 g5 40. Ke3 Kf5 41. Rdd1 g4 42. Rd3 e5 43. Rdd1 e4 44. Rd2 Rc3+ 45. Ke2 Rcxb3 46. Rxb3 Rxb3 01 Mundet Riera,JErmenkov,E/Banyoles 2005 (59)
11... h6 12. Bf4 Nd5 13. Bg3 N7f6 14. a5 Bc6 15. Ra2 Qd7 16. Nh4
To stop Nh5.
16... Rfe8
16... b5!? 17. a6 (17. f4! might be necessary) 17... g5!? 18. Nhf3 Nh5 is a more adventurous idea, with Ndf4 or f5 in mind.
17. axb6 axb6 18. Rfa1 Bf8 19. Nc4 Rxa2 20. Rxa2 b5 21. Na5 Ra8 22. Bb1 b4 23. c4 Nb6 24. b3
24... Ba4!
A neat tactical solution to Black's problems.
This was likely foreseen, as surrendering the two Bishops is not attractive after 26... Ra7 27. bxa4 Nxa4 28. Bd3! (28. Bc2?! Nc3!=)
27. bxc4
27... Ra7 28. h3 Rb7!? 29. Qxa4 Rxb1+ 30. Kh2 Qb7?
Black probably avoids the exchange of Queens because in a simplified ending White would seem to have a nagging edge due to his ability to create a passed pawn by c5  as demonstrated in the game. But White is able to force exchanges anyway after the text; meanwhile, the immediate exchange would highlight Black's more active pieces: 30... Qxa4! 31. Rxa4 Ne4! 32. Ra8 (32. Nf3 Rc1! may even be to Black's advantage.) 32... g5 33. Nf3 Kg7 and it is Black who has White under pressure.
31. Nf3 Ne4 32. Qe8! Nxg3 33. Kxg3! Qb8 34. Ra8! Qxe8 35. Rxe8 Rc1 36. Rc8 g6

White's more active King, superior pieces, and potential passed pawn give him practically a winning edge, as he goes on to prove in brilliant style.
37. Kf4 Kg7 38. Rc7 g5+ 39. Ke3 Kg6?!

The position of the King here lends tactical force to White's inevitable c5, but Black is already suffering.
40... dxc5 41. Ne5+ Kh7 42. Kd2! Rg1 43. dxc5 (43. Nxf7!?) 43... Bg7 44. Nxf7 Rxg2 45. Ke2 and White's passed pawn is unstoppable.
41. Kd2 Ra3 42. c6! Ra8 43. Rd7!
43. Rb7 seems the more natural move but the Rook at d7 helps to stifle the Black Bishop.
43... Kf6 44. Kd3 Be7 45. Kc4 Rb8 46. c7 d5+ 47. Kc3 Rc8 48. Ne5 h5 49. Nc6
White can win even more quickly by 49. Kd3! g4 50. h4! with nearly complete zugzwang, since 50... Bd6 allows 51. Rxf7#
49... Bd6 50. Rxd6 Rxc7 51. Kd3 Kf5 52. Nb4 Rb7 53. Nc2 Rb3+ 54. Kd2 Ke4 55. Ra6 Rd3+ 56. Kc1 g4 57. hxg4 hxg4 58. Ra7 f6 59. Ra6 e5 60. Rxf6 exd4 61. Rf8 g3 62. f3+ Ke5 63. Rg8 Rb3 64. Rg5+ Kf4 65. Rg4+ Ke5 66. Nxd4 Rc3+ 67. Kd2 Ra3 68. Nc2
Black resigns
10