Sunday, September 04, 2005

Kernighan-Stoyko, Hackettstown 8-27-2005

Black to play and begin a winning attack.

One reason I want to follow the NJ Open this year is because I think that Kenilworth Chess Club Champ Steve Stoyko has excellent chances. Of course, in some ways the odds are against him. After all, Steve won the State Championship in 1973 and 1983, so it would be very unusual for him to win again over three decades later. But there is a lot in his favor too. The tournament is being held very near to his home, allowing him to go there for meals and rest between rounds. He has been going to the gym and is in good physical condition. And, most importantly, he has been on a roll of late playing in a lot of local tournaments.

His game against Kenilworth regular Mark Kernighan at last week's "Tiger Quads" suggests that Steve really has "the eye of the tiger" going into the NJ Open. You can play over the game online for the solution. The PGN is pasted below or available online to download. It is definitely a game worth looking at--and the puzzle above is worth puzzling over...

[Event "Hackettstown Tiger Quads"]
[Site "Mt. Arlington, NJ USA"]
[Date "2005.08.27"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Kernighan, Mark"]
[Black "Stoyko, Steve"]
[Result "0-1"]
[PlyCount "50"]
[TimeControl "G90"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bg5 O-O 6. e3 h6 7. Bh4 ({ In the Kenilworth Chess Club Championship this year, Mark played} 7. Bf4 $6) 7... Ne4 {Steve's favorite Lasker Defense.} 8. Bxe7 Qxe7 9. Nxe4 $5 dxe4 10. Nd2 e5 $1 11. d5 f5 12. Qc2 (12. g4 $5) 12... Nd7 13. Be2 $5 { Steve thought this had the idea of Pg4} (13. O-O-O) 13... Nf6 {Stopping what Steve thinks is White's idea. But White may have planned to castle kingside. E.g.:} (13... Nc5 14. O-O $1 a5 15. f4 $1 $13) 14. O-O-O c6 $6 (14... Rd8 $5) ( 14... a5) 15. dxc6 $6 ({White misses} 15. d6 $1 Qxd6 16. Nxe4 $14) 15... bxc6 16. c5 Be6 17. Ba6 $6 (17. g4 $5) 17... Rab8 18. a3 Nd5 19. b4 $2 { Typical of Mark's style, he has no regard for his King's safety.} Rxb4 $3 { A powerful move and fitting punishment for White's crazy pawn advance!} 20. axb4 Nxb4 21. Qa4 (21. Qc3 $4 Na2+) 21... Qxc5+ 22. Kb1 (22. Kb2 $5) 22... Rb8 $19 {There is no good defense.} 23. Nb3 $2 Qc2+ 24. Ka1 Qc3+ 25. Kb1 Bxb3 { and Black forces checkmate.} 0-1


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