Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Halloween Chess in 2016 - Tournament Pairings - and a Lesson from Capablanca

Some chess players go all out for Halloween.
It was a bit of a slow night at the chess club on Halloween Monday - 2016 as six players were in attendance. Now that is scary!

But some fun casual chess was had by all.

Here are the tournament pairings for Round 3 in our Rapid (Quick) Chess Tournament that starts back up this coming Monday. But never fear chess fans. There is always someone who was not in the tournament hanging around to play casual chess with you. So stop on by!

Round 3 - White listed first:

Board 1 - Jason M - Ken T
Board 2 - Gene M - Paul M
Board 3 - Luke S - Mike N
Board 4 - Roy M - Vince V
Board 5 - Larry W - Petro K

And now for a Jose Capablanca chess lesson (with our thanks to "Think Like a Grandmaster" - by Alexander Kotov). Igor3000 gives his computer 2-megabytes in [ brackets ].

Black to move after White's last move of 14. Q(a7)a6?
St. Petersburg Grandmaster Tournament - 1914

Nimzovich - Capablanca

 "White is a pawn up, but it is of no significance. Black's rooks will soon occupy the a and b-files and his bishop will cut the board in half. In just a few moves, Capablanca not only forces White into a hopeless position, but literally smashes the apparently safe position of White's queen-side pieces."

[Not an obvious error, but 14. f3 was best, and White remains only a (+.5) pawn ahead. As Kotov pointed out, Black has the positional advantage. By not protecting the e-pawn to free his knight from guard duty, the tables abruptly turn. Oh, the subtleties of Grandmaster chess - even in 1914!]

14. ........        Rfe8
15. Qd3         Qe6
16. f3            Nd7
17. Bd2?       .........
[White wants to activate his bishop and connect his rooks - all noble pursuits. But White's advantage is in his passed pawn on the a-file and the old adage of "passed pawns must be pushed" applies here. Black is up (-.4), which is all Capablanca needs to squeeze a win out of a position.]

17. ........       Ne5
18. Qe2        Nc4
19. Rab1      Ra8
20. a4           Nxd2?
[The great Capablanca missed 20. ......d5! growing his advantage to (-.7). This capture actually evens the game. Which brings us to another old adage - "to take is a mistake!"

21. Qxd2      Qc4
22. Rfd1?     Reb8
[Nimzovich wasted time as this rook does nothing on d1. Capa uses this tempo to re-gain the lead and momentum (-.9)]

23. Qe3       Rb4
"Capablanca is not prepared to exchange his positional pressure for a measly pawn. His aim is to destroy the enemy's queen-side."
[Nimzovich helps out with his next move. White needs 24. Rd3 to hold out. Instead,  Black will lead by two full pawns positionally.]

24. Qg5?      Bd4+
[Obvious follow-up move and good enough to win. But 24. ..........Rab8 - immediately was stronger (-3.5 rather than the text at -2).]

25. Kh1       Rab8
26. Rxd4?   .........
"There is no longer any defense against the threat of Bxc3 so Nimzovich gives up the exchange."
[26. Nb5 holds longer at (-2.4) instead of (-3.1)]

26. .......       Qxd4
27. Nd1       Rxa4
White resigns

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