Monday, December 30, 2013

Seth Homa Game from the LCCC Simil - Game 1

FIDE Master Seth Homa played white against 13 LCCC players on thirteen different boards. Here is one of the best games. The BEST game will be posted soon.

White: FM Seth Homa
Black: Matt Trujillo
Matt's notes are in ( ) - the editor's notes are not.

1.  d4 Nf6
2.  c4 g6
3. Nc3 Bg7
4.  e4 d6
5.  f3 0-0
6. Be3 c5
7. Nge2 cxd4
8. Nxd4 Nc6
9. Be2 Qb6
(This move seemed obvious to me because I play a very similar line in the hyper-accelerated dragon, but surprisingly my database has only 2 games from this position…both wins for black.)

10. Nxc6 Qxc6
11. 0-0 Be6
(I left book theory with this move, b6 and Nd7 has been tried previously)

12. Nd5 Bxd5
13.  cxd5 Qd7
14. Rc1
Taking open files. Matt says, “Not so fast pilgrim.”
14.  …..    Rfc8
15. Qb3 Rxc1
16. Rxc1 Rc8
17. Rc4 Rc7
18. Qc2 Ne8
Trading for equality is not a bad strategy against a superior player, but Matt is following the old adage “To take is a mistake”. If Black takes first, Seth (White) has control of the c-file. Both are angling for pawn steals (b3 and a7).

19.  b3 Rxc4
20. Qxc4 b6
21.  a4 Qc7
22. Qb5 Nf6
Black has the c-file but White’s bishops together like that almost act like another Queen, keeping Matt’s queen out of nice squares on the c-file.

23.  b4 h5
24. Qc6 Qb8

Obviously trading queens gives white a passed pawn on the c-file. But Seth still plans on getting it done. The pieces are even but White’s space and piece activity difference is all the edge Seth needs. This is the work of a master chess player.

25. Ba6 Ne8
26.  b5 Nc7
27.  h3 Kf8
28. Kh1 Ne8
29. Bb7 Qc7
30. Bc8 Qb8
31. Bd7 Nc7
32. Qc1 Qd8
33. Bc6

Mission accomplished. Bishop posted in Black’s camp. You want it out? Well it only costs you a passed pawn on the 6th rank!

33.  …..     e6
34.  a5 exd5
35.  axb6 axb6
36.  exd5 Qb8
37. Qg1 Na8
(You know your position sucks when the knight ends up here). White is using the fact that Black’s bishop is not participating. It’s like Black is missing a piece and Seth weakens the Black squares on the side of the board Black’s dark squared bishop can’t reach.

38.  f4 Bc3
39. Qf2 Qd8
40.  f5 g5
41. Qa2 Ba5
White is “overloading” Black’s queen with defensive duties. Talk about an overworked housewife – guarding a8, b6, d6 and g5!

42. Bxa8 Qe8
43. Qa3 Qxa8
44. Qxd6+ Kg8
(It is very interesting the line Seth chose because obviously he could have won a piece but he was more concerned about simplifying and not letting me have any counter play whatsoever. Now he has an easily won endgame.) Never letting your opponent from getting back in the game is the important lesson here. If you get him down, don’t let him up!

45. Bxg5 Qe8
46. Qd8 Qxd8
47. Bxd8 Kf8
48. Bf6 Be1
49. Bd4 Ba5
50. Kh2 Ke7
51. Be5 Bb4
52. Kg3 Be1+
53. Kf4 Bd2+
54. Ke4 Kd7
55. Bd4 Kc7
56. Ke5 Bg5
57.  d6+ Kb7
58.  g4  hxg4
Taking off the rest of Black’s pawns, giving him no chance to come back.

59.  hxg4 Bd8
60. Be3 Kc8
61.  g5  
This pawn can queen on g8 – a white square Black’s bishop can’t touch. Another consideration in an endgame. What color is that queening square and does your opponent have a bishop for that? No? Then that’s a good thing.

Thanks Matt for the notes and the well played game.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Week Six of the 2013 League Was Big!

More pictures from the Seth Homa simul.
 LCCC set another record for attendance in a single night as twenty-eight players were in attendance. Thanks to everyone who participated in this new benchmark.
Our record at Teekos Coffee and Tea on Thursday night is still at eleven but we are averaging eight players there, so anyone interested can find a chess opponent either night.

The league leading Rabid Squirrels are tied in their match with the Sonics 1.5 – 1.5, with one game to play. If the Sonics can get the upset on Board Two, the league will tighten up and put the Squirrels back within striking distance of pursuers – the Tigers and Flames.

The Tigers drew their match with the Thunder. That will drop them into a tie for second with the Flames, who beat the 49’ers 3 – 1. Here are the current standings:
Rabid Squirrels -  9 points
Tigers - 7 points
Flames - 7 points
Sonics - 4 points - (match 6 currently tied with the Squirrels)
49'ers - 4 points
Thunder - 3 points
The next league night is not until January 27, 2014.

Open chess will be available at LCCC on Mondays – January 6, 13 and possibly the 20th – if the Hartland Senior Center is open on Martin Luther King Day. We will see.

But LCCC will be at the Teekos Coffee Shop in Howell on December 26, January 2, 9, 16, 24 and 31.

To our faithful readers, I just want to say – sorry – for the lack of posts lately. Sometimes life gets in the way of chess. Hate when that happens.

But there will be some great games posted, along with more chess news and updates from LCCC headquarters. So keep us in your holiday read list.

Merry Christmas to everyone and have a very happy holiday.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Seth Homa Gives Chess Exhibition at LCCC!

FIDE Master Seth Homa
FIDE Master and Michigan Open Champion Seth Homa stopped by LCCC to give a simultaneous chess exhibition – taking on all interested players - at the same time!
A lucky thirteen players lined up to face Seth, and in the end, only Vince Valente was able to get a draw. The rest of us….well, at least we have a score sheet showing we played a FIDE Master. Seth went 12-0-1.
Everyone had a great time and Seth was a friendly and gracious guest. It was such a fun event, LCCC will do something like this again. Maybe a Seth Homa lecture next time. Stay tuned.
Let’s hear from Don Jones, participant in the simil for his take of the event:
Seth Homa complimented our club, saying that we have a lot of extremely tough players. He said that most club exhibitions are done in about an hour and a half, but most of our players were still going at 2 hours and 3 games lasted almost 3 hours (when we had to be out of the building).
I lasted 30 moves but that is misleading. I used a chess engine called Houdini that is rated at over 3000 (the current world champion is rated around 2850) to analyze my game. At move 29 it said I had an equal game with Seth, meaning that neither of us had an advantage (in the opinion of Houdini, but I liked Seth's position better).
But the rules of the exhibition say we have to move immediately when he comes around to our board and I was in the middle of analyzing a very difficult and complex position when he arrived. I was considering a plan that looked promising but very risky so I quickly picked a move that seemed harmless.
But immediately after I moved I realized it was actually a blunder that resulted in me losing a rook so I resigned. To add insult to injury, Houdini says the best way to continue the game would have been the plan that I was considering when he arrived at my board.

Seth and Don Jones in the background.
I should have trusted my instincts rather than wimping out and trying to play a 'safe' move.
Of course, losing the rook didn't require ending the game immediately but I felt that continuing the game against a player of his strength would have been pointless and an insult to him.
Considering that Seth is rated at around 2430 or so I was quite pleased that my game didn't collapse by move 10, especially since he played a very aggressive attack.
Seth is very young and could be a grandmaster in a few years if he can raise money to play in more international tournaments.
The guy who drew Seth asked him to sign his game sheet, and plans to frame it and hang it on his wall, because he says otherwise nobody will ever believe that he had a draw against a world class player. Of course, Seth was essentially playing 14 simultaneous games of speed chess while we only had one game to worry about and could think the whole time he was looking at other games.

We invited Seth back for another exhibition in the spring and he agreed. Hopefully we can find a date that works for everyone. I will definitely play again. It was a very amazing experience and I learned a lot.
Thanks Don!
Our event did bring us three new members of LCCC – Dan C, Geoff O, and Will S. Welcome to LCCC gentlemen.

Seth continues the loop around the players.
Dan and Geoff played in the simil. Don’t worry guys. For your information, the rest of the players at LCCC are not as strong as Seth! Although, some are a lot closer to Seth’s strength than others. The fun part is to come and play chess at LCCC - and find out who those players are on your own.
Just a reminder: League night is next Monday, December 16th. It will be our last regular meeting for the year at the Hartland Senior Center, as the Center will be closed for the Christmas Holidays. We will return there on January 6, 2014.
The Club will still meet at the Teekos Coffee and Tea Shop in Howell at Grand River and Latson Road on Thursday nights – December 12, 19, 26, Jan 2, 9, etc.
Be sure to stop by, have a coffee and play some chess.


Friday, December 6, 2013

Seth Homa Visits LCCC Monday - Dec 9 - and a League Leader has Emerged

Seth Homa will be giving a chess exhibition at LCCC this coming Monday.
He will be taking on up to 40 chess players at the same time!
Stop on by and grab a seat in the match.
The cost has been reduced to $15 and $10 for children under 18.
Be there by 6pm to lock up your seat as there is a limit of both spaces and time to get registered.
Nothing like an exciting League game on a cold winter night.

Meanwhile the LCCC Chess League completed Week 5, which means we are half way thru. December 16th will be the start of the 2nd half. It took a while, but after the classic 1 vs 2 match up this week, some space for the clear cut leader has been created.

Rabid Squirrels - 9 League points and 13 Team Points
Tigers 6 - 10.5
Flames 5 - 10
Sonics 4 - 9.5
49'ers 4 - 8
Thunder 2 - 6

The second half of the round robin starts December 16 and here are the Team pairings:
Sonics vs Rabid Squirrels
Thunder vs Tigers
Flames vs 49'ers
During League action, lessons are given and casual games are played.

Dec. 16 will be our last official club meeting of the year. But we hope to still meet at Teekos Coffee Shop in Howell over the holidays on Thursdays - or any other day.

Friday, November 29, 2013

LCCC League Takes Shape – Seth Homa Simil Dec. 9!

League Competition heats up!
Happy Thanksgiving to all our readers!
Two dominating performances and a match that was drawn highlighted Week 4 of the LCCC league.
The Rabid Squirrels swept the Thunder, and the Tigers swept the 49’ers.
The Flames and the Sonics drew their match.
The standings are as follows:
Rabid Squirrels – 7points
Tigers – 6 pts
Sonics – 4 pts
Flames – 4 pts
49’ers – 2 pts
Thunder – 1 point
There seems to be some separation of the teams starting to show – a top, middle and a bottom.
The next league round this coming Monday – December 2 - will showcase a very exciting 1st place vs. 2nd place battle. Here are the matchups:
Tigers vs. Rabid Squirrels
49’er vs. Sonics
Flames vs. Thunder
Other announcements – the Seth Homa Simultaneous Exhibition is next week! Seth is in St. Louis this turkey weekend playing in a tournament. Be sure to get your seat for this exciting event – a chance to play one of the best players in Michigan and an International Master Candidate!
Don’t miss it December 9 – or the LCCC league nights – December 2 and 16.

Monday, November 18, 2013

LCCC Closed Tonight Due to Power Outage

And due to the power outage, LCCC could not get this post up sooner.

Anyway see you Thursday at Teekos or Monday the 25th for League Night!

The Blitz Tournament will have to be moved to December 2nd.

But the Seth Homa Simultaneous Exhibition is still on for December 9 at 6:30pm. Get there at 6pm. Sign up on this blog or contact Ken L, Ken T, Vince V or Mike N. Let's make it a success!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Chess 960 (Fischer Random) Won by Jason Morris

Alexandra Kosteniuk giving a simil.
No surprise there as Jason is the highest rated player at LCCC. But to win any tournament - and especially undefeated in a style you never played before - is still special.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the change of pace tournament. The utter randomness of the starting position made for some very anxious moments at the start of the games.

Congratulations to Jason as he is the 2013 LCCC Chess 960 Champion!
Here are the final standings:

1. Jason M - 4 points
2. Tim R - 3
3. Aaron J - 3
4. Don J - 3
5. Ken T - 3
6. Vince V - 3
7. Scott M - 2
8. Tom H - 2
9. Luigi M - 2
10. Mike N - 2
11. Ken L - 2
12. Paul M - 2
13. Luke S - 2
14. Gene M - 1.5
15. Zade K - 1.5
16. Americo M - 1
17. Zack R - 1
18. Gabe T - 1
19. Marcello M - 1
20. Luca M - 1
21. Joshua T – 1
The league resumes next week. Be ready as the tournament clocks start at 7pm sharp! There will be some announcements and other distractions prior to the round, so get there early.

Remember to sign up and see Vince V or Ken L for payment to enter the Seth Homa simil. Club players under 18 can join for $15. Sign up for this event and support LCCC please.

Also Ken T will be running a Blitz (5 min) tournament next week (on Monday 11/25), so sign up for that also!

Also, we may have a photographer from the local newspaper stop by and get some pictures of the action. It will be part of an article about our upcoming Seth Homa Simultaneous Exhibition. You have been warned!
Some games from the 960 event to be posted this weekend.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Bobby Fischer’s #1 Grandmaster; and 960 Rd 3 Has Change in Pairings

Perhaps the greatest of all time - Paul Morphy
This is from Mr. Fischer’s 1962 list. I think on the eve of the start of the championship match between Anand and Carlsen, we should look back at who may actually be the greatest chess player that ever lived.

Paul Morphy

“A popularly held theory about Paul Morphy is that if he returned to the chess world today and played our best contemporary players, he would come out the loser.

Nothing is further from the truth!

In a set match, Morphy would beat everyone today.

He was the best-read player of his day, which means he would be up on the lastest theories and tactics, and his natural talent would be more than sufficient enough to vanquish the best twentieth century players.

Morphy was the most accurate chess player who ever lived. He had complete sight of the board and never blundered, in spite of the fact that he played quite rapidly. He rarely took more than 5 minutes to make a move, while his opponents – before chess clocks – often took hours.

I played over several hundred of Morphy’s games and am continually surprised and entertained by his ingenuity. It has taken me 20 to 30 minutes to find the proper response to one of his moves!
Morphy always fought on in bad positions and still found winning possibilities. In addition, he had very fine endgame technique.

Perhaps his only weakness – and it is most apparent in his match with Anderssen – was in closed games like the Dutch Defense. But even then, he was usually victorious because of his resourcefulness.

As is well known, Paul Morphy gave up chess in 1859. His disillusionment was more with chess players, than chess itself.”

960 Tournament Monday:
Vince V had to withdraw, so here are the new pairings for the 3rd round Monday (first name has the White pieces):
1.      Jason M – Tim R
2.      Scott M – Tom H
3.      Americo M – Aaron J
4.      Zade K – Gene M
5.      Don J – Marcello M
6.      Luca M – Ken L
7.      Zach R – Gabe T
8.      Joshua T – Luigi M

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Monday was a Chess 960 (Fischer Random) Swiss Tourney...and a Success!

Chess is chess. Chess is about decisions. Life is about decisions. Chess is life.
Everyone seemed to have a good time with it. It was different. It was challenging. We had some upsets! All in all, it was a fun evening of chess.

The games were a little more ‘serious’ than I thought it would be. Chatting was at a minimum and even a few “shhhhh” were issued. I guess a tournament is a tournament.

With the pieces place in random locations that the players did not even see until they set up and started their clocks, led to the demand for quiet. You had to study the board some before even making your first move!
As I said, there were some upsets, but pretty much the top guns held serve. Here are the standings:
Ken T  3 pts#
Jason M 2 pts
Vince V 2 pts
Tim R 2 pts
Paul M 2 pts#
Scott M 1 pt
Aaron J 1 pt
Gene M 1 pt
Mike N 1 pt
Don J 1 pt
Ken L 1 pt
Tom H 1 pt
Americo M 1 pt
Zade K 1 pt
Marcello M 1 pt*
Luca M 1 pt*
Gabe T 0 pts
Luigi M  0 pts
Zach R   0 pts
Joshua T 0 pts
# Ken T and Paul M will not make the last two rounds and are given ½ point byes – so their totals are final.

*Marcello M and Luca M were absent for rounds 1 and 2, but will play rounds 3 and 4 and were also given ½ point byes, but are in the next two rounds.

Here are the pairings and colors for Round 3 of the Fischer Random / 960 Chess Tourney 
             White          -      Black
1.                     Jason M.      -    Vince V
2.                     Tim R.         -     Scott M.
3.                     Aaron J.       -     Tom H
4.                     Americo M   -     Gene M.
5.                     Mike N.        -     Marcello M
6.                     Zade Koch    -     Don J.
7.                     Ken L            -     Luca M
8.                     Zach R          -     Gabe T.
9.                     Luigi M         -     Joshua T.
Good luck to everyone! Thanks for participating.
11/11 is the Final two rounds of the 960 Swiss.
11/18 is League Night! Don’t miss that!
11/25 is a 5 minute Blitz tournament, so sign up for that!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Week 43a 2013 Had 17 Players – and Chess 960 Tourney Next Week!

We had a great crowd of seventeen fun people at the club on Monday. We welcomed new player Joshua T also. Great to see you here!

Some ladder games were played also. Mike N held off a challenge and his other game was postponed until later.

Now for the tournament news for next week:

Get to the club at 6pm on November 4!

We are holding a Chess 960 or if you prefer - a Fischer Random Chess tournament!
It's free - so just bring your set, club spirit, your sense of adventure - and a sense of humor.

It will be a Swiss System tourney - 4 rounds - 2 rounds a night, and played on two Mondays - the 4th and will finish on the 11th.
Maybe the tie breaks will be on the 25th. Who knows?

Fischer Random or Chess 960 is where the back row chess pieces start on different squares than their usual location! So it can lead to some crazy games and positions.
But here is your chance to try it out. It's fun!

The chess position you will start at will be drawn after you and your opponent have sat down at your assigned board.

We will play two 30 minute games each night.
1st round will start at 6:30 and the last round by 8pm, if not sooner.

We already have 20 players signed up, so get there at 6pm - 6:15pm to get your spot in the tournament.

The winner will get his name on the blog as LCCC's 2013 960 Champion!
The Tournament Directors Mike and Ken T are looking forward to this fun event! Come on down to the club and play, especially if you are looking to get back into chess. This is a fun way to get back to the game.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

2013 League Round 3 Finished, and Fischer’s #2 GM - Howard Staunton

The standings and next scheduled round are now posted on the right side of the blog. It would have been up there sooner, but the main Blogger site has been having issues. But its currently working - for now – so it’s there.

We have a lot of exciting things happening – or trying to happen – at LCCC. We will have a Fischer Random Swiss tournament – running on two nights – Nov 4 and Nov 18.

Fischer Random is where the pieces are randomly placed behind the pawns, so the opening books are thrown out the window. It’s different and fun, and we are planning on a real loose atmosphere for this thing. Please sign up at the club, by email or join by comment on this blog. That’s what the blog is here for.

Also, on December 9, FIDE Master Seth Homa will be at LCCC for a simultaneous exhibition. This will be a fun event and a chance to play one of the players in the state.

Register as soon as you can as seats are limited.

And now Bobby Fischer’s number two grandmaster on his 1962 list.

Staunton was the most profound opening analyst of all time. He was more theorist than player, but nonetheless, he was the strongest player of his day.

Playing over his games, I discovered that they are completely modern; where Morphy and Steinitz rejected the fianchetto (bishop), Stanton embraced it. In addition, he understood all the positional concepts which modern players hold so dear. So, he must be considered the first “modern” player.

Besides his standardization of the chess set, Staunton’s fame rests with four important textbooks he wrote: The Handbook, The Chess Companion, The Chess Tournament, and Chess Praxis.

Staunton appeared to have been afraid to meet Morphy over the board. And I think his fear was well-founded. Morphy would have beaten him, but it would not have been the one-sided encounter many chess writers envision. It would have been a great struggle.

Staunton did not beat weaker players as easily as his contemporaries did, and few games show brilliancies. But when Staunton would fianchetto his king’s bishop playing the black side of a closed Sicilian Defense, his opponents had no concept of what he was doing – so, consequently, were generally wiped off the board.

These were not just “fish” but the best players of his day.

Staunton deserves to be on the Top Ten list of the greatest players of all time because of his insight, especially in the opening and the great wealth of book knowledge that was his.”

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Round 3 of the LCCC Chess League 2014

Another great night and round of chess at the LCCC.
League action gets underway!
Three games went right down to the wire. This means the stressed and tired players had to also finish their games with a throng of onlookers waiting to see the exciting time control scramble, the brilliant tactical shot…..or the pressure blunder!

 The Rabid Squirrels beat the 49’ers by the score of  3 - 1. This means the Rabid Squirrels have assured themselves to be in 1st place!

The Tigers still have one game left to play with the Flames. If they win it, they can only draw their match, but it will give them 2nd place all by themselves. If the Tigers lose or draw that game, the Flames are in 2nd place alone. It’s a biggie folks.

The top boards battle.
The Sonics defeated the Thunder 3 – 1, giving them at least a tie for 3rd place.

The winners were:
Sonics: Mike S, Dave S, Tom H.

Thunder: Luca M.

Rabid Squirrels: Scott M, Ken T, Zach R.

49’ers: Sam T.

Flames: Gene M, Zade K.

Tigers: Paul M.

In other (great) news, a new player joined the LCCC tonight, Gabe T. Welcome Gabe! Hopefully his brother, sister and even Dad will join also.
The Rabid Squirrels (L) vs The 49'ers
We also welcomed back Tim P and Ernan P. The club missed you guys.

The posting of the standings will be done as soon as the final game is played. Our next league night is November 18, 2013.

We are working on a Team Match vs Port Huron CC for November 25. We are waiting to hear if we can get the neutral site venue.
While league action is going on, others practice and wait for the call up to the Big Show!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Week 41-13 – Good Nights of Chess Action

Terry G instructs the Milani twins and dad looks on.
41a – Monday - We had a thirteen person turnout on a non-league night. It was very nice to see so many people here. Some casual games and blitz games were played, but a lot of chess lessons were given to our less experience members.
Terry G, Ken L, Scott M and Jason M all contributed to helping our young chess players get instruction on virtually every phase of the game.
This instruction is here at LCCC for all who want it – free of charge. Come on by and check out the world’s greatest game.

Scott (left rear) and Ken L (left front) instruct the other Milani twins!
41b – Thursday – Only three ventured out on a rainy Tigers playoff game night. But some speed chess was played and some nice discussion of the current sports scene.
Next week is our League Night. As expected, we have a real tight race forming. It’s always an exciting night of chess. Visitors welcome.
In other news:
Its official. Seth Homa has agreed to do a simultaneous exhibition at LCCC on December 9, 2013. It will be a chance for anyone interested to play one of the highest rated players in Michigan!
Be sure to email us or sign up on line with the link on this website. More details to follow but there is a limited number of spots available. So sign up early!

Friday, October 11, 2013

LCCC League Week Two Ends in All Drawn Matches

I guess this result would always be true - if the ratings always hold true to form. But in actuality, it was a trade of mild upsets most of the way thru the pairings that got us to this result. That’s why we play’em.
The winners were;
Mike S
Dave S
Paul M
Dave L (Forfeit)
Vince V
Don J (Forfeit)
Mike G
Marcello M
Scot M
Ken T
Americo M
Zade K

So the standings remained the same, with only the point totals changing.
Tigers – 3 match points, 5 team points
Rabid Squirrels – 3, 4.5
Flames – 2, 4
49’ers – 2, 4
Sonics – 1, 3.5
Thunder – 1, 3
The next round is Monday, October 21 at 7pm. The schedule is (1st team listed has board one as white);
Thunder vs Sonics, Boards 1 – 4
Flames vs Tigers, Boards 5 – 8
49’ers vs Rabid Squirrels, Boards 9 – 12

In other news, the Port Huron Chess Club is working on submitting some dates to LCCC that might work for another club match. Hopefully a Home and Home series. Stay tuned.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Bobby Fischer’s 1962 List of the Ten Best GM’s - #3 Wilhelm Steinitz

Wilhelm Steinitz
Here are Bobby Fischer’s comments on a World Champion:
“Steinitz was the first chess player to be called World Champion. He was given the title after his 1865 match against Anderssen. He is the father of the so called Modern school of chess.
Before Steinitz, the King was considered a weak piece. Steinitz claimed that the King was well able to take care of himself, and ought not to be attacked until one had a positional advantage.
Pawns ought to be left back. Steinitz claimed that since they cannot move backward once they are forward, they cannot protect the squares behind them.
Steinitz was only one year older than Paul Morphy and the two only met once – in New Orleans. But records indicate they never played chess or even discussed it.
Steinitz book knowledge did not compare to Morphy’s and where Morphy would play a book line, Steinitz was always looking for something completely original. He was a man of great intellect – an intellect he often used wrongly.
He understood more about the use of squares than Morphy and contributed a great deal more to chess theory.
Unlike many other players, Steinitz didn’t mind getting himself into cramped quarters if he thought that his position was essentially sound.”
Just a note to say that the league standings and results will be posted Friday. We have some make up matches to be played Thursday.

Also, one team did request a name change. So watch to see what place the Rabid Squirrels are in.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Week 39B-2013 Had Eight Players – and Fischer’s #4 Grandmaster

Siegbert Tarrasch

Lots of casual games played and some nice conversation - over coffee too at Teekos! If you have not been to our Thursday location, come by and give yourself a treat. It’s a beautiful location with great coffee and tea drinks.

Now we continue with Bobby Fischer’s 1964 list of his top ten grandmasters of all time:

#4 - Siegbert Tarrasch

Chess players generally fall into two main divisions: the ones with rules, axioms and master plans and stick to them dogmatically; and the ones that know the rules and axioms but who are quick to take advantage of unforeseen developments on the board.

The best chess players are a combination of the two.

Tarrasch was much closer to the first category. He was a rule of thumb player; Knights should only be on c3, f3, c6 and f6; Bishops are always better than Knights; etc.

Tarrasch followed the rules so strongly, that he is among the greatest players of all time.

His play was razor-sharp and in spite of his devotion to this supposedly scientific method of play, his game was often witty and bright.

 He was a great opening theorist. Vastly superior to Emanuel Lasker for example.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

LCCC League and Schedule Set for 2013-14

Gene M in action
Eleven players were in attendance on this non-league Monday night. It was great to see Jason M back at NPP.
Tim R won his make-up league game to finish the first round. So now the schedule is set.
Here is next week's schedule:
Sonics vs Tigers
Mike S (W) - Matt T (B)
Dave S (B) - Ken L (W)
Tom H (W) - Paul M (B)
Alex D (B) - Dave L (W)

Thunder vs 49'ers
Vince V (W) - Tim Ritter (B)
John R (B) - Don J (W)
Mike G (W) - Sam Thompson (B)
Luca M (B) - Marcello M (W)

Flames vs Sixers
Aaron J (W) - Scott M (B)
Gene M (B) - Ken T (W)
Americo M (W) - Luigi M (B)
Zade Koch (B) - Zack R (W)

Here are the standings (match points - team points):
Tigers 2 - 3
Sixers 2 - 2.5
Flames 1 - 2
49'ers 1 - 2
Sonics 0 - 1.5
Thunder 0 - 1

Saturday, September 28, 2013

First Round League Night Nears Completion

Thursday night saw two more games played for the first round of the LCCC Chess League. A special thanks go out to the players for playing match games in a much busier than usual coffee house, where we even lost our access to our private room. Oh well, LCCC’ers are gamers and the pawns must go on!

We only have one left to go, and that has to be done this Monday or it goes in the books as a draw.

Matt T of the Tigers and John R of the Thunder both won on Thursday.

Here are Teams, Members and current standings:

 Tigers 2 points – 3 Team points
Matt T
Ken L
Paul M
Dave L

Sixers 2 points – 2.5 Team point
Scott M
Ken T
Luigi M
Zach Romeo
Flames 0 points – 2 Team points (one match to go)
Aaron J
Gene M
Americo M
Zade Koch

Sonics 0 points – 1.5 Team points
Mike S
Dave S
Tom H
Alex D

Thunder 0 points – 1 Team point
Vince V
John R
Mike G
Luca M

49’ers 0 points – 1 Team point (one match to go)
Tim R
Don J
Sam T
Marcello M

The league schedule will be emailed out - and posted on this blog as soon as the first round finishes Monday.
Once the schedule is sent out – it will be up to the players to get with their opponent and ask for a make up if one is needed. If granted, it is  up to the players to schedule it on a Monday or Thursday and get it done.
Selected games will be posted on this blog also, so look forward to that!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

LCCC 2013-2014 League Kicks Off – with Pizza!

L to R: Mike G, Marcello M, Paul M and Dave L in League action.
Thanks to Club Secretary Don J., a little pizza was served as the final teams and pairings were finalized. Thanks Don! We got started about 7:15pm, but that will not be the case the rest of the way. The schedules will be sent out and 7pm the clocks will be started. The next league night – October 7, 2013.

Tonight, we welcomed new members Alex D and Dave L to LCCC also. Glad you were here.
The league settled in with 6 four person teams for a total of 24 players. This is a 25% increase in league growth and thank you to everyone for participating.  It is going to be a very competitive – yet fun league to be a part of.

Left: Alex D and Zack R do battle.
On to the action!
We had only one pairing finish their match tonight. The Sixers defeated the Sonics 2.5 – 1.5. Ken T and Zach R posted wins for the Sixers, while Scott M scored a draw against his higher rated opponent - Mike S - in a very tough game. Tom H got the win for the Sonics.

The Tigers lead the Thunder 2 – 0 at this point with two matches to be made up hopefully this Thursday. Paul M and Dave L got wins for the Tigers. The matches still to be played are the two top boards of Matt T (White- Tigers) vs Gus S (Thunder) and Ken L (Tigers) vs John R (White – Thunder).
In the final group, the Flames hold a 2 -1 edge over 49’ers with one match still to be played. Again, the top board was missing (I’m sensing a pattern here). Gene M and Zade K got victories for the Flames and Sam T got the win for the 49’ers. Still to be played, Tim R (White – 49’ers) vs Aaron J (Flames). No date yet for this match, but hopefully next Monday.
A quick note to thank our Rating Committee – (Ken T, Matt T and Terry G) for the good work they did. The ratings for players appeared to be solid in lieu of the fact that there was only one mild upset win and one upset draw. The higher rated players seemed to hold serve – so well done guys.
Next week there will be people ready to review the games played and give some instruction to the players who would like to do this. That is what a LCCC does – up the skill level of every member. Then when LCCC members join tournaments, they are ready to win!
The Standings, final schedule, new ratings and next pairings will be sent out soon – and posted on the blog.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Bobby Fischer’s No. 5 Greatest Grandmaster

Mikhail Tchigorin
Mikhail Tchigorin

"Although dead for 60 years [Ed. Note: 100 now], the Russians still call Tchigorin the father of Russian chess. He was, in fact, one of the last of the Romantic School and a good all around player.
Although beaten by Steinitz twice, Tchigorin was the finest endgame player of his time. Although, judging from his notes, he often over-analyzed positions.
Steinitz and Tchigorin were rivals – they represented respectively – the new and the old school of chess. Although Steinitz was 30 years older than Tchigorin, after winning, he happily said, “Youth has triumphed!”
Tchigorin had a very aggressive style, and was a great attacking player. He was always willing to experiment and sometimes lost to weaker players. He was easily discouraged, which held him back from even greater heights.
He was not really an objective player and would often continue playing a bad line even after it had been refuted. It was not until years later that he would finally stop trying to refute Steinitz lines, and started playing them himself.
Tchigorin was the first great Russian chess player and is still one of the best of all time."
Bobby Fischer - praising a Russian chess player? Wow!
PS: LCCC chess league starts Monday! Be there!

Monday, September 16, 2013

LCCC Week 37a – Seventeen Players on Pre-League Monday

Vince V in action
A nice showing tonight on the Monday prior to the LCCC League starting. More on that late
We welcome back Scott M to the LCCC club. He had taken an extended visit to Arizona, but returns in time to join the League. Great timing! Welcome back Scott.

 Vince V wins his Ladder game tonight and moves into the top spot! Congratulations Vince! Can you say…

Sam T and Marcello M also won Ladder games; Sam moving up and Marcello holding his spot. Nice job guys!

Now – about the league – it starts next week! We have 30 players that have said they want in! Please let me know if you want in – but more importantly, if you are IN and changed your mind – please let me know!

We will pick the teams around 6:45 and get the round started as close to 7pm as possible. Your early attendance next Monday would be greatly appreciated. Schedules have been made for all possible scenarios, so all that is needed is your timely arrival.

Two league players have stated that they may have trouble making the first night. Well, every attempt will be made to either give their team a bye in week 1 or pair them with a team with a member that has no problem allowing a make up game on later Monday or Thursday. But there are no promises!

It should be a very close, entertaining, and fun league. Next week – it’s go time!


Thursday, September 12, 2013

LCCC Week 36 B-13 – Nice Night at Teekos – Fischer’s No. Six Player

Six players made the Thursday meeting. One Ladder game played as Mike N held on to the spot in a tough game. But some casual "coffehouse" games were also played.

Next Monday, we are still taking players for our league. The league starts September 23rd, so show up next week and claim a spot in the league.

Here is Bobby Fischer’s 1964 list of the top ten grandmasters of all time.
Alexander Alekhine
Alexander Alekhine
“Alekhine is a player I’ve never really understood. Yet, strangely, if you’ve seen one Alekhine game, you’ve seen them all.
 He always wanted a superior center; he maneuvered his pieces to the king side, and around the 25th move, he began to mate his opponent.
He disliked exchanges, preferring to play with many pieces on the board. His play was fantastically complicated, more so than any other player before or since.
Alekhine was never a hero of mine and I never cared for his style of play. There is nothing light and breezy about it. It worked for him, but could scarcely work for anyone else.
 He played gigantic conceptions, full of outrageous and unprecedented ideas. Its hard to find mistakes in his game, but in a sense, his whole method of play was a mistake. Alekhine developed much more slowly as a player than most great players. He didn’t reach his world class strength until well into his thirties.
But he had a great imagination and could see more deeply into a situation than an other player in chess history.
He disliked clear cut positions. He liked it cloudy and complex positions, and it was his stamina and vision that carried him to victory. It was in complicated situations where Alekhine found his greatest concepts.
Many consider Alekhine to be a great opening theoretician, but I don’t. He played book lines – and not very well. He always felt his natural powers would get him out of any dilemma.
At the chessboard, Alekhine radiated a furious tension that often intimidated his opponents.”

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Week 36-13: LCCC Plays Two Nights for the First Time!

Tom H in action at the Michigan Open
So, I guess you could call it Week 35-II-13 and Week 36-13.

We met at Teekos Coffee and Tea on Thursday and then our regular meeting on Monday (yesterday).

Nine players made it on Thursday and sixteen this Monday.

The big topic of conversation at the club right now is about the start of the LCCC Chess League of course.

The 2013 - 2014 LCCC League will be really REALLY great this year.
We have enough players for a league right now (Six 4-person teams), but bigger is better!
We have club officers willing to step in or step out - to fill in the teams or make the teams more competitive as needed.
They will even fill spots on teams should a player have to drop out or not show at the last minute!
The bottom line is this - the league and your team will be full and competitive!
We are looking at a double round robin schedule! One or two rounds a month - Sept thru May.
Holidays, sporting events, and even big chess tournament weekends (that Monday or the Monday after) have been avoided in the scheduling! A permanent schedule will be set after Week One
Players seeded to their own strength level.
Player ratings, and therefore the Teams have been selected by a committee.
Final teams will be "drawn" the first night of the league - Sept 23rd.
Rounds will start at
Games will be 60min / game (2 hours).
Substitutes are not permitted, but make ups are at the discretion of your opponent.
Full league rules will be emailed if you request them prior to joining.
League rules of course will be available on League nights.
There is no better way to sharpen your game, test your skill and have fun doing it! We still have league spots open, so there is still time to sign up!
Then, we will use any additional players wishing to get in the league as an alternate in a first come - first serve basis.

Since we are picking the teams on the night of the league, if you are present on Sept. 23, you will probably be in the league. If you have to miss, you need to get a hold of a TD (Ken T, Matt T or Mike N) to make arrangements. That may keep you in the league, but your opponent will decide if he will have mercy on you.

This league will be great, so get to the club or the email as soon as possible!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Games Department

by Jason Morris

Hi All LCCCers,

This time around, we'll feature some games from the 2013 Michigan Open. Let's get to the action.

2013 Michigan Open - Round 6
Alexander Deatrick (2054) - Matt Trujillo (1822)

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. Nc3 Nc6 

So we have a Symmetrical English, which can transpose to many different systems depending on what white plays next. 4. e4, 4. d4, 4. g3, 4. e3, and even 4. d3 are all possible here. In choosing 4. g3, white's plan is to aim the Bg2 on the center and queen side and to wait to see where black commits his center pawns and pieces. A more classical player might opt for 4. e4 to restrain d7-d5, then play 0-0 and d2-d4 aiming for a Maroczy Bind Sicilian position.

4. g3 g6 5. Bg2 Bg7 6. d4 

White decides to open the center now before black can clamp down on d4 with e5. However, 6. 0-0 was an option here.

6. ... cxd4 7. Nxd4  O-O 

This is a position where it is easy to go astray as black. The problem is that black seems to have no good way to continue his development. Both 8. ... d6 and 8. ... b6 lose a pawn. I recall being flummoxed in this position against Fred Lindsay (white) many decades back, and I failed to resolve the problem and got tied in knots. If I recall correctly, I played something horrible like 8. ... a6 and 9. ... Qc7 to defend c6, but inaccurate moves against like this just create more weak squares and targets for white's pieces.

8. O-O 8. ... Nxd4?!

This leads to a definite pull for white. Generally, you should avoid moving the same piece twice in the opening, which includes making captures that only speed your opponent's development. Although black seems tied up (he can't move his b-pawn or d-pawn to let the Bc8 out), he can equalize here a few ways:

(a) 8. ... Ng4!?
(b) 8. ... Qb6!?
(c) 8. ... Qa5!?

(a) 8. ... Ng4 9. e3 Nge5 10. b3 d6 11. Bb2 Nxd4 12. exd4 Nc6 13. d5 Ne5 14. f4 Nd7 15. Qd2 0-0 black is OK.
(b) 8. ... Qb6, 9. e3 d6, 10. b3 Bd7 11. Bb2 Rfe8 12. Qd2 Rac8 and black has completed his development.
(c) 8. ... Qa5 with the obvious idea of Qc5 and the not-so-obvious idea of transferring the queen to h5 with Ng4 to follow. For how this might work, we step back to round 5 and the game Deatrick - Finegold from round 5. Ben got his queen active, switched flanks, and exploited the weak dark squares around white's king:

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. Nc3 g6 4. g3 Bg7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O Nc6 7. d4 cxd4 8. Nxd4 Ng4 9. e3 d6 10. b3 Nge5 11. h3 Qa5 12. Bb2 Nxd4 13. exd4 Nc6 14. Ne2 Qh5 15. g4 Qh4 16. Bc3 f5 17. f3 f4 18. d5 Ne5 19. Bd4 h5 20. Nc3 hxg4 21. hxg4 Bxg4! 22. fxg4 Nxg4 23. Rf3 Bxd4+ 24. Qxd4 Qh2+ 25. Kf1 Ne3+ 26. Ke2 Qxg2+ 27. Rf2 Qg4+ 28. Kd2 Qf5 29. Ne4 Ng4 30. Rf3 Ne5 31. Rf2 Qh3 32. Raf1 Qe3+ 0-1  

 9. Qxd4 d6 10. Qd2

White plans b3-Bb2 to oppose the Bg7 and he wants the squares b2, c1, d1, and d4 all guarded. However, objectively in terms of dark square control, the lateral 10. Qh4 was better. White then has the annoyingly effective plan of Bg5 (aimed at e7, f6, h6, and d8), Rfe1, Rad1, and e2-e4-e5 initiating central lever action against the d6 pawn. The additional point is that the Qh4 guards the vulnerable c4 pawn. When you have gained a forward position (Qd4), be reluctant to trade it for a retreat that blocks your own development (Qd2). Note also that h4 is the square that Ben based his queen at in the above game.

10. ... Rb8?!

The idea is counter play with b7-b5 against the c4 pawn, but black misses his chance to take advantage of the passivity of white's Qd2. Black could have struck with 10. ... Be6! with the following main lines:

(a) 10. ... Be6 11. Bxb7 Rb8 12. Bf3 Bxc4 13. b3 Be6 14. Rd1 Re8 15. Bb2 Qa5 and black has good play.
(b) 10. ... Be6 11. b3 d5! and the pin on the Nc3 lets black liquidate the center and equalize. 
(c) 10. ... Be6 11. Rd1 Bxc4 12. Bxb7 Rb8 13. Bf3 Be6 14. b3 Re8 15. Bb2 Qa5 16. Ne4 Qxd2 17. Nxd2 Nd7 18. Bxg7 Kxg7 19. Rac1 Rec8 and black is equal.

11. b3 Nd7

Black is trying to get a knight to c5, but it's questionable whether this is a useful square. The knight should stay on the king side to control d5 and intercept white's intended Nd5.

12. Bb2 a5

Aimed at preventing b4 dislodging the knight, but again black is spending time anchoring a knight that strikes into thin air. Meanwhile, white continues his build-up.

13. Rfd1 Nc5 14. Nd5

Both sides have accomplished their missions, but white's knight has targets and is closer to the black king and that gives white a slight advantage now.

14. ... Bxb2 15. Qxb2 Bf5 

Optically good, but black should be aiming to kill that monster knight on d5 with Be6-Bxd5. Note that black can't chase the knight with e6? which would fatally weaken f6 and d6.

16. Qd4 

White had perhaps a simpler positional plan in Rd4 with the idea of Rad1 followed by e2-e4-e5.

16. ... b5? 

Black is consistent, but this has a tactical flaw.

17. cxb5 Rxb5 18. e4

There will be pinning and uncovering threats on the d-file once white advances e4-e5, Whether black captures or not will determine how bad the damage is. That said, white misses the stronger 18. Qh4 threatening e7 and angling for Qh6 when the e4 idea gains strength.

18. ... Bd7?

For better or worse, black had to play the ugly 18. ... e5 to blunt white's initiative. Black would still be worse, but he'd avoid the coming debacle.

19. Qe3? 

White slips, trying to play e5 under perceived better circumstances, but he should have followed through with the natural and strong 19. e5! which shatters black's pawn structure. 19. e5! Ne6 20. Qa7 causes black all kinds of problems. Then if 20. ... dxe5? 21. Nf6+! would pulverize black.

19. ... Ne6?

Again black misses the danger to his dark squares, and e5 was the answer. Then one defensive idea could be to:
  1. Maneuver the Nc5 to e6, 
  2. Trade the bishop for the Nd5 via Bd7-Bc6, then 
  3. Play Nd4 with a protected, centralized knight.

20. Rac1 (e5 was still good here) f6

Black rightly seeks to stop e4-e5, but now white brings up the reinforcements.

21. f4 Rc5 22. f5

I suspect white lost patience with the position when he could have just turned the screws tighter with 22. a3 when black has no constructive moves.

22. ... Rxc1 23. Rxc1 Nc5 

Mine is not to question why... mine is just to do or die...

24. fxg6 hxg6 25. Qh6 g5?? 26. Qg6+ Kh8 

You only get so many miss-steps against someone who out-rates you by 200 points, then it's lights out. Now it's lights out. 

Position after 26. ... g5?

27. e5! 

A clearance sacrifice, taking advantage of the overloaded d-pawn and the weakness of the b1-h7 diagonal. The spectre of a sac on c5 and then Be4 setting up mating threats prevents any capture of the e-pawn. Meanwhile, the e-pawn spreads havoc in black's camp, setting fire to all it touches. If 27. ... fxe5 then 28. Rxc5 dxc5 29 Be4 will cost black both his bishop and rook to avoid mate.

27. ... Be8 28. Qh6+ Kg8 29. exf6 exf6 30. Rf1 Nd7 31. Be4 Rf7 32. Bf5 Nf8

With a knight on f8, there is no mate... unless your opponent has you in the Vulcan Death Grip.

33. Bd3 Nd7 34. Bc4 f5 35. Rxf5! 1-0

If 35. ... Rxf5 36. Nf6+ is a very pretty double-discovered mate. All in all, Matt had a great tournament, scoring 3.5/7 against 2190 average rated opponents!

Next up, we have an up and down affair from round 7. Like the warning sign says at the Silver Lake Dune Rides over on Lake Michigan, make sure you keep your hands and feet in the buggy as we go through this game!

2013 Michigan Open - Round 7
Jeff Futrell (1676) - Patrick Kinnicutt (1438)

1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. e4 e6 4. Bxc4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Be7 6. Nf3 b6

After a pretty standard Queen's Gambit Accepted, black starts to lose the thread. In the QGA, black gives up control of the center when he plays dxc4. The only way to avoid being eventually pushed back by white's extra center pawn is to play c5 quickly and counter-attack d4. This and black's 7th and 8th moves aren't geared to that, and this should lead to early trouble in the center.

7. O-O

Here white had the much stronger 7. Qa4+ probing black's queenside and pretty much forcing 7. ... c6.

7. ... Bb7 8. Qe2 Nc6

Now white can react immediately with 9. d5! pushing black's pieces from the center.

9. Rd1 O-O 10. d5 exd5 11. Nxd5 

White had the sharper 11. e5 when black has to find 11. ... Re8! to avoid a debacle. For example: 11. ... Re8 12. Nxd5 Bd6 13. Nxf6+ gxf6 14. Bxf7+ Kxf7 15. Qc4+ Re6 16. exd6 cxd6 17. Bf4 with a great position. If 12. exf6 then 12. ... Bd6! just keeps the balance.

11. ... Nxd5 12. Bxd5 Qc8 13. Bg5 

White had the positionally superior 13. Bf4 with the idea of attacking c7 via Rac1.

13. ... Bxg5 14. Nxg5 Ne5

This is a mistake that costs a pawn. 14. ... h6 removing the target and driving the knight back was far better.

15. Nxh7 Bxd5

Holding on was 15. ... Re8

16. Rxd5

White is too hasty to regain his material. Simply 16. Nxf8 would have left him up material in a winning position. For example, 16. Nxf8 Bc4 17. Qh5 Nd3 18. Nh7 Nf4 19. Qg5 Ng6 20. Qc1 Be2 21. Re1 Qg4 22. Ng5 Nh4 23. g3 Bb5 24. a4 Be8 25. Ra3 defending f3 and removing all tricks based on Qxg5 and Nf3+.

16. ... Re8 17. Qh5 Ng6

This blunder should have cost black the game due to the attack on the h-file and black's weak king. 17. ... Qe6 was the last chance to throw a spanner in the works.

18. Ng5

White is now completely winning.  All he has to do is consolidate his position and re-group for a second wave attack with f4-f5.

Position after 18. Ng5

18. ... Re5 

Black plays for complications.

19. Qh7+ 

Still winning, but not nearly as clear-cut as 19. Rxe5 Nxe5 20. f4 when black loses more material.

19. ... Kf8 20. Rxe5 Nxe5 21. Qh8+

Again, white could have transposed to the line above here. In one move, white throws away a +6 advantage to only +1.

21. ... Ke7 22. Qxg7 Qh8 23. Qxh8 Rxh8 

Despite being two pawns down, black's pieces are more active than white's, and this will lead to him recovering some material.

24. Rd1 f6 25. Nh3 Rh4 

The more targets black has for his rook and king, the better his drawing chances. So, the aggressive 25. ... Nf3+! would have given white more problems.

26. f4 Ng6 

Pressing with 26. ... Ng4 was an option. With white's rook, knight and king somewhat clustered Black could also hurry his knight to c5 via f8-e6 to attack the e-pawn and to support his queen-side majority. Passive retreating will let white consolidate.

27. Rf1 a5

Objectively, I'm not sure this pawn move helps anything.

28. Rf3

White misses a chance to increase his advantage with the apparently anti-positional 28. f5! with the idea of 29. Nf4 and Nd5+ or Ng6+.  For example, 28. f5 Ne5 29. Nf4 c6 30. g3 Rh8 31. Rd1 and white has untangled.

28. ...  a4 29. Nf2

No need to jettison a pawn.  Just the simple Kf2-g3 would have worked.

29. ... Rxf4 30. Rxf4 Nxf4 31. g3 Ne2+ 32. Kf1 Nc1 33. a3 c5

Black pokes a hole in his pawn structure without a good reason. Simply 33. ... c6 was far less committal. White still has a thin edge, his ace in the hole being his outside passed h-pawn. But before sending it on it's way, white should secure the queen side with 34. Nd1.

34. h4 b5 35. h5

White should drive out the knight with Ke1-d2. The h-pawn dies for nothing.

35. ... b4 36. Nd1

And this throws away any advantage white might have had. While white has dithered, black has managed to creep his pawns closer. What becomes decisive is that white's king is too far away to help defend.

36. ... Nd3 37. Ke2 (37. Ne3 still held the draw.) Nxb2 38. h6 Kf7

Amazing. From being totally winning, white is now totally losing

39. Ne3 Kg6

Ugh!  And black misses the win with just 39. ... bxa3 and white is busted.

40. Kd2

and here 40. Nc2! holds the draw!

40. ... Kxh6 41. Kc2 

Oh dear!  And here, as scary as it seemed, 41. axb4 cxb4 42. Kc2 a3 43. Kb3 Nd3 44. Nc2 was the way.

41. ... bxa3 42. Kb1 c4 43. Ka2 c3 44. Kxa3 Nd3 45. Kxa4 Nc5+ 46. Kb4 Nxe4 47. Kc4 Kg5 48. Kd4 Nxg3 49. Kxc3 Kg6 50. Kd4 Kf7 51. Kd5 Ke7 52. Ng4 f5 53. Ke5 1/2-1/2

And your humble annotator needs some Advil and Dramamine.