Sunday, February 16, 2020

LCCC's past president Matt Trujillo in tournament action
Great crowds and chess action at the Club. Winter is hard - chess is fun!

Need something to do on those cold Monday nights? A friendly game of chess or two with fun people is a great way to spend an evening.

Our 2020 Club Championship is in full swing and round 3 starts this week. Here are the pairings for Round 3:

Mike N

Peter B

Paul M

Vince V

Ken T

Sam T

Heymo V

Petro K

Charlie S

Josef M

Stop by the Club to watch some tournament chess action, or play some casual chess. There is always always someone there who is not in the tournament looking for a casual game.

Now for an interesting game:
White to move!

This is a Ladder Tournament game played at the Club.
To give you a little more information, it is not a normal chess game, but a Chess 960 or Fischer Random game.

This means that the pieces on the back row are not in the normal chess positions at the start. Instead, they are randomly placed in the back row. It takes opening preparation completely out of the game.

This game has been going on for 27 moves. It has been a positional battle with both sides trading a slight positional lead. Right now Black actually holds a (-.3) lead, according to the computer Grandmaster Igor3000.

That lead is basically the same lead White has at the beginning of a chess game with the first move. So thru all of the 27 moves, Black has been able to wrestle only a tempo (move) away from White. This was a timed game and both players still have over 30 minutes on their clocks. Time is not a factor …….yet.

We don't know how Black feels about his game at this point. But we do for White as your scribe played over the game with him. White is very worried about Black's attacking chances against his king with both of Black's rooks aiming at him. He is concerned about the lack of active squares for his knights. And he is concerned about the forward position of Black's c-pawn. It is not a factor yet, but if the intense defensive struggle starts on the king-side, White is worried Black will have an endgame advantage there.

Did White calculate all the variations scenarios and come up with the correct answer that he was indeed in trouble? No - he just 'felt' he would be fighting for a draw the rest of the way.
White told this writer that he usually likes to play these types of positions for draws, while waiting for his opponent to over-extend or make a mistake. But he says with this particular opponent, he did not feel confident he could 'defend' and hold, or that his opponent would make any kind of meaningful mistake.

White knew what his problems were. So he turned his attention to problems Black has: His rooks cannot cover the queenside. White is out-manning Black on the queen-side, and can get his pieces over there faster than Black can. Black has committed to a king-side attack.

But how does White open up the queen-side?
28. Ndxc4          dxc4
29. Nxc4            Be7?!
Note that Igor3000 did not give White's knight sacrifice a ! (good move) because 28. Bxg5 was best with perfect defense. However, we already know that White did not think he would play perfect defense. And this surprise aggression by White seemed to have panicked Black slightly.
There is psychology in chess at time and White took 12 minutes of his 30 remaining to make move 28. Black must have felt White found something he did not see yet. Black needed 29. …….Bxf4 to open the lane for his rook. The move played was too passive, as a deeper study by Black might have revealed that White still had nothing. This defensive move allowed White to regain the tempo lead in position (+.2).

30. Nd6+           Bxd6
31. exd6             Nd5
32. Be5              Rh7
33. Bf3               Kc8??
With White getting a little short of time, Black tried to just hold on and let White get in severe time trouble. But in making what looks like a logical move quickly, he gives White a chance to move is pawns forward. 33. …...b5  34. axb5   axb5 was required. White is way ahead now (+5)

34. c4            Nc3
35. Rb3         Ne4
36. Bxe4       fxe4
37. c5            bxc5??
This allows a pretty finish.

38. bxc5        Be8
39. Rb8+       Kxb8
40. d7+          Ka7
41. dxe8(Q)   Rb7
42. c6             Black resigns
The 'sac' was unsound, but still worked.