Superstars of chess: Top players making their moves in Tulsa PDF Print E-mail
Wed, May 14 2008 (03:24)

Twenty-four competitors are vying to win the Frank K. Berry U.S. Chess Championship. Tens of thousands of people visited Tulsa on Tuesday to follow the opening day of the 2008 U.S. Chess Championship.


Superstars of Chess By David Harper (Tulsa World)

Goddesschess Fighting Chess Prize PDF Print E-mail
Wed, May 14 2008 (03:21)

Godesschess is the sponsor of the fighting chess prize of the 2008 U.S. Women's Championship. The prize is $350 and the Susan Polgar Foundation will add an additional $150 to round it off to $500. Thank you very much Godesschess and Susan!


Read More- Susan Polgar Blog

Round 1 By Tom Braunlich PDF Print E-mail
Tue, May 13 2008 (19:21)

The first round featured many interesting games, but perhaps the least interesting one was also one of the most important, as defending champion Alex Shabalov made a terrible one-move blunder on move 18 and resigned immediately in view of Yermo's killer move 19. Nxd5. It is an easy shot to overlook, allowed by the previous move unprotecting the queen. In the post-mortem the players looked at (instead of 18…Ne7?) 18…Qc719. Nb5, Qb8 20. c4 with the idea of f4-f5 among other things.

Chess Player
FM Daniel Ludwig in a talented 17-years old Master from Florida.

A theme in several of the matchups this round featured a veteran playing black using a provocative opening to create winning chances against less experienced players.In Pruess – Becerra black chose a double-fianchetto line. When Pruess didn’t over-react to it, Becerra found a way to sac a pawn for pressure on the queen side files as in a Volga Gambit. But it proved sufficient only for a draw. In Ludwig-Perelshteyn, a double-king pawn game evolved into a King’s Indian type formation — except that the light-squared bishops had been exchanged. IM Alan Stein in the commentary room explained how this difference is favorable for white, as this light bishop is important in many ways including attacking chances on the king side. Eugene may have been hoping to outplay the youngster, but Daniel decided he needed to advance right away on the queen side, which led to exchanges and an eventual repetition.


On board 1 Alex Onischuk emerged from the opening with an edge against Kraai but in time trouble the position became messy and an odd series of check repetitions led to a draw.


Ivanov – Vigorito was a complex maneuvering game in a blocked formation. At one point black missed a breakthrough shot but defended nicely to eventually reach an exchange down ending that apparently could have been drawn. But after black’s pawn went to f4 white was winning.


In the women’s event, Krush grabbed a pawn gambited by Abrahamyan that led to a hedgehog=type position in which white was missing herb-pawn but was advancing fast for a king side attack. However, Irina’s …d5thrust in the center was enough to counter it and led to a winning edge.


Zatonskih played a nice line to reach a positional bind against Zenyuk that was overwhelming.


Epstein – Tuvshingtugs looked straight out of the 19thcentury! Chimi reacted to a Ponziani opening with a piece sacrifice which gave her an initiative that continued well into the ending. Eventually Esther had to return the piece to reach material equality, only to find her king mated in the end game.


IM Alan Stein is doing annotations of the games and answering questions online. See the previous story in this blog. For the complete results of the round, click on “Results” and click on “Pairings” for the round 2 matchups.


— Tom Braunlich

Gulko - Kaufman (round 1) PDF Print E-mail
Tue, May 13 2008 (17:05)

Round 1- White: GM Boris Gulko (2623) - Black: IM Larry Kaufman (2398)

1. c4 Nf6 2. d4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Bg5

4. cxd5 and Nf3 are more popular, but this move can be dangerous too. Karpov and Kasparov played several incredible games in the exchange variation. According to my database, Gulko never used this move before, so it's likely that Kaufman was caught off-guard.

4. ... Ne4 5. Bh4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 dxc4 7. Qa4+

7. e3 is played 90% of the time here, between GM's, so this may have been yet another surprise for Kaufman.

7. ... Qd7 8. Qxc4 Bg7 9. e3 b6 10. Qb3 Bb7 11. Nf3 O-O 12. Be2 c5

Black begins to put pressure on White's strong center, as he always must in the Gruenfeld defense.

13. O-O Nc6 14. Rfd1 cxd4 15. cxd4 Rac8 16. Rac1 e5?

A rather provocative move, with White's rook aimed right at the enemy queen. The typical 16. ... Na5 was a better choice, intending some helpful trades, and restraining White's center by increasing control of d5 and e4. It's often the case in the Gruenfeld that Black aims for the endgame, when White's central control may decrease in significance, and Black's queenside majority might begin having an influence on the play. Also, from a5 the knight eyes the c4-square, which tends to be hugely important in this pawn structure.

17. dxe5 Qf5 18. Bd3

Boris improves his pieces with gain of time...

18. ... Qh5 19. e6!

... and doesn't allow Black to regain his pawn or even to get his balance.

19. ... Na5 20. exf7+ Kh8

20. ... Rxf7 could be considered better, but Black is essentially losing anyway, so why not complicate? But now Gulko finishes the game in style.

21. Rxc8 Bxc8 22. Qc2 Bg4 23. Be7 Rxf7 24. Bc4!

Opening the d-file with a gain of time. Black's king is defenseless.

24. ... Nxc4 25. Rd8+ Bf8 26. Bxf8 Rxf8 27. Rxf8+ Kg7 28. Rf4 b5 29. Qc3+ Kh6 30. Rf7 Bxf3 31.
Qg7+ Kg5 32. Rxf3

and Black resigned. It seems that probably Kaufman was surprised by Gulko's 4th and 7th moves, and may have just been rattled when he played the unsound 16. ... e5. Black didn't get a second chance. For some history of this opening, I refer you to the fascinating Karpov-Kasparov games from the period 1987 - 1990.


IM Alan Stein Annotates Games PDF Print E-mail
Tue, May 13 2008 (15:57)

To send your question to Alan, sign-up for free, Login and in User Menu on the right side select View Member List, type Alan Stein in Search. Type your message and subject in Quick Message windows and click send.


Alan Stein

Alan will annotate selected chess games each day.


International Master Alan Stein was a leading junior player during the 1990's. He won the Arnold Denker Tournament of High School Champions in '91 and the California state championship in '94. Though he plays less frequently these days, he had a successful debut in the 2006 U.S. Championship, scoring 5.0/9 and earning his IM title. Alan lives in Los Angeles, California.

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And for the chess-player the success which crowns his work, the great dispeller of sorrows, is named "combination."

-Emanuel Lasker (1868-1941)

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