Author Archives: Martin Stahl

2017 MCA Board of Directors Election

The ballots to select board members for for 2017-2019 have been mailed out. Please keep an eye out and be sure to return your selections to the Election Commissioner, postmarked by June 26th, 2017.

 

Remember to only vote for board members in your region and up to three members can be selected; write-ins welcome.  Your mailing label will include the region for your address:

  • Region 1: ZIP Codes 630xx, 631xx and 633xx
  • Region 2: ZIP Codes 640xx, 641xx
  • Region 3: The remaining Zip Codes in the state

 

One candidate was accidentally left off the ballot for Region 3, so if you would like to vote for that candidate you can use the write-in option. Below are the registered candidates, along with a short statement, if one was provided.

 


Region 1

  • Bob Howe
  • Thomas Rehmeier
  • Ken West
  • Jason Clark

Region 2

  • Randy Merrell: “I have served the MCA as Election commissioner, Treasurer, Bulletin Editor, and Tournament Organizer / Director* during the years leading up to 2003. In 2003 I was promoted to Sr. Engineering Technician for Honeywell FM&T and transferred to Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos NM. Then in 2009 I retired with 30 years of service to Honeywell. I have returned to Lee’s Summit, MO and am currently serving on the Board. I am the organizer for 2017 Missouri Open in the Kansas City area. *(Assistant TD 2001 & 2003 Missouri Class, 2002 Missouri Open, 2002″
  • Ken Jones: “I have served on the Board for the last 2 years and believe we are making progress in our goal  of promoting chess throughout the state and would like to continue that mission.”

Region 3

  • Nick Beatty: “Thank you for considering me for the MCA Board. If selected, I’ll do my best to foster a positive environment for chess to thrive in the Springfield area.”
  • Martin Stahl: “Hello, I’m Martin Stahl from Joplin, MO. Over the past few years I have been running tournaments in the Joplin and Springfield areas. I look forward to continuing to promote chess in Region III and the rest of the state by continuing to serve on the MCA board. Thank you for your support.”

2017 Board of Directors Nominations

Missouri Chess Association members are invited to submit nominations for the election for the MCA Board of Directors. Nominees must be residents of the state of Missouri, 16 years or older (as of April 15th) and current MCA members.

 

If elected, nominees would serve a two year term, beginning on September 1, 2017. Self-nominations are welcomed and encouraged.

 

Board Members are expected to be current MCA members, attend board meetings (currently 4 times per year, most via Skype, but potentially in Columbia) and the general membership meeting at the Missouri Open.

 

The deadline for nominations is May 1, 2017. Election ballots will be mailed out by June 1 to MCA members in good standing as of May 1, 2017.

 

Send your nominations, along with a short bio and picture to: Ed Baur, Election Commissioner, 7138 Lindenwood, Saint Louis, MO 63109 or email them to moc.o1498602628ohay@1498602628ssehc1498602628om.se1498602628nojne1498602628k1498602628 (MCA Secretary) . Nominations must include the nominee’s name and region (or mailing address).

The Dread of Discovered Checks

by Ken Jones

One of the most powerful and most feared weapons in chess is the discovered check.  I suspect the fear comes from the helplessness one feels as the rampaging piece does its business to destroy your position.  A extreme example of this is the “windmill” series of discovered checks from this famous game:

C. Torres Repetto-Em. Lasker, Moscow 1925

White had just played 1. Bg5-f6! uncovering an attack on the Queen, which gave Black no choice:

1…Qxh5 2. Rxg7+ Kh8 3. Rxf7+ Kg8 4. Rg7+ Kh8 5. Rxb7+ Kg8 6. Rg7+ Kh8 7. Rg5+ Kh7 8. Rxh5

 and White soon converted his material advantage.  One would not have to endure very many of these situations to develop a natural aversion to the discovered check!  But, as Reti noted, in chess we value the exception rather than the rule.  In the following examples, by reacting instinctively (fearfully) to the threat of discovered check, the opportunity to show an exception was missed.

M. Adams (2751)-S. Sethuraman (2637), Gibraltar 2017

White had just captured a N on d7, expecting (due to the threat of discovered check) to pick up the now loose Be5 (and this is in fact what happened in the game.)  Later Black pointed out what both Grandmasters had missed:

1…Bxf4!!

The exquisite point being that while White can win the Queen, he will lose the game:

2. Rc7+ Bd7! 3. Rxc8+ Rxc8

 

and White cannot save his Queen and meet the threat of 4…Rc1+.

N. Vardan (2079)-M. Gomes (2302), London 2016

Black has been trying to find a way to promote the b2-pawn for over 60 moves but the lack of protection around her King has made it problematic.  She just played 1…Be5, setting up the discovered check.  White stepped out of it with the obvious 2. Kh1 and soon had to resign.  The missed opportunity was:

 

2. Qxe5! b1=Q 3. Qh5+!

 

when Black will have to acquiesce to either perpetual check or stalemate.

 

The final example is from one of my own games:

K. Jones (2213)-R. Haring Orton (1954), US Open 2016

After the correct 1. bxc4! Re2+ 2. Kg3?? I was unable to win the game.  Given the theme of this article, can you see what I missed?

 

I should’ve walked into the discovered check with 2. Kf1!!

Position after 2. Kf1!!

Black’s Bishop is doubly attacked, so that after a discovered check I can capture it with one Rook while protecting the other.  Meanwhile, the Bishop cannot move away from guarding his own Rook, so it is lost anyway.

 

I hope this article will encourage you to look beyond the obvious in your own games!

Ray Gatten vs Ken Jones, 10th USCCC Prelim

Game and annotations courtesy of NM Ken Jones

Marty Phillips vs Ken Jones, 2016 Springfield Open

Game and annotations courtesy of NM Ken Jones. Round 4 of the 2016 Springfield Open held at Missouri State University.

2016 General Membership Meeting

The 2016 General Membership meeting will be held in conjunction with the Missouri Open. The meeting will be from 9:30 until 10:00 AM, prior to round 4, on December 11th, at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center, 4657 Maryland Ave., Saint Louis, MO 63108.

Paul Keres and the Sicilian Wing Gambit

by Ken Jones

 

After studying a number of his games, I found it interesting that a world-class player like Keres would occasionally play the Wing Gambit against the Sicilian.  True, he made no claim of its soundness, but used it as a surprise weapon with the knowledge that Black would have to work out its details while the clock was ticking.  It was also a psychological choice against opponents who had well-constructed opening repertoires.  Off the board, though, my review of these games reveal more promising lines for Black than for White.

 

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3

 

Keres used the immediate 2. b4 only one time (against V. Vulberg, 1935 Estonian Ch.)  After 2…cxb4 3. a3 e6 4. axb4 Bxb4 5. c3 Bf8 6. d4 d5 7. e5 we have reached a position that may also arise from a topical gambit line against the French (1. e4 e6 2. Nf3 d5 3. e5 c5 4. b4 cxb4 5. a3, etc.)  Keres eventually won on time in a completely lost position, and thereafter preferred to delay the gambit.

 

2…d6

 

The O’Kelly variation  2…a6  can also be “winged”:  3. b4 cxb4 4. a3 d5?!  (this central reaction is simply mistaken here, as Black does not even get a pawn for his troubles)  5. exd5 Qxd5? 6. axb4 Bg4 7. Nc3 Qh5? (misplacing the Q; Black should probably bail out with 7…Qe6+ as 7…Bxf3? loses material by 8. Nxd5 Bxd1 9. Nc7+ Kd8 10. Nxa8 and the N can escape via b6) 8. Be2 e6 9. 0-0  (The immediate 9. Ra5! also embarrasses the Q)  Nf6 10. Ra5 Nd5 11. h3  (11. Nxd5 exd5 12. Re1 Be7 13. c4 also looks logical and strong to me)  Bxf3 12. Bxf3 Nxc3 13. dxc3 Qg6 14. Qd4  (Black’s position is hopeless)  Qf6 15. Qc4 Nd7 16. Bg5 Qg6 17. Bxb7 Rb8 18. Bc6 Be7 19. Bxd7+ Kxd7 20. Rd1+ Ke8 21. Qc7 (1-0), Keres-T. Gauffin, Helsinki 1935.

 

3. b4 cxb4

 

Rather than accept the pawn, Black will often play 3…Nf6, but Keres himself wryly noted that the gambit would be seen much more in international tournaments if this were the best reply! Still, there is nothing wrong with Black’s game after  4. bxc5 Nxe4 5. cxd6 Nxd6 6. Na3 Nc6.  In actual practice vs Keres, though, Black reacted weakly:  6…Qa5?! 7. Nc4 Nxc4 8. Bxc4 e6 9.0-0 (Keres-J. Turn, Tallinn 1937) and 6…Qc7?! 7. Bb2 Bg4 8. Be2 Nd7 9. 0-0 Nf6 10. c4 (Keres-S. Herseth, Stockholm 1937).  In both cases White has an edge in development, central control and plenty of open lines.

 

4. d4 Nf6

 

4…g6  (Keres noted that the fianchetto is logical)  5. Bb5+?! Bd7 6. Bc4 Qc8?!  (White’s experimental approach provoked an awkward response; the obvious …Nc6 is better)  7. Nbd2 Bg7 8. 0-0 Nf6 9. e5 dxe5 10. dxe5 Ng4 11. Qe2 0-0  (again, 11…Nc6 12. Bb2 Qc7 gets pieces on better squares)  12. h3 Nh6 13. a3  (finally making it a real gambit)  Nc6 14. axb4 Nxb4 15. Rb1 Nc6 16. Ba3 Nf5 17. Qe4 Be6?!  (the anticipated misplay)  18. Bxe6 Qxe6? 19. g4 Nh6 20. Rxb7 Nxe5 21. Rxe7 Nxf3+ 22. Qxf3  (White regained the pawn with a slight edge due to the stranded Nh6)  Qf6 23. Qe2 Rfd8 24. Ne4 Qc6 25. Re1 Bf8?  (“winning” the exchange leaves his K-side fatally weak)  26. Qf3 Bxe7?? 27. Rxe7  (threatening the Queen by Nf6+)  Rdc8 28. Qf4 (1-0), Keres-I. Dyner, Ostend 1937.

 

5. Bd3

5. Nbd2 Nc6 6. Bb2 e6  (This is a common set-up against the gambit.  Black keeps the small center (pawns on d6 & e6) and develops behind it, hoping to get his King safe before trying to use the extra pawn.  White will also not rush forward, but try to put his pieces on good squares while playing around the pawn on b4)  7. Bd3 Be7 8. 0-0 0-0 9. Qe2 Ne8  (the immediate 9…d5 10. e5 Nd7 is possible, when Black can later play …Re8 & …Nf8 to guard the K)  10. Rfe1 d5 11. Qe3?!  (inching toward the K-side, but too slow)  a6 12. Qf4 Qc7 13. e5 f5!  (Using a tactic to close the position.  Black’s King is now safe enough)  14. h4 Nd8??  (14…Nf6! heading to e4 gives Black the better game)  15. Rac1 Nf7?  (now 15…Nf6!? could be met by 16. exf6 Qxf4 17. fxe7 Re8 18. exd8/Q Rxd8 which is unclear; materially, Black is doing fine but White’s total control of the dark squares should not be underestimated)  16. c4 bxc3 17. Rxc3  (as often happens with gambits, Black has kept the extra pawn but is behind in development and is passively placed, with plenty of weak squares to guard)  Qd8 18. Ba3!  (securing domination of the dark squares–which Black’s next move further weakens)  g6? 19. Bxe7 Qxe7 20. Rb1  (with Black’s King hard to get at, White turns his attention to the other side of the board)  Ng7 21. Nb3 Nd8 22. Nc5 b5 23. a4 Nh5?  (this only chases the Queen to where the action is)  24. Qc1! Rf7  (now 24…bxa4 25. Nxa4 is ruinous)  25. axb5 a5?  (25…axb5 is no fun, but to let White keep the pawn loses quickly)  26. Ng5 Rg7 27. b6 h6 28. Nf3 g5 29. hxg5 hxg5 30. Na4 Bd7 31. b7 Rb8 32. Rc8 Nf4 33. Rxb8 Nxd3 34. Qc7 (1-0), Keres-R. Bruno, Havana 1960.

 

5…d5!?

 

Perhaps this is why Keres waited until Black played 2…d6 to offer the gambit–striking in the center now costs Black a tempo.  In a rare appearance of the Wing Gambit in modern grandmaster play, 5…g6 was played was seen in Timur Gareev-Gata Kamsky, 2015 US Ch.  After 6. a3 bxa3 7. 0-0 Bg7 8. h3 0-0 9. Bg5 Nc6 10. Nc3 Nd7 11. Nd5 h6 12. Bh4 Nb6  (12…g5!?) 13. c3 Bd7  (13…Be6!?)  14. Rxa3, White had enough for the pawn.  The game was drawn in 46 moves after a hard-fought struggle.

 

6. Nbd2 dxe4

 

6…e6 7. e5 Nfd7 8. 0-0 Nc6  is another way to play it, when White should try to get control of the dark squares by 9. a3.

 

7. Nxe4

 

For the rest of this game, I will make liberal use of Keres’ comments mixed in with my own observations.

 

7…Nbd7

 

7…Nxe4 8. Bxe4 Nd7 9. c4! Nf6  (9…bxc3 10. Qb3, Keres)  10. Bc2  (with initiative, Keres)  e6 11. 0-0 Be7  (S. Buchal-H. Freise, Menden 1974) when both 12. a3!? or  12.Qd3!?  give active play.

 

8. Neg5

 

Here, too, 8. c4 bxc3 9. Qb3  would lead to lively and interesting play (Keres), while simply 9. Nxc3 also gives adequate compensation.

 

8…Qc7

 

8…h6 9. Ne6 Qb6 10. Nxf8  followed by 11. 0-0 (Keres).

 

9. c4

 

Since the game continuation eventually gives Black the advantage, I suggest the simple 9. 0-0 e6 10. Re1, with compensation for the pawn.

 

9…h6

 

Keres implied that  9…bxc3 10. Qb3 e6 11. Nxf7!  was good for White, but the computer now continues  11…Nc5! 12. dxc5 Kxf7 13. Qxc3 Qxc5 when Black is at least equal.

 

10. Nh3 g5

 

“No bad move” (Keres); my computer thinks more highly of it than that!  To the modern eye, it seems like typical active defense, ignoring positional weakness to gain an initiative.

 

11. Nhg1

 

Given an ! by Keres, who noted that the N that started out on b1 now resides on the other N’s home square!  He considers White’s position “more or less satisfactory”, which is somewhat generous.

 

11…Bg7 12. Ne2 e5 13. Ng3 0-0 14. 0-0 e4?

 

A mistake, although given an ! by Keres.  Better is  14…Re8! 15. Re1 exd4 16. Nxd4 Ne5  giving Black a large advantage (Fritz);  14…exd4 15. h4! g4 16. Nxd4  is suggested by Keres without evaluation, but again Fritz prefers Black.

 

15. Nxe4 Nxe4 16. Bxe4 Qxc4 17. Bd3 Qd5 18. Re1 g4 19. Nh4 Nb6!?

 

A practical choice.  Black faces a stiff attack after  19…Qxd4 20. Nf5 Qxa1 21. Qxg4, but he can survive with 21…Kh8!  (Black gets mated after 21…Nc5 22. Nxh6+ Kh8 23. Qh5 [Euwe], or 21…Qf6 22. Bxh6 Ne5 23. Ne7+ Kh8 24. Bxg7+ Kxg7 25. Qh5+)  22. Nxh6 Qc3!  (22…Bxh6 23. Qh4 Kg8! 24. Qxh6 Qg7 25. Qh4! [Keres] with a winning attack a Rook down)  23. Nxf7+  (White also forces a draw after 23. Nf5 Qxe1+ 24. Bf1 Qe5 25. Bb2 Bf6 26. Qh5+)  Rxf7 24. Qh4+ Kg8 25. Bh7+ Kh8  (…Kf8?? 26 Qd8 mate).

 

20. Rb1 Bd7 21. Re4?

 

Better is 21. Rxb4  and White would not be worse (Keres).

 

21…Rfe8 22. Rf4 Qd6?

 

Keres gave 22…Na4! 23. Bd2! Nc3 24. Bxc3 bxc3 25. Bc2!, but the silicon solution  Qxa2!! 26. Bb3 Qd2 just wins for Black, as do the alternatives  22…Qxa2 & 22…a5.

 

23. Bd2 Nd5 24. Rxg4! Bxg4??

 

Once again, the strain of constant defense proves too great.  Black could hold the balance after  24…Nc3 25. Bxc3 bxc3 26. Nf5 Bxf5 27. Bxf5.

 

25. Qxg4 Qf6 26. Nf5 Kf8 27. Nxg7!

 

Once White has eliminated the strong defensive Bishop of his opponent, he soon obtains a decisive attack (Keres).  There is little add to that.

 

27…Qxg7 28. Qh5 Nf6 29. Qh4 h5 30. Rxb4 Rac8 31. h3! Rc7 32. Rb5 Re6 33. Rxh5 (1-0), Keres-E. Eliskases, Semmering 1937.

 

2016 CCSCSL Championship

Used by permission of Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis; originally posted at http://saintlouischessclub.org/blog/2016-club-championship-five-survive

2016 CCSCSL Championship

2016 Club Championship: Five Survive

by Jonathan Schrantz

The 2016 Club Championship was the biggest Championship in Club history in every way imaginable with a record number of participants, a record number of Grandmasters, and a record number of Club Champions! Fifty-six players, including five Grandmasters (GM) and six other titled players, came out this year to compete for the title of Club Champion. All five Grandmasters that came had hopes of becoming the Champion, but nobody had expected that all five of them would be crowned this year in an unprecedented five-way tie. The five winners were Alex Shimanov, Illia Nyzhnyk, Yaroslav Zherebukh, Priyadharshan Kannappan, and Denes Boros.

The winner of the Club Championship is forever immortalized at the Club by having their name engraved on the prestigious Club Championship trophy. The trophy sits on the second floor of the Chess Club  on the trophy case and towers in size over the other trophies on display. The Club Championship also comes with a prize fund of $3,000 unconditionally guaranteed.

Heading into the final round the chief arbiter, FA Mike Kummer, joked about the possibility of a five-way tie but it required a series of improbable results that all came to fruition. There were draws on boards one and two between the Grandmasters entering the fourth and final round with three points. Kannappan and Shimanov drew as did Boros and Shimanov. Nyzhnyk, who was trailing the leaders by half a point coming into the last round, was able to beat IM Michael Brooks in the final round bringing the five tournament favorites to a score of 3.5/4 each.

While it may not come as a surprise to many that the Grandmasters had the best tournament result, more than one GM had to struggle in the early rounds against significantly lower-rated opponents. Of note, Ben Shoykhet (rated 1783) had a winning position against GM Priyadharshan Kannappan in the first round and, after the game, the Grandmaster admitted that he was spending a lot of time during the game deciding if he should offer a draw. Unfortunately for Shoykhet, the crafty and resourceful GM was able to pull off a major comeback and win the game.

Congratulations to all of the winners this year and thank you to everyone that came out and made the event so successful and entertaining. Our next tournament will take place on National Chess Day, which falls on October 8 this year.

A Small Tribute to Paul Keres

by Ken Jones

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of the great Estonian grandmaster Paul Keres.  While circumstance and politics may have prevented him from becoming World Champion, he nevertheless defeated everyone who held that title from Capablanca to Fischer! He deeply investigated opening systems that are still popular today, from the Nimzoindian to the Ruy Lopez, and several variations carry his name. A superb tactician, Keres provided many examples for combination puzzles. And while solving “Black to play and win” problems are extremely useful, in this column I would like to show how a great player creates the opportunity for a tactical finale.

The diagrammed position is from Euwe-Keres, 1948 World Championship Match/Tournament.

 

Euwe VS Keres 1948

Euwe VS Keres 1948

 

Let’s begin by evaluating this position. White has two pawns controlling the center, all his pieces are active, and has an attack on the weak Q-side. Black, who is on move, is also fully developed. The move f2-f4 has weakened the white squares around White’s King, which Black’s N can attack but the Bishop cannot defend. Keres spots a tactic that immediately increases his control of the both the center and the white squares:

28…Rxe4! 29. Rxe4 d5 30. Qxa6

Of course, 30. Qd3? dxe4 wins a piece.

30…dxe4 31 Be3

Logically trying to keep control of the d2 square, yet the Bishop is vulnerable here. But after 31. Bc3 Qf5! (threatening …Qc5+) 32. Qc4 Nxf4! wins a pawn: 33. g3 Nh3+ 34. Kg2 Qg4 with …Ng5 to follow.

31…Qg4!

Probing the white square weaknesses on the K-side.

32. Qc4 Rd3 33. Bc1 Nh4!!

To me, this is the best move of the game. The obvious 33…f5 gives Black a solid plus, but Keres sees that he can give away a pawn with check while allowing White to guard g2 in the process!

34. Qxe4+ f5 35. Qb7 c6?!

A minor blemish. In time pressure Keres goes with a forcing line, but he could’ve delivered the
same combination without giving away this pawn with 35…Rc3! (threatening both …Rc2 & …c6) 36. Qd5 c6 37. Qd2 etc.

36. Qxc6

It is here that the “Black to play and win” exercise begins.

36…Rc3! 37. Qd5 Rc5! 38. Qd2

White is still guarding g2 and prevents …Rc2, but now comes an unexpected shot.

38…Rxc1!

Black wins a piece because 39 Rxf1? Nf3+ picks up the Queen. White struggled on but eventually lost in 56 moves.

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