Author Archives: Martin Stahl

2024 Board of Director Nominations

Nominations for the MCA Board of Directors is open

Nominations need to be submitted via email to the MCA Secretary () no later than 11:59 PM on Saturday, June 15. Ballots will be sent as soon as practical after close of nominations to eligible voting MCA members who were in good standing as of June 1, 2024.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation, and as always, thank you for your continued support of Missouri Chess.

2023 Board of Directors Nominations

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the election for the 2023-2025 Missouri Chess Association Board of Directors was delayed. As of this September, the board has found a new election commissioner, Mr. Nathaniel Fast, who will spearhead conduction of the election on an accelerated timeline to install a board for the new term before the end of year. The current 2021-2023 board is continuing to serve in an interim capacity with sole duty of managing day-to-day needs as they arise until the election is completed and the new board installed.

In order to meet this accelerated timeline, nominations need to be submitted via email to the MCA Secretary () no later than 11:59 PM on Sunday, October 15. Ballots will be sent as soon as practical after close of nominations to eligible voting MCA members who were in good standing as of June 1, 2023.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation as we work to remedy this situation, and as always, thank you for your continued support of Missouri Chess.

2021 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, 2021. Self-nominations are welcomed and encouraged.

Board Members are expected to be current MCA and US Chess members, maintain active memberships throughout the term, 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 April 15, 2021. Election ballots will be mailed out by June 1 to MCA members in good standing as of May 1, 2021.

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 (MCA Secretary) . Nominations must include the nominee’s name and region (or mailing address).

2021 State Scholastic Cancellation

For the health and safety of the players, parents, coaches, and tournament staff due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Missouri Chess Association has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2021 Missouri State Scholastic Championship. More information regarding the qualifying and nomination process for the 2021 National Invitationals (Denker, Barber, Rockefeller, and All-Girls) will be published at a later date. Thank you for your patience and understanding during these uncertain times and we look forward to hosting you at the 2022 State Championship.

2019 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, 2019. 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 April 15, 2019. Election ballots will be mailed out by June 1 to MCA members in good standing as of May 1, 2019.

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 (MCA Secretary) . Nominations must include the nominee’s name and region (or mailing address).

2018 Missouri Class Championships

by Randy Merrell


It really began Friday night. We had a blitz (my first) and a lecture presented by Master Ken Jones. The lecture was about a position that falls outside the normal evaluation process. Something I confess I had never considered. I hope Ken will present the position on the website. Maybe all those position I misevaluated were really like this. Probably just my bad skills, but I’m blaming it on this anyway.

We had 8 entries in the blitz. Martin Stahl was nice enough to play the first round to even out the roster until Tim Blaco arrived for round 2. Tied for first and second were Ron Luther and Jason Wawrzaszek with 4.0. Wawrzaszek’s only loss was to Luther and Luther’s was to Kevin Swartz who finished in a tie for third with CJ Armenta. Everything went  smoothly.



We were almost an hour late starting the first round. Some of which (20 min) was due to the bulk of walk in registration. A lot had to do with errors, and players last minute decision to move up a class. Now my feelings about early registration discounts. Everyone benefits from early and accurate registration. Not just the tournament director. Not everyone can register early but if you can you should. I know of no tournament organizer or director that would not refund your entry fee if you notify them that you wish to withdraw the day before the tournament. Also accuracy is important. Please supply your
USCF ID number with your entry. This way identity mistakes are not likely to happen. Finally if your registering a child give the child’s name as the player with their USCF ID.
We had 74 entries about half were on site. This is a big success in a market that had been thought to max out at around 35. Many interesting and exciting games were played. The championship plaques went to the following.

In the Master Expert Section Michael Brooks and Ron Luther tied with 4.5. Brooks won the tie breaks but deferred the plaque to Luther.

Ron Luther (left). IM Michael Brooks (right), 2018 Class Master/Expert Champion

Aaron Z Lin was the top Missouri class A player and took home the plaque.


Class B had a clear first place and it was Missouri resident Matthew J Pratt.

Matthew Pratt, 2018 Class B Champion

Martin Stahl was the top class C finisher from the state.

Martin Stahl, 2018 Class C Champion

Class D also had a clear first from Missouri. Joshua Gollapudi won the plaque and the class.

Joshua Gollapudi, 2018 Class D Champion

In the U1200 section Benjamin Wenlo Xu had the only perfect 5 score of the tournament and took first and the plaque.

Benjamin Wenlo Xu, 2018 U1200 Champion



This tournament was also a success with 10 entries. A four way tie was settled on tie breaks in favor of Max Yang who took home the plaque and a gold medal, Silver went to Sachin D Kesarkar. Bronze was won by Felix Zhang. Just out of the medals but tied for first was Ramkumar Krishnan.

Max Yang, 2018 Novice Champion



Springfield Park Board Chess Club, 45 Years Strong

intro by Martin Stahl

While I only started going to events at the Springfield Park Board Chess club in 2008, I first encountered their involvement in chess during the early 90’s when attending some scholastic tourneys being ran by the club and Marty Phillips. That has only been part of a longer history of the club which has been having a resurgence in the past couple of years and looks to continue growing.

In 2011, I began helping run some events in partnership with the club and worked with them on holding a Springfield Open each year in the October time-frame (initially with a National Chess Day event in 2013). Starting in 2016 they began holding ladder games and in the latter part of 2017, Dylan Mounts resurrected the club newsletter, The Outpost.

The following comes from the October 2017 issue of the newsletter. PDF versions of The Outpost can be found on their website, which include games with annotations. You can keep track of events and happenings there or on their Facebook page:


by Roger Pagel
with editorial contributions
by Dylan Mounts

October 7 marked our second annual Senior Center Blitz Fundraiser. It’s a small way for us to show our appreciation to the Senior Center for allowing us use of their facilities. My understanding is that our club is the oldest in the state of Missouri, and for most of our history the Senior Center has been our home. It seems fitting, then, to provide a brief history of our club as told by our longest standing member, Roger Pagel:

Historically, for those who do not know, the Center was not always a Senior Center. When the Club was “given use” of this space in the 1980s at the Ray Kelly Park by the Spring-field Park Board—now called the Springfield-Greene County Park Board (note the Club has not changed its name)—it was only the back room that then dog legged to the left and was formally a police satellite station that was no longer being used.

It sometimes got crowded in such a small space. There were two window A/C units that would often blow the fuses and it had an exhaust fan the size of a large dinner plate that did little to cool the place off. It got hot excessively hot during the summer months, but we played anyway!

The Club over the years has waxed and waned in members. In the 70s chess teams were part of the club comprised of 4-6 teammates who would then play other teams. We even had team names! If memory serves, we had 6 or so teams and a small newsletter of the matches was distributed among the members.

Then in the late 80s Marty started our first ladder competition and created the newsletter, “The Informant,” later changed to “The Outpost,” which increased member-ship to well over 50 and the club thrived with members paying $1 each for each ladder game played to cover rating fees and operating expenses in addition to yearly dues, which if memory serves was $25/yr. Our treasurer then was Clarence Townsend who kept immaculate books and made sure everyone paid the $1. You knew when he app-roached you to get out your dollar! Clarence was a mainstay of the Club and should not be forgotten.

This saw our coffers soar to over $2000. This amount was used after many years of just sitting there in 2012 for a 40th anniversary tournament with 1st prize of $500 and class prizes of $100-$50. We were able to disburse enough funds to bring our account down to under $400. Since club participation then was very small it was time to disperse the funds to a more manageable size while giving back to the chess community.

And now, thanks to Afzal, who reintroduced the Ladder last year, the Club has grown to our present 40 paid members with many others showing up each week to play and/or learn the game. While the Club provides the Ladder, we like to think we provide fellowship and other forms of chess that welcomes anyone interested in the game.

Thus, we are overly grateful that when the large addition was added to the Senior Center, the Club was still welcomed to the use of the building. The Park Board still owns the park and the building, but only maintains the outside area and provides no funds to the interior maintenance. The Senior Foundation of the Ozarks (assuring seniors are provided food and community) works with the Park Board and in turn leases the building to the current Senior Center Administration. At least, that is our under-standing of the operation of the facility.

Prior to being located at the Ray Kelly Park, the Club used many Park Board facilities around the City, thus the reason the Club was named SPBCC to denote the Park Board giving the Club places to play by the founders, members of the Springfield News-Leader and SMSU faculty members. In fact, in the early 70s the Club used to meet on Saturday mornings at the Meador Park Bath House. Not the best facility to say the least, but even worse than the bath house, the Club met at Fassnight Park in an open pavilion—not ideal in bad weather or during the winter in addition to having to contend with the pigeons and their droppings!

Thus, after this lengthy recollection—most of which is accurate though some might remember it differently or explain the history with a different point of view—we have a long and rich history and wish to support the facility where we currently play.

This year’s Blitz fundraiser was a great success with first place shared by Ed Rysal, Matthew Pratt, and Roger Pagel, each with a score of 6-1. Nearly $200 was raised for the Senior Center.

2017 Class Championships Report

Student Center on the campus of St. Louis University. It is the first tournament of its kind to be held at SLU, but unlikely to be the last as the university has embraced chess with a passion. The University started a chess team in 2015, and it is already a top notch program. Under the watchful eye of coach GM Alejandro Ramirez, the team has already qualified for the collegiate chess final four.
Players squared off in 8 separate categories; Master, Expert, Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D, Under 1200, and a one day novice event for Under 1000.

Grandmaster Priyadharshan Kannappan (2595), scored 4.5 to win the Master section. It is the first time he has played in the state Class Championships despite competing for Webster’s Championship winning University team for several years running. GM Kannappan attended the event as a warm up for a grueling schedule of events ahead. “ I have a bunch of tournaments coming up”, he said, “I wanted to test out some new openings” The GM is planning on playing in six tournaments through Mid-August, including the Aviator Open in Dayton and a 10 player closed tournament, among others.


Benjamin Shoyket (1963) (pictured left with TD), scored 3.5 to win first place in the expert section. With a single loss to GM Kannappan, and a draw to Susanna Ulrich, Benjamin “played up” and scored several upsets to be able to grab the section championship.







Will Nesham (1950) (pictured right) won the Class A section with 4.5 points. Will’s performance was so dominant, that his only draw came against Iris Zhou (1894), who ended up taking clear 2nd in the section. Nesham said the tournament featured a change in his opening selection. “I actually played some queen pawn openings and I have never played queen pawn in tournaments. I played online to get practice in case of transpositions. I want to play d4, but I really like e4”, he said.





Coming in just behind Nesham in the Class A section was local Iris Zhou. Zhou credited her success to following her instincts. “I was trusting my calculations”, she said. “I also worked on my openings. In my games in this tournament I worked on paying more attention to my pawn structure.”

Aleksey Kazakevich, (1777) won the B Class State Championship with 4.0/5.0. After winning three straight games on Saturday, Kazakevich held on to his lead Sunday with two hard fought draws. The victory boosts him back in Class A. “I’ve been doing tactics every day for the last five months”, he said. “I beat Paul Goddard thanks to tactics. It was looking completely drawn but I was able to find something.”
Also notable in B class was 2nd place finisher Kevin Banas. Kevin entered near the bottom of the rating chart at (1554) due to playing up. His 3.5/5 effort gave him a share of 2nd place money and nearly 100 rating points!


Chris Shelton, a second year law student at Mizzou, broke away from his studies to play some chess, and took home the Class C plaque and title. After a first round draw, Chris (pictured right), ran off four consecutive wins to end 4.5/5 and take the title. “I’ve been studying openings a lot lately”, said Chris, “and didn’t get any of them on the board this weekend!” One of his games featured a rare, under promoted knight, that pulled a losing game back to even. He went on to win that game on his way to the title.
Matthew Manley (1508) took clear 2nd in that section. Matthew sat in a tie for 1st going into the last round, but a family event meant he had to accept a planned 1/2pt bye and leave his final standing to fate. While it cost him the chance for the state title, his final score of 4/5 remains something to be proud of.


The Class D tournament ended with the most drama. As the final round started, literally all 6 players in the round robin section still had a chance at a prize! It would be Randy Engleby (1205) from Kansas that ended up atop the pack. Randy enjoyed the 1st place prize money, but as he wasn’t a Missouri resident, the State Title remained up for grabs. Ken West (1200) and Anuraag Pujari (1030) ended with 3 points each and were named Co-Champions for Class D. Ken West (pictured left), got the honor and glory of hoisting the plaque, as his tiebreaks and head to head victory over Pujari granted him the hardware.



Vishnu Aran of Columbia (pictured right) won the final section in the two day main event. With 4.5 points, he boosted his rating from 1112 to 1239 while grabbing the Under 1200 title. Jacob Sanders, one of the lowest rated players in the section, came from the bottom of the rating chart to score 4.0 and gain over 100 rating points and the 2nd place prize money as well.







The Missouri Chess Association also hosted the one day Novice Championship. This shorter time control event was perfect for new and lower rated players looking for serious tournament chess against equal competition. The section drew 43 players, including an amazing 17 new players! We hope many of those go on to play in future events around Missouri.

The section ended with two perfect scores. Joshua Fundler and Jason Woolem each ended perfect, with 4/4. Fundler improved his pretournament rating of 989 to 1054, while Woolem jumped from 998 to 1036. Both players earned the Missouri Novice Championship title, but it was Fundler who got to take home the plaque thanks to better final tiebreaks.

2017 Missouri Open Results

by Randy Merrell

Eighty chess players attended the 2017 Missouri Open Chess Championship held at Unity Village Missouri. Amazingly exactly forty in each section.Thanks to a $500 donated guaranteed first place prize the tournament qualified for the Grand Prix circuit with 6 Grand Prix points. All rounds started within just a few minutes of the advertised time. The Unity Village Hotel was praised as a wonderful venue. The only problem I’m aware of was the proximity of the tables to the air conditioning vents. We eventually found a way to correct the issue.



Boards one and two in the open section held everyone’s attention. In the fourth round a draw with Abhishek Mallela put IM Michael Brooks within reach. Master Ken Jones win over Ron Luther setup the final board one match. However a win by Brooks over Jones, and Ron Luther’s draw with Abhishek Mallela on board two put Brooks over the top for the championship.



Ryan Duan dominated the Reserve section. Finishing a half point out front with a perfect 5.0. Because he elected to enter ineligible for prizes 1st place money went to Xueyi Chen. The first Missouri player was Wesley Willis who won the championship plaque and a share of second place with 4.0 score. Losing only to Cael Province who also took part of the 2nd place prize, along with Charles Carlson.


Pairing Number Name Cash Non-Cash Prize Prize Credited to Pool
1 MICHAEL A BROOKS (4.5/2390) 500 Plaque Place: 1 – $500
20 JONATHA GOLLAPUDI (4.0/1810) 125 U2000/1 – $125
2 ABHISHEK MALLELA (4.0/2228) 125 Place: 2 – $250
6 SAMUEL ISA FOWLER (4.0/2091) 125
30 BRYCEN M PARKER (3.0/1693) 100 U1800/1 – $100

Pairing Number Name Cash Non-Cash Prize Prize Credited to Pool
13 XUEYI CHEN (4.5/1450) 200 Place: 1 – $200
8 CAEL DOU PROVINCE (4.0/1491) 34 Place: 2 – $100
7 WESLEY DAL WILLIS (4.0/1506) 34 Plaque
10 CHARLES W CARLSON (4.0/1472) 34
18 KEN WEST (3.0/1200) 100 Class D/1 – $100
20 ACHILLES B MILLER (3.0/1158) 34 Class E/1 – $100
19 CELINA ZHOU (3.0/1183) 34
29 THOMAS WEI (3.0/1036) 34
38 CRAIG A GUSTAFSON (2.5/0) 100 U1000-Unr/1 – $100

USCF Tournament Crosstable (link)

Here are some games from the event:

Round 4: NM Kenneth Jones (annotator) vs NM Ron Luther

[ctpgn layout=”left” id=”2017_MO_Open_JonesVsLuther”][Event “2017 Missouri Open”]
[Site “?”]
[Date “2017.08.06”]
[Round “4”]
[White “Jones, Kenneth E”]
[Black “Luther, Ronald”]
[Result “1-0”]
[WhiteElo “2193”]
[BlackElo “2225”]
[ECO “B07”]
[EventDate “2017.??.??”]
[PlyCount “71”]{(As my record against strong competition had not been good lately, before
the game I decided to concentrate on making good decisions and let that
take me where it would.)}
1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nf3 d6 4. c3 {(White decides to fortify his center
and just develop behind it. This solid approach puts no immediate pressure
on Black, so he is free to choose any number of set-ups.)} 4. … Nf6 5.
Bd3 O-O 6. O-O Nc6 7. h3 {(The immediate 7. Re1 or 7. Na3 give Black the
option of …Bg4, while 7. Bg5 leads to positions similar to the Torre
Attack versus the King\’s Indian–but with the important difference that
White has not yet had to commit himself to Nbd2 to achieve them.)} 7. …
e5 8. Na3 {(8. Re1 is often seen, as sometimes White wants to gain space
on the Q-side with a4 before playing Na3.)} 8. … h6 {(Ron correctly
pointed out that 8…a6 is another common idea in this position.)} 9. Nc2
Nh5 10. Re1 Qf6 {(With the idea of …Nf4, the point of Black\’s last few
moves.)} 11. Ne3 exd4? {(A major strategic concession based on a tactical
oversight–Black is not winning a pawn. Ron later suggested 11…Qd8
immediately.)} 12. Nd5 Qd8 13. cxd4 Ne7?
( {(It\’s better to go ahead with} 13. … Nxd4 14. Nxd4 Bxd4 {when my
intention was} 15. Be2!?
( {Probably better is the obvious} 15. Bxh6 Bg7
( 15. … Bxb2? 16. Bxf8 Bxa1?? 17. Be7 {wins} )
16. Bxg7 Nxg7 17. Qf3 {when White has the advantage, but it\’s
still a fight.)} )
15. … Bg7 16. Bxh5 gxh5 17. Qxh5 {when Black\’s K-side is seriously
weakened, though} 17. … Re8! {holds it together for now, for if} 18.
Bxh6?? Re5! {and Black wins!} )
14. Nxe7+ Qxe7 15. e5! {+/- (Now the Nh5 is in serious danger of being
lost to g2-g4.)} 15. … dxe5 16. dxe5 Rd8 17. Qe2
( {(If White wants to be assured of winning the Nh5, he has to do it
now:} 17. g4! {–but after only a few minutes of thought I decided
against it. While objectively it is the best move (winning a piece for
2 pawns) it totally changes the nature of the position. Black\’s pieces
come immediately to life and my K-side is wide open. Ultimately, this
should not be enough compensation for Black; my engine suggests}
17. … g5 18. gxh5 Bxh3 19. Re3! {as an efficient way to defend. But
weighing this against the strength of my position after 17. Qe2 [when
Black still has to find a way to solve the problem of his wayward N] I
opted for practicality over objective superiority. Was it a good
decision? It worked, but outcome bias is hard to ignore….if you had
set up the position after 17. g4! and told me to pick a side, there\’s
no question of the answer!)} )
17. … g5?!
( {(Black should use the opportunity to save the N with} 17. … f5 {,
when} 18. Bc4+ Kh7 19. Be3 {keeps White\’s edge, but it\’s still a
fight.)} )
18. Bc4!?
( 18. Bc2 {is strong too, e.g.} 18. … Nf4 19. Bxf4 gxf4 20. Qe4 {
winning a pawn} )
18. … g4?! {(Black loses a pawn after either}
( 18. … Be6 19. Bxe6 Qxe6 20. Nxg5 )
( {or} 18. … Nf4 19. Bxf4 gxf4 20. Qe4 {, but the text is worse.)} )
19. hxg4 Bxg4 20. Qe4 {+-} Bxf3
( 20. … Qd7 21. Nh2 Bf5 22. Qf3 Bg6 23. g4 )
21. Qxf3 Rd4
( 21. … Nf6 22. Bxh6! )
22. b3! {(Now the Nh5 cannot be saved.)} 22. … Rad8
( 22. … Rh4 23. g3 )
( 22. … Qh4 23. Bxf7+ Kh8 24. Qxh5 )
23. Qxh5 b5 24. Bxb5 Rh4
( {After} 24. … Qb4 25. Bxh6!
( 25. Qe2 {is also good} )
25. … Bxh6 26. Qxh6 {Black won’t survive.} )
25. Ba3! {(The B\’s first move forces a Queen exchange.)}
( 25. Qe2!? Rd5 26. Bb2 {also wins} )
25. … Rxh5 26. Bxe7 Rd5 27. Bc4 Rdxe5 28. Rad1 {(Black\’s counterplay is
over.)} 28. … Rxe1+ 29. Rxe1 Re5 30. Rxe5 Bxe5 31. Kf1
( 31. Bc5 a5 32. Be3 Kg7 33. Bd2 {would have been more efficient, but
I eventually get around to it.} )
31. … Kg7 32. Ke2 f5 33. Kd3 Kg6 34. Bc5 a5 35. Bd4 Bd6 36. Bc3 1-0[/ctpgn]

Round 5: IM Michael Brooks vs NM Kenneth Jones (annotator)

[ctpgn layout=”left” id=”2017_MO_Open_BrooksvJones”][Event “2017 Missouri Open”][Site “?”][Date “2017.08.06”][Round “5”][White “Brooks, IM Michael”][Black “Jones, Kenneth E”][Result “1-0”][WhiteElo “2390”][BlackElo “2193”][ECO “B25”][EventDate “2017.??.??”][PlyCount “135”]1. e4 c5 2. d3 {(The dance begins. White keeps the option of placing a
pawn instead of a N on c3, and can react to Black\’s set-up accordingly.)}
2. … Nc6 3. g3
( 3. f4 {, followed by Nf3 & Be2 [sometimes known as “The Big Clamp”]
is another possibility from this move order.)} )
3. … g6 {(In turn, Black goes for the most standard Closed Sicilian
structure.)} 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. f4 d6 6. Nf3 e6 7. Nc3 Nge7 8. Be3 O-O {(After
the game, Mike thought it better to wait on castling until White shows
where his King is going. That idea is worth further investigation, and as
a practical matter it\’s a pretty useful concept to keep in mind, but even
if Black is able to keep finding useful moves while waiting for this
situation to be resolved, I\’d be surprised if 8..0-0 is found to be an
actual mistake.)} 9. h4!? {(A new one on me, and I guess pretty much
everybody–I could find only one master game where it was used.)} 9. …
d5?! {(Now was the time to focus on decision-making, and I failed
miserably–and not just for the relative merits of this move. Clearly,
there are many candidates here: playing on the Q-side with Qa5, Qb6, b6 or
b5; playing in the center with this move, e5 or Nd4; and the critical idea
of holding up White\’s play on the K-side with h5. Instead of focusing on
concrete analysis, I was influenced by generalities [“an attack on the
flank is best countered by an advance in the center”] and made an
oversight immediately.)} 10. Bxc5 d4?
( {(The only way to save material was by} 10. … Bxc3+ 11. bxc3 Qa5 {
, but despite the computer\’s evaluation I have a feeling Black is
really going to miss his dark squared Bishop.)} )
11. Ne2 Qa5+ 12. b4 Nxb4 13. Bxe7 Nc6+ 14. Qd2 Qxd2+ 15. Kxd2 Nxe7 {(In my
earlier calculations I still had the N on c6 here.)} 16. Nexd4 {(Black
doesn\’t have compensation for the pawn. The Bg7 will soon be smothered by
the massive pawn center.)} 16. … Rd8 17. c3 b6 18. a4! Ba6 19. Nb5
( 19. a5! {would save White a lot of trouble.} )
19. … Rac8 20. Rhc1 Nc6 21. e5 {(Since Black has no targets, White has
all the time in the world to try and find better squares for his pieces.)}
21. … Na5 22. Kc2 Rd7 23. Ng5 Rcd8 24. Rd1 Bf8 25. Ne4 Be7 26. Ned6?! {
(a waste of time)} 26. … Kf8 27. Ne4? Bb7 28. Bf3 h5! 29. Nd4?? {(This
allows Black an amazing resource.)} 29. … Bxe4??
( {(I never considered} 29. … Rxd4!! 30. cxd4 Nc6! {when suddenly
most of White\’s pieces are on bad squares. For example} 31. Bh1 Nxd4+
32. Kb2 Ne2! {going after the K-side pawn structure. Black has good
chances to hold here–if he can get in Bxe4 his dark square dominance
gives ample compensation for the exchange.)} )
30. Bxe4 Bc5 31. Ne2 {(Back to the status quo. No commentary is necessary;
while there may be improvements for both sides, White can feint and jab
until he finds the right squares for his pieces.)} 31. … Be7 32. Rf1 Kg7
33. Rf3 Rc7 34. d4 Nc4 35. Bd3 Na5 36. Rff1 Nc6 37. Kd2 Na5 38. Rfb1 Rdc8
39. Ba6 Rd8 40. Kd3 Bf8 41. Ra2 Be7 42. Ke4 Nc6 43. Rab2 Bf8 44. Rd2 Na5
45. Bb5 Nb7 46. Ke3 Na5 47. Kd3 Be7 48. Kc2 Bf8 49. Rbd1 Rd5 50. Kb2 Be7
51. Rd3 Bf8 52. Ng1 Rd8 53. Nf3 Be7 54. Ne1 Nc4+ {(If Black waits, Nc2-e3
lets White break through in the center.)} 55. Bxc4 Rxc4 56. Kb3 Rdc8 57.
Nc2 a6 58. Ne3 b5 {(another concession–White gets the open file.)} 59.
axb5 axb5 60. Ra1 R4c7 61. Ra6 Rb7 62. Rd2 Rbc7 63. Rc2 Rb7 64. Nf1 Kf8
( {(Immediately after the game Mike told me I missed a chance with}
64. … b4 65. c4 Rd8 66. Rd2 Rbd7 {winning back a pawn. True, but the
computer shows an elegant refutation:} 67. c5! Rxd4 68. Rd6!! Rxd2 69.
Nxd2 Bxd6 70. exd6 {and the passers will triumph.)} )
65. Nd2 Kg7 66. Ne4 Kf8? 67. Rca2 Rbc7 68. Ra8 {(Exchanging a pair of
Rooks will break all resistance. Congratulations to state champ Mike
Brooks!)} 1-0[/ctpgn]

1 2 3