Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Rochelle Ballantyne vs. Elizabeth Vicary vs. NY State Chess Association

Ballantyne, Rochelle 1961 - Vicary,Elizabeth 2100 [B10]
ny state women's champ, round 3, 31.05.2009
1.e4 c6
2.c4 d5
3.exd5 cxd5
4.cxd5 Nf6

I had forgotten Rochelle played this line and prepared for a regular Panov. I had been nervous because I was going to play the 5...Nc6 lines for the first time, and they seem dangerous if black doesn't know what she's doing. I was relatively happy to see Qa4, because I've played it myself as white and I was pretty sure Rochelle wouldn't remember too much.

White's idea on 5... Bd7 is to play 6. Qb3 and it's tricky to recapture the d5 pawn.

6.Nc3 g6
So this is already unusual. Normally, the bishop usually comes to c4 and then white defends it with d3, so that after black castles and played ...Nd7-b6xc4, white's recapture dxc4 strengthens d5.
8.Bg2 0–0

a logical moment by me!

Normally in this variation, the bishop is on c4, and then I play 9...a6, threatening 10... b5. It looks like this fails to 10. Bxb5, but then black has 10...Nb6! attacking the queen and defending the rook, which wins the Bb5. After 9...a6, white usually plays 10. Qa3 to avoid this and pressure e7.

So I'm trying to figure out what to do here, and I'm proud that I think I successfully reasoned out the answer. The normal move, a6, doesn't make as much sense without a bishop on c4. But because I'm a tempo up here (g3 and Bg2 rather than Bc4), white hasn't castled, and I found a way to exploit this.

My big idea is that if white takes on e6, my knight gets to d3, stopping white from castling, and maybe putting lots of pressure on f2:

10.dxe6 Nc5 and something like 11.exf7+ Rxf7 12.Qd4 Nd3+ 13.Kf1 Qxd4 14.Nxd4 Ng4,
or 11.Qd4 Nd3+ 12.Kf1 Qxd4 13.Nxd4 Ng4 attacking d4 and f2,
or 11.Qc2 Nd3+ 12.Kf1 fxe6 (D)

many ways to attack f2: Q-->b6, Nf6-g4, Rf8-->

11.Qb3 Nbxd5
12.0–0 b6


I expected 13.Nf4 Bb7 14.Ncxd5 Nxd5 15.Nxd5 Bxd5 16.Bxd5 Qxd5 17.Qxd5 exd5 and I'm a little better becaue my bishop is better, but not much. My endgames are pretty bad, I'm realizing (more on this next post), but I'm always happy to play endings against children.
14.Bg5 Qd7
15.Rad1 Rfd8
16.Nxd5 I don't know why she starts trading all these pieces when she has an isolated pawn. She definitely knows better.

17.Bxd5 Qxd5
18.Qxd5 Rxd5
19.Be3 Rad8
20.Nc3 R5d7
21.h3 h5 I thought this might be useful?! Is it weakening?!
22.Bg5? Rxd4
23.Rxd4 Rxd4

I considered 24...Rb4: maybe this is simpler/ better, I was just enchanted with the idea of getting bishop versus knight: 25.Nxa7 Rxb2 26.a4 Rb4 27.Nc8 Nd5

25.Bxf6 Bxf6
26.Nxa7 Ra5
27.Nc8 b5

I just thought that when the knight takes the b-pawn and then my rook takes on b2, attacking it, that it would have fewer choices on b5 than b6, because my bishop controls squares like d4 and c3.

28.b4 Rxa2
29.Nd6 Bd4

I was trying to set myself a series of small goals to accomplish. First, I'm going to tie her pieces down by attacking f2.

30.Rf1 Bc3
31.Rb1 Bd4
32.Rf1 Rb2
33.Nxb5 Bb6
34.Nd6 Rxb4
35.Rc1 Rb2
36.Rf1 Rc2

I read in books that the way to take advantage of bishop vs knight endgames is to push the knights back with pawns.

38.Ng5 e5
39.Nf3 This is cooperative of her. g5 is a nice outpost for the knight and she should secure it there with h4. 39...e4
40.Ne1 Rb2

40...Re2 was my first idea, to threaten Bxf2 Rxf2 Rxe1, but she is obviously going to g2 and f4 next, and this will cause me to lose a tempo if my rook is on e2.


guess how I win a pawn???

a nice photo of Rochelle to cover the answer (photo credit: Anthony Causi)


I was expecting 42.Kh2 Rf3 43.Nh4 Rxf2+ 44.Rxf2 Bxf2 45.Nxg6 which I guess is pretty winning?]
43.Kh2 Rb3
44.Nxg6 Kf7
45.Ne5+ Ke6
46.Nc4 Bc7+
47.Kg2 Rc3
48.Nd2 Rc2

Guess how I win a piece?

another nice photo

50.fxe3 Ba5
51.Kf3 Bxd2
52.Ke2 Bb4+
53.Kf3 Bd6 [53...Rh2 54.Kg3 Bd6+? 55.Rxd6+ Kxd6 56.Kxh2 Ke5]
54.Rd4 Rc3

56.Rxh5 Rxe3+
57.Kf2 Rc3
58.Rh4 Bc5+
59.Kf1 f3
60.Rh8 Rc1# 0–1

a photo of me playing Rochelle, stolen from Polly Wright's blog

I need to go off on a little rant now. At this tournament, the NY State Women's Championship, they force you to join the NY State Chess Association. I didn't realize this ahead of time, and I was super-annoyed, although of course it's my own fault for not reading the flyer more carefully. But this is my grievance: The New York State Chess Association should not even exist. Why is it there? What does it even do? Why does Phyllis Benjamin get to bully me into giving her $13 every year??? Possible arguments:

1. It produces Empire Chess. This magazine is absolutely atrocious. It is not worth the paper it's printed on. Why is the NY Times, the most beautiful newspaper in the world, going under, while I am forced to subsidize this vanity press? Isn't that what American market capitalism is good for, getting rid of products no one likes or wants to read?

2. It regulates the State Championship tournaments. But isn't this really done by Steve Immit? I'm sure it could be. Or Jay Bonin, or Harold Stenzel, or Polly Wright, whomever, let's pick someone reputable, give them a 5 year term as "person who decides on bids for the state championship," and pay them $1 of each entry fee for their trouble. I just suspect that the yearly work of the entire organization could be done by a competant individual in one afternoon.

3. It chooses state delegates to the USCF. I don't even know if it actually does do that, but we could easily just vote on the USCF website instead.


ATH2044 said...

"The New York State Chess Association should not even exist.
Why is it there?
What does it even do?
Why does Phyllis Benjamin get to bully me into giving her $13 every year???"
All good questions...

"1. It produces Empire Chess. This magazine is absolutely atrocious. It is not worth the paper it's printed on. Why am I forced to subscribe?"
I looked at the issue in your link & what I found was:
The web site for the magazine doesn't work, & the state organization (NYSCA) page is somewhat anemic, but you're presumably only focusing on the actual printed magazine, so here's what I found there.
The diagrams & graphics definitely stink (I got a headache squinting at the mushy pieces & different sized diagrams).
The flow is a bit hard to follow; it seems to be just a bunch of stuff strung together rather than grouped thematically. I'll admit to being a bit spoiled by my own state magazine (award winning) Chess Horizons.
I did like some of the historical game scores, but with all the great & near great players living & competing in New York state, I'd expect a LOT more coverage of exactly what these players are up to. Why aren't there significant articles by top NY players?
What would you do to improve the magazine?
Is it possible to join NYSCA without subscribing to the magazine for a reduced fee?

"2. It regulates the State Championship tournaments."
State organizations typically do this by appointing someone "official" & conferring championship titles. While this has more symbolic than real value now that there's so many world class players roaming around looking for big prize funds rather than state championship titles, it still costs money & requires organization, promotion, etc.
Whatever is involved in "regulating" the State Championship tournaments apparently is beyond what anyone wants to do without official sanction or however they do it now.
Are you suggesting that some random anarchist step in & preside over this process for half a decade per term?
Are you implying that whoever provides this function now does a really bad job?
It seems that they're covering expenses by charging an at-large membership fee when perhaps only a few players take advantage of any particular event. However, if everyone had the chance to opt out of paying for any activity they didn't participate in, then there'd soon be no official statewide organization & probably no official statewide titles.

"3. It chooses state delegates to the USCF. I don't even know if it actually does do that, but we could easily just vote on the USCF website instead."
Not everyone has a computer, but I agree there's still no good reason not to let the membership decide this.

Ron Young said...

The problem is that you are lacking in state pride. Why don't you go back to Minisoda or wherever.


Polly said...

1. Empire Chess: I'm sure Karl Heck would love some help on making the magazine better. He's always looking for people to write articles. I'm not sure how much someone gets paid for an article. He is also the Treasurer of the NY State Chess Association and could give you a better idea of the costs involved in producing the magazine. I agree with ATH2044 that the diagrams are very hard to read. I'm not sure why that happens.

To answer ATH2044's question about why more of the great NY players don't write for the magazine. It pays little or nothing. I don't know many titled players who will give away their writing for nothing.

Chess Horizons is an outstanding magazine. There are very few state associations that produce such a fine publication. How much does Chess Horizons pay for content?

2. State championships. Every state that I've seen run a state championship requires membership of state residents. If you live in Massachusetts and want to play in the state championship you need to join MACA. Out of state players don't have to join the state association.

NYSCA wants to have different organizers run the various state championships. Anybody can submit a bid. Steve Immitt ran the scholastic championships in Saratoga Springs. The Marshall has run the state woman's and senior's for the past few years.

However one needs a single organization to designate who will run the state championship, otherwise anybody could call their tournament the NY State Championship.

The state association has to decide how the Denker and Polgar representatives are chosen. (NY uses state scholastics to determine that.) Then inform the USCF as to who will represent the state in the Denker and Polgar championships. It would be a problem if several different organizations were claiming to have the right to decide who would represent the state in these events.

3. Delegates: It used to be that the state association decided who would be a delegate, but now that has changed. The state association gives USCF a list of people to be put on the ballot for the delegate seats. Any USCF member over the age of 15 can vote in that election to select delegates for their state. That occurs every 2 years.

Thanks for bringing your students. It's nice to see teenage girls playing chess with such determination and focus. I feel fortunate to do as well as I did against them.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with Polly.

ATH2044 said...

" Anonymous said...
I disagree with Polly.
June 5, 2009 8:15 PM"

She made a dozen or more (actually 21) statements most of which were easily verifiable facts. Which one(s) do you disagree with?
For example:
"I'm sure Karl Heck would love some help on making the magazine better."
Disagreeing with this means that you believe Karl would NOT love help.
How do you know this?

"It's nice to see teenage girls playing chess with such determination and focus."
Presumably you disagree.
Why do you believe this is NOT nice?

Disagreement without any explanation, gives anonymous posters a bad name.