Tuesday, June 29, 2010
I win a chess tournament!
On Saturday I played in the G/60 at the Marshall and (SURPRISE!!) I won it! Not very many people showed up: a lot of strong kids were at the NY State Junior Open (Justus Williams tied for first!) and some people are probably in Philadelphia for the Philadelphia Open. I don't know where Asa Hoffman was, usually he lurks around, waiting for moments like these.
There were 10-14 players, depending on how/when you count(ed). I was second seed, number one was Michael Thaler, who just graduated from Hunter and is going to Brown next year. Michael's first round game was an e6 Sicilian against David Siudzinski, who, uncoincidentally, was also my fourth round opponent. David played a Keres attack, and the position quickly became one of those sharp but super-positional ones, where there are tons of weak squares, knight outposts on e5, pawn breaks, etc., and you have to figure out which one's the most important. It's fun to watch strong players beat weak players in those positions, because the losers end up looking like hopeless bumblers. David seemed like he was playing reasonably, I wasn't watching that closely for obvious reasons, but I thought Michael was clearly winning when my game finished. I had 40 minutes until round two, so I went to Zara and bought a cardigan (board two was directly under the air conditioner). I came back to hear Thaler drew and withdrew in disgust.
Another expert joined, but he had taken a half point bye in round one, drew round two, and lost to my esteemed fourth round opponent in round three. Other than this very talented 1600, it was just A players to beat, and I managed.
Vicary, Elizabeth --Seldon, Alex Evan
1. d4 d5
2. c4 c6
I've been teaching this to a few kids, and I got interested enough to start playing it myself. This is my first game in the line. I learned it from Jonathan Hilton and Dean Ippolito's excellent book "Wojo's Weapons." It's fun to play because no one has any idea what to do against it. The two big ideas are to take on c4 and play Bf5 (against which white plays Qxc4, Nf3, g3, Bg2, 0-0, e3, Qe2, Nc3 and e4) and or to play g6 and Bf5 (against which white plays Qb3, Qb6; c5 Qxb3; axb3 and b4-b5).
4. Nf3 g6
5. Bf4 Bg7
6. e3 O-O
7. Bd3 I don't know why I didn't play Nc3 here. I wasn't really sure if my bishop belonged on d3 or e2, and usually that would prompt me to delay deciding and develop the knight instead, but somehow it didn't. I think I was just used to Catalan-y play where you take care of the kingside first.
Also, I was really confused why he wasn't playing Bf5.
8. h3 Nb6
9. c5 Nbd7
10. O-O Re8
So I was expecting 11... Nh5 12. Bh2 e5 here, when I have to take: 13. dxe5 Nxe5 14. Nxe5 Bxe5 15. Bxe5 Rxe5 and it's dangerous for me after 16. Ne2 Qh4, when black is threatening 17.. Bxh3 right away.
12. b4 This is the normal response to b6, defending my c pawn, but it happens in this position that I can take: 12. cxb6! Now if they recapture with the queen or knight, I'm happy because the c pawn is backwards and play Rfc1 or Na4 or Ne5 or moves like that. Black wants to recapture with the a pawn, then later to play ...c5, but 12... axb6 runs into the brilliant 13. Nb5!, which threatens both Nc7 and Bc7.
He can't really play 12... a5 because I have 13. b5! and 13... cxb5 14. c6! or 13...bxc5 14. bxc6 Nf8 15. c7 Qd7 16. Bb5.
Interestingly, 12... Nh5 13. Bh2 e5 is not quite as good as before, because after 14. dxe5 Nxe5 15. Nxe5 Bxe5 16. Bxe5 Rxe5 17. Ne2 Qh4, black's queenside is loose(r) after 18. cxb6:
13. Bh2 Maybe kinda pointless as I can't really stop e5 if he wants to play it?!
14. a3 Qc8
Here I figured it must be time to take on b6 and attack c6.
15. cxb6 Nxb6
16. Ne2 Nfd7
17. Rfc1 e5 He gets his break in, but he's done too much damage to his pawn structure.
18. dxe5 Nxe5
19. Nxe5 Bxe5
20. Bxe5 Rxe5
23. Rxa1 Nd7
24. Rc1 Nb8
25. b5! Re7
26. bxc6 Ba8
27. Qa4 Nd7 (27...Bb7!)
28. cxd7 (28. Qa3 is even better)
29. Bf1 Rxe3
30. Qxa8+ Kg7
31. d8=Q Re1
here's a nice story on two chess shops in NY.