The first one is always the hardest — and the sweetest. As we reported last week, Texas Tech is the new king of college chess, dethroning longtime powerhouses University of Texas-Dallas and the University of Maryland-Baltimore County in the college game’s Final Four earlier this month in Herndon.
Although the Tech squad lost only one game out of 12 in the round-robin final, the victory wasn’t easy. The champs knocked off UMBC 2 1/2-1 1/2 in the third and final round, while UT-D was held to a 2-2 draw by the University of Texas-Brownsville. Texas Tech’s captain, GM Davorin Kuljasevic, later revealed he wore an “I k Vegas” T-shirt under his black hoodie during the event - a reminder of the Sin City trip the team promised itself if it brought the President’s Cup home to Lubbock.
“We didn’t expect to win,” he admitted. “We just wanted to do our best.”
Tech top board GM Anatoly Bykhovsky got his team off to a good start with a match-clinching win in Round 1 over UT-Brownsville’s GM Timur Gareyev. (College chess is an international affair - the four four-man teams included players from 12 countries.) White declines Gareyev’s Benko Gambit and, after a lengthy positional battle, comes out ahead in the tactical flurry that decides the game.
Through 28. Bxa6 Rxb3 29. Red1, Black has been holding his own and would have had good prospects with 29…Bf7 30. Rbc1 Re8 31. Bc3 Bh6, with a lot of piece play. But tempted by the awkward lineup of White’s bishop and queen, he errs with 29…Bb7?! (see diagram) 30. Bc4+! Rxc4 (Kh8 31. Qxa8 Bxa8 32. Bxb3) 31. Rd8+ (the point - the Black rook was lured off the back rank to make this check possible) Qxd8 32. Qxd8+ Bf8 33. Qf6.
Though the computers say White is winning, there probably were some anxious moments for the Tech camp as Black’s bishops and rooks circle Bykhovsky’s king. But the checks peter out and White goes on the attack decisively on 41. Ba3! Rg2+ 42. Kh4 Bxa3 43. Qf6+ Ke8 44. Rb8+ Kd7 45. Qd8+ Kc6 46. Rb6+ Kc5 47. Qxd6+ Kc4 48. Qxa3; White’s king slips free after 48…g5+ 49. Kh5, so Black resigns.
The U.S. Chess Federation reported last week that Larry Parr, chess journalist and editor of Chess Life magazine for a brief but memorably fiery four-year stint in the mid-1980s, died from tuberculosis at his home in Malaysia April 2 at the age of 64. Parr’s taste for chess politics and polemics was not everyone’s cup of tea, but he produced a large body of fine chess journalism, picking up 20 Chess Journalism of America awards along the way.
He was far better known as a writer and editor than player, but we did find one nice game he won at a 1971 event in Munich. On the Black side of French Defense, Parr conducts the middle game with admirable clarity, gradually taking over the initiative with a queen-side push that leads to a decisive breakthrough.
His own king-side play going nowhere, White tries to trade off the major pieces to ease his cramp, but Parr frustrates him with the annoying 25. Rab1 Qb7 26. Nd2 bxc3 27. bxc3 Rb2!, inviting a trade on b2 that will leave Black in control of the second rank. White’s helplessness can be seen in lines such as 28. Rxb2 Qxb2 29. Qxb2 Rxb2 30. Nb1 Ne7 31. g4 g6 32. hxg6 fxg6 33. Na3 h5 34. Rb1 Rb3! 35. Rxb3 cxb3 36. Kf2 b2 37. Kg3 Kh7 38. Nb1 Nc8, and both White’s king and knight are paralyzed having to keep an eye on Black’s outside passed pawns.
White tries 28. Qc1 Rxb1 29. Nxb1 Qb2! 30. Qe3, but Black only increased his second-row pressure with 30…Qa2! (stepping aside to allow the Black rook to join the fun) 31. Nd2 Rb2 32. Nf1 Ne7, and White is so badly tied up that just a little shove will topple his game.
The shove comes on 37. Qf3 Qc2! 38. g4 Rd2 39. f5 Rd3 40. Re3 Qc1+ 41. Kf2 (the c-pawn could not be saved) Qxc3 42. fxe6 fxe6, and White resigns before playing out the piquant finale: 43. Rxd3 cxd3 44. Qe3 (Qd1 Qxd4+) d2! 45. Qxc3 d1=N+ 46. Ke2 Nxc3+ 47. Kd3 Ne4 and wins.
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 b5 4. Nf3 g6 5. cxb5 a6 6. b6 Bg7 7. Nc3 d6 8. h3 Nbd7 9. e4 O-O 10. Be2 Rb8 11. O-O Qxb6 12. Re1 Ne8 13. Nd2 Qa7 14. Nc4 Ne5 15. Ne3 Nc7 16. a4 Rb4 17. Qc2 e6 18. Rb1 Bb7 19. b3 exd5 20. exd5 f5 21. Bb2 Qa8 22. Nc4 Nxd5 23. Nxe5 dxe5 24. Nxd5 Bxd5 25. Qxc5 Re4 26. f3 Rc8 27. Qa5 Re3 28. Bxa6 Rxb3 29. Red1 Bb7 30. Bc4 Rxc4 31. Rd8 Qxd8 32. Qxd8 Bf8 33. Qf6 Bc5 34. Kh1 Rxf3 35. Qe6 Kf8 36. Qf6 Kg8 37. gxf3 Bxf3 38. Kh2 Rc2 39. Kg3 Be4 40. Qe6 Kf8 41. Ba3 Rg2 42. Kh4 Bxa3 43. Qf6 Ke8 44. Rb8 Kd7 45. Qd8 Kc6 46. Rb6 Kc5 47. Qd6 Kc4 48. Qxa3 1-0.
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 Ne7 5. Bd2 c5 6. Nb5 Bxd2+
7. Qxd2 O-O 8. c3 Bd7 9. Nd6 b6 10. Bd3 Nc8 11. Nxc8 Bxc8
12. Nf3 Ba6 13. O-O Bxd3 14. Qxd3 Nc6 15. Rfe1 c4 16. Qc2 b5
17. h4 h6 18. h5 Qe7 19. g3 Rab8 20. a3 Rb6 21. Nh4 a5 22. f4
b4 23. axb4 axb4 24. Nf3 Rfb8 25. Rab1 Qb7 26. Nd2 bxc3
27. bxc3 Rb2 28. Qc1 Rxb1 29. Nxb1 Qb2 30. Qe3 Qa2 31. Nd2 Rb2
32. Nf1 Ne7 33. Qf3 Nf5 34. Ne3 Nxe3 35. Qxe3 Rg2+ 36. Kf1 Rh2
37. Qf3 Qc2 38. g4 Rd2 39. f5 Rd3 40. Re3 Qc1+ 41. Kf2 Qxc3
42. fxe6 fxe6 0-1.
• David R. Sands can be reached at 202/636-3178 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.