- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 9, 2011

School’s out for the summer, but some of the country’s best young chess players aren’t exactly kicking back and taking it easy.

Florida GM Ray Robson, the reigning U.S. junior champ, is in the thick of the fight for the world junior title, being contested in Chennai, India. The 16-year-old Robson, seeded sixth, started strongly with two wins and a draw before dropping a point to Russian IM Aleksey Goganov. Play continues through the end of this week.

Robson’s win over local Indian master Aditya Udeshi was a prime illustration of the perils of greed. Black, using a Botvinnik English setup that long has been a favorite of your humble columnist, is hanging in there nicely until he tries to get away with an unfortunate pawn snatch.

The game turns after 13. Qxe2 exf4 (the freeing 13…f5?! runs into 14. fxe5 Bxe5 15. exf5 Nxf5 16. Bxc5!, winning a pawn) 14. Bxf4 Qd7 (d5 15. Nf2 d4 was worth a long look) 15. Nf2 Nc6 16. Qd2 Rfe8 17. Bh6 Bh8 18. Be3 Qd8 19. Rae1 Bxa2?! (aside from a slight developmental lag, Black is doing OK, but removing the bishop from the scene will prove costly; tougher was 19…Rc8 20. a3 b5) 20. Ng4!, immediately occupying the square the Black bishop no longer is guarding.

The holes around the Black king prove fatal in unexpectedly rapid fashion: 20…Ne5 21. Nh6+ Kf8 (Kg7 22. Bg5 Qc7 23. Bf6+ Kf8 24. Bxh8) 22. d4! (White’s pieces spring to life, and the Black bishop will be rendered a distant spectator) cxd4 23. cxd4 Nc7 (Nc4?? 24. Rxf7 mate; 23…Bc4 24. dxe5 Bxf1 25. Rxf1 Re7 26. Qd5 is dominating) 24. b3! Bxb3 25. Qb4 Qb6 (no better in the long run was 25…Be6 26. d5 Ne5 27. dxe6 Rxe6 28. Qxb7 Rf6 29. Rxf1+ 30. Rxf1 Qe8 31. Nxf7! Nxf7 32. Rxf7+ Qxf7 33. Bh6+ Bg7 34. Qxa8+ Ke7 35. Qb7+ Kf6 36. Bg5+ Ke6 37. Qd5+ Kd7 Qxf7+) d5!.

Barbosa-Chaithanyaa after 25. g2-g4.
Barbosa-Chaithanyaa after 25. g2-g4. more >

The mini queen sac cuts the bishop off from the defense of f7; with 26…Qxb4 (Ne5 27. Qxb6 is sufficient) 27. Rxf7 mate on tap, Black resigns.

Brazilian IM Evandro Barbosa pulled off a nice swindle in his game at Chennai against another Indian entrant, expert K.G. Chaithanyaa. We pick it up from the diagram, where Barbosa as White has just declined a queen trade with the innocent-looking 25. g2-g4. Once again, an unfortunate pawn grab is brutally punished.

Thus: 25…Qxg4?? (Re7 26. Bf5 Qd5+ 27. Rf3 Rf8 keeps Black in the game) 26. Bf7+!! Kf8 (unfortunately 26…Kxf7? pins the knight and loses the queen after 27. Qxg4) 27. Bb4+ Re7 28. Qxg4 Nxg4 29. Be6+ - a discovered check that leaves the Black king and his three remaining pieces en prise; after playing 29…Ke8, Chaithanyaa conceded.

A number of youth events also are being conducted in conjunction with the 112th U.S. Open extravaganza wrapping up in Orlando, Fla. Ohio master Michael Vilenchuk won the annual Denker Championship featuring state high school champions from across the country, while Michael Brown of California and Justus Williams of New York tied for first in the inaugural Barber K-8 tournament of champions.

Virginia expert Jeevan Karamsetty had a fine 4-2 result in the Barber, losing only to the co-champs. His best effort was a tense upset of No. 3 seed Christopher Gu of Rhode Island, in which Karamsetty handled the game’s tricky tactics better than his higher-rated opponent.

In a Caro-Kann, Gu as Black appears to be building up a nice queen-side attack, but White finds a way to fend off the danger and win material after 19. Bxf6 gxf6?! (aggressive; equal was 19…Bxf6 20. Ne4 Rf5 21. g4 Rf4 22. Nxf6+ Rxf6) 20. Ne4 Rc4?! (entering into sharp complications) 21. Rh4! Rb4 22. c3!? (cleaner may have been 22. Rg4+ Kh7 23. c3, as White survives and thrives after 23…Rxb2+ 24. Kxb2 Qa3+ 25. Ka1 f5 26. Rg3 fxe4 27. Qxe4+ Kh8 28. Qe5+ f6 29. Qe3 Kh7 30. Rg6) f5? (and now Black could have kept things murky with 22…Rxb2+! 23. Kxb2 Qa3+ 24. Ka1 f5 25. Rh3 fxe4 26. Rg3+ Kh8 27. Qe3 Bg5 28. Qd4+ f6 29. Qxe4) 23. Nf6+!.

White’s point becomes clear after 23…Kg7 24. Rxb4 Bxb4 25. Nd7!, when 25…Rd8 loses to 26. Qe5+ Kh7 27. Nf6+ Kg7 28. Rxd8. After 25…Be6 26. Nxf8 Kxf8 27. Rd4 Qc6 28. f3, Black can struggle on, but the simplified position gives him no compensation for the loss of the exchange. In the final position, Gu resigned facing the ugly 48…Kf4 (Ke4 49. Qxf5+ Ke3 50. Qe5 mate) 49. Qxf5+ Kg3 50. Qxf3+ Qxf3 51. gxf3 Kxf3 52. Rxg5 hxg5 53. b6 g4 54. b7 g3 55. b8=Q g2 56. Qb7+ Kg3 57. Qxg2+.

We’ll have a full recap of the U.S. Open action next week, with U.S. No. 1 GM Hikaru Nakamura, veteran Dutch GM Loek van Wely and former U.S. champ Gm Alex Shabalov among those competing.

Robson-Udeshi, 50th World Junior Championship, August 2011

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