- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Northern Virginia IM Oladapo Adu added another trophy to his already ample collection, finishing alone in first at the Springfield Open held during the snowy Jan. 29-30 weekend.

Adu conceded only a last-round draw to GM Larry Kaufman to go 41/2-1/2, a half-point ahead of IM Tegshsuren Enkhbat, FM Dov Gorman, FM Macon Shibut and John Farrell, a Class A player who picked up a boatload of rating points for his performance in the event.

Things were more democratic in the Under 1800 Amateur Section, with five players finishing in a knot at the top, all at 4-1: Aditya Ponukumati, Vikas Rajasekaran, Steven Kool, Doga Aslan and Jake Koenig, with Ponukumati claiming bragging rights with the best tiebreaks. Congratulations to all.

Adu got to 4-0 with a tough win against expert Tim Hamilton, who put up a spirited struggle before conceding in the end.

The opening transposes into a Classical French, and Adu as Black wins a minor positional skirmish with 16. Rhd1 Nc4 17. Bxc4 dxc4 18. Nc2 Qc6, picking up the bishop pair. Intriguing now might have been 19. Qxd7+!? Qxd7 20. Rxd7 Kxd7 21. Rd1+ Ke7 22. cxb4 Bxe3+ 23. Nxe3, unbalancing the position for a slight material deficit.

Hamilton-Adu after 31. Nxf7
Hamilton-Adu after 31. Nxf7 more >

White’s active knight gets one of the Black bishops off the board, and things quickly build to a head on 27. exd6 0-0 (Nxd6?! 28. Rxd6 [Ne5 is also strong here] Bxf3 [Qxd6 29. Rxb7] 29. Rxa6 Bxe2 30. Rxa5 would be fine for White; Hamilton’s d-, c- and g-pawns are now all hanging, but he finds an ingenious way to stay in the game) 28. Bd4 Rfd8 29. Rb6 Qa8 30. Ng5 e5 (the end of the first time control) 31. Nxf7!? (see diagram), when 31…Kxf7? 32. fxe5 Kg8 (Nxg3 33. e6+ Kg8 34. Qe5, winning) 33. Qg4 Rf8 34. e6 Nf6 35. Bxf6 Rxf6 36. d7 is very powerful for White.

But Black need not chase material gain and winds up better with less material after 32…exd4! 32. Nxd8 d3 33. Qb2 Rxd8 34. Rxb7 Nxd6 35. Rc7 Qf3, when the passed d-pawn and active Black knight easily overmatch White’s rook.

With 40. Kg1 Rf8, Black’s forces coordinate beautifully to bring about a swift finale: 41. Qg2 (losing, but trying to keep the attack alive with 41. h5 fails to 41…Qe3+ 42. Kh1 Qh3+ 43. Kg1 d2 44. Rd7 Qxc3) Qxg2+ 42. Kxg2 Ne3+ 43. Kf2 Nxf1 44. Rxc4 d2 and White resigned.

Edward Duliba, whom your humble columnist once actually drew in a postal tournament game, has won the 17th U.S. correspondence chess championship, going undefeated for his second national title.

The Ohio chemistry professor is a correspondence GM and one of the country’s best and most active postal players. We’re still awaiting scores from the current tournament, but today’s second game comes from Duliba’s first championship run in the finals of the 15th USCCC.

With so much time to analyze between moves, correspondence annotations can get insanely detailed, but we’ll spare you the reams of variations and subvariations the players explored during the game. We can say that in Grunfeld Exchange, play grows sharp very quickly after Black snatches a gambit pawn and Duliba as White plants a rook on the seventh rank.

After 14. Rxe7 Qa3 15. Bg5 (Rc7 Qd6) f6 16. Bc4+ Kh8, White has a rook and bishop en prise and looks like he will have to lose material. But with 17. Rc7 Bxe4 (fxg5?! 18. Nxg5 Bd7 19. e5 is very dangerous for Black) 18. Nd2 Bxg2 19. Re1 fxg5 20. Ree7, White’s rook pair on the seventh rank prove worth the material deficit.

After 20…Bh3 21. Rxg7 Nd7 22. Rgxd7! Bxd7 23. Rxd7 Rae8 24. Bb3, his exposed king position turns out to be an insoluble problem for Black. After 27. Qe2 (already threatening 28. Qe5 mate) Kg7 (Qc1+ 28. Kg2 Qf4 29. d5! opens up the long diagonal) 29. Rxd8 Rxd8 29. Qe7!, the threatened discovered check flushes out the Black king.

The end comes on 31. Be8+ Kh6 32. Ne3 Rxe8 (desperation; White threatened 33. Qf8+ Kh5 [Qg7 34. Ng4+] 34. Qf3+ g4 35. Qf5+ Kh4 36. Bxg6! hxg6 37. Qxg6, with both 38. Qh6 mate and 38. Nf5+ on the menu) 33. Qxe8 g4 34. Qe7 Qf4 35. Qxa7 Qe4+ 36. Kg1 Qb1+ 37. Nf1. White’s king is safe, and his extra material must tell in the endgame; Black resigned.

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