- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 22, 2001

Chess tournaments have been decided by poisoned pawns, discovered checks and smothered mates. The 2001 Arlington Chess Club Championship earlier this month, however, may have turned on a flat tire. Potomac IM Larry Kaufman took home the club title for the second year in a row, finishing in a three-way tie for first in the 41-player Open section with fellow IMs Eugene Meyer and Enrico Sevillano. The ACC 2001 amateur title went to Kebado Belachew, even though Victor Legaspina won the section with a perfect 4-0 score. Only ACC members were eligible for the club titles.
Kaufman is a worthy champion, but the result might have been very different if the rental car carrying GM Alex Wojtkiewicz and FM Yevgeny Gershov hadn't suffered a flat tire the morning of the tournament's final day. Both players were 2-0, but they missed their games and had to withdraw from the event, tournament director Mike Atkins reports.
The fighting quality of the chess at the championship can be seen in expert Paul Yavari's victory over a game Nikola Yakovenko. Yakovenko, a Class A player, puts up a spirited struggle before running into a bit of hard luck.
The battle in this Bird's Opening goes fairly evenly until Yakovenko sharpens the struggle with 10. Na4 Qa5 11. Bb2 c4!? (more modest was 11…Be7) 12. 0-0 (Bc3 Bb4 13. 0-0 Ne4 14. Bxb4 Qxb4 15. d3 Nd6 looks fine for Black) 12. Ne4 13. d3 c3!?.
Black gambits a pawn, but White encounters trouble holding on to his loot: 14. dxe4 cxb2 15. Nxb2 Bc5 (winning back the pawn with 15…dxe4?! 16. Nc4 Qc7 17. Nxd6+ Qxd6 18. Rfd1 Qc5 19. Rd4 f5 20. Rad1 leaves White with the better pawn structure and domination of the board's only open file) 17. Kh1 Rc8, and Black enjoys some pressure for his material deficit.
Yavari can't hold the pawn after 20…Bd4 21. e5 Qa3, since 22. Rfb1? Rc7 23. Qd2 Bc3 24. Qe2 Rfc8 leaves White's queen-side pieces paralyzed. Black even emerges a pawn to the good after 22. Rab1 Qxa2 23. Qd3 (Qd1 Bxb2 24. Rf2? Qxb1! 25. Qxb1 Rc1+ 26. Rf1 Rxb1 27. Rxb1 Rc8! and Black wins) Bxb2 24. Qe2 Qxb3 25. Rxb2 Qc4.
Now it is White who must find a way to complicate the game, for Black's outside passed a-pawn would be decisive in the endgame. Even with just the queens and rooks on the board, Yavari finds a way, using his center pawns as battering rams.
Thus: 28. e6 d4 29. Kg1 fxe6 30. f6! (if 30. fxe6, Black has the powerful 30…Qxe6 31. Qxa5 Rc1! 32. Rxc1 Qe3+ 33. Rf2 Qxc1+ 34. Rf1 Qe3+ 35. Kh1 d3) Rf8 31. Rb7 Rc7 (not 31…Rxf6?? 32. Rxf6 gxf6 33. Qg3+ Kf8 34. Qg7+ Ke8 35. Qe7 mate, while 31…Rf7 32. Rxf7 Kxf7 33. fxg7+ Kg8 34. Qf2 Kxg7 35. Qf7+ Kh8 36. Qf6+ lets White escape with a draw) 32. Rxc7 Qxc7 33. Qxe6+.
Yakovenko should bail out now with 33…Rf7 34. Qe8+ Rf8 35. Qe6+ Rf7 (Kh8? 36. Qe7! Qxe7 37. fxe7 Rg8 38. Rf8 and wins) 36. Qe8+, but instead falls for an optical illusion about just who is pinning whom 33…Qf7?? (see diagram) 34. fxg7! Kxg7 (a sad necessity, but 34…Qxf1 mate is unfortunately illegal, while 34…Qxe6 35. gxf8=Q is mate) 35. Rxf7+ Rxf7 36. Qg4+ Kf8 37. Qxd4.
Down a rook for a queen, Yakovenko resigned.

Leave it to the women to produce fighting chess.
While draws predominated in the FIDE men's world title semifinals last week in Moscow, China's Zhu Chen and Russian Alexandra Kosteniuk staged a slugfest on the women's side of the draw. All seven games of the women's finals were decisive (as compared to just two of the eight men's semifinal games), with Zhu Chen prevailing 3-1 in the rapid-chess playoff after the two split four games at slower time controls.
The games themselves were marked by spirited play, as can be seen in Zhu Chen's victory in the third game of the match.
Like another Chinese women's world champ, Xie Jun, Zhu Chen doesn't fear complications or double-edged battles. Here in Najdorf Sicilian, she wins the classic battle of wills as her queen-side attack outweighs White's dangerous king-side initiative.
On 15. Ne2 Bb7 16. Bh3!? (allowing …d6-d5 in order to enforce f4-f5) d5 17. f5 (Ng3 Rc8 18. Rh2 defends c2 while getting the rook off the unpleasant diagonal) Rc8 18. c3 dxe4 19. Qe3, Black's 19…Bc5!? is an interesting choice, surrendering a key defender but keeping the Black knight for the attack. Worth a look was the more natural 19…Nc5 20. fxe6 fxe6, with an equally complicated struggle.
With 21. fxe6 fxe6 22. Rhf1, the Black king is trapped in the center, and she must respond energetically if she is not to be mated. A critical decision is 24…Qa5!, when 24…bxc3 25. Nxc3 Na4 was tempting but unclear: 26. Qf2! Qe7 (Nxc3? 27. Qf8+ Kd7 28. Rf7+ Kc6 29. Rxc7+ Rxc7 30. bxc3) 27. Bxe6! Rc7! (Qxe6? 28. Qf8+ Kd7 29. Qxg7+ Kd6 30. Rf6 wins for White) 27. Qf7+ Qxf7 29. Rxf7 Rxf7 30. Bxf7+ Kxf7 31. Nxa4 with a tricky but probably equal endgame.
The fun has just gotten started: 25. Qd5?! Qxa2!? (more straightforward now was 25…Nb3+! 26. axb3 Qa1+ 27. Kc2 Qxf1 28. Qxg7 Qf7 29. Qe5 Bd5) 26. Kc2 e3!? (Black may have been eyeing the position after her 31st move, but a good option was 26…Nd3! 27. Bh5+ g6 28. Qh8+ Kd7 29. Qxh7+ Kd6 30. Qxb7 Qxb2+ 31. Kd1 Qb3+ 32. Kd2 bxc3+ 33. Ke3 Qxb7, picking off the queen) 27. Bh5+ g6 28. Qh8+.
Flushed into the open, the Black king finds sanctuary in the center of the board, when the weakness of White's queen-side finally becomes fatal: 30. Bxg6 b3+ 31. Kc1 Na4! 32. Rd1+ Bd5 33. Rxd5+ (desperation) exd5 34. Kd1 Qxb2 and there is no escape.
In the final position, Black cleans up after 37. Bf5 Qd1+ 38. Kg2 Qxe2+ 39. Kg3 Qf2+ 40. Kg4 Qxf5+ 41. Qxf5 Rxf5 42. Kxf5 b2 43. g6 b1=Q+ and wins. Kosteniuk resigned.

Arlington Chess Club Championship, December 2001
1. f4d520. e4Bd4
2. b3c521. e5Qa3
3. e3Nf622. Rab1Qxa2
4. Nf3Bg423. Qd3Bxb2
5. Be2e624. Qe2Qxb3
6. Ne5Bxe225. Rxb2Qc4
7. Qxe2Nc626. Qe1a5
8. Nxc6bxc627. f5Rfe8
9. Nc3Bd628. e6d4
10. Na4Qa529. Kg1fxe6
11. Bb2c430. f6Rf8
12. 0-0Ne431. Rb7Rc7
13. d3c332. Rxc7Qxc7
14. dxe4cxb233. Qxe6+Qf7
15. Nxb2Bc534. fxg7Kxg7
16. exd5cxd535. Rxf7+Rxf7
17. Kh1Rc836. Qg4+Kf8
18. c40-037. Qxd4Black
19. cxd5exd5resigns

FIDE Women's World Championships, Finals, Moscow, December 2001
KosteniukZhu Chen
1. e4c519. Qe3Bc5
2. Nf3d620. Nxc5Nxc5
3. d4cxd421. fxe6fxe6
4. Nxd4Nf622. Rhf1Rf8
5. Nc3a623. Bg4Rxf1
6. Bg5e624. Rxf1Qa5
7. f4Qb625. Qd4Qxa2
8. Nb3Be726. Kc2e3
9. Qf3Nbd727. Bh5+g6
10. 0-0-0Qc728. Qh8+Ke7
11. g4b529. Qxh7+Kd6
12. Bxf6Nxf630. Bxg6b3+
13. g5Nd731. Kc1Na4
14. h4b432. Rd1+Bd5
15. Ne2Bb733. Rxd5+exd5
16. Bh3d534. Kd1Qxb2
17. f5Rc835. Ke1Qd2+
18. c3dxe436. Kf1Rf8+
White resigns

David R. Sands can be reached at 202/636-3178 or by e-mail at [email protected]

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