- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 7, 2002

Northern Virginia master Macon Shibut powered his way to his third Virginia state title last week, edging fellow master Daniel Miller on tie-breaks after both went an undefeated 5-1 at the Virginia Closed Championship tournament in Charlottesville.

Twenty-six players competed in the top section. Steven Mayer, Daniel Arceo and Danny Derby finished in a tie for third a point back. Derby, with a pre-tourney rating of 1861, lost only to Miller on his way to capturing the Open section's Class A prize.

In the 68-player Under-1800 section, Jack Barrow allowed only one draw on his way to winning the state Amateur title a half-point ahead of Michael Spitzer, Bill Simmons, Jared Casazza and junior player Sath Vijayakumar.

Thanks to TD Mike Atkins for the tournament rundown and for supplying todays first game, a final-round win by Spitzer over Class C player Svetlozar Kanev.

This Slav Queen's Gambit becomes one of those be-careful-what-you-wish-for morality plays, as Black embarks on a time-consuming adventure to win the two bishops and double White's pawns, only to have the file he helps open play a critical role in the final assault against him.

Black pursues his goal with admirable single-mindedness, but his game isnt improved in the process. After 7. Bf4 Nh5?! 8. Be5 f6 9. Bg3 Nxg3 hxg3, the opened h-file only serves to bring the White rook quickly into the game. Black's efforts to shut down the pressure on his h7 square produce an increasingly fragile center after 11. Qc2 f5?!, when 11…Nf8 12. e3 Bd7 looks more solid.

White could have won back his bishop with 14. Ng6 Rg8 15. Nxe7, but Spitzer's 14. g4! 0-0 (fxg4 15. Rxh7 0-0 [Rxh7?? 16. Qg6+ Kf8 17. Qf7 mate] 16. Rh1 is very pleasant for White, as is 14…Nxg4 15. Nxg4 fxg4 16. Rxh7 Rxh7 17. Qxh7, when the Black king-side is a sorry spectacle) 15. Bd3 aggressively targets Black's weakest points.

Kanev may have thought he'd escaped the worst of it on 15…Ne4 16. gxf5 exf5 17. Nxe4 fxe4 (see diagram), when the expected retreat of the White bishop will give him time to organize a defense. But 18. Bxe4! blows those hopes to bits, and accepting the sacrifice leads to a quick knockout: 18…dxe4 19. Qc4+ Kh8 20. Ng6 mate, with the White rook on h1 doing its part by pinning the Black h-pawn.

He was one of the most successful non-Soviet grandmasters of the postwar era, a frequent “contributor” to Bobby Fischer's “My 60 Memorable Games,” and a one-time attacking demon who developed an attractive, harmonious style one observer called a “cross between Rubinstein and Capablanca.”

Now, at the ripe age of 79, Yugoslav great Svetozar Gligoric has added yet another trophy to his collection.

At the Category 8 Botvinnik Memorial in Elista, Russia, Gligoric tied for first at 6-3 with Latvian GM Janis Klovans. The round-robin event included former pupils and opponents of Soviet world champ Mikhail Botvinnik, with whom Gligoric clashed many times in the 1950s and 1960s.

The Yugoslav's win in Elista over Russian IM Aleksander Nikitin is a mature, mellow effort worthy of a grand grandmaster. It takes patience to break down the Stonewall, and Gligoric displays it in abundance. He first takes slow but sure control of the Black salient point at e4, clarifies the center while keeping a Black weakness at e6 and then calmly accepts trade after trade while leaving his superiority intact.

White alertly trades one enduring advantage for another on 30. Nd3 Nxd3 (Nxa2? 31. Ra1 wins a piece) 31. Bxd3 Kf7 32. d5! exd5 33. Bxf5 (threatening both the rook and the d-pawn after 34. Be6+, thus forcing the rook to a passive square) Rd8 34. Be6+ Kf8 35. Bd4!.

The isolated Black d-pawn is blockaded, while Nikitin's bishops are relegated to completely defensive roles. With his bishops strafing both sides of the board, Gligoric now throws patient maneuvering aside in favor of an energetic king-side pawn rush that decides the game.

Thus: 39. g4 Re7 40. h4 Rc7 41. Rxc7 (one more trade accepted) Bxc7 42. g5 Bd6 43. h5. If Black now sits tight with 43…a5, White wins prettily with 44. h6!! gxh6 45. g6! hxg6 46. fxg6 and the pawn can't be stopped.

But the game's 43…h6 44. f6! gxf6 45 gxh6 is just as bleak for Black. If 45…Be7, the White king simply marches up to f5, and the pawn on f6 is lost. Black tries the more active 45…Be5 but manages to immolate himself following 46. Bc5+ Ke8 47. Bf5 Kf7 48. h7 Kg7 49. h6+!, winning at once. Because the Black king corners himself on 49…Kh8 50. Bf8 Bd4+ 51. Kf1 Be5 52. Bg7 mate, Nikitin resigned.

n n n

FIDE, the international chess federation, has lusted embarrassingly for years to have chess included as an event in the Olympic Games. Time for a cold shower.

A panel reporting to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) last month recommended that the committee reject chess and a slew of other Olympic wannabes (bridge, surfing, ballroom dancing and billiards, among them) as it tries to limit the scope and size of the increasingly unwieldy quadrennial spectacle.

FIDE even has pushed a highly unpopular drug-testing program for top players in hopes of meeting the committee's competition standards, but that might go by the wayside as well. The IOC panel urged Olympics officials to reject what it called “mind games” and focus on a traditional core of athletic events.

The committee's final decision is not due until November, but most observers give chess little chance of getting into the Games.

Virginia State Amateur Championship, Charlottesville, September 2002


1. d4d511. Qc2f5

2. c4Nf612. e3Nf6

3. Nc3c613. Ne5a6

4. Nf3Nbd714. g40-0

5. cxd5cxd515. Bd3Ne4

6. Qa4e616. gxf5exf5

7. Bf4Nh517. Nxe4fxe4

8. Be5f618. Bxe4dxe4

9. Bg3Nxg319. Qc4+Kh8

10. hxg3Be720. Ng6 mate

Botvinnik Memorial A Tournament, Elista, Russia, August 2002


1. d4f526. Ne5Rxc2

2. g3Nf627. Qxc2Rc8

3. Bg2e628. Qd2Qb4

4. Nf3d529. Qxb4Nxb4

5. c4c630. Nd3Nxd3

6. 0-0Bd631. Bxd3Kf7

7. b3Qe732. d5exd5

8. Bb20-033. Bxf5Rd8

9. Nbd2b634. Be6+Kf8

10. Ne5Bb735. Bd4Bb7

11. Rc1Na636. f4Bd6

12. Ndf3Rac837. f5a6

13. e3Ne438. Rc1Re8

14. Qe2Rfd839. g4Re7

15. Nd3Nb440. h4Rc7

16. Nxb4Bxb441. Rxc7Bxc7

17. Ne5Bd642. g5Bd6

18. f3Nf643. h5h6

19. Rc2c544. f6gxf6

20. Rd1Ba645. gxh6Be5

21. Bf1dxc446. Bc5+Ke8

22. Nxc4cxd447. Bf5Kf7

23. exd4Nd548. h7Kg7

24. Qf2Bb849. h6+Black

25. Re1b5resigns

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

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