- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 26, 2003

The great Soviet grandmaster David Bronstein, analyzing a complicated variation in one of his books, observed that one particular defensive move was unplayable because it would allow the attacking player to sacrifice a knight, post a queen at f7 and “mate somewhere in the vicinity of h8.”
  Bronstein, who had prosecuted enough successful sacrificial attacks in his time, felt no obligation to detail the variation out to the last subbranch. (Subsequent hard analysis proved the validity of his argument.) He simply had seen this movie before and knew how it turned out.
  Pattern recognition, so they say, is one of the key skills that separates the grandmaster from the merely strong player. A good memory, calculating abilities, imagination and endurance all are vital, but being able to see something familiar in an unfamiliar position, to recognize motifs and themes in the jumble of pieces during a game, is just as essential to the development of real chess mastery.
  The sacrifices that decide today’s two games of a rook and a queen almost certainly sprang from the ability to recognize a pattern. White’s array of firepower was so dominant in both games that a successful mating combination was almost bound to turn up.
  British GM Nigel Short scored one of the best results of his career in winning the Category 17 Honguest Hotels Super Chess Tournament, which wrapped up Easter Sunday in Budapest. Short’s 6-2 score outpaced a strong 10-grandmaster field that included local heroes Judit Polgar (who finished second but lost to Short in the tournament’s decisive game), Peter Leko and Peter Acs as well as strong veterans Boris Gelfand of Israel and Viktor Korchnoi of Switzerland.
  Short got off to a strong start with a scintillating win over German GM Christopher Lutz in Round 1, offering a thematic piece sacrifice at d5 in the Paulsen Sicilian and patiently building up a crushing mating attack.
  White’s 14. h4 b4 15. Nd5!? is a typical Sicilian motif. It appears at first White easily reclaims his piece, but the sacrifice turns out to be a far more speculative one after 15…exd5 16. exd5 b3 (too easy for White is 16…Ne5? 17. d6, forking queen and bishop) 17. cxb3 Nb4 18. d6 Qa5 19. a3 Qf5+ 20. Ka1 (Kc1?? Na2mate) Nc2+ 21. Ka2 Bf6.
  Short can’t regain his piece with 22. Bd3 Qe5 23. Bxc2?? Qxb2 mate, but he secures three pawns for the piece on 22. Ba7 Ra8 23. Bd3 Qe5 24. Qxc2 Rxa7 25. Rhe1 Qg5 26. Bxh7+. More important, Lutz is helpless in the face of the coming king-side pawnstorm, with his extra piece unable to create any counterplay against White’s well-secured king.
  On 36. Qe4 Rb6 37. Rde5!, shoring up the d-pawn, Black’s rook and queen are shut out from the defense. With so many White pieces buzzing around the abandoned Black king, it doesn’t take Short long to find the crusher.
  Thus: 37…Rc6 38. h6 a4 39. hxg7 axb3+ 40. Kxb3 (the exposed White king is actually perfectly safe) Kxg7 41. Rh3 Rg8 42. Rh7+ Kf8 43. Rxf7+!! Kxf7 44. Qf5+ Kg7 (Ke8 45. Re5+ Be7 46. Rxe7+ Kd8 47. Qxd7 mate) 45. Qxd7+ Kg6 (Kh8 46. Qh3+ mates as in the game) 46. Qe6+. Lutz resigned in the face of the forced mate following 46…Kh5 47. Qh3+ Kg6 48. Qh6+ Kf7 49. Rf5+ Ke8 50. Qe6+ Be7 51. Qxe7 mate.
  The full Honguest scorecard: Short 6-2; Polgar 5-3; Leko 5-4; Acs, Gelfand, Lutz 4-4; Korchnoi, Sergei Movsesian (Slovakia) 4-5; Ferenc Berkes (Hungary) 3-5; and Zoltan Almasi (Hungary) 3-6.
  At last weekend’s Foxwoods Open, played at the huge Connecticut casino and resort, Russian WGM Alexandra Kosteniuk sacrifices on the same f7-square against Louisiana master John Bick but does Short one better by offering up a queen to force mate. Israeli GM Ilya Smirin took sole first with a 6-1 score in the event, which featured 21 grandmasters in the 128-player Open section.
  In a Petroff, Bick might have effectively lost the contest on 19. Qe2 Qa5 20. Bf4 Qc7?!, covering up defensively when the more aggressive 20…a3! 21. b3 (Qxe7? axb2+ 22. Kxb2 Qa3+ 23. Kb1 Qxa2+ 24. Kc1 Qa1+ 25. Kd2 Qd4+ 26. Ke1 gives Black the pleasant dilemma of taking the bishop on f4 or the rook on g1) forces White to contend with a strong Black counterattack.
  Kosteniuk retains the initiative for the rest of the game. Her bishop on c6 disrupts Bick’s defensive lines of communication and through a well-timed repositioning (28. Be3! and 30. Bd4!), White soon has all her pieces zeroing in on the Black king.
  White ignores Black’s offer of an exchange on 30…Rab7 31. Rg4!, rightly concluding that a quick checkmate is in the air. The pattern to note here comes following 31…Bf7 32. Qf5 Rb1+ 33. Kd2 g6 (see diagram; Black almost invites a queen sacrifice, but on 33…h6 34. Qh7, there’s no way to defend the Black g-pawn).
  The clincher: 34. Qxf7+! Kxf7 35. Rxh7+, and Black resigns in the face of 35…Kf8 36. Rh8+ Kf7 37. Rxf4+ Bf6 38. Rxf6+ Ke7 (Kg7 39. Rf4 mate) 39. Rh7+ Kd8 40. Rf8 mate.
  Honguest Hotels Super Chess Tournament,
   Budapest, April 2003

  1. e4c524. Qxc2Rxa7
  2. Nf3e625. Rhe1Qg5
  3. d4cxd426. Bxh7+Kh8
  4. Nxd4Nc627. Be4Bb7
  5. Nc3Qc728. g4a5
  6. Be3a629. Qf2Bxe4
  7. Qd2b530. Rxe4Rb7
  8. f3Nxd431. Qe2Qb5
  9. Bxd4Ne732. Rd3Rbb8
  10. 0-0-0Nc633. f4Kg8
  11. Be3Be734. g5Bd8
  12. h40-035. Re5Qa6
  13. Kb1Rb836. Qe4Rb6
  14. h5b437. Red5Rc6
  15. Nd5exd538. h6a4
  16. exd5b339. hxg7axb3+
  17. cxb3Nb440. Kxb3Kxg7
  18. d6Qa541. Rh3Rg8
  19. a3Qf5+42. Rh7+Kf8
  20. Ka1Nc2+43. Rxf7+Kxf7
  21. Ka2Bf644. Qf5+Kg7
  22. Ba7Ra845. Qxd7+Kg6
  23. Bd3Qe546. Qe6+Black
  Foxwoods Open,
   Mashantucket, Conn., April 2003

  1. e4e519. Qe2Qa5
  2. Nf3Nf620. Bf4Qc7
  3. Nxe5d621. Qe3b5
  4. Nf3Nxe422. h5Bxh5
  5. Nc3Nxc323. Bxb5Rfb8
  6. dxc3Be724. Bc6Ra7
  7. Bf40-025. Rd2c4
  8. Qd2Nd726. Rh2Bg6
  9. Nd4Nc527. Qe6+Kf8
  10. f3Ne628. Be3c3
  11. Be3Nxd429. bxc3f4
  12. cxd4c530. Bd4Rab7
  13. 0-0-0Be631. Rg4Bf7
  14. d5Bd732. Qf5Rb1+
  15. h4a533. Kd2g6
  16. g4a434. Qxf7+Kxf7
  17. g5f535. Rxh7+Black
  18. Rg1Be8resigns
  David R. Sands can be reached at 202/636-3178 or by e-mail at [email protected]

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