- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 22, 2003

In what organizers are billing as the biggest team event in the history of the Western Hemisphere, the Maryland team of Dirty Harry Nelson Pillsbury just barely missed the brass ring at the U.S. Amateur Team East chess competition last month in Parsippany, N.J.
The annual blowout Feb. 15 through 17, by far the biggest of four regional team events staged by the U.S. Chess Federation, was another record-breaker, with a whopping 264 four-man teams competing despite a raging snowstorm that shut down much of the state.
Dirty Harry, featuring a well-balanced lineup of IM Richard Delaune, masters Greg Acholonu and Stan Fink and expert Seth Passell, went 5- to finish a four-way tie for first. The East team title, however, went to the University of Dallas/Texas Orange, on tie-breaks. One measure of the strength of the competition: The individual prize on Board 1 was shared by GMs Joel Benjamin and Lev Alburt, although neither player's team was among the top finishers.
In the fiercely contested judging for best team name, the winner was Trent Lott Says Black Is OK.
Virginia expert Tim Hamilton used his trademark queen's knight opening (1. Nc3) to mix it up in a tactical melee with Canadian champion Pascal Charbonneau.
When the smoke finally clears, Hamilton emerges with an honorable and hard-earned half-point. White shows he's not backing down from his higher-rated opponent on 9. f4 Bd7 10. e5!?, breaking up the center and inviting tactical complications that don't let up for another 20 moves. Things get even sharper on 15…Rg8 16. Rg1 Ng4 17. Qe4 Bxc3 18. Bxe7!? (bxc3 Rxg5 19. fxg4 Qc7 20. h4 Rg7 21. Bc4 Bc3 gives Black a chance to exhale) Qxe7 19. Qxb7.
Black has a bishop, a knight and a rook hanging, but the defensive 19…Rd8 might have been the more discreet choice; e.g. 20. hxg4 (bxc3 Qe3+ 21. Kb1 Qxg1) Qe3+ 21. Kb1 Qxg1 22. bxc3 Qxg4 and Black is a rook up. Charbonneau chooses a more aggressive-looking path and finds the win eludes him.
Thus: 19…Qe3+?! 20. Kb1 Ke7 (Qxg1 21. Qxa8+ Ke7 22. Qxg8 Qb6 23. b3 Ne3 24. Rd3 and White has weathered the storm 21. Rxg4 Rxg4 22. fxg4. Black is a piece ahead, but a rook and a bishop hang. His next move seems to solve his problems, but the tactical well is not dry yet: 22…Ra7 (see diagram) 23. Qb3! Bxg4 24. Rc1 Rc7 (Black may only have realized here that the seemingly winning 24…Bd2 25. Qxe3+ Bxe3 walks into a pin after 26. Re1) 25. bxc3 Bc8 26. Bg2 Rxc3.
After all the vicissitudes, the material balance has been restored, and both kings occupy shaky perches. After 30…Ra3 31. Bd5! Bxd5 32. Qxd5 Qb6+ 33. Ka1 Qf6+ 34. Kb1, it is Charbonneau who steers to the draw with a perpetual check.

Czech GM Ludek Pachman, a seven-time national champion, coach, theorist and political dissident, died March 6 at his home in Passau, Germany, at the age of 78.
Pachman was one of the world's strongest players from the late 1940s until the mid-1960s, but his career was curtailed following his increasing political activism after the crushing of the reformist "Prague Spring" by Soviet tanks in 1968. He was jailed and treated brutally, at one point even attempting suicide, before finally being allowed to leave his homeland for what was then West Germany in 1972.
He returned to Czechoslovakia only with the fall of the communist regime in 1989.
Pachman's enduring influence on the game will be felt in his writings, in particular the classic three-volume "Modern Chess Strategy." Fifty years after its appearance, the abridged English edition is still the single best reference work on positional concepts for players who have graduated from Fred Reinfeld and are ready to really study the game.
In the book, Pachman used his own game against Dutch star Jan Heim Donner, played in Rotterdam in 1955, to help illustrate the importance of central control. Pachman explained: "White attacks the enemy center by piece pressure combined with pawn pressure from the sides. He finally destroys it by advancing his d-pawn, which had been held in reserve."
The character of the game is light-years away from Hamilton-Charbonneau, but Pachman employs some sharp tactics of his own in what Jose R. Capablanca called "little combinations" that continually further White's larger strategic goals. The annotations here rely heavily on the author's own notes.
After 8. d3 f5 9. exf5 gxf5, the outlines of White's winning strategy are already in place: pressure the imposing but loose Black center first with f2-f4 and then d3-d4, using his well-placed pieces to press the attack.
Tactics and strategy mesh on 12. h3 Nh5? (d5, challenging in the center, was tougher) 13. f4!, when White achieves his first goal since 13…exf4 14. Nxf4! Nxg3 15. Rf3 Qh4 (Qg5 16. Ne6) 16. Bf2 is strong. The second shoe drops on 16. Rd1 Kh8 17. d4!, when 17…e4 18. g4! fxg4 19. Nxe4 gxh3 20. Bf3 would leave White poised to attack down the open g-file.
A third combinational touch comes on 20. Rd6 exf4 21. Nxf4!, inviting 21…Qxg3+ 22. Qxg3 Nxg3 23. Rfd1 Rg7 24. Rxf6! Nxf6 25. Rd8+ Rg8 26. Bd4! Rxd8 27. Bxf6+, winning.
Pachman's central dominance produces eventual paralysis in the Black camp: 24. Rde6 Nf8 25. Re7 Qxc4? (an understandable pawn grab in a bad position, but 25…Qf6 26. Rxg7 Rxg7 27. Be5 Qf7 28. Ne4! still requires some work for White) 26. Rxg7! Rxg7 (Kxg7 27. Be5+ Kf7 28. Ne4! again wins) 27. Re8 Kg8 (Qf7 28. Qe3!) 28. Bd6, and Black's pieces have no useful moves.
The central pressure quickly leads to a win on 30. Qe5 Rf5 31. Rxf8+! Rxf8 32. Qg5+, when 32…Kf7 33. Qe7+ Kg6 34. Qxf8 and 35. Be4+ would end all resistance. Donner resigned.

U.S. Amateur Team East, Parsippany, N.J., February 2003
1. Nc3c518. Bxe7Qxe7
2. d4cxd419. Qxb7Qe3+
3. Qxd4Nc620. Kb1Ke7
4. Qa4g621 Rxg4Rxg4
5. Bg5Bg722. fxg4Ra7
6. 0-0-0h623. Qb3Bxg4
7. Bh4d624. Rc1Rc7
8. e4a625. bxc3Bc8
9. f4Bd726. Bg2Rxc3
10. e5Nxe527. Qb4Be6
11. Qd4g528. Qb7+Kf8
12. fxg5hxg529. Qb8+Kg7
13. Bxg5Nf630. Qxd6Ra3
14. Nf3Nxf331. Bd5Bxd5
15. gxf3Rg832. Qxd5Qb6+
16. Rg1Ng433. Ka1Qf6+
17. Qe4Bxc334. Kb1Draw

Rotterdam, 1955
1. c4g617. d4Rg8
2. Nc3Bg718. Qf2Bf6
3. g3Nf619. dxe5dxe5
4. Bg20-020. Rd6exf4
5. e4e521. Nxf4Nxf4
6. Nge2d622. Bxf4Qf7
7. 0-0Nfd723. Re1Bg7
8. d3f524. Rde6Nf8
9. exf5gxf525. Re7Qxc4
10. Be3Nf626. Rxg7Rxg7
11. Qd2c627. Re8Kg8
12. h3Nh528. Bd6Rf7
13. f4Qe829. Qe3f4
14. Kh2Qg630. Qe5Rf5
15. Qe1Nd731. Rxf8+Rxf8
16. Rd1Kh832. Qg5+Black

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

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