- The Washington Times - Friday, June 11, 2004

Richard Delaune, the international master who died Memorial Day weekend of a heart attack at 49, was one of the best players ever to come out of Virginia.

He was the state champion four times in 11 years starting in 1974. He also won four Virginia Open titles, the first in 1978 and the last in 1997.

I recall him dominating countless George Mason University quads and opens organized by Richard O’Keeffe in the mid-1970s, including not a few victories at my own expense. (I counted it a major victory when I once forced him into a difficult ending before conceding the point.)

The Delaune family has asked that donations be made in his name to the U.S. Chess Center to help fund a Richard K. Delaune Memorial Tournament. Call 202/857-4922 for more information.

Delaune played less frequently in recent years, but he was still a dangerous opponent. At the 1998 World Open in Philadelphia, Delaune took apart IM Raset Ziatdinov from the Black side of a Paulsen Sicilian, outplaying his higher-ranked opponent both positionally and tactically.

Both sides have chances in the complex middlegame. Black’s 25. Kh2 h6 26. Qe2 Bg5! is a nice move that invites White to trade off a strong bishop or cede a good diagonal to Black.

By 31. g4 Nf6 32. Nc3 (see diagram), White appears to have all the pieces in place for a powerful kingside push. With e4 protected, he threatens to crash through with g4-g5. But the loose position of the White king along the same diagonal at the Black queen allows Delaune a startling positional sacrifice that completely changes the character of the game.

Thus: 32…Rd4!! (a classic modern exchange sacrifice) 33. Rxd4 (accepting with 33. Bxd4 exd4+ 34. Kg1 dxc3 will lead to the complete collapse of the proud White center, while Black’s two bishops will go crazy in the open position) exd4+ 34. Bg3 Bd6! 35. e5.

The pawn fork at first blush appears to refute Black’s idea, but Delaune has another surprise: 35…Bxe5! 36. Bxe5 Qxe5+ 37. Qxe5 Nxg4+, forking king and queen and winning two pawns in the process. Black gives his opponent no counterchances in the endgame, and by 51. Rb8 Rd3+ 52. Kf2 Bh3, White is about to lose a third pawn. Ziatdinov resigned.

Also on the local front, the Arlington Chess Club will host a lecture and simultaneous exhibition at 7 p.m. Thursday by six-time U.S. champion Walter Browne. There are still boards available, and Browne will also be competing in this weekend’s 35th Virginia Open at the Holiday Inn Express at 6401 Brandon Ave. in Springfield.

More information on both events is available at https://members.cox.net/arlingtonchessclub.

• • •

Bulgarian WGM Antoaneta Stefanova is the new FIDE women’s world champion, handily defeating Russian Ekaterina Kovalevskaya in the finals in Elista, Russia. The exhausted combatants produced some shaky play in the match, but Stefanova, the 2002 European women’s champ, clearly dominated with two wins and a draw in the first three games to clinch the title.

• • •

IM Enrico Sevillano took clear first in the traditional Lina Grumette Memorial Day Classic in Glendale, Calif., during the holiday weekend last month. The event is typically one of the strongest open tournaments on the West Coast.

IM Melikset Khachiyan finished in a large group a half-point behind Sevillano but was denied a chance for the top prize when he was upset by master Tim Taylor late in the tournament. As in the Ziatdinov-Delaune encounter, the loser’s king finds himself on a very unfortunate diagonal.

This unusual side line in the Grunfeld winds up looking like a classic King’s Indian position, with White dominating on the queenside and Black looking for counterplay in a direct attack on the king. Khachiyan at some point in the game would have been well advised to tuck his king into safety in the corner, for its position on the a2-g8 line allows Taylor some crushing tactics.

With both sides looking to seize the initiative, White scores first with 20. Bxf4 exf4 21. Ne6!. The advanced White pawn can’t be saved in the long run, but while it survives, it proves a bone in Black’s throat. After 21…Bxe6 22. dxe6, better would have been 22…Kh8 23. exf5 Rxf5 34. Nd5 Qxe6 25. Rxc7, when Black’s position is loose but he’s still surviving.

Instead, things fall apart on 22…Ra7? 23. Nd5! Qxe6 24. exf5, presenting Black with a menu of unpalatable choices; e.g. 24…Rxf5 25. Ne7+ (the pin on the Black queen is devastating) Kf7 26. Nxf5 Nxf5 (or 24…Qxb3 25. Nxd6+) 27. Bc4 and 24…Nxf5 25. Ne7+ Kf7 26. Bc4, in both cases winning the Black queen.

The game’s 24…Qf7 25. f6! works no better, as Khachiyan will be mated on 25…Bh8 (Bxf6 26. Nxf6+ and the queen can’t recapture) 26. Ne7+ Kh7 27. Bd3+ Nf5 28. Bxf5+ Qg6 29. Bxg6 mate. Black gave up.

1998 World Open, Philadelphia

Ziatdinov Delaune

1. e4 c5 27. Bf2 Rf8

2. Nf3 Nc6 28. Rd3 Rcd8

3. d4 cxd4 29. Rbd1 Be7

4. Nxd4 Nf6 30. h4 c5

5. Nc3 e6 31. g4 Nf6

6. Be2 Qc7 32. Nc3 Rd4

7. 0-0 a6 33. Rxd4 exd4+

8. Be3 b5 34. Bg3 Bd6

9. Nxc6 dxc6 35. e5 Bxe5

10. f4 b4 36. Bxe5 Qxe5+

11. Na4 Rb8 37. Qxe5 Nxg4+

12. Bf3 Be7 38. Kg3 Nxe5

13. b3 0-0 39. Na4 Nxc4

14. c3 Rd8 40. bxc4 Rc8

15. Qc2 bxc3 41. Re1 Ba6

16. Qxc3 Bb4 42. Re5 f6

17. Qc2 e5 43. Re7 Rd8

18. f5 a5 44. Nb2 d3

19. Rfd1 Nd7 45. Ra7 Rd6

20. Be2 Be7 46. Kf2 d2

21. Bc4 Bb7 47. Nd1 Bxc4

22. Rac1 Ba3 48. Rxa5 Rd5

23. Rb1 Be7 49. Ke3 Bf1

24. h3 Rbc8 50. Ra8+ Kh7

25. Kh2 h6 51. Rb8 Rd3+

26. Qe2 Bg5 52. Kf2 Bh3

White resigns

Lina Grumette Memorial Day Classic, Glendale, Calif., May 2004

Taylor Khachiyan

1. d4 Nf6 14. f3 a6

2. c4 g6 15. Bd2 g5

3. Nc3 d5 16. Nd3 Ng6

4. e3 Bg7 17. Nc5 Qe7

5. Qb3 dxc4 18. Rac1 Nf4

6. Bxc4 0-0 19. Bf1 b6

7. Nf3 Nc6 20. Bxf4 exf4

8. Be2 Ne8 21. Ne6 Bxe6

9. 0-0 Nd6 22. dxe6 Ra7

10. Rd1 e5 23. Nd5 Qxe6

11. d5 Ne7 24. exf5 Qf7

12. e4 h6 25. f6 Black

13. Ne1 f5 resigns

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

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