- The Washington Times - Friday, September 10, 2004

NM Daniel Miller is the Virginia chess champion for the second year in a row and the third time in five years, edging Northern Virginia master Macon Shibut on tiebreaks in the 68th annual Virginia Closed Championship last weekend at the Springfield Holiday Inn.

The two players, who drew their individual matchup in Round 4, finished at 5-1, a half-point ahead of masters Dov Gorman, Choidog Ganbold and Rusty Potter (a three-time former state champ himself) and expert Larry Larkins.

The critical games came in Round 5, when Miller defeated Potter and Shibut beat Larkins. Both drew their last-round games, and it took several levels of tiebreaks before Miller was awarded the Moorman Cup. He becomes the first repeat state champ since Geoff McKenna won in 1995 and 1996.

In the under-1800 Amateur section, junior Nick Halgren ran the table with a 6-0 score, with fellow junior Ryan Rust alone in second at 5-1.

We hope to have a game or two from the tournament next week, but for now, we offer one last entertaining encounter from the Atlantic Open, held late last month downtown. Maryland master Peter Gilruth goes a-hunting here, running down New York master Igor Schneider’s monarch in the center of the board in just more than two dozen moves.

Black gives up castling to swallow an indigestible pawn on 12. exd4 Bd6!? (Be7 was a solid alternative) 13. Nc5! Nxc5 14. dxc5 Bxc5?! 15. Bb5+ Ke7.

Schneider probably should have traded down when he could, for things really get sticky on 16. Bg5 Qb6 (Bxf3 17. Qxf3 Qb6 was indicated) 17. Ne5 (with the idea of 18. Nd7! Qd6 18. Rad1 Bd5 20. Bh4! and the very awkward threat of 21. Bg3) Rhd8 18. Qh5! Qxb5 (refusing the piece with 18…Rf8 [g6 19. Qh4] invites 19. Qxh7! Qxb5 20. Qxg7 Bxf2+ 21. Rxf2 Qxe5 22. Bxf6+) 19. Qxf7+ Kd6 20. Bf4!, and the Black king will find no rest for the remainder of the game.

The finale: 20…Bd4 (Kd5 21. Qxg7 Ne4 [Bd4 22. Rfd1 is decisive] 22. Rfd1+ Bd4 23. Rxd4+! Kxd4 24. Be3+ Kd5 25. Rd1+ Nd2 26. Rxd2+ Ke4 27. f3+! Kxe3 28. Qh6 mate) 21. Rfd1 Kd5 22. Nf3 Ke4 (Black can hardly retreat, so he opts for a suicide swan dive) 23. Bg3 e5 24. Re1+ Kf5 25. Nh4+.

Because it’s over on 25…Kg5 (Kg4 26. h3+ Kg5 27. Qxg7+ Kh5 28. Nf5 Bf3 29. Qh6 mate) 26. Qxg7+ Kh5 27. Nf5 Qd5 28. Qh6+ Kg4 29. Nh4 Rg8 30. h3 mate, Black resigned.

Organizers this week gave New York GM Gata Kamsky a wild-card berth in the 2004 U.S. championship tournament to be held in San Diego in late November. The Russian-born Kamsky is the highest-rated American player, and he lost a world-title match to Russian Anatoly Karpov in 1996.

Kamsky has been pursuing a law degree and has been inactive for several years. But he recently emerged to play in a number of weekly rapid events in New York, showing both the rust in his game and some flashes of his former brilliance.

It will be interesting to see how Kamsky fares.

Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of chess, we turn to an open tournament in Pune, India, for a nice variant on a classic attacking theme.

Had the great Emanuel Lasker patented the concept of the two-bishop sacrifice, his heirs would be very rich. Russian GM Ruslan Sherbakov, playing against Indian master Arghyadip Das, finds a way to inject a little freshness into the idea Lasker first employed 115 years ago.

The Sicilian Wing Gambit (2. b4) isn’t a frequent visitor in elite events, but it serves its purpose well here. Sherbakov shows the gambiteer’s spirit with 7. Bd3!?, locking in his own center pawn to speed development.

Black’s 9. Re1 0-0?! (less commital is 9…b6 10. axb4 Bxb4 11. Nc3 Qh5 12. Ne4 Be7, with a perfectly playable game) looks premature, as it lets White know where to aim his attack. A few moves later, Das may have missed a good opportunity to simplify with 13…Bc5! 14. Qe2 Nxe4 15. Nxe4 Qxb2 16. Nxd7 Nxc2 17. Rab1 Qd4 18. Nxf8 Nxe1 19. Nxe6 fxe6 20. Nxc5 Qxc5 21. Qxe6+ Kh8 22. Rxe1, with full equality.

Instead, he sets the table for his opponent, and Sherbakov tucks in on 13…Qb6? 14. Nxd7 Nxd7 (see diagram) 15. Bxh7+!! (Lasker’s ingenious idea in a new package) Kxh7 16. Qh5+ Kg8 17. Na4! Qd6 18. Bxg7!!.

The Black king’s pawn cover is ripped apart, and some nice tactics bring home the point: 18…Kxg7 19. Qg4+ Kf6 (Kh7 20. Re3 Qxd2 21. Rh3+ Qh6 22. Raa3! mates), and now a critical in-between move, 20. Nc3! (the hasty 20. Re3? Ne5, and 20. h4? Rg8 21. Qe4 Qd5 both lose for White), threatens to fork king and queen and decides the contest.

The finale: 20…Nc5 21. Re3 (only now) Qc6 (the threat was 22. Rf3+ Ke5 23. Qf4 mate; insufficient also was 21…Bd8 22. Qh4+ Kg6 23. Rg3+ Qxg3 [Kf5 24. Qh5+ Kf4 25. Rg4 mate] 24. Qxg3+ Kf6 25. Qf4+ Kg7 26. Qxb4, winning) 22. Qf4+ Kg6 23. Rg3+ Kh7 24. Qg4. Black can delay but not avoid the mate along the g-file, and Das resigned.

Note: We had a typo in the score of the Tate-Wojtkiewicz game last week from the Atlantic Open. Black’s 35th move was 35…Kf7, not 35. Rf8 as in the column. My apologies.

35th Atlantic Open, Washington , August 2004


1. Nf3d514. dxc5Bxc5

2. d4e615. Bb5+Ke7

3. c4c616. Bg5Qb6

4. e3Nf617. Ne5Rhd8

5. Nc3Nbd718. Qh5Qxb5

6. Bd3dxc419. Qxf7+Kd6

7. Bxc4b520. Bf4Bd4

8. Bd3Bb721. Rfd1Kd5

9. Qe2b422. Nf3Ke4

10. Na4c523. Bg3e5

11. 0-0cxd424. Re1+Kf5

12. exd4Bd625. Nh4+Black

13. Nc5Nxc5resigns

Pune Open, Pune, India, September 2004


1. e4c513. Be4Qb6

2. b4cxb414. Nxd7Nxd7

3. a3d515. Bxh7+Kxh7

4. exd5Qxd516. Qh5+Kg8

5. Nf3e617. Na4Qd6

6. Bb2Nf618. Bxg7Kxg7

7. Bd3Nc619. Qg4+Kf6

8. 0-0Be720. Nc3Nc5

9. Re10-021. Re3Qc6

10. Ne5Bd722. Qf4+Kg6

11. axb4Nxb423. Rg3+Kh7

12. Nc3Qd424. Qg4Black resigns

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

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