- The Washington Times - Friday, June 17, 2005

The Air Force team soared to victory in the 2005 Inter-Service Chess Championship, held last week on the grounds of Fort Myer in Arlington.

Finishing second in the team competition was the Army, followed by the Navy and a game but outrated contingent of Marines. In one of the tightest finishes in the individual competition, the Navy’s Narciso Victoria took the title and the Col. Haskell Small Trophy on tiebreaks over five other players.

Victoria’s 5-2 score was matched by the Air Force’s Sam Echaure, Dan Ranario (of the British Royal Air Force) and Robert Keough (who handed Victoria his only defeat in the final round); by Mustapha Kahlouch of the Army team; and by Froilan Magpantay of the Navy team.

Class A player Nathaniel Ola, a member of the victorious Air Force squadron, showed the proper way to repel a premature sortie in his game against Army expert Rudy Tia Jr. Tia has a long record of success in the military tournament, but his decision to snatch a pawn early in this Pirc Defense backfires badly.

Black’s 8. Qd2 Nxg4!? 9. Bxg4 Qh4+ looks promising on the surface, as Black recovers his piece and goes up a pawn. But on 10. Qf2! Qxg4 11. Nge2 Qe6 12. 0-0-0 a6?! (it’s not clear what this move accomplishes) 13. Rhf1, White’s developmental lead has grown to alarming proportions.

In such positions, a single slip by the defender can prove fatal. Tia gets careless with 17. f5 Nf8? (see diagram; Black bolsters the g6 square, but a more active blocking move such as 17…Bf6 was called for) 18. f6! Bxf6 19. Rxf6! Qxf6 (the craven 19…Be6 20. Bg5 Qc5 21. b4 Qxb4 22. Qxe5 leaves White ahead on material and buzzing with threats) 20. Bg5, and the queen dare not run away and allow 21. Rd8 mate.

Ola plays the remainder of the game with admirable energy, breaking down Black’s defenses with a timely exchange sacrifice (27. Rxg4!) and using his queen and knight to chase down the Black king.

It’s over on 33. Nf5 Rg6 34. Qh4 (threatening 35. Qh8+ Rg8 36. Qh6+ Ke8 37. Qf6 Kd7 38. Qd6+ Kc8 39. Ne7 mate) f6 35. Qh8+, and Black resigns in view of 35…Rg8 (Kf7 36. Qh7+ Ke6 37. Qe7 mate) 36. Qxf6+ Ke8 37. Qe7 mate.

Thanks to tournament director Ronald Braud and to organizer Maj. Zack Kinney (Air Force, retired) for providing crosstables and games from the event.

Uzbek GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov lost the match but won a moral victory in the finals of the 18th Ciudad de Leon knockout rapid tournament, which concluded Monday.

Kasimdzhanov, who defeated Spanish star Alexei Shirov in the preliminary round, actually won the first game of the four-game final against lightning-quick Indian star Viswanathan Anand, the world’s best rapid chess player.

Showing excellent nerves, Kasimdzhanov survived a powerful novelty by Anand and threaded his way through severe complications to the win. The forced sequence after 14. Qc3 Bxe4!? (Leko-Kasparov at Linares earlier this year was drawn in 26 moves after 14…Nd7 15. 0-0-0 Be7) 15. fxe4 Nxe4 16. Qb4 Qh4+ 17. Kd1 (Kf1?? Qh3+ 18. Ke2 Qg2+ 19. Ke1 Qxh1+) Qxg4+ 18. Kc1 e5 gives Black three pawns for the sacrificed piece.

But Black’s king-side is still undeveloped, and Kasimdzhanov plays actively to keep it that way: 19. Nb6! (clearing a4 for the queen) exd4 (Black’s vulnerability can be seen in 19…Rc7 20. Qa4+ Ke7 21. Nd5+ Kd8 22. Nc6+ Kc8 23. Na7+! Kb8 24. Qe8+ Kb7 25. Ra4! Rc5 26. Rb4+ Rb5 27. Rxb5+ axb5 28. Qxb5+ Ka8 29. Nc7 mate) 20. Rg1! Qe6? (a move criticized in the post-mortem; on 20…Qh3 21. Bxd4 [Qa4+ Kd8 22. Bxd4 Nc5 is equal] f6 22. Qa4+ Kf7, White still has to work to justify his material deficit) 21. Nxc8.

Black should have tried here 21…Qxc8 22. Qa4+ Ke7 23. Bxd4 f6 24. Ra3 d5, with hopes of organizing a defense, as the game’s 21…dxe3?! 22. Qb8! f5 (he can’t escape the double-check as White must win on 22…Kd7 23. Nb6+ Ke7 24. Qb7+ Kf6 25. Nd5+ Ke5 26. Nc7 Qd7 27. Qd5+) 23. Nxd6+ Ke7 24. Qc7+ Kf6 25. Qd8+ Ke5 26. Nxe4 Kxe4 27. Ra4 leaves the Black king fatally exposed.

White soon goes a full exchange to the good, while Black’s bishop and rook still struggle to get into the game. Kasimdzhanov could have shortened the drama with 45. Rd1!, threatening to pin and win the queen, but he keeps firm control of the game nevertheless. After 61. Rxb8 f2 62. Rxg3+! Kxg3 63. Rf8, White can sacrifice his rook for the f-pawn and queen long before either Black pawn makes it down the board; Anand resigned.

Kasimdzhanov lost Game 2 but had his opponent on the ropes in Game 3 before settling for a draw. But the Indian super-GM came through with a strong performance in Game 4 to take the match.

2005 Inter-Service Chess Championship, Fort Myer, Arlington, June 2005

Ola Tia

1. e4 d6 19. Rxf6 Qxf6

2. d4 Nf6 20. Bg5 Qxg5+

3. Nc3 g6 21. Qxg5 Ne6

4. Be3 c6 22. Qxe5 0-0

5. Be2 Nbd7 23. Rg1 Ng7

6. g4 h6 24. Qg5 Bg4

7. f4 e5 25. Nf4 Kh7

8. Qd2 Nxg4 26. Nce2 Rfd8

9. Bxg4 Qh4+ 27. Rxg4 hxg4

10. Qf2 Qxg4 28. h5 gxh5

11. Nge2 Qe6 29. Nxh5 Nxh5

12. 0-0-0 a6 30. Qxh5+ Kg8

13. Rhf1 Bg7 31. Qxg4+ Kf8

14. Qg3 Qe7 32. Ng3 Rd6

15. h4 h5 33. Nf5 Rg6

16. dxe5 dxe5 34. Qh4 f6

17. f5 Nf8 35. Qh8+ Black

18. f6 Bxf6 resigns

18th Ciudad de Leon Rapid Tournament, Finals, Leon, Spain, June 2005

Kasimdzhanov Anand

1. e4 c5 33. Qe2+ Kg6

2. Nf3 d6 34. b3 Bc5

3. d4 cxd4 35. Rd1 Qc6

4. Nxd4 Nf6 36. Qd3 Be7

5. Nc3 a6 37. Rc4 Qg2

6. Be3 e6 38. Qxc3 Qxh2

7. f3 b5 39. Rc6+ Bf6

8. Qd2 Nbd7 40. a6 Ra8

9. g4 Nb6 41. Rdd6 Qh4

10. a4 Nc4 42. b4 f4

11. Bxc4 bxc4 43. Qd3+ Kh6

12. a5 Bb7 44. Qe4 Ra7

13. Na4 Rc8 45. b5 Qg5

14. Qc3 Bxe4 46. Qh1+ Kg6

15. fxe4 Nxe4 47. Rd5 Qg4

16. Qb4 Qh4+ 48. Qe4+ Kh6

17. Kd1 Qxg4+ 49. Qh1+ Kg6

18. Kc1 e5 50. Rd1 Qf5

19. Nb6 exd4 51. Qg1+ Qg5

20. Rg1 Qe6 52. Qxg5+ Kxg5

21. Nxc8 dxe3 53. c4 f3

22. Qb8 f5 54. Kc2 Be5

23. Nxd6+ Ke7 55. Rc8 Kg4

24. Qc7+ Kf6 56. Re8 Bf4

25. Qd8+ Ke5 57. Rg1+ Bg3

26. Nxe4 Kxe4 58. b6 Rxa6

27. Ra4 Qd5 59. b7 Rb6

28. Qe8+ Kf4 60. b8=Q Rxb8

29. Rf1+ Kg5 61. Rxb8 f2

30. Qxe3+ Kg6 62. Rxg3+ Kxg3

31. Qb6+ Kh5 63. Rf8 Black

32. Qxa6 c3 resigns

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

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