- The Washington Times - Friday, March 25, 2005

Another year, another attendance record for the U.S. Amateur Team East tournament.

The country’s most popular team event attracted a whopping 1,205 players on 286 teams to the traditional playing site in Parsippany, N.J., last month. Eighth-seeded My 60 Memorable Anti-Semitic Rants, from New York (masters Eli Vovsha and Samson Benen, expert Evan Rosenberg and Class B player Joshua Bromberg), won the title on tiebreaks after four teams finished at 51/2-1/2.

The winners square off against the top teams from the three other regional tournaments for the national amateur team title later this year.

Organizer Bill Townsend reports that among the also-rans at 5-1 was San Diego Two-Step, which featured the reigning men’s U.S. champ, GM Hikaru Nakamura, and U.S. women’s champ WGM Rusudan Goletiani. Nakamura was a clean 6-0 in his Board 1 games.

Masters Josef Friedman and Jairo Moreira went at it in an entertaining Round 5 encounter. Friedman emerged the winner, helping his Fighting Uruk team to a 3-1 match victory over Moreira’s Chesskidsny.

That infamous adage — “He who takes the b-pawn will sleep in the streets” — holds true in spades here, as White breaks on top after the reckless 25. f5 Nxf2 26. Rxf2 Qxb2?!. White plays for the attack with 27. Raf1, but even on 27. Rb1 Nxe4 (Qa3 28. Qg5! Qxc3 29. Qxg6+ Qg7 30. Bxf7+ Kh8 31. Qxh5+ Qh6 32. Bxe8 Qxh5 33. Bxh5 is winning) 28. Rxb2 Nxd2 29. Rxd2 gxf5 30. Rxb7 d5, Black is struggling for compensation.

Black’s creaky defenses are undermined on 27…Nxe4 28. Nxe4 Rxe4 (Qxa2 29. fxg6 Rxe4 30. gxf7+ Kh7 31. Qg5 Bh6 32. Qf5+, picking off the rook) 29. fxg6 d5 (see diagram) 30. Bxd5! (much less impressive is 30. gxf7+?! Kh7 31. Rf5 Qb6+ 32. Kh1 Qe3 33. Rxh5+ Kg7 34. Qxe3 Rxe3 35. Rg5+ Kh7 and Black can keep struggling) cxd5 31. Qxd5 Re7.

The pressure on f7 should be decisive, but Friedman misses a crusher: 32. gxf7+! Kh7 33. Qxh5+ Bh6 34. f8=Q Rxf8 35. Rxf8, when 35…Qxc2 allows 36. Rh8+! Kxh8 37. Qxh6+ Rh7 38. Qf8 mate. Instead, Black holds (barely) on 32. Rxf7?! Qb6+! 33. Kh1 Qe6! 34. Qxh5 Rxf7 35. gxf7+ Kg7.

But having survived one near-death experience, Moreira promptly commits suicide: 36. Qg5+ Kh7?? (Qg6!, covering up for the king, leaves the game still a toss-up) 37. Qg8+ Kh6 38. Qg8+ Kg6 39. Qg8+ Kh6 40. Qh8+ Kg6 41. h4!, and the mating noose tightens.

It’s over on 41…Qd6 42. Qg8+ Kh6 43. Qg5+ Kh7 44. Rf6, and Moreira resigns. Black might have considered throwing in a few spite checks, as White still had to play carefully; e.g. 44…Qd1+ 45. Kh2 Bd6+, when 46. Kh3?? Qh1+ 47. Kg4 Qxg2+ 48. Kh5 Qe2+ 49. Qg4 Qxg4+ 50. Kxg4 Bf8 turns the tables.

But White could have sidestepped that with 46. g3 Qxc2+ 47. Kh3 Qc8+ 48. Rf5 Qf8 49. Qg4 Qh6 50. Rh5 and an easy endgame win.

• • •

The annual Melody Amber tournament in Monte Carlo, Monaco, which began earlier this week, is not the most aesthetic of events, but it does present in abundance the entertaining spectacle of great players making elementary mistakes.

Competitors play a game of blindfold chess and a rapid/30 game against each of their rivals. The quick time controls of rapid make for some run-of-the-mill blunders, but the special demands of playing chess without sight of the pieces can produce some real howlers.

Dutch GM Loek Van Wely overstepped that fine line between brilliant and stupid in his Round 1 blindfold game with Russia’s Alexander Morozevich. Following a bizarre opening by the Russian, White’s “winning” move turns out to be 12. 0-0 Bc5 13. h3!!, for reasons that become clear 20 moves later.

Black is doing fine and could have cemented his edge with 24…f5! 25. Rd1 Rf8, when 26. Rcxd3? invites 26…Rxd3 27. Rxd3 fxe4 28. fxe4 Rxf2 29. Kh1 Re2 30. Nd2 Bd4 with a bind. Black is still preferable until 28. Rb1 Rhd8 29. Be3 Ng6??. This looks like a classic blindfold blunder — Black forgets that his bishop on a7 is attacked.

But Van Wely’s real oversight involved White’s h-pawn. Forgetting about White’s 13th move, Black planned after 30. Bxa7 the winning 30…Rd1+ 31. Rxd1 Rxd1+ 32. Kg2 Nf4+ 33. Kg3 Rg1+ 34. Kh4 g5 mate. But when White came up with 32. Kh2 (a move the Dutchman thought impossible), Black is just a piece down; Van Wely resigned.

• • •

What’s officially billed as “at least the 45th annual Maryland Open” will be held next weekend at the Adele Stamp Student Union on the University of Maryland’s College Park campus. It’s the state’s biggest event, and we’ll have coverage here in upcoming columns.

For schedules, fees and other entry information, check out the Maryland Chess Association Web site, www.serve.com/mdchess.

U.S. Amateur Team East, Parsippany, N.J., February 2005

FriedmanMoreira

1. e4e523. Qd2Qb6

2. Nf3d624. f4Ng4

3. d4exd425. f5Nxf2

4. Nxd4Nf626. Rxf2Qxb2

5. Nc3Be727. Raf1Nxe4

6. Bc40-028. Nxe4Rxe4

7. 0-0Re829. fxg6d5

8. Bg5c630. Bxd5cxd5

9. a4Bf831. Qxd5Re7

10. Qf3Nbd732. Rxf7Qb6+

11. Bb3h633. Kh1Qe6

12. Bh4Ne534. Qxh5Rxf7

13. Qd1Ng635. gxf7+Kg7

14. Bg3Bg436. Qg5+Kh7

15. f3Bc837. Qg8+Kh6

16. Qd2h538. Qh8+Kg6

17. Qg5Ne539. Qg8+Kh6

18. Nf5Bxf540. Qh8+Kg6

19. Qxf5g641. h4Qd6

20. Qf4Nfd742. Qg8+Kh6

21. Bf2Nc543. Qg5+Kh7

22. Ba2Qa544. Rf6Black

resigns

Melody Amber Blindfold Tournament, Monte Carlo, March 2005

MorozevichVan Wely

1. d4d517. Ba3Ne7

2. Bg5f618. a5Bd4

3. Bf4Nc619. Rc1a6

4. Nf3Bg420. Qa4Ba7

5. c4dxc421. Rc3Qe6

6. d5e522. Qb3Qxb3

7. Bc1Nb423. Nxb3Bxf3

8. e4c624. gxf3Kf7

9. a3Nd3+25. Rd1Ke6

10. Bxd3cxd326. Bc1d2

11. dxc6bxc627. Bxd2Rd6

12. 0-0Bc528. Rb1Rhd8

13. h3Bh529. Be3Ng6

14. b4Bb630. Bxa7Rd1+

15. a4Qd631. Rxd1Rxd1+

16. Nbd2Rd832. Kh2Black

resigns

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

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