- The Washington Times - Friday, November 18, 2005

Beating New York, whatever the sport, never gets old.With the help of the father-son tandem of IM Larry Kaufman and FM Ray Kaufman, the Baltimore Kingfishers upset the mighty New York Knights and advanced to this week’s championship match in the inaugural season of the U.S. Chess League.

The New Yorkers, drawing on the strongest chess market in the country, had easily won the regular season with an 8-2 record and needed only to tie the match to advance. However, wins by the two Kaufmans in the East Division playoff paced the Kingfishers to a 21/2-11/2 win.

Baltimore squares off Wednesday against the Miami Sharks, who also advanced in an upset over the San Francisco Mechanics in the West divisional final. League organizer Greg Shahade has put up a terrific Web site for the league at www.uschessleague.com.

Canadian champion IM Pascal Charbonneau, Baltimore’s top board, won the USCL’s first MVP honors, awarded based on a formula of total wins and strength of opposition.

Charbonneau helped Baltimore into the playoffs with a last-round win over Boston Blitz first board FM Josh Friedel. A timely exchange sacrifice when Black’s pieces were otherwise occupied helped the Canadian break through.

After some early maneuvering in an English Opening, White’s 21. Bg4 Rcd8 22. Bxd7! is a surprising but well-judged exchange, as Charbonneau now blockades the queen-side and locks in the Black bishop on 22…Qxd7 23. Rc5. As Black seeks to free the bishop and create new chances on the queen-side, White builds up his king-side attack.

Friedel might have been better advised to keep his king-side pawns at home as 30. Rg3 g6?! (more active is 30…Qxb3! 31. e4 Qb1 32. e6 g6 33. exd5 Ra2 34. Qe3 Re2 35. Qb3 Qe4, and Black’s game looks defendable) 31. Qxb4 Ra2 allows White to unleash his bishop with the break 32. e6!.

Best in a tough situation now probably was 32…Qe4, although on 33. exf7+ Rxf7 34. Rxb5! cxb5 35. Qxb5, Black faces many of the defensive problems he encounters in the game.

Instead, White wraps up the point on 32…fxe6? (see diagram) 33. Rxb5! cxb5 34. Qe7!, and the dark squares around the Black king simply can’t be guarded. The finale: 34…Rf7 35. Qe8+ Rf8 36. Qxe6+ Rf7 37. Qe5! Kf8 38. Bc5+ Kg8 39. Qe8+ Kg7 40. Bd4+, and Black resigns because mate looms in lines like 40…Rf6 41. Qe7+ Kh6 42. Bxf6 Qf1 43. Bg5+ Kh5 44. Qxh7 mate.

Here’s hoping the league lives long and prospers, and a D.C. squad can be added quickly to the lineup.

• • •

Azerbaijani GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov got off to a fast start in his bid to claim a rare second world junior title, winning five and drawing one out of the starting gate in the tournament now under way in Istanbul. However, there are still seven rounds to play, and this is one event in which historically it has been very hard to repeat.

No U.S. juniors are in the field, although New York GM Hikaru Nakamura, 17, would have been among the top seeds had he chosen to play.

As always, the young players prefer some of the most dynamic and risk-taking positions, a far cry from the safer, saner styles their professional elders often adopt. Untitled Wang Hao, one of a strong contingent of Chinese boys and girls in Turkey, took some amazing chances in downing Philippine master Roderick Nava in a sharp, short Sicilian Scheveningen.

Black tries to force play with 13. Rhe1 Qa5?!, hoping the attack on the knight will gain a tempo and allow him to finish his king-side development. Wang’s riposte — 14. Nxe6!? — is a standard idea in many Sicilian lines, but his follow-up is completely original: 14…fxe6 (Qxa4 15. Nc5 ! Bxc5 [Qc6 16. Bxd5, and 15…Nxc5 16. Bxc5+ Kd7 17. Bxd5 Bxc5 18. Bb3+ are both bad for Black] 16. Bxc5+ Kd8 17. Bxd5 Bc6 18. Re4 and White’s attack has great momentum) 15. Bb6!!, putting the bishop on a square covered by three Black pieces just to give the White rook a clear shot at e6.

Neither knight can take the impertinent White bishop: 17…N7xb6 16. Rxe6+ Kf7 17. Rxb6 Qxa4 18. Bxd5+ Bxd5 19. Qxd5+ Ke8 20. Qxa8+, and 17…N5xb6 18. Rxe6+ Be7 17. Nxb6 Nxb6 18. Rxe7+! Kxe7 19. Qd6+ Ke8 20. Qe6+ Kf8 21. Qxf7 mate.

Ultrasharp play ensues on 15…Qxa4 16. Bxd5 17. Bxb7!? (even stronger might be 17. Rxe6! Bxd5 18. Qxd5 Nxb6 19. Rxb6, with the nasty threat of 20. Qh5+) Nxb6 18. Rxe6 0-0! (cowardly flight, abandoning the bishop, looks like the best option; not 18…Rb8? 19. Rxe7+! Kxe7 20. Re1+ Kf7 21. Qf4+ Kg6 [Kg8 22. Qxb8+] 22. Re6+ Kh5 23. Qg4 mate) 19. Rxe7 Qxa2 20. Qd4!, as White sidesteps Black’s mate threat and sets up one of his own on g7.

Now Nava could have at least survived to the endgame (a major accomplishment, all things considered) with 20…Qa1+ 21. Kd2 Rfd8! (Qxd1+? 22. Kxd1 Rfd8 fails to 23. Re8+! Rxe8 [Kf7 24. Rxd8] 24. Bxa8) 22. Re8+ Rxe8 23. Bd5+ Nxd5 24. Qxd5+ Kh8 25. Rxa1 Red8 26. Qxd8+ Rxd8+ Ke3, though even then the game may still be lost. It’s over in an eyeblink, however, after Black’s 20…Rf6? 21. Bxa8, and White mates in short order after 21…Nxa8 22. Qg4 g6 23. Rd8+ Rf8 24. Qd7!. Nava resigned.

U.S. Chess League, Baltimore vs. Boston, November 2005


1. Nf3d521. Bg4Rcd8

2. c4c622. Bxd7Qxd7

3. e3Nf623. Rc5Ra8

4. Qc2e624. Rf1Qf5

5. b3Nbd725. h3Ba6

6. Bb2Bd626. Rf3Bb5

7. Nc30-027. Bd4a4

8. Be2a628. Kh2axb3

9. d4b529. axb3Qb1

10. 0-0Bb730. Rg3g6

11. Rfd1b431. Qxb4Ra2

12. Na4Ne432. e6fxe6

13. Ne5Bxe533. Rxb5cxb5

14. dxe5Qe734. Qe7Rf7

15. Rac1Rac835. Qe8+Rf8

16. f3Nec536. Qxe6+Rf7

17. Nxc5Qxc537. Qe5Kf8

18. Qd2Qe738. Bc5+Kg8

19. cxd5exd539. Qe8+Kg7

20. f4a540. Bd4+Black


World Junior Championship, Istanbul, November 2005


1. e4c512. Bc4Bb7

2. Nf3d613. Rhe1Qa5

3. d4cxd414. Nxe6fxe6

4. Nxd4Nf615. Bb6Qxa4

5. Nc3a616. Bxd5Be7

6. Be3e617. Bxb7Nxb6

7. f3b518. Rxe60-0

8. Qd2b419. Rxe7Qxa2

9. Na4Nbd720. Qd4Rf6

10. 0-0-0d521. Bxa8Black

11. exd5Nxd5resigns

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

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