- The Washington Times - Friday, September 9, 2005

Employing his trademark rope-a-dope technique, FM Daniel Miller took his third Virginia state title in a row and fourth overall at the 69th annual state championship held Labor Day weekend in Springfield.

Surviving a series of dicey positions, Miller went 5-1 in the Open section, a half-point ahead of five players: Top seed FM Dov Gorman, former champion FM Macon Shibut, D.C. Open winner Andrew Samuelson, and experts Larry Larkins and Adithya Balasubramanian.

The 13-year-old “Adithya B” — as he prefers to be known — was the sensation of the event, according to Tournament Director Mike Atkins, who also kindly supplied us with some games from the championship.

The junior expert upset Gorman in Round 2 and could only draw his game with Miller despite being two pawns up in the rook ending. He then beat Samuelson in Round 4 and dispatched Rusty Potter, another multiple former state champ, a round later. Only a loss to Shibut in the final round kept Balasubramanian from running away with the event.

Gorman had been the pre-tourney ratings favorite, but the young expert shows no fear in their game. White’s King’s Indian Reversed is a solid practical choice against a higher-rated opponent, and Balasubramanian’s kingside attack will prove more expeditious than Black’s efforts on the opposite wing.

Black’s underdefended king feels the heat on 15. N1h2 Bb7 16. Ng4 d4?! (more forceful was 16…Nd4 17. Nxd4 cxd4 18. Nf6+ [h5 h6 19. Nxh6+?! gxh6 20. Bxh6 Kh7 21. Bxf8 Rxf8 and Black may enjoy a small edge] Kh8, and White must address Black’s queenside play) 17. Nf6+!, when 17…Kh8 18. Ng5 h6 leads to trouble on 19. Qh5 Nd7 20. Qxf7! Nxf6 (Rxf7?? 21. Nxf7 mate) 21. exf6 Rxf7 24. fxe7, winning.

White still dictates the play on 17…Bxf6 18. exf6 Qd7 19. fxg7 Rfe8 (Kxg7 20. Ng5 Nd5 21. Qg4 [Nxh7?! Nxf4 22. gxf4 Rh8 23. Ng5 Rxh4 holds] Kh8 [Nxf4?? 22. Nxe6+ Kf6 23. Qg5 mate] 22. Qh5 f6 23. Bxd5 exd5 24. Ne6 Qf7 25. Qxf7 Rxf7 26. Nxc5 gives White a clear edge) 20. Ng5 f6 21. Nxe6 Qf7 22. Bc7!, infiltrating the enemy position.

White’s energetic play forces Black into a fatal defensive lapse: 22…Nd7? (giving up the key d5-square; doughtier was 22…Ra6 23. Qg4 f5, although White still has a pull) 23. Bd5! Na5 (see diagram) 24. Nd8!.

This picturesque move leaves Black with some ugly choices, as it is mate on 24…Qxd5 (Rxe2 25. Bxf7+ Kxg7 26. Rxe2 wins major material) 25. Qxe8+ Kxg7 26. Re7+ Kh6 27. Bf4+ Qg5 28. g4! Qxf4 29. Qh5 mate. Gorman resigned.

Murtuza Hashim is the 2005 Virginia Amateur champion, defeating last year’s winner Nick Halgren in the final round to edge Tim Chen by a half-point in the 40-player Under-1800 contest. Michael Donovan and Joe Faires tied for third, which John Ohman took the Class D prize and Sue He claimed both the Under-1200 and top upset prizes.

Hashim and Chen were a full point ahead of the field going into the final round, but Halgren stood between Hashim and the title. In a classic Queen’s Gambit battle, the tournament situation may have forced Black’s hand with the provocative 21. Rf3 f6?! 22. Nxg6.

Black regains his pawn on 22…Qg7 23. f5 Ng5 24. Rf1 Rxe3, but he never recovers from the softening of his king’s pawn barricade, with the h6-pawn a perennial headache. Black never quite loses the h-pawn, but the defensive contortions he must undergo to save it cause the rest of his game to collapse.

Thus: 32. Qd1! (a nice multipurpose move that defends the a-pawn and prepares the queen for a kingside sortie) b5 33. a5 Nf8 34. h5!, inviting 34…Nxg6 35. fxg6+ Kg8 36. Qd2, picking off the h-pawn. With 34…Bd7 35. Bd6 Nxg6 36. hxg6+ Kg8 37. Qh5!, Hashim establishes a strong bind that virtually paralyzes the Black queen.

White breaks clearly on top on 37…Re3 (Qh8 38. Rf3 Re1+ 39. Kh2 Re4 40. Rh3 Kg7 41. g3!, with the nasty threat of 42. Bf4) 38. Bb4 Rg3 39. Qh2! Re3 40. Qb8+ Be8 41. Qd6!, and Black must lost material.

Desperation sets in on 42…Bxg6 43. fxg6 Qxg6, but White turns aside any threats with 44. Qc8+ Re8 45. Qf5 Qg3 46. Qxf6+ Qg7 (Kh7 47. Qf7+ is just as hopeless) 47. Qxg7+, and White easily wins the ending on 47…Kxg7 48. Rf5 Rd8 49. Bc5; Halgren resigned.

On a sadder note, longtime area chess organizer, promoter, writer and player Homer Jones passed away Aug. 31 from respiratory failure at his home in Winter Park, Fla. He was 79.

Jones was a regular at the old Washington Chess Divan and at the Arlington Chess Club, and served as an officer and newsletter editor for the D.C. Chess League. My very first chess “publication” was a game I played in the 1976 U.S. Open in Fairfax that Jones selected for the tournament bulletin. He will be missed.

Virginia Closed Championship, Springfield, September 2005


1. e4c513. Bf4a3

2. Nf3e614. b3Nb6

3. d3d515. N1h2Bb7

4. Nbd2Nc616. Ng4d4

5. g3Nf617. Nf6+Bxf6

6. Bg2Be718. exf6Qd7

7. 0-00-019. fxg7Rfe8

8. e5Nd720. Ng5f6

9. Re1Qc721. Nxe6Qf7

10. Qe2b522. Bc7Nd7

11. Nf1a523. Bd5Na5

12. h4a424. Nd8Black


Virginia Closed Amateur Championship, Springfield, September 2005


1. d4d525. Bf4Ree8

2. c4e626. h4Ne4

3. Nc3Nf627. Qc1Kh7

4. cxd5exd528. Bxe4Rxe4

5. Bg5Be729. Qd2Rce8

6. Qc20-030. Rae1Bc6

7. e3Nbd731. Rxe4Rxe4

8. Bd3h632. Qd1b5

9. Bh4c533. a5Nf8

10. Nf3a634. h5Bd7

11. a4b635. Bd6Nxg6

12. h3Bb736. hxg6+Kg8

13. Bg3Rc837. Qh5Re3

14. 0-0Re838. Bb4Rg3

15. Qe2c439. Qh2Re3

16. Bb1Bb440. Qb8+Be8

17. Ne5Qe741. Qd6Kh8

18. Qc2g642. Qxa6Bxg6

19. f4Bxc343. fxg6Qxg6

20. bxc3Ne444. Qc8+Re8

21. Rf1Rxe345. Qf5Qg3

22. Nxg6Qg746. Qxf6+Qg7

23. f5Ng547. Qxg7+Black

24. Rf1Rxe3resigns

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

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