- The Washington Times - Friday, July 28, 2006

New York FM Robert L. Hess is the new U.S. Junior champion, edging Tennessee NM Jake Kleiman by a half-point in the 10-player invitational that concluded last weekend in Dallas.

Hess lost his individual game against Kleiman but reeled off four wins in the last four rounds to take the title with a 7-2 score. Kleiman was defeated in a tough game against New York FM Igor Schneider in the last round, costing him the title honoring the country’s best player under 21.

New York master Marc Tyler Arnold took the under-16 U.S. Cadet title in Dallas, defeating tournament leader Parker Bi Guang Zhao, also of New York, in the final round with the black pieces.

The new Junior champ’s most dominant performance in Dallas came against Texas expert Benjamin Coraretti. White’s failure to get his king to safety in this Giuoco Piano costs him dearly as Hess lines up a killer attack down the central files.

With 16…b5 17. axb6 Bb7 18. Bd3 d5!, Black doesn’t waste time recovering his pawn, preferring to grab the initiative by blasting open the center. Coraretti would have been better advised to seek simplification with 22. Qf4 Qxe5 23. Bxd7, as 23…Qxf4 24. Nxf4 Rxd7 25. Ra5 Rc8 26. Kd2 Rd6 27. Re1 is roughly equal.

Instead, the White king ends up in no-man’s land when Coraretti finally does castle: 22. 0-0-0?! Qxe5 23. Bxd7 Rxd7 24. Rde1 Qd6 25. Nf4 c4!, and Black again declines to recover his material as he presses the attack.

In a bad position, White’s next error proves fatal: 26. Kd1? (Qf2 is tougher, though Black’s positional edge is clear) c3! 27. bxc3 dxc3 28. Qc1 (Qxc3? drops the knight on f4) d4, and with the entry of his bishop into the game, Black’s domination is complete. White seeks to trade down with 29. Rhf1 Re7 30. Rxe7 Qxe7, but now 31. Re1 Bf3+ 32. Ne2 Re8 is completely paralyzing.

It’s over anyway on the game’s 31. Nh5 Re8 32. Qf4 (Nf4 Bf3+! 33. Rxf3 Qe1 mate) Qe2+ 33. Kc1 Qe1+!, and White resigned as 34. Rxe1 Rxe1 is mate.

• • •

Somehow we missed the news that Herb Avram, the pride of California, Md., and one of the region’s strongest players in the decades after World War II, quietly passed away in January at age 92. His wife of 64 years, noted librarian Henriette D. Avram, succumbed to cancer three months later.

Avram won the Virginia chess championship three straight times from 1955 to 1957. He accomplished the neat trick of winning the Maryland Open — and thus becoming Maryland state champ — twice, once in 1955 and again 24 years later(!) in 1979. A World War II vet, he played against some of the best American stars of the prewar era and was still competing against the young challengers of the post-Bobby Fischer era.

Still, it is mandated under the Chess Columnist’s Code that if you beat Bobby over the board, that game runs in your memorial column. Avram was one of the very small fraternity of players to take a point from Fischer in a rated game, defeating the 14-year-old Brooklyn prodigy in a 1957 New Jersey tournament. By coincidence, Fischer was the reigning U.S. Junior champion at the time the game was played.

Avram as White wins this King’s Indian strategic battle after 19. c5! dxc5 20. h4! (Nxe5? Nxe5 21. Qxe5+ Bf6 costs White his queen), undermining the Black center and then blunting his intended kingside push. A nicely timed exchange sacrifice cements White’s overwhelming central edge: 20…Rg7 21. hxg5 Rxg5 (see diagram) 22. Rxh5! Rxh5 23. Nexf4.

White still lags in material, but his central dominance is unassailable and the open h-file actually aids White’s attack against the Black king. Throw in Black’s undeveloped queenside and it’s possible Fischer is already busted here.

Harassing Black’s exposed rook on the h-file, Avram methodically builds up his attack, forcing Fischer into increasingly desperate measures. By 34. Qe1 Bh6 35. e6 Bxf4 36. gxf4 h5 (a feeble diversion, but 36…Qg3 37. Ng4! Qxf3 [Qxe1 38. Rxe1 Rh3 39. Ne5] 38. Nxh2 also wins for White) 37. Nd3 h4 38. Qc3+ Qg7 39. Ne5 Bb7 40. Bh5!, the bishop is ready to escort the passed pawn to the queening square.

With no great tactical trickery, White has achieved an overwhelming position against his young opponent. The finale: 40…Rg8 (Rg2 41. e7 Rg3 42. Ng6+ Kg8 43. Qxg7+ Kxg7 44. Nxh4) 41. e7! Qxe7 42. Ng6+ Kh7 43. Nxe7, and Black packed it in.

A very well-played game by Avram, one of the few times in his career that Bobby was on the wrong end of a one-sided rout. Fischer would go on to win the first of his U.S. championships later that year and qualify for his first world championship candidates’ cycle a few months after that.

2006 U.S. Junior Invitational Championship, Dallas, July 2006

CorarettiHess

1. e4e518. Bb3d5

2. Nf3Nc619. e5Nd7

3. Bc4Bc520. Ba4Bxg5

4. d3Nf621. fxg5Rd8

5. Nc30-022. 0-0-0Qxe5

6. Bg5Be723. Bxd7Rxd7

7. Qd2a624. Rde1Qd6

8. a4d625. Nf4c4

9. h3Nh526. Kd1c3

10. Be3Kh827. bxc3dxc3

11. g4Nf628. Qc1d4

12. Ng5Qe829. Rhf1Re7

13. Ne2Nd430. Rxe7Qxe7

14. Bxd4exd431. Nh5Re8

15. f4c532. Qf4Qe2+

16. a5b533. Kc1Qe1+

17. axb6Bb7White resigns

Log Cabin Open, West Orange, N.J., February 1957

AvramFischer

1. d4Nf623. Nexf4Rh1

2. c4g624. Ne6Qf6

3. Nc3Bg725. Be3Bd6

4. e4d626. Nf2Rh5

5. f3e527. Be2Nf8

6. d5Nh528. Nxf8Bxf8

7. Be30-029. f4Rh2

8. Qd2f530. fxe5Qg6

9. 0-0-0f431. Bf3b6

10. Bf2Bf632. Bf4Rh4

11. Nge2Bh433. g3Rh2

12. Bg1Be734. Qe1Bh6

13. Kb1Nd735. e6Bxf4

14. Nc1Kh836. gxf4h5

15. Nd3a637. Nd3h4

16. Qc2Rf738. Qc3+Qg7

17. Ne2Qf839. Ne5Bb7

18. Qc3g540. Bh5Rg8

19. c5dxc541. e7Qxe7

20. h4Rg742. Ng6+Kh7

21. hxg5Rxg543. Nxe7Black

22. Rxh5Rxh5resigns

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

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