- The Washington Times - Friday, May 5, 2006

We wrote here two weeks ago about the fine performance of IM Eugene Perelshteyn at the strong Foxwoods Open last month. The University of Maryland-Baltimore County computer science grad tied for first with Dutch GM Loek van Wely and Israeli GM Ilya Smirin, all at 7-2.

We learned subsequently that the result was Perelshteyn’s third and final norm for the grandmaster title, making him the latest American to garner the game’s ultimate title. Perelshteyn, who was born in Ukraine and grew up near Boston, was a stalwart on a string of UMBC chess teams that dominated the college ranks.

The title was just a matter of time. Perelshteyn won the 2000 U.S. junior title and took clear first in the star-studded 2003 Generation Chess International Chess Tournament in New York City, ahead of veteran GMs Jaan Ehlvest and Larry Christiansen. He defeated Ehlvest again at Foxwoods and clinched a share of first place with a last-round win over Israeli GM Victor Mikhalevski.

To mark the milestone, we have on offer today another Perelshteyn grandmaster scalp, this one over New York GM Alexander Stripunsky, taken from a match from the inaugural U.S. Chess League season last year. Stripunsky is one of the country’s strongest positional players and is not often outmaneuvered in so convincing a fashion. The annotations rely heavily on the winner’s own post-game notes.

In a Najdorf Sicilian, White gets a small but enduring advantage after the central dust-up on 17. Nb6 Rcd8 18. Qe2 d5? (missing a finesse; Perelshteyn said 18…Nd7 19. c4 was safer for Black) 19. Bf4! e5 20. exd5 exf4 21. dxc6 bxc6 22. Qxa6 fxg3 23. hxg3 Bc5 24. Na4!, preparing to give back the extra pawn to keep control of the board and eliminate counterchances.

The weak c-pawn costs Black on 30. Re5 c4 (Rc8 31. Bh3) 31. bxc4 Rfb8 32. Rae1 Rb1 33. Bf3 Rxe1+ 34. Rxe1 Rc8 35. Rd1!, when 35…Qxc4? loses at once to 36. Rd8+. White’s real edge lies not in his extra pawn, but in the vastly superior placement of his pieces, which quickly combine for a powerful mating attack.

The threats mount on 39. Bd5 Re8 40. Rf4, when 41. Rxf6 and 42. Qg6+ loom. After the game’s 40…Qa1 (Perelshteyn gives 40…Qb6 41. c5! Qd8 [Qxc5 42. Rxf6!] 42. c4 as dominating for White) 41. c3 Qa6 42. Qd4 Re1 43. Qc5 Qa1 44. Qc7!, the White pieces circle for the kill.

The curtain falls on 45. Qxf7+ Kh7 46. Rf5 Kh6 (see diagram) 47. Bf3! (threat: 48. Rxh5+ Nxh5 49. Qxh5 mate) Re5 48. Bxh5! (Rxf5 49. Qg6 mate; 48…Nxh5 49. Qxh5 mate) Kh7 49. Rxf6 Rg5 50. Rf5 and Black resigned a hopeless game.

The German Bundesliga has long been the strongest team competition in the world, with superstars such as classical world champion Vladimir Kramnik and Indian GM Viswanathan Anand regularly on the rosters. However, the annual Russian team championship, which just wrapped up in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, is giving the German league a run for its money.

A large contingent of foreign “mercenaries” — including former FIDE champ Ruslan Ponomariov and Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine and Spain’s Alexei Shirov — helped round out the lineups in Sochi, which already drew from the incredibly deep and strong domestic talent pool.

In one key first-board encounter, former Russian national champion Alexander Grischuk gave a textbook demonstration of the power of the two bishops against former European individual champ GM Emil Sutovsky of Israel. This Ruy Lopez Open Defense produces a characteristically wide-open position, in which Sutovsky finds his defense raked by the coordinated covering fire laid down by the White bishops.

After some sharp early tactics, White declines to ease the tension with 19. Qxd3?! dxe4 20. Qxd8 Bc5+ 21. Kh1 Rfxd8, when his advantage would be minimal. Instead, a pawn sacrifice and a small tactical finesse set the stage for a ferocious attack: 24. Qg3! Rxe4 25. Bg5 Qf8 26. Nf6+! (it’s way too much to hope Black will play 26…gxf6?? 27. Bxf6+ Qg7 28. Qxg7 mate, but the real point here is to force Black to give up his bishop for the impudent knight) Bxf6 27. Bxf6.

By 30. Bb2 Rc6 31. Bb3, White has achieved the ideal lineup to exploit the board-covering power of the bishop pair, and it’s not surprising that the killer tactic follows quickly: 32. Qf4 Kh8 (h6 33. Rf2 Re7 34. Ba3 is no better for Black) 33. Bxf7! (intentionally stepping into what looks like a nasty pin) Re7 34. Rf2 Rd6 35. Kh2 (and not 35. Qxd6?? Re1+ 36. Kh2 Qxd6+, winning) Rdd7 36. Bxg7+!.

Now 36…Kxg7 37. Qf6 is mate, and the White queen rampages along the back rank on 36…Qxg7 37. Qb8+ Rd8 38. Qxd8+ Re8 39. Qxe8+ Qg8 40. Qxg8 mate. Sutovsky resigned.

Boston vs. New York, U.S. Chess League, August 2005


1. e4c526. Qc4Bxb6

2. Nf3e627. axb6Rxb6

3. d4cxd428. Rfe1c5

4. Nxd4a629. Qc3h5

5. Nc3Qc730. Re5c4

6. g3Bb431. bxc4Rfb8

7. Bd2Nc632. Rae1Rb1

8. Nb3Be733. Bf3Rxe1+

9. Bg2Ne534. Rxe1Rc8

10. 0-0d635. Rd1Qc5

11. Nd4Nf636. Kg2Qf5

12. b3Bd737. Rd4Qg5

13. a4Rc838. Qd3Qa5

14. a50-039. Bd5Re8

15. Na4Nc640. Rf4Qa1

16. Nxc6Bxc641. c3Qa6

17. Nb6Rcd842. Qd4Re1

18. Qe2d543. Qc5Qa1

19. Bf4e544. Qc7Qxc3

20. exd5exf445. Qxf7+Kh7

21. dxc6bxc646. Rf5Kh6

22. Qxa6fxg347. Bf3Re5

23. hxg3Bc548. Bxh5Kh7

24. Na4Ba749. Rxf6Rg5

25. Nb6Rb850. Rf5Black


13th Russian Team Championships, Sochi, Russia, April 2006


1. e4e519. Qe1Bc5+

2. Nf3Nc620. Kh1Bd4

3. Bb5a621. Nc3Bxe5

4. Ba4Nf622. Nxd5Bxb2

5. 0-0Nxe423. Rd1Re8

6. d4b524. Qg3Rxe4

7. Bb3d525. Bg5Qf8

8. dxe5Be626. Nf6+Bxf6

9. c3Be727. Bxf6d2

10. Re10-028. Rxd2Rc1+

11. Nd4Nxd429. Bd1Re8

12. cxd4Bb430. Bb2Rc6

13. Re2c531. Bb3Rg6

14. f3cxd432. Qf4Kh8

15. fxe4Bg433. Bxf7Re7

16. h3Bxe234. Rf2Rd6

17. Qxe2Rc835. Kh2Rdd7

18. Bd2d336. Bxg7+Black


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

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