- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 31, 2008

New Hampshire IM Josh Friedel left Tulsa earlier this month with some unfinished business.

Last week in Chicago, he took care of business.

The rapidly improving Friedel earned his third and final grandmaster norm at the Frank Berry U.S. Championship tournament in Oklahoma, finishing in a tie for fourth behind new national champ GM Yury Shulman. Friedel, however, did not technically qualify for the game’s ultimate title because his FIDE rating was below the required 2500 floor.

At the 17th annual Chicago Open, which followed on the heels of the championship tourney, Friedel finished 5-2, earning along the way the rating points he needed to clinch the GM tag. He didn’t back into the honor, either, defeating both Shulman and former U.S. champ Hikaru Nakamura in Chicago.

His win over the top-seeded Nakamura was a hard-fought battle, with White nursing a small but persistent positional edge throughout the game. Friedel finally was able to transfer that edge into a material gain and hold off Nakamura in the ending.

The key early sequence in this Kan Sicilian comes on 17. b4 Qa7 18. exd5 cxd5!? (a fateful decision; with 18…exd5 19. Bd3 f5 20. Na4, Black has weak dark squares in the center but doesn’t cede his opponent the scary queen-side majority obtained in the game) 19. f5! exf5 20. Nxd5 Ne5 21. c4, and Black is saddled with a crippled king-side majority while White’s queen-side pawns are ready to roll.

The war over the d5-square draws in virtually every piece on the board except the kings: 25. Rfd1 Rfd8 26. Qc3 Rc8 (Nxc4? 27. Bxc4 Bxd5 28. Bxd5+ Rxd5 29. Rxd5 Rxd5 30. Qc4 wins for White) 27. Qe3 Re8 28. h3 Kh8 29. Qb6! - a sign White is playing for a win.

Now Black’s busted king-side tells as he would be lost in the pawn-up ending after 29…Bxd5 30. Qxb7 Bxb7 31. Rxd7 Bxg2+ (Nxd7 32. Rxd7 Bc8 33. Rd6 is also strong for White) 32. Kxg2 Nxd7 33. Rxd7 Rxe2+ 34. Kf3 Re8 35. b5 axb5 36. cxb5 h6 37. b6 Rb8 38. b7 Kg8 39. a4 Kf8 40. a5.

But White gets a decisive edge on the game’s 29…a5 30. Qxb7 Rxb7 31. b5 Rc8 32. Nf4 Bg8 (Bxc4 33. Bxc4 Nxc4?? 34. Rd8+) 33. Rd8 Rbb8 34. Rxc8 Rxc8 35. b6!, when the passed pawn will prove unstoppable.

A little tactical legerdemain nets Friedel a new queen on 37. Rc1 g5 (Ba6 falls short because of 38. Rxc8+ Bxc8 39. Ne6! Kg8 40. Nc5 Kf7 41. a4 Ke7 42. b7 Bxb7 43. Nxb7) 38. Nd5 Kg7 39. Rxc4! Rxc4 40. b7 Rc1+ 41. Kh2 Rb1 42. Nb4! and the knight gives up its life to shield the queening pawn.

The finale: 48. Kg3 f4+ (a small trap; on 48…b2, White has 49. Qf7 f4+ 50. Kh4 Rf1 51. Qxf6+ Kh7 52. Qxb2) 49. Kh4 (and not 49. Kxf4?? Rf1+ and Black queens and wins) gxh3 50. Qf7 Re1 (hxg2 51. Qxf6+ Kh7 52. Qf5+ Kh6 52. Qxb1) 51. Qxf6+ Kh7 52. gxh3, and Black resigned.

n n n

Twelve-time Georgian national champ GM Bukhuti Gurgenidze died this month at age 74. Not as well known in the West as some of his Soviet counterparts, Gurgenidze competed in nine USSR championships and coached Nona Gaprindashvili and other national stars at a time when Georgia’s women ruled the game.

Gurgenidze notched some notable scalps in his career, including wins over Boris Spassky, Mikhail Tal and Paul Keres. His only win over the fine Russian GM Lev Polugaevsky came in the 1956 Russian championship semifinals and features a well-conducted assault on the enemy king.

In a Saemisch King’s Indian, the queen-side is hermetically sealed after 17. a4 Ne8, and it is White who proves stronger as the battle shifts to the other flank. White steals a march with 23. Bxg7! Kxg7 24. Nf5+, and the knight is immune as the open g-file would prove fatal to Polugaevsky in lines like 24…gxf5? 25. gxf5+ Kh8 (Kf6 26. Qh6+ Ke7 27. Qxh4+ Kd7 28. Qxh7) 26. Qh6 Bf6 27. Rfg1 Bd7 (Rg8 26. Qxf6+! Qxf6 27. Rxg8 mate) 28. Rg7! Bxg7 29. Qxg7 mate.

Black defends coolly, even as White plunks a second knight on f5, but finally cracks under the pressure: 30. Nf5 Rgf7? (gxf5 31. gxf5 Rg5 32. h4 wins for White, but Black could fight on with 30…Rc7! 31. g5 fxg5 32. Rxg5 Rf6, and, unlike in the game, there’s no hanging rook now on f8) 31. g5 Qc7 32. h4 (with the threat of 33. h5 Bxf5 34. exf5 Rg7 35. gxf6 Rxf6 36. fxg6 Kh8 37. Qxh7+! Rxh7 38. gxh7, winning) fxg5 33. Rxg5 Rf6 (see diagram).

White cashes in with 34. Rxg6+! hxg6 35. Rxg6+ Rxg6 36. Qxg6+ Kh8 37. Qh6+ Kg8 (Qh7 38. Qxf8+) 38. Qg5+ Kh8 39. Ne7!, cutting off the Black defenders and threatening 40. Qh6 mate. Looking at grim lines such as 39…Qxe7 40. Qxe7 Nd7 41. Qxd6 Rxf3 42. Be2 Rxb3 43. Qc7, Black resigned.

17th Chicago Open, Chicago, May 2008


1. e4c527. Qe3Re8

2. Nf3e628. h3Kh8

3. d4cxd429. Qb6a5

4. Nxd4a630. Qxb7Rxb7

5. Nc3Ne731. b5Rc8

6. Bg5Nbc632. Nf4Bg8

7. Nxc6bxc633. Rd8Rbb8

8. Qd2Qa534. Rxc8Rxc8

9. Be2Rb835. b6Nxc4

10. 0-0f636. Bxc4Bxc4

11. Be3Ng637. Rc1g5

12. Rab1d538. Nd5Kg7

13. f4Bc539. Rxc4Rxc4

14. a3Qb640. b7Rc1+

15. Bxc5Qxc5+41. Kh2Rb1

16. Kh10-042. Nb4axb4

17. b4Qa743. b8=Qb3

18. exd5cxd544. Qb4h5

19. f5exf545. Qe7+Kg6

20. Nxd5Ne546. Qf8g4

21. c4Be647. Qg8+Kh6

22. Rbd1Rfd848. Kg3f4+

23. Qd4Qb749. Kh4gxh3

24. Rd2Rd750. Qf7Re1

25. Rfd1Rbd851. Qxf6+Kh7

26. Qc3Rc852. gxh3Black


USSR Championship Semifinals, Tbilisi, Georgia, 1956


1. c4Nf621. Rg2Ra7

2. Nc3g622. Kh1Bh4

3. d4Bg723. Bxg7Kxg7

4. e4d624. Nf5+Kg8

5. f30-025. Qh6Bf6

6. Bg5c626. Rfg1Bh8

7. Qd2a627. Nd1f6

8. Bd3Nbd728. Nde3Bg7

9. Nge2b529. Nxg7Rxg7

10. 0-0e530. Nf5Rgf7

11. d5b431. g5Qc7

12. Na4c532. h4fxg5

13. g4Qa533. Rxg5Rf6

14. b3Qc734. Rxg6+hxg6

15. Ng3a535. Rxg6+Rxg6

16. Nb2Nb636. Qxg6+Kh8

17. a4Ne837. Qh6+Kg8

18. Rae1Bf638. Qg5+Kh8

19. Bh6Ng739. Ne7Black

20. Re2Qd8resigns

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

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