- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Congratulations to Virginia FM James Schuyler, who captured his third state title — and third in the past four years — at the traditional Labor Day closed state championship tournament in Glen Allen. Boosted by a draw with top-seeded GM Sergey Erenburg and a critical Round 5 win over NM Andrew Samuelson, Schuyler finished in a tie for first with 2013 state champ NM Daniel Miller, claiming the state crown on tiebreakers.

WFM Jennifer Yu took both top expert and top female honors with an excellent 4-2 result.

In the State Amateur tournament, it was young Class B player Jason Morefield capturing the crown with a 5- score, a half-point clear of Evan Ling.

Many states decide their champions over the Labor Day break. GM Gata Kamsky took home the crown in the 136th running of the New York state championship, one of the oldest continuing events in the game.

With so much action on the national and international chess circuit these days, some nice games get overlooked in the mix.

The great Latvian GM Alexei Shirov is one of those players who seems incapable of playing uninteresting chess. He was at it again in the strong European Club Chess championships that are being played this week in Bilbao, Spain, with an exciting first-round win over Dutch master Richard Vedder in the very first round.

Black adopts a Classical French Defense setup that can be hard to crack, and Shirov patiently probes for an opening. Vedder’s 20. c3 Rc4 21. Qd2 Bc8?! (better was 21…Bb5 22. g3 Qc6 23. Ne5 Qc5+, with equality) is too passive a plan against a player like Shirov, and by 28. b5 Rfc8 29. Rh3 (this rook proves invaluable both in attacking the king and defending White’s third rank) Qf6?! 30. Re1 Qf5 31. Rg3, the White knight’s dominance over Black’s bishop ensures the Latvian a clear edge.

Black tries a queen sortie to try to change the flow of the game, but that only leaves himself open to a nasty counterpunch: 36…Qf2 37. Rgg3 Qf4 38. Qxa5 Ra8 39. Qb6 Qxa4 40. c4 Qa5 (hoping for queen trade to relieve the defensive burden, but Shirov has other ideas) 41. Rxg7+!!.

Taking with the king is fatal (41…Kxg7 42. Rg3+ Kf6 [Kh8 43. Nf7+! Rxf7 44. Qd4+ and wins; 42…Kf8 43. Qf2+ Ke8 44. Rg8 mate; and 42…Kh6 43. Qe3+] 43. Qd4 Qa1 44. Qf4 mate), but Vedder’s 41…Rxg7 runs into 42. Qxe6+ Kh8 43. Nf7+ Rxf7 (Kg8 44. Nd8+ Kh8 45. Qe8+ Rg8 46. Rg3! Rxe8 47. Nf7 is a cute mate) 44. Qxf7 Qd8 45. Rg3 Qf8 46. Qxb7 dxc4 47. Qd5 h6 (c3 48. Qe5+) 48. Qxc4 leaves White with the safer king and two extra pawns in the ending. Black resigned.

Play in the club competition, one of the strongest team events in the world, ends Saturday.

Also not to be overlooked is an instructive miniature won by Ukrainian GM Alexander Moiseenko over longtime Belarus star GM Alexey Aleksandrov, played at the recent St. Petersburg Rapid Tournament. Black neglects his kingside defense in this QGD Semi-Slav and — after a defensive lapse — pays the price.

Already with 9. Ne5 a5?! (this looks too slow, particularly given Black’s lack of defensive cover on the other flank) 10. h4! Na6 11. g4, White is advertising his aggressive intentions. On 12. Qc2 Kh8?! (sturdier was 12…Ne6 13. Bh2 f6 14. Nf3 Bxh2 15. Rxh2 b5) 13. h5 b5 14. Bd3 f6, White rolls the dice with 15. Ng6+!? hxg6 16. hxg6+ Kg8 17. f3, threatening the well-known sacrifice 18. Rh8+! Kxh8 19. Qh2+ and mate next.

At the faster time controls, Black can’t thread the defensive needle in the face of White’s onslaught: 17…Bxf4 18. exf4 Re8 19. 0-0-0 (see diagram) Qd6? (losing; Black’s only play here was 19…Kf8! 20. Rh8+ Ng8 21. Qh2 Ke7, when he appears to survive in the scary line 22. Re1+ Kd7 23. Rxe8 Qxe8 24. Qh7 Qe3+ 25. Kc2 Ne6, as now 26. Rxg8?? loses to 26…Nd4+ 27. Kb1 Qe1+ 28. Nd1 Qxd1 mate) 20. Qh2 Kf8 (Nxg6 21. Bxg6 Kf8 22. Qh8+ Ke7 23. Rde1+ Be6 24. Qxg7+ Kd8 25. Bxe8 and wins) 21. Qh8+ Ng8 22. Qxg7+!!, forcing instant resignation as 22…Kxg7 23. Rh7+ Kf8 24. Rf7 is mate.

Shirov-Vedder, European Club Cup, Bilbao, Spain, September 2014

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. f4 c5 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. Be3 Be7 8. a3 b6 9. Bd3 cxd4 10. Nxd4 Nxd4 11. Bxd4 Nc5 12. O-O Nxd3 13. Qxd3 O-O 14. Nd1 Qe8 15. Ne3 Bd7 16. Rf3 f5 17. exf6 Bxf6 18. Ng4 Bxd4+ 19. Qxd4 Rc8 20. c3 Rc4 21. Qd2 Bc8 22. b3 Rc7 23. Ne5 Qb5 24. a4 Qc5+ 25. Kh1 Bb7 26. b4 Qe7 27. Qd4 a5 28. b5 Rfc8 29. Rh3 Qf6 30. Re1 Qf5 31. Rg3 Re7 32. h3 Qf8 33. Qxb6 Qxf4 34. Rg4 Qd2 35. Re3 Qc2 36. Kh2 Qf2 37. Rgg3 Qf4 38. Qxa5 Ra8 39. Qb6 Qxa4 40. c4 Qa5 41. Rxg7+ Rxg7 42. Qxe6+ Kh8 43. Nf7+ Rxf7 44. Qxf7 Qd8 45. Rg3 Qf8 46. Qxb7 dxc4 47. Qd5 h6 48. Qxc4 Black resigns.

Moiseenko-Aleksandrov, St. Petersburg Rapid Tournament, September 2014

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bf4 Ne7 6. e3 c6 7. Nf3 O-O 8. Be2 Bd6 9. Ne5 a5 10. h4 Na6 11. g4 Nc7 12. Qc2 Kh8 13. h5 b5 14. Bd3 f6 15. Ng6+ hxg6 16. hxg6+ Kg8 17. f3 Bxf4 18. exf4 Re8 19. O-O-O Qd6 20. Qh2 Kf8 21. Qh8+ Ng8 22. Qxg7+ Black resigns.

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


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