- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Washington chess lost a stalwart earlier this month with the passing of NM Harold Mouzon Jr. of natural causes at the age of 86.

A three-time state champion in his native South Carolina, he moved to Northern Virginia to work as a government lawyer and quickly became one of the region’s best and most prolific players, a mainstay on numerous D.C. Chess League championship teams.

His play in today’s first game, taken from the 1989 U.S. Open played in Chicago, reminds one of a particularly efficient bull rider, lassoing and tying up a wayward calf in just 20 moves. First Mouzon as Black stuffs any hopes for a White central breakthrough, rendering his opponent’s pieces passive, then moves in for the kill.

The asphyxiation is complete after 17. h3 f4! 18. Be2 Qg5 19. Kh1 Qg3! (freezing the rook on f2) 20. Raf1 Bc8! (see diagram), and White is curiously helpless against Black’s idea of trading on d5 followed by a bishop sacrifice on h3 and mate to come; Friske resigned.

◾ ◾ ◾

It isn’t exactly slumming, but world champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway is making a rare dive among the lesser fishes at the second annual Qatar Masters Open, a Swiss event where even the lowliest master has a (theoretical) chance of being paired with the champ.

Qatar is actually one of the strongest open events in the world, with top GMs like former champ Vladimir Kramnik and rising superstars like Holland’s Anish Giri and American Wesley So in the field. Carlsen stumbled out of the gate, held to an unexpected draw in Round 1 against feisty Georgian IM Nino Batsiashvili. But he’s been on a tear since, and was alone in first heading into Tuesday’s ninth and final round.

His most entertaining game in Doha was his win in a game with Chinese GM Li Chao, who throws everything but the kitchen sink at the world’s No. 1 in a bid to checkmate him on the queenside. The only problem: White has an attack of his own on the kingside, begun with the cold-blooded pawn sacrifice 17. h4!. The inspired retreat 21. Bd1!! slows down Black’s attack just enough, while also clearing a path for the White queen to the h-file.

Black needs just one move to break through but never gets the opportunity: 24. d5! Nc4! (the best chance, and an idea Carlsen later admitted he had overlooked; falling short was 24…N6d5 25. e6! Qf6 26. Nxg6+ Ke8 27. Qg8+ Bf8 28. Rh8) 25. Nxg6+! Ke8 26. e6! a3!? (still searching for that vital tempo, Li even lets his queen be taken with check) 27. exf7+ Kd7 28. Ne5+! (a decisive simplifying idea — losing was the overcute 28. f8=N+?? Ke8 29. bxa3 Rxa3+ 30. Kb1 Rda8! and mate is unstoppable) Bxe5 29. Qxf5+ Kc7 30. Qxe5+ Nxe5 31. Bxb3, and White has a decisive material edge.

In the final position, White’s passed pawns and powerful minor pieces dominate; Li resigned.

Friske-Mouzon, U.S. Open, Chicago, 1989

1. c4 b6 2. Nc3 Bb7 3. d4 e6 4. Nf3 Bb4 5. Qc2 f5 6. Bg5 Nf6 7. Nd2 0-0 8. a3 Bxc3 9. bxc3 d6 10. f3 Qe8 11. Bxf6 Rxf612. e4 c5 13. Bd3 Nc6 14. d5 Ne5 15. 0-0 Qh5 16. Rf2 Rh6 17. h3 f4 18. Be2 Qg5 19. Kh1 Qg3 20. Raf1 Bc8 White resigns

Carlsen-Li, Qatar Masters Open, Doha, Qatar, December 2015

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. f3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nb6 6. Nc3 Bg7 7. Be3 0-0 8. Qd2 Nc6 9. 0-0-0 f5 10. e5 Nb4 11. Nh3 Qe8 12. Kb1 a5 13. Be2 c6 14. Rc1 Kh8 15. Ka1 Be6 16. Nf4 Qf7 17. h4 Bxa2 18. h5 Kg8 19. hxg6 hxg6 20. g4 Bb3 21. Bd1 a4 22. Qh2 Rfd8 23. Qh7+ Kf8 24. d5 Nc4 25. Nxg6+ Ke8 26. e6 a3 27. exf7+ Kd7 28. Ne5+ Bxe5 29. Qxf5+ Kc7 30. Qxe5+ Nxe5 31. Bxb3 axb2 32. Kxb2 Nbd3+ 33. Kb1 Nxc1 34. Rxc1 Kc8 35. dxc6 bxc6 36. f4 Black resigns

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

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