- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 6, 2017

Happy Independence Day — Canada!

As America marked its 241st birthday Tuesday, our neighbors to the north are celebrated a much bigger milestone. It was the sesquicentennial of the founding of Canada, marking that memorable day on July 1, 1867, when (um, according to Wikipedia) the British Parliament voted to sweep the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario into the newly formed Dominion of Canada.

Although longtime U.S. champion Frank Marshall spent much of his boyhood in Montreal, Canada has never exactly rated as a global powerhouse in chess. But that may be changing.

Bolstered by Russian-born emigre GM Evgeny Bareev and local stars GMs Alexandre Lesiege and Eric Hansen, Canada scored one of its best results ever at the 2016 Baku Olympiad. Seeded 25th, Canada finished in a tie for 11th with such established rivals as China and Hungary.

It was at another memorable Olympiad that Canada’s first great player gained international notice. Daniel Yanofsky was born in Poland but moved to Winnipeg as a baby. He showed such early promise that the 14-year-old was recruited for the Canadian national team at the star-crossed 8th Olympiad, held on the eve of World War II in Buenos Aires. (Many European players at the event decided to remain in Argentina when World War II broke out halfway through the event.)

Yanofsky turned out to be the star of the Canadian squad, taking a gold medal on second board in the Final B section with a 13½-2½ result. World champion Alexander Alekhine himself expressed admiration for the young Canadian’s play in his victory over Peruvian master Alberto Dulanto at the event.

Best known as a superb endgame player, Yanofsky shows here he also knows how to conduct an attack. This Burn’s French Defense leads to a relatively open position after 11. 0-0 0-0 12. Re1, but Black remains cramped with his light-squared bishop still boxed in. But trying to get a little air into his position leads to disaster for Black.

After 13. Ne5 b6? (this looks natural, but it was imperative that Black throw in 13…h6 first) 14. Bxf6! (Yanofsky said later he had calculated through his stunning 22nd move when embarking on this trade) Bxf6 15. Bxh7+! Kf8 (Kxh7 16. Qh5+ Kg8 17. Qxf7+ Kh7 18. Re3 is too easy for White, but now his queen and knight both hang) 16. Qh5! Bxe5 17. Rxe5 (Qxe5?! Qxe5 18. Rxe5 g6 traps the bishop) Qc7 18. Be4, when 18…f5 19. Rxf5+ exf5 20. Bxa8 Be6 21. Bf3 leaves White two pawns to the good.

White appears to have gotten a tad too greedy after 20. Qh8+ Ke7 21. Qxg7 Rg8 (see diagram; now any queen move off the g-file allows 22…Qxg2 mate), but Yanofsky has things in hand: 22. Rxe6+!! (Alekhine’s comment: “Not complicated of course — but neat and decisive”) Kxe6 23. Re1+ Kd6 (Kd7 24. Qxf7+ Kc6 25. Re6+ Kd5 26. Qf5+ and wins) 24. Qf6+, and the king hunt is on in earnest.

White’s own pawns provide no shelter to the fleeing Black king as the game wraps up on 25. Re5+ Kc4 26. b3+ Kd3 (Kxc3 27. Re2+ Kb4 28. Qd4+ Kb5 29. Qc4+ and mate next) 27. Qd6+ Kc2 28. Re2+, and Dulanto resigns just ahead of 28…Kc1 (Kxc3 29. Qd2 mate) 29. Qd2+ Kb1 30. Qb2 mate.

Yanofsky-Dulanto, 8th Olympiad, Buenos Aires, August 1939

1. 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 dxe4 5. Nxe4 Nbd7 6. Nf3 Be7 7. Nxf6+ Nxf6 8. Bd3 c5 9. dxc5 Qa5+ 10. c3 Qxc5 11. O-O O-O 12. Re1 Rd8 13. Ne5 b6 14. Bxf6 Bxf6 15. Bxh7+ Kf8 16. Qh5 Bxe5 17. Rxe5 Qc7 18. Be4 Bb7 19. Bxb7 Qxb7 20. Qh8+ Ke7 21. Qxg7 Rg8 22. Rxe6+ Kxe6 23. Re1+ Kd6 24. Qf6+ Kc5 25. Re5+ Kc4 26. b3+ Kd3 27. Qd6+ Kc2 28. Re2+ Black resigns.

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

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