- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 6, 2019

There are fun games and there are decisive games, and it’s not often the twain can meet.

When the tournament’s on the line, the pairings tend to be evenly matched and the combatants cautious. Luckily, that wasn’t the case at the recent Washington International tournament in Rockville, a flagship event for the Maryland Chess Association. New Jersey GM John Burke captured a share of first place with a sharp, dramatic final-round win over a game FM Carissa Yip, whose only other loss in the event was to co-winner GM Mark Paragua.

Yip, the recently crowned U.S. junior girls’ champion, holds her own for much of the Pirc Defense, though her pawn push 7…h5?! will come back to haunt her after Black castles short. Burke opens up the center with 14. e5!? dxe5 15. Qxe5, and his pieces swarm around the Black king, making the defense precarious.

Black cracks abruptly after 17. Be4 Qb6 18. Kb1 Bb7?? (see diagram; Yip’s sense of danger lets her down here — Black has a very playable game after moves like 18…Ra7 19. Qd6 20. Nxe4 20. Ngxe4 Be6) 19. Bxg6! — a combination that works because Black no longer controls the d7-square.

The finale: 19…fxg6 (the abject 19…Bc8 doesn’t work because of 20. Bxf7+ Kh8 21. Ne2! Bf5 [Ra7 22. Nf4! Rxe7 23. Ng6 mate] 22. Qe5 Bh7 23. Nxh7 Nxh7 24. Qxh5, winning) 20. Nce4 (with the threat of 21. Nxf6+ Rxf6 22. Rd7 Bh6 23. Qh7+ Kf8 24. Qh8 mate) c5 (Bc8 again loses to 21. Nxf6+ Rxf6 22. Rd8+ Qxd8 [Rf8 23. Rxf8+ Bxf8 24. Qh7 mate] 23. Qxd8+ and wins) 21. Rd6! (not 21. Nxf6+? Qxf6, and Black has time to defend because of the mate threat on b2) Rae8 22. Nxf6+, and Black resigned facing 22…Rxf6 (Bxf6 23. Qh7 mate) 23. Qxe8+.



Veteran Maryland master Larry Gilden took the International’s Under-2200 section at 7-2. For a full tournament cross table and other section winners, check out the MCA’s website at MdChess.com.

Brexit may have our British friends’ knickers in a wad these days, but there are still a few things you can count on from our trans-Atlantic cousins.

For one, there’s English GM Michael Adams, a mainstay of the British chess resurgence of the 1980s and still winning titles to this day. The 47-year-old Adams picked up another national crown — his seventh — with a strong 7½-1½ performance at the 106th British Championships that finished Sunday in Torquay.

Adams deploys the anaconda squeeze in his win over English IM Richard Pert, depriving his opponent of any useful moves out of a Caro-Kann Advance until Black’s game collapses of asphyxiation. Black rightly attacks the powerful White center, but 16. Bd2 e5?! unwisely opens up the play before his army has been fully deployed.

After 18. Bxf4 Qd7 (Be6 19. Nc5 Bf7 20. Ne4 Be7 21. Rae1 is very good for White) 19. h3 Qf7 20. Nc5 Be7 21. Bd6 Qe8 22. Rfe1, Black is running out of useful moves, and after 24. Qe5! (Qxg6?? Rf1+) Kf8 25. Qxd4 Kg8 26. Qe5, White not only has a bind but is a pawn ahead to boot.

It’s over after 28. Rae1 Ra7 29. Qg5! (exploiting yet another pin on the poor Black bishop) Qd8 30. Qh4! Ke8 31. Bxe7, and Pert has had enough. There might follow 31…Raxe7 32. Qh8+ Rf8 33. Qxg7! Rff7 34. Qg8+ Rf8 35. Qxg6+ Rff7 36. Qg8+ Rf8 37. Qg5 Rff7 38. Rxe7+ Rxe7 39. Qg8 mate.

Burke-Yip, Washington International Tournament, Rockville, July 2019

1. d4 g6 2. e4 Bg7 3. Nc3 d6 4. Be3 a6 5. h4 Nf6 6. f3 b5 7. Qd2 h5 8. O-O-O Nbd7 9. Nh3 Nb6 10. Ng5 c6 11. Bd3 Nc4 12. Qe2 Nxe3 13. Qxe3 Qb6 14. e5 dxe5 15. Qxe5 O-O 16. Qxe7 Qxd4 17. Be4 Qb6 18. Kb1 Bb7 19. Bxg6 fxg6 20. Nce4 c5 21. Rd6 Rae8 22. Nxf6+ Black resigns.

Adams-Pert, 106th British Championships, Torquay, England, August 2019

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. c4 cxd4 6. Nxd4 e6 7. Nc3 Bc5 8. Nxc6 bxc6 9. Be2 Ne7 10. O-O Ng6 11. Na4 Be7 12. f4 O-O 13. Be3 f6 14. exf6 Bxf6 15. Bd3 d4 16. Bd2 e5 17. Qh5 exf4 18. Bxf4 Qd7 19. h3 Qf7 20. Nc5 Be7 21. Bd6 Qe8 22. Rfe1 Rf7 23. Bxg6 hxg6 24. Qe5 Kf8 25. Qxd4 Kg8 26. Qe5 Kf8 27. Re3 a5 28. Rae1 Ra7 29. Qg5 Qd8 30. Qh4 Ke8 31. Bxe7 Black resigns.

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

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