This one figured to be a tough match-up for the Blitz. After all, Grant seems to always be paired up and one couldn’t expect Grant to come through every time… could one?
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 Nbd7 4.Nf3 e5 5.Bc4 Be7 6.0–0 0–0 7.Re1 c6 8.a4 b6 9.h3 a6 10.Qe2 Bb7 11.Ba2…
A bit eccentric… 11.Bb3… makes more sense.
12.d5 b4 13.dxc6 Bxc6 14.Nd5 a5 15.Bg5 Bxd5 16.exd5 Rc8 =
12…axb5 13.b4 Nh5 14.dxe5 dxe5 15.Nxe5 Nxe5 16.Qxh5 Nc4
White has won a pawn.
Position after 16…Nc4
Black had better with…
16…Bf6 17.Bb2 Qe7 18.Reb1 Ra6=
Now, White struggles to hold the edge.
Trading his best piece for an undeveloped one gives White a bigger plus. 18.Bxa3 Rxa3 19.Red1…
19.Re3 Qa8 20.Rb2… may give more attacking chances for White.
19…Qa8 20.Bb3 Bxb4?
Position after 20…Bxb4?
White has a winning game.
21.Ne2?… But not this.
Strangely, the Bishop is embarassed. It cannot retreat without allowing the devastating 22.Rd7…
21…c5 (21…Be7 22.Rd7 g6 23.Qf3 c5 24.Rxe7 c4 25.Nc3 cxb3 26.Rxb3 Rxb3 27.cxb3 Bc6 28.Nd5 Qa1+ 29.Kh2+-) 22.f3 Bc6
White is positionally winning.
Analysis Position after 22…Bc6
The win is a long way off, but…
He will keep attacking and win the queenside pawns in doing so.
21…g6 22.Qe5 c5 23.Ng3 Bc6 24.Nh5!…
Forcing the draw and giving the team a nice shot in the arm. Well done Grant.
24…gxh5 25.Qg5+ Kh8 26.Qf6+ Kg8 27.Qg5+ Kh8 28.Qf6+…
28.Bxf7 Bc3 29.e5 Rxf7 30.Rd8+ Be8 31.Rxa8 Rxa8 32.e6 Rg7 33.Qxc5 b4 is equal and scary for both sides.
28…Kg8 Game drawn by mutual agreement ½–½
Boston (0.5 – 0.5)
This early draw let the top boards relax. And Larry did so with an easy draw from an inferior position… but, isn’t that always the way in the Philidor? GM Serget Erenburg (BAL) vs. GM Larry Christiansen (BOS) – Board 1
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Be7 6.g3 d5 7.e5 Ne4 8.Bg2 Nxc3 9.bxc3 Nc6
No better is 9…0–0 10.0–0 Nc6 and White has an advantage.
Believe it or not, this is the most anxiety filled moment of the game.
Position after 10.f4…
So much for your principles of chess. White now has everything you could ask for from an opening… except a win.
11.cxd4 Be6 12.Rb1 b6 13.0–0 Qd7 14.Qf3 g6 15.Ba3 h5 16.Bxe7 Qxe7 17.c4 Rd8 18.cxd5 Bxd5 19.Qc3 Bxg2 20.Kxg2 Qe6
The game is equal.
Postion after 20…Qe6
There is really nothing much happening from here on out. Just a really boring game.
21.Rbc1 0–0 22.Rf2 Qd5+ 23.Qf3 c5 24.dxc5 bxc5 25.Rc3 f6 26.exf6 Rxf6 27.Rfc2 Rc6 28.Ra3 a6 29.Re3 Kf7 30.Re5 Qxf3+ 31.Kxf3 Rd3+ 32.Ke4 Rd4+ 33.Ke3 Ra4 34.Kf3 Kf6 35.Re4 Ra3+ 36.Re3 Ra4 37.Rec3 Ke6 38.Rxc5 Rxc5 39.Rxc5 Rxa2 40.Rc6+ Kf5 41.Rc5+ Kf6 42.Rc6+ Kf5 Game drawn by mutual agreement ½–½
With this draw, the match moved to Boston (1 – 1) and the whole match seemed to revolve around the complications on Board 2 since Denys seemed to have at least a draw. SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) vs. IM Sasha Kaplan (BAL) – Board 2
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0–0 8.c3 d5 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.Rxe5 c6 12.d4 Bd6 13.Re1 Qh4 14.g3 Qh3 15.Re4 g5 16.Qe1 Bf5 17.Nd2 Nf6 18.f3 Rae8?!
The first new move… just goes to show you how analyzed the Marshal gambit is.
Position after 18…Rae8?!
I find it odd that this very logical move, forcing a trade, after which White has hardly a piece developed, may actually be bad.
My book gives…
18…c5 19.Qe3 h6 20.Qf2 cxd4 21.cxd4 Rad8 22.Re2 Bd3 23.Re3 Qf5 24.Ne4 Nxe4 25.fxe4 Bxe4=
Analysis Position after 25…Bxe4=
The trouble with gambits is, like poker, you gotta know when to fold them.
19.Rxe8 Rxe8 20.Qf2 h6
Here I thought that White had no good moves. Silly me, turns out White can play as if he wasn’t three pieces behind in development at all.
A wasted tempo and this is never good for Black in the Marshal. White is now clearly winning.
21…Be6 22.axb5 Bxb3 23.Nxb3 axb5 24.Bd2 Qf5 Black is worse, but still in the game.
22.Ne4 Bxe4 23.fxe4 Rxe4 24.Bxg5…
To relieve the mate threat. 24.Qxf6? Re1+
Position after Bxg3
I was a bit worried here since I didn’t see the point of White’s next move.
25.Bxf7+!… The only move to keep a winning advantage.
25.hxg3 hxg5 26.Re1 Rxe1+ 27.Qxe1 Qf5=
Analysis Position after 27…Qf5=
It will take a huge mistake to lose this for either side.
25…Kf8 26.hxg3 Ng4
26…hxg5 27.Bg6… Threatens the Rook and mate.
Analysis Position after 27.Bg6…
This was the point of White’s 25.Bxf7+…
27.Qg2 Qxg2+ 28.Kxg2 hxg5 29.Bh5 Nf6 30.Bf3 Re6 31.axb5 axb5 32.g4…
Position after 32.g4…
White has his extra pawn… the win is in the technique.
32…Ke7 33.Ra7+ Kd6 34.Rg7 b4 35.Rxg5 bxc3 36.bxc3 Re3 37.Rc5 Nd5 38.Kf2 Rd3 39.g5 Nxc3 40.g6 Ke7 41.Rxc6 Nb5 42.g7 Black resigns as if 42…Kf7 43.Rg6… 1–0
Boston (2 – 1)
After this game, the match seemed assured as Denys had his usual hardly-break-a-sweat type of position. FM Ralph Zimmer (BAL) vs. SM Denys Shmelov (BOS) – Board 3
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3 g6 3.Bg2 Bg7 4.0–0 0–0 5.c4 d6 6.d4 Nbd7 7.Nc3 e5 8.h3 c6 9.e4 a5 10.Bg5 Qc7…
10…h6 11.Be3 Re8 12.Qd2 Kh7 13.Rfd1 Qe7 14.Rac1 exd4 15.Nxd4 Nc5 is better for White.
11.Rc1= Re8 12.Qd2 exd4 13.Nxd4 Nc5 14.Rfe1 Qb6 ?!
14…h6 15.Bxh6 Bxh6 16.Qxh6 Nd3 is slightly better for Black.
Analysis Position after 16.Nd3
But, Denys is a big fan of exchange down games and prefers equality.
15…Nfd7 16.Be3 a4=
16.Bf4 Bf8 17.e5 dxe5 18.Bxe5 Bg7 gives White a strong initiative.
16…Nfd7 17.Nf3 Ne5
17…Qb4 18.Bh6 Bxh6 19.Qxh6 a3 is advantage Black.
Position after 18…dxe5=
White’s next gets him into a bit of trouble.
19.Qd6 Qa5 20.Be7 Ne6 21.Red2 is still advantage Black, but White is more active than in the game.
19…Qb4 20.Red2 Ne6 21.Be3 Qxc4 22.Kh2 Nd4
Black is winning.
Position after 22…Nd4
Just the kind of position that Denys loves… a pawn up and he has the initiative. How can he go wrong?
23.Qb1 Qb4 [Better is 23...Be6 ] 24.f4 Qe7 25.Rf1 Be6 26.f5 Bc4 27.Rff2 Bf6 28.Qd1 b5 29.Bf1…
This is the critical position.
Position after 29.Bf1…
Black now makes a mistake.
This is drawish. 29…Bxf1 Maintaining Black’s pawn structure with… 30.Qxf1 g5 gives good winning chances.
Analysis Position after 30…g5
A bit passive, but Black’s extra pawn will tell.
30.Bxg5 Qxg5 31.Bxc4 bxc4 32.h4…
too loose 32.fxg6 fxg6 33.Nxa4=
32…Qe3 33.a3 Rad8 34.Kg2 Rf8 35.Qg4 h5 36.Qg5 Qxg5 37.hxg5 Ra8 38.Nd1 Ra5 39.g4 Rd8 40.gxh5 gxh5 41.Kh3 Rb5 42.Nc3 Rb3 43.Kg2 Rdb8 44.Nxa4 Re3 45.Nc3…
Position after 45.Nc3…
Black should not trade his dominant Knight. 45…h4 gives winning chances.
However, I believe that Denys knew that a draw clinched the match at this point. So, we can’t be too critical. After the following exchange, a draw is assured.
46.Nxb5 cxb5 47.Rfe2 Rxe2+ 48.Rxe2= Rd8 49.Kg3 Rd1 50.Rh2 Rg1+ 51.Kh4 Rg4+ 52.Kxh5 Rxe4 53.f6 Rf4 54.Rd2 Rd4 55.Re2 Rd5 56.Kg4 Kh7 57.Rh2+ Kg8 58.Rg2 e4 59.Kf4 e3 60.Kxe3 Kh7 61.Ke4 Rd3 62.Kf5 Rd5+ 63.Ke4 Rd3 64.Kf5 Rd5+ 65.Ke4 Rd3 Game drawn by repetition ½–½
Boston (2.5 – 1.5)
Well, I can’t say it was a very smooth match. It had its bumps and bruises. But, all’s well that ends well. Maybe next week I’ll have more energy. Oh no, we’re playing that team… you know… the one with all the creepy lookin’ people and the awful odor… I think they are from the Big Armpit or something like that. Let’s get ready for revenge… even though this match counts for nothing, I don’t expect the players will care. I guess there’s no rest for the weary relayer hear. But, I’ll give it my best.
Oh, you’re probably wondering how I won the match… just slow and steady… nothing fancy… It’s all in the wrist.