All four games begin a sicilian, though sidelines are used in three (all but the Smith-Shmelov game).
It's me Rahul Swaminathan again, liveblogging during this week's match against the Boston Blitz. This is an important match for both teams as the Inventors look to build on their win last week against the Kingfishers, while the Blitz look to erase the memory of 4-0 beating they took against Dallas last week. The match looks evenly matched with strong players on all boards. The notable person missing this week for the Inventors is GM Alex Lenderman who is taking a week off. He is aptly replaced by strong IM Bryan Smith. Let's hope that this week ends like the last: with a great win for the Philly squad!!
GM Lenderman, Sivakumar and GM Kudrin (Tommy was on the way when I took this photo. Wanted to take a photo including him once he reached. But the games started immediately. Thought I would take it in the end. Then I could not. Sorry Tommy!)
Philadelphia Inventors Team Member, Web Editor of http://www.uschess.org, two-time U.S. Women's Champion, author of Chess Books/Columns, host of U.S. Chess Scoop,and co-founder of 9queens - a non-profit to promote chess among women and girls, WGM Jennifer Shahade shares her thoughts about this week games of Inventors at http://main.uschess.org/content/view/9702/343/
We win!! Kavi somehow wins a rook after his opponent blunders. Final score: 2.5-1.5 Philly!!
Kavi suddenly seems to have drawing chances after WIM Battsetseg missed easier wins. For example 27.... Ra1 + would have won on the spot.
Bartell draws ... so we need to draw on board four to equalize the match. Kavi offers a draw.
Still not looking so good on boards 1 and 4 as Kudrin and Kavin look close to resignation
Looks tough for the Inventors with losing positions of boards 1 and 4 and a winning one on board 2. So it all comes down to Bartell winning as black in a slightly better position. His opponent seems to be low on time, giving hope to all the Philly fans out there.
Reason to hope on board two, with Lenderman attempting to squeeze GM Kaufman in a Q + B versus Q + N ending.
With moves like 22. Rd1, 23. Rc3, and 24. Rcd3, Lenderman seems to constantly go against Fritz's suggestions. With the way he's been playing off-late, maybe its time to hound my dad for a new engine...
Board four looks tough for us as Kavi is down a pawn and black seems to be applying pressure.
Boards two and three look promising for us after Bartell simplified and Lenderman made strong, simple moves.
Its looking like a tough match for us as we are worse on boards 1 and 4 and roughly equal on the middle boards. Kudrin employed a weird dragon system with 11.... Nxd4 after the usual Yugaslav setup. Eventually, he sacrificed an exchange to pry open the a- and c- files; possibly an unsound idea. White most likely has enough compensation, but it could peter out to a draw or even a win for the Inventor after a mistake in the dynamic position.
Good evening! I am Rahul Swaminathan - the fourth board of the Inventors the past two weeks. I will be looking into the games and offering my (by which I mean Fritz's) opinion on various moves. Let's go Inventors!!
The second match for the Philadelphia Inventors was disappointing. Even though FM Thomas Bartell on Board 3 won his game as Black and GM Elect Alex Lenderman drew on Board 2, it was not enough for the team. Boards 1 and 4 lost.
GM Elect Alex Lenderman drew with IM Dean Ippolito in a surprising opening 1. a3! You can compare this to FM John Bick’s 1. b3 against Rahul Swaminathan last week. However, Ippolito recovered from the surprise and even won a pawn. Lenderman allowed the opening of the “a” file and exchanged a rook. This led to the weakening of the b4 pawn for white, enabling Ippolito to win it.
Then Lenderman declined Queen exchange. Ippolito’s light squared bishop did not develop at all. Lenderman decided to attack Black’s weak a6 and c6 pawn with his rook, knight and queen. Ippolito stopped Lenderman from taking his rook to b6 by threatening back rank mate after a queen sac. Lenderman could not relieve the back rank threat by creating luft because Ippolito could go Qg5 against h3 and taking h3 pawn in the next move. The move g3 for white would weaken the light squares around the King. This would allow black to get his bishop on h3, his queen on f3. So Lenderman defended back rank mate by defending the square with his Queen.
Lenderman pushed for a win by finally going h3,. He thus avoided back rank mate while also getting queen and rook to the 7th rank. But Ippolito started creating threats against White’s King by getting his bishop to d3 and cutting the white king off. With all the white pieces on the Queen side, white had to bring his Queen back. Finally after exchanging the queens, they settled for a draw. This is the first game to finish. This game can be viewed at http://www.uschessleague.com/games/lendermanippolito09.htm
On Board 4, Anna Matlin of NJKO upset Rahul Swaminathan playing Kan Sicilian. Swaminathan pressurized Matlin in the opening not allowing her to castle. She had to exchange dark squared bishop. Then she took her King to safety. Because her rook was on h8, she advanced her h-pawn menacingly. When Matlin pushed her pawn to h5, Swaminathan thought for a long time and then played Rde1. I thought since Swaminathan already played f4 few moves earlier, f5 would have been a better answer.
Still Swaminathan tried to open his rooks with timely e5, but Matlin did not allow it. She simplified the position down to Queen and Rook end game. Matlin got her queen to the third rank, where she forced Swaminathan to trade off queens. Swaminathan went Rf3 trading off rooks into a losing King-Pawn end game. Fritz 11 says White should not have traded queens, but to move it to e1 where it threatens Black’s advanced and weak h5 pawn. The Queen exchange was the turning point of the game in favor of Matlin.
I have played Matlin many times. She is a very solid player, who handles closed positions very well. She did not allow Swaminathan to open up the position until late in the game. When the time was running out, she just simplified the game into her favor. If Swaminathan did f5 push earlier, going for pawn break, his pieces could have become more active. This game can be viewed at http://www.uschessleague.com/games/swaminathanmatlin09.htm
The match was tied with 1 ½ each Benjamin-Kudrin game still going on. Wait, were we not in this situation earlier?
Benjamin played Rossolimo as white against Kudrin’s Sicilian. In this line, light squared bishops were exchanged earlier. Benjamin went c4 preventing d5 pawn break. However, this also weakened the d4 square. Benjamin also played b3 weakening the dark squares little bit more. But he protected his dark squares with his dark square bishop. Kudrin contested a1-h8 diagonal, by placing his bishop on f6. This also controlled d4.
Benjamin did a d4 pawn break to open up the d file for his queen and rook (to double on it). Queen and Rooks were off the board eventually. Fritz 11 says, the game was pretty even until Kudrin did b5 in the end game. It led to liquidation of black’s 2 queenside pawns. Benjamin went up a pawn here and had a passed ‘a’ pawn. Eventually Kudrin had to resign. This game can be viewed at http://www.uschessleague.com/games/benjaminkudrin09.htm
Inventors have been hanging tight in the games till the end for the last two weeks. The results could have gone either way. However, we were at the unlucky side of the spectrum. We are working hard to change that.
Given below is my detailed annotation of Friedman Vs Bartell.
10.a4 Be7 11.a5 White pushes one of his queenside pawns, gaining more space, and getting the b6 square for his pieces. White has a preferable position, due to his activity.-Kavin
11...0–0 12.Be3 A funny looking move but with a purpose. White wants to preserve its dark squared bishop so that he could exert more pressure on b6 - Kavin
12... e5 Bartell clearly wants to develop his bishop to a more active position, but this move weakens the d5 square, which Friedman immediately takes advantage of. Better could have been: [12...Bd7 where black will try to go d5 or b5 at some point. Even Nf6-e8 followed by f5 could be an option. -Kavin]
13.Nd5 Nxd5 14.exd5 Nb8 15.Bb6 Qd7 Already, black has a difficult position.-Kavin
16.c4 Qe8 17.c5 White moves in for the kill...-Kavin
17...Nd7 18.c6 After Friedman played this move, I was immediately puzzled. Didn't black just win a pawn? This is the turning point of the game. I think Friedman may have overlooked black's reply e4! to Bf3. -Kavin [¹18.Bc7 dxc5 19.Rc1± Fritz 11]
18...bxc6 19.dxc6 Nxb6 20.axb6 Qxc6 21.Bf3 e4! 22.Na5 Qxb6 23.Bxe4 Ra7 24.Nc6 Rc7 25.Nxe7+ Rxe7 26.Qd3 g6 Black puts his kingside pawns on the color of the opponent bishop, a useful thing. Now white will be able to take advantage of Bartell's dark squares only by his queen, which does almost nothing by itself.-Kavin
Even though this looks natural, it loses! Fritz found the amazing [46.Ke4!= where if black checks the white king, he will go to d4, and take the pawn next move on c4 with the rook. If black protects with rc8, then kd4 again. 46...Re8+ 47.Kd4 Rd8+ 48.Ke4!= -Fritz 11]
[Rahul is a familiar face in the Tri-state area chess circuit. He lives in NJ. He shares his first experience in playing for Philadelphia Inventors in this humorous article. Photo Courtesy: Rahul playing against NM James West taken from http://www.diamondbackchess.blogspot.com/ - PK Sivakumar]
My first USCL experience was entertaining, from the drive to the club, to the game, to the postmortem, and the drive back. My dad and I left our house at precisely 6:08 p.m., intending to arrive exactly at 7:15 pm. However, issues arose soon after we left as there was a huge traffic jam on US Route 1. The highlight of this for me was dozing off for 15 minutes and waking up exactly where I had slept in the first place. After a bit of reckless driving, we finally ended up in Philadelphia. The ride seemed a bit like I was on a plane.
In the beginning, I could sense no movement, until we took off and went quite fast. My dad also created much turbulence by skidding and sliding his way to Philly. I made sure to keep my seatbelt securely fastened, located the nearest exit (keeping in mind that it could be behind me), and kept all seat backs and tray tables in their upright and locked position. The only differences were that there were no oxygen masks (which I could have used since my dad had beans before we left) and that we were on the ground. When we got to Philly, my dad taxied for a while, but could not find an affordable parking spot. It might have been useful to have someone directing traffic, but all we had was an irate GPS telling us to “make the next legal U-turn” (in a very annoying, nasally voice, a bit like my brother). After what seemed like an eternity, my dad pulled the car into a parking lot. Unable to read the size 200 font, my father thought that the price was $6.50 for 12 hours. Instead it was $6.50 for 1/2 hour. At this point I was ready to leave the car and walk to the Franklin Merchantile Chess Club to join my teammates.
It was pretty cool for me to be in the same room as Lenderman, Kudrin, and Smith as they’re such good players. I hoped that some of their GM skill would rub off on me, but that was not the case. I was not unduly nervous before the game as I felt that I was sufficiently prepared for what my opponent, FM John Bick, would hit me with. However, by move one I was out of book as he played 1. b3!? Soon I attained a playable position which deteriorated after I exchanged a-pawns and played c5. If I hadn’t played this, I could have perhaps been able to hold the situation. Kudos to Bick for such great preparation because he took me straight out of book and made me uncomfortable by move 1. It was pretty weird to not be able to see my opponent’s face during the game. Usually I look at my opponent’s countenance to see whether he looks uncomfortable or relaxed with the position. To combat this, maybe webcams ought to be installed on all boards…
Next to finish was Alex who crushed IM Burnett on the black side of an advanced Caro-Kann. Burnett seemed unfamiliar with the opening as he spent a lot of time on the initial moves like 8. c4. Alex soon got an extra pawn and wisely steered the game into an endgame. The rest was all technique. He is a great asset to the team as he is very consistent and seems to be quite comfortable with USCL play. IM Smith attained a good position on the white side of a Ruy Lopez. FM Bereolos played a dubious 17…g5, giving White a good position. Prior to that move, Fritz says that the position is roughly equal, but after it, Fritz gives white a clear edge. Instead, black may have been able to play Bg5, preventing f4 without weakening anything. A sample line goes: 17…Bg5 18. Ng4 Re8 and black doesn’t seem to have any problems. Fritz even gives black small advantage here. Eventually the game petered out to a draw as Smith could not quite break through. Qh5 immediately after g5 might have been the best try for a serious advantage.
The draw meant that the result of the match would come down to GM Kudrin vs GM Shabalov. It was quite entertaining to witness the banter between Smith and Lenderman watching the game as the former was very optimistic and the latter pessimistic about GM Kudrin’s chances. For example:
Smith: Kudrin is winning; there is no defense to Rb4 (after Kudrin played Ra4)
Lenderman: Shabalov can just bring his knight back to c7; at this point I’m just hoping for a draw.
Smith: I knew Shabalov would not move his knight back; he doesn’t like to move pieces backwards. Now Kudrin can just move his rook up to a5, with a good position.
Lenderman: That just hangs a knight.
Smith: Black has nothing better than perpetual check though.
Lenderman: It is mate in three.
My Dad: Ke3 wins for Shabalov, right?
**All of us in our minds**- Way too late patzer…
The day was not a good one for me and the team, but we have another chance next week against the NJ Knockouts, which we hope to win. It’s just one match on the course of a long season, one that we hope will end with a championship! I won’t even get into the drive back which started with the GPS causing us to go in circles for an hour and culminated in my dad asking me to throw the GPS out the window. Not such a good day, but hopefully the 2nd match will be the first of many wins for us this season!!
The first match for the Inventors against the Tennessee Tempo resulted in a 1½ -2½ loss for us. Many people predicted that Philly would win. On our blog poll, 13 people voted for the Inventors and 3 people voted for the Tempo. However, Caissa chose the Tempo to win in this grueling match of wits.
The 4 games were hard fought. Rahul Swaminathan on board 4 lost a good game against FM John Bick. To my surprise, John started out the game with 1.b3! However, Rahul played the opening like a King’s Indian Defense. He pushed his e, f pawns, and fianchettoed his dark squared bishop. Rahul handled the opening well, only allowing Bick to break through on the queenside in the middlegame. Not to take any credit away from Bick’s good game, Rahul’s time trouble may also have contributed to the outcome. Rahul’s game was the first to finish. This game can be viewed at http://www.uschessleague.com/games/bickswaminathan09.htm
But the Inventors struck back by winning on board 2 next. GM-elect Alex Lenderman forced IM Ron Burnett to resign playing an advanced Caro Kann. It was a sharp battle, in which Lenderman took a pawn and pressed his advantage in a queenless middlegame. There, he won the exchange as well. Burnett played on a bit, and then called it a day.
IM Brian Smith played to a draw in a Ruy Lopez. With the white pieces, he tried to create an attack on the kingside. But FM Peter Bereolos was not to be shattered, as he effectively created counterplay on the queenside. IM Smith tried one last time for a win as he sacrificed the exchange to get a passed d-pawn on the 6th rank. After getting the exchange back, the passed pawn was not enough, as Smith’s rook on h5 needed time to get back into the game. After Bereolos traded queens, the two agreed to a draw in a rook endgame. By this time, both teams were tied at 1 ½. This game can be viewed at http://www.uschessleague.com/games/bsmithbereolos09.htm
It all went down to board 1, where GM Sergey Kudrin was playing white against GM Alex Shabalov. Shabalov played the Chinese Dragon which is Kudrin’s favorite Sicilian opening as black. Shabalov is known for playing the openings that his opponents play. The players castled on opposite sides. As expected, Kudrin castled queenside. He tried to create an attack on the enemy king by trading off the dark square bishops and pushing his h-pawn. But Shabalov pushed his queenside as well as keeping his queen on a central square, keeping an eye on white’s attack. Since Kudrin had placed his queen on g5, Shabalov had the possibility of trading queens at any time. He used this to his advantage, as he went to an endgame and expertly activated his pieces. Shabalov advanced his king forward, accompanying his two connected passed pawns. Kudrin took a pawn, and after that his knight could not move anywhere! Kudrin attempted to march his queenside passers. Shabalov quickly controlled the promotion square and stopped the pawn’s advance. Shabalov then forced the enemy king to the back rank where mate could not be avoided. So Kudrin resigned. This game can be viewed at http://www.uschessleague.com/games/kudrinshabalov09.htm
Congratulations Tennessee Tempo on well-earned match. Good luck to my team Inventors to bounce back next week.
I have given my commentary of Burnett-Lenderman below. Also added are Fritz 11’s suggestions. If time permits, I will try to work on the commentary on the other 3 games.
3...Bf5 4.Be2 e6 5.Nf3 c5 6.0–0 Nc6 7.Be3 Qb6 Black takes use of white's last move and finds its drawback. Now the pawn on b2 is undefended.- Kavin
8.c4? Usually, these kind of moves free up white's position... And usually, there's not a queen on b6 attacking b2... Burnett took a considerable amount of time on this move, so he was probably trying to stir up complications by giving up the rook on a1 and exchanging pawns in the center. This would open up the queen and it would go to b3, trapping the queen if it took the rook. - Kavin
8.b3 could be an alternative. This move would prepare c4 and also stops the Qxb2 idea. - Kavin
Fritz 11 says that black's best bet is to liquidate on d4 and go Bc5. 8...cxd4 9.Nxd4 Nxd4 10.Bxd4 Bc5²]
8...Qxb2 Already black is better. - Kavin
9.cxd5 exd5! Some players cannot resist the rook on a1. This move removes any counterplay. Let's say black takes the rook. [9...Qxa1?! 10.dxc6 Qxb1 (10...bxc6 11.Qb3!) 11.Qxb1 Bxb1 12.Rxb1 bxc6 13.dxc5 - Kavin]
10.Nh4 After Burnett played this move, there was a comment on ICC chat that black could win in 10 moves! White is in trouble. His only hope is if black takes the rook, which he could then take the bishop and get some kind of play. [10.Qd2 is going for a queen exchange, and trying to play down a pawn - Kavin. After 10...Qxd2 11.Nbxd2 c4 Fritz 11 thinks black is better because of his extra pawn, which is also passed.]
11.Qc1 Qxc1 This gets rid of all complications and gives black a good queenless middlegame. – Kavin [11...Qxa1 12.Qxc2 cxd4 13.Bd2² was what Fritz thought.]
12.Rxc1 cxd4 13.Rxc2 dxe3 14.fxe3 0–0–0 [14...Nxe5 15.Bb5+ and it gets a little tough for black. 15...Kd8 (15...Nd7 16.Rc7) 16.Rd2 Nf6 17.e4! Black should be winning here because he's up two pawns, but white will get some play. - Kavin]
15.Bb5 Nge7 16.Nf3 Kb8 17.Nbd2 a6 18.Ba4 b5 19.Bb3 f6!? An interesting move, since black is voluntarily trading off white's weak pawn. [19...g6 would have been my choice, giving my bishop either h6 or g7. – Kavin]
20.exf6 gxf6 21.Nf1 A prophylactic move. - Kavin
21...Bh6 22.Rd1 Rd6 23.Kf2 Ne5 24.Nd4 f5 25.Ne2 Preventing f4, which would let black's h8 rook get active via the f file. -Kavin
25...Rhd8 26.h3 Kb7 27.Nfg3 27...Nc4–+ 28.Rd3 Bg5 29.Nh5? Sure, f4 would be a good square for a knight, but he should probably attack the c4 knight. [¹29.a4 comes to my mind. 29...Ne5 30.Rdc3 Rc6 trading off a pair of rooks. 31.Rxc6 N5xc6 or else f5 falls. 32.axb5 axb5 33.Nd4 This is a much more active continuation.- Kavin]