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
Friedman Vs Bartell game was the next to finish with Bartell winning an instructive pawn end game. Fritz 11 says Friedman could have drawn! I have annotated the game below in detail. This game can also be viewed at http://www.uschessleague.com/games/friedmanbartell09.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.
Aviv Friedman NJ -Tom Bartell PHI
ICC Internet Chess Club, 09.08.2009
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bg5 Qb6 7.Nb3 e6 8.Be2 a6 9.0–0 Qc7
[9...Be7 10.Bxf6 (10.a4 Ne5 11.a5 Qc7 12.Be3 Nc4 13.Bxc4 Qxc4 14.Ra4 Qc6 15.Qe2 d5 16.exd5 Nxd5 17.Rc4 Nxc3 18.Rxc3 Qb5 19.Qg4 Qf5 20.Qxf5 exf5 21.Bc5 Be6 22.Bxe7 Kxe7 23.Rc7+ Kf6 24.Nd4 Rab8 Nithander,V (2357)-Gretarsson,H (2168)/Copenhagen 2007/CBM 119 ext/0–1 (67))
10...gxf6 11.Kh1 Bd7 12.f4 h5 13.Bxh5 Rh7 14.a4 0–0–0 15.a5 Qc7 16.Bg4 Rg8 17.Bh3 Kb8 18.Rf3 Nb4 19.Qe2 Rgh8 20.Rd1 Rh4 21.Qd2 f5 22.Nd4 fxe4 23.Nxe4 Qxa5 24.Rb3 Chandler,M (2575)-Gulko,B (2565)/Amsterdam 1987/CBM 003/0–1 (67)-Fritz 11]
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
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
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
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
27.b3 a5 28.Bd5 Ba6 29.Bc4 Bb7!?
[29...Bxc4 30.bxc4 Rfe8 31.Rab1 by Kavin]
30.Rfd1 Rd8 31.Qd2 Re5 32.h3 Rde8 33.Ra2
[33.Qxd6?? Re1+!? 34.Rxe1 Rxe1+ 35.Rxe1 Qxd6–+ by Kavin]
34.Bf1 Rd5 35.Qxd5 Qxd5 36.Rxd5 Bxd5 37.Rxa5 Bxb3 38.Ra3 Rb8 39.f4 d5 40.Kf2 Bc4 41.Bxc4 dxc4 42.Rc3 42...Rc8 43.Ke3 Kg7 44.Kd4 Kf6 45.g4
[45.Rxc4 Rxc4+ 46.Kxc4 Kf5–+ 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]
46...Rxc4+ 47.Kxc4 hxg4 48.hxg4 g5! 49.f5 Ke5 It's over now.- Kavin
50.Kc5 Kf4 51.Kd6 Kxg4 52.Ke5 Kh5 53.Kf6 g4 54.Kxf7 g3 55.f6 g2 56.Ke8 g1Q 57.f7 Qe3+ 58.Kd7 Qd4+ 59.Ke7 Qe5+ 60.Kd7 Qf6 0-1