Arizona 2.5 – St. Louis 1.5

Arizona wins West Semifinals!

This was an amazing match to witness due to the sheer pessimism of the situation that reversed at the 11th hour to yield an improbable Scorpions victory.

Board 1  Molner-ARZ – Diamant-STL [B36]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 d6 7.Be2 Nxd4 8.Qxd4 Bg7 9.Be3 0-0 10.Qd2 a5 11.Rc1 a4 12.Rc2 Qa5 13.f3 Bd7 14.0-0 Rfc8 15.Rfc1 Be6 16.Bf1 Nd7 17.Qf2 Qb4 18.Nb5 Qa5 19.Rb1 Qd8 20.Nd4 Nc5 21.b4 axb3 22.axb3 Bd7 23.b4 Ne6 24.Nxe6 Bxe6 25.c5 dxc5 26.bxc5 Qc7 27.Bc4 Bxc4 28.Rxc4 Ra1 29.Rxa1 Bxa1 30.Rc1 Bg7 1/2-1/2

IM Molner was quite under the weather in this game.  Did anyone see “Tombstone” where Val Kilmer fell off his horse?  It was like that.  So, a draw was a good result. This was the first to finish.  Running total:  Arizona  1/2 – St Louis 1/2.

We needed 2.5 out of 4 to win the match.

The next game  to finish was Board 4.   And that did not go well.

 Board 4. Hendrickson-STL – Chakraborty-ARZ [B07]

1.e4 d6

Black avoided the Grand Prix Attack although it is easily met.

2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5 4.dxe5 dxe5 5.Qxd8+ Kxd8 6.Bc4 Ke8 7.Nf3 Bd6 8.Bg5 Nbd7 9.0-0-0 h6 10.Bh4 a6 11.a4 b6 12.Rhe1 Bb7 13.Bxf6 Nxf6 14.Nd5 Nd7 15.Nc3 Rd8 16.Bd5 Bc8 17.Nd2 Bb4 18.Re3 Nf6 19.Nc4

All of the unpleasantness stems from the fact black has lost castling privileges.

Bc5 20.Red3 Bd4 21.Ne2 Nxd5 22.exd5 Bxf2 23.Nxe5 Bh4 24.d6 Rxd6 25.Rxd6 cxd6 26.Rxd6 Bf2 27.Nc3 Ke7 28.Rd2 Bc5 29.b4 Be3 30.Nd5+ Ke6 31.Nxe3 Kxe5 32.Nc4+ Ke4 33.Nxb6 Be6 34.c4 Rb8 35.c5 Rb7 36.Kb2 Ke3 37.Kc3 g5 38.b5 h5 39.Rd6 h4 40.c6 Rc7 41.Rxe6+ fxe6 42.Nc4+ Kf2 43.b6 1-0

Well this is a bad start for us,  now we are down 1/2 to 1 1/2.

Things were looking very grim.  On Board 2, there was much adventure.

A miracle occurred on Board 2:  Kannappan overplayed his hand and Altounian won an ending!

Board 2. Kannappan-Altounian

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.e3 g6 3.b4 Bg7 4.Bb2 0-0 5.c4 d6 6.d3 c5 7.a3 b6 8.Be2 Bb7 9.0-0 Nc6 10.Qb3 e6 11.Nc3 Qe7 12.Rfd1 Rfd8 13.Rac1 Rab8 14.Nd2 Ne8 15.Bf3 f5 16.Nf1 g5

Altounian plays an aggressive move (!!).

17.Bxc6 Bxc6 18.d4 Nf6 19.d5 exd5 20.Nxd5 Nxd5 21.cxd5 Ba4 22.Qxa4 Bxb2 23.Rb1 Be5 24.bxc5 dxc5 25.Qc4 Qf7 26.a4 Rd6 27.Rd3 Rbd8 28.Rbd1 g4 29.g3 h5 30.h4 Kh7 31.Nd2 Bg7 32.Nb1

Levon offered a draw during this knight tour.   At this point, our board 4 had the bishop pair advantage but had a floating king problem – it was not clear yet.  This is why white declined the draw.  In this game, white is in no danger whatsoever but black retains counter-chances (although he is limited to passively reacting to whatever white might try).

Re8 33.Na3 Re4 34.Qc2 Rd7 35.d6 Kg6 36.a5 Rb4 37.axb6 axb6 38.Rd5 Bd4 39.e4 fxe4 40.Qxe4+ Kh6 41.R1xd4 Rxd4 42.Rxd4 cxd4 43.Qxd4

White is still not risking anything considering black’s wide open king.

Kh7 44.Qe5 Ra7 45.Nc2 Ra2 46.d7 Qxd7 47.Qxh5+ Kg7 48.Ne3??

White carelessly allows a queen trade.  He had to NOT allow a queen trade to hold this.

Ra5And black wins.

49.Qxg4+ Qxg4 50.Nxg4 Ra1+ 51.Kg2 b5 52.Kf3 b4 53.Ne5 Re1 54.Nd3 b3 55.g4 Kh6 56.Kf4 Re2 57.g5+ Kg7 58.Kf3 Rc2 59.h5 b2 60.Nxb2 Rxb2 61.Kg3 Kf7 62.f3 Ke6 63.Kg4 Rg2+ 64.Kf4 Rh2 65.Kg4 Rg2+ 66.Kf4 Rg1 67.h6 Rg2 68.h7 Rh2 69.Kg4 Rxh7 70.f4 Rh1 71.f5+ Ke5 72.f6 Ke6 73.Kf4 Rf1+ 74.Ke4 Rf5 75.f7 Rxf7 76.g6 Rg7 0-1

On Board 3, IM Mohandesi was involved in a crazy game with IM Bregadze.

Board 3 Mohandesi-ARZ – Bregadze-STL [A11]

1.c4 Nf6 2.g3 c6 3.Bg2 d5 4.Qc2 dxc4 5.Na3 g6 6.Nxc4 Bg7 7.Nf3 0-0 8.0-0 Nbd7 9.d3 Nb6 10.Na5 Nbd5 11.Bd2 c5 12.Nc4

White does not pretend to be accurate, but he is very fast!

b6 13.a3 Bb7 14.b4 Nd7 15.Rab1 Rc8 16.Qb3 Nc7 17.Rfc1 Ne6 18.Qd1 Rc7 19.Qf1 Qa8 20.Be3 Rfc8 21.b5 Nd4 22.Bxd4 cxd4 23.a4 Bd5 24.a5 Rc5 25.a6 Qb8 26.Nfd2 Bh6 27.Bxd5 Rxd5 28.Rc2 Bxd2 29.Rxd2 Rcc5 30.Rdb2 Ne5 31.Nd2 Qe8 32.Qg2 Kg7 33.Qe4 Qd7 34.Kg2 Rxb5 35.Rxb5 Rxb5 36.Rxb5 Qxb5 37.Qxd4 f6 38.Qd8 Qd7 39.Qb8 Nc6 40.Qa8 b5 41.f3 b4 42.Kf1 Nd4 43.Qb7 Qh3+ 44.Ke1 Qe6 45.e4 Nc6 46.Nc4 b3 47.Kd2 Qh3 48.Kc3!

At this point Altounian had locked up the win so the drama was very high as we all watched this crazy game from the upstairs observation tower.  This is the ONLY MOVE TO WIN.

Qxh2 49.Kxb3!

Again, the ONLY MOVE TO WIN.  And black has less time.  It’s looking good for us!  White wraps up the point.

Nd4+ 50.Kc3 Ne2+ 51.Kb4 Qg1 52.Qxe7+ Kg8 53.Qxf6 Qb1+ 54.Kc5 Qg1+ 55.Kc6 Nd4+ 56.Kb7 Qb1+ 57.Kxa7 Qxd3 58.Nb6

Of course 58. Qf7+!! is the fan favorite way to end the game.  But it didn’t matter anymore.  All roads lead to Rome.

Nb5+ 59.Kb8 Qa3 60.Qd8+ Kg7 61.Qd7+ Kh6 62.Qxb5 Qd6+ 63.Kb7 1-0





s7~ s7! Week 10: Arizona 2.5 – Carolina 1.5


To The Playoffs

With this victory Arizona is the number 3 seed in the West.

We face the St Louis Archbishops in the Western semi-finals.  We defeated the Archbishops in the regular season so this is a good pairing.


Board 1 Molner-ARZ (2511) – Schroer-CAR (2414) [C52]
ICC 60 15 u Internet Chess Club, 05.11.2012

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4 Bxb4 5.c3 Ba5

Masochists would prefer 5…Bd6 with a decent game, although it is very Steinitzian and black has to play with strange ideas later such as Rb8 and b5.

6.d4 d6 7.Qb3 Qd7

7… Qe7 8. d5 apparently wins a piece but 8…Nd4!! is an ingenious computer defense.   9. Nxd4 exd4 10. Qa4+ Kd8!! 11. Qxa5 Qxe4+ is good for black!   So is 9. Qa4+ Qd7! 10. Qxa5 Nc2+ 11. Kd1 Nxa1 12. Bb2 Nf6 13. Re1 O-O 14. Bxa1 Qg4 and black is better.

8.Nbd2 Bb6 9.a4 Nf6 10.a5 Nxa5 11.Rxa5 Bxa5 12.dxe5 Ng4 13.exd6 0-0 14.h3 Nh6 15.Ba3 cxd6 16.0-0 Bb6 17.Bd5 Kh8 18.e5 Bc5 19.Bb2 dxe5 20.Ne4 Be7 21.Nxe5 Qe8 22.c4 f6 23.Nf3 a5 24.c5 a4 25.Qc3 Qb5 26.g4 Qa5 27.Qe3 a3 28.Bc3 Qd8 29.Ba2 Qe8 30.Re1 Bd7 31.Neg5 Bd8 32.Qd3 fxg5 33.Rxe8 Bxe8 34.Ne5 Bf6 35.Bb1 g6 36.Qd6 Kg7 37.Nxg6 Bxg6 38.Qe7+ Rf7 39.Bxf6+ Kg8 40.Ba2 Bb1 41.Bxf7+ Nxf7 42.Qxb7 Re8 43.Qxb1 Black resigns 1-0    Needless to say black  was much better but inevitably went wrong due to the fast USCL time control.

Board 2  Mu-CAR (2242) – Altounian-ARZ (2493) [B07]
ICC 45 15 u Internet Chess Club, 05.11.2012

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 c6 4.f4 Qa5 5.Bd2 Qb6 6.Nf3 Bg4 7.e5 Nd5 8.Na4 Bxf3 9.Nxb6 Bxd1 10.Nxd5 cxd5 11.Rxd1 e6 12.Bb4 Nc6 13.Bb5 0-0-0 14.Bxc6 bxc6 15.exd6 Kd7 16.Kd2 Rb8 17.Ba3 Bxd6 18.Bxd6 Kxd6 19.b3 Rhc8 20.Rc1 c5 21.c3 a5 22.Kd3 a4 23.Rb1 Ra8 24.Rb2 axb3 25.axb3 Ra3 26.c4 Rb8 27.dxc5+ Kxc5 28.cxd5 exd5 29.Rc1+ Kd6 30.Rcb1 Rb4 31.g3 f5 32.Kc3 Kc5 33.Rc2 Rc4+ 34.Kd3 Kb4 35.Re2 Re4 36.Rc2 Ra7 37.Rc8 Ra2 38.Rc7 Rxh2 39.Rxg7 Rhe2 40.Rh1 R2e3+ 41.Kd2 Re2+ 42.Kd3 R2e3+ 43.Kd2 Re2+ 44.Kd3 Game drawn by repetition 1/2-1/2   An accidental repetition allowed by black.

(295) Ginsburg-ARZ (2400) – Jones-CAR (2249) [E14]
ICC 60 15 u Internet Chess Club, 05.11.2012

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Bb4+ 4.Nbd2 b6 5.e3 Bb7 6.Be2 0-0 7.0-0 c5 8.Nb3 cxd4 9.exd4 d5 10.c5 bxc5 11.dxc5 Nbd7? A big lemon.  Black had to play 11…Qe7.

12.Qd4!  Black may have simply missed this. 

a5 13.a3 e5  This tactical operation does not work but there was nothing to do.

14.Nxe5 Nxe5 15.axb4 Nc6 16.Qh4 axb4 17.Bg5!  With a decisive edge.

Re8 18.Rxa8 Bxa8 19.Bxf6 Qxf6 20.Qxf6 gxf6 21.Bb5 Rc8 22.Bxc6 Rxc6 23.Ra1 Bb7 24.f3 d4 25.Kf2 Bc8 26.Rc1?

26. Ra5! and with the knight coming to d4 with total control black must resign shortly.

d3 27.Ke3 Re6+ 28.Kxd3 Ba6+ 29.Kd4 Re2 Black’s last chance at counterplay but he is several tempi short.

30.Ra1 Rxb2 31.Rxa6!  Correct.  The rook ending offers the fastest win.  The problem here was that white was low on time and did not know a classic rook ending position described in the following note.

Rxb3 32.Kd5 Kf8 33.c6 Rc3 34.Rb6 b3 35.Kd6 Rd3+ 36.Kc7 Ke7 37.Kb7

From here until the end of the game white doesn’t understand that the following moves win easily:  K to c8, P to c7, and R to b7.  After these three things happen, Kc8-b8 queens the pawn as the black king cannot get near by moving to d7 due to the discovered check.   It was the presence of the discovered check that I missed.

Rc3 38.Rb4 Kd6 39.Rb6 Ke7 40.f4 h5 41.g3 Kd6 42.h3 Ke7 43.g4 hxg4 44.hxg4 Kd6 45.g5?

This was the last chance to play 45. f5 and when the black king gives way, the previous note works.

f5 46.c7+ Kd7 47.c8Q+ Rxc8 48.Rxb3 Rc4 49.Rb6 Rxf4 50.Rf6 Ke7 51.Kc6 Rd4 52.Rxf5 Game drawn by mutual agreement 1/2-1/2


Board 4 Timmel-CAR (2155) – IsaacM-ARZ (2174) [A36]
ICC 60 15 u Internet Chess Club, 05.11.2012

1.c4 c5 2.Nc3 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 Nc6 5.e4 d6 6.Nge2 e5 7.0-0 Nge7 8.d3 0-0 9.Be3 Nd4 10.Qd2 Bd7 11.Bg5 f6 12.Bh6 Rb8 13.Rab1 a6 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.f4 Qa5 16.Rf2 b5 17.b3 bxc4 18.dxc4 Nec6 19.Rbf1 Nxe2+ 20.Rxe2 Nd4 21.Ref2 exf4 22.gxf4 Bc6 23.Qd3 Rbe8 24.Ne2 Nxe2+ 25.Rxe2 Qc7 26.Rd1 Rd8 27.Qc3 Rfe8 28.Rde1 Qd7 29.Bh3 Qe7 30.Bg2 Qd7 31.h3 Kf7 32.Qg3 f5 33.exf5 Bxg2 34.fxg6+ hxg6 35.Qxg2 Rxe2 36.Qxe2 Rh8 37.f5 gxf5 38.Qf3 Rg8+ 39.Kh2 Rg6 40.Rf1 Kf6 41.Qc3+ Kf7 42.Qh8 Qe6 43.Qh7+ Kf6 44.Qh4+ Kg7 45.Re1 Qf6 46.Re7+ Kf8 47.Qxf6+ Rxf6 48.Ra7 Rg6 49.Rxa6 f4 50.b4 cxb4 51.Rb6 f3 52.Rxb4 Rg2+ 53.Kh1 Rxa2 54.Rb3 Rf2 55.Kg1 Rg2+ 56.Kf1 Rg3 57.Kf2 Rxh3 Game drawn by mutual agreement 1/2-1/2


Our fourth board received permission from the league to play from Phoenix.  Despite some scary moments, he held the draw.  He only played one game in the season, though, and is thus ineligible for the playoffs.



Week 9. Arizona 2.5 – St. Louis 1.5

In week 9, Arizona defeated St. Louis 2.5 – 1.5, and now has an even match record, 4.5 – 4.5.

We have officially made the playoffs!

The match was a wild one.


Board 1.

 Diamant-STL (2527) – Molner-ARZ (2511) [A34]
ICC 75 30 u Internet Chess Club, 29.10.2012

1.c4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.g3 d5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.Bg2 g6 7.0-0 Bg7 8.d3 Nxc3 9.bxc3 0-0 10.Be3 b6 11.d4 Bb7 12.dxc5 Na5 13.Qa4 bxc5 14.Rfd1 Bc6 15.Qa3 Qc7 16.Qxc5 Nb7 17.Qa3 Rfc8 18.Rab1 Nd6 19.Bf4 Be4 20.Rb4 Bc2 21.Rc1 Qxc3 22.Qxc3 Bxc3 23.Bxd6 exd6 24.Nd4 Bxb4 25.Bxa8 Rxa8 26.Rxc2 Bc5 27.Nb3 Rc8 28.e3 f5 29.Kf1 Kf7 30.Ke2 Ke6 31.Kd3 Kd5 32.Rc4 Rb8 33.Ra4 Rb7 34.h4 Bb6 35.h5 g5 36.Rb4 Rf7 37.a4 Bc5 38.Rb8 f4 39.Nxc5 fxg3 40.fxg3 dxc5 41.Rg8 c4+ 42.Kc3 h6 43.Rd8+ Ke4 44.Rd6 Kxe3 45.Rxh6 Kf3 46.Rg6 g4 47.h6 Rh7 48.Kxc4 Kxg3 49.Rg7 Rxh6 50.Rxa7 Kh3 51.Rg7 g3 52.a5 g2 53.Kb5 Kh2 54.a6 Rxa6 55.Kxa6 g1Q 56.Rxg1 Kxg1
Game drawn because neither player has mating material 1/2-1/2


In this game IM Molner did not feel well but still battled hard and with a very precarious position after a dubious opening managed to save the half point.  Well done.


Board 2.


Altounian-ARZ (2493) – Kannappan-STL (2457) [A37]
ICC 62 30 u Internet Chess Club, 29.10.2012


White had already committed a double question mark blunder by being 16 minutes to the game.  Even if the flag is not quite hanging, the psychological effects of being perpetually short of time are very unpleasant, and they played a huge role in white missing many easy wins that he normally would find.

c5 2.c4 Nc6 3.g3 e5 4.Bg2 g6 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.a3 Nge7 7.b4 e4 8.Ng5 f5 9.bxc5 Qa5 10.Bb2 0-0 11.h4 h6 12.Nh3 Qxc5 13.Rc1 Ne5 14.d4 exd3 15.exd3 Ng4  What is this piece doing once white castles?   Black’s moves all appear disconnected from one another.

16.0-0 d6 17.Re1 Rf7 18.Na4 Qc7 19.Bxg7 Rxg7 20.c5  White had an embarrassment of riches here.

Kh7 21.Nf4 dxc5 22.Nxc5 Qd6 23.d4 Nc6 24.h5 gxh5   Yuck!

25.d5 Nce5 26.Qd4 h4 27.Nh5 hxg3 28.f4  Black would not have been faulted for resigning here.

Re7 29.fxe5 Nxe5 30.Nd3 Nxd3 31.Rxe7+ Qxe7 32.d6

After a very poorly played opening which now looks like the worst Dutch ever, Kannapan (the league MVP!) is dead lost and our upstairs den observation tower had already chalked up the point for white.  But the time factors now play a hand.

Qe5 33.Qxd3?

White goes for an ending rather than the natural 33. Rc7+ which wins instantly.  This, I believe, was entirely due to the lateness and the tension.  After 33. Rc7+ Kg6 34. Rg7+ black is mated.  After 33. Rc7+ Kh8 this is where the horizon effect caused by white’s lateness kicked in.  White could not find the knockout.  However, after 34. Qxd3 black is in total zugzwang.   34… Qe1+ 35. Qf1 Qe3+ 36. Kh1 Qd4 threatening a mate looks scary to someone short of time, but either 37. Rc4 or 37. Nf4! are clean wins.  A nice line:  37. Nf4! Qf6 and now white tees off on the black king: 38. Ng6+!! Qxg6 39.  Qa1+ Kg8  40. Bd5+! mating, and maybe white wins GOTW!   These sorts of tactics are easy to see, but white did not have time to look for them.

Bd7 34.Qc3 Qxc3 35.Rxc3 Kg6 36.Nxg3

Now the game devolves into white short on time missing many more wins, but not as easy ones as 33. Rc7+.  Fortunately we won the match anyway.   Remember Korchnoi’s words, “In Time Trouble there are no heroes.”

Kf6 37.Rc7 Bc6 38.Bxc6 bxc6 39.Rxc6 Ke6 40.Ra6 Rd8 41.d7+ Kxd7 42.Nxf5 Kc7 43.Rxa7+ Kb6 44.Ra4 Rd3 45.Kf2 h5 46.Ke2 Rh3 47.Ne3 h4 48.Rf4 Kb5 49.Rf3 Rh2+ 50.Rf2 Rh1 51.Rf1 Rh2+ 52.Rf2 Rh1 53.Nc2 Ka4 54.Kd2 Kb3 55.Rf3+ Kb2 56.Nd4 h3 57.a4 h2 58.Rb3+ Ka2 59.Rh3 Kb2 60.Rb3+ Ka2 61.Rh3 Kb2 62.Rh4 Ka3 63.Nf3 Rb1 64.Ne1 Rb2+ 65.Kc3 Rb3+ 66.Kc2 Rb2+ 67.Kd3 Rb3+ 68.Kd2 Rb2+ 69.Ke3 h1Q 70.Rxh1 Kxa4 71.Nd3 Rg2 72.Rb1 Ka5 73.Kd4 Ka6 74.Ne5 Rc2 75.Nc4 Rh2 76.Kd5 Rh8 77.Nd6 Ka5 78.Kc6 Ka4 79.Nc4 Rh6+ 80.Kd5 Rh5+ 81.Ne5 Ka3 82.Kd4 Rh4+ 83.Kc3 Rh3+ 84.Nd3 Ka4 85.Rb2 Ka5 86.Kc4 Rh4+ 87.Kd5 Ka4 88.Rb8 Ka3 89.Kc5 Rh5+ 90.Kc4 Rh4+ 91.Kc3 Ka4 92.Ne5 Ka5 93.Nc4+ Ka6 94.Kb4 Ka7 95.Rb5 Rh1 96.Rg5 Kb7 97.Kc5 Kc7 98.Rg7+ Kd8 99.Nd6 Rc1+ 100.Kb6 Rb1+ 101.Kc6 Rc1+ 102.Kd5 Rd1+ 103.Ke5 Re1+ 104.Ne4 Kc8 105.Kd5 Rd1+ 106.Kc6 Rc1+ 107.Nc5 Kd8 108.Rf7 Ke8 109.Rh7 Rd1 110.Ne4 Kf8 111.Nf6 Rf1 112.Nd7+ Kg8 113.Re7 Rd1 114.Ne5 Kf8 115.Ng6+ Kg8 116.Nf4 Rf1 117.Ne6 Rd1 118.Kc5 Rc1+ 119.Kd5 Rd1+ 120.Ke5 Rf1 121.Ra7 Kh8 Game drawn by the 50 move rule 1/2-1/2


Board 3

Bregadze-STL (2416) – Mohandesi-ARZ (2399) [A11]
ICC 75 30 u Internet Chess Club, 29.10.2012

1.Nf3 d5 2.c4 c6 3.e3 Nf6 4.Nc3 a6 5.b3 Bg4 6.h3 Bh5 7.g4 Bg6 8.Ne5 Nbd7 9.Nxg6 hxg6 10.g5 Ne4 11.cxd5 cxd5 12.Nxe4 dxe4 13.Qc2 e6 14.Qxe4

Black losing a center pawn is not a line.

Nc5 15.Qg2 Nd3+ 16.Bxd3 Qxd3 17.Qxb7 Rd8 18.Qc6+ Rd7 19.Qc8+ Rd8 20.Qc4 Qxc4 21.bxc4 Rh4 22.f4 e5

Black has done the best he can, introducing a puzzle to white.  White to play and win.

23.Ke2?  Wrong!  This natural move keeping the structure intact gives away the lion’s share of the edge.   The bizarre and non-intuitive 23. fxe5! ruining the structure will win.  White will create a haven for the King on f3, support the e5 pawn with f2-f4, and win technically.  None of the black counterplay that occurs in the game will be available.

exf4 24.d4 Be7 25.Kf3 Bxg5 26.exf4 Bf6 27.Bb2 Kd7 28.Rae1 Rdh8 29.Kg3 R4h5 30.Re3 Rc8 31.c5 Rd5

Once blockading happens, black is cruising along quite comfortably.

32.Kf3 Kc6 33.Rd1 Rcd8 34.Red3 Rh8 35.Ra3 Rxh3+ 36.Ke4 Rxa3 37.Bxa3 a5 38.Rd3 a4 39.Rd1 Bd8 40.Rb1 Rh5 41.Rd1 Rd5 42.Rh1 Bf6 43.Rd1 Bd8 44.Rb1 Bc7 45.Rb4 Rh5 46.Rxa4 f5+ 47.Kd3 Kd5 48.Ra7 Rh3+ 49.Kc2 Bxf4 50.Bb2 g5 51.Rd7+ Kc4 52.c6 Rh2+ 53.Kb1 Rh1+ 54.Kc2 Rh2+ 55.Kb1 Rh1+ 56.Kc2 Rh2+ 57.Kb1 Rh1+ Game drawn by repetition 1/2-1/2

In this game our board 3 shows once again great resourcefulness coupled with no knowledge of openings!  We hold the draw.  Well done.

Board 4

(269) Chakraborty-ARZ (2306) – Hendrickson-STL (2202) [D11]
ICC 75 30 u Internet Chess Club, 29.10.2012

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Bg4 5.Bd3 e6 6.0-0 Nbd7 7.Nbd2 Be7 8.b3 0-0 9.Bb2 Bh5 10.Qe2 c5 11.cxd5 Nxd5 12.Rac1 cxd4 13.Bxd4 Bf6 14.Bxf6 N7xf6 15.Nc4 Qe7 16.Nce5 Rac8 17.Qb2 Rfd8 18.Rxc8 Rxc8 19.Rc1 Rc7 20.Rc4 Nb6 21.Rc2

Very mysterious goings-ons that the upstairs den observation booth could not fathom.  Black is fine.  Auto-magically white somehow reaches a winning game from this unpromising start.

Nfd5 22.g4 Bg6 23.Nxg6 hxg6 24.Qe5 Rxc2 25.Bxc2 Nd7 26.Qd4 Qa3 27.Be4 N7f6 28.Bxd5 Nxd5 29.Qc4 Qe7 30.Qc8+ Kh7 31.h4 Nb6 32.Qb8 f6 33.Qxa7 Qb4 34.Nh2 Nd5 35.Qb8 b6 36.Qc8 Qe4 37.Qc1 b5 38.a3 f5 39.h5 gxh5 40.gxh5 Nf6 41.Qd1 e5 42.a4 bxa4 43.bxa4 f4 44.exf4 Qxf4 45.Nf1 e4 46.Ng3 Kh6 47.Qc2 Qe5 48.Kg2 Nxh5 49.Qxe4 Qf6 50.Nxh5

Since black cannot take back the knight due to a queen trade, white wins.  Whew!

Qd8 51.Ng3 g6 52.Qf4+ Kh7 53.Qf7+ Kh6 54.Qb7 Qd2 55.Qb5 Qd8 56.a5 Qa8+ 57.Kg1 Qc8 58.a6 Qc7 59.Qb7 Qc1+ 60.Kg2 Kg5 61.a7 Kh4 62.Qe4+ Kg5 63.Qe3+ Black resigns 1-0

So Arizona wins the match 2.5 – 1.5.  A very good result considering our Boards 1 and 3 poor positions, even though the Board 2 debacle was not optimal.

Week 8: Arizona 3.5 – Miami 0.5

This crushing win put us over 50% in game points for the season, although our match record is a quite under-performing 3.5 – 4.5.

We had the Manhattan match sewn up as detailed in the prior post only to lose in surreal fashion, and the Dallas match last week we all thought was a victory for us until the unpleasantness broke out and we forfeited the first board, losing that match.  Double Ouch!

Nevertheless, we have crushed SF by the same margin this season and if only our match record reflected our game record!

Arizona vs Miami

  1. IM Mackenzie Molner (ARZ) vs GM Julio Becerra (MIA) 1-0
  2. SM Robert Perez (MIA) vs IM Mark Ginsburg (ARZ) 1/2-1/2
  3. FM Robby Adamson (ARZ) vs FM Eric Rodriguez (MIA) 1-0
  4. Nicholas Rosenthal (MIA) vs FM Pedram Atoufi (ARZ) 0-1

Board 1 Molner-ARZ – Becerra-MIA [C58]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Na5 6.Bb5+ c6 7.dxc6 bxc6 8.Bd3 Nd5

Computers scream for Nf6-g4 with insane complications.

9.Nf3 Bd6 10.0-0 Nf4 11.Nc3 0-0 12.Re1 Nxd3 13.cxd3

This is all “oude kuch” (stale cake) for veteran Max Lange players, but to me the ruined structure is just too much to bear.

Re8 14.b3 c5 15.Ne4 Nc6 16.Bb2 Bg4 17.h3 Bh5 18.Rc1 Nb4 19.g4 Bg6 20.Nxd6 Qxd6 21.Nxe5 f6 22.a3 fxe5 23.axb4 cxb4 24.Qf3 Rad8 25.Rc6 Qxd3 26.Qxd3 Rxd3 27.Re3 e4 28.Rc7 Bf7 29.Rxd3 exd3 30.Rxa7 g5 31.Rd7 Bg6 32.Bd4 Re1+ 33.Kg2 Rb1 34.f3 Rxb3 35.Rg7+ Kf8 36.Rb7 Ke8 37.Bc5 Kd8 38.Bxb4 Kc8 39.Rb5 Kd7 40.Rd5+ 1-0   Apparently Becerra forgot about his flag, that is the best guess for why this game ended at this point.

Board 2 Perez-MIA – Ginsburg-ARZ [A41]

1. Nf3 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.c4 d6 4.Nc3 Bg4 5.g3 Bxf3 6.exf3 Nc6 7.d5 Nd4 8.Be3 c5 9.dxc6! Nxc6 10.Qd2 Nf6 11.Be2 0-0 12.0-0 Qa5 13.Kg2 Rac8 14.Rac1 Rfd8 15.Rfd1 a6?

Black should not hand over the b6 square so easily.  Now he has permanent Nc3-a4 worries.

16.b3 h5?! 17.h3 e6? 18.Bg5!

My play makes very little sense and white is much better.  I am never going to get in d5, so I should not have played for that.

Re8 19.Bxf6 Bxf6 20.Ne4 Qe5 21.Qxd6

White got into time pressure and also spent a lot of time on this move, but while he was thinking I noticed 21. c5! and white just wins.  Lucky escape number 1.

Red8 22.Qxe5 Bxe5 23.f4 Bb2 24.Rb1 Ba3 25.Bf3 Kg7 26.Nc3 Bb4 27.Na4 Rb8 28.Bxc6 bxc6

This, of course, is winning but in time pressure as Korchnoi once said, “there are no heroes.”

29.Kf3 Kf6 30.Nb2 Bc3 31.Rxd8 Rxd8 32.Rd1 Bd4 33.Na4 Ke7 34.Rd3 c5 35.Ke2 f5 36.h4 Rd6 37.Nc3 Rb6 38.Na4 Rd6 39.Rd2 a5 40.Rd3 Rd8 41.Nc3 Bxc3 42.Rxc3 Rb8 43.Kd2 Rb7 44.Kc2 Rb8 45.Re3 Kd6 46.Rd3+ Ke7 47.Kc3 Rb7 48.Rd2 Rb8 49.a3

I was quite afraid of a king maneuver to a3 threatening to go to a4. If I stop that with Rb4, I may get into zugzwang with the white rook forcing the black king to give it entry points.

Ra8 50.Rb2 Kd6 51.Rd2+ Kc6 52.Re2 Kd6 53.Rb2 Kc6 54.b4 axb4+ 55.axb4 Ra3+ 56.Kd2 cxb4 57.Rxb4 Kc5 58.Rb8 Kxc4 59.Rg8 Kd4 60.Rxg6 Ke4! 61.Rxe6+ Kf3!

Now black is so active he is assured of a draw.  Once the f2 pawn goes the others go like dominoes. A very lucky escape.

62.Re5 Kxf2 63.Rxf5 Kxg3 64.Rxh5 Kxf4 65.Rh8 Kg4 66.h5 1/2-1/2

Board 3 Adamson-ARZ – Rodriguez-MIA [A13]

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.b3 d5 4.Bb2 Be7 5.g3 0-0 6.Bg2 a5 7.Nc3 c6 8.0-0 Bd7 9.Qc2 b5 10.d4 a4 11.Ne5 Be8 12.Rad1 Ra6 13.e4 a3 14.Bc1 b4 15.Na4 Rxa4 16.bxa4 Nxe4 17.Bxe4 dxe4 18.Qxe4 Qa5 19.Rfe1 c5 20.Qb7 Bd6 21.d5 Bxa4 22.Rd2 b3 23.axb3 a2 24.b4 a1Q 25.bxa5 Bxe5 26.Rde2 Bc3 27.Bb2 Qxe1+ 28.Rxe1 Bxe1 29.a6 Nxa6 30.Qxa6 exd5 31.Qxa4 d4 32.Ba3 1-0

Both sides were in time pressure in this wild game, and black missed a win via a timely Bxe5 followed by Nd7 and Rb8 trapping the WQ that is marooned on b7.  I will leave it to the readers to spot the move number.   After black missed this win, white hit hard with 24. b4! and this wins in all variations.

Board 4 Rosenthal-MIA – Atoufi-ARZ [B07]

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 c6 4.Nf3 Bg4 5.Bc4 e6 6.0-0 Be7 7.Re1 0-0 8.Bg5 d5 9.exd5 cxd5 10.Be2 Bxf3 11.Bxf3 Nc6 12.Ne2 Ne8 13.Bxe7 Nxe7 14.c3 Nd6 15.Nf4 a5 16.Bg4 Ng6 17.Nxg6 hxg6 18.Rb1 a4 19.Qf3 f5 20.Rxe6 Ne4 21.Rxg6 fxg4 22.Qxg4 Rf7 23.f3 Nf6 24.Qg3 Qc7 25.Qg5 a3 26.h4 axb2 27.Rxb2 Qxc3 28.Rd2 Nh7 29.Qh6 Kh8 30.Qh5 Qxd2 31.Qxd5 Qe1+ 32.Kh2 Qxh4+ 33.Kg1 Qe1+ 34.Kh2 Re7 35.Rg3 Ra5 36.Qd8+ Re8 37.Qh4 Ra6 38.Qg4 Rh6+ 39.Rh3 Rxh3+ 40.Kxh3 Re6 41.g3 Qh1# 0-1

Our fourth board was quite tired of losing in the USCL and played smoothly capitalizing on white’s wildly overambitious play.  Well done.

So, Arizona is still in the playoff race despite all the egregious match losses we have suffered this year.  Stay tuned.

Week 7: Dallas 2.5 – Arizona 1.5

Dallas vs Arizona

  1. GM Julio Sadorra (DAL) vs GM Rogelio Barcenilla (ARZ) 1F-0F
  2. IM Mackenzie Molner (ARZ) vs GM Conrad Holt (DAL) 1/2-1/2
  3. NM Artur Safin (DAL) vs FM Pedram Atoufi (ARZ) 1-0
  4. NM Dipro Chakraborty (ARZ) vs Travis Guenther (DAL) 1-0


Curiously enough we won this match 2.5 to 1.5, but then the board one result was reversed.  It turned out Rogelio had been using Houdini before the game to prep, then closed the laptop lid and brought the laptop to the match and started playing.  Running Houdini during a game is a big no-no and ICC auto-detects this.  Of course, all the players were seated at a single table under the supervision of a site TD and nobody was looking at computer analysis during the game, but the background Houdini process was the first nail in the coffin.  The second nail was the fact Rogelio task-switched away from the ICC game during the game.  He was in a chat with a family member, but this task-switching coupled with the background Houdini process was enough for the remote TD, Chris Bird, to pull the emergency brake and rule a forfeit.  Arizona appealed and it was thrown open to the other league managers for an appeal vote, but to no avail.   The one-two circumstantial evidence punch was just too much.  This was too bad because Rogelio actually played creatively setting up various nice mating motifs after his opponent admittedly took things too far in the risk department.

Board 1  Sadorra-DAL (2598) – Barcenilla-ARZ (2583) [D14]
ICC 75 30 u Internet Chess Club, 15.10.2012

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.cxd5 cxd5 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bf4 Bf5 7.e3 e6 8.Qb3 Bb4 9.Ne5 Qb6 10.Be2 Ne4 11.g4 Bg6 12.Nxc6 bxc6 13.f3 Nxc3 14.bxc3 Be7 15.0-0 0-0 16.c4 c5 17.cxd5 cxd4 18.d6 Bf6 19.Qxb6 axb6 20.e4 d3 21.Bxd3 Bd4+ 22.Kg2 e5 23.Bd2 Bxa1 24.Rxa1 Rfd8 25.Bb4 f6 26.Rc1 Rxa2+ 27.Kg3 Bf7 28.Rc7 Be6 29.Rb7 Rb2 30.Rxb6 Rc8 31.Rb7 Rc1!

White’s king is a goner!

32.Rb8+ Kf7 33.Rb7+ Kg6 34.f4 Rg1+ 35.Kf3 Bxg4+ 36.Ke3 Rxh2 37.fxe5 fxe5   Black has a forced mate so white resigned.  However, as detailed above, this was reversed by the remote TD and the final result was White wins due to forfeit 1-0

(204) Molner-ARZ (2511) – Holt-DAL (2569) [C18]
ICC 73 30 u Internet Chess Club, 15.10.2012

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Ne7 7.Qg4 0-0 8.Bd3 Nbc6 9.Qh5

Exciting stuff.  Molner had a league reverse in a Winawer vs Tatev Abrahamian in a prior season and hopes to do better.

Ng6 10.Nf3 Qc7 11.Be3 c4 12.Bxg6 fxg6 13.Qg4 Qf7 14.Ng5 Qe8 15.h4 Bd7 16.Qe2 b5 17.g4 a5 18.h5 gxh5 19.Rxh5 h6 20.Nh3 Qg6 21.Nf4 Qe4 22.f3 Qh7 23.g5 Rxf4!

Forced and adequate.

24.Bxf4 Rf8 25.Be3 Be8 26.Rh2 h5 27.g6! Bxg6 28.0-0-0 b4 29.Rg1 bxa3 30.Rhg2 Rb8 31.Rxg6 a2 32.Kd2 Rb1 33.Rxg7+

Somehow the game feels very logical!  Black plays where he is strongest and white is forced to go for a perpetual!

Qxg7 34.Rxg7+ Kxg7 35.Qg2+ Kf7 36.Bh6 a1Q 37.Qg7+ Ke8 38.Qf8+ Kd7 39.Qd6+ Kc8 40.Qxc6+ Kb8 41.Qd6+ Ka7 42.Qc7+ Ka6 Game drawn by mutual agreement 1/2-1/2

This was a nice game and one of the GOTW contenders.

Board 3  Safin-DAL (2333) – Atoufi-ARZ (2275) [C96]
ICC 75 30 u Internet Chess Club, 15.10.2012

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.h3 Na5 10.Bc2 d5 11.d4 Nxe4 12.Nxe5 f6 13.Nf3 Nc4 14.b3 Nb6 15.Bd3 Bb7 16.Qc2 f5 17.Ba3 Bxa3 18.Nxa3 Qd6 19.Qb2 c5 20.Ne5 cxd4 21.cxd4 f4 22.f3 Ng3 23.Nc2 Rae8 24.a4 bxa4 25.bxa4 Bc8 26.a5 Na8 27.Nb4 Nc7 28.Rac1 Ne6 29.Rc6 Qd8 30.Bxa6 Bxa6 31.Rxa6 Nf5 32.Nc2 Qh4 33.Ng6 hxg6 34.Raxe6 Ne3 35.Rxe8 Rxe8 36.Qc3 Qg5 37.Nxe3 fxe3 38.Kf1 Qf6 39.Qd3 Re4 40.Rxe3 Rxd4 41.Qa3 Qh4?

Black is equal here.  After 41…Rd1+ white has no winning chances.  For example,  41… Rd1+ 42. Ke2 Rb1 is equal as is 42… Ra1.  If 42. Re1, Qa6+ 43. Kf2 Qa7+ is equal.

42.Qb3 Kh7 43.Re1 Qg3?

Black’s king is so safe he’s fine here.  43… Rb4! 44. Qxd5? Rb2! 45. Qc5 Qg3 wins for black!  So, after 43…Rb4!, white must play something like 44. Qd3 Rd4 and has only tiny winning chances after 45. Qe2 Ra4 46. a6 Qf6 followed by d5-d4.

44.Rd1 Rc4 45.Rxd5 Qc7 46.Rd1 Rc2 47.Kg1 Re2 48.Qd3 Ra2 49.a6 Qg3 50.Qf1 Qc7 51.Kh1 Qb6 52.Ra1 Rxa1 53.Qxa1 Qa7 54.Qa4 g5 55.Qe4+ Kh6 56.Qc6+ Kh5 57.Qa4 Qe3 58.Qa1 Qa7 59.Kh2 Kh6 60.Qa2 Qc7+ 61.g3 Qa7 62.Kg2 Kg6 63.Qe6+ Kh7 64.h4 gxh4 65.gxh4 g6 66.Qa2 Kg7 67.Qb2+ Kh6 68.Qh8+ Black resigns 1-0

A thoroughly unnecessary loss by our third board.  This missed half point became very important after our first board’s result was reversed.

Board 4 Chakraborty-ARZ (2306) – Guenther-DAL (1969) [D17]
ICC 75 30 u Internet Chess Club, 15.10.2012

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5 6.Ne5 Nbd7 7.Nxc4 Nb6 8.Ne5 a5 9.f3 Nfd7 10.e4 Nxe5 11.exf5 Ned7 12.d5 Nf6 13.dxc6 Qxd1+ 14.Kxd1 bxc6 15.Bd3 Rd8 16.Kc2 Nfd5 17.Nxd5 Nxd5 18.Bd2 g6 19.Rhe1 Ra8 20.Be4 gxf5 21.Bxf5 e6 22.Be4 Bg7 23.Rac1 0-0 24.Kb1 Rfb8 25.Rc2 Rb6 26.Ka2 Rab8 27.Rb1 Ra6 28.Rc5 Rab6 29.b3 Bf8 30.Rxa5 Bb4 31.Bxb4 Nxb4+ 32.Kb2 Rd8 33.Kc3 Na2+ 34.Kc4 Rdb8 35.Ra1 Nb4 36.Rg5+ Kf8 37.a5 R6b7 38.a6 Ra7 39.Rga5 f5 40.R1a4 Nd5 41.Bxd5 exd5+ 42.Kc5 Rxb3 43.Kxc6 Rb2 44.Rb5 Rxg2 45.Rb8+
Black resigns 1-0

A good game by our fourth board.

Week 6: Baltimore 3 – Arizona 1

Arizona vs Baltimore

  1. IM Mackenzie Molner (ARZ) vs GM Giorgi Margvelashvili (BAL) 1/2-1/2
  2. IM Tegshsuren Enkhbat (BAL) vs IM Levon Altounian (ARZ) 1/2-1/2
  3. IM Mark Ginsburg (ARZ) vs NM Jared Defibaugh (BAL) 0-1
  4. NM Richard Selzler (BAL) vs WFM Amanda Mateer (ARZ) 1-0

As Amanda and I remarked recently, we were just “not feeling it” during this match.  Let’s see the games.

Board 1. Molner-ARZ – GiorgiM-BAL [C41]

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5 4.Nf3 Nbd7 5.g3 Be7 6.Bg2 0-0 7.0-0 b6 8.dxe5 dxe5 9.Nh4 g6 10.Bh6 Re8 11.Qe2 a5 12.Rfd1 c6 13.Nf5 gxf5 14.exf5 Qc7 15.Nb5 cxb5 16.Bxa8 Nc5 17.g4 Kh8 18.Bg2 Nxg4 19.Qxg4 Rg8 20.Qh3 Qc6 21.f3

This is looking very unhealthy for white.

Qf6 22.Rd2 Bxf5 23.Qh5 Bg6 24.Qh3 Bf5 25.Qh5 Bg6 26.Qh3 Bf5 1/2-1/2

Black did not need more than a draw considering the match situation.

Board 2 Enkhbat-BAL – Altounian-ARZ [D21]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.e3 c5 4.Nf3 cxd4 5.Bxc4 Qc7 6.Bb3 dxe3 7.Bxe3 Nf6

The battle lines are drawn.  Black is up a pawn and white has freedom and the bishop pair.  In the game, black defends tenaciously and even has a chance to be better near the end.

8.Nc3 Nc6 9.0-0 e6 10.Nb5 Qa5 11.Nd6+ Bxd6 12.Qxd6 Ne4 13.Qf4 Qf5 14.Qh4 Nf6 15.Rac1 Qg4 16.Qxg4 Nxg4 17.Bc5 Bd7 18.Rfd1 Nf6 19.Nd2 b6 20.Ba3 Nd4 21.Bc4 Nb5 22.Bxb5 Bxb5 23.Rc2 Bd3 24.Rc3 Ba6 25.Rdc1 Rd8 26.Rc7 Rd7 27.Nf3 Nd5 28.Rxd7 Kxd7 29.Ne5+ Ke8 30.Nc6 Kd7 31.Ne5+ Ke8 32.Nc6 f6 33.Nd4 Kd7 34.Rc6 Nf4 35.Rd6+ Kc7 36.Nxe6+ Nxe6 37.Rxe6 Rd8 38.Re7+ Rd7 39.Rxd7+ Kxd7 40.Bf8 g6 1/2-1/2

Board 3 Ginsburg-ARZ – Defibaugh-BAL [A34]

1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.cxd5 Nxd5 4.Nf3 Nxc3 5.bxc3

I should have studied the Botvinnik-Smyslov World Championship 1958 match book more closely before the game.  This position occurred quite a bit.

g6 6.g3 Bg7 7.Bg2 0-0 8.0-0 c5

Botvinnik came to the conclusion white should be going for d2-d4 instead of what I did.  However, considering the huge miss I had at move 12, what I was doing here was OK.

9.Rb1 Nc6 10.c4 Qc7 11.d3 b6 12.Bd2?

Obviously 12. Bf4 was correct with Nf3-e5 coming and I cannot explain why I did not play it.   Black cannot react with 12. Bf4 e5? as I can just take that pawn.  Well, I had been bitten by a spider earlier in the day.  Rather than give me super-powers, it appeared instead to make me very feeble at the board!

Bb7 13.h4 Rad8 14.Qc1 Rfe8 15.Re1 e5 16.a4? a5!

To show how feeble I was, I knew about the a5 resource and had decided only to do a2-a4 with knights traded off,  but then I forgot about this key consideration.

17.Ng5 Nb4  18. Bxb4??


axb4 19.Bxb7 Qxb7 20.Qe3 h6

Now white’s position makes no sense at all and the collapse is mercifully quick.

21.Nf3 e4 22.dxe4 Rxe4 23.Qb3 Bc3 24.Rf1 Rxe2 25.Nh2 Rd3 0-1

Our Board 4 managed to follow in my footsteps and also produce a stinker.

Board 4 Selzler-BAL – Mateer-ARZ [B42]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Bd3 Bc5 6.Nb3 Be7 7.Qe2 d6 8.c4 Nd7 9.f4 Qc7 10.Nc3 Ngf6 11.0-0 b6 12.Bd2 Bb7 13.Rae1 Nc5 14.Nxc5 bxc5 15.e5 Nd7 16.exd6 Bxd6 17.Ne4 Be7 18.Bc3 Nf6 19.Ng5 Qc6 20.f5 e5 21.Bxe5 0-0 22.Nf3 Rfe8 23.Qc2 Rad8 24.Qc3 Qd7 25.Bc2 Ng4 26.Bxg7 f6 27.h3 Kxg7 28.hxg4 h6 29.Be4 Kh7 30.Bxb7 Qxb7 31.Re6 Rg8 32.Rfe1 Rd7 33.Qe3 Rg7 34.b3 Bd8 35.g5 hxg5 36.Ne5 Rde7 37.Ng6 Rxe6 38.Qh3+ 1-0

Week 5 Comeback. Arizona 3.5 – SF 0.5


Week 5 saw the Scorpions return to good form with a 3.5 to 0.5 decisive victory over the SF Mechanics.


It could have been 4-0 clean sweep as GM Jesse Kraai allowed Mac Molner a cute win just before the end.


Let’s see the games.


Arizona vs San Francisco

  1. IM Mackenzie Molner (ARZ) vs GM Jesse Kraai (SF) 1/2-1/2
  2. IM Dmitry Zilberstein (SF) vs IM Levon Altounian (ARZ) 0-1
  3. IM Mark Ginsburg (ARZ) vs FM Yian Liou (SF) 1-0
  4. NM Kesav Viswanadha (SF) vs WFM Amanda Mateer (ARZ) 0-1

Board 1  Molner – Kraai.

I have a weird typing (or brain?) problem – I always type Kraii and then have to correct it.


Molner did not feel like facing a French today.

Nf6 2.g3 d5 3.Bg2 c6 4.0-0 Bg4 5.d3 Nbd7 6.h3 Bxf3 7.Bxf3 e6 8.Nc3 Be7 9.Bg2 b5 10.e4 b4 11.Ne2 0-0 12.g4

Moves like this in the opening are usually not a good sign.

dxe4 13.dxe4 Nc5 14.e5 Nd5 15.Nd4 Qb6 16.Qe2 Rfd8 17.a3

Altounian liked black at this stage.  I thought white might have some counter-chances but objectively Levon is right.

Nd7 18.Rd1 bxa3 19.c4 axb2 20.Qxb2 Nb4 21.Bd2 Nxe5 22.Nxe6 fxe6 23.Qxe5 Qxf2+!

So black wins a couple of pawns but white persistently keeps pieces on to make some bishop pair trickery and this tactic pays off in fast USCL games.

24.Kxf2 Nd3+ 25.Ke2 Nxe5 26.Bc3 Rxd1 27.Rxd1 Nxc4 28.Bxc6 Rd8 29.Bd7 Kf7 30.Rf1+ Bf6 31.Ba4 Kg6 32.Bc2+ Kg5 33.Be1 Rb8 34.Kf3 Bb2 35.h4+ Kh6 36.Kg3 Be5+ 37.Kh3 Rb2 38.g5+ Kh5 39.Rf2 Ne3 40.Bxh7 Rxf2 41.Bxf2 Bd4 42.Bg8 Kg6

Rather humorously, 43. Bxe3 Bxe3 44. Kg4! wins here for white – a very geometric king trap.  When the match is going so well, psychologically white is not so focused on finding some miracle win.  Instead, the game took a more peaceful direction.

43.Bxe6 a5 1/2-1/2

Board 2  Zilberstein – Altounian

Levon commented that his opponent’s style makes him look like Tal.  Whoah!

1.d4 e6 2.c4 Bb4+ 3.Bd2 Bxd2+ 4.Qxd2 f5 5

Very strange Dutch / Queen’s Indian hybrid.  Playable, I guess.

Nc3 Nf6 6.g3 0-0 7.Bg2 d6 8.Nf3 Qe7 9.0-0 c6 10.Rfe1 d5 11.Qd3 Ne4 12.Ne5 Nd7 13.Nxd7 Bxd7 14.f3 Nxc3 15.Qxc3 f4 16.e3 fxg3 17.hxg3 Be8 18.e4 dxc4 19.Qxc4 Rd8 20.Rad1 Bh5 21.Rd3 c5

Around here, it is clear black is comfortable.

22.f4 g5 23.fxg5 cxd4 24.Rxd4 Rxd4 25.Qxd4 Qxg5 26.Qd6 e5 27.Qd3 Rd8 28.Qc3 Qd2 29.Rc1 Qxc3 30.Rxc3 Rd1+ 31.Kh2 Rd2 32.Rb3 Bd1!

Black steals a pawn.

33.Ra3 Rxb2 34.Kg1 a6 35.Ra5 Kf7 36.Rxe5 Rxa2 37.Bh3 Bb3 38.Rc5 Rc2 39.Rf5+ Kg7 40.Rg5+ Kh6 41.Rf5 Rc6 42.Kf2 Kg6 43.Re5 b5 44.Ke3 Kf6 45.Rh5 Kg6 46.Re5 Bf7 47.Kf4 b4 48.Re7 Rb6 49.e5 Bg8 50.Bf5+ Kh6 51.e6 b3 52.Re8 Kg7 53.e7 Bf7 54.Rd8 Rb4+ 55.Ke3 Kf6 56.Bxh7 Kxe7 57.Ra8 Rb6 58.Kd2 b2 59.Bb1 Kf6 60.Kc3 Kg7 61.Rd8 a5 62.Rd2 Rb3+ 63.Kc2 a4

Like little beetles the pawns inch forward.

64.Rd7 Kf6 65.Rd6+ Kg5 66.Kd2 a3 67.Ra6 Rxg3 68.Ra5+ Kf6 69.Rf5+ Ke7 70.Rb5 Rg1 71.Rb7+ Kf6 72.Bc2 a2 0-1

As Levon said, “The Dutch Lives.”

Board 3.  Ginsburg – Liou

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qd6

Black obviously had prepared this.  So I just avoid most of the main things.

4.g3 Nf6 5.Bg2 c6 6.Nf3 Bg4 7.0-0 e6 8.d3 Be7 9.Qe1 0-0 10.Ne5 Bh5 11.a4 Na6 12.Nc4 Qd8 13.Bd2 Nb4 14.Qb1

This move actually works out very well, the idea is to get on the b1 to h7 diagonal after clearing the N on b4.


14… a5! is called for with a solid game.  The text is superficial.


White avoids Nxd3 ideas.

h6 16.a5

Now black is starting to get into trouble.

Rc8 17.Ne4!

GM Ilya Gurevich, curiously enough in San Francisco in the year 2000, told me about this maneuver in a similar position – the transformation of pawn structure if the d3 pawn becomes an e4 pawn is very strong here.

Nbd5 18.a6!

Bent Larsen was famous for using a- and h-pawns like this.   Get them advanced, then good things will happen.  In the USA, Eugene Meyer played in a very similar way in many games.  In this game, it only takes 6 more moves to show how strong this pawn is.

b6 19.Ne5 Bh5 20.Re1 Qc7 21.d4 c5? 22.c4

Now black is in big trouble.


22… cxd4 23. cxd5 Qxe5 24. Bf4 works out very badly for black since d5-d6 is coming up.

23.Qxe4 Nf6 24.Qb7!

Now black is in a total bind and white should easily win.  But look how I mess it up!

Bd6 25.Nc6 Ra8 26.dxc5 bxc5 27.Qxc7??

Any good player knows not to release zugzwang.  Black cannot move anything.   First of all, 27. Ba5 wins easily.  If 27. Ba5 Qd7 28. Qxd7 Nxd7 29. Red1! Bxd1 30. Rxd1 and wins.  I saw this, but was “concerned” about 27. Ba5 Qc8.  In that position, black still cannot move anything!

A little bit more thought reveals the immediate win 27. Ba5 Qc8 28. Red1!! Bxd1 29. Rxd1 and wins.  Maybe this would put the game into the “good” category.

Another very, very easy win was the simple 27. b4!.  If 27… cxb4 28. c5! wins.  So black needs to play 27. b4 Rfc8 but after the sadistic 28. b5! and Ba5 coming, black is totally paralyzed and white concludes immediately.   A sick computer line is 27. b4 Nd7 28. Ra5! and black collapses.

The text is a terrible, terrible move.  I win the exchange but black “wins” the ability to move his remaining pieces.  And this can cost dearly in a fast USCL time control!  OK white is technically winning but this move is a travesty!

Bxc7 28.Ne7+ Kh7 29.Bxa8 Rxa8 30.Nc6 Nd7 31.Kg2

Moving the king to the a8-g2 diagonal is kind of ridiculous.   The computer notices Re3 with a lift to the b-file as an easy win.

Bg6 32.Ba5

I saw 32. Bf4! easily winning but was “concerned” about 32… Bxf4 33. gxf4 Nb6.  Why?  34. b3 wins easily.  Very bad play by white.


If I am really interested in winning easily, I should now take that knight.  33. Bxb6 Bxb6 34. Ne5 and wins easily.


Why the heck am I moving the rook off the a-file? I am getting rattled.

Bc2 34.Rd2 Ba4 35.Ne5 f6 36.Bxb6 axb6 37.Ra1

Now I have to resort to tactics to keep a small edge.  Boo!

Rxa6 38.b3 Bc6+

38… Bb5 39. Rxa6 Bxa6 is a losing ending for black.

39.Nxc6 Rxa1 40.f4!

Now white plays on the trapped bishop on c7.  Isn’t it ridiculous that I am playing on these small niceties rather than have black in full board zugzwang such as the game after 26 moves?


40… Rb1! 41. Rd7 Rb2+! 42. Kf3 Rxb3+ 43. Ke4 f5 checkmate (!) would be a “logical” end to my chaos.  If I go 42. Kf1, then 42… Bxf4 and my winning chances are small.  What a debacle!

41.Rd7 Bxf4 42.gxf4 Rxb3 43.Nd8Now black’s king is threatened and he should get it out of the box.


43… Kg6! 44. Nxe6 Kf5! 45. Nxg7+ Kg4 and black retains chances to hold.

44.Kf3 e5?

Leaving the king in the box is suicide.

45.f5! Rxh2 46.Ne6 h5 47.Rxg7+ Kh8 48.Rg6 Rh4 49.Rxf6 Rxc4 50.Kg3 b5 51.Rg6 Rc1 52.Kh4 b4 53.f6

The mating net takes shape.

Rf1 54.Ng5 Rh1+ 55.Kg3 h4+ 56.Kg2 Ra1 57.Nf7+   And mate next move.


Board 4.

Viswanadha-SF – Mateer-ARZ

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.c3 Nf6 4.e5 Nd5 5.d4 cxd4 6.cxd4 Nc6 7.Nc3

As white, I wouldn’t want to commit to this so soon.

Nxc3 8.bxc3 d6 9.exd6 Bxd6 10.Bd3 Bd7 11.0-0 Qc7 12.Be3 Na5 13.Qe2 Bc6 14.h3 Bd5 15.Rac1 Nc4

Without doing anything special, black has a good game.

16.Nd2 Rc8 17.Ne4 Ba3 18.Rc2 Qc6 19.Qg4 Bf8 20.Nd2 h5 21.Qg3 b5 22.Bxc4 Bxc4 23.Nxc4 Qxc4 24.Bd2 h4 25.Qe3 Be7 26.f4 g6 27.Rf3 Rh5 28.Qf2 Rd5 29.Rb2 a5 30.Kh2 a4 31.Be1 Qc7 32.Kh1 Qc4 33.Qe3 Ba3 34.Re2 Be7 35.Qe4 b4 36.cxb4 Rxd4 37.Qe3 Rd1 38.Kh2 Bxb4 39.Bxh4 Bc5 40.Qe4 Bg1+ 41.Kg3 Rd4 42.Qe5 Kd7 43.Qf6 Qxe2 44.Qxf7+ Kc6 45.Bf6 Rd3 46.Rxd3 Qxd3+ 47.Kg4 Qe2+ 48.Kg3 Qd3+ 49.Kg4 Qf5+ 50.Kg3 Be3 51.Kh2 Qxf4+ 52.Kh1 Qf1+ 53.Kh2 Bf4+ 54.g3 Qf2+ 55.Kh1 Qf3+ 56.Kg1 Qxg3+ 57.Kf1 Qxh3+ 58.Ke1 Qe3+ 59.Kf1 Rb8 60.Qxg6 Qf3+ 61.Ke1 Qg3+

The queens finally come off.



That was a satisfying match, although I nearly blew my game.  Wow.  The missed mate by Molner was a humorous footnote in USCL annals.  I think we came a long way (but not all the way) towards erasing the ludicrous match loss last week to the Mott Applesauce.

Week 4

Week 4 Waterloo

On Week 4 Arizona took on the strangely named Manhattan Applesauce.    We were on the cusp of victory (think Red Sox – Mets as the ball was hit to Buckner) until something strange occurred.

Here was the lineup.

Manhattan Applesauce Arizona Scorpions
GM Vladimir Romanenko: 2513 .5 IM Mackenzie Molner: 2511
FM Farai Mandizha: 2484 .5 IM Levon Altounian: 2493
NM Andrew Shvartsman: 2343 .5 IM Shahin Mohandesi: 2399
NM Andrew Ryba: 2202  1 NM Dipro Chakraborty: 2306
Average Rating: 2386 Average Rating: 2427
Manhattan Total  2.5 Arizona Total  1.5

 The Games

Romanenko-MAN (2513) – Molner-ARZ (2511) [B26]
ICC 60 30 u Internet Chess Club, 24.09.2012

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6 3.g3 Nc6 4.Bg2 g6 5.d3 Bg7 6.Be3 Rb8 7.Qd2 b5 8.Nge2 b4 9.Nd1 Nd4 10.c3 bxc3 11.bxc3 Nxe2 12.Qxe2 e5 13.0-0 Ne7 14.Qd2 0-0 15.Bh6 
This plan is hard to understand.

Be6 16.Bxg7 Kxg7 17.h4 f5

At this point if black just plays f6 and works on the b-file, it is hard to know how white will counter that.  White has a dead bishop and less activity.

18.exf5 Nxf5 19.Ne3 Nxe3 20.Qxe3 Rb2 21.f4 Qc8 22.Rab1 exf4 23.gxf4 Rxg2+

In retrospect, not doing this and just working on white’s split pawns would have been good for black.

24.Kxg2 Bd5+ 25.Kg3 h5 26.f5!

White finds the correct move and black is on the critical list.

Rxf5 27.Qe7+ Kh6 28.Rb8 Qxb8 29.Rxf5 gxf5 30.Qf6+ Kh7 31.Qxf5+ Kg7 32.Qg5+ Kf8 33.Qxd5 Qc7 34.Qf5+ Kg7 35.Qxh5 Qa5 36.Qg4+ Kf6 37.Qf4+ Ke6 38.Qh6+ Kf7 39.Qxd6 Qxc3 40.Qd5+ Kg7 41.h5 Kh6 42.Kf4 Qf6+ 43.Ke3 Qc3 44.Ke4 Qe1+ 45.Kf4 Qh4+ 46.Ke5 Qg3+ 47.Ke6

This is winning for white but he goes wrong in mutual time trouble.

Qc7 48.Qd6 Qc8+ 49.Kf6 Kxh5 50.Qe5+ Kg4 51.Qe6+ Qxe6+ 52.Kxe6 Kf4 53.Kd5 Ke3 54.Kc4 a5 55.a4 Ke2 56.Kxc5 Kxd3 57.Kb5 Kd4 58.Kxa5 Kc5 59.Ka6 Kc6 60.a5 Kc7 61.Ka7 Kc8 62.Kb6 Kb8 63.a6 Ka8 64.a7 Black stalemated 1/2-1/2


An amazing escape by Molner.  Well done.


Altounian-ARZ (2493) – Mandizha-MAN (2484) [A11]
ICC 55 30 u Internet Chess Club, 24.09.2012

1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 Bf5 4.c4 c6 5.Qb3 Qb6 6.cxd5 Qxb3 7.axb3 Nxd5 8.d3 Nb4 9.Na3 Be6 10.Bd2 N8a6 11.Nd4 Bg4 12.h3 Bd7 13.f4 e6 14.Kf2 Bc5 15.Be3 Nd5 16.Bxd5 exd5 17.Nac2 0-0 18.Nf3 Bd6 19.Ra5 f6 20.h4 Rfe8 21.Rha1 Re7 22.Bd2 Rae8 23.Re1 Bh3 24.b4 Bc7 25.Ra3 Bb6+ 26.e3 Nc7 27.Nfd4 a6 28.Bc3 h5 29.Raa1 Ba7 30.Rac1 Bd7 31.Nb3 Nb5 32.Ncd4 Nd6 33.Nc5 Bc8 34.Ra1 Nf7 35.Nf3 Nh6 36.Nh2 Nf5 37.Bd2 Bb6 38.Nf3 Nh6 39.Nh2 Bf5 40.Ra3 Bc8 41.Raa1 Kh7 42.Rac1 Kg6 43.Ra1 Kf5 44.Rac1 Ba7 45.Ra1 Kg6 46.Rac1 Bf5 47.Rc3 Bb6 48.Ra3 Kf7 49.Na4 Ba7 50.Nc5 Bb6 51.Na4 Ba7 52.Nc5 Bc8 53.Raa1 Kg6 54.Ra3 Kf7
Game drawn by mutual agreement 1/2-1/2


A visibly tired and under the weather Altounian was always fighting from the worse position starting in the opening.  he forgot about 15… Nd5 and it was not good after that.  Holding the draw was well done.


Shvartsman-MAN (2343) – Mohandesi-ARZ (2399) [B48]
ICC 60 30 u Internet Chess Club, 24.09.2012

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Bd3 Qc7 6.0-0 Nf6 7.Nc3 Nc6 8.Be3 Bb4

A very strange move.

9.Qe2 0-0 10.f4 Nxd4 11.Bxd4 Bc5  But now things are “normal” again. 

12.Bxc5 Qxc5+ 13.Kh1 d5 14.e5 Nd7 15.f5

White thought a long time about this.  It does not work out well.

exf5 16.e6 Nf6

This simple defense solves any conceivable problems.

17.Bxf5 Bxe6 18.Bxe6 fxe6 19.Qxe6+ Kh8 20.Qf5 Rad8 21.Rad1 h6 22.Rf3 Qb4 23.Qd3 Qxb2 24.Rb1 Qa3 25.Rxb7  White in time trouble went for this but he has no king space on the back rank.


A huge miss.  The obvious 25…Ne4! wins.   The white back rank weaknesses are fatal. 26. Ne2 (what else?) Rxf3 2. Qxf3 Qxa2 and black will wrap up the point.

26.Nb1 Qxd3 27.cxd3 Rb8 28.Rb3 Rxb3? 28… Rbc8 leaving pieces on gives black a big edge.

29.axb3 Rc8 30.Kg1 Ng4 31.Nd2 Rc2?   31…Ne5! causes big problems.

32.Nc4 Rc1+ 33.Rf1 Rc3 34.Rf4 Rc1+ 35.Rf1 Rc2 36.Rf4 Ne3 37.Rxd4 Rxg2+ 38.Kh1 Re2 39.Nxe3 Rxe3 40.Kg2 Re6 41.Kf3 Kg8 42.Kf4 Kf7 43.Rd7+ Kf6 44.Rd4 g5+ 45.Kg4 Kg6 46.b4 h5+ 47.Kf3 Kf5 48.Rd5+ Re5 49.Rd6 g4+ 50.Kg3 Kg5 51.h4+ Kf5 52.Rxa6 Re3+ 53.Kf2 Rxd3  53… Rh3 54. b5 Rxh4 55. b6 Rh2+ 56. Kg3 Rb2 57. Ra5+ draws but black could have tried this to make sure white finds it.   The adventures are not over!

54.Rh6?  54. Ra5+! Kf4 55. Rxh5 is the right way.

g3+!  55.Ke2 Rb3 56.Rxh5+ Kg4 57.Rg5+ Kh3??  57…Kxh4! with the idea of Kh3 and Kg2.  I think this is a book win as the white b-pawn proves to be irrelevant.

58.h5 Rb2+ 59.Ke3 Rb3+ 60.Ke2 Rb2+ 61.Ke3 Rb3+ 62.Ke2 Rb2+ Game drawn by repetition 1/2-1/2

A big miss, as black stood much better throughout after white’s ill-timed 15th move with several chances to win outright.  In addition, black had substantially more time throughout.


(112) Chakraborty-ARZ (2306) – Ryba-MAN (2202) [E05]
ICC 60 30 u Internet Chess Club, 24.09.2012


1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3 Be7 5.Bg2 0-0 6.0-0 dxc4 7.Qc2 a6 8.Qxc4 b5 9.Qc2 Bb7 10.Bd2 Be4 11.Qc1 Nbd7 12.Ba5 Ra7 13.Nbd2 Bd5 14.Qc2 Qa8 15.Ne1 c5 16.e4 Bb7 17.dxc5 Bxc5 18.Rc1 Rc8 19.Qb1 Bb6 20.Rxc8+ Qxc8 21.Bxb6 Nxb6 22.Nd3 Ba8 23.Rc1 Qd8 24.f3 Qd4+ 25.Kh1 Rd7 26.Bf1 Qe3 27.Qc2 h6 28.Re1 Qd4 29.Nb3 Qc4 30.Qb1 Qc8 31.Ndc5 Rc7 32.Rc1 Nbd7 33.Nxd7 Nxd7 34.Rxc7 Qxc7 35.Qc1 Qxc1 36.Nxc1 Ne5 37.Bg2 Kf8 38.Kg1 Ke7 39.Kf2 Kd7 40.b4 Kc7 41.Ke3 Kb6 42.Kd4 Nc4 43.a4 e5+ 44.Kc3 Bc6 45.a5+ Kc7 46.Bh3 Bb7 47.Nd3 f6 48.Nc5 g6 49.Be6 Ne3 50.Kd3 Nd1 51.Kc2 Ne3+ 52.Kd3 Nd1 53.Kd2 Nb2 54.Bb3

A king and pawn ending is the fastest win. 54. Kc2 Na4 55. Nxb7 Kxb7 56. Bf7 g5 57. g4 Kc7 58. Bb3 Kc6 59. Bxa4 bxa4 60. Kb2 and white picks up the a-pawn and wins.  Black’s king must give way.

Bc8 55.Kc3 Na4+ 56.Bxa4

Taking with the knight and leaving bishops on is by far the easiest.  The a-pawn becomes passed and white has d5 for his bishop.  The game would be decided.

bxa4 57.Nxa4 Kc6 White forfeits on time 0-1


White simply forgot about his clock and ticked down from 1:27 to 0:00.  He “woke up” with 1 second left and tried to move but was too late.    The celebration in the upstairs office abruptly ended as we got the news.


Legal Postscript:


I found myself mentioned in a legal analysis case where a judge apparently gave a jury bad instructions.  What is a “belt and suspenders” approach (written on page 2)?





Week 3 Arizona 1 – Seattle 3

team icon Seattle Sluggers (1.0 – 1.0) vs Arizona Scorpions (1.5 – 0.5) team icon

All Time Series Record: (Tied 3.5 – 3.5)

Starts at 9:00 PM EST

Time Control: Game in 75 with 30 second increment.

Arizona was white on boards 2 and 4.


Seattle Sluggers Arizona Scorpions
GM Varuzhan Akobian: 2697 1 IM Mackenzie Molner: 2511
IM Georgi Orlov: 2523  0.5 IM Mark Ginsburg: 2400
NM Joshua Sinanan: 2263  1 FM Robby Adamson: 2415
NM Roland Feng: 2204  .5 FM Pedram Atoufi: 2275
Average Rating: 2422 Average Rating: 2400
Seattle Total  3 Arizona Total  1

Arizona loses for the first time this season.


The key matchups were on boards 3 and 4 where Arizona outrated Seattle, but we did not score well. Adamson ran Sinanon down to 37 seconds left (!) but could not find a breakthrough. Adamson wound up losing rather surprisingly and our fourth board Atoufi could not crack his young opponent’s defensees, but he came close.

On Board 1 Akobian had a great opening and on Board 2 Orlov for Seattle also had a great opening.  Akobian did convert, but Orlov in the end could not convert, but it did not matter.

The games.


Molner tries the Blumenfeld gambit but gets a very suspect position after 18. d6 Bd8. He could not save the ending.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 c5 4.d5 b5 5.Bg5 exd5 6.cxd5 h6 7.Bxf6  7. Bh4 d6 8. e4 a6 is a very interesting line.

Qxf6 8.Qc2 Be7 9.e4 Qg6?  

This is the source of all the problems.  9… Qb6! is correct and after 10. Nc3 b4 11. Nd1 O-O 12. Ne3 d6 13. Bd3 Nd7 black has a decent game.

10.Nbd2 Na6 11.Bxb5 Rb8 12.Qa4 Qb6 13.Be2 Qxb2 14.0-0 Qb4 15.Qc2 Qb2 16.Qd1 0-0 17.Nc4 Qb7 18.d6 Bd8 19.e5 Nb4 20.Rb1 Qa8 21.a3 Nc6 22.Qd3 Ba6 23.Qf5 Rxb1 24.Rxb1 Na5 25.Nfd2 Qd5 26.Ne3 Qxd2 27.Bxa6 c4 28.Nxc4 Nxc4 29.Bxc4 Bb6 30.g3 Qd4 31.Bb3 Qc3 32.Kg2 Qc6+ 33.Kh3 Qc3 34.a4 Qd2 35.Kg2 Qe2 36.Bd5 Qd2 37.Bc4 Qc3 38.Qf4 Qc2 39.Rc1 Qg6 40.Rc3 Kh8 41.Rf3 f6 42.Bd3 Qf7 43.Qf5 g6 44.Qe4 f5 45.Qh4 Kg7 46.Bc4 Qe8 47.Qe7+ Qxe7 48.dxe7 Re8 49.Rd3 Rxe7 50.f4 Bc7 51.Bb5 Bb6 52.Bxd7 h5 53.Kf3 Kf8 54.Rd5 Kg7 55.h3 Rf7 56.a5 Bc7 57.e6 Re7 58.Ke3 Kf6 59.h4 Rh7 60.Rc5 Bd8 61.Kd3 Rh8 62.Rc8 Kg7 63.Ra8 Be7 64.Rxa7 Rb8 65.Rc7 Rb3+ 66.Rc3 Rb1 67.Rc4 Rd1+ 68.Kc2 Rd6 69.Ra4 Ra6 70.Kb3 Kf6 71.Kc4 Bd8 72.Kb5 Ra7 73.a6 Ke7 74.Rc4 Kd6 75.Rc6+ Ke7 76.Rc8 Bc7 77.Re8+ Kf6 78.Bc6 Black resigns 1-0


1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 g6 3.e4 d6 4.d4 Bg7 5.f3 0-0 6.Bg5 Na6 7.Qd2 c5 8.d5 e6 9.Bd3? This is weak. As I well knew, correct is to play Nge2, Ne2-c1, Be2, and then O-O. Also possible was 9. Rd1!?.  The explanation for this bad move is that I was hoping for 9… exd5 10. Nxd5! with a white edge.

Nb4!  Naturally black does not oblige by taking on d5 quite yet.

10.Bb1 h6 11.Be3 exd5 12.cxd5 Nd7 13.a3 Na6 14.Nge2 Ne5! This is looking bad for white.  I thought that if  15. b3 b5! and white is lost.  Wrong!  15. b3!?  b5 16. O-O! b4 17. axb4 cxb4 18. Nb5 Nxf3+ 19. Rxf3 Bxa1 20. Ned4! and white has good compensation.  Completely overlooked by me.

15.Ba2 What an ugly move to have to play.  Nevertheless, the computer says white is all right, which is hard to believe.

Qh4+ 16.Bf2 Qg5! 17.Qxg5 hxg5 18.Nc1? Remarkably, the computer points out 18. Be3! Bf6 19. Nb5!  which I did not consider at all and claims equal chances.  My move is looking bad .

Bd7 19.h4   This does nothing, but it is hard for white to know what to do.

gxh4 20.Bxh4 Rfe8 21.Nd1 b5 White’s position makes no sense. 21… f5! and 21… c4! were both very strong also.
22.0-0 c4 23.Bf2 Nc5 24.Bxc5 dxc5 25.f4?  Terrible. 25. Bb1 was necessary with a very bad game.

Ng4 26.e5 Bf5? Here black missed the decisive and very nice 26… g5! 27. g3 gxf4 28. gxf4 Nxe5!! 29. fxe5 Rxe5! and this wins easily with white’s ridiculous inactive forces.

27.Bb1 Rad8 28.Bxf5 gxf5 29.Nc3 Ne3 I would just go for 29… a6 and white has a very bad game.  White has a hard time moving anything.

30.Rf3 Nc2 31.Rb1 b4! 

32.Nb5 Rxd5 33.Nd6 Rxd6 34.exd6 Re1+! 34…Rd8 leaves black with an edge but the game move looks stronger.

35.Kh2 Kf8? After 35… Rd1 it looks hopeless for white.

36.Rf2 Ne3 37.Re2 Ng4+ 38.Kg3 Rd1 39.axb4 cxb4 40.Ra1 Bf6 41.Ra5!

White begins a new life.

Nh6 42.Rc2 c3 43.bxc3 bxc3 44.Ne2?? Time trouble. 44. Kf3 is equal. Also good is the foxy 44. Ra3 Rxd6 45. Rxa7 Ng4 46. Kf3 and white is all right.

Rxd6? Here, 44… Rd3+ 45. Kf2 Ng4+ 46. Ke1 Ne3! 47. Rc1 c2! and black wins.
45.Kf2? The computer points out the weird 45. Ng1! and white holds.

Rd3?! Here, 45….Ng4+ on the way to e3 was very strong with an easy c3-c2 followup. However black still has lots of tricks and white has almost no time left.

46.Ke1 Ng4 47.Rca2? The best move, 47. Rc1, is hard to see in time trouble.

Ne3! 48.g3 Rd1+ 49.Kf2 Ng4+? Black should just move the passed c-pawn. 49… c2! 50. Rxa7 Bd4!! is a very nice win. Rf1 mate is threatened.

50.Kg2 Ne3+ The computer points out 50… Rd2 51. Kf3 Rd3+ 52. Kg2 c2 and it says black wins, but a human being may have a hard time knowing why.

51.Kf2 Ng4+? Here was a great chance. 51… c2!! 52. Kxe3 Bd4+ will divert the N on e2 and black wins. A very beautiful win.
52.Kg2 Rd2 53.Kf3 c2 Black is still winning but time plays a factor.

54.Rc5 Rd3+ I had a little panic thinking 54… c1=Q won, but it turns out that 55. Nxc1 guards the f2 checkmate laterally by the rook on a2 so it’s a perpetual check.

55.Kg2 Ne3+   Computer wins all include the difficult move a7-a5!! which is very hard to see.

56.Kf2 Nd1+ 57.Ke1 Bc3+ 58.Rxc3 Nxc3 59.Rxc2 White can hold this. A lucky escape.

Ne4 60.Ra2 Rd7 61.Ra5 Rb7 62.Kd1 Rd7+ 63.Ke1 Re7 64.Kf1 Rb7 65.Nd4 Nxg3+ 66.Kg2 Nh5 67.Rxf5 Ng7 68.Ra5 Ne6 69.Nxe6+

Fortunately I had just enough time to work out this is pretty easily drawn.

fxe6 70.Ra6! After this black can make no progress.

Rf7 71.Kg3 Re7 72.Kf3 Kf7 73.Ke4 Rb7 74.Ke5 Rb5+ 75.Ke4 Rb4+ 76.Ke5 Rb7 77.f5 Just to end the game faster. 77. Ra5 was equal too.

Rb5+ 78.Kd4 exf5 79.Rxa7+ Kf6 80.Ke3 Kg5 81.Kf2 Kg4 82.Ra4+ f4 83.Ra3 The third-rank defense is well known.

Rb2+ 84.Kg1 f3 85.Ra8 Game drawn by mutual agreement 1/2-1/2

Sinanon – Adamson

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 f5 4.g3 Nf6 5.Bg2 c6 6.0-0 Bd6 7.b3 Qe7 8.Bb2 0-0 9.Nbd2 b6 10.Qc2 Bb7 11.Ne5 a5 12.e3 Na6 13.Rac1 Rac8 14.Qb1 c5 15.cxd5 exd5 16.Ndf3 Ne4 17.Rfd1 Rc7 18.Bf1 Nb8 19.Bb5 g5 20.Qd3 f4 21.Rf1  21. exf4 gxf4 22. g4, while stronger, is very hard to play.

Qe6 22.exf4 gxf4 23.Rce1 Rg7 24.Kg2?  

White misses 24. dxc5 bxc5 25. Rxe4 dxe4 26. Bc4 exd3 27. Bxe6+ Kh8 28. Ng5. Better for black is 24. dxc5 fxg3! 25. fxg3 Bxc5+ 26. Bd4 with an equal game.

Bc8?!   The correct move was the primitive 24… Rf6! after which it will be an impossible task for white to defend himself considering the time situation.  For example, 24… Rf6! 25. dxc5 fxg3! 26. hxg3 bxc5 with huge black pressure.  24.. Rf6! 25. g4 Rxg4+ wins right away.

25.Rxe4! Necessary to hold the balance.

dxe4 26.Qxe4 Qh3+?    Better is 26… Bb7 27. Qxb7 Rxb7 28. Bc4 with an equal game.

27.Kg1 Rf6 28.Re1? Around here, or maybe a little earlier, white had thought himself down to 7 seconds (!), getting 30 seconds per move. Adamson disdains sacking on g3, for better or worse, and Sinanon takes control. The key game of the match.    In this position white should have played 28. Qd5+! Qe6 (28… Kf8? 29. Re1 is winning for white) 29. Qxe6+ Bxe6 30. dxc5 with an edge.

fxg3 29.fxg3 Bb7?  The key moment.  Black should have sacrificed on g3.   After 29… Rxg3+ 30. hxg3 Qxg3+ 31. Kf1 Bxe5 considering the incredible time gap white might lose on time and maybe draw.  White is holding after something awkward like 32. Re3 cxd4 33. Bc4+ Kf8 34. Ba3+ Kg7 35. Qxe5 but black is fully equal.

30.Bc4+ Kh8 31.d5!  With a huge edge for white.

Kg8 32.Bf1   Instead of this retreating move, 32. Qe3! with idea of Ng5 was crushing.

Qf5?   Black is disoriented.  32… Qh5 keeps the game going.

33.Qxf5 Rxf5 34.Bh3 Rf6 35.Nc4 Rh6  35… Rxf3 36. Nxd6 threatens too much.

36.Re8+ Kf7 37.Nxd6+ Rxd6 38.Rxb8 Bxd5 39.Bxg7 Kxg7 40.Nh4 Rf6 41.Nf5+ Kf7 42.Ne3 Be4 43.Bg2 Bxg2 44.Kxg2 Re6 45.Kf3 Black resigns 1-0

Atoufi-ARZ (2275) – Feng-SEA (2204) [C06]

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.Bd3 c5 6.c3 Nc6 7.Ne2 Qb6 8.Nf3 cxd4 9.cxd4 f6 10.exf6 Nxf6 11.0-0 Bd6 12.Bf4 Bxf4 13.Nxf4 Qxb2

Atoufi prepared this line for white versus his young opponent.  Objectively, it is nothing.

14.Re1  14. Ng5 O-O 15. Ngxe6 is equal.

0-0 15.Nxe6 Bxe6 16.Rxe6 Rae8 17.Rxe8 Rxe8 18.Rb1 Qxa2 19.Rxb7 Ne4 20.Qf1 Rf8?   20… Nd2 and white has zero.

21.Qe1 Re8 22.Rc7 Nf6 23.Qc1 23. Rc8!! is a vicious shot.  After 23… Nd8 24.Qb4! white is much better.

Nd8 24.Bf5 Nf7?  24… Ne4 is necessary.

25.h4 g6 26.Ne5  26. Ng5! is bad for black.  The text is good too.

Nxe5 27.dxe5 Ne4 28.Bxe4 dxe4 29.Rc8  After the very strong quiet move 29. g3! , it is very unlikely black can survive.

Rxc8 30.Qxc8+ Kf7 31.Qd7+ Kf8 32.Qd8+ Kf7 33.Qf6+ Kg8 34.Qd8+ Kg7 35.Qf6+ Kg8 36.e6 Qb1+ 37.Kh2 Qb8+ 38.g3 Qf8 39.Qd4 a5 40.Kg1 Qe7 41.Qxe4 a4 42.h5   After 42. Qxa4 Qxe6 white can definitely torture black.

gxh5 43.f4 a3 44.f5 Qa7?  After 44… Kg7 how to make progress?  45. Qe5+ Qf6 46. Qc7+ Kh6 47. Qc1+Qg5 48. Qxa3 Qxf5 looks equal.

45.Kg2 a2 46.e7 a1Q 47.Qe6?  The last golden moment.  47.e8=Q+ Kg7 48. Kh3!! and black has no checks.   48… Qf7 49. Qxf7+ Kxf7 50. Kh4! Qd1 51. Kg5 and white will score the full point.  A big miss.   But this extra half point still would have meant Arizona would lose the match.

 Kg7 48.f6+ Kh6 49.f7+ Kg5 50.Qd5+ Kg6 51.Qe6+ Kg5 52.Qd5+ Kg6 Game drawn by mutual agreement 1/2-1/2

Week 1. Arizona 3 – L.A. Vibe 1


The 2012 season started well with a 3-1 win over the LA Vibe.


Los Angeles vs Arizona

  1. IM Andranik Matikozyan (LA) vs IM Mackenzie Molner (ARZ) 0-1
  2. IM Levon Altounian (ARZ) vs IM Zhanibek Amanov (LA) 1/2-1/2
  3. FM Konstantin Kavutskiy (LA) vs IM Mark Ginsburg (ARZ) 0-1
  4. WFM Amanda Mateer (ARZ) vs Nicky Korba (LA) 1/2-1/2


On board 1, Molner’s queen was too active and Matikoyzian blundered in a difficult game.

Board 1. Matikozyan-LA – Molner-ARZ [B86]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.0-0 Be7 8.Bb3 0-0 9.Qf3 Nbd7 10.Qg3 Nh5 11.Qh3 Nhf6 12.f4  More prudent is to go for the repetition but white is feeling aggressive. Nc5 13.Qf3 Qc7 14.Bd2 b5 15.e5 dxe5 16.fxe5 Bb7 17.exf6 Bxf3 18.fxe7 Qxe7 19.Rxf3 Rac8 20.Raf1 Qd7 21.Be3 b4 22.Nce2 Nxb3 23.cxb3 f6  This is very pleasant for black.

24.Rg3 Rf7 25.a3 a5 26.a4 Kh8 27.Nb5 e5 28.Bb6 Qd2 29.Kf2 f5 30.Re3 Qd5 31.g3 f4 32.gxf4 exf4 33.Rf3 Rc2 34.Nbd4 Rxb2 35.Rc1 h6 36.Rc5?  White had a terrible game but this blunder finishes it right away.  Qxd4+ 0-1

On board 2, Altounian played the 4 knights and the game was always close to a draw when Amanov played well.

Board 2.  Altounian-ARZ – ZAmanov-LA [C47]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.d4 exd4 5.Nxd4 Bb4 6.Nxc6 bxc6 7.Bd3 d5 8.exd5 cxd5 9.0-0 0-0 10.Bg5 c6 11.Qf3 h6! 12.Bxf6 Qxf6 13.Qxf6 gxf6 14.Ne2 Bd6  Black has a solid defensive formation even though he has doubled f-pawns.

15.Nd4 c5 16.Nf5 Bxf5 17.Bxf5 Be5 18.Rab1 Rab8 19.b3 Rfe8 20.Rbd1 Rbd8 21.Rfe1 Bc3 22.Re3 d4 23.Rxe8+ Rxe8 24.Kf1 Kf8 25.g3 Re5 26.Bd3 Ke8 27.Bc4 Re7 28.a4 Re5 29.Kg2 Ke7 30.Rd3 Re1 31.Rf3 Rc1 32.Bd3 c4 33.bxc4 Ra1 34.Rf5 Rxa4 35.Rb5 Rb4 36.Ra5 Rb7 37.Ra6 Rc7 38.Be4 Bb4 39.Bd5 Bc5 40.Kf3 Bb6 41.Kg4 Kf8 42.f4 Kg7 43.Kf5 Rc8 44.h4 Rc7 45.h5 Rc8 46.Ra1 Re8 47.Be4 Rc8 48.Bd5 Re8 49.Be4 Rc8 1/2-1/2

On board 3, Kavutskiy blundered a few pawns and Ginsburg wrapped up with  3 connectors on the 6th rank, a rarity in tournament play.

Board 3.  Kavutskiy-LA – Ginsburg-ARZ [E18]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 b6 4.g3 Bb7 5.Bg2 Be7 6.0-0 0-0 7.Nc3 Ne4 8.Bd2 Nxd2 9.Qxd2 d6 10.e3 Nd7 11.Ne1 Qc8 12.Bxb7 Qxb7 13.Nd3 c5 14.d5 Bf6 15.Nf4?  Losing several tempi to help black along.

15… Bxc3 16.Qxc3 e5 17.Nd3 e4! 18.Nf4 Nf6 19.b4? cxb4 20.Qxb4 Qd7   Now white has problems on both side.

21.Kg2 Rac8 22.Rac1 Rc5 23.Ne2 Rfc8 24.h3 h5 25.Rc3 b5 26.Rfc1 a5! 27.Qb2   27. Qxa5 bxc4 28. Qa6 Qc7! is very strong.

bxc4 28.Nf4 Qf5 29.h4 Nxd5 30.Nxd5 Qxd5 Now black just wins technically.

31.Qe2 Qe6 32.Rb1 Qf6 33.Qd2 Rf5 34.Rb7 d5 35.Rc2 c3 36.Qd4 Qxd4 37.exd4 Rf3 38.Rb5 Rd3 39.Kf1 Rxd4 40.Rxa5 Rd3 41.Ke2 g6 42.Ra7 d4 43.Re7 f5 44.Rd7 Rc4 45.Ra7 Rf3 46.Rc1 d3+ 47.Kf1 e3 48.Rb1 Rxf2+ 49.Kg1 Rb2   That’s quite an array of passed pawns!   0-1

On board 4, Korba had a good game but simplified too soon then offered a draw.  Mateer was glad to accept.


Board 4 Mateer-ARZ – Korba-LA [A44]

1.d4 g6 2.c4 Bg7 3.e4 c5 4.d5 e5 5.Nc3 d6 6.g3   6. h3, followed by Bd3, Nf3 is more common.

Nd7 7.Bg2 Ne7 8.Nge2 0-0 9.0-0 f5 10.Bg5 h6 11.Bxe7 Qxe7 12.Qd2 f4! 13.f3 g5 14.g4

White could have gone for Bh3 to get rid of that bad piece.

h5 15.h3 Rf7 16.Nc1 Bf8 17.Nd3 Nf6 18.Qe2 Rh7 19.Kf2 Rh6 20.Rh1 Bd7 21.Rag1 Kf7 22.Ke1 Bg7 23.Bf1 Rah8 24.Qg2 R8h7 25.Be2 Qf8 26.Nf2 Qh8 27.a3 hxg4?  No reason to rush into this simplification.   28.hxg4 Rh2 29.Qf1 Bf8 30.Rxh2 Rxh2 31.Rh1 Rxh1 32.Qxh1 Qxh1+ 1/2-1/2