Saturday, February 27, 2010

Vincent Vincit Omnia

Freeport was invaded today by youngsters from Washington Academy in Rockford. Ten of the 16 players at the Northwest Illinois $5 Open rolled in from the east after seeing the tournament notice posted on Chess in the Rock River Valley. (Freeport youths, according to sources, are too cheap to pay 5 measly dollars for an all-day tournament. Punks.)

One of these Washington students, Vincent Do, won first place in the Northwest Illinois $5 Open with a perfect 4-0 record.

Vincent is 7.

Vincent Do, conqueror.

How awesome is that?

Vincent played one of his classmates in the first round, then marched over three adult players, including second-place finisher Joseph A. Willett, a 1560 player from Rock Island, Ill. Vincent's older brother, Steven, 11, won the top junior trophy. (Third place went to our own Steve McWhirter.)

Here's Vincent's last-round game, much of which he spent at a material disadvantage. But he hung on, and on move 34, he exploited an error to turn the tables on his opponent:

J. Willett–V. Do
Northwest Illinois $5 Open
Freeport, Illinois, Feb. 27, 2010

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.e3 e6 4.Bd3 c5 5.c3 c4 6.Bc2 Bd6 7.Nbd2 0-0 8.e4

Joe starts to push back at Vincent's formidable pawn chain.

8...Nfd7 9.e5 Be7 10.0-0 Qc7 11.Re1 Nc6 12.Nf1 b5 13.Re3
13.Ng5 h6 14.Qh5 is a powerful alternative.

13...a5 14.Ne1
14.Ng5 Bxg5 15.Rh3 was better.

14...f5 is necessary to prevent Joe's next move, which punches a hole in Vincent's pawn shield.

15.Bxh7+! Kf8
If 15...Kxh7, white answers with 16.Qh5. Joe has obtained a decisive advantage.

16.Qh5 Nd8 17.Rf3 Qc6 18.Bg6

Joe is concentrating his firepower on f7. But was 18.Bh6!? even better?

18...Bf6 19.exf6 Nxf6 20.Qh8+ Ke7 21.Qxg7 Kd7 22.Rxf6 Re7 23.Bxf7 Kc7

Despite being down in material, Vincent puts up an impressive fight.

24.Qg3+ gets the queen to safety and gains a tempo.

24...Qd7 25.Bf4+
See comment above -- even truer now.

25...Kb7 26.Bxe6 Nxe6 27.Bg3 Rg7 28.Qf5 Rg5 29.Qf3 Rg7 30.Nc2 Ra6

A sensible developing move, but 31.Nfe3!? aims at breaking down that fortress that Vincent has built around himself: 31...Rh7 32.a4 bxa4 33.Nxd5 Ka7.

31...Ng5 32.Qf4 Rxf6 33.Qxf6 Ne4 34.f3
Incredibly, Joe -- who hasn't been less than a piece up since move 19 -- overlooks that his queen is hanging and under attack. 34.Qe5 saves the queen, and victory is almost assured with 34...Kb6 35.Rxe4 dxe4 36.a4 Rxg3 37.Qc5+ Kb7 38.Nxg3 bxa4 39.Nxe4.

34...Nxf6 35.Nfe3 Nh5 36.Kf2 Nxg3 37.hxg3 Qd6 38.Nf5
What good is a fork if the forking piece is hanging? Losing his queen has taken the air out of Joe's sails. 38.g4 is his last, best hope for counterplay.

38...Bxf5 39.g4 Bxc2 0-1
Joe graciously resigns.

Thanks to all the folks who came to participate and helped make our first tournament a success. The site arrangements were practically perfect in every way, lunch was delivered on time, and we even got finished an hour ahead of schedule! When does that ever happen? But we'd have had nothing at all without our guest players. We hope to see you again next time.


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