Sunday, June 27, 2010


The local paper neglected to announce it until the last minute, but the PWNED! Youth Chess Tournament at the Freeport Public Library drew 15 participants, with the greatest turnout in the grade 4–6 section. Because of low numbers, the grade K–3 and 7–12 were changed from four-round Swiss to double round robin. (See event pictures on our photo page, crosstables on our tournament results page.) Winners were:

1st place: Dominick Welte (Roscoe)
2nd place: Darius Lewers (Freeport)
3rd place: Faith Hunter (Mount Carroll)

1st place: Hayden Keltner (Pearl City)
2nd place: Kirkland Shun (Rockford)
3rd place: McKinley Torre (Rockford)

1st place: Nathanael Kozinski (DeKalb)
2nd place: Yesenia Meraz (Rockford)
3rd place: John Werkheiser (Pearl City)

Yesenia generously shared her record of her second game with Nathanael.

PWNED! Youth Chess Tournament
Freeport, Ill., June 26, 2010

1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.d4
Transposing into a Scotch Game.

4...exd4 5.Nxd4 Nxd4?
Trading knights leaves black at a disadvantage, with poor development.

6.Qxd4 b6 7.e5!
Yesenia presses forward aggressively.

With the queen on d4, Nathanael's bishop is defenseless.

Aggressive just a moment before, Yesenia unexpectedly pulls back and settles for equality.

Nathanael has a crafty move in 8...Qe7!?, saving his knight by pinning the e-pawn.

Nathanael's g-pawn is a soft patch in his side's armor; 9.Qg3! threatens 10.Qxg7 and a potent fork, while allowing Yesenia to answer 9...Bxc3+ with 10.Qxc3.

Opens the door to 10.Qb5+, gaining time to pick off the bishop (11.Qxb4). Might as well play 9...Ne7 immediately.

10.0-0 Ne7
In light of the Qb5+ threat, Nathanael should back up his bishop with 10...a5.


Wow! Yesenia seems to be throwing away her queen -- for what? Well, Nathanael offers an answer:

11...cxd6 is clearly the way to go.

At this point, there appears to be a move missing on the transcript. I've interpolated 12.exd6 Bxd6 to make possible the subsequent positions played.

13.Re1 0-0 14.Bf3 c6 15.g3
15.Nb5! is an audacious move that exploits the bishop pin on black's c-pawn and threatens to capture the bishop on d6. Then 15...Bc5 16.Bg5 takes aim at the knight that guards the pawn.

15...Bf5 16.Be4 Rfe8 17.Bxf5 Nxf5

The scales are tipping in Nathanael's favor now.

18.Rxe8+ Rxe8 19.a4
Nathanael is threatening 19...Re1+, followed by ...Nd4 and ...Nxc2. Yesenia needs to get her bishop out of the way so that she can defend that c-pawn. With material even, 19.Bf4!? Bxf4 20.gxf4 is tolerable.

Whoomp! There it is!

20.Kg2 Nd4 21.Bd2??
Losing the c-pawn isn't a great prospect, but losing the remaining rook is worse.

21...Rxa1 22.Ne4 Rd1 23.Nxd6 Rxd2 24.c3 Ne6 25.Nf5 Rxb2 26.Ne7+
Using the check to slingshot over and grab a pawn.

26...Kf8 27.Nxc6 a6 28.a5 b5! 29.h4 Rc2 30.Nb4 Rxc3 31.Nxa6 Ra3 32.f4 Rxa5 33.f5?

Trading knights is just too good a prospect for black. If 33...Rxa6 34.fxe6, black can simply make a dash for the first rank with 34...b4!, and white has no way of stopping him. 35.fxg7 goes nowhere as long as black's king sits tight on the pawn's promotion square. If 34.Kf3, on the other hand, black can ruin white's day with 34...b4 35.Ke2 Ra2+!!.

Overlooking the power of the trade. But really, with a material advantage of a rook and a pawn, Nathanael has no grounds for complaining about his position.

34.Nc5 b4 35.Nd3 b3 36.f6 gxf6 37.h5 Ra2+ 38.Kh3

At this point, the transcript offers the move 37...g4+, which is both inscrutable and impossible. But equally impossible is white's position, and in fact, the game ends just a few moves later.

Thanks and congratulations to all our participants, and we hope to see all of you at future events.

Update/correction: Nathanael Kozinski confirms that his seventh move is 7...Bc5, not 7...Bb4. Also, the missing move sequence is 11.exd6 Qxd6 12.Qxd6 Bxd6.


DeKalb said...

In actuality, Black's 7th move was Bc5, not Bb4. Scorekeeper's error.

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