Sunday, July 11, 2010

Route 20 RBO/Open Swiss

Our first fully rated event! And with an impressively diverse turnout -- allowing us finally to live up to our mission of promoting and facilitating chess in northwest Illinois and southwest Wisconsin. Check out all the red pins on the map! We're encouraged by the success of our outreach and hope to continue to be able to attract players from beyond the immediate area.

All told, we had 19 registrants: 11 in our rated beginners' section and eight in our open section, enough to demonstrate the feasibility of running cash-prize tournaments in the region.

Fortunately for our long-distance travelers, it was sunny when players arrived and sunny when they left -- but the second-to-last round was punctuated by a surprise downpour, visible and audible through the windows of the classroom that served as our tournament floor.

First place in the RBO went to Mihir Parag Kansara of Madison, Wis., in a 5-point clean sweep. Out of a crowd of finishers with 3 game points apiece, Leo Ma of Madison and Taylor Soddy of Monroe, Wis., won second and third place on modified-median tiebreaks. In the open section, Bob Gallenberg of Madison defeated third-round leader Donald J. Reyes of Sycamore, Ill., in the final round to split the $85 first prize and $55 second prize with James Freestrom of Sycamore, each finishing with 3 points. Reyes, with a score of 2.5, claimed the $35 third prize.

Route 20 Rated Beginners' Open
Freeport, Ill., July 10, 2010

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Na5 6.Bb5+ Bd7
6...c6 challenges white more directly.

7.Qe2 a6 8.Qxe5+
Daring! Is Mihir bringing his queen out too soon?

8...Be7 9.Bxd7+ Qxd7 10.d6
It's too soon for an attack. Mihir can defend his d-pawn and catch up on development with 10.Nc3.

10...Nc6 11.Qe3 Qxd6 12.Nc3??
It's good that Mihir is thinking about development now, because his only active piece is his queen! But after 12.Nc3 Nb4!? (threatening the fork on c2) 13.Kd1 0-0, black is fully developed and ready to go on the attack. In contrast, after 12.Nf3!?, both sides can castle, then white can hope to free himself up with d4.

12...0-0 13.0-0 Ng4 14.Qh3

Nathanael has a fine strategic move here. What is it? (Highlight to reveal answer.)

14...Qxh2+ 15.Qxh2 Nxh2 16.Kxh2 Bxg5 punches a hole in white's pawn structure and pulls his king out into the open.

17.Nd5 Rac8 18.d3 Bxc1 19.Raxc1 Rfe8 20.Rfe1 Rxe1 21.Rxe1
Initiating the rook trade wasn't the best idea for Nathanael. It leaves Mihir with control of the open file, a more advanced knight and a slight advantage.

21...f6 22.Re3 Kf7 23.b4
Yikes! With Nathanael's king on f7, the options are narrowed for Mihir's rook. He needs to play 23.Re4 and gain in horizontal mobility what he's just lost in vertical.

Nathanael elects not to punish Mihir for his error. (23...Rd8!? 24.c4 Ne5 weakens white's d-pawn, then lays siege to it.)

24.f3 c6
24...Rd8 is still good, and now sets a trap: White is all right if he replies 25.Nf4, but 25.Nxc7? Rc8 26.Nd5 Rxc2 allows black's rook deep into white's territory.

25.Nf4 Re8 26.Kg3 g5 27.Nh5 Re7 28.d4

There's a sweet opportunity in 28...Nc4!?, forcing white's rook off its square. Does white abandon the e-file and allow ...Ne3 or ...Re2, or does he acquiesce to a rook trade that's not in his best interest?

Not moving the knight turns out to be the error that shifts the momentum in Mihir's favor.

29.dxe5 Rxe5??
It had to be 29...Kxh5 to rescue Nathanael from his oversight. Then 30.exf6 is followed by 30...Rf7 (not the greedy 30...Rxe3??, which allows 31.f7 and promotion).

A piece ahead, Mihir brings it home with authoritative endgame play:

30.Rxe5 fxe5 31.Kg4 h6 32.Ng3 b6 33.c4 c5 34.bxc5 bxc5 35.a3 a5 36.a4 Kf7 37.Kf5 g4 38.fxg4 e4 39.Kxe4 1-0

By the way, what in the world kind of chess clock are those guys packing there? It looks like it was designed by the Department of Defense.

Route 20 Open Swiss
Freeport, Ill., July 10, 2010

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Nf3 Bg4 5.h3 Bxf3 6.Qxf3 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.Qxb7 Nbd7 9.dxe5 Nxe5 10.Bb5+

10...Nfd7 11.Bxd7+ Nxd7 12.Nd5
Perhaps aiming for an exchange-winning fork with 13.Nxc7+ Kf8 14.Qxa8 Qxa8 15.Nxa8, but seemingly passing up a golden moment to castle.

12...0-0 13.0-0
Now 13.Nxc7 Rb8 14.Qxa7 Ne5 and white is worse.

13...e6 neutralizes white's slim edge.

14.Bh6 Re8 15.Rae1 Bd6 16.Qb3 e6 17.Qc3 Bf8 18.Bxf8 Rxf8 19.Nb4 Nb8?!
It's hard to see what the idea of this move is. Black can gain some space with tempo with either 19...a5 or 19...c5.

20.Rd1 Qe7 21.Rd2 a5 22.Nd3 Rd8 23.Rfd1 a4 24.Nb4 Rxd2
Don fights back aggressively while Bob looks for a plan.

25.Qxd2 Na6 26.Nc6 Qe8
An unfortunate retreat. 26...Qc5 is more forceful.

27.Qd7 Kg7 28.a3 Qxd7 29.Rxd7 Kf6

A present for black, swinging the game in Don's favor. He doesn't miss the occasion.

30...Nxb4 31.axb4 Ra7
31...Rb8!? 32.c3 c5 helps clear a path for black's a-pawn.

32.Kf1 h5 33.Ke2 Rb7 34.c3 e5
The e-pawn isn't likely to get very far with its neighbor blockaded by its own king.

35.Ke3 Ke6 36.Rd8 c5 37.bxc5 Rxb2??

This sequence, so promising before, is now fraught with danger. 37...Ra7 is necessary to keep the c-pawn from promoting.

38.c6 Rb6 39.c7 Rc6 40.c8Q+ 1-0

There's no question about the outcome.

Thanks and congratulations to all our players, and extra-super-special mega-thanks to Angie Torre, who ably and indispensably fielded a barrage of lunch orders. Also thanks to Mike Nietman of the Wisconsin Chess Association for posting our tournament announcement on the WCA website. Nietman is running for the USCF executive board and asks us to remind everyone to cast your vote for the board and return your ballot as soon as possible, if you haven't done so already.

See event pictures on our photo page and complete standings on our tournament results page; click here for official crosstables and post-event ratings.


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