Monday, October 29, 2012

ICCF Master Humberto Cruz

Finally, I play an older guy. I judged Humberto Cruz to be about 10 years my senior. We have been beaten up by the kids and find ourselves well back in the pack. Humberto Cruz is a strong correspondence master. This was one of those times when life got in the way of my chess. I thought I might get an advantage with my London System, but I wanted to be elsewhere. I decided to play for two hours (of the four-hour session) and then offer a draw unless I had a huge quick win. I had a positional edge when we agreed to a draw.

The Minnesota Twins were in St. Petersburg (site of this event) for a baseball game vs the Devil Rays. My wife had a ticket; I wanted to go with her, too. I used to be a chaplain for the Rays. One of my old friends was pitching for the Rays. Also, if I withdrew from this event, we could drive back to the Orlando area before the traffic (Labor Day) got worse. He both had to work the next day. We enjoyed the baseball game and were relaxing at home long before the 6th and final round finished. Sad and wonderful at the same time.

Sawyer-Cruz, FL State Championship (5), 04.09.2006 begins 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Bf4 e6 4.e3 c5 5.c3 Nc6 6.Nbd2 cxd4 7.exd4 Bd6 8.Bxd6 Qxd6 9.Bd3 0-0 10.0-0 Qf4 [10...e5!? 11.dxe5 Nxe5 12.Nxe5 Qxe5 13.Re1 would leave Black with an isolated queen pawn but a more active bishop.] 11.Re1 Re8 12.Qe2 Bd7 13.g3 Qh6 14.Ne5 Re7 15.f4 Nxe5 16.dxe5 Nh5 17.Nf3 f5 18.Qe3 b6 19.Kf2 g6 20.h4 Qf8 21.Nd4 Kh8 22.Rh1 Qf7 23.Be2 Rg8 24.Rh2 Qe8 25.Rah1+/=. 1/2-1/2

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Corey Acor King's Indian London

In 2006 Corey Acor was the highest rated 17-year-old master in the USA. A few months after this Acor would win the US Scholastic Blitz Championship. I really enjoy his style. This was the first of three USCF rated tournament games we have played. We also played some blitz chess for fun. Corey Acor has kept a very consistent USCF tournament rating in the 2200s for many years.

Below is the second game I lost to a master in the London System in this tournament. Ray Robson had faced it classically with 1.d4 d5 in the first round. Here in the third round, Corey Acor chose an aggressive London System King's Indian set-up.

Sawyer-Acor, FL State Championship (3), 03.09.2006 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bf4 g6 4.e3 Nh5 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 g5 7.Nfd2 Ng7 8.Bg3 Nf5 9.Bd3 This is as far as I knew in theory. 9...Bg7 10.c3 [10.Qf3!= Kovacevic.] 10...e5 At this point I figure that my bad bishop on g3 could become my good bishop if I just change the color of square where my center pawns are located. 11.Bxf5 Bxf5 12.e4 Bg6 13.d5 Nd7 14.c4 Nc5 15.Qc2 a5 16.Nc3 0-0 17.f3 f5 We have a standard King's Indian type position, but Black has a bishop on g6. 18.Bf2 Nd7 19.0-0-0 fxe4 20.Ndxe4 Nf6 21.Nxf6+ Qxf6 22.Ne4 Qf7 23.h3 a4 24.Be3 b5!? Acor is an aggressive young master in Florida. He boldly proceeds with his attack, and it pays off. 25.cxb5 Rfb8 26.Qe2 Ra5 27.Nc3 a3 28.b3 Qf5 29.Ne4 Rbxb5 30.Qc4 Bf7 31.Nc3? [I was happy with my game to this point, but once again I am outplayed by a master. I missed 31.Qxc7! Bf8 32.Qd8 Bxd5 33.Rxd5 Rxd5 34.h4+/-] 31...Rc5 32.Bxc5 Rxc5 Now I am lost and nothing changes that. 33.Qe4 Rxc3+ 34.Kd2 Qxe4 35.fxe4 Rg3 36.Rhg1 g4 37.hxg4 Bf6 38.Ke2 Bg6 39.Rc1 Rxg4 40.Rxc7 Rxe4+ 41.Kf3 Rf4+ 42.Kg3 Bh4+ 43.Kh2 Bf2 44.Rc8+ Kg7 45.Rgc1 Rh4# 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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Friday, October 26, 2012

Simone Sobel Suffers to Sloppy Slav

Simone Sobel has been one of the higher rated women players in Florida for most of the past 10 years. Sobel is a thoughtful opening player who has the experience of playing many South Florida experts and masters.

The Slav Defence 5.e4 Geller Gambit has been a problem for me. I just never bothered to learn it well enough to hold off the White attack. As a result, I lost quite a few games was Black to this line. The Black king has no safe place, which makes progressing on the queenside rather difficult. Simone Sobel beat me in the same line in our next game.

Sobel - Sawyer, FL State Championship (2), 02.09.2006 begins 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.e4 b5 6.e5 Nd5 7.a4 b4?! [I mixed up the 5.e4 and 5.e3 variations. I had only worked on this line a little, and alas I had forgotten the work that I did?! When I got back home, it all came back to me. The main line continues: 7...e6 8.axb5 Burgess writes here: "This is the traditional main line of the Geller Gambit, though if Black is well-prepared he should not be worried by it..." White must "judge whether his (or her) opponents are more likely to fall into one of the myriad pitfalls the gambit presents than they are to know and play the lines flawlessly." 8...Nxc3 9.bxc3 cxb5 10.Ng5 Bb7 11.Qh5 g6=/+. This is clearly a variation to learn much deeper.] 8.Ne4 e6 [8...c3 9.bxc3 bxc3 10.Bc4+/= Burgess] 9.Bxc4 a5 10.Bg5 Qc7 11.0-0 Ba6 12.Nfd2 Nb6! [White wanted to play Nc4 and eventually continue with something like Ncxd6+ Bxd6 Nexd6+. So I prevented her idea. Now she thought for a long time.] 13.Rc1 N8d7 [Obviously I am busted here. However, up to this point she has yawned many times during the game and used about half of her two hours. So hoping to escape this tragedy, I offered a draw. Again she thought for a long time and suggested that we play on for a few moves. Clearly White is better.] 14.Bxa6 Rxa6 15.Qc2 Ra8 16.Qxc6 White has won both pawns. 16...Qxc6 17.Rxc6 Be7 18.Rfc1 Bxg5 19.Nxg5 0-0 20.b3 Rfd8 21.Nge4 h6 22.Nd6 Nd5 23.N2e4 Kf8 24.Kf1 Ke7 [Around this point she was down to about five minutes on her clock. That is not real big deal in a blitz game, but she was still thinking a lot on each move. I decided to complicate matters and try to avoid immediate disaster.] 25.Rc8 f5 26.exf6+ gxf6 27.Rxa8 Rxa8 28.Nb5 f5 29.Nd2 e5 30.dxe5 Nxe5 31.Rc5 Rd8 32.Nc4 Nd3 33.Rc6 h5 34.Nxa5 Ne5 35.Rh6 Nf4 36.Rh7+ Kf6 37.f3 [At this point, White had only 10 seconds left on her clock. There was a 5 second delay, which means she used virtually all of her allotted two hours for this game. It was remarkable that she did not lose on time considering how slow she had played up to this point. Here I paused for about a minute or two to examine what type of mate threats I could pose, after which I proceeded to blitz her ICC style until the game ended.] 37...Rd1+ 38.Kf2 Rd2+ 39.Ke3 Rd3+ 40.Kxf4 h4 41.Rh6+ Ng6+ 42.Rxg6+ Kxg6 43.g3 h3 44.Nc7 Rd2 45.Ne6 Rxh2 46.Ng5 Rh1 47.g4 h2 48.Kg3 Kxg5 49.gxf5 Kxf5 50.Kg2 Rg1+ 51.Kxh2 Rg8 52.Nc6 Kf4 53.a5 Kxf3 54.Nd4+ Kf2 55.a6 Rh8# [Whew! White had 2 seconds left on her clock. She was in tears, as devastated as anyone would be at such a fate. Sobel was one of the lowest rated players in the Open Section, and she finished last. Of course, if there was no mate then 55...Ra8 would also win.] 0-1 White is checkmated.

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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