ICA's Chess Blog
Hart,Vince (2025) - Ulrich,Tommy (2188) [A13]
Illinois Class Championships (4), 11.12.2011
I really don't understand this game, so I hope the players and readers will forgive me for making sweeping assessments when I'm not sure that I'm right! But I have checked the six-piece positions on a tablebase, and was really taken by the beauty of some possible variations.
1.c4 Nf6 2.g3 e6 3.Bg2 d5 4.Nf3 dxc4 5.0–0 Nbd7 6.Qc2 Nb6 7.Na3 Qd5 8.b3 cxb3 9.axb3 Qd8 10.Bb2 Be7 11.Nb5 c6 12.Nxa7 Bd7 13.Ne5 0–0 14.Nxd7 Nbxd7 15.Bxc6?!
If Black were to recapture with 15...bxc6 then 16.Nxc6 hits a8, d8, and e7. 16...Rc8 would be answered by 17.Rfc1!
16.Rfc1 bxc6 17.Nxc6 Nb6 18.Nxe7+ Qxe7 19.Qc6 Nfd7 20.Bd4 Rxa1 21.Rxa1 Qb4 22.Be3 Qxb3 23.Ra7 Rd8 24.Rb7 Qd5 25.Rxb6 Nxb6 26.Qxb6 Qa8 27.f3 Can White construct a fortress? 27...Rb8 28.Qd4 Rd8 29.Qb2
I do not like this move: isn't White on the cusp of drawing now? [29...Rb8]
30.Qxb8 Rxb8 31.Bf4 Rb3 32.Kf2
Perhaps 32.g4 (to be followed by h3) improves: White welcomes pawn exchanges, but wants to keep symmetry in the pawn structure.]
32...h5 33.h4 f6 34.g4 hxg4 35.fxg4
White now has two pawn islands and has traded h-pawn for f-pawn. (It would have been better to trade h-pawn for h-pawn.)
35...Kf7 36.h5 g6 37.hxg6+ Kxg6 38.d3 Rb7 39.Be3 Rh7 40.Kg3 Rh8 41.Kg2 Kf7 42.Kg3 e5 43.d4! Ke6 44.dxe5 Kxe5
Even so, I'm pretty sure this is a dead draw: the bishops and pawns cover lots of squares together.
45.Bf4+ Ke4 46.e3
But this weakens the light squares. 46.Bd2! looks like a fortress draw to me: does White even need the g-pawn?
46...Rg8! 47.Bh6 f5 48.g5
48...Rg6! kills the bishop's future. 49.Kh4 (49.Kf2 Ra6 50.Kg3 Kxe3 51.g6+ Ke4 52.g7 Rg6+ 53.Kf2 f4 with zugzwang to follow.) 49...Kxe3 is lost per the tablebase. 50.Kh5 Rg8 51.g6+ f4 52.g7
Black to play (variation)
52...Rxg7!! 53.Bxg7 f3 54.Bf8 Kd4
49.g6+ = Ke4 50.g7 Ke5 51.Kh4! Kf6 52.Kh5 Ra8
53.Bd2!! Kxg7 54.Kg5 Rf8 55.Bc1 Rf7 56.Kd2 Kf8 57.Bb4+ Ke8 58.Kf4 Kd7 59.Ke5! f4 (or 59...Kc6 60.Bd2 Kc5 61.Bf4 Kc4 62.Ke6 Rf8 63.Ke7 Ra8 64.Ke6 Ra5 65.Be5) 60.Bc5 f3 61.Bf2 with a del Rio fortress.
A difficult ending!
Liang,Awonder (2091) - Bungo,Greg (2034) [B31]
Illinois Class Championships (3), 11.12.2011
In the perennial Youth vs. Experience battle, it's usually Youth that gets an overwhelming position, only to have the tables turned by the wily elder. Awonder Liang shows NM Greg Bungo that eight-year-olds can be wily fighters, too.
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.h3 Bg7 6.0–0 e5 7.d3 Qe7 8.Be3 Nf6 9.Nbd2 Nd7 10.Re1 0–0 11.c3 Rd8 12.Qc2 Nf8 13.Nb3 Ne6 14.Rad1 b6 15.d4 cxd4 16.cxd4 exd4 17.Nfxd4 Bb7 18.Nxe6 Qxe6 19.Nd4 Qe8
Black seems to have solved all opening problems.
20.f3 c5 21.Nb3 Qe7 22.Bf4 Qf6 23.Bc1 Rac8 24.Qc4 Qh4 25.Rf1 Qg3
And when I kibitzed at this momemt, I thought that Bungo was in full control.
26.Qe2 Be5 27.f4 Rxd1 28.Qxd1 Bf6 29.Rf3 Qh4 30.Qe2 Re8 31.e5 Bxf3 32.Qxf3 Qe1+ 33.Kh2 Bh4 34.g3 Be7 35.Bd2 Qb1 36.Qb7 Qxa2
When your game is hopeless, why not attack?
37.Qd7 Kf8 38.f5! Qxb2 39.f6! Bd8 40.e6!
Black is still winning, but now has to find the only winning move.
Black should win after 40...Rxe6! 41.Qxd8+ Re8 42.Qd7 a5 and if White tries to prepare Bh6+ with 43.Kh1 , then simply 43...Qe5.
41.fxe7+ Rxe7 42.Qd8+ Re8 43.e7+ Kg7 44.Qxe8 Qxb3 45.Qf8+ 1–0