Green Eggs and Ham – Boston over NJ
(Beat Reporter: Mark LaRocca)
The Boston Blitz score their first victory of the year, posting a (2.5 – 1.5), edge of your seat, match win over the New Jersey Knockouts… thanks to the comeback kid, Marc Esserman, in his return to Oz… and, the league debut of the new kid Sam Sevian. IM Denys Shmelov turned in a draw on board 3 and the match was ovah, to steal a Bostonian phrase.
However, things were a bit worrisome throughout since the first to finish, Michael Mahoney, did not fare so well as Black against NM Christopher Wu, who gobbled up pawn and exchange as if they were the breakfast special. By move 14, we onlookers felt White was lost.
Certainly, eggs and ham are my breakfast of choice… although I have been known to eat a pawn or two in my time. But, pawn and exchange… well, that’s just shameful gluttony.
Let’s take a look at what Michael cooked up…
You may like them
You will see
You may like them
In a tree
Michael Mahoney (BOS) vs NM Christopher Wu (NJ)
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.h3!? [This was Michaels preparation for this game. More normal is 8.f3... or, any variety of other systems. But, he was not prepared for his opponents unusual and rare reply.]
8...h5?!± [This is like declining equality... simple was 8... Be7 =Was it worth the "stun' effect? ]
9.Qd2 [9.f4 exf4 10.Bxf4 gives white an edge and is about the only line previously played. The computer recommends...; 9.Qf3 Nc6 10.0–0–0± with a real fight to come.]
9...Nbd7 10.0–0–0 b5 11.Kb1 [11.f4! This seems to be the best plan... sooner or later, White must recognize this... or face a fate similar to the game. 11...Be7 12.f5 Bc4 13.Kb1+/= with the usual Najdorf complications.]
11...Nb6 12.Bxb6? [This is a lemon. White now has little counterplay and is minus the two Bishops.]
[12.f4 Qc7 13.fxe5 dxe5 14.Qf2+/= is slightly better for White.]
12...Qxb6 [Still, the game is equal... but, White lacks a play. f4... must be played but lacks the aforementioned impact.]
13.Nd5?? [This is the losing move.]
[13.f4 Rc8 14.fxe5 dxe5 15.Nd5 with equality seems best.]
13...Bxd5 14.exd5 Ne4! [nice play. White will lose the exchange.]
15.Qb4 [I can't criticize this move, as even the best was horrible.]
[15.Qe3 Qxe3 16.fxe3 Nf2 Black is winning.]
15...Nxf2 16.Bd3 Nxh1 17.Rxh1 Be7 18.a4 0–0 19.Rf1 g6 20.g4 hxg4 21.Qxg4 Qe3 22.Na5 Bg5 [22... Qg5 seems simpler. White has no real attack.]
23.h4 Bf4 24.h5 Qg3 25.Qd1 [White could have tried...]
[25.Qxg3 Bxg3 26.hxg6 bxa4 27.Rg1 Bh4 28.Nc4!...-/+ with some compensation for the exchange
28...Rfd8 (28...f5 29.g7 Rf6 30.Rh1 Rh6 31.Ne3) 29.Ka2 and White is hanging on by his finger nails.]
25...Be3 26.Nc6 [26.Nb7 f5 is better for White than the game... but, still losing.]
26...Qg5 27.Rh1 [This makes things too easy.]
[27.hxg6 fxg6 28.Bxg6 is a stunning possibility becuase of the Knight check on e7. But with even pawns, the exchange should win. However, Black needs to be accurate.]
27...Kg7 28.h6+ Kh7 29.Ka2 f5 [the rest is simple.]
30.a5 e4 31.Be2 f4 32.Bg4 f3 33.Be6 f2 34.Bh3 Bd2 35.c4 bxc4 36.Qg4 Qxg4 0–1
Boston (0 - 1)
Well, that didn’t go well, now did it. Ok, so you can’t always expect your breakfast guests to show the proper etiquette. No problem, as the next to finish was Sam… who smoothly sailed to what seemed an effortless win. As White, he ate up the space offered by IM Albert Kapengut’s Center Counter defense… crippled Black’s pawns by move 13… and just played so calmly… piling up pressure and, eventually munching pawns… tasty little green ones at that.
I do so like
Green eggs and ham!
IM Samuel Sevian (BOS) vs IM Albert Kapengut (NJ)
1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6 3.d4 Nxd5 4.Nf3 Bg4 5.Be2 e6 6.0–0 Be7 7.h3 Bh5 8.c4 Nb6 9.Be3 0–0 10.Nc3 [10.Ne5 Is a nice alternative as it prevents Black's smooth development with ...Nc6... but, a matter of taste... as they say. 10...Bxe2 11.Qxe2 N8d7 12.Rd1 Nxe5 13.dxe5 Qe8 14.Nc3 (14.Qg4 f5 15.exf6) 14...Qc6+/=]
10...Nc6 11.b3 Bxf3?± [I see no reason for this. 11...a5, 11....f5, or 11...Bg6 are all book and better. Now, Black is suffering.]
Postion after 12…Bf6… What would you do?
13.Bxc6 [Changing the nature of the game. I'm sure Eugene would have kept the two Bishops... but, the game move seems best.]
13...bxc6 14.Ne4 Re8 15.Qd3!? [During the game, I didn't like this move as I thought it gave Black more play than he deserves after...]
15...Nd7 [15...e5 16.Nxf6+ Qxf6 17.dxe5 Qxe5 18.Rad1± However, White's advantage in the endgame here is no more than in the game.]
16.Rad1 Be7 17.Bf4 Nf6 18.Nxf6+ Bxf6 19.Qf3! [I really like this move. It puts the most pressure on the position and offers Black a chance to become impatient and grab the d-pawn.]
White offers the d-pawn… can Black take it?
19...Qd7 [19...Bxd4 20.Qxc6 Qf6 21.Bxc7 Is good for White.]
20.Be5 Bd8 21.Rfe1 f6 [What else? But, after this, Black has serious weaknesses. ]
22.Bf4 Rb8 [This is only second best... and White's advantage is +/- with over a one pawn advantage. ]
[22...Be7 23.c5 with a lesser, but, nice advantage for White. ]
23.Qg4 Qf7 24.Re3 Kf8 [Thi passive defense is as good as resigning. Black had to gamble on...]
[24...a5 We observers were calling for this before Black ever moved the Queen's Rook. It is practically the only counterplay. 25.a3 with White still in firm control.]
25.Rde1 c5 [desperation.]
[25...f5 26.Qf3 Rb6 27.d5+– cxd5 28.cxd5 Bf6 29.dxe6 Rbxe6 30.Rxe6 Rxe6 31.Rxe6 Qxe6 is another losing endgame... but, perhaps a bit more complex.]
26.Rxe6 Rxe6 27.Qxe6 Qxe6 28.Rxe6 cxd4 29.Re4 Rb6 30.Rxd4 Ke8 [With an extra pawn and better structure... and piece position... White is clearly winning. ]
31.g4 a5 [a bit late.]
32.Be3 Ra6 33.Kg2 Be7 34.c5 c6 35.Kf3 Ra7 36.Ra4 Bd8 37.Bd2 Kf7 38.b4 [winning another pawn. ]
38...Ke6 39.Ke4 g6 40.bxa5 f5+ 41.gxf5+ gxf5+ 42.Kd4 Rd7+
Almost all moves are winning… but, Just for fun…
What’s the best move?... leading to the quickest win.
43.Kc4 [When I saw this move during the game, I thought it was unnecesary... but the Fritz 13 calls it best, as it is the quickest win.]
43...Rxd2 44.a6 Bf6 45.a7 Rd4+ 46.Kb3 Rd3+ 47.Kc2 1–0
Boston (1 – 1)
I think we have the makings of a young Petrosian… no counter-play allowed. Nice debut Sam! It was a privilege to meet you and your father Armen. Armen told me he has no problem getting Sam to study chess… he is just naturally gifted and has a great attraction to the game. Both Armen and his son are such polite and easy going people… makes you miss the good ol’ days of rude… masagynist prodigies… Not!
So, we observers now began suffering with Marc’s every move. GM Boris Gulko, White, was turning up the pressure. Threats were numerous and Marc was walking in and out of the room… mumbling something about playing badly… things were looking bad… when he played one of the strangest moves… (see Black's 16th)
In the dark?
Here in the dark!
Would you, could you, in the dark?
GM Boris Gulko (NJ) vs IM Marc Esserman (BOS)
1.c4 e5 [An interesting factoid... this is the second most popular move against the English at (20%). The first and most popular?... 1...Nf6 (31%) (according to the game sample in... Fritz Powerbook 2012)]
2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 d5 [A reversed Sicilian... very bold. ]
5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.Bg2 Nb6 7.0–0 Be7 8.a3 [A tempo that Black would normally avoid in the modern method of playing the Sicilian Dragon... strange.... these reversed openings. I think the game is about equal.]
8...a5 [more common (and, I think, better) is...]
[8...0–0 does allow b4... but... 9.b4 (more usual is... 9.d3) 9...Be6 10.d3 a5 11.b5 Nd4 12.Nxe5 Bf6 13.f4 Nb3 14.Be3 Bxe5 15.fxe5 Nxa1 16.Qxa1 Nd5 Is dynamically equal. White has one pawn for the exchange with complex play.]
9.d3 0–0 10.Be3 Be6 11.Rc1 Nd5?!
[This move is one of the commonly played moves... but, in my humble opinion, gives White an easy advantage. I was shocked and shagrinned that Marc did not play the logical culmination of his strategy...]
[11...f5 a "manly" move... as a former Blitz manager would say. 12.Na4 an "old Dragon" reversed... with White up a tempo...Hmmmm.... 12...f4 13.Bc5 Bd5 with fighting equality. Also, very interesting was... 11...a4!? and White's strategy will be tested. 12.Bxb6 cxb6 13.Nxa4 e4 would slightly favor Black.]
12.Nxd5 Bxd5 13.Qa4 Qc8 14.Rc3 [Now we are out of book... but, not necessarily in a bad way. Usually White plays...]
[14.Bc5 Re8 15.Rfe1 Bf6 16.e4 Be6 17.d4 with a small edge.]
14...Qe6?! [But, Black has a strange setup in mind.]
15.Rfc1 [This looks impressive... but, is only equal. If Black plays cautiously... What's the chance of that?]
15...Rfb8?! +/= 16.Qb5! [very nice. White prevents Black's threat and is threatening Ng5 trading Knight for for the d5 Bishop. Black is under pressure...]
Try to guess Black's next!
16...Ba2!± [When I saw this in the game, I was amazed... I laughed... and was thinking that GM Gulko now had a win. I was wrong... this is best... and is very tactical... which is Marc's game. Of course, White is still much better. ]
[16...Rd8 admits the mistake... but, losing a tempo. Black is simply worse with no tactics.; 16...e4 17.Nd2 f5 seems desperate and too loose.]
17.d4 [This is good.... but a tactical malay could have been initiated with...]
[17.Nd2 a4 18.Bxc6 bxc6 19.Qxc6 Qxc6 20.Rxc6 Rxb2 21.Rxc7 Bf8 White is a pawn up with a difficult fight against the two Bishops ahead. I have a feeling Marc would not dislike this kind of game. I mean, if you must be a pawn down. (21...Bxa3? 22.Rc8+ Rxc8 23.Rxc8+ Bf8 24.Bc5 and White wins a piece.) ]
17...exd4 18.Bxd4 a4 19.Re3 Qh6 20.Bc3 Bf6 21.Qf5? [Throwing away the advantage. Better was...]
[21.Rd1 Bxc3 22.bxc3 Bb3 23.Rd7±; 21.Nd2 Bxc3 22.Rcxc3±]
21...Ne7 22.Qd3? [White is losing.] (22.Qe2...=)
Do you see it? Don't Peek.
22...Bxc3 23.Rxc3 [23.bxc3 Nd5 is worse. The Rook on e3 can't move since the c1 Rook hangs.]
23...Nd5 24.Re5 Nxc3 25.Qxc3 c6 26.h4 Bd5-/+ [not the most accurate. ]
[26...Qd6 27.Re4 (27.Rg5 f6) 27...Re8 28.Rd4 Bd5–+ consolidates and wins easily.]
27.e4 Ba2 28.Nd4 Re8 29.Rc5 [White's problem is every trade is a step closer to a loss.]
29...Rad8 30.e5 Qg6 31.Kh2 Bd5 32.Bxd5 Rxd5 33.Rxd5 cxd5 [These trades were best... but, the game is now hopeless for White.]
34.f4 Qe4 35.h5 h6 36.Kh3 Qh1+ 37.Kg4 Qd1+ 38.Kh4 Qh1+ 39.Kg4 g6 40.hxg6 fxg6 41.f5 gxf5+ 42.Kxf5 Qe4+ 0–1
Boston (2 – 1)
Now, that’s what I call choking on your breakfast. Very nice escape Marc! And, as usual, the tactical coup de grace was brilliant.
But, what about Denys… his game looked passive… but he emerged with equality… then he was a tiny bit better… and the grinder did not disappoint, as he kept grinding away until he swallowed a pawn whole… in a Queen ending, a draw was never in doubt.
Could you, would you,
With a goat?
I would not,
With a goat!
No offense intended… just ran out of reasonable verses.
NM Alexander Katz (NJ) vs IM Denys Shmelov (BOS)
1.c4 c6 2.e4 d5 3.cxd5 cxd5 4.exd5 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nxd5 6.Bc4 Nxc3 7.Qf3 e6 8.dxc3 Bd6 9.Be3 Qe7 10.Ne2 Nc6 11.Nd4 Bd7 12.Bb5 Nxd4 13.Bxd7+ Qxd7 14.Bxd4 0–0 15.0–0 Qc7 16.h3 e5 17.Be3 f5 18.Qd5+ Kh8 19.Rad1 Rad8 20.Qb3?!
Black to move and gain advantage
[Certainly, this seems reasonable to a human... but, there is a sneaky computer discovered reply that points out why this is wrong. Better was...]
20...b6?!= [Black misses (and we onlookers missed as well) the very nice gotcha...]
[20...f4! 21.Bc1+/= with a nice advantage. (21.Bxa7?? b5 and amazingly the Bishop is kaput!) ]
21.Bg5 Rde8?! [21...Be7=]
22.Qd5 Be7 23.Bxe7 Qxe7 24.Qb5 e4? [Too ambitious. Simple was...]
[24...Rf7+/= White has the better side of equality.]
To Take, or not to take?
26.Rfd1?! [Never look a gift horse in the mouth... we computers always say... better was...]
[26.Rxa7 e3 (26...Re6 27.Rb7 Rg6 28.g3 e3 29.Qe5 is more complicated, but, still not enough.) 27.fxe3 Qxe3+ 28.Kh2± is not enough for the pawn.]
26...e3 [now, White faces all the same problems... without an extra pawn.]
27.fxe3 Qxe3+= [Also possible was...]
[27...Rxe3 28.Rxa7 Rxh3 29.Qe5 Rg3 30.Rd2 h5 31.Qe7=]
28.Kh1 Qf2 29.Rf1 Re1 30.Rxe1 Qxe1+ 31.Kh2 Qe4 32.Rd4 Qe7 33.Qd5 h6 34.Qd6 Qf7 [Of course, 34... Qxd6 was easy... but, Denys did not know if he needed a win. ]
35.Rf4 Re8 36.Qd3 Re5 37.c4 Qe6 38.b4 Re4 39.Rxe4 fxe4 40.Qe2 [At some point, White knew he needed a win to draw... Which explains why he didn't play...]
[40.Qd8+ Kh7 41.Qd5=]
40...Qd6+ 41.Kg1 Qd4+ 42.Kf1 e3 43.g3 Qe4 44.Kg1 Qd4 45.Kg2 Qe4+ 46.Kg1 Qd4 47.g4 Qd2 48.Kf1 Qxb4 49.Kg2 Qc3 [White has been fighting to win... to his detriment.]
50.Kf3 Qd4 51.a4 Qa1 52.Qc2 Qf1+ 53.Kxe3 Qxh3+ 54.Kf4 Qf1+ 55.Ke4 Qf7 56.Ke3 Qe6+ 57.Kf4 Qd6+ 58.Kf3 Qc6+ 59.Kg3 Kg8 [Fritz 13 seems to think that Black wins in all variations... of course, a human would just agree to a draw... as Queen endings just boggle the mind. In any case, I think that this game has been a draw since move 35.]
60.Qe2 Kf7 61.Qf2+ Ke7 62.Qe3+ Kd7 63.Qc3 Qd6+ 64.Kh3 Qe7 65.Qd4+ Kc7 66.a5 Qg5 67.Qf2 Kb7 68.axb6 axb6 69.Qf3+ Kb8 70.Qf8+ Kb7 71.Qf7+ Kb8 72.Qe8+ Kb7 73.Qd7+ Kb8 74.Qd6+ Kb7 75.Qd7+ Kb8 ½–½
Boston (2.5 – 1.5)
I must confess; I did leave before the end of this game. But, the outcome was never in doubt from move 40 on… Denys had the advantage and he could not lose.
This finishes our gourmet breakfast tour… Speaking of which… I am getting hungry. It’s quite a lot of work… this typing stuff. Anyway, don’t miss next week’s episode. And please keep an eye out for the site.
Now, what’s on the menu? Some Green eggs and ham… mmmm!
So, I will eat them in a box.
And I will eat them with a fox.
And I will eat them in a house.
And I will eat them with a mouse.
And I will eat them here and there.
Say! I will eat them ANYWHERE!