Allowing Extreme Counterplay- Mirroring Morozevich's 'madness'

CM juniortay
Dec 8, 2014, 8:31 AM |

At the recently concluded Toa Payoh West CC Rapid Open, a dominant FM Jarred Neubronner cleaned out the field with a  perfect 7/7 score, claiming the $300 first prize with consumate ease. When I reached the venue, it was already Round 6 and the match on the top board between Jarred and Kenneth Tan had reached the late middlegame. However, to my surprise, Jarred played an arcane continuation which allowed Kenneth extreme counterplay by posting both of his rooks on Jarred's 2nd rank! I was momentarily filled with a sense of déjà vu  as I allowed Kenneth to do likewise in my 1995 National Championships game with him. Both games went the same way, White got the advantage out of the Caro Kann opening, won material and decided to allow the Black rooks to invade the 2nd rank and  at the critical juncture, Kenneth faltered and the game was over.

Here's the Jarred vs Kenneth game.

And here's the parallel game played 19 years ago(!)

In chess, of course, it is not easy to deny counterplay to an opponent of comparable strength but allowing doubled rooks on the 2nd or 7th rank with a board full of pieces is quite extreme, isn't it? However, I do recall that the mercurial super GM Alexander Morozevich letting such a situation occur. In fact, he deliberately invited GM Kiril Georgiev's rooks onto his 2nd rank, leaving the latter's own back rank exposed! Unlike amateurs like Jarred and your scribe, Morozevich's feat in luring the doubled rooks down did not allow Georgiev any saving continuations. Watch but do not try this at home!