Sunday, April 27, 2008

Westwood Spring Open

The Westwood Spring Open, held at the Los Angeles Chess Club on April 27, had a good turnout of 45, let by a GM and four IMs. Tying for first with 4-1 were GM Melikset Khachiyan, IM Entrico Sevillano, and IM Tim Taylor. In the Reserve (under 1800) section, Samuel Sevian (age 7!) took clear first with 4.5. Complete standings are posted at

IM Enrico Sevillano (2566) - Indra Lahiri (2116) [C11]
Westwood Spring Open (1), 27.04.2008

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.Nce2 c5 6.c3 Nc6 7.Nf3 Qb6 8.a3 Be7 9.g3 f6 10.exf6 Nxf6 11.Bg2 0-0 12.0-0 Bd7 13.dxc5 Bxc5 14.Ned4 Rad8 15.b4 Nxd4 16.cxd4 Bd6 17.Ne5 Bb5 18.Re1 Ne4 19.Be3 Bxe5 20.dxe5 Qc7 21.Qd4 b6 22.a4 Ba6 23.f3 Nc3 24.Rac1 Rc8 25.b5 Bb7 26.Bd2 time 1-0

IM Tim Taylor (2422) - Ryan Richardson (2096) [E30]
Westwood Spring Open (1), 27.04.2008

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Bg5 b6 5.f3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 d6 7.e4 Nbd7 8.Bd3 0-0 9.Ne2 c5 10.f4 e5 11.fxe5 dxe5 12.d5 Qc7 13.0-0 Qd6 14.Ng3 g6 15.a4 a5 16.Bh6 Rd8 17.Ra2 Ne8 18.Raf2 f6 19.h4 Nf8 20.h5 Ra7 21.Be2 Rf7 22.Bg4 Bxg4 23.Qxg4 Qd7 24.Nf5 Kh8 25.hxg6 hxg6 26.Bxf8 gxf5 27.Rxf5 Ng7 28.Bxg7+ Rxg7 29.Qh4+ Kg8 30.Rh5 Rh7 31.Rxh7 Qxh7 32.Qxh7+ Kxh7 33.Rxf6 Rg8 34.Kf2 Kg7 35.Rxb6 Rf8+ 36.Ke3 Rf1 37.Re6 Ra1 38.Rxe5 Rxa4 39.d6 Rxc4 40.Kd3 Ra4 41.d7 Kf6 42.d8Q+ Kxe5 43.Qe8+ 1-0

Tatev Abrahamyan (2296) - IM Tim Taylor (2422) [B00]Westwood Spring Open (3), 27.04.2008

1.e4 Nc6 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Nf6 4.Nc3 Bg4 5.Be2 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.Qd2 0-0 8.d5 Nb8 9.h3 Bxf3 10.Bxf3 c6 11.0-0-0 Nbd7 12.Bh6 Qa5 13.h4 cxd5 14.exd5 Rac8 15.Bxg7 Kxg7 16.h5 Ne5 17.hxg6 fxg6 18.Be2 Rxc3 19.Qxc3 Qxc3 20.bxc3 Ne4 21.Rd4 Nxc3 22.Bd3 Rxf2 23.Re1 Nxa2+ 24.Kb2 Nb4 0-1

IM Andranik Matikoyan (2512) - GM Melikset Khachiyan (2556) [A07]
Westwood Spring Open (3), 27.04.2008

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3 d5 3.Bg2 g6 4.0-0 Bg7 5.d3 0-0 6.c3 c5 7.Qa4 Nc6 8.Qh4 e5 9.Bg5 Qd6 10.Nbd2 Nh5 11.e4 h6 12.exd5 hxg5 13.Nxg5 Ne7 14.g4 Bxg4 15.Qxg4 Nxd5 16.Nc4 Qd8 17.Ne6 fxe6 18.Qxe6+ Kh7 19.Qxd5 Qg5 20.Kh1 Rad8 21.Qxb7 Rxd3 22.Rae1 Nf4 23.Nxe5 Rb8 24.Nf7 Qg4 25.Ne5 Qg5 26.Nf7 1/2-1/2

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Penalty Shot

I recently ran across this at the blog of the Boylston Chess Club:
"At this point my opponent had 90 seconds left to finish the game, and I had 4 minutes. I claimed a draw before I made my next move, because no pieces or pawns had been exchanged for 50 moves. Dummy that I was, this claim had no validity because pawns had been moved. My opponent, an attorney, tried to counterclaim that I should be forfeited (I’m a chessplayer, not a legalist, and apparently people can be forfeited under USCF rules for making incorrect threefold repetition claims). The TD instead invoked the Continental Chess Association rules, and added two minutes to my opponent’s clock."
Well, the opponent was wrong. I can't say whether the TD was also misinformed, or just chose the simplest way to deal with an argumentative player. The standard penalty for an incorrect claim (and for nearly everything else) is to have two minutes added to your opponent's clock. The TD does have the right to impose harsher "non-standard penalties" in special cases, but this should be reserved for when a player is abusing the system. (One example might be a player making repeated baseless claims just to delay things. If the opponent has plenty of time, the added two minutes doesn't mean much.)

Click here for the rest of the story (and an interesting analysis of a Knight ending).

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The price is right

IM Anthony Saidy of Los Angeles wants to give away chess books in Dutch, German and Czech to anyone who can read them. E-mail him at to arrange pickup after May 4, or else arrange to meet him at National Open in Las Vegas in June.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Hoffman-Petroff, Warsaw 1844

Alexander Petroff is the first Russian player of master strength of whom we have record. Among other accomplishments, he wrote the first Russian book on chess, in which he discussed the games of Philidor, and made the then-novel observation that the advantage of the first move should be more easily exploited in symmetrical positions. It is difficult to judge his strength, for he never encountered the best of his contemporaries. In this game, Black refutes a premature foraging expedition by the White minor pieces with an amazing sacrifice.

Hoffman – Petroff
Warsaw, 1844


1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d4 exd4 6. e5

A move now known to be premature, but the correct answer is 6. ... d5, combining development with counterattack.
6. ... Ne4 7. Bd5 Nxf2
Sacrificing a piece for three pawns and a dislocated White King. It should not be quite sufficient.
8. Kxf2 dxc3+ 9. Kg3 cxb2 10. Bxb2 Ne7 11. Ng5?
White has a number of good moves, including 11. Be4 and 11. h3. He now hopes for something like 11. ... 0-0 12. Qh5 h6 13. Nxf7, relying on the tactical point 11. ... Nxd5 12. Nxf7 Kxf7? 13. Qxd5+. But an important principle of these open games is that the player will have the advantage who first brings his Rooks into play ...
11. ... Nxd5 12. Nxf7


12. ... 0-0!
Legal, startling and very strong. The sacrifice must be accepted, for if 13. Qxd5 Rxf7 14. Qxc5? Qg5+ 15. Kh3 d6+ wins and 14. h3 Qg5+ 15. Kh2 Qf4+ leaves Black well on top.
13. Nxd8 Bf2+ 14. Kh3
No better is 14. Kg4—14. ... Rf4+ 15. Kg5 h6+ 16. Kh5 Rh4+ 17. Kg6 Ne7 mate.
14. ... d6+ 15. e6 Nf4+ 16. Kg4 Nxe6
A Queen behind, Black can afford the time to set up the discovered check. Now Black threatens 17. ... Rf4+ 18. Kh5 Rh4 mate, and 17. Bc1 fails to 17. ... Nxd8+ 18. Kh5 (18. Kg5 Rf5+ 19. Kg4 h5+ 20. Kh3 Rf3 mate) 18. ... g6+ 19. Kg5 Rf5+ 20. Kh6 (20. Kg4 h5+ is the same as the last note) 20. ... Nf7 mate.
17. Nxe6
A little trickier is 17. g3, but Black has a mating pattern similar to the last note—17. ... Nxd8+ 18. Kg5 (or 18. Kh4 Rf4+ 19. Kh5 g6+) 18. ... Rf5+ 19. Kg4 Rf6+ 20. Kh4 (20. Kg5 Be3+ 21. Kh4 Rh6+ 22. Qh5 g5 mate) 20. ... Rf4+ 21. Kg5 Ne6+ 22. Kh5 g6+ 23. Kh6 Rh4 mate.
17. ... Bxe6+ 18. Kg5 Rf5+ 19. Kg4 h5+ 20. Kh3 Rf3 mate