Malis, who is a regular and long-time Quest player and
Jeff Caveney's [RKnights teacher] student, swept the
under-1000 section with a perfect 5-0
score.Michael's key game was his win in Round 4 over
a very strong unrated opponent, who later learned he
had a 1652 provisional rating from a previous
tournament! The game itself was hard fought,
exciting, and went back and forth. Here is the story
of how Michael pulled off the 680 point upset:
Michael Malis (972)
Leodegario San Miguel (1652)
Open, Round 4
Annotations by Jeff Caveney, Expert, RKnights
teacher and Michael Malis' coach
1. e4 c5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Nc3 a6
4. a4 e6
5. Bc4 g6
6. d3 Bg7
7. Be3 b6
8. O-O Nge7
time to avoid the threat of 9...d5 10. exd5 exd5 11.
Bb3 d4 winning a piece!
9 ... cxd4
10. Nxd4 O-O
11. Nxc6 Nxc6
12. Qd2 Qc7
13. Rfd1 Rd8
in this opening, the Sicilian Defense (1. e4 c5),
White's winning chances are better in the middlegame
and Black's are better in the endgame, so this queen
exchange helps Black.
14 ... Be5
15. Qxc7 Bxc7
16. Bh6 Ne5
17. Be2 d6
18. f4 Nc6
19. Bf3 Bb7
20. f5 Ne5
21. fxe6 Nxf3+
powerful knight, blockading White's pawn and never
attackable by any White pawn, was much stronger than
White's bad bishop stuck behind his own pawn. So
this exchange helps White.
22. gxf3 fxe6
23. e5 d5
move blocks the long diagonal of the Black bishop on
b7 with his own pawn.
24. f4 Rd7
25. b4 Rc8
26. Ra3 Bd8
not the best move, since it doesn't deal with
Black's threats on the c-file, which are a
good example of how the endgame is usually better
for Black in the Sicilian Defense. Fortunately for
White, he got another chance to play the right idea
3 moves later...
27 ... Bxg5
28. fxg5 Rf7
misses his chance. His advantage in this position is
not on the open f-file but on the half-open c-file.
28...d4! was a powerful move, not only winning the
c2 pawn and getting his rook on the 7th rank, but
also opening the long diagonal for his bishop again.
After 28...d4 29. Ne2 Rxc2, 30. Nxd4 allows
30...Rg2+ showing the power of the rook and bishop
working together. Then after 31. Kf1 Rf7+ 32. Ke1
Rff2 Black has a dominating position because every
Black piece is stronger and more active than every
29. b5 a5
excellent move! White sacrifices the c2 pawn to move
his knight to the powerful square d4, to blockade
the d5 pawn and keep the Black bishop stuck behind
30 ... Rxc2
roles are reversed from the position before move 21:
White has the strong knight and Black has the bad
bishop. Black wishes his own d5 pawn could
disappear, opening the long diagonal for his bishop.
31 ... Rcf2
32. Rg3 Ra2
33. Nxe6 Rff2
would have liked to seize the opportunity to play
33...d4 now to open the long diagonal for his
bishop, but then White would have played 34.Nd8!
attacking the rook on f7 and the bishop on b7.
Aggressive play, preparing to push the passed
34 ... Ba8
looks like a better try, so the bishop can help stop
the passed e-pawn.
35. e6 Kf8
should have put his rook behind the passed pawn to
stop it with 35...Rfe2. Then the game might have
ended as a draw by repetition after 36. Kf1 Rf2+ 37.
puts his own rook behind his passed pawn to support
its push to the queening square.
36 ... Ke7
Black needed to put his rook on the e-file with
37. Nc6+ Bxc6
38. bxc6 Rxh2
39. c7 Rhc2
c-pawn stopped by Black's rook, White switches his
attack to the h-file. If Black tries 40...Rg2+ now,
White plays 41.Kh1 and his king is safe from checks.
40 ... Rxc7
41. Rxh7+ Kd6
42. Rxc7 Kxc7
is unstoppable and White will get a queen for
not only an exciting game, it also teaches an
The active, well-placed pieces you have are
usually more important than the number of pawns