The Open section of the
May Knights Quest came to an exciting conclusion
with the game between Kent Cen and Jordan Cohen
on Board 1 in the final round. Both players went
all-out to attack the opposing king -- in fact,
both players sacrificed their queens during
their attacks! Play out the game below and enjoy:
Kent Cen (1940)
Black: Jordan Cohen
This is a good answer to
the 2.c3 line against the Sicilian.
I prefer 7...Nbd7 here.
Black will castle next, then move the knight
on d7, then win back the pawn on d5 with a
Now Black's bishop on d7
and knight on b8 are misplaced, and it is
more difficult to win back the pawn on d5.
I would have just
exchanged queens, and Black has a difficult
position. But as spectators we can all be
grateful the queen exchange did not happen,
which made possible the exciting attacking
game that follows.
The chance to attack the
e7 pawn and the king behind it on f8 tempt
the white queen to step away from the queen
The queen comes back to
give extra protection to the bishop on c4
It looks like there
should be some way for White to punish Black
for his queen's pawn grab in the middle of
the board surrounded by white pieces, but
Black's attacks on the bishops on f4 and c4
seem to save him. For example 17.Qxb4 Qxf4
18.Nxg6+ hxg6 and after White captures on e7
the black king just steps away back to g8,
or 17.Qxb4 Qxf4 18.Qxe7+ Kxe7 19.Nxg6+ Kd7
20.Nxf4 and the hanging bishop on c4 comes
back to haunt White after 20...Rxc4.
If Black tried 19...Nh5
with the idea 20.Nxg6+ Qxg6 21.Qxb4
(unclear), White had the answer 20.Nxf7!
with an unusual double attack on the queen,
followed by 21.Nxd8 winning material.
Black doesn't want a
draw by repetition of moves. But this daring
refusal to draw is also very risky. Again,
as spectators we can be thankful for it!
By avoiding the
repetitions the black queen has gotten the
knight on b4 caught in a nasty pin.
Black sacrifices his
queen for just one bishop! But he has some
attacking chances that are tricky for White
to deal with, and both players were running
very low on time by this point in the game.
The players had to stop writing down their
moves, but thanks to the DGT electronic
display board Renaissance Knights used on
Board 1, we were able to record all the rest
of the moves too.
31...Rd5 is a beautiful
and powerful attacking move! The rook moves
up on the open d-file with the idea of next
moving over to the h-file to attack the
exposed white king. This "up and over" move
by a rook on an open file is an important
attacking strategy to remember.
Now Black has a bishop
and knight for the queen, and his attack is
still going strong.
Setting up the
counter-attacking threat of Re8 checkmate!
In time trouble Black
doesn't find a way to deal with the
counter-attacking threat. After the game
Master Ken Wallach, whose two young sons
played in the Knights Quest tournament,
pointed out Black's winning move 36...Be3+!
After 37.Rxe3 Nxe3 Black is attacking
White's queen and the attack on the white
king is still going. I tried to find some
more counter-attacking tricks for White, but
Wallach showed Black can at least get to a
winning endgame: 38.Re1 (still trying for
Re8 checkmate!) Rxc3! (with no bishop on c3,
there's no checkmate!) 39.Qxc3 Rxg2+ 40.Kh1
Rc2+ 41.Kg1 Rxc3 42.bxc3 and the knight,
bishop and many pawns will easily beat the
conclusion for Black, but in an exciting
back-and-forth game that ends decisively,
there's always one player who's disappointed
with the result. We should all thank both
players for giving us such an enjoyable game
to watch, analyze, and play over!