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BEST GAME & BEST TACTIC OF THE GCSC

by Jeff Caveney
 

The best game I saw at the Greater Chicago Scholastic Championships was Arjun Nandy's attacking win vs. Rohan Mhaskar on Board 2 in the 4th round of the K-8 Varsity section. Arjun's game was an excellent example of how to conduct a kingside attack against the popular Dragon variation of the Sicilian Defense. Rohan put up very tough resistance, and almost escaped with his king right into the center of the board on e5 and d5. To win the game, Arjun had to find a difficult combination where two precise checks set up a pin that made a knight fork of the king and queen work.

 

White: Arjun Nandy (1600)

Black: Rohan Mhaskar (1702)

Greater Chicago Scholastic Championships

K-8 Varsity section

Round 4, Board 2

February 27, 2010

  

1.e4 c5

2.Nf3 d6

3.d4 cxd4

4.Nxd4 Nf6

5.Nc3 g6

6.Be3 Bg7

7.f3 O-O

8.Qd2 Nc6

9.Bc4

  

If White castled queenside right away, Black could play the center pawn break d6-d5. White plays Bc4 first to stop d6-d5. This is called the Yugoslav Attack. White attacks on the kingside and Black attacks on the queenside. Chess masters like to play both sides of this position, but in my opinion for amateur and scholastic players it is easier to play for White than for Black. White just pushes his pawns in a "pawn storm" on the kingside, while Black has to combine piece and pawn moves in a more complicated way on the queenside.

9 ... Bd7

10.O-O-O Rc8

11.Bb3 Ne5

12.h4 h5

13.Bh6

  

The Black king's best defender is the bishop on g7, so White trades it off.

13 ... Nc4

14.Bxc4 Rxc4

15.Bxg7 Kxg7

16.Nd5

  

White trades off another Black defender, the knight on f6.

16 ... Nxd5

17.exd5 Qc7

18.g4 Rc8

19.Kb1 Rh8

20.Rdg1 Qb6

21.c3 a5

  

Notice how Black's pawns are much slower than White's pawns, and Black's queen is blocking his own b-pawn from pushing forward.

22.gxh5 Rxh5

23.Rg5!

 

The Black rook on h5 is the last defender of the Black king, so once again White trades the defender off.

23 ... Rxg5

24.hxg5

  

The point of the pawn storm is to open files in front of the king, and now White has an open h-file to attack on. He threatens Qh2 with a devastating queen and rook invasion against the Black king.

24...f6

  

Black recognizes the danger, and after a long think he prepares an escape route for his king.

25.gxf6+ Kxf6

26.Kc1

  

White probably didn't need this safety move with his king before playing Qf4+.

26 ... Qc5

27.Qf4+ Bf5

28.Qh4+ Ke5

29.Qxe7+ Kxd5

  

Black has done an excellent job of running away with his king, and there is no guarantee that White will be able to catch him. But now White finds an excellent and very accurate combination of checks to win the game:

30.Qf7+!

  

When I was watching the game, I was expecting 30.Qxb7+. But Arjun Nandy looked deeper and moved his queen to f7 to check for a very good reason, as we will see two moves later!

30 ... Ke5

31.Re1+ Kf4

32.Ne6+!

  

The point! The queen checked on f7 so that now the bishop on f5 is pinned! So the bishop can't take the knight on e6, which wins the Black queen with this fork.

32 ... Kxf3

33.Nxc5 Rxc5

  

And after winning the queen, White went on to win the game.

 

The most amazing tactic I saw in the tournament was by Ryan Toepfer vs. Derek Mizushima on Board 2 in the last round of the K-6 Varsity section. Derek played very well and was up a rook, but Ryan saw a beautiful hidden tactic to win the queen, and went on to win the game.

  

Ryan as Black had a rook on e8, protected by his king on f8, and it was pinning the White queen on e6 with the White king on e2. But Derek as White had just played one of his rooks down to d8, counter-pinning the Black rook on e8. Derek's other rook on d1 protected his rook on d8. But now Ryan's amazing tactic was his queen on b4 moved ...Qxc4+!! Since the white queen on e6 is still pinned, it can't take the Black queen on c4. White has to get out of check, and next move Black will play Queen takes Queen on e6, winning the white queen. Ryan did this and went on to checkmate and win several moves later.

  

There are many examples of this tactical pattern from real games in chess puzzle books, which means that many chess masters don't see it coming either. This game was a good experience for both Ryan and Derek, who I am sure will both use this tactic to win a lot of games in the future.

  

Ryan deserves a lot of credit for finding this beautiful tactic, but the first thing Ryan said to Derek after the game was, "I was very lucky, you were winning." This is excellent sportsmanship: After winning, Ryan gave his opponent credit for playing well and having a winning position most of the game. Derek also exhibited good sportsmanship in defeat, not complaining or getting angry or upset, even though it is always painful to lose a tough game when you were winning. It was so pleasant to see both players' good sportsmanship, instead of the opposite situation where the player who lost tells the winner, "You were very lucky," which is bad sportsmanship. As a tournament director and teacher, I am always happy to see players being good sports whether they win or lose.


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