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MACA Chess Horizons Magazine Article
 Cambridge Springers First At U.S. Amateur Team East
 NM Greg Kaden
  April 2010

[ Download game file here: RAR  ZIP ]

The 40th Annual “World” Amateur Team Championship attracted 271 teams and 1131 players to lovely Parsippany, New Jersey on February 13-15, 2010. For many players, the event was more than just an chance to play in one of the most enjoyable chess tournaments of the year. It was an opportunity test the devotion of their spouses and significant others by choosing a three-day-weekend of chess over romantic Valentine’s Day activities.

After six competitive, and decidedly un-romantic, rounds, the second-seeded “Cambridge Springers” (FM Bill Kelleher, IM Joe Fang, expert Len Morrissey and A-player Anatoly Levin and WIM Vesna Dimitrijevic as alternate ) claimed first place on tiebreaks and a year of bragging rights, with a score of 5 1/2 - 1/2. Two New York-based teams, “Hunter High School” and the tastefully-named “Our Weiner Is Looking To Mate”, fell short on tiebreaks and settled for second and third place, respectively. 

The local chess scene was wellrepresented in Parsippany. While only 48 players identified Massachusetts as their current state of residence (at least for purposes of receiving their Chess Life magazine), there were many other familiar faces in attendance, including numerous Bostonarea college students and out-ofstaters who have made recent appearances at area events. 

Several of the top teams also had a local flavor. Apart from the tournament champs, three teams with strong Massachusetts ties finished with solid 5-1 scores: “The Shmelov Money” (SM Denys Shmelov, FM Charles Riordan, expert Derek Slater and newlyminted Class A player Matt Phelps); “Lordy, Lordy, I Can’t Believe She’s Forty” (FM Paul MacIntyre and experts Evan Rabin, David Plotkin and Nick Panico); and “The Jackson Four: Long Live The King” (NM Lawyer Times, NM Carey Theil, NM Greg Kaden and expert Charlie Mays). 

After tiebreaks, The Jackson Four was awarded the prize for the highest scoring Massachusetts team. 

White: Greg Kaden
Black: David Kaufman
[C11] French Defense
Annotated by Greg Kaden

1. e4 e6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Nf3

The Two Knights is hardly the most challenging line against the French, but it can give White active piece play and interesting tactical opportunities.  

3... Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. d4 c5 6. dxc5 Bxc5 7. Bd3 Nc6 8. Bf4 f6

8... O-O invites the classic "Greek gift" sacrifice 9. Bxh7+, which leads to mate after 9... Kxh7 10. Ng5+ Kh8?? 11. Qh5. Although Black can stay in the game after 10... Kg6, 11. Qd3+ f5 12. Qg3 Ndxe5 13. Nxe6+ Ng4 14. Nxd8 Bxf2+ 15. Qxf2 Nxf2 16. Nxc6 Nxh1 17. Ne5+ Kh7 18. Nxd5 leaves White with a clear edge.

9. exf6 Nxf6 10.Qe2 O-O 11. O-OO Bd6?!

Black should not be in such a rush to exchange his good bishop. More common (and more sensible) is 11... Qa5, as in Kosteniuk-Giddins, Port Erin 1999, which continued 12. Kb1 Nb4 13. Be5 Bd7 with mutual chances.

12. Bxd6 Qxd6 13. Rhe1 Bd7 14. Kb1?

Inaccurate. Better is 14. h3, which preserves the option of 15.Ne5.


Black prepares ...e5. If that move can be played safely, White will need to fight for equality. 15. Ne5 now loses the f-pawn without compensation after 15...Nxe5 16.Qxe5 Qxe5 7.Rxe5 Ng4.

15. h3 e5

Now that Black has achieved ...e5, White must limit its impact by tactical means.

16. Qf1

White would like to play 16. Bc4 immediately, but 16... Nd4! wins material.

16... a6?

Ignoring White's primary threat in order to prevent the irrelevant 17. N b 5 . Better is 16...Kh8, which limits the effectiveness of White's next move, or 16...Qc5, which stops it entirely.

17. Bc4! Be6 18. Ng5 Nd4 19. f4! dxc4 20. fxe5 Qc5?

20... Qc6 is a better try.

23. Qg1 Rf2
The superficially appealing 23... Ne6 loses to 24. Ne4 Qxg1 25. Nxf6+ followed by 26.Rxg1

24. Ne4 Qb6 25. Nxf2 Nxc2

Hoping for 26. Kxc2 Rxf2+ 27. Rd2 Rxd2+ 28. Kxd2 Qxb2+ 29. Ke3 Qxa2, when Black has three connected passed pawns for the rook and can dream of a perpetual check. However...

26. Ne4 1-0

White: Joe Fang
Black: Scott Massey
[B39] Sicilian Defense
Annotated by Joe Fang

After 5 rounds we had won 4 matches and drawn one, and for the final round board one pairing we were facing Kenilworth A, the only team with a perfect 5-0. Both teams featured AARP eligible lineups, the exception being our 37 year old Board 3 baby Len Morrissey. Our matches had seemed somewhat smooth (we had gotten at least 3/4 in our four won matches and had lost only 1 game for the tournament). After 5 rounds Board 1 Bill Kelleher was at +1 facing strong opposition. Board 4 Anatoly Levin was also at +1, employing his strange repertoire of 1.b4, and as Black, weird gambits in the Philidor Defense. Our secret weapon was Len at +4, who was recapturing the glory days of his competing in Canadian Junior championships. His victories had appeared remarkably free of tactical complications, balancing out the stress some of his teammates might have had in reaction to the Board 4 shenanigans. I had somewhat mixed feelings about my own +4 score. These days I try to play "correct" chess, but all of my games seemed to follow the up and down waves of a sine curve. The one game I drew started out with a shaky opening, a temporary bishop sac which turned the tide, turning down the win of an exchange with a completely won game in order to maintain my "attack", after the attack fizzled out simplifying to a slightly better bishop vs knight ending, nearly losing on time while trying to find a win in what had become a drawish position, then finally conceding the draw after we had already won the match. Basically my semi-retirement has left my calculating muscles atrophied, so I was constantly re-checking variations throughout the games, with lots of holes and time pressure in the end. My 4th round game during our one drawn match was a bit unusual in that I ended up w a y ahead on the clock in a position where I had played a speculative pawn sac in the opening. In fact it was something I had played before with a nice 25 move win, so I had simply repeated it with only happy thoughts. Unfortunately, my opponent had done his due diligence and gotten a fantastic position, consolidating his extra pawn. Strangely, this allowed me to serenely continue va banque, while my opponent chewed up the clock in what he knew was a favorable position. The attack carried the day and it felt like old times when I played things like the KID 4 Pawns Attack. So during this game when the opportunity arose to transform a typical positional space advantage into a sacrificial attack, it felt right.

1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 g6 3. d4

If White wishes to establish the Maroczy bind then 3. Nc3 is a mistake as after 3... Bg7 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nc6 White must make concessions.

3... cxd4 4. Nxd4 Bg7

This move does not allow Black to employ the variation 4... Nc6 5. e4 Nf6 6. Nc3 d6 7. Be2 Nxd4 8. Qxd4 Bg7 where Black's early exchange on d4 gains time by exposing White's queen. In order to combat the Bind and alleviate the cramping, Black usually trades a pair of minor pieces.

5. e4 Nc6 6. Be3 Nf6 7. Nc3 Ng4

An unusual way to achieve the usual trade of knights. Another system is 7... d6 8. Be2 O-O 9. O-O Bd7 10. Qd2 (10. Nc2!? ) 10... Nxd4 11. Bxd4 Bc6 12. f3 a5 followed by ...Nd7-c5

8. Qxg4 Nxd4 9. Qd1 Ne6 10. Rc1 b6

10... Qa5 is a positionally risky alternative, with the idea of ...g5 attempting to further Black's dark square control, but Black's queen can come under fire after. 11. Bd3 b6 12. O-O g5 (12... Bb7 13. f4) 13. Bd2!

11. Bd3 O-O 12. O-O d6 13.Qd2 Nc5 14. Bb1 Bb7 15. b4!?

More solid would be 15. f3, but White put his bishop on b1 to follow up with the more aggressive f4. Although the knight on c5 is forced to retreat, Black obtains counterplay against c4, e.g., Nd7-e5. This is a recurring Hedgehog theme, as excellently elucidated in Sergey Shipov's massive 532 page tome "The Complete Hedgehog" Volume 1(!).

15... Nd7

15... Bxc3 16. Qxc3 Nxe4 17. Bxe4 Bxe4 18. Bh6

16. Rfd1

White is mixing in positional niceties but 16. f4 to prevent ...Ne5 looks more logical when the rook might be more effective on f1.

16... Rc8 17. Nd5 Ba6

1/2? In response to 17... Ne5!? I had intended the regrouping 18. Bg5 Re8 (18... f6 19. Bh4 Nxc4 20. Qd4 Ne5 21. Rxc8 Bxc8 22. Rc1 with compensation) 19. Ne3 and though I think Black is fine, the position promises plenty of play.

18. Bg5

After long consideration. I was not mulling over the draw offer, which seemed to coincide with similar offers from several of my opponent's teammates. I was looking at 18. c5 and 18. b5 without finding anything promising. At this point my match assessment was that of the four boards my position was the most favorable, so I felt it necessary to press my advantage with the pawn sac.

18... f6

If 18...Re8 19. Ne3 as in the previous note. The game move was played rather quickly. Black may win the c4 pawn but White has plenty of compensation in the weakened e6 square for the knight and the b1-g8 diagonal to Black's king.

19. Bh4 Rxc4?!

Better is 19... Bxc4 20. Bd3 b5 (20... Bxd3 21. Rxc8 +-) 21. Bxc4 bxc4 22. b5 and the position remains double edged, e.g., 22... Ne5 23. f4 Nd3 24. Rxc4 Rxc4 25. Qxd3 Rc8 26. f5 with compensation.

20. Nf4
Another strong idea is to get control of the c-file: 20. Bd3 Rxc1

21. Rxc1 Bxd3 22. Qxd3 and there are too many threats like Rc7, Rc8, Qh3-e6, and Qa6.


Black tries to meet the twin threats of Ne6 and Qd5+ by protecting the c4 rook and getting away from the fork. Black can try 20... Qa8 but after 21. Nd5 threatening c7 and e7, Black has nothing better than 21... Qd8 when 22. Bd3 Rxc1 23. Rxc1 Bxd3 24. Qxd3 transposes to the note to White's 20th move.

21. a4 Kh8 22. Ne6 Re8 23. Ba2 b5

23... Rxc1 24. Rxc1 Qb8 25. Nc7 +-

24. Bxc4 bxc4 25. b5 Bb7 26. Qd4 Ne5 27. Nxg7 Kxg7 28. f4 Nf7 29. Qxc4

I was getting annoyed with the undefended rook on d1 in variations like 29. Rxc4 Qg4 30. Bg3 Bxe4 though White is still winning. I thought the text would be simpler.

29...Qg4 30. Bg3 h5

Suddenly it seemed like the f4 pawn was dropping due to the threat of 31...h4. The Black knight might then become a monster on e5 and ...h3 would be in the offing. Add in the approaching time pressure in a position which has seemed so totally winning for the last ten moves, not to mention the match situation (we were down a point at this time), I was relieved to finally hit upon the cute queen trap which relieves Black's pressure.

31. Qf1 h4 31...

Bxe4 is probably better but the position simplifies after. 32. Qe1 d5 33. h3 Qe6 34. Qe3

32. h3! Qh5

32... Qxg3 33. Rd3 +-

33. Bf2 Bxe4 34. Re1 Ba8 35. Rc7 g5 36. Rexe7 Rxe7 37. Rxe7 gxf4

38. Qc4

With accurate defense White can probably take on a7, but with only a few minutes on the clock the chance to simplify was irresistible. 

1/2? If Black tries to defend the h4 pawn with 41... Kg6 42. Bf2 Kg5 White's king takes care of business on the other side. 43. a5 Be4 (43... f3 44. a6 +-) 44. b6 Bb7 45. Kf1 Kh5 46. Ke2 Kg5 (46... Bxg2 47. a6) 47. Kd2.

42. Bf2 f3 43. gxf3 Bxf3 44. Bxh4 Ke6 45. b6 f5 46. Kf2 Bc6 47. a5 Bb7 48. Ke3 Kd7 49. Bf2 Ke6 50. Kd4 f4 51. h4 Kf5 52. Kc4 Ba6+ 53. Kd5 1-0

This game evened the match at 1.5- 1.5. All eyes turned to what had now become the decisive Board 1 Stoyko-Kelleher matchup. At some point during the first time control Stoyko's cell phone went off, resulting in a ten minute major. Another ring would be a game misconduct, but he made the wise decision of handing over the offending device to director Steve Immitt for safe-keeping until after the game.

Bill's control of the open a-file in a Meran Defense had resulted in a slight endgame advantage where each side had a rook, 2 knights, and 6 pawns. Suddenly White sacrificed a knight for two passed pawns, and now three results seemed possible. In one of the last games of the tournament which went deep into the 6th hour, Bill pulled out the clutch victory to win the match. We then headed over to Arthur's for our traditional post-tournament steaks, joined by super fan Maria Morrissey, photographer Julia Levin, and alternate WIM Vesna Dimitrijevic.

Although Vesna was not called upon to compete, I have learned from her that emergency standby equipment is important in team chess and power plants. Also joining us was opera star bassist FM Nathan Resika and GM driver Dave Vigorito. When the call came to us delivering the good tie-break news, we conveniently had our Octoberfest sized mugs in hand for the toasts.

Tie-breaks also broke in my favor for an unexpected board prize, as there were no 6-0 Board 2's. Weary but happy, the next morning we dispersed to head back home through a snow storm. Final props to IM/GM Vigorito who averted disaster less than 1 mile from home when the car right in front of us started gyrating wildly before sliding off the road into a tree (they were okay). Our subsequent spin out ended safely in a side road.