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MACA Chess Horizons Magazine Article
 85th Mass Open: Journeys to the Championship
 IM Dave Vigorito
  August 2016

 The title of 85th Mass Open Champion was shared by three prolific local masters. The most decorated of the winners, covers crucial games from all three.  

This year’s state championship was an unusual one. GM Alexander Ivanov had won the tournament countless times, and entered as the clear favorite. Not only was Ivanov upended by another Alex (Cherniack), but we went on to lose two more games. It can happen to anyone, I suppose, even the greats.

After two rounds there were only three perfect scores: myself, Cherniack, and Chris Chase. So I faced Chase while Cherniack was paired with second seed and 2014 champion, Mika Brattain.

IM David Vigorito (2433)
FM Christopher Chase (2397)
85th Massachusetts Open (3)
King’s Indian Defence, Fianchetto [E63]
1. Nf3 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. c4 d6
I’d played Chris a million times. Today, I decided to do something different.
4. g3 Nf6 5. Bg2 O-O 6. Nc3 Nc6 7. O-O a6 
Now we are in a main line King's Indian. I covered this line in my 2011 book, Attacking Chess: The King's Indian, Volume II, but there I advocated for Black! This was the first time I had the position with White.
8. Bf4!?
A trendy line that was in its infancy when I wrote my book. I had seen a bit of it while writing my King's Indian column for, so I thought I'd give it a try.
8... Bd7!?
More common is 8... Rb8 9. Rc1 Bd7, while 8... h6 is also possible. Black played in a similar fashion in the game Carlsen - Nakamura, St. Louis 2014.
9. Rc1 Re8
I spent a lot of time here, anticipating my opponent's reply.
10. Qd2 e5
10... Rb8 11. d5 Na5 12. b3 c5 13. e4 b5 14. e5 dxe5 15. Nxe5± was very good for White because of the dominating center, seen in Hammer-Sigfusson, Reykjavik 2015.
11. dxe5 dxe5 12. Bh6
This was my idea, but it is not even best. Better was 12. Bg5 Be6 13. Rfd1!?²
12... Bh8?!
I had spent all my time on the nonsensical line 12... e4 13. Bxg7 (13. Ne1 Bxh6 14. Qxh6 Ng4!) 13... Kxg7 14. Ng5 e3? (14... Bf5) 15. fxe3±, where the pressure against f7 makes it impossible for Black to regain his pawn, and White retains the initiative. Perhaps Black's best was 12... Bxh6 13. Qxh6 Ng4, for which I intended 14. Qg5, but 14... e4 (14... f6 15. Qd2²) 15. Qxd8 Raxd8 followed by ... f5 is equal.
13. Rfd1 Be6 14. Bg5!
I finally put the bishop where it belongs. White does not have too much, but Black has to make difficult decisions on every move, and that took its toll on the clock.
14... Qc8
The tactical point is 14... Bxc4?? 15. Qxd8 Raxd8 16. Rxd8 Rxd8 (16... Nxd8 17. Bxf6 Bxf6 18. Ne4+-) 17. Bxf6 Bxf6 18. Ne4±) 14... Qxd2 15. Nxd2², contemplating Bxc6, gives White an edge as well.
15. Bxf6!?
White has a small edge everywhere, but it's not easy to find a concrete plan. Black's moves are harder, though. Something like 15. b3 Rd8 16. Qe1² was possible as well.
15... Bxf6 16. Ng5
This was the idea. Again, it's hard for Black to decide which slightly worse position to go into.
16... Nd4 17. Nxe6
I took a while on this. My idea was to go into a position with my knight against Black's darksquared bishop. I thought I could push a little with no risk.
17... Nxe6 18. Qd7
The computer suggests 18. c5!?²
18... c6
I expected this, but it was more accurate to play 18... Bg5! 19. e3 c6=. The difference is that Bh3 can be met with ... f5!
19. Qxc8 Raxc8 20. Bh3
Now I can take the knight. It's not much, but it's risk-free for White. If 20. Ne4, 20... Be7 21. Bh3 f5=.
20... Rc7 21. Ne4 Kg7 22. Bxe6 Rxe6 23. c5!²
I briefly thought about 23. Nxf6 Rxf6 24. Rd8 with the idea of Rcd1. White dominates the d-file and is 'better', but there is no way to increase the pressure, so it should just be a draw.
23... Be7 24. b4 f5 25. Nd2 Bg5
It was probably better to just play 25... e4 as the bishop is best placed on e7 where it covers d6.
26. e3
White is marginally better as he has the d-file and the knight is more useful than the bishop. The slow pressure now pays of1f, as Black is low on time and tired of defending passively.
26... f4?
This 'active' move is strategic suicide. Better is 26... e4 27. Nc4²
27. Ne4.
Now the knight rules.
27... Be7 28. Kg2 g5 29. g4 h6?!
Black sets out on a plan to fight for the d-file, but it goes awry. In principle, Black should not put any more pawns on dark squares.

30. Rd3 Bf8 31. Rcd1 Ree7 32. Nd6
The e4-square was great, but f5 is even better.
32... Kf6 33. Nf5 Rf7??
A slip in time pressure. It was necessary to play 33... Re8 or 33... Rh7.
34. Rd6+
34... Bxd6 35. Rxd6#.
FM Mika Brattain (2453)
NM Alex Cherniack (2314)
85th Massachusetts Open (3)
King’s Indian Attack [A07]
Commentary in italics by FM Brattain 
This was a crucial game because I was a half point behind the tournament leaders and needed a win to get back in contention. My oppenent had just beaten Ivanov, the tournament's perennial favorite.
1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 g6
This is a common move at 2700+ level.
3. c4 d4!?
There is also 3... dxc4 4. Qa4+ Nc6 5. Bg2 Bg7 6. Nc3 e5 7. Qxc4 Nge7 8. O-O O-O 9. d3 h6, as played in Carlsen-Anand, Chennai m/3 2013.
4. b4!?
4... f6?!
This is very strange. There is a line 1. Nf3 d5 2. c4 d4 3. b4 f6!, but this is not the same thing. 4... Bg7 is the normal move.
5. Bg2 e5 6. O-O Be6 7. d3 Nd7
The position is vaguely normal, but ... g6 looks completely out of place.
8. a3
8. e3 dxe3 9. Bxe3 Nh6∞ 8. Nbd2!? Bxb4 (8... a5) 9. Rb1 Bxd2 (9... a5 10. a3) 10. Nxd2!±)
8... a5 9. bxa5!?
9. b5 Nc5
9... Nc5
Although it seems like there is no hurry to take back the pawn, the game shows that perhaps Black should just play 9... Rxa5.
10. Bd2!?
10. Nfd2! may be stronger, offering White good play on the queenside: 10... Rxa5 11. Nb3 Nxb3 12. Qxb3 b6 (12... b5!? 13. Nd2) 13. Bd2 Ra7 14. a4.
10... Ne7 11. Bb4
I like the look of this idea.
11... Nc6 12. Nfd2 Nxa5 13. Bxc5 Bxc5 14. Nb3
14... Qd6?!
Black has to get developed. 14... Nxb3 15. Qxb3 O-O! 16. Qxb7 Rb8° and Black is active and has the bishop pair.
15. N1d2!
Threatening Ne4.
15... f5 16. Nxc5 Qxc5 17. Qa4+!?
17. Nb3 Nxb3 18. Qxb3 also looks good.
17... Kf7 18. Qb4! Qa7?
18... Qe7! is a better defensive try.
19. Nf3
Now Black is in trouble.
19... c5 20. Qd2! Qb8
If 20... Nb3, 21. Nxe5+ Kf6 22. Qf4! Nxa1 23. Ng4+ Ke7 24. Qc7+ +- wins. The sad 20... Kg7, just dropping the e-pawn, looks like the best chance: 21. Nxe5 (21. Qg5!?±) 21... Qb8 (21... Nb3? 22. Qg5) 22. Qf4±.
21. Ng5+

Material is even, but White's powerful bishop and Black's exposed king decide the game in short order.

21... Kf6 22. Nxe6 Kxe6 23. Rfb1
23. Rab1 looks more accurate, as the king rook may be strong on the e-file!
23... Qc7
23... Ra6 24. Bd5+ Kf6 25. Rb5 b6 26. Qh6 Qf8 27. Qxf8+! Rxf8 28. Rab1 Rb8 29. Rxc5+-
24. Qg5 Rhf8?!
24... Ra6 is better.
25. Bd5+ Kd7 26. Rb5 Ra6 27. Qh6
Here we can really see how the ...g6 move hurt Black, as he never played ...Bg7.
27... Ke8 28. Rab1 b6 29. h4!?
29. e3! would quickly open the position. Mika's method is also methodical and effective.
29... Rf6 30. h5 Qe7 31. hxg6 hxg6 32. Kg2! Qf8 33. Qg5 Kd7 34. Rh1
White's rook quickly jumps from the b-file to the h-file. Such is the advantage of space.
34... Nc6 35. Rh7+ Ne7 36. Rb1!
Now Rbh1 is a threat.
36... Kd6 37. Bb7!
A cute move which wins a whole rook.
NM David Brodsky (2345)
NM Chris Williams (2297)
85th Massachusetts Open (3)
Sicilian, Kan [B41]
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. c4 Qc7
5... Nf6 6. Nc3 Bb4 7. Qd3, Carlsen-Anand, Sochi (m/6) 2014
6. Nc3 Nf6 7. a3 Nc6
7... b6, setting up a Hedgehog, is the most common
8. Be3 Ne5 9. Be2 h5!? 10. h3 Ng6 11. Qd2
11. O-O is also viable.
11... b6 12. f4 Bb7 13. Bd3 Bc5 14. Nde2?!
Again, White could simply castle. 14. e5!? Nh4 15. O-O-O!
14... Nh4 15. O-O
15... g5?
I remember seeing this move and thinking it must be brilliant, because I didn't see the point. It does not work, but this is easy for me to say at home.
15... d5! is good. 16. b4!?
Very practical and strong. Objectively, however, it seems White should just take, when I can only guess that after 16. fxg5 Black intended Rg8 (16... Nh7 17. b4) 17. Rxf6 (17. Bxc5 Qxc5+ 18. Kh2 is also good) 17... Rxg5, so that 18. Rf2 allows 18... Rxg2+ 19. Rxg2 Nf3+, and even here White may be better, though it is simpler to play 18. Kh1! Rxg2 19. Bf4+-.
16... Bxe3+ 17. Qxe3 g4
18. Qg3
Better was 18. Qf2! Ng6 (18... Nf5 19. exf5 gxh3 20. Qh4!) 19. f5 Ne5 20. fxe6+-.
18... Ng6 19. h4
White is still clearly better.
19... O-O 20. e5 Ne8 21. Rad1 Ng7 22. Ne4 Bxe4 23. Bxe4 Qxc4?!
Trying to change the course of the battle. 23... Rac8 is the natural move.
24. Qd3?
White has the upper hand after 24. Bxa8! Nf5 25. Qd3. (24... Qxe2 25. Rfe1 Qb5 26. Be4) (24... Rxa8 25. Qd3)
24... Qxd3 25. Rxd3 Ra7
Now Black is quite alright, as the backwards d-pawn is an extra pawn.

26. g3 f5 27. Bg2 Rc8 28. Rfd1 Nf8 29. Nc3 b5 30. Ne2 Rc4 31. Nd4 Ne8
White probably deemed it too risky to play 32. Nxf5!? exf5 33. Bd5+ Kg7 34. Bxc4 bxc4 35. Rc3.
32... Kf7 33. Nc5 Ke7 34. Nb7 Rc2
White has enough for the pawn, but no more.
35. Nd6?
Probably frustration. Nxd6 36. Rxd6?! 36. exd6+ Kf6 37. a4!?
36... a5!? 
Williams senses the tide turning. He wants to get both rooks to the seventh rank. 36... Ra2µ is also strong.
37. Rb6?
37. R6d2 was necessary. Brodsky probably did not want to give up pressure against the d7-pawn, but it was already high time to think about holding on.
37... axb4 38. axb4 Raa2
38... Ra3 39. Kh2 Rcc3 40. Rxb5 Rxg-+
39. Bf1 Rc3 40. Bd3 Rb2 41. Kf1 Rxb4
Now Black is up two pawns, and he still hold the initiative. The rest is not too difficult.
42. Rd6?! Rb2 43. Kg1 b4 44. Bb5? Rxg3+ 45. Kf1 Rf3+ 46. Kg1 Rg3+ 47. Kh1 Rh3+ 48. Kg1 Rbh2 49. Rxd7+ Nxd7 50. Rxd7+ Kf8 51. Rd8+ Kg7 52. Rd7+ Kg6 53. Re7 Rh1+ 54. Kg2 R3h2+ 55. Kg3 Rd2 56. Be2 Rh3+
The hope was 56... Rxe2?? 57. Rg7+!, but Chris does not fall for such things.
57. Kf2 Rb2