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Alex Dunne: The Check is in the Mail
October 1998. Additional Alex Dunne columns are available in the Correspondence Chess Forum.

The 1990 Golden Knights has come to an end with a tie for first between two players with perfect scores. Murray Kurtz and John Penquite have both finished with perfect 18-0 scores.

Murray Kurtz is a 39-year-old Canadian post office employee who has been playing postal chess since 1984. Like many chess enthusiasts, he found giving up entire weekends on a regular basis was too demanding, so he turned to postal. He came in second place in the 1984 Golden Knights, with a score of 171/2-1/2. He won the 1991 Canadian Correspondence Chess Championship in 1991 with 13-1, and placed third in the recently finished North American Championship with a score of 10-4. That score enabled Murray to participate in the third round of the ICCF World Championship.

He is currently competing in the powerful John Cleeve Memorial Grandmaster tournament (average rating 2509), where he hopes to achieve his IM title. Good hunting, Murray!

Tied with Murray is the amazing John Penquite, known to readers as the man with the astronomical rating. John, 63, once again demonstrated his rating is deserved, by a remarkable tournament result, surpassing his second place finish in the 1991 Absolute. He entered five sections of the 1990 Golden Knights - besides his tie with Murray Kurtz for first with a perfect score, he also finished (unofficially, as only the best result counts in cases with multiple entries) third, fourth, fifth, and sixteenth; an incredible domination of USCF's premiere open event.


At the moment Black's attack looks like it is breaking through, Kurtz demonstrates who is really in charge of the game by a neat queen snare.

DUTCH DEFENSE [A87] W: Murray Kurtz (2306) B: James Chessing (2135) Golden Knights, 1990

1. Nf3 f5 2. c4 Nf6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. 0-0 0-0 6. d4 d6 7. d5 Na6 8. Nc3 Qe8 9. Rb1 c5 10. b3

Most modern players prefer to open up the queenside by 10. dxc6 e.p., but Murray plays an older, more solid line.

10. ... Nc7 11. a4 Bd7 12. Bb2 h6

We leave a footnote in ECO at this point. Garcia Martinez-Lin Ta (Dubai, 1986) continued 12. ... b6 13. Qd2 a6 14. e4 fxe4 15. Ng5 h6 16. Ngxe4 Nh7? (Garcia Martinez recommends 16. ... b5!?) 17. Ne2 and White has the advantage. Black is too ambitious, playing on both sides of the board while the center is open.

13. Qd2 g5 14. Rbe1!

The mark of a player who knows what is going on! White abandons queenside play based on the b4-pawn break in order to favorably open up the center. The f1-rook will stay to both protect f2 and support a possible f2-f4 lever.

14. ... Qg6 15. Qc2 b6 16. e4

White has accomplished his first goal: the center is opened up and Black's pawns surrounding his king - on f5, g5, and h6 - are more weakies than attackers.

16. ... f4

Black chooses to continue his attack since the alternative is rather bleak: 16. ... fxe4 17. Nxe4 Nxe4 18. Bxg7 Kxg7 19. Qxe4 Qxe4 20. Rxe4 Kf6 21. Rfe1 with a sizeable plus for White.

17. Qb1!

Protecting the queen which will allow Kurtz's fine defensive combination.

17. ... g4 18. Nh4 Qh5 19. e5!

The triumph of White's strategy: he breaks through in the center when Black's uncoordinated pieces are no match for his active pieces.

19. ... dxe5

This leads to a catastrophe, but after the better 19. ... f3 20. exf6 fxg2 21. Nxg2! Bxf6 22. Nf4, White stands much better.

20. Ng6 f3

Perhaps Black was depending on 20. ... Bf5, which is easily refuted by 21. Qxf5!.

21. Rxe5 fxg2 22. Rfe1 Qh3 23. Nf4

The queen is caught deep in enemy territory, and the game is effectively over.

23. ... Nh7 24. Nxh3 gxh3 25. Rxe7 Bf5 26. Ne4 Bd4 27. Bxd4, Black resigns.

C.F. TEARS (1907-1998)

Claude Fred Tears, Jr. died May 27 of cancer. He was 90.

His son, C.F. "Rick" Tears III, said his father was visited several times by "men in dark suits" because his chess correspondence with Russians during the 1950s resembled what the FBI thought was code. When he died, he was competing in the World Correspondence Chess Championship. Tears also fought on third board for the USA in the V Olympiad, tying for first place on his board and being instrumental in qualifying the U.S. for the finals. He also won CCLA's 1947 Grand National. He was scheduled to become a postal IM at the ICCF Congress in September of this year.

Ken Smith said of Fred, "His dedication to correspondence was nearly unbelievable. He spent days and the midnight oil over a move." An example of Fred's play can be found at the end of the column.

• The Shipman family features two strong players who fight in different venues. The father, Walter, is an IM who specializes in OTB play. The son, Joseph, is a postal master who favors correspondence play. It was Joseph who scored 61/2-51/2 in the 1994 Absolute Championship. I hope no family friction was caused by this column suggesting the father had taken up the postcard game.

• Naor Wallach reports an unpleasant experience in a Golden Knights contest. He announced mate in nine, provided his opponent with the complete analysis, and showed that there was no escape, but his opponent made him play the game out, taking an extra month and a half. Naor won, of course, but he suggests that newcomers to postal play learn the right protocol: that when faced with inescapable announced mate, an acceptance of the inevitable is not only good manners, it raises the level of competition all over.

• Chris Miller (Wainwright, Canada) who is not a prisoner, has run across a bureaucratic experience that is not uncommon in the United States. He was playing in the 1997 Golden Knights with an opponent in a penitentiary in Norfolk, Massachusetts. The prisoner was forced to forfeit all his games because, according to the prison administration, he was sending and receiving letters in code, and that is against prison policy. Chris urges readers to write the prison administration in Norfolk to explain the healthy benefits of playing chess by mail.

This problem is not restricted to Massachusetts. I had an opponent in an Arizona prison who was forced to quit because of the same rule. Chess notation is widely used throughout the world and should not fall under the code ruling. One possible solution is to agree to continue the game in full English descriptive. Instead of 1. e4 you could agree to play 1. King's Pawn to King's Pawn four. It's not quite as efficient, but it might get around the code problem.

• Ralph Weber (Decatur, Georgia) reports on his chess library. Ralph has a collection of 70 books which include many excellent titles. Ralph admits he has only read two of the seventy books, My 60 Memorable Games by Fischer and How to Open a Chess Game by Evans, et al. Other readers with libraries they are proud of are invited to send me a report. Also games and other items of interest to postal players should be sent to the address at the top of the column.

• In the following game C. F. Tears worries Black's king rook, which can find no relief from Fred's accurate play. At the end, with the rook far out of play, he announces mate in eight. Diamond play from ICCM-designate Tears.

RUY LOPEZ [C89] W: C. F. Tears (2350) B: D. Muniz VI Pan-American Team

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. 0-0 Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 0-0 8. c3 d5 9. exd5 Nxd5 10. Nxe5 Nxe5 11. Rxe5 c6 12. Re1 Bd6 13. d4 Qh4 14. g3 Qh3 15. Be3 Bg4 16. Qd3 Rae8 17. Nd2 Nxe3 18. Rxe3 Bf5 19. Qe2 Rxe3 20. Qxe3 a5 21. a4 b4 22. Re1 bxc3 23. bxc3 Rb8 24. Qf3 Rc8 25. Nc4 Bg4 26. Qe3 Bf8 27. Nb6 Rc7 28. Qf4 Rb7 29. Re8 g6 30. Qd6 Qh6 31. Qxc6 Ra7 32. f4 Qg7 33. Qd6 Be6 34. Qb8 Ra6 35. Bxe6 fxe6 36. Nd7, White announces mate in eight.

After 36. ... Qxd7 37. Rxf8+ Kg7 38. Rg8+ Kh6 39. Qf8+ Kh5 40. Qf6 Kg4 41. Kf2!, mate follows.

• Isay Golyak (Rochester, NY) sends in this great game. He uses some of Kasparov's ideas in one variation of the King's Indian Defense and, in emulation of Kasparov, sacrifices five pawns, a rook, and a knight to bring home the point.

KING'S INDIAN DEFENSE [E99] W: Arthur Matt (2545) B: Isay Golyak (2435) XVII World Championship, 1998

1. c4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 0-0 6. Be2 e5 7. 0-0 Nc6 8. d5 Ne7 9. Ne1 Nd7 10. Be3 f5 11. f3 f4 12. Bf2 g5 13. a4 h5 14. a5 Ng6 15. Nb5 Nf6 16. Nxa7 Bd7 17. Nb5 g4 18. Qd3 g3 19. hxg3 fxg3 20. Bxg3 h4 21. Bh2 Nh5 22. Qe3 Ng3 23. Rf2 Nf4 24. Bd1 Bh6 25. Qb3 Qg5 26. Nxc7 Nxe4 27. Bxf4 Qxf4 28. Re2 Ng3 29. Rf2 e4 30. Ne6 Bxe6 31. dxe6 e3 32. Rc2 e2 33. Rxe2 Qd4+ 34. Rf2 Be3 35. Nd3 h3 36. gxh3 Qg7 37. e7 Rf7 38. Qxb7 Re8 39. Qd7 Nf5+ 40. Kh1 Rexe7 41. Qc8+ Rf8 42. Rg2 Rxc8 43. Rxg7+ Rxg7, White resigns.

• In the following game Penquite shows why good players are considered lucky. White almost comes home with the rarest of trophies. Had he varied on Move 23 with 23. gxf7 Bf6 24. Bxf6 gxf6 25. Qg6 Ke7 26. Rxh6 d5 27. f8=Q+!, White's attack would have been decisive. After White misses that, Penquite's king first runs to safety and then back for defense to score the point.

SICILIAN DEFENSE [B89] W: Charles Pote (2139) B: John Penquite (2863) Correspondence, 1996

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 d6 6. Bc4 e6 7. Be3 Be7 8. Qe2 0-0 9. 0-0-0 a6 10. Bb3 Qe8 11. Rhg1 Nd7 12. g4 Nc5 13. g5 b5 14. Nxc6 Nxb3+ 15. axb3 Qxc6 16. Bd4 b4 17. Qh5 Bb7 18. Nd5 exd5 19. Rd3 Rfc8 20. c3 dxe4 21. Rh3 Kf8 22. g6 h6 23. Bxg7+ Ke8 24. gxf7+ Kd7 25. Qf5+ Kc7 26. c4 Qd7 27. Qa5+ Kb8 28. Rxh6 Qb5 29. Rh5 Qxa5 30. Rxa5 Kc7 31. Rh5 Kd7 32. Rh7 Bf8 33. Rg5 Rc5 34. h4 e3 35. fxe3 Be4 36. Rhh5 Rxg5 37. Rxg5 Bxg7 38. Rxg7 Rf8 39. Rg4 Bf5 40. Rf4 Rxf7 41. Kd2 Ke6, White resigns.


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