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Alex Dunne: The Check is in the Mail
January 1999. Additional Alex Dunne columns are available in the Correspondence Chess Forum.

The Pacific Area Team Tournament has just finished. Started in 1992, it was a long, hard-fought tournament with a strong, balanced U.S. team -- David Eisen (2420), Curt Carlson (2355), Dan Fleetwood (2310), Bobby Moore (2380), Greg Berry (2375), and Bill Richards (2340). The opposition also took this contest seriously, fielding some strong teams. The result was a well-contested tournament with the United States edging out Canada by a bare half point margin.

Less than a year into the tournament a near disaster hit the U.S. team. Our Board 2, Curt Carlson, had to withdraw from the tournament for personal reasons. That meant the team captain, yours truly, had to step in and take over Curt's games. Fortunately, most of them were still playable, though one had to be resigned on the spot. The rest of the team redoubled their efforts. Some of the remaining games of other nations were double forfeited and may have affected the final standings.

Individual Board results for the U.S. are: David Eisen, 5-3, Curt Carlson/Alex Dunne 41/2-31/2, Dan Fleetwood 51/2-21/2, Bobby Moore 6-2 (just missing an IM norm) Greg Berry 31/2-41/2, and Bill Richards 5-3.

GAME OF THE MONTH David Eisen has long been a mainstay of the top echelons of U.S. postal chess. Here he shows why -- a complex opening, a long-term piece sacrifice, relentless attacking pressure, simplification into a winning ending, and strong technique to put the opponent away. What more could a fan ask?

ENGLISH OPENING [A21] W: John Barrance (2393) B: David Eisen (2420) PATT, 1992-1998

Notes based on those of David Eisen

1. c4 e5 2. g3 d6 3. Bg2 f5 4. Nc3 Nf6 5. e3 Be7 6. Nge2 0-0 7. 0-0 c6 8. d4 Qe8 9. b3 Na6

Thematic -- the knight is headed for e6 to support the attack.

10. Bb2 Qh5 11. Ba3 Rd8 12. h3 Nc7 13. Qc2 Re8 14. Rfd1 f4! 15. dxe5 Devastating is 15. g4 Bxg4! 16. hxg4 Nxg4 17. Kf1 fxe3! 18. f3 Nh2+ 19. Kg1 Nxf3+ 20. Bxf3 Qxf3 21. Rf1 Qg4+ 22. Kh2 exd4 23. Nd1 Bg5! with five pawns for the piece and the threat of ... Re6.

15. ... dxe5 16. Bxe7 16. ... Bxh3! 17. exf4

Black wins after 17. Bxf6 Bxg2! 18. Kxg2 f3+ 19. Kf1 Qh1+ 20. Ng1 Qg2+ 21. Ke1 Qxg1+ 22. Kd2 Qxf2+ 23. Kc1 Qxc2+ 24. Kxc2 gxf6.

17. ... Bf5 18. Qd2 Rxe7 19. f3 e4! 20. g4

Black wins, too, after 20. fxe4 Ng4! 21. exf5 Qh2+ 22. Kf1 Ne3+. 20. ... Bxg4! 21. fxg4 Nxg4 22. Kf1 Nh2+ 23. Kg1 Nf3+ 24. Bxf3 Qxf3 25. Qe1 Re6 26. Ng3

A defensive necessity, but the knight's fate is sealed on g3. Black will regain the piece with at least a pawn advantage.

26. ... Rg6 27. Nce2 h5 28. f5?!

A better defensive try is 28. Qf2 h4 29. Qxf3 exf3 when White has counterplay.

28. ... Qxf5 29. Qf2 Qg4 30. Rf1 Ne6 31. Qf7+ Kh7 32. Qf5 h4 33. Qxg4 Rxg4 34. Rad1 hxg3 35. Kg2 Re8 36. Kh3 Rg6 37. Nxg3 Ng5+ 38. Kg2 e3 39. Rde1 Rd6 40. Rf2 Rd2 41. Rfe2 Rf8 42. Rxd2 exd2 43. Rd1 Rd8 44. Nf1

Attempts to bring the king to e2 to capture the pawn are hopeless: 44. Kf2 Rd3 45. Nf1 Ne4+ 46. Ke2 Rh3! 47. Ra1 Rh1 48. Kf3 Rxf1+ 49. Rxf1 Nc3, winning the rook.

44. ... Ne4 45. Kf3 Nc3 46. Rxd2 Rxd2 47. Nxd2 Nxa2 48. Ke4 Nc1!

This is the move that does the trick, tying down the White knight.

49. Ke5 a5 50. Ke6 g5 51. Kf5 Kh6 52. c5 Kh5 53. Ne4

White stops to win the g-pawn, but he could have resigned at this point.

53. ... Nxb3 54. Nxg5 Nxc5 55. Nf3 a4 56. Nd4 a3 57. Nc2 a2 58. Na1 b5 59. Ke5 b4 60. Kd4 b3 61. Kc3 Kg4 62. Kb2 Kf4 63. Ka3 Ke4 64. Kb2 Kd3 65. Ka3 Kc3 66. Nxb3 Nxb3 67. Kxa2 c5, White resigns.

Here are the final standings of the teams: United States 291/2-181/2; Canada 29-19; Australia 261/2-211/2; Colombia 251/2-221/2; New Zealand 25-23; Mexico 231/2-241/2; Singapore 17-31; Hong Kong 16-32; Peru 16-32.

_Chess Mail_, Tim Harding's correspondence chess magazine, has a new CD that will be of interest to all serious chessplayers. The CD works in connection with a webpage. After signing on to the webpage, the CD is activated and offers a world of information about correspondence chess - utilities, databases, classic correspondence chess tournaments, ICCF rules, _Chess Mail_ issues - and so many more things that I am still exploring after a month of visits. This cannot fail to supply postal players with valuable information. At $40 for the disk, I strongly recommend all international players to look into this CD!

Another item of interest to chess players is an excellent book: _The Chess Analyst_ by Jon Edwards. This is a fine book discussing in depth how the Tenth U.S. Correspondence Chess Champion thinks, analyzes, and plays his own incredible game of chess. This is a fascinating work, discussing opening variations in depth, with a sharp discussion of how to play these positions, followed by Jon Edwards' incisive postal games with that line. My advice to postal players: buy this book!

Black makes all the aggressive moves in this game until White demonstrates that it was he who had the attack all along.

FRENCH DEFENSE [C05] W: Curt Carlson/Alex Dunne (2358) B: Allan Johnson (2340) PATT, 1992-1998

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. f4 c5 6. c3 Nc6 7. Ndf3 Qb6 8. g3 f6 9. Bh3 cxd4 10. cxd4 fxe5 11. fxe5 Bb4+ 12. Kf1 0-0 13. Kg2 Ndxe5 14. dxe5 Nxe5 15. Bf4 Nc4 16. b3 Rxf4 17. bxc4 Rxc4 18. Ne2 Qd6 19. Nf4 Bc3 20. Rc1 Qc6 21. Ng5 d4+ 22. Kf2 h6 23. Ngxe6 Rb4 24. Rf1 Bd7 25. Qd3 Qb5 26. Qg6 Qe5 27. Nd5 Bc6 28. Ne7+ Kh8 29. Nxc6 bxc6 30. Bf5 Kg8 31. Kg1, Black resigns.

When Black's gambit runs out of steam, White inherits a favorable endgame. Fleetwood demonstrates strong technique in overcoming Black's resistance.

FRENCH DEFENSE [C18] W: Dan Fleetwood (2310) B: Pedro Alzola (2497) PATT, 1992-1998

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 c5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 Ne7 7. Qg4 Qc7 8. Qxg7 Rg8 9. Qxh7 cxd4 10. Ne2 Nbc6 11. f4 Bd7 12. Qd3 dxc3 13. Qxc3 Nf5 14. Rb1 0-0-0 15. g3 d4 16. Qc5 b6 17. Qc4 Na5 18. Qxc7+ Kxc7 19. Bg2 Bc6 20. Bxc6 Kxc6 21. Kf2 d3 22. cxd3 Rxd3 23. Bb2 Rgd8 24. Rhc1+ Kb7 25. Rc3 Ne3 26. Rxd3 Rxd3 27. Bc1 Ng4+ 28. Kg2 Nb3 29. a4 Ka6 30. h3 Nh6 31. g4 Nd2 32. Rb2 Nc4 33. Rb4 Nd2 34. Rd4 Nf3 35. Rxd3 Ne1+ 36. Kg3 Nxd3 37. Bd2 Ng8 38. h4 b5 39. axb5+ Kxb5 40. Nc3+ Kc6 41. h5 a5 42. g5 Nc5 43. h6 Ne7 44. h7 Ng6 45. Kg4 a4 46. Kh5 a3 47. Kh6 Kd7 48. Kg7 Ke8 49. Bc1 a2 50. Nxa2 Ne4 51. f5 exf5 52. e6, Black resigns.


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