Robin Smith has done it again! The co-winner of the 11th U.S. Championship has turned up the heat and finished undefeated at 101/2 - 11/2 to become the 13th U.S. Correspondence Chess Champion. Born in 1952, Robin has shown a remarkable consistency in his postal play and "a Robin Smith loss" is rarer than "White playing king takes pawn on d7."
Robin now enters an elite field of two-time winners of the U.S. Championship. Only Stephen Jones (co-winner with Robin in the Ninth Championship), the late Dr. Martinovsky, and now Robin, have achieved the double.
The 13th USCCC, which was dedicated to Dr. Martinovsky, still has half a year to run, and the rest of the places haven't been determined yet. Mark Morss seems destined for a second place finish and Ted Houser could possibly do very well. A complete report will follow at the end of the tournament.
GAME OF THE MONTH
Robin engineers a positional piece sacrifice on Move 29 that strips the protective pawns from the White king. The remaining two bishops and heavy pieces apply too much pressure and 20 moves later, his position in ruins, White resigns.
SICILIAN DEFENSE [B97]
W: Robert Potter (2336)
B: Robin Smith (2589)
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 Qb6 8. Nb3 Be7 9. Qf3 Qc7 10. 0-0-0 Nbd7 11. g4 b5 12. Bxf6 Nxf6 13. g5 Nd7 14. a3 Bb7
This particular line has done quite well for Black. The game has followed Topalov-Kasparov (Novgorod, 1997), where Kasparov played 14. ... Rb8.
15. Bg2 0-0 16. h4 Nc5 17. Nd4 Rfc8 18. h5 Qa5 19. Qe3
White hesitates and Black gains the initiative. Perhaps White feared 19. g6 f5?!, but after 20. h6! fxe4 21. Qg4 White's attack is faster.
19. ... b4 20. axb4 Qxb4 21. g6 Bf6 22. gxf7+ Kxf7 23. Rh3 Rab8 24. Rd2
Hindsight suggests 24. Na2!? here with chances of survival.
24. ... Kg8 25. h6 g6 26. b3 Qa3+ 27. Kb1 e5 28. fxe5 dxe5 29. Nde2
Black could gradually increase the pressure here with 29. ... a5!? 30. Nb5 Qb4 with the advantage, but now Robin offers a knight for a decisive attack.
29. ... Nxb3! 30. cxb3 Qxb3+ 31. Ka1 Bd5 32. Qd3 Bc4 33. Qc2 Qb6 34. Na4 Qa5 35. Rc3 Rb4 36. Ra3 Be6 37. Nec3 Be7 38. Rd3 Rd4 39. Bh3 Bxh3!
Initiating a final simplifying combination that leaves Black two pawns ahead.
40. Qa2+ Rdc4 41. Rd5 Qc7 42. Rc5 Bxc5 43. Qxc4+ Qf7 44. Qxf7+ Kxf7 45. Nxc5 Rxc5 46. Nd5 Bg2 47. Rxa6 Bxe4 48. Ra7+ Ke6 49. Ra6+ Kxd5, White resigns.
Postal players take note. The best site on the Web for news of postal and e-mail chess is undoubtedly John Knudsen's Correspondence Chess News located at http://ccn.correspondencechess.com/
Chess Mail conducted a poll of its readers asking them to select the greatest postal chessplayer of all time. The results of their poll, in reverse order: #5 Gert Timmerman, #4 Cecil Purdy, #3 Vladimir Zagorovsky, #2 Hans Berliner. After becoming the first postal player to win the world championship twice, the winner asked me on the telephone, "Am I now the greatest ever?" #1 of Estonia, Tonu Oim, has earned that position in the eyes of his contemporaries.
Congratulations to C. Pickett who won an ICCF 7-man master tournament!
Garry Pagunsan (Lauderhill, FL) announces his intent to attack with his choice of the Four Pawns Attack, and he delivers!
KING'S INDIAN DEFENSE [E76]
W: Garry Pagunsan (1871)
B: R. Kappel
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. f4 0-0 6. Nf3 Bg4 7. Be2 c5 8. d5 Nbd7 9. 0-0 a6 10. Qe1 Bxf3 11. Bxf3 e6 12. Be3 exd5 13. cxd5 Re8 14. Qd2 b5 15. Qc2 b4 16. Nd1 a5 17. Re1 a4 18. a3 b3 19. Qd3 Qc7 20. Nc3 Reb8 21. e5 Ne8 22. e6 Ndf6 23. g4 h6 24. f5 gxf5 25. Qxf5 Qe7 26. Re2 Ra7 27. g5 hxg5 28. Bxg5 Qf8 29. Rf1 Rbb7 30. Ne4 Nh7 31. Bh5 fxe6 32. Qg6, Black resigns.
When Black's king wanders into a mating net, White summons a rook from the far edge of the chess universe to return for the checkmate.
PRIBYL DEFENSE [B07]
W: Fred Aversa (2119)
B: Preston Polasek (2151)
1998 Golden Knights
1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 c6 4. f3 Nbd7 5. Nge2 e5 6. Be3 Be7 7. Qd2 0-0 8. 0-0-0 b5 9. dxe5 dxe5 10. Ng3 Qa5 11. Nf5 Bb4 12. Bg5 Re8 13. Bxf6 Nxf6 14. Nxg7 Bxc3 15. Qg5 Bxb2+ 16. Kxb2 Qb4+ 17. Kc1 Qa3+ 18. Kd2 Nxe4+ 19. fxe4 f6 20. Qh6 Rd8+ 21. Bd3 Bg4 22. Ke1 Bxd1 23. Nf5 Qf8 24. Kxd1 Qxh6 25. Nxh6+ Kg7 26. Nf5+ Kf7 27. Ke2 a6 28. Ke3 Ra7 29. Ra1 Rad7 30. a4 Kg6 31. axb5 axb5 32. Ra6 Rc8 33. Be2 Rdc7 34. c3 Kg5 35. h4+ Kg6 36. h5+ Kg5 37. Ra1 Rd8 38. Rf1 Ra7 39. Rf3 Kxh5 40. Rg3 mate.
Gintautas Burba (Brockton, MA) has won the 1999-2000 U.S. Correspondence Championship for the Blind with a score of 7-3, a half point ahead of second place John Jay of Vernon, Canada. His game against third place J. Levinthal is 20-20.
CARO-KANN DEFENSE [B17]
W: Gintautas Burba
B: J. Levinthal
U.S. Blind Correspondence Championship, 2000
1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nd7 5. Nf3 Ngf6 6. Ng3 e6 7. Bd3 Bd6 8. Qe2 0-0 9. 0-0 Qc7 10. Ne4 Nxe4 11. Qxe4 Nf6 12. Qh4 Be7 13. Bg5 h6 14. Bxh6 Rd8 15. Bg5 c5 16. dxc5 Qxc5 17. Rfe1 Bd7 18. Ne5 Bb5 19. b4 Qb6 20. c4 Be8 21. c5 Qc7 22. Re3 Rd5 23. Rae1 Rad8 24. Rh3 Kf8 25. Qh8+ Ng8 26. Bxe7+ Kxe7 27. Qxg7 Nf6 28. Ng6+ Kd7 29. Qxf6, Black resigns.