USCF Home Chess Life Online 2010 July The July Check is in the Mail
|The July Check is in the Mail|
|By Alex Dunne|
|July 2, 2010|
ONE MORE TIME !
John Menke has added one more Golden Knights Championship to his resume.
John's record in Golden Knights play is one for the record books. Second place in 1997. A repeat second in 1998. First in 1999. Second in 2000. First in 2001. Then to show postcards aren't his only weapon, John won the first Electronic Knights championship, the 2004 event. And now he is back to claim first place in the 2003 Golden Knights.
Yes, John did announce his retirement from the Knights in 2008, but the 2003 Golden Knights started long before his retirement did.
Ivar Bern summed it up succinctly - In what other sport do you have to wait two years to break out the champagne? John finished his last game of the 2003 Championship on May 6, 2008. The wait was worth it - no one could surpass his weighted totals and so once again, John Menke is at the top of the mountain.
GAME OF THE MONTH
John's opponent in this game is the very strong Gary Adams. Gary normally chooses his openings very carefully, but in this game he enters a forcing line of the French Defense, and soon finds himself on a very slippery slope to defeat. French players need to take heed!
FRENCH DEFENSE (C18)
1.e4 e6 2.Nc3
An offer to switch into a Sicilian after 2...c5 which Adams declines.
2...d5 3.d4 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Ne7 7.Qg4 0-0 Black has four good choices here, all of which lead to about the same chance of success (about 44%, average for Black) -- 4...Qc7, the safest, 7...cxd4, 7...Kf8 and the most challenging 7...00
This natural developing play may be suspect. For now 8...f5, the most common reply, may also be the best, holding White to a 55% edge.
This is the most successful of White's tries. There is nothing subtle about White's strategy -- the Black King is the target. White scores about 63% from this position. That would generally constitute a dark cloud over Black's choice of 7...00 but there may be an escape clause a bit later.
9...Ng6 10.Nf3 Qc7
This or the next move may be the last chance for an improvement. The little played 10...Nce7 has scored a few wins for Black, though White still has a decided edge. Kamsky played against it in Kamsky-Umezinwa, Chicago 1989, though White looks better after 11. 00. Shulman held it back one move 10...Qc7 11. Be3 Nce7 12. h4 Nf5 to draw in Kamsky-Shulman, World Open 2005.
11.Be3 c4 12.Bxg6
The players now enter a forcing variation where Black has little chance of survival. White's attack is just too strong.
12...fxg6 13.Qg4 Bd7
The two main choices are 13...Qf7 scoring 38 % and 13...Bd7 scoring 33%. After 13...Qf7 14. Ng5 White stands well in Stewart-Tremblay, 2006 Express Tournament published in this column for May 2008.
14.h4 Rf5 15.h5
White scores 71% with this Pawn thrust.
15...gxh5 16.Rxh5 Raf8
Two choices here -- 16...Rxh5 scoring a paltry 33% and the text scoring an even worse 11%
There are seven games in my postal database with 17. Rh3 -- White winning every one of them.
A new try -- 17...Be8 just fails
18.Kd2 Be8 19.Rh6
White has other ways to win -- 19. Ng5 works, too.
Failing is 19...Bg6 20. Rxg6! hxg6 21. Qxg6 R8f7 22. Qxe6 Nd8 23. Qd6.
20.Rxe6 Bh5 21.Qh3 Nc8 22.g4 Bxg4 23.Qxg4 Rxf3 24.Rh1
White's threats of Rf6 and Rh6 are too strong. 1-0
2003 GOLDEN KNIGHTS STANDINGS
John Menke 42.85
Laurence Bonsack 40.10
Thomas Connelly 39.60
James Rhodes 39.50
Chuck Cullum 39.00
Abe Wilson 39.00
Danny Horwitz 38.95
Donald Schultheis 36.75
Bleys Rose 36.25
Humberto Cruz 36.15
Richard Barber 36.15
Thomas Kusnierz 35.60
Donald Schultheis 35.60
Barry Endsley 35.05
Arthur Steinman 32.20
Corky Schakel 31.30
John Bang 30.10
Derek Grimmell 30.10
Donald Schultheis 29.55
Jiri Kovats 29.35
Harold Boege 28.35
Bruce Reynolds 26.65
Gary Adams 26.15
Michael Calogridis 26.05
William Jempty 25.65
Roy Tate 24.85
Robert Hampton 23.90
Chuck Ventimiglia 21.65
Robert Boles 20.55
A. J. Zeppa 20.00
Stephen Jacobs 16.65
James Fisher 16.00
Clark Hayward 16.00
Art Marthinsen 14.40
William Jempty 13.80
16th Olympiad Final Starts
The final round of the 16 Olympiad has started. This will be the last Olympiad played by post. Email and server play have replaced postal as the international method of communication for correspondence chess.
The US team consists of two Grandmasters - Alik Zilberberg and Edward Duliba - and two Senior International Masters -- Keith Holzmueller and Jerry Weisskohl.
The average rating of the US team is 2542. They will be competing against teams (listed by ratings) from Czech Republic (2619); Germany (2572); Brazil (2565);France (2554); Israel (2548); Poland (2514); Sweden (2495); Italy (2482); Ukraine (2477); Finland (2457); Slovakia (2448); and England (2382).
Good skill, guys !
Chess.com Invitational Tournament
Chess.com has started a titled players correspondence tournament with a field of mainly OTB players testing their skills at CC play. Six GM's (including Julio Becerra and Alex Lenderman) nine IM's one WIM (Ruth Haring) 18 FM's 12 NM's and 2 Experts.
The first round has four players playing a round robin with the winner of the section advancing to the second round. Computer engines are forbidden. Readers can find out more about chess.com and watch the games by going to http://www.chess.com/about.html
09W32 William Ebaugh 4 ½-1 ½
09W29 Inoel Cardenas 3 ½-2 ½
09W29 Joseph Hawkins 3 ½-2 ½
10W15 Gregory Thompson 6-0
08C08 John Davis 5-1
09C06 Michael Kessler 5-1
09C07 Doug Ray 5 ½-½
09C18 Alex Ramirez 6-0
09ET05 Harold Brown 5-1
09ET05 Wes Holland 5-1
09ET05 Oswaldo Olivo 5-1
LEARN CHESS BY MAIL ! Lessons given by mail, telephone, ICC - many different ways. I specialize in players rated 800-2100 who would like to improve their game. Contact me for information. Alex Dunne, 324 West Lockhart St., Sayre, PA 18840 or email@example.com
Quote: I like to look at correspondence games. They are an oft-neglected bonanza of new or rare continuations in the opening and fine tactical shots too!-- IM Nikolay Minev
26TH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL BEGINS
The 26th World Championship Final began this June, being played on the ICCF webserver. There are no Americans in the final, but Grandmaster Cesar Blanco will be one of the title aspirants. Cesar was living in Texas but moved back to Guatemala when he won the 2006 Electronic Knights Championship. Cesar's rating of 2531 puts him in the middle of this category 13 event.
Want to have some fun and learn about endgame play at the same time? Play over this game of Cesar's from the 2006 Electronic Knights Finals!
SICILIAN DEFENSE (B35)
PETROFF DEFENSE (C42)
Knights need center squares. Deprive a Knight of center squares and you starve him. Deprive two Knights of center squares and you lose endgames like this.
RUY LOPEZ (C76)
This is why correspondence players are allowed to consult books.
RUY LOPEZ (C62)
This is the famous Tarrasch Trap starting with 8. Bxc6 in the Ruy Lopez that was first played in Tarrasch-Marco, German Congress 1892. But it didn't stop there. In my databases I have found 14 examples up to and including 17. Be7 in OTB play with many Experts and Masters on the losing side - Green (2265) - Gibbons (2200), Auckland 2000; Popovic (2363) - Jesenski (2361) Yugoslavia 2002 among others, but only one other example in correspondence chess.
All right, Arthur - knowledge is power!
From the 2003 Golden Knights: Third place Thomas Connelly meets second place Laurence Bonsack for a first class struggle.
SICILIAN DEFENSE (B23)
Check out an archive of Alex Dunne's postal chess columns here and also read his article from the July 2010 Chess Life Magazine on the 2008 USCF Absolute Championship.