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Windy City Wins Online Team Match Print E-mail
By Carl Aridas/Benjamin Katz   
July 2, 2008
Mid-summer sports competitions are not limited to baseball, and the teams are not always the Mets versus the Cubs.  While the U.S. Chess League   has teams in both Chicago (the Chicago Blaze, an expansion team that will join the league this fall) and in New York (New York Knights), this meeting was between two All-Star teams of chess players from the Chicago Industrial Chess League (CICL) captained by CICL member Norm Hughes vs the Chess All Stars from New York's Bankers Athletic League (BAL). The teams faced off on June 14 on World Chess Live (WCL).

The CICL was founded in the mid 1950’s by Miroslav "Mirko" Mejzr, a Czech immigrant, headed the strong chess club at the First National Bank, which was a leading bank of Chicago.

The  BAL   dates back to 1917.  Described in an April 1964 New York Times article by American Grandmaster Al Horowitz as “catering to the more or less sophisticated player”. The names of banks, and therefore the names of bank teams, have changed over the years. By the 2007-08 season, the league had grown to 24 teams playing in 3 divisions, and none of the Division-winning teams was a bank!

The CICL side won the match 4-1.
   The following game, featuring several rather complex combinations, was won by Tam Nguyen, rated 2229, on Board 2. Benjamin Katz graciously annotated his loss for CLO:


1.d4 e6 2.c4 Nf6 3.g3 c5 4.d5 exd5 5.cxd5 d6
At this point of the game it's officially a Modern Benoni. White could've avoided it by keeping his pawn on d4, but black would've probably equalized here. I started playing the Modern Benoni after seeing the game Korchnoi-Kasparov, Lucerne Olympiad, 1982. It quickly became one of my favorite games, if not my favorite. Korchnoi played the Fianchetto Variation, as my opponent did here. 
6.Bg2 g6 7.Nc3 Bg7 8.Nf3 0–0 9.0–0 Re8
To stop e4. I spent a lot of time trying to remember what Kasparov played in the game. Luckily I had it right so far.
10.Nd2 a6 11.a4
 To prevent my b5 expansion.
 To meet Nc4 with Ne5.
12.h3 Nh5
 This move prevents f4, as well as Bf4 in certain variations. Certainly a very useful move. 12...Rb8  is what Kasparov played. I played this several moves later, but playing it immediately is probably better. Here is the famous game that inspired me...keep in mind that Korchnoi was in time pressure at the end:

Prepares f4.
 13...f5 14.f4
I didn't think that this was the best move. It basically locks the position, which could lead to a drawish outcome.
14...Rb8 15.e4 Ndf615...Ndf6.jpg
16.exf5 Bxf5 17.g4??This move doesn't win a piece, and in fact loses the game! 17...Nxg4+ 18.hxg4 Qh4+ 19.Kg1 Bd4+ 20.Rf2 Qxf2+ 21.Kh2 Qh4+ 22.Bh3 Qg3+ 23.Kh1 Qxh3#
16...fxe4 17.Ndxe4 b5?!
 Too soon. I should've prevented Ng5..17...Nxe4 18.Nxe4 h6= With an equal game.
 18.axb5 axb5
I think that I obtained a fairly good position out of the opening. If I start trading pieces, I'll have a better endgame due to my strong queenside pawns.
 I thought that this was a very good move. After a potential piece trade, his pawn on e6 will be devastating.
 19...b4 20.Rxe8+
20.Nb1! After this move, I'm really out of ideas.
 20...Qxe8 21.Nce4 Nxe4 22.Nxe4 Qe7 23.Qa4 Nf6
 I have to get rid of his knight!
24.Nxf6+ Bxf6 25.Qc6 Bf5
This seemed like the most natural place to put my bishop.
26.Ra8 Rxa8 27.Qxa8+ Kg7 28.g4 Bd3 29.g5 Bd4 30.Qb8

 I'm better here, but I couldn't find the best way to win the game. If I can get my queen to e1 I would win, however he would have a perpetual if I did that right away. For that reason, I had a crazy idea of getting my bishop to f7. I thought that he wouldn't have time for anything, however this probably wasn't the best plan. h6! was appropriate here!
30...h6 31.gxh6+ (31.h4 Bf5 32.Bd2 hxg5 33.hxg5 Qe2 34.Qc7+ Kg8 35.Qd8+ Kf7 36.Qc7+ Ke8 37.Qc6+ Ke7 38.Qc7+ Bd7–+) 31...Kxh6 This opens up his position, and allows me to give the checks that I wanted to give in the first place.
 31.h4 Bd3 32.Bf3 Bf5 33.Bd2 Bxb2 34.h5!?
 It's a risky move, however I have to give my opponent credit for creating additional positional imbalances. That's what eventually won him the game!
 This looks natural, but I overlooked a very nice maneuver.  34...gxh5stops all counterplay. 35.Bxh5 Be4 36.Qa8 b3.
 35.Bxc3+ bxc3 36.h6+ Kf7 37.Qh8 c2 38.Qxh7+ Ke8 39.Qh8+ Kd7 40.Qc3!

 The only move in the position!  [40.Qb2 Qe3]
 40...Kc8 41.Kg2 Qa7!?
 Trying to somehow queen my c-pawn. At this point, both of us were in pretty severe time pressure.
 42.Qh8+ Kb7 43.Qg7+ Kb6 44.Qb2+ Kc7 45.h7
 Here I thought that I was lost and played Qa8. I missed Qa5! which would have led to a draw! 
45...Qa5! 46.h8Q Qd2+ 47.Kg3 Qe1+ 48.Kg2 Qd2+ 49.Kg3=
 46.Qg7+ Kb6 47.Qb2+ Kc7 48.Be2 Qe8
48...Qxd5+ Both of us missed this. 49.Kf2
 49.Kf2 Be4?
 I was having trouble finding moves here.
50.Bb5 Qf8 51.Kg3 Bf5
51...Bxd5 52.Qxc2 Qg7 53.Qd2 Bb7
 52..Bc6 Bc8 53.Qxc2 Qg7 54.Qh2 Qh8
54...Qc3+ My opponent pointed this move out in the post mortem. It looks like it draws. 55.Kg2 Qc2+ 56.Kg3 Qc3+ 57.Kg2 Qc2+ 58.Kg3 Qd3+= But not... 59.Kh4?? Qf3 With a win for me.
 55.Ba4 Bf5 56.Bc6 Kd8 57.Qa2 Ke7?

This allows a forced mate, which my opponent dutifully saw. If at any point I played Qc3, I would have drawn.
  58.Qa7+ Kf8 59.Qb8+ Kg7 60.Qc7+ Kf8 61.Qd8+ Kg7 62.Qe7#

A very competitive game from start to finish. I have to commend my opponent for generating counterplay when it looked like he was worse.  1–0

The two Under 1900 Teams played at the same time and in this section, New York was able to get a drawn match in the 7-player event.  The New Yorkers used some great tactics as shown here by Bob Ali from the New York side on Board 4:

Proving that both banking and chess can be family affairs, young Daniel Jurin, son of JPM Chase Captain Bruce Jurin, played the fine following game for the NY team:

The lowest-rated player on either side was New York's Mark Alban on Board 7.  Despite his lower than average rating, Mark is a veteran of the on-line chess wars and showed fine form in this win which allowed New York to claim a draw in the match:

World Chess Live (WCL) was a  great host for this chess battle, which both sides promise will become an annual event. Management of the WCL provided each player with a free 30-day account before the Chess Championship so players could get used to playing on-line.  

World Chess Live is currently offering all USCF members, a FREE six-month account with WCL at .  Joining allows you to quickly find chess opponents around the country or around the world.  As well as playing on WCL, you can also tune-in to a great selection of Chess.FM's popular weekly video shows featuring Joel Benjamin (Game of the Week), Larry Christiansen (Attack with LarryC), John Watson (Chess Talk) and Dan Heisman (Ask The Renaissance Man).

Want to find a chess league in your area outside Chicago or New York?  Just click on Clubs & Tourneys from the CLO homepage; Then click on Chess Clubs and then Affiliate Directory Search on the top of the following screen.  Find Affiliate Type screening options and click on "League" and then Submit to find a chess league near you!