Slugfest Continues at U.S. Junior Championship
By Ken West   
June 19, 2011
KasparovBenAviv.jpg
Former World Champion Garry Kasparov, GM Ben Finegold, FM Aviv Friedman

Round 2
Former World chess champion Garry Kasparov paid a surprise visit Friday to the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis during the second round of the U.S. Junior Closed Championship.

His presence allowed him to speak about one game in particular - National Master Gregory Young against FIDE Master John Bryant. Playing against Bryant's Najdorf Sicilian, Young retreated his knight from d4 to f3 on move 13.

When Young made the move, Grandmaster Ben Finegold - who is providing commentary with FIDE Master Aviv Friedman - said he had not seen the move in that line before. During post-game analysis, Young said Kasparov played the line against Boris Gelfand in 1993 in Linares. Young made the comment not knowing Kasparov would make a surprise visit to the games.

Kasparov said Gelfand played the line against him again in 1994. Kasparov also played the black side in the same line. He played a5 as black, a move Bryant also played.

After Young's e5 push, Bryant played d5.

Shown Young's Rd4 on move 17, Kasparov smiled and said, "Nice!"

"This is very risky play by both," Finegold said during the game. "I predict no draw here."

His prediction proved true as the game ended on move 38 with Young taking the full point. An oddity of the final position: Bryant had both rooks on the seventh.



"It looks like Bryant got a taste of his own medicine today," Friedman said, talking about Young's attacking play. Bryant won the day before with a knight sacrifice on f7.

GM Kasparov also commented on the other games.

In those games, FM Warren Harper beat International Master Conrad Holt to keep pace with Young at two points each.



In the other games, NM Kayden Troff won with the black pieces against NM Raven Sturt; IM Daniel Naroditsky beat FM Alec Getz; and FM Victor Shen topped NM Jialin Ding.

In the Sturt-Troff match, Friedman said Sturt could have secured a draw with a queen trade. After the game, Sturt said he saw the move but rejected it.



"I'm in it to win it," he said.

Round 3

Aggressive chess again ruled the day in the third round of the U.S. Junior Closed Championship as 14 of the 15 games played have had decisive results, with only one draw during the three days.

"These were exciting games," said Grandmaster Ben Finegold about Saturday's games. He and FIDE Master Aviv Friedman provide analysis and commentary for all the rounds at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.

"(Kayden) Troff had a king walk, (John) Bryant sac'ed pieces," Finegold said.

The final game of the day, Alec Getz against Warren Harper, had a wild finish with both sides pushing passed pawns in a rush to queen.



"Is this the game of the tournament?" Finegold said as the game drew to a close.

Getz had connected pawns on the d and e files and Harper had connected passers on the b and c files. A key moment in the game occurred on move 48, when Getz played Ra4, checking Harper's king. Harper took the rook. Troff, who had finished his game, provided Finegold and Friedman some information on the position via Rybka. According to the computer program, black would be slightly better moving his king to b3 rather than taking the rook. Taking the rook landed white in trouble when Getz queened his second pawn, which also was discovered check.

"It's antithetical," Friedman said about the move Kb3.

Gregory Young is the only player left in the field with a perfect score of 3 points with a win against Jialin Ding.



Finegold and Friedman thought Ding was slightly better throughout the early part of the game. Friedman thought Ding's 23rd move, Rac4, giving up the b pawn, was wrong. Friedman preferred b4. Ding also had the threat of queen takes e7 in the position, he said.

Ding's position unraveled after Young's 33rd move, Rxf2. After Ding recaptured with his king, Young played Qb2check. That check picked up Ding's rook on c1. Ding then captured Young's knight with Bxb5, but Young's Qc5 check on move 36 also snared Ding's bishop. When the tactics ended, Young had an extra pawn, enough for the win.

Daniel Naroditsky took apart Troff's four pawns attack to remain just behind Young at 2.5.



Finegold and Friedman had fun with the many times players pushed their a and h pawns in most of the games and the delaying of castling. For the second time in three rounds, Conrad Holt did not castle until move 22 in his game against Warren Harper.

Sunday's games have Sturt facing Naroditsky; Harper will play Troff; Shen goes against Getz; Young takes on Holt; and Bryant will oppose Ding.

The championship runs through June 26 and includes players younger than 21. In addition to earning the title of U.S. Junior Champion and taking home the first-place prize of $3,000, the winner also receives an automatic bid to both the World Junior Championship and the 2012 U.S. championship. The total prize fund is more than $10,000.

Action resumes at 1 p.m. Sunday. Games and commentary can be seen live onwww.livestream.com/uschess.