Steininger Earns US Blind Title; Torres Wins Tournament
By Bruce Leverett   
August 22, 2011
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Dan Steininger vs. Paulo Torres
Saulo Torres earned a perfect score at the US Blind Championship, held in Pittsburgh from August 19-20th and took home $600 for his win. However, Torres hails from Colombia and is ineligible for the title, which goes to Dan Steininger on tiebreak. Congrats to Dan on his second title in a row! 

Saulo Torres beat Dan Steininger in the third round and they both won in the fourth round.  To avoid giving anyone two byes, the TD (Mike Holsinger) had to give a bye in the fourth round to someone who already had two points, and so that person (Henry Olynik) tied for second with Steininger.  
 
The decisive game, Torres-Steininger featured a Ruy Lopez. 
 
 

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 b5 5 Bb3 Be7
Black's fourth and fifth moves are a way of getting off the beaten track.
6 O-O d6 7 a4 b4
7 ... Na5 8 Ba2 bxa4 looks interesting.
8 h3 Nf6 9 d3 Na5 10 Ba2 c5 11 Nbd2 O-O 12 c3 Nc6 13 Nc4 Be6 14 Ng5 Bxc4 15 Bxc4 h6 16 Nf3 Qc7 17 Nh4!  Kh7
If 17 ... Nxe4 18 Ng6.
18 Nf5 Bd8 19 Be3 Ne7 20 Qf3 Qd7?
20 ... Nxf5 looks best.  (White should have played Qf3 a move earlier to prevent the knight getting to e7.)  Black is slightly worse but it's not cause for panic.
21 Nxh6 gxh6 22 Qxf6 Ng6 23 Qf3 f5??
Black is losing anyway, but he speeds things by forgetting about the rook on a8.
24 exf5 Qxf5 25 Qxa8 Nf4 26 Bxf4 Qxf4 27 Qe4+ Qxe4 28 dxe4 a5 29 Rfd1 Be7 30 Rd3 Rf4 31 Be6 Kg7 32 Bf5, Resigns
 
The rook on f4 is trapped, e.g. 32 ... Rh4 33 g3 Rh5 34 h4 and 36 Bg4.
 
We were happy to get the participation of Mr. Torres, and happy that last year's champion came to defend his title.  

We would like to see even more participation by some of the strong blind players -- we know you're out there!  We were also happy to welcome "new blood" -- Jim Homme, a Pittsburgh area player, who was playing in his first USCF rated tournament. 
 
The tournament was held, as it was last year, at the Holiday Inn Express in the western suburbs of Pittsburgh. Rick Varchetto organized the event, as he has for several years, and arranged for transportation from the airport for all the out-of-town players.

Bruce Leverett, a USCF Master, was the volunteer coordinator for the 2011 U.S. Blind Championship. Also see an article on the US Blind in the Pittsburgh Tribune.