The March Check is in the Mail
By Alex Dunne   
March 4, 2014
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The 2006 Golden Knights has ended in a tie between Michael Buss and James Tracz.
 
Michael Buss returned to CC in 1984 at which time he played off beat lines like the Ponziani and Nimzovich Defense,  He realized that if he was going to have any serious chances at doing better, he would have to revamp his responses to 1. e4 and improve his endgame technique. 
 
GAME OF THE MONTH
 
Bleys Rose is a formidable opponent, but even the strongest can sometimes get entangled in a passive opening.  Here is a case in point.
 
PIRC DEFENSE (B07)


1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.f3 d5 4.e5 Ng8
Black has to decide where he wants this Knight to live -- f5 or b6 (c4).  The problem is that neither c4 nor f5 are yet safe squares.
5.f4
White has been successful with 5. c4 dxc4 6. Bxc4 e6 7. f4 as in Nisipeanu-Fluvia Poyatos, Montcada 2013
5...Bf5 6.c4
Antonson-Skytte, Odense 2011 continued 6. Nf3 e6 7. Be3 with equality.
6...dxc4 7.Bxc4 e6 8.Nc3 Nd7
As 8...c5 is met by 9. d5! with a plus to White, Black needs to organize his development and plans ...Nd7-b6 and Ne7-c6 but that's a lot of Knight moves compared to White's Nc3 and Nf3 moves. 
9.Nf3 Nb6 10.Bb3 Ne7 11.a4 Nbd5
After 11...Ned5 12. a5 Nx3 13. bxc3 Nd5 14. Ba4+ c6 15. Bd2 White has a small edge.  No good is 11...c5 12. a5 c4 13. Ba2 Nbd5 14. Bxc4
 12.0–0 Nb4
Black has a problem with how to develop his kingside without leaving the queenside dangerously weak (.12...Nc6 13. Nxd5 exd5 14. a5 leaves White in control.
 13.a5 a6
What to do about White's oncoming a-Pawn?  Tarrasch once remarked that such Pawns (on h6) were strong in the middlegame and (possibly) weak in the endgame.  Black has a coinflip choice between 13...a6 and 13...Qd7.
14.Rf2! 
The Rook will be used to dislodge the active Black Knight.
14...Nd3?
Understandably Black seeks activity, but this just allows White to gain time and exchange off his bad Bishop. 
15.Rd2 Nxc1 16.Qxc1 c6 17.Nh4!
White is after the e4 square and, as a bonus, exchanges off Black's one active piece.
17...Bg6 18.Nxg6 hxg6 19.Rd3 Rc8 20.Qc2 Nf5 21.Ne4  
  From here the White Knight dominates the Black position.
21...Be7
The d4 Pawn is taboo -- 21...Nxd4 22. Qc4 c5 23. Ba4+ Ke7 24. Nxc5
22.g4 Nh6
22...Nh4 was worth a try, but the Knight does little on h4, too.
23.h3 Ng8 24.g5 Rc7
Black's position is horribly entangled.  He cannot even try to get the Knight to d5 or f5 by 24...Bf8 25. Qd2 Ne7 when 26. Nd6+ is shattering.  
25.Bc4 Rd7 26.Kg2 Bf8
Once again, d4 is forbidden -- 26...Rxd4 27. Nd6+ Rxd6 28. exd6 Bf8 29. d7+ Ke7 30. Qf2
27.Rb3 Qc7
And again the Knight stays home -- 27...Ne7 28. Rxb7 Rxb7 29. Nd6+ Kd7 30. Nxb7
28.Qe2 Be7
The final meal could be 28...Rxd4 29, Rd1 Rxd1 30. Qxd1 Be7 31. Nd6+ Bxd6 32. exd6 Qd7 33. Bxa6 winning.  
29.Qe3 Kf8 30.Rb6 Rh4 31.Kg3 Rh7 32.Qb3 Rh8
The helplessness of Black's position is impressive.  The stage is set for a thunderous finish as Black’s queenside collapses.
33.Rc1 Qd8 34.Bxa6 Rd5 35.Rcxc6! 1–0 

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James Tracz, second in the 2006 GN only alphabetically, has been playing chess since 1979.

James, a corporate director for a major property development company in Cleveland, writes, “CC allows me to find the hidden possibilities of the position, which is not always the case with OTB play”.  He notes his true passion is studying opening theory and looking for that elusive TN.

How far can good research carry you in an important correspondence game?  Witness this game from the finals against the previous Golden Knights winner Abe Wilson.   Notes based on James Tracz’s.

CENTER COUNTER (B01)


Notes by James Tracz (abridged)
1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 Bf5 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bd2 c6
GM Eric Prie has recently played and analysed  7...Bb4 including a recent article in ChessBase Magazine 145.
8.Nd5 Qd8 9.Nxf6+ gxf6 10.Bb3 Nd7 11.Qe2 Qc7 12.Nh4 Bg6 13.0–0–0 0–0–0 14.g3 Kb8
 Moving the Black King is a good prophylactic move, because certain combinations involving Bxe6 no longer come with check. The main line used to be 14...Bd6 15.Nxg6 hxg6 16.h4 f5 17.Bg5 Rde8 18.h5 gxh5 19.Rxh5 with a slight advantage for White in Kasimdzhanov - Paapaioannou (Bled 2002).
 15.Kb1 Bd6 16.Nxg6 hxg6 17.h4 Rc8
Black's idea is to advance his c-pawn which the rook now supports. Another idea from a grandmaster game was 17...a6 18.c3 f5 19.Bg5 Rde8 20.h5 gxh5 21.Rxh5 Reg8 22.Rdh1 Rxh5 23.Rxh5 Ka8 24.a3 Nf8 25.Ka2 Ng6 26.Rh7 Nf8 27.Rh5 with a draw by repetition in Palac - Megaranto (Dresden 2008).  
18.h5 gxh5 19.Rxh5 f5
Limiting the scope of White's rook
20.Bg5 
The move  20.c4 was played in Manduch - Staroske (Correspondence 2006). Play continued with 20...Rxh5 21.Qxh5 Nf6 22.Qf3 Ka8 23.Bc2 Rh8 with a slight advantage for White.
20... f4 N
A novelty but not my idea. I'm following the analysis of GM Prie in his game against Edouard at Cap d'Agde in 2006.
21.gxf4 Bxf4 22.Qf3 Bxg5 23.Rxg5 Nb6
 GM Prie gives the move 23...c5 in the analysis of his game with Edouard, and really this was the idea behind putting the rook on the c8-square. However, I think that my move (Nb6) is an easier way to play the position.  24.Qxf7 is the variation GM Prie gives. It continues with (24.Rg7 was a move I was worried about. After 24...c4 25.Ba4 Nb6 26.Rxf7 Rh3 27.Qf6 Qd6 28.Qg7 White is very active on the 7th rank. (28.Bb5 a6 29.Re7 Nd5 30.Rxe6 Qb4) 28...Qd5 29.b3 Nxa4 30.bxa4) 24...c4 25.Ba4 Nb6 26.Qxc7+ Rxc7 27.b3 Rf7 and Black should able to hold the position.(I probably would have played27...Nxa4 28.bxa4 and then 28...Rf7).
24.Rdg1 a5
This was the idea behind my move 23 ... Nb6. The pawn push will drive back the active bishop.
 25.Rg7 Rcf8 26.a3 a4 ½–½

2006 Golden Knights Standings:
 
Michael Buss          41.70
James Tracz             41.70
Barry Endsley         41.25
Chris Torres             41.25
Abe Wilson              39.45
Chuck Cullum         38.95
Jan Jones                  35.00
Jan Jones                  34.65
Edward Addis         33.55  
Steven Chilson        33.40
Bleys Rose              32.25
Barry Walker          30.00
Steven Smith            29.55
Edward Addis          29.50
R. McLaughlin       28.30
Wesley Gales          27.25
John Walton             26.05
Robert Boles           25.10
Mark Robledo         24.90
James Ellis        `       24.55
William Perez           24.50
Peter Joseph            23.90
Barry Walker          22.75
Wayne Pressnall     22.60
Bruce Pommerening 21.15
Barry Walker           20.60
Mark Robledo         19.25
 
19th US CC Championship
 
After Morrow’s win over Carl Siefring it looked like a clear first finish, but IM Siefring ground out win after win to end up tied for first in the 19th  US Championship
 
Quote:  Paul Keres has largely developed as a master by means of correspondence chess -- Max Euwe, CCLA Bulletin 1937

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It is well-known that Bishops of Opposite color are a great drawing tool.  What is not so well known is that BOC make great attacking weapons as they virtually constitute an extra attacking piece.
 
ENGLISH OPENING (A30)


Black plays an innovation on Move 21 that looks good but Siefring starts an attack that persists into a distant endgame to score the point.  

Ruy Lopez  (C95)

 
 
FEBRUARY RESULTS
 
John Collins
    Jill Jaris                  12C16     5-1    
    Thomas Buchanan 13C15  6-0
 
Swift Quad
     John Galvin         13SQ17  6-0
     Brian Brzezinski  13SQ07  5-1
 
Walter Muir
            David Wright        14W01  4-2
            Matthew Bennett  14W05  6-0
 
If guns were allowed in postal play, this game would be a shoot-em up.

BENKO GAMBIT (A58)

  
This is a struggle from Move 1 to Move 71.

QUEEN’S PAWN GAME (D04)