USCF Home Chess Life Magazine 2014 March Kamsky & Dean-Kawamura Top Marchand Open
|Kamsky & Dean-Kawamura Top Marchand Open|
|By Josh Rofrano|
|March 13, 2014|
This past weekend was the 36th Marchand Open tournament. We hold the Marchand every year in Rochester, NY to honor the memory of Dr. Erich Marchand, who was a prolific author and player in his time.
This year we were fortunate to have what was the strongest field ever, with US champion Gata Kamsky playing as well as four other GM’s. GM Gata Kamsky tied for first with 4.5/5 points, along the way defeating GM Mikheil Kekelidze and drawing GM Aleksandr Lenderman. FM Ben Dean-Kawamura also scored 4.5/5 and defeated GM Kekelidze (more about this later).
The first round saw a young local player Jacob Chen playing in the first round against the current US Champion GM Gata Kamsky. What impressed me most about GM Kamsky was his professionalism. He wasn’t blitzing out the moves against the lower rated players he was sitting there, focusing, attempting to burrow into the heart of the positions. His focus is something that we should all be trying to emulate when we are playing against anyone regardless of their rating. Additionally the guy came dressed to the nines wearing a blue suit with a tie on the first day. Not only did he play superior chess, he was dressed better than the rest of us; needless to say we’ve got work to do.
The second round saw the first major upset of the tournament with Syracuse University student Tae Kim (2101) defeating GM Alexander Ivanov. The other GMs won their games with Gata showing his dominance in an old line of the Sicilian against a local expert. For those of you wondering I lost my game to my friend Matt Parry in a wild line where I was punished for leaving my King in the center (I haven’t quite figured out castling yet; the struggle is real).
The Marchand is one of those weekend tournaments where we cram twelve hours of chess in one day. You can see the fatigue by observing the players and it’s clear many have seen enough chess for one day. The five GM’s seemed fresh and won their games leaving GM Kamsky, GM Lenderman, GM Kekelidze, GM Paragua as the only players in the tournament with a perfect score. Perhaps I’m getting old but in this round in particular I felt especially exhausted and had a bad migraine from the previous game. My opponent played with a youthful vigor and obtained a good position out of the opening. I eventually won but not without some trepidation.
In the final round the top boards GM Kamsky (4.0) and GM Lenderman (3.5) played to a fighting draw (note: not the dreaded “GM” draw). GM Paragua (3.5) drew with FM Nikolayev(3.5), GM Ivanov (3.0) defeated his opponent and FM Ben Dean-Kawamura (3.5) defeated GM Kekelidze (3.0). There was a tense struggle with Dean-Kawamura playing Black in a complicated Kings Indian. Their game was the last to finish and with Kekelidze having 3/4 and Ben having 3.5/4 both players were pushing for a win. A few of us were discussing the game outside and a few strong players believed that GM Kekelidze could hold a draw (down an exchange) but that he would likely be pushing for a win. Ben had only five or six minutes on his clock to Kekelidze’s 20+ and the position was unclear.
As we discussed the game I learned a new Russian word/phrase: “Zeitnotchik”. Zeitnotchik comes from the German word “Zeitnot” which means “time trouble/pressure” by appending the Russian suffix “chik/chick” we get “Guy who gets into time trouble”. If I were to use it in a sentence I could say, “Walter Browne Zeitnotchik” which would roughly translate as, “Walter Browne is a guy who gets into time trouble”. In some time pressure GM Kekelidze grabbed a pawn he should not have and Ben was able to win a minor piece so Kekelidze resigned. This win catapulted FM Dean-Kawamura into shared first with GM Gata Kamsky. Quite a dramatic finish; here is the game with FM Ben Dean-Kawamura’s annotations:
GM Kekelidze, Mikheil--FM Dean-Kawamura, Ben
I went into this last round game with a score 3.5/4. However, I didn’t have high hopes of winning a prize since I was paired against a strong grandmaster. My main goal was just to get a decent position out of the opening and play a good game. One important thing to note is that Kekelidze only had 3 points and only a win would earn him prize money for the tournament.
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Be2 O-O 6. Bg5 Na6 7. f4
White plays an enterprising line of the Averbakh. I could only vaguely remember the theory at this point and chose a move that doesn’t have a great reputation.
7... Qe8 8. Nf3 e5 9. fe5 de5 10. d5
White gets a big space advantage and prepares to castle. At this point I knew that I needed to play actively to avoid being squeezed out of the game.
This discourages castling because after Nf4 I can pick up the bishop pair. Also it removes some pressure from the f-file because my knight won’t be a target there.
11. Qd2 Nf4
One thing I did well this game was playing actively and posing problems for my opponent. Black should be able to get back the pawn if white takes the knight, but in any case I was happy to get rid of his dark squared bishop and open up the long diagonal for mine.
White plays to keep all of his advantages, but I think this move might be a bit too slow. [=12. Bf4 ef4 13. Qf4 Nc5 14. e5 Nd7 15. O-O Ne5 16. Rae1]
Boris Alterman chose to play this way and eventually won the game against a lower rater opponent. I think black should have decent chances from this position though.
12... h6 13. Bh4 g5 14. Bg3 Qe7
At this point I was very happy about the result of the opening. My knight is nicely planted on f4 and it’s difficult for white to castle.
15. Bc2 Qc5 16. b3 Bg4
Continuing to try to keep white’s king in the center and setting up a nice cheapo which my opponent missed.
[17. Bf2 Qa5! 18. O-O? Qc3!] White's best move might be [17. O-O-O!? I thought I could get some play against his king there. I also thought I could play as in the game but missed that 17... Ng2 18. Qg2 Qe3 19. Qd2 Qf3 fails big time after 20. Rhf1]
17... Ng2 18. Ke2
18. Qg2 Qe3and black is getting back the piece with interest.
18... Nf4 19. Bf4 ef4
I now had an advantage which I was totally unprepared for. I start making some bad decisions based on the fear of losing from this position. I see the g and h files getting open and then me getting mated in some embarrasing fashion. I also only have 30 minutes for the rest of the game while my Kekelidze has an hour. So I go into panic mode and play to win a modest amount of material and go into a endgame. There is a lot wrong with this strategy but the main issue is that I don't actually rid myself of any complications. [19... gf4 20. h5 Kh8 21. Rag1 Bf3 22. Kf3 Bf6] My king is more-or-less safe and I have a clear path to getting my pieces active and then attacking the white king.
20. hg5 Qe3?
A bad mistake. I saw that this forces the queen trade and wins the exchange because of the pressure along the long diagonal. However, white gets very good compensation. I should have trusted myself and went with one of my other candidate moves. [20... h5 21. Na4 Qe7 22. Raf1 c6] Black's king is safe and white's is in trouble. [20... Qa5 21. Rh6 Qc3 22. Qc3 Bc3] Similar to the game continuation, but here I'm up a full piece.
21. Qe3 fe3 22. Nb5 Ba1 23. Ra1 hg5 24. Rg1 Bf3 25. Kf3 f6 26. e5
At this point I realize that this was far from a simple win. Black is up the exchange, but white’s pieces are super active while blacks are not coordinating well at all. White has a nice central majority while black’s kingside pawns are weak. I need to get some activity so I play to get my rooks working along the h-file.
26... Kg7 27. Ke3 Rh8 28. Nd4 Rh3
28... Rae8 This was the most accurate move here because it avoids the drawing line that will pop up in a few moves.
29. Kd2 Rah8 30. Bf5
30. Ne6 Kf7 31. Rf1 This basically forces a draw because of the odd double attack on my kingside pawns. 31... Rh2 32. Kc3 R2h6 33. Ng5 Kg7 34. Ne6 Kf7
This repetition would have been the logical conclusion to the game. However, a draw was not what my opponent was going for. He may have even seen this line and discarded it. Instead he goes for complications.
30... Rh2 31. Kc3 fe5
At this point I was pretty sure that I could win the game. My rooks are active and I couldn’t see any way to successfully attack my king. However, I was still scared that my opponent would uncork some brilliancy that I missed. Also we were getting down to our last 5-10 minutes on the clock.
32. Rg5 Kf6 33. Ne6
33. Rg6 Kf7 34. Ne6 Looks scary but I have a very nice reply 34... R8h3 35. Bh3 Rh3 36. Kd2 Rh2 37. Ke3 Kg6
After sitting on the side of the board for 33 moves the knight comes into play to nice effect. White has no way to protect all of his pieces.
34. Nc5 Kg5 35. Bd7 b6 36. Ne6 Kf6 37. Nc7 R2h7
This seals the game. If 38. Ne8+ Ke7 wins White's last 2 pieces. 0-1
In addition to his richly annotated game Ben added this postscript:
Obviously I was very happy with this game. It was my first win against a grandmaster and it earned me a nice finish. However, if I reflect a bit more I realize I got lucky because of the tournament situation.
The lesson I hope to take away from this game is to play based on the needs of the position, not out of the fear that my opponent will play better in a sharp position. After all, a strong opponent can outplay you in an endgame as easily as a middlegame. If someone is stronger than me, I definitely don’t need to do them the favor of playing a move that I think is sub-optimal but “safe” (20… Qe3?).
FM Igor Nikolayev also annotated his last round game as well:
GM Paragua, Mark---FM Nikolayev, Igor
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 ed4 4. Nd4 Qf6
My pet way to deter the 4... Bc5 5. Nb3 line. It leaves the c7 pawn unprotected though, but Black is okay in all tactical encounters there. 5... Qf6]
5. Be3 Bc5 6. c3 Nge7 7. Bc4 Ne5 8. Be2 d6 9. O-O Qg6
One may be surprised that my knowledge of the book ended on move 7. ..Ne5. This is why the last two moves and related calculations took me about half an hour. But when you play a GM well known for his attacking style, in such a position, you better off be good at calculations earlier. Otherwise soon there will be already nothing to calculate.
10. f3 O-O 11. Kh1 Kh8 12. Nd2
This move was made quickly... I was curious about [12. f4!? Qe4 13. Nd2! Qe3 14. Nc2 Ng4! 15. Ne3 Ne3 16. Qb3 Nf1 17. Rf1 Nf5] It seems Black is okay here.
12... f5!? 13. f4 Ng4!?
Leads to a comfortable endgame for White. [14. ef5? Nf5 15. Nf5 Be3] with an advantage for Black
14... Qg4 15. Qg4 fg4 16. Nc2 Be3 17. Ne3 Bd7
White is better but not much. And in the long run I liked my bishop. Plus, keep in mind my potential time trouble. Then you’ll understand that I was satisfied to get this kind of endgame. Black has the only weakness - his g4 pawn. But 1) it easy to defend so far and, 2) there are scenarios with this bishop when this pawn is very useful.
18. c4 Ng6 19. g3 Rae8 20. Rae1 Rf7!
I’m proud of this move. Soon you’ll see why.
21. Kg1 h5 22. Nd5 Bc6
And the c7 pawn is protected. The first goal of my 20th move.
23. Nb3 Nf8!
Vital resorce to hold this position. And it explains the 2nd goal of my 20th move.
24. Nd4 Ne6 25. Ne6
On [25. Nc6 bc6 26. Nc3 Nd4!? (26... Rfe7) is good too. 27. Rd1 Nf3 28. Kg2 g5 29. f5 Kg7] Black has good counterplay.
25... Re6 26. e5!
A good move. White's dilemma is that must consolidate quickly. For example [26. b3 Kh7 27. Re3 g5!? (27... b5!?) is another active option. 28. f5 Re5 29. Kf2 Bd5 30. cd5 c6 31. dc6 bc6 32. Ke2 Rfe7] And Black has nothing to worry about
The most accurate reaction and the third goal of my 20th move, and quite aggressive too. [26... de5? 27. fe5 Rf1 28. Kf1] would give White big advantage.
Only [27. Nb4 Bf3 28. Nd3] would allow my opponent, not real winning chances but rather a symbolic edge and opportunity to play this game for longer.
Now it’s Black who is slightly better.
With a draw offer which I accepted. White should be able to hold a rook endgame a pawn down: [28. Re5 g6 29. Rd1 but not (29. f5? Bd5 30. cd5 Rd5 31. Rd5 Rd5 32. fg6 Kg7! 33. Rf7 Kg6 34. Rc7 Rd1 35. Kf2 Rd2 36. Ke3 Rb2 37. a4 a5) which still should be a draw but difficult one. 29... b5 30. b3 Bb7 31. Rc1 bc4 or (31... Bd5 32. cd5 Rd5 33. Rc6! Re5 34. fe5 Kg7 35. Kf1 Kh6 36. Rc5 Rd1 37. Ke2 Ra1 38. Rc7 Ra2 39. Ke3) 32. bc4 Bd5 33. cd5 Rd5 34. Rd5 Rd5 35. Rc7 Rd1 36. Kf2 Rd2 37. Ke3 Ra2 38. Kd4]
Finally here is a game from Dr. Marchand that has probably never been seen before as it has been buried within his score books (I’m sure there are tons more gems waiting to be unearthed):
I had a great time playing this year and it was nice to see my friends from all around New York come out to support Rochester’s biggest tournament. A big thanks to all the GM’s who showed up and participated. Hopefully we’ll see you all of you next year at the 37th Annual Marchand Open!
Josh Rofrano is a chess player and rating point philanthropist currently living in Rochester, NY. He frequently travels the mid-Atlantic region donating money and rating points to area tournaments. He is also the General Secretary and President for Life of the blog lifezugzwang.com where he writes about avoiding life zugzwang and gives mediocre movie reviews.