Home Page arrow Chess Life Online arrow 2008 arrow September arrow Abby on the Atlantic
Abby on the Atlantic Print E-mail
By Abby Marshall   
August 28, 2008
Abby Marshall, Photo Elizabeth Vicary
I chose the Atlantic Open in DC to be the last stop in my three week long tour of the east coast, jumping from Philly to New Jersey to New York, and then taking a bus down to DC. The tournament started off well for me; I drew high school champ Daniel Yeager in the first round and beat a master in the second.


1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.e3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Nf6 6.Bd3 a6 7.cxd5 exd5 8.0–0 Bd6 9.dxc5 Bxc5 10.e4 d4 11.e5 dxc3 12.exf6 gxf6!?
12...Qxf6 13.Re1+ Kf8 (13...Be6? 14.Bg5; 13...Ne7? 14.b4!) 14.Bg5 looked miserable for me
13.Re1+ Be6 14.bxc3 Qd7 15.Qe2 0–0–0 16.Be4 Rhe8 17.Be3 Bxe3 18.fxe3 Bd5 19.Bxd5 Qxd5 20.Qf2 Qc4 21.Nd4 Ne5 22.Qxf6 Kb8!


I like this idea, getting the king to safety and chilling first cause all of Black's pieces are active and something should work but no rush.
23.Rad1 Ka8 24.Nf5 Rxd1 25.Rxd1 Qxc3 26.Rd8+?

Loses. 26.Qb6 is unclear.
 26...Ka7 27.Kf1 Rxd8 28.Qxd8 Qc1+

After the king moves I play 29...Qc2+ and win the knight. I am an expert in those kinds of positions, so he resigned. 0–1

So after round two I’m feeling pretty good. I had just come from the US Chess School and I found it grueling, hours of analyzing line after line, but could it have made the difference in my performance here?! One of the things I like about chess is that it is individual game so you get to make all the decisions like how much to analyze, which means I can be lazy if I want to, but maybe the camp sorta cured that weakness of mine and now my mind is trained to look for three candidate moves and analyze them each at least ten moves deep, keeping in mind: what would Joel say about this position?

OK, so I looked at the pairing sheet for the third round and see that I am playing Alex Shabalov. I was like, no way, he’s still at a wedding! I had heard that he was planning to come down Friday night to play the first round, then take a bye Saturday morning to go to this wedding and then play the rest of the games. I saw that he hadn’t played Friday night so I assumed he decided not to go. Anyway, people asked me what I was thinking since I’m about to play my first grandmaster. I didn’t know what to think except that I didn’t believe he would show up.

Of course Alex is there and I’m thinking oh man I’m gonna get crushed. All thoughts of that U2300 prize instantly evaporate. My only consolation was that for Alex, this was the first round....


 My comments on this game are based mainly on analyzing the game with Alex afterwards. Unfortunately I forgot a bunch of stuff, and also for help I'm using Fritz, which hates the Sveshnikov so says White is winning out of the opening. Anyway I'll do my best.
 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bg5 a6 8.Na3 b5 9.Bxf6 gxf6 10.Nd5 Bg7 11.c3 f5 12.Bd3
 When we were analyzing after the game, Alex said that I mixed up two systems. After 11.c3, the idea is to take on f5 and play Nc2-e3. With Bd3, the plan is to play c4 at some point (not wasting a tempo with c3)
 12...Be6 13.0–0 0–0 14.Nc2 Rc8
It seems strange now, but turns out that the rook is awkwardly placed here. Normally it wants to go to a7 to swing over to the kingside. 15.Nce3 fxe4 16.Bxe4 f5 17.Bb1?!
This was dumb. I got worried cause Bc2 would leave my knight on e3 with no squares. [17.Bc2 Ne7 (17...Qg5 18.f4 exf4 19.Nxf4 Black's pawns will fall; 17...f4 18.Qh5 h6 19.Qg6) 18.Bb3 This is correct with an interesting fight]
 17...Ne7 18.Nxe7+ Qxe7 19.a4 Qf7!?
I was worried most about this move. Now, taking on d6 looks way too scary, and I have more problems controlling d5
 20.axb5 f4 21.Nc2 axb5 22.f3 d5
22...Bb3 Alex said maybe this was correct. In the game the knight got to go to b4, which ended up a fantastic square.
 23.Nb4 Rfe8 24.Re1!

I want to stop him from playing Bf8-xb4. I felt good at this point cause Black is almost getting paralyzed
24...Kh8 25.Qd3 Bf6
25...Qg8 26.Ra7
 26.Ra6 Rc7

26...e4 27.fxe4 dxe4 28.Rxe4 Bf5 29.Rxf6! Alex asked me if I had calculated this. I hadn't. What amazed me the most is how much he calculates. He would show lines ten moves deep and then say "this is what I planned here and I thought White was better" and I'm like huh. Maybe I should work on this?
 27.Ba2 Rd7 28.Qxb5 e4!?
Black needs to do something, and now comes the critical moment for White.
29.Bxd5! Not exactly a difficult move to find. I dunno, sometimes you get scared and wait until everything is super clear. After Qc6 I'm lost. 29...Bxd5 29...Bxc3 30.Bxe6 Bd4+ 31.Kf1 Rxe6 32.Rxe6 Qxe6 33.Rxe4 30.Rxf6 Qxf6 31.Qxd7; 29.Rxe6 is also good.
 29...Bh4 I missed this
Loses immediately. 30.Rf1 Qg8 31.Qc5 Trying to get back to save the king 31...Bh3 This is slightly better (still awful though)]
30...Qg8 31.Rd2
31.Kh1 exf3 32.gxf3 Rg7 Ouch.
 31...exf3 32.Qb6 Rg7 33.Qd4 Bc8
I guess I was too upset to write down the rest of the moves legibly. I lost after a few more moves. 0–1

Well, the square c6 will be a sore spot in my mind for a while. It sucks that I came so close and then messed everything up, but I guess this makes chess no different from a lot of sports. For a recent example, in the Olympics an athlete can run a great race but one misstep and it’s over. Luckily chess players do not have to wait four years for the next big event.

The rest of the tournament for me wasn’t so hot. I lost like an idiot Sunday morning after missing a move in the opening and my opponent finished me off with good technique. My last round game was bizarre. I think I had a good position out of my favorite opening, the King’s Gambit, only to see it disintegrate to an awesome knight versus terrible bishop ending. My opponent had eighteen seconds to make two moves and reach time control. Meanwhile I’m preparing to defend this endgame, feeling bad for my dad who’s waiting outside and wants to start the long drive home. And then my opponent flags. I dunno how this happened; I looked over and saw his last second tick off and I’m a bit shocked to have won this way cause I can’t remember the last time I’ve won on time in a regular game.

This tourney wrapped up the end of my summer. Now I’m back home and I miss traveling, yet glad not to be living out of a suitcase. The next time you guys hear from me I’ll probably be in China for the World Mind Sport Games, so you can look forward to pictures of me unknowingly eating fried duck and struggling with chopsticks. Thanks to everyone who helped me on my East coast tour and I will hopefully see all of you soon, either at a tournament or in the JFK airport. 

Abby Marshall gained 22 points at the Atlantic Open and is now 2150, inching closer to the big 2200. Check out complete results and prizewinners.