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Four-Way Tie at Bradley Open Print E-mail
By GM Michael Rohde   
August 12, 2008
GM Michael Rohde,
Photo Jennifer Shahade 2007
It was another weekend at the office for GM Sergei Kudrin and GM Alexander Ivanov, as they tied for first along with IM Marlo Micayabas, and myself at the Bradley Open, August 8-10. Each of us scored 4-1 and received $500 for our efforts. The Bradley Open was held at the Sheraton Hotel at Bradley Airport, just north of Hartford, CT. Current Grand Prix standings show Kudrin in second place and Ivanov in third, so both gained ground on the leader GM Mark Paragua, who has been cleaning up lately in New York City.

Continental Chess Association offered both a 3-day and a 2-day schedule for this event, and all the GMs opted for the 2-day, which had a faster time control for rounds 1 and 2. In round 2 I lost to Kudrin, but in round 3, Kudrin gave up a draw to talented New Jersey teenager Andrew Ng, and then in round 4, Kudrin and Ivanov drew. The pairings for Round 5 were Ivanov - Micayabas (both had 3.5), Max Enkin - Kudrin (both with 3) and Rohde - John Riddell (we both had 3). Kudrin prevailed as Black with a queenside attack in a Qxd4 Sicilian; Ivanov got into his famous time pressure as White in a Scheveningen Sicilian against Micayabas but bailed into a draw, and I had a wild game against John Riddell, a very experienced master from Westchester County in New York:


1.Nf3 c5 2.c4 Nc6 3.d4
On a move like 3 Nc3, then White is headed to the closed symmetrical English after 3 ... g6 as 4 d4 cxd4 5 Nxd4 Bg7 and he cannot get to the Maroczy Bind.
3...cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.e4 Bg7

The other line is 5 ... Nf6 6 Nc3 Nxd4 7 Qxd4 d6 8 Bg5 Bg7, etc.
6.Be3 Nf6 7.Nc3 Ng4
 7 ... d6 8 Be2 (after which 8 ... Ng4?? becomes impossible due to 9 Bxg4! Bxg4 10 Nxc6!) is the main line of the Accelerated Dragon. This is a sharp alternative.
8.Qxg4 Nxd4
Not 8 ... Bxd4 9 Bxd4 Nxd4 10 O-O-O and the White king is safe on the queenside as there is no fianchettoed bishop.
9.Qd1 Ne6
Black can also stake out a more direct dark-square presence with 9 ... e5.
In their book "Accelerated Dragons", Donaldson and Silman state that White can often dispense with this move and therefore 10 Rc1 is more accurate.
10...Qa5 11.Rc1
It is also possible to simply play 11 Bd3 here, daring Black to play 11 ... Bxc3, but I had a bad experience with doubled c-pawns (in a different setting) against Kudrin in round 2.
 Dynamic, but first 11 ... d6 is much more solid. Donaldson and Silman like 11 ... b6! to start pressurizing the e4 square.

Position after 12.Be2

There were many ideas here to try to take advantage of Black's positionally motivated (i.e., to control dark squares and stop f2-f4) but highly committal last move. 12 Qd5, to cut off the Black queen, runs into 12 ... Bxc3+ 13 Rxc3 Qxa2, and if 12 c5, then 12 ... b6. I preferred the text over 12 Bd3 mostly to make sure that h2-h4 could not be answered by g5-g4.
 Too much of a good thing. Better was 12 ... d6.
Logical-looking, but White is better off not making any kingside commitments. 13 c5 was a clear advantage, as Black would have to make a weakness to complete his development.
13...h6 14.c5 Kf8
 A strong move under the circumstances as Black dodges any potential checks via Nc3-d5-c7, thereby making an issue of the pawn on c5. Now, if the moves 13 h4 and h6 had been omitted, White could simply castle with a great game, but instead, the kingside and h-file have been drawn into conflict.
Long think, wrong think, as I tried to develop a forcing continuation leading to an attack, but really it is just unclear. Not 15 Qd5 Nf4! when 16 Qxe5 Nxg2+ works. The right way was simply 15 b4, as 15 ... a5 16 bxa5! is dangerous for Black with White envisioning Nc3-d5-b6. 15...Nxc5 16.f4
Highly weakening, but I wanted to take e5 away from Black's bishop in the ensuing variations.
 16...gxf4 17.gxf4 Qd6 18.Bxc5
Instead, 18 Qxd6 exd6 19 e5 b6! is just not very convincing for White.
18...Qxc5 19.Nd5 Qd4
 The critical position. In my calculations, I had been trying to work out whether 20 Qc2 or 20 Qa5, each with the threat of mate, would be strong here.
Position after 20. Qc2

 On 20 Qa5, in addition to the unclear 20 ... Bf6, Black has 20 ... b6! 21 Qxa7 (designed to be a crowning blow) Qxb2! (simply attacking White's rook and then if for example 22 Rc7, then 22 ... Bc3+! makes an escape square after which Black can take White's queen) 22 Qxb6!! (now White's threats would be too strong after 22 ... Qxc1+?  23 Kf2 Bd4+ 24 Qxd4), but then Black can simply play 22 ... Bb7 with strong bishops.
 Instinctively good-looking as it stops the mate and tries to dislodge the White center, but it falls into a trap. Mandatory was 20 ... Bf6 and then Black is better, as 21 Nc7, which was my original intention, with the idea 21 ... Rb8? 22 e5 and if 22 ... Bg7 23 Nb5, or if 22 ... Qb4+ 23 Kd1 Bg7 24 Nd5, but the problem is 21 Nc7 runs into 21 ... Rg8!! threatening 22 Nxa8 Rg1+! with 23 Rxg1 Bxh4+. Therefore, 20 ... Bf6 would have to be answered with something very obscure like 21 Nxf6 Qxf6 22 Rh3 or 22 e5, or 21 Qc7. 
21.Qxc8+ Rxc8 22.Rxc8+ Kf7 23.Bh5+ Ke6 24.Nc7+
The Black queen drops with check after 24 ... Kd6 25 Nb5+ or 24 ... Kf6 e5+. 1–0

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complete results and prize payouts at the Bradley Open and look for more from GM Michael Rohde from the New York State Championship.


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