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Lenderman Dominates the Marshall Chess Club Championship Print E-mail
December 21, 2009
Now with four GM norms, Alex Lenderman, Photo IM Irina Krush
The snowstorm did not stop the action at the 93rd Marshall Chess Club Championship & Edward Lasker Memorial. GM-elect Alex Lenderman dominated the event, held over two weekends, Dec.11-13 and Dec.19-20. He scored 7.5/9, a full point and a half ahead of the rest of the field. Lenderman's result was all the more remarkable since he encountered a round six pitfall, losing to GM Michael Rohde. (making for seven wins, one loss and one draw!) Lenderman took the Marshall Chess Championship title, $2000 as well as his fourth GM norm. Lenderman was expected to get the GM title earlier this year, but due to a technicality with one of his norms, his title was delayed.
Lenderman told CLO, "I was obviously happy with my performance but I still felt my game was lacking in accuracy of tactical variations and finding the right move in tough decisions. However I had good determination and I was fighting and playing every game for the win."  

A well-shoveled but snowy entrance to the Marshall Chess Club, Photo Irina Krush 

Lenderman's wins included a final round miniature against GM Leonid Yudasin. "Without a doubt my favorite game of the tournament." There was some confusion over colors in this game. If Lenderman got white, he'd have three whites in a row (but a balanced five-four tally for the tournament), while giving Yudasin white would give him a total of five whites and three blacks (he had one bye). Regardless, playing the black pieces didn't turn out so badly for Lenderman...


Lenderman's lone draw of the tournament was a long fight for the full point against GM Robert Hess.


And here is the sixth round loss that threatened to ruin his tournament:


Alex rebounded with an exciting win over IM Irina Krush.


Irina told CLO, " I saw a variation where one of his main options is to sack his queen for two pieces and make my king awkward on h6. I evaluated it as =. Which it should be but I made a really awful move...19...Rfd8, totally missing an idea he has (I saw it after I made the move), which let him win a bunch of material back. The endgame where he has R+N+3 pawns vs queen....was just bad for Black."
After 21.Bg7, can you see what Lenderman would have done if Irina played ...Rxd1?

White to Move and win

Show Solution

Lenderman-Krush, Final position

The final position can also lead to some pretty mates. For instance, Kg7 Nh5+ Kg6 Rg8+ Kh6 g5+ Kxh5 g4 mate.

Irina Krush and Alex Lenderman

Despite a disappointing 2nd weekend, Irina could be happy with her fifth round win over GM Sergey Kudrin (annotated below by Irina herself.) You're not experiencing deja vu, Irina did defeat Kudrin on the white side of the Grunfeld at the National Chess Congress.


1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Bg5 Ne4 5.Bh4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 dxc4 7.e3 Be6 8.Nf3 c6

In our previous game, Sergey had played 8...Bg7.
9.Be2 Bg7 10.0–0 b5 11.a4 h6!?
Sergey's original take on the position. Black cuts out Nf3-g5 ideas once and for all. So I turned to another standard idea for White in this line.
12.e4!? 0–0 13.h3

A prophylactic move against ...Bg4. For example, after the direct 13.axb5 cxb5 14.d5 Bg4! 15.Nd4 Bxd4 16.cxd4 Bxe2 17.Qxe2 I didn't really believe in White's position. It's sharp, but I thought that with correct play the chances lay more on Black's side.
I had seen this typical Grunfeld thrust as an idea for Black, so it didn't surprise me when Sergey played it, but it wasn't my first choice for Black.  I was thinking about 13...Bc8 ; of course it's not so attractive to undevelop pieces, but the idea is to be able to play ...Nd7.
14.exf5 Bxf5 15.Re1
Position after 15.Re1

A very natural, lazy move, which even sets up a not too discreet threat: Bxe7 followed by Bxc4+. After he answered with ...g5, I really regretted not spending more time on the critical position on move 15. If I'd gone deeper into the position, I might have examined something like 15.axb5!? cxb5 16.Ne5! (I had a built in prejudice against this kind of move, since it looks like it allows a trade of queens, and being down a pawn, I didn't think I could ever afford playing into an endgame). But here the point is that White tries to make use of the h1–a8 diagonal. 16...Bxe5 (16...Be4 17.Qe1!; 16...a6 17.Bf3 Ra7 18.Re1 a much improved version of the game for White.) 17.Bf3 (17.dxe5 Nc6 18.Bf3 Rc8 19.Bd5+ Kg7 20.Bxc6 Rxc6 21.Qxd8 Rxd8 22.Bxe7 Ra8 somehow Rybka assesses this ending as better for White. I guess the e+f pawns will be more mobile thn Black's queenside pawns after White pushes g4-f4.) 17...Bxd4 18.cxd4 Nd7 19.Bxa8 Qxa8 20.Bxe7 Rf7 21.Bb4 this also looks preferable for White, but still very unclear.
15...g5 16.Bg3 Nd7
Here I thought for a while, the position looked 'critical' to me. I felt that White had to play very energetically not to be worse. Black has ideas of Nf6-e4/d5.
I also considered 17.Nh2 (with the idea of Bf3) but the retreat from the center gives Black 17...e5! (17...Nf6 18.Bf3 Nd5 19.Bxd5+ Qxd5 20.axb5 cxb5 21.Rxe7) ; 17.Nd2
This came as a surprise. My main line went: 17...g4 18.Nh2 h5 19.f3 Nf6 (19...gxf3 20.Bxf3 and I thought White was doing well here) 20.fxg4 Ne4 21.gxf5 Nxg3 and the move I was looking at here (I'm sure I would have considered others once I reached this position) was 22.Bxh5 with the idea of Qg4 next; it looked playable enough so that's when I decided I had enough reason to play 17.h4.
18.hxg5 hxg5 19.Qc1 Bf6
I was thinking more about 19...g4 20.Nh2 Nf6 and here I saw 21.Bh4! and I thought White was better.
20.Nh2 Nb6 21.axb5
21.Ng4 Nxa4
 21...cxb5 22.Ng4 Bg7?

Another surprise for me; I didnt think Black had time for such retreats. Black had to play 22...a6 23.Bf3 Ra7 (23...Nd5 24.Bxd5 Qxd5 25.Nxf6+ Rxf6 26.Qxg5+ Rg6 27.Qh4 Rg4 28.Qh5) 24.Be5 Bxe5 25.Rxe5; 22...Nd5? 23.Ra6
23.Bf3 Nd5
I was expecting 23...a5 24.Bxa8 Nxa8 which is very good for White, but still more tricky to win than the game. (24...Qxa8 25.Qxg5+-)
I didn't see any defense for Black (to the threat of Rd6).
24...Rf7 25.Rd6 Rd7 26.Rxd7 Qxd7 27.Qxg5
25.Bxg4 Nf4 26.Bxf4 gxf4 27.Rexe6!
Position after 27.Rexe6

27.Bxe6+ Kh8 and black's queen comes to defend from g5.
27...Qh4 28.Rg6!
28.Bf3 Rae8 29.Qe1 Rxe6 30.Qxe6+ Kh8 31.Rxa7 of course this looked good for me, but it seemed less clear than the game (Black can hold by moving his queen from f6-h6). I thought I could maximize my advantage by not trading any rooks.
28...Kh8 29.g3!
Position after 29.g3

A cute little move.
29...fxg3 30.Rh6++-
30.Qf1! same idea as my move (getting the queen to the h-file) but so much less messy than the game.
I spent some time looking at this position before playing 30.Kg2 and decided I could allow it.
31.Bxf3 Rxf3 32.Kxf3 b4!?
A good practical chance; the point is that if I take the pawn, Black's bishop can come into the game with ...Bxd4. [32...Qb7+ 33.Rgc6 Rc8 34.Qe3! Rxc6 35.Qe8++-]
33.cxb4 Rf8+ 34.Kg2 Qe4+ (34...Rxf2+ 35.Kxf2 Bxd4+ 36.Kf1+-) 35.Kg1 Rxf2
Analysis after 35...Rf2

This is the idea of ...b4. Somehow, i got kind of nervous about this position 36.Rh6+ Kg8 37.Qxc4+ Rf7 I think I reached this position, and didn't see how strong Rf6 is. 38.Raf6 so it turns out I could have just taken that pawn!
33...Kg8 34.Kg4 Qd7+ 35.Kh4 Rf8 36.Qc6!
A good time pressure move
36...Qxc6 37.Rgxc6 b3 38.Rxa7 Rb8 (38...b2 39.Rb7+-) 39.Rg6 (39.Ra1 wins too) 39...b2 40.Rgxg7+ Kf8 41.Rh7 Kg8 42.Rag7+ Kf8 43.Rh8+ Kxg7 44.Rxb8+-
37.Kh3 Rxf2 38.Qxc4+ Kh7 39.Qe6 Qxe6+ 40.Rgxe6 bxc3 41.Rxa7 c2 42.Rc7 Rd2 43.Rec6 Rxd4 44.Rxc2 Rd6 45.R2c4 Rh6+ 46.Rh4
Krush-Kudrin, Final position


Magesh Panchanathan defeated Michael Rohde and Sergey Kudrin and rounds seven and eight, giving him a chance for clear second in the final round.


In the final game, GM Robert Hess, who celebrated his 18th birthday last Saturday, took Magesh with a nice middlegame tactic: 
White to Play and Win

Show Solution


Hess's win created a four-way tie for 2nd-5th place, with six points each: GMs Robert Hess, Magesh Panchanathan, Michael Rohde and Rashad Babaev.  

Aleksandr Ostrovskiy and Jay Bonin shared Under 2400+2300 honors, and Alexander Ross Katz took the Under 2200 prize. See complete standings on the Marshall Chess Club website.
Photo Gallery by Irina Krush


Marshall Chess Club president Dr. Frank Brady and Life Master Larry Tamarkin

Last round fatigue, Jay Bonin and Evan Rabin,

GMs Hess and Panchanathan analyze as GM Babaev looks on.
The Marshall Chess Club backyard iced with a foot of snow.