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Amateur Team North: Touch Move Team Tops and Trevor Annotates Print E-mail
By Alex Betaneli   
February 19, 2010
The venue of the North leg of the United States Amateur Team Championship was truly marvelous. As the players checked into the Crowne Plaza Hotel by Milwaukee Airport, they were treated to comfortable sleeping rooms, fantastically friendly and helpful staff, and even a special chess menu at the restaurant! No one felt cramped in the playing halls and every detail that depended on the hotel was duly attended to. For instance, some players were annoyed by the squeaky noise of the entrance door and the organizers went to the front desk to ask what could be done about the problem. By the time they were back to the playing room, someone was already oiling the door!

As Milwaukee hosted this event for the third straight year, one could clearly tell that the event is gaining in popularity: there are more teams from different states and the teams are getting stronger. Twenty three teams in the open sections were joined by 13 teams in the one-day scholastic section and Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa and Indiana were all well represented.

After five rounds only one team stood in first position with 4.5 out of 5 match points. Pinoy of Chicago: I Love www.tmchesscenter.com of Chicago was victorious. The team is named after the Touch Move Chess Center website (open  link to find out more about their services and hear a Whitney Houston anthem!) Below is a picture of the happy winners (IM Angelo Young, NM Camilo Pangan, Floren Inumerable, Rene Ancheta and Virgilio Forro).

The winning team at the US Amateur Team North, Photo Ashish Vaja
Chicago Industrial Chess League (NM Steve Tennant, NM Mariano Acosta, NM Len Weber, Anastasya Antipova, and Dmitri Sergatskov) took second place on tie-breaks over the best u1900 finisher R3P0 (Richard Martin, Paul Fricano, Ryan Jayne, Roman Kuperman) with both teams finishing with 4 out of 5.

As a testimony to the strength of the tournament, one can note that the lowest rated board one was a 1700+ player! Two Grandmasters formed competitive teams. GM Gurevich led his team of students with a great name of Sam's Club (GM Dmitry Gurevich, Sam Schmakel, Apurva Virkud, Eddie Mc Dougal, and Douglas Baird). The famous "Yerminator" was part of the Peasant from Midwest (GM Alex Yermolinksy, FM Alex Betaneli, NM Erik Santarius, Henry Vander Hill) and with the highest three boards this team appeared impossible to beat. This indeed proved to be true as the Peasants refused to lose a match, but they also did not win enough of them (only two in fact) to compete for the very top honors. Only Wisconsin State Champion Erik Santarius lived up to his high rating expectation and finished the perfect score. One has to wonder if the team should been named differently!

trevor200.jpgThe story won't be complete without mentioning the outstanding accomplishment of Trevor Magness. Two years ago he was part of the winning team and went perfect on the last board. This time around, Trevor wanted to play the strongest competition available and was the captain of his own team U-Knighted (Trevor Magness, Neil Gleason, Troy Zimmermann, and Eric Rokni). He started by defeating the highest rated board one and never looked back! As he turned in a perfect score, Trevor crossed the 2200 barrier and became the newest American master. Trevor's parents and his coach GM Yury Shulman must be beaming with pride! Here is his victory with annotations:

1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.Nf3 Bg4 5.Be2 e6 6.0–0 Be7 7.c4 Nb6 8.Nc3 0–0 9.Be3 a5 10.exd6 cxd6 11.a4


As far as I know from a quick database check, this is a new move. Hoping to play Qb3 without worrying about a4, it does not seem to be too bad nor anything special.
11...Bxf3 12.Bxf3 Nxc4 13.Bxb7 Ra7 14.Be4
anticipating d5 and transfering the bishop to a better diagonal. The bishop would not have very much to do on f3.
14...d5 15.Bd3 Nxe3

15...Nxb2 16.Bxh7+ Kxh7 17.Qc2+ Kg8 18.Qxb2 would have offered White good chances after Nb5 and Rfc1. White is probably better here.
Pinning down the e3 pawn to attack, but also leaving a weakness on e6 which will become quite tender if White ever mangages to penetrate on the c6 square. 16...Bg5 looks stronger. White cannot defend the pawn from b3 yet, and so must waste a move with 17.Rf3 or Re1. Then Black  could try f5, though Nc6, targeting the d4 pawn, looks fine too. 17...f5 (17...Nc6) ; 16...Nd7 hoping to make use of the c4 square also looks good. White can control this square with b3, but then Black  gets a weakness on c3 to work with. 17.e4 dxe4 18.Bxe4 Nf6 does not look at all dangerous for Black , so I don't think he has to worry about pinning the e3 pawn down.
17.Qb3 Nc6
The knight is heading for the b4 square, but I'm not sure that the knight does a whole lot from there. 17...Bg5!?; 17...Nd7 might have been stronger, again aiming to fight for the c4 square via b6, although now White could try 18.Nxd5!? exd5 19.Qxd5+ Kh8 20.Rxf5 with interesting compensation.
The b5 square is a nice outpost, but the knight would not coordinate very well with the rest of the pieces there. The b5 square belongs to the d3 bishop, where it will help fight for the contol of the c6 square - the knight transfers to f4 to attack e6, and potentially e5 to occupy c6.
18...Qd6 19.Rac1
The f-rook remains on f1 to support the f4 square.
19...Bg5 20.Bb5
Now White dosen't have to depart from his plan to defend his e3 pawn.
20...Qb4 would have been met by 21.Qc3! and Black  has achived nothing, while White's plan continues. The queen trade would help White more than Black  if anything thanks to White's coming penetration down the c-file.(21.Qxb4? Bxe3+)
White's pieces are now all placed on good squares. White next plan involves penetrating down the c-file, by Rc3 or c5, g3 (to protect the f4 knight), and then Rc1, when White would be better. Black  needs to find a plan of his own, but this is not the easiest thing to do.
Black plans to play Rg7, followed by Bxg4 and g5. [21...e5 cannot be played because of 22.Nxd5 Nxd5 23.Rc6! a) I confess that I had not seen the move 23.Rc6 and was instead planning 23.Rc5 Bxe3+ (23...Rd8 24.Rxd5 Qxd5 25.Bc4 Bxe3+ 26.Kh1 Qxc4 27.Qxc4+ Kh8 28.dxe5 and White should win.) 24.Kh1 Bxd4 25.Rxd5 However, this fails to Black 's move 25...Qb4! White turns out okay after 26.Qxb4 axb4 27.Bc4 Kh8 28.Rxf5 but he hardly has more than a small advantage.; b) 23.Bc4? would block the rook's passage to c5 and would thus fail. 23...Rd8; 23...Bxe3+ (23...Qd8 24.Rc5 Bxe3+ 25.Kh1 Kh8 (25...Bxd4 26.Rxd5 and White wins material.) 26.Rxd5 and White wins a pawn.) 24.Kh1 Qb4 25.Qxd5+ Kh8 26.dxe5 and White's position is dominating.
 22.Rc5 e5 is now out of the question. White also prepares an invasion down the c-file.
 22...Rg7 23.Qc3!
An important move to find. g3 would be slower and would provide Black  with a target on the kingsdide to hit it with f4. 23.g3 Bxf4 24.exf4 g5 and Black  has good play in the event of an exchange on g5, while White is not any closer to his queenside objectives. Perhaps White should just play Kh1 here.
23...Bxf4 24.exf4
This allows Black  to open the g-file, but also opens up the e-file to target the e6-pawn and keeps the f-file more closed.
Continuing with the plan. However, now White will be able to penetrate to c7. Black  probably needed to find something other than Bxf4 or g5.
25.fxg5 Rxg5 26.Rc7 Rf7
Trading off White's active rook, but not solving the problem of the c-file.
27.Rxf7 Kxf7 28.Rc1
White is now threatening Qc7+ trading off queens, when White would reach a great endgame with the a5 pawn soon coming off the board.
Black  brings the king into the center in preparation for the exchange of queens. Now in the event of Qc7 Black  could trade queens and play e5, gaining a dangerous passed pawn in the center of the board along with a centralized king.
Threatening Rc7 again, while also targeting the e6 pawn. 29.Qc7 Qxc7 30.Rxc7 e5 31.dxe5+ Kxe5 and Black 's passed pawn will be doing more than any passed pawns that White hopes to acquire. Black  has good counterplay here.
Black  stops the rook penetration and is now ready to counterstrike with Qf4. However, White has a key move at his disposal.
Tying the queen down to the defense of the e6 pawn. Black  is running out of active prospects, with a tied down queen and a marooned knight on b4.
30...h5 31.h4
 It was tough to willingly weaken the g3 square, but this move is important in taking away the g5 square from the Black  king. White's next move will be Re5, keeping Black  from penetrating to f4 or g3. [31.Qh8 Qf4 would lead nowhere. 31.Re5 Qb6 (31...Rc7 32.Qh8+) 32.Qf8+ Rf7 33.Qh6+ (33.Qh8+ Kg6 34.Qg8+ Kf6 and White sure would like to have that g5 square!) 33...Ke7 34.Qg5+ Kf8 35.Qh6+ Ke7 would not achieve anything.]
31...Na2 32.Re5?
Trying to prevent Qf4, but it turns out this does not need to be prevented! [32.Qh8 could have been played immediately, and if 32...Qf4 then 33.Rxe6+! Kxe6 34.Qxg7+- and there is no perpetual as the White queen comes back to the g3 square.]
32...Nb4 33.Qh8 Nc6?
Attempting to trade off the knight and get counterplay if White captures the h5 pawn. However, White can now finish off the game. [33...Qb6 34.Qh6+ Kf7 35.Rxf5+ Kg8 36.Rf4 would not offer Black  much hope.(36.Rxh5 should work too - Black 's desperado is even less likely to work here with White's bishop covering the d3 and e2 squares. 36...Qxd4+ 37.Kh1 Qd1+ 38.Kh2 Rxg2+ 39.Kxg2 Qc2+ 40.Kg3 Qb3+ 41.Kg4 Qd1+ 42.Kg5 Qc1+ 43.Kf6+-) ; 33...Nc2! was the best shot. After 34.Be8 Nxd4 35.Re3 Black  has some serious defensive problems, but he is very much in the game.]
This is not the way to do it. 34.Bxc6 Qxc6 35.Qh6+ was correct, and is what later transpired in the game.
34...Rg6 35.Qh8+ Rg7?

Returning the favor. 35...Kf7! was the best, and would have left White without a finishing combination, although Re3 would have allowed White to continue playing. 36.Qh7+ Kf6 37.Re3!? (37.Qh8+ with a perpetual.) 37...Rg4 (37...Nxd4 38.Be8+-) 38.Qh6+
36.Bxc6 Qxc6 37.Qh6+ Kf7
The only move to stay in the game, but now White picks up a couple of pawns. 37...Rg6?? 38.Qf8# is the reason why Bxc6 had to be played first.
38.Rxf5+ Kg8 39.Rxh5
And the White queen guards the c1 square, leaving Black with one last try.
39...Rxg2+ 40.Kxg2 Qc2+
White's offside pieces give Black  a chance of pulling off a perpetual.
41.Kf1 Qd1+
41...Qd3+ 42.Kf2 is the same, as Black  still only has the two checks on d4 and c2.; 41...Qb1+ 42.Ke2 Qe4+ allows White to bring his queen back into the center with (42...Qxb2+ 43.Qd2+-) 43.Qe3 Qg4+ 44.Qf3+-
42.Kf2 Qc2+

42...Qxd4+ 43.Qe3 Qxb2+ 44.Kg3 and Black  will soon be out of checks, after which White will be able to finish Black  off.
43.Kg3 Qd3+ 44.Kg4 Qxd4+ 45.Qf4 Qg1+ 46.Qg3

White responds to the next check with one of his own, so Black resigned. 1–0

Look for another annotated game by Trevor in an upcoming issue of Chess Life Magazine.

The Waukesha Chess Club (Gregory Reese, Brady Harder, Pranav Kulkarni, and Brennan Harder) won the Scholastic section of the event with boards 2, 3, and 4 also winning their board prizes!

All results can be found on www.iachess.org

The main organizer of the event Ashish Vaja has grandiose plans for next year's event. One idea is to have two scholastic sections (u1400 and u800) as well as "Midwest Bughouse Championship" and "Midwest Blitz Championship." He also plans to add the "best team name prize" and the "best senior team" award. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the winners of the Open section will receive laptop computers instead of the usual digital clocks.

The Crowne Plaza Hotel will host two more grand chess events this year. In June, the annual Wisconsin Chess Academy chess camp will feature GMs Josh Friedel and Gregory Serper as instructors and in December the Pan American Intercollegiate Championships will come to Wisconsin. Indeed, the city of Arpad Elo appears to be one of the most desired destinations for chess players!

Thanks to the tournament directors Glenn Panner and Mike Nietman for making this event run smoothly. See you all next year! 

February - Chess Life Online 2010

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