Shakmaty Bereolos - The Official Chess Site of Peter Bereolos

8/30/05 - Billy Colias Memorial Invitational

I played pretty solidly the second weekend, winning 2 and drawing 3. My +3 score was good enough for a first place tie with Aleks Stamnov, who won his last 3 games. I thought +4 would be a decent score according to the formula win with White and draw with Black. Turns out I was right. I was happy with my result, though. While I was the favorite by rating, I knew this was a tough field: Aleks Stamnov and Pete Karagianis were the defending champions versus a similar field. Andrew Karklins is a very experienced master, and I was suprised that my rating was higher than his. Steve Tennant, Al Chow, and Ken Wallach all had lifetime positive scores against me (although the only game I had played against any of them in the past 20 years was a win against Chow in the 1999 World Open). I had a plus score against Tim McEntee, but he had beaten me twice with White in the past and would have White in our game. Jon Burgess had played me pretty tough in our two games, one of which I had won and the other was drawn. The only player who was really unknown to me was Robert Loncarevic.

I plan to post a full report here with all of my games annotated, plus other interesting moments from each round. It might get stretched out a bit since I have a lot of other chess activity coming up including the Tennesse Open and the Knoxville City Championship.

8/24/05 - Billy Colias Memorial Invitational

I played the first part of a tournament dedicated to the memory of my friend Billy Colias last weekend in Frankfort, IL. Billy and I grew up together in Munster, Indiana and led Munster High School to 2 state championships. The competition between us was probably the primary factor in both of us becoming masters.

I came out of the first weekend in decent shape with 2.5 out of 4. Al Chow has the sole lead with 3 out of 4. This is the strongest round robin tournament I have ever played in although it fell a few rating points short of FIDE norm possibilities. I'll start posting games next week after the conclusion of the tournament.

8/16/05 - The 4th Phase of the Game

I've been enjoying Mihail Marin's recent book, Learn from the Legends: Chess Champions at Their Best. Generally, I check out a book at a tournament or bookstore before purchasing it, but this one I ordered sight unseen since had gotten great reviews and I was really interested in the format. Basically, each chapter takes a specific type of position and examines it from the perspective of how one of the all time greats handled it. This is a method I have used in my own studies, for example, looking at how Ulf Andersson plays rook endgames (Marin's example for rook endings is Akiba Rubinstein). The chapter on Alexander Alekhine introduced a new term to me, the 4th phase of the game . This refers to positions where each side has only a queen, a rook, and pawns. These positions can be very tricky since with the major pieces still on board, king safety may still be a large factor, but that could quickly change after an exchange of queens, when an active king can be a deciding factor in a pure rook endgame.

Since these positions are hard to classify and have elements of both the middlegame and the endgame (hence, the 4th phase), most authors have avoided them. However, I took a look at my own games and found that this type of position occurs with slightly more frequency than bishop vs. knight endgames. Furthermore, I hadn't done a really good analysis on many of them, so I'll will start posting some of the results of this analytic work here.

To start, here is a position from my game from early in my career with White against Clarence Asbury in the 1980 Hammond Winter Chess Festival. Actually, this entire game looks like it merits serious analysis. My opponent played very energetically, sacrificing a piece, then an exchange to get connected passed pawns. In the position at hand, he has just regained his rook and I had captured a promoted queen on b1 with 32. Kxb1

White is a pawn ahead, but the vulnerable position of the White king should have decided things in Black's favor 32...Qf1+ 33. Kc2 Rc8+ 34. Kd2 Qc1+ 35. Ke2 Qc2+? Black wins with 35... Rc2+ 36. Kf3 Qh1+ 37. Ke3 Qg1+ 38. Kf3 Qg2+ 39. Ke3 Re2+ 36. Kf3 Qxa2 36... Qxh2 may be slightly more accurate, since the a-pawn isn't going anywhere. 37. Qxb4 White could try 37. h4 when the Black b-pawn will still be a weakness and the White king can hope to hide on g4, but 37...h5 looks like a good reply when White will be hard pressed to avoid perpetual check. 37... Qxh2 38. Qe7 The computer suggests 38. Qe1 defending against Qh1+ and thinking that the outside passed pawn gives White a small advantage. This looks quite passive to me, and it seems that the White king is so exposed that Black should always be able to find a perpetual. 38... Qh1+ 39. Kg4?? Now g4 is a horrible spot for the king. Instead 39. Ke3 Qg1+ leads to a repetition. 39... h5+ 40. Kg5 Qh3 41. Rd8+ Rxd8? 41... Kh7! and White is helpless against mate on g4 or f5. 42. Qxd8+ Kh7 43. Qd3+ [½:½] The only way to play on is 43... g6!? At first this would seem to be better for White as now his active king becomes an asset instead of a liability after 44. Kf6. However, Black can create a dangerous passed pawn of his own with 44... h4 45. Kxf7 Qxg3 46. Qe4 h3 with a highly complex queen ending.

8/14/05 - Chess in Houston

I was in Texas last week on business, but did manage to get a little chess in at the end of the trip. I played in a small G/30 event on Friday night at the Houston Chess Club. The turnout was pretty small, but I understood that they have more players on Saturdays for their weekly G/60 tournaments.

In round 1, I had Black against a scholastic player, Malik Zachary, who was self-taught and had only been playing for a year. He seems to be making nice progress, though, as his rating is already in the 1700s. Unfortunately, in our game he missed a subtlety in the early middlegame after 13. f4?

Unfortunately, the awkward position of the h4-knight lets Black simply grab a pawn 13... Bxe3 14. Qxe3 exf4 Now, taking back with a piece allows a fork with 15...g5 and 14. gxf4 Qxh4 doesn't work either. I expected him to slog on a pawn down after 15. Qf2 fxg3+ 16. Qxg3, but instead he just resigned [0:1]

In round 2, I had White against Ayodele Oguntuase. He played very quickly, but quite passively, and I built up a strong attack. However, with my clock winding down, I was unable to put him away after 35...Qd6

Now, 36. Rhxd5 leads to mate. 36...cxd5 (36... Qxc5 37. Re2+) 37. Re2+ Ne5 38. Rxe5+ Kd7 39. Bf5+ Qe6 40. Bxe6+ fxe6 41. Nf6+ Kd8 42. Qd6# Instead, I released the pressure with 36. Qxd6+ and really thought I was going to lose the game on time, but it was eventually drawn. In fact, his flag dropped about one second after the last capture which left only kings on the board.

In round 3, I had Black against the tournament director, Mark Dixon. I had a nice position and was ready to cash in after 32. Nxc7

32...Nxb3 Not the best way. Instead, 32... Nxe4 keeping an eye on d6 was more accurate. 33. Bb2?? I think he got confused on the material count, because a couple of times in the postmortem he forgot that I had taken a piece on b3. Instead, it is still a game after 33. d6 Afterwards, we mainly focused on 33...Qd8 (33...Bxd6 33. Bxd6 Qxd6?? 34. Ne8+ is the point. 33... Na5 34. dxe7 Nxe7 35. Nd5 Nxc4 36. Bxe7 Qf7 37. Bxg5 b5 is also interesting. ) 34. dxe7 Qd4+, which looks pretty good for Black, but we didn't consider 34. Bxb3 when White still has tactics with the knight fork, although Black does regain his piece after 34...Bxd6 35. Bxd6 Kh8 33... Bc5+ [0:1]

In the final round I had White against Stormy Newton. This time, I was able to finish my attack off in style after 31...Rh8

White has his choice of wins here, but I liked the pretty scissors mate after 32. Nf5+ Kf8 33. Qh6+ Rxh6 34. Bxh6+ Qg7 35. Bxg7# [1:0] This left me tied for first with Oguntuase, who had also won his final two games.