Shakmaty Bereolos - The Official Chess Site of Peter Bereolos

6/17/07 - 2007 Kentucky Open

I had a very successful tournament at the Kentucky Open last weekend in Louisville. I tied for first place and brought home the trophy on tiebreaks. I really enjoyed my games in this tournament. In spite of a fairly quick G/90 time control, I had several complex positions.

In the first round, I had Black against John Simons. He threw a surprise at me right in the opening after 8...Qd7

9. d4!? Not perturbed by the fact that I have 3 pieces hitting that square and he has only 2 defending it 9...exd4 The point seemed to be 9... Nxd4 10. Nxd4 exd4 11. Nb5 c5 12. Bxb7 regaining the pawn. I decided to keep the long diagonal blocked and exploit the position of his rook. 10. Nb5 Bf5 11. Rb2 d3 12. Re1 I thought he would have good compensation for the exchange after 12. exd3 Bxb2 13. Bxb2 since neither 13...Rh7 nor 13...f6 are moves Black really wants to make. 12... a6 12... Bxb2 13. Bxb2 d2 (13... Rh7 14. exd3+) 14. Qxd2 is similar to the last note, the way to try to exploit White's last move might be 12... O-O-O 13. exd3 a6 14. Na3 Bxb2 when the White knight is in a worse position than the previous variations. Now he finds a tactical trick to keep the exchange. 13. exd3+ Nge7 14. Rbe2 axb5 15. cxb5 O-O I didn't see a good way to try to hang on to the piece. For example, 15... Ne5 16. d4 Nxf3+ 17. Bxf3 Be6 (17... Bf6 18. Bxb7) 18. d5 16. bxc6 Nxc6 and Black is very slightly better because of his pawn structure. My opponent went wrong later as he fell into time trouble and lost.

I got propelled up to Board 1 for the second round. Top seeded Ron Burnett looked on his way to victory in round 1 when he suddenly blundered into mate. This round I had White against Nathaniel Criss. After 15...Bc8

Instead of the routine 16. Be2 and 17.0-0, I found a way to create an imbalance with an exchange sacrifice.16. Bd3!? Nb4 17. Bb1 Bb2 With a draw offer which I declined since this was exactly the position I was interested in 18. O-O not 18. Bxc5? Bxc1 19. Qxb4 Qxb4+ 20. Bxb4 and Ng5 is hanging 18... Bxc1 19. Qxc1 Qxc1 20. Rxc1 a5 21. Bxc5 Re8 22. a3 Na6 A dynamic position. White's compensation is a pawn, the bishop pair, more space with a mobile pawn center, and Black's lagging development 23. Bb6 Nb8 24. f4 It is also worth considering 24. c5 Nd7 25. Bc7 leaving Black to figure out where to put his pieces. Now at least he finds a spot for the knight and bishop on the queenside, although this leaves his king a bit unprotected on the other side of the board 24... Nd7 25. Bd4 h6 26. Nf3 b6 27. e5 Nc5 28. Be3 Ba6 29. f5 Continuing to try to gain space. The engine prefers trying to immediately blast open the Black king with 29. e6 fxe6 30. Bxg6 29... Kg7? As much as his rooks hate it, 29... g5 keeping the kingside closed has to be tried. 30. fxg6 fxg6 31. e6 splitting the board in two, Black has considerable problems now and didn't last much longer.

In the third round, I had Black against Mark Wagner. I had a bit of an uncomfortable position out of the opening, but eventually managed to equalize. Then, I perhaps unnecessarily sacrificed a pawn to get some open lines for my pieces and pressure against his king. He spent a lot of time navigating these problems, and eventually gave back the pawn to reach an even ending after 40...axb5

The b4 pawn fixed on a dark-square gives Black something to play for. He was also down to about a minute versus my 12 (with 5 second delay). 41. Bc5 Kg7 42. Kf2 Kf6 43. Ke3 Kf5 44. h3 h5 45. Bf8? A very subtle blunder, giving Black access to the d4 square. He could hold with 45. Kf3 Be1 46. g4+ Ke5 47. Ke3 45... Be1 Avoiding 45... Ke5? 46. Bg7+ 46. Kf3 Running towards the b-pawn doesn't help either 46. Kd4 Bxg3 47. Kc5 g5 48. Kxb5 h4 49. Be7 Kf4 50. Kc6 g4 and Black wins since 51. Bxh4 is met by 51...gxh3! 46... Ke5 47. g4 Kd5? I instinctively moved to a light square so I couldn't be checked, but this should have thrown away the win. Black needs to shoulder the White king with 47... Kd4 48. gxh5 gxh5 49. Kf4? 49. Ke2 would gain a crucial tempo allowing him to hold with 50. Kd3 after the Black bishop moves 49... Bd2+ 50. Kg3 [50. Kf5 Kc4 51. Kg6 Bxb4] 50... Bg5 51. Bc5 Kc4 52. Bf8 Bd2 53. Kh4 Bxb4 54. Bxb4 54. Bg7 doesn't help either. Black only needs to block the long diagonal, since the c1-a3 diagonal is too short for White to defend. For example 54... Be1+ 55. Kxh5 b4 56. Kg4 b3 57. Bb2 Bc3 58. Ba3 Bb4 59. Bc1 Kd3 etc. 54... Kxb4 55. Kxh5 Kc4 56. h4 b4 57. Kg6 b3 58. h5 b2 59. h6 b1=Q+ 60. Kg7 Qb7+ 61. Kg8 Qc8+ 62. Kg7 Qg4+ 63. Kh8 Qf4 64. h7 Qf8# [0:1]

In round four, I had White against Carl Boor. We reached a very sharp position in the opening after 15...Ne5

16. Bb5!? Going for the complications. It is noteworthy that the engines prefer to just allow a repetition of the position after 16. Nb3 Bxh3 17. gxh3 Qg5+ 18. Kh1 Qh4 19. Kg2 16... d3 17. Bxe8 Again knight moves allow 17...Bxh3 and a quick draw 17... dxe2 18. Qxe2 After 18. Bxf7+ Kxf7 19. Qxe2 Nf4 20. Qe3 Qg5 21. g3 Nxh3+ 22. Kg2 Qxe3 23. fxe3+ Ke8. Black is much better. He has two pieces for the rook, great outposts for his knights, and the potential to make a passed pawn on the kingside. White has a crappy pawn structure and little hope of penetrating with his rooks. 18... Qxe8 The position in the last note is so good that I thought Black should go for the exchange sacrifice with 18... Nf4 19. Qe3 Qg5 20. g3 Nxh3+ 21. Kg2 Qxe3 22. fxe3 Ng5. This is the same position as the previous note, except White has an extra piece on e8 and Black has an extra pawn on f7. I think these differences make it just playable for White, but I still prefer Black. 19. Qe3 Now a more dynamically equal position has arisen. Black does have two pieces for the rook, but White has a healthy pawn and a mobile pawn structure. As in the game versus Criss, Black's minor pieces seriously lack outposts. I accepted his draw offer a few moves later since I wasn't seeing a clear plan to proceed. With queens still on advancing the pawns is dangerous because if they get blockaded White could be in trouble. However, he had played pretty passively before the offer, so I think I could have safely probed for weaknesses and should have recognized the upward trend the position had been taking. It's also a bit strange to dive into the complications, not allowing a repetition only to then accept a draw when the position is still quite interesting and unclear. However, I had managed to turn a 10 minute time advantage early in the game into a 5 minute deficit and decided not to take any further risks.

For the 3rd straight Grand Prix tournament, I brought a 3.5/4 score to Board 1 in the final round. The third time proved to be the charm with Black versus Hank Rothgerber, although it was quite shaky. I got an absolutely horrid position out of the opening and this time my sacrifice of the exchange for a pawn was more out of necessity than choice. However, he played some second rate moves and allowed me to coordinate my forces23. Re2 Black is standing quite well.

My original intention here was the rook lift 23...Rf6 coming to h6 or g6 to join the party. This is probably best, but I thought I saw a forced win with 23... f4 Ready to crash through with ...f3 24. Kh1 Bd4 25. Rf3? We both overlooked that he could return to the first rank to provide g1 with extra coverage. 25. Ree1 when it looks like Black's best is to regain the exchange with 25...f3 26. gxf3 d5 27. Bd3 Bc8 28. Qg3 (28. Qh4 Rg8) 28... Qxg3 29. hxg3 Bh3 and the ending should be roughly level. After the text he goes down quickly. 25... Bxf3 26. Qxf3 Bxc3 27. bxc3 d5 28. Bxd5 28. Bb5 is unpleasant but necessary 28... Rd8 29. Rd2 29. c4 Qa1+ 29...Qe5 [0:1] Now, 30. c4 Qa1+ can be met with Rd1, but Black would instead play 30...Qe1+ so White must lose Bd5.

6/11/07 - 2007 US Chess League

The schedule for season 3 of the US Chess League was released last month. The season kicks off on August 27th with a Monday Night Chess battle between the two expansion teams, the Queens Pioneers (featuring GMs Ildar Ibragimov and Alex Stripunsky) and the New Jersey Knockouts (lead by GM Joel Benjamin).

There had been talk of three division, but the league decided to stay with a two division format. Both expansion teams join the East. To balance the divisions, the Carolina Cobras move back to their original "West" division. I use the quotation marks, because now half of the six teams (Tennessee, Miami, and Carolina) are east of the Mississippi. Since all three are also south of the Mason-Dixon line, I propose calling it the SouthWest division.

The Tempo will once again be playing at the Nashville Chess Center. Fans can come watch us there live or follow the games on the ICC. After our miserable inaugural season, the Tempo are not schedule for any of the Monday night matchups, so we will play all of our matches on Wednesdays, starting August 29th against the Dallas Destiny, one of the two teams we scored against last season. We face the New Jersey team in week 2. Other highlights are a September 26 matchup with the defending champion San Francisco Mechanics and our first ever meeting with the 2005 league champion Batimore Kingfishers on October 3. The regular season ends Halloween Night with a rematch of last seasons closer against Carolina, which seems appropriate given the horror show of last year's match with the Cobras. The playoffs start the week immediately following the regular season.

6/5/07 - Rutherford County Open

Circumstances prevented me from attending this year's Chicago Open over Memorial Day weekend, but I did get back to playing tournaments at the one-day Rutherford County Open. I wasn't especially pleased with my 3.5 out of 5 result. I managed to avoid bad time pressure in this fast event, but my calculations seemed a bit rusty.

I had Black in round 1 versus Johnnie Donaghey and was well in control after 31. Qb7

Probably the cleanest was to finish him would be 31... Ra2+ 32. Kb1 Ra1+ 33. Kb2 R8a2+ 34. Kb3 c4+ 35. Kxc4 Rxh1 winning a whole rook. Instead, I went for the trade 31... Rxe3 32. Qxa8+ Kh7 33. Qb7+ Bg7 and with no way to defend e4 and a wide open king he didn't last much longer.

In Round 2, I played a bit too optimistically in the opening against Charles McMillian and got a very bad position. He unnecessarily complicated things with an exchange sacrifice that allowed me back into the game, but it was still complex after 29...e3

I went for the piece up ending starting with 30. Rxg7 but the computer suggestions of 30. Qe7 or 30. Qxd5 deserve serious attention. 30... Qxg7 31. Qxg7+ Kxg7 32. Rxc2 d4 33. Rxc5 After the game I thought this might be a mistake, but after looking at it some more, I think I have to get rid of this pawn, and the rook wasn't especially well placed on c2. 33...Rf8 The best line is probably 33... e2 34. Bd2 Rf8 35. g4 which will lead to positions similar to those in the game except that White will still have his g-pawn. 34. Be5+? White is in big difficulties after this move. Much better was 34. Rg5+ forcing Black to block the f-file 34...Kf6 35. Re5 when the pawns are under control and White might have some winning possibilities 34... Kg6 35. Kg1 d3 36. Rd5 e2 37. Rd6+ Kh5? This time it would have been correct to block the f-file as after 37... Kf7 White still must deal with the e-pawn 38. Bc3 Ke7 and the back-rank. After the text, White sacrifices a pawn to give the King some breathing room and I didn't have any problems in holding the pawn down rook ending after 38. g4+ Kxg4 39. Bc3 Rf1+ 40. Kg2 e1=Q 41. Bxe1 Rxe1 42. Rd4+ Kf5 43. Rxd3 Re2+ 44. Kg3 Rxb2

In Round 3, I had Black against Justin Arnold. He got into some problems right out of the opening after 14. Qxd6

14... b4 15. Na4 Nxe4 The lineup of loose White pieces along the open e-file spells trouble 16. Bxe4 16. Qd3 is not much improvement after 16... Nxg3 17. Nxg3 Rxe3 16... Rxe4 Now it isn't clear how he will defend against Qe8 17. Rfd1 17. Rf3 is going to run into Bb7 at some point. For example 17...Qe8 18. Qd3 Bb7 with the threat ...Re6. 17...Qe8 avoiding any complications associated with 17... Rxe3 18. Qxb8, although that would also be winning for Black 18. Bxc5 Rxe2 and White has no compensation for the lost piece.

In the 4th round, I had White against an old rival from Indiana high school chess, Ben Harris. He equalized out of the opening, but I found some ways to keep trying to push in an equal ending. After, 44. Kd5

My pawn deficit is compensated by my much more active pieces. Here, he finally went wrong with 44...Ra5+? pushing the White king where it wants to go and landing the rook on a very poor square. 44... Ra2 offered better defensive chances then White will regain his pawn after 45. Kc6 Rc2+ 46. Kb7 and still have well placed pieces, but Black would have defensive chances. 45. Kc6 the mating plan Re6+ Kd8 Nf7+ Kc8 Re8+ is in the air. He tried the desperate 45... Rxe5 45... Ke7 46. Rg8 Ke8 47. Ng6 Rf5 48. Rxf8+ leads to a winning pawn ending 46. dxe5 a5 47. Kb5! more precise than 47. Kxb6 a4 [1:0]

In the final round I had Black against Todd Andrews. No, that isn't a typo, my run of 6 consecutive White's against Todd finally came to an end. Perhaps punishment for the short draw in the North Tennesse Winter Open. With a half-point lead, he played very unambitiously, trotting out the exchange variation against my Kings Indian. We reached a completely equal position after 19. Rb1 when I made a serious miscalculation

19...Na6? 20. Nxa4 Nb4 21. Nxb4 Rxa4 21... Bxb4 22. Nc3 doesn't help 22. a3 Bxb4 23. axb4 Rxb4 24. b3 Now Black is helpless against Rxb7 and Bc5 winning a piece since 24... b6 is met by 25. Rdb2 and Bd2. I tried to get two pawns for the piece with 24...b5 25. Rxd7 bxc4 but there is nothing after 26. Rd6 cxb3 27. Bc5 Rb7 28. Rxe6 Rxe6 29. Bc4 Kf7 30. Rxb3 [1:0]