Shakmaty Bereolos - The Official Chess Site of Peter Bereolos

11/30/07 - Space City Open

In the middle of last month, I played in the Space City Open in Huntsville, Alabama. This event has moved around the calender a bit, so this was the first time I had played there since 2001. Huntsville is the home of the Tempo's Gerald Larson, and most of the rest of the team made the trip. Ron Burnett and Jerry Wheeler were absent. They went to another tournament, in Augusta, only to find that it had been cancelled. The Tempo seems to have a decent sized fan base in Alabama. Many players discussed the ups and downs of the USCL season with me.

In the first round I had White against Josh Wolff, a Nashville player who is a regular at the Chess Center on USCL nights. My attack got home first although he sidestepped a pretty finish after 32...h4

33. a5 Deflecting the Black queen 33...Qxa5 33... Qd8 34. Nxh4 Nxh4 35. Qe5+ should also win quickly for White 34. Nd6 Black is in a lot of trouble after this move. White is hitting b7 and f7 and threatening to fork the knights with f5. However, the big threat is Qxh8+ and Rc8#. He avoided it by giving up his queen 34...Qd8 35. Rc8+ Qxc8 36. Nxc8 [1:0] A rook and a knight might be compensation, but White still has 37. f5 winning a piece if Black takes Nc8.

I had a rather strange game with Johannes Paul in Round 2. The primary time control was a rather brisk 40/90, so I was playing the opening pretty quickly after 15. Nd5

I only spent a couple of minutes before uncorking 15...Ne7? instead of 15...Rb8. I have debated how to annotate this move, since the engines still feel I am about equal after losing the pawn. However, since it was an unintentional sacrifice, I decided it deserves a question mark. 16. Nxe7+ Qxe7 17. Nh4 Qf7 18. Bxb7 Ra7 Remarkably, the engines don't think Black is in too bad of shape. The two bishops and the off-side Nh4 give compensation 19. Bg2 Afterwards we mainly focused on 19. Bd5 eliminating the bishop pair, but conceding the open file 19...Bxd5 20. cxd5 Rfa8 and Black still has play 19... e4 threatening ...g5 20. dxe4 Bxc4 21. Qe3 Ra2 22. exf5 g5 23. Ng6 Re8 24. Qf3 Bxe2 25. Qd5? This was his idea to avoid losing the exchange, but the refutation was easy to find. Instead, 25. Qb7 threatening Bd5 seems to hold, with a strange perpetual after 25...Qxf5 26.Bd5+ Kh7 27.Nf8+ Kh8 28. Ng6+ although Black could choose to play on by playing QxN on either g6 or f8 with a roughly level position after Bxa2 Bxf1 Rxf1. 25... Bxf1 26. Qxf7+ Kxf7 27. Bd5+ Kf6 28. Bxa2 Bd3 29. Rc1 Bxf5 The hole in White's idea, the Ng6 is trapped. 30. Rxc7 Re1+ 31. Kg2 Kxg6 32. b5 Be4+ 33. Kh3 h5 34. Bf7+ Kh6 [0:1]

Alabama native Matthew Puckett made his return to tournament chess after an absence while attending college. I thought I achieved a nice position out of the opening, but somewhere didn't play the most precise moves, and he probably stood a bit better after 15...e5

I could find nothing better than simplifying the position to regain my pawn after 16. Bxf6 Bxf6 17. Qxe4 O-O-O 18. dxe5 Qxe5 19. Qxe5 Bxe5 With a draw offer that I accepted [½:½] I thought the Black bishop pair gave him all the chances.

In round 4, I had Black against Todd Andrews. He had played a quick draw with our newest teammate, John Bick in Round 3. For the first time this year, Todd was not content with a draw and opened 1. e4 against me for the first time since 2002 and played the Ruy Lopez for the first time ever against me. This wasn't a big surprise since he had played 1. e4 and the Spanish regularly in the USCL scoring pretty wins with it versus IMs Martinez and Kaufmann. I achieved equality out of the opening and had a chance for more after 24. Qh4?

24... Nxc3! Exploiting the back rank 25.Bg5 Ne2+?! The simplest win was 25... Qc6 26. f3 (26. Qg4 Ne2+ 27. Kh1 (27. Kf1 Ng3+ 28. fxg3 Qxg2+) 27... Ng3+) 26... Ne2+ 27. Kf1 Ng3+ 28. Kg1 Qc5+ 26. Kf1 Qd3 My original intention was 26...f6, but then 27. Nf7 introduces complications that should be favorable for White 27. Bxd8 Nf4+?! Again missing a fairly simple win with 27... Nc1+ 28. Kg1 Qd2 28. Kg1 Qe4 29. Nf5+ Qxf5 30. Bg5 Ne2+ 31. Kh1 h5 32. Re1 Nd4? and with 5 minutes to reach move 40, I finally threw away the win. As he pointed out after the game the spectacular 32... Qf3! is decisive 33. Rg1 (33. gxf3 Bxf3#) 33....Qxb3 with a material edge and continuing attack. I had plenty of compensation for the exchange after the text and he sacrificed it back shortly after the time control to make a perpetual check.

John Bick beat Matthew Puckett in Round 4, to take the clear lead, while Todd and I dropped into a group trailing by a half point. In the final round, I had White against the only one of my Tempo teammates that I had not previously played. There was a bit of controversy about the colors for this game. As we had both had Black the previous round, we both expected that he would get White based on having the higher score. When the computer spit out the pairings showing me as White, he was a bit upset about it and questioned the TD. It turns out that the higher ranked player getting a due color is 5th in precedence in color decisions. Before that the colors of the two players in question are examined in previous rounds and they get the opposite colors from the last round they were different. In this case I had WBWB, while he had BWWB. The last difference was in Round 2 where he was White and I was Black, so we got the opposite colors from that Round. I think somewhere in the back of my mind, I had heard this rule before, but this was the first time in my nearly 30 years of playing tournament chess that I remember it coming up. In the game, I got a slightly better ending 27...Bxc7

White's advantage lies in the fact that he can make a passed pawn despite his doubled pawns, while Black's crippled queenside has no chance to do so since White can play b3 at any time to prevent a breakthrough. 28. f5 On the immediate 28. f3 f5 makes it difficult for White to make a passer. 28... Kf8 29. f3 Ke7 30. e4 dxe4?! This move really surprised me since it gives me a passed pawn without having to work. I expected 30... Kf6 31. h4 When my plan if he sat still was to maneuver my knight to e2 then play my king to e3 followed by Nf4 forcing resolution of the central tension. It is more likely that he would still continue like in the game with 31...g6 32. fxg6 hxg6 then White could consider 33. exd5!? 31. fxe4 g6 32. fxg6 hxg6 33. e5 Ke6 34. Nf4+ Kf5 35. Nd5 Bd8 36. Kf3 Kg5 Now the king gets cut off from the defense, although White has excellent winning chances after 36...Ke6 37. Ke4. 37. Ne3 f6 38. e6 f5 39. Nd5 [1:0] Todd and Bradley Denton also won in the final round resulting in a 3-way first place tie.

11/22/07 - 2007 Tennessee Open

I'm finally catching up on reporting some of the tournaments I've played the past couple of months. Like most states, Tennessee holds its state championship over the Labor Day holiday weekend. This year's event was in Clarksville. As I mentioned in my previous post on this event, I got in some hot water in the very first round with White against Paul Smith. My position had pretty much disintegrated during time pressure and just after the time control, my position was in tatters after 31. h4

About the only good thing about the White position is that Black has so many candidate moves, but not every one of them is winning. I got lucky that he chose a move that let me escape. 31...Qd2? At the board I couldn't find a good answer to 31... Rxa2 White can squirm a bit, but to no avail 32. b4 Qa3 33. Bc3 Rc2 34. Be1 Qh3 35. Bf2 Ng3 -+ 32. Qf2 Qd3 Black can regain his pawn with 32... Qxf2+ 33. Rxf2 Rc1+ 34. Rf1 Rxf1+ 35. Kxf1 Ng3+ 36. Kf2 Nxe4+ 37. Ke3, but the active king makes this ending very good for White, so instead we just repeated moves 33. Qf3 Qd2 34. Qf2 Qd3 35. Qf3 Qd2 [½:½]

The next day I was paired with Black versus William Bragg. But before the round started, they decided there was a problem with the pairings and I ended up with White again, versus Jeffrey Kovalic. I got a pretty nice position out of the opening after 16. Raf1

16...Nb8? Necessary was 16... bxa4, although Black's position still isn't too rosy. The text seems well motivated, if I exchange on b5 then he can bring the knight to c6, to pressure b4 and d4. However, there is a simple tactical hole in this idea 17. axb5 cxb5 18. Bxb5 and the bishop covers c6. I won a second pawn with the same tactic after 18...Nc6 19. Bxc6 Qxc6 20. b5 and went on to win without much problem.

In the evening round, I had Black in a complex game versus my Tempo teammate, Gainer Phay. When he pressured f7 with 19. Qb3

I decided to sacrifice it to activate my pieces 19...axb4 20. Bxf7+ Kh8 21. Qxb4 Ba6 22. Rd1 22. Bc4 Ng4 is similar 22... Qe7 23. Bc4 Ng4 24. Bxa6 24. Bf2 seems to be better, but Black still reaches a nice ending after 24...Nxf2 25. Kxf2 Bf8 24... Nxe3 24... Qh4 25. h3 Nxe3 26. Rb1 Qg3 is also interesting 25. Re1 Better is 25. Rd3 but both 25... Bf8 26. Qb7 Qxc5 and 25...Bh6 give Black the better game. 25... Nc2 26. Qb7 Qxc5+ 27. Kh1 Rf8 This was based on a miscalculation, but may be the best move. I didn't play 27... Rxa6 because after 28. Qxa6 for some reason I was only considering 28... Qxc3 (instead 28... Nxe1 leaves Black with an extra piece) which loses to 29. Qc8+ Bf8 30. Qxf8# but the computer move 28. Rd1 gives White some practical chances although Black should still be better 28. Na4 28. Rf1 Qxc3 29. Rxf8+ Bxf8 30. Qf7 Qa1+ 31. Bf1 Bc5 -+ since the Black king can dodge attempts at perpetual check. 28... Qf2 29. Rg1 Ne3 30. Qb2 30. h3 was suggested in the Tennessee Chess News, but Black crashes through with 30... Nxg2 31. Rxg2 (31. Rf1 Qg3 32. Rxf8+ Bxf8) 31... Qe1+ 32. Kh2 (32. Rg1 Qxe4+ 33. Rg2 Qxa4) 32... Bh6 30... Ng4 31. Rb1 I was hoping for the pretty finish 31. h3 Qg3 32. hxg4 Qh4# 31... Qf4 32. g3 Qxe4+ 33. Kg1 Qe3+ 34. Kh1 Nf2+ [0:1]

For the morning round, the Tempo were all over the top boards. Todd Andrews had the only perfect 3-0 and played a short draw with Ron Burnett who had been nicked for a draw by Gainer in Round 2. I had Black against the Tempo's youngest member, James Wu. In a long maneuvering game, I felt the tide was starting to turn my way after 32...Rc7

He had spent a long time getting his knight to a5, but it really isn't very good on that square. My plan was to clamp down on the c4 square and then break with d5 to put pressure on his backwards c-pawn. He thought my last move was a slight inaccuracy since I could have played 32...Be6 preventing his next move, but analysis seems to show that he can't play 33. c4?! Instead, he should probably just try to dig in with 33. f3 33... bxc4 34. Naxc4 Nxc4 35. Nxc4 Rxc4 36. Rxa8 Rxc2 Black has gained 2 pieces for a rook and White has several weak pawns. 37. f3 Nh5 38. Rf1 Rb2 39. Rb8 Nf4 40. Rf2 Rb1+ 41. Kh2 41. Rf1 Ne2+ 42. Kf2 Rb2 43. g4 Nf4+ 41... h5 42. h4 Nd3 43. Rc2 Rxb4 44. Rxb4 Nxb4 45. Rd2 f5 46. exf5 gives Black a passed d-pawn, but if he doesn't take, Black just plays fxe4 Bc6 Na6 Nc5 and takes on e4 so instead [0:1]

In the final round, my 21st meeting with Todd Andrews put him a game ahead of Brad Watson as my most played opponent. However, that was about the only thing special about the game. Black had been doing very well this tournament, so I ended up with Black for the 3rd round in a row. Todd wasn't in an aggressive move and once again played the exchange variation of the Kings Indian and offered a draw on move 9. From the way the tournament had started, I was happy to accept and guarantee a piece of first place. After that we waited to see if anyone could catch us. Alan Kantor needed to beat Jerry Wheeler with Black and could only get a draw. That left Ron Burnett and Patrick Tae, who both needed a win to tie, but their game also ended in a draw. That only left us to watch our earlier opponents to see who would get the trophy on tiebreak. In the end Todd nipped me in the Modified Median tiebreaker to capture the hardware.

11/17/07 - 2007 Knoxville City Championship

I completed my 10th straight first place finish in the Knoxville City Championship on Thursday night. This year's championship was a bit stronger than last year. We almost had 3 players rated over 2000 for the first time since the year 2000, but Leonard Dickerson decided not to play in the Championship after qualifying late in the year. I ended up with 4.5, Matthew Marsh was clear 2nd with 3.5, Alborz Bejnood and Robert Hydzik had 3, Corry Marsh had 1, and Kipp Bynum got blanked. I'll be posting annotations to all of my games in a few weeks, once I get caught up on some back reporting of tournaments.

11/13/07 - October 2007 FIDE Rating List

October saw the release of the quarterly FIDE rating list. FIDE decided to include the World Championship tournament in the list even though it ended after the deadline for rating reports. Based on his victory in that tournament, World #1 Vishy Anand (2801) cracked the 2800 barrier for the first time. Technically, he is now the World Champion, but I am a believer in the match system, so I think he needs to defeat #3 Vladimir Kramnik (2785) in a match before he is truly the "undisputed" World Champion. I don't really see why Anand should become the World Champion because he scored better than Kramnik against #6 Alexander Morozevich (2755) and #15 Alexander Grischuk (2715). However, since the Kramnik-Anand match is on the schedule for next year, and there seems to at long last be a defined structure for determining challengers, I can live with calling Vishy the World Champion for the next 9 or 10 months. The #2 spot is now occupied by Vassily Ivanchuk (2787). He got eliminated fairly early on from this World Championship cycle, but has been winning just about everything he has played in lately. In this period it was clear first in the Aerosvit tournament in the Ukraine and the Montreal International. Veselin Topalov (2769) was not active in this period and is now #4. Peter Leko (2755) edged Moro for the #5 spot based on more games played. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (2752) rounds out the 2750+ players. #9 Levon Aronian ( dropped out of that club with his -2 score in the World Championship tournament.

The US list saw little change in the order, with Gata Kamsky (2714) still leading the way followed by Alexander Onischuk (2674) and Hikaru Nakamura (2648). Yasser Seirawan is listed as active by FIDE, but doesn't show up on the top 100 list where he should be 94th. That's the fewest top 100 players the US has had in awhile although 3 more players Shabalov (2626), Shulman(2616), and Ehlvest (2601) are all above 2600. The top board for the Tempo, Ron Burnett (2371) is in the spot I'm trying to get to, #100 on the dot. He did a great job holding down Board 1 for us again this year against some really tough competition. A quick review of where the number 1 boards for other teams are shows what an uphill battle the Tempo faced every week: #2 Nakamura (NY), #8 Ibragimov (Queens), #12 Benjamin (NJ), #12 Christiansen (Boston), #15 Becerra (Miami), Wolff (SF) would be #18 if he was active, #18 Kudrin (Philly), #27 Serper (Seattle), #35 Milman (Carolina). The other 2 teams, Dallas and Baltimore have foreign players on Board 1, but both would be well into the top 50 if they were US players.

My rating had a nice gain +17 to 2328 from the Colias Memorial. That's close to my all time high and gets me to #130 on the US list.