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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, January 19, 2012

Three still in the running
Albany championship will be decided by a playoff

Gordon Magat rebounded from his loss to me to defeat top-rated and defending champion Dean Howard in the Albany Club Championship.  Magat has now completed his schedule, with a final score of 5-3.

Howard, with 4 ½ - 2 ½  has one game remaining against me; I have a score of 4 - 1. Since my other two remaining games are against lower rated players, I am now the favorite to finish first in the tournament.

The championship will be decided by a playoff between the first and second finishers.  Howard must get at least a draw in his last game to qualify for the playoff.  If Howard wins and I score at least 1 ½ in my remaining games, I will play Howard for the championship.  If Howard loses, Magat will finish second (possibly tied with Chris Caravaty who has 4-3 with one game left).

In his game against Magat, Howard played a little too aggressively and pursued a speculative series of exchanges.  He obtained the advantage of a Rook against a Knight, but at the cost of getting a lost game.

G. Magat – D. Howard
Albany Club Championship 2012

1 e4 c5 (This is the Sicilian Defense.)

2 c3 Nf6 (White is avoiding well-known and extensively analyzed lines.)

3 e5 Nf6, 4 d4 cd, 5 Nf3 d6, 6 Bc4 de (This move deviates from book lines but looks okay; Fritz, my 2500 strength computer program agrees.)

7 N:e5 e6, 8 0-0 Nc6, 9 cd Be7, 10 Nc3 N:c3, 11 N:c6 N:d1 (Howard is planning to exchange Queens and other pieces in the hope of obtaining an advantage.  I think the best chance for a win here was to keep material on the board and play for a positional advantage.)

12 N:d8 N:b2, 13 N:e6 N:c4 (This is the losing move. If 13 B:b2, White is a pawn down but has compensation in advanced development and more active pieces. Fritz rates the position after B:b2 as +.05 for Black, essentially even; after N:e6, Black is ahead by 1.7)

14 Nc7+ Kd7, 15 N:a8 Bd6 (White is ahead material but will eventually lose the Knight.)

16 Bg5 b5, 17 a4 b4, 18 a5 Bb7, 19 Rfc1 Rc8, 20 Nb6+ ab, 21 a6 Bd5, 22 a7 Ra8, 23 g3 b3, 24 Rcb1 b2, 25 Ra6 Be4, 26 Bf4 B:f4, 27 Rc1 bc(Q) mate (Now that Howard’s machinations to save the lost game have been refuted, he “resigns” by permitting an obvious checkmate.)

Saratoga championship

Jonathan Feinberg won the Saratoga championship, a double round-robin, by winning his last-round game against Alan LeCours.  Going into the last round, both LeCours and Feinberg had scores of 5 - 2, while Gary Farrell had finished his games with 5 ½ - 2 ½.

LeCours is still playing in the finals of the Schenectady Championship and, had he won, could possibly have won both Schenectady and Saratoga.

Alas, it was not to be; although the game was very even into the end game, LeCours had the slightly worse position.   He made several bad moves with less than a minute left on his clock, and was lost when his clock fell.

Tata Steel

One of the highlights of the year for international chess is the Tata Steel Chess Tournament, formerly called Wijk aan Zee after the Dutch town where the tournament has been held since 1968. (The tournament itself dates back to 1938.)

This year, two of the 14 players in the Grandmaster A section (with an average rating of 2755), are American: 2011 tournament winner Hikaru Nakamura and United States Champion Gata Kamsky.

Other participants include the world highest-rated player Magnus Carlsen, second highest-rated player Armenian Levon Aronian, and former World Champions Veselin Topalov, and Vassily Ivanchuk.

After four rounds, Aronian and Carlsen are tied for first place with 3‑1. Aronian defeated the two Americans, but lost to Carlsen.  The tournament will run through Jan. 29.

This week’s problem

Rudolph Spielmann (1883 – 1942) was one of the very few Grandmasters to defeat the invincible World Champion Capablanca more than once and to have an even score against him.  He died in poverty in Sweden after fleeing his native Austria after the Nazi takeover.

Here, he shows why he was known as the “master of attack.”

By Peter Henner

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