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Winning!

June 26, 2012

I’ve been busy with work and wedding planning for the last few weeks, and my New Yorker Open games were a kind of sad and mediocre lot. I went 3/6, losing a full 2 points on obvious blunders, and getting bogged down in a few long drawn out draws and losses.

The New York International, on the other hand, went much better! Playing in the U1900 section, I went 4/5 (3 wins, 2 draws) to tie for 2nd and clearly win the 1st U1800 prize. I came very close to winning round 5 as well, but the late night and tiring game had me missing the square coverage that allowed an easy win for me in the final endgame position.

The best game of the tournament, though, was Game 3, an explosive Sicilian Kan/Maroczy game in which I calculated out an 8 move mating net over the board:

Brian Beck (1790) vs. Alexandra Wiener (~1830)
New York International, U1900 Section, Round 3

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. c4

Not a line for White where I know much theory. The basic idea is that without Black’s playing 4. … Nf6, white can gain extra control of the center with 5. c4, the Maroczy Bind position. This appears to result in positions that are more of a fight for the center than the more typical alternate side attacks of, say, the Be3 lines of the Najdorf or Dragon.

5. … Qc7 6. Bd3 Nf6 7. Nc3 Bc5 8. Nb3 Bd6 9. h3 Nc6 10. Be3 Ne5 11. c5!

A key move for White. At this point, White remains strong in the center and has completed development, while Black’s light-squared bishop remains entombed and her king is still stuck in the center. 11. c5! presses White’s advantage, driving Black’s decent bishop back to the ineffective e7 square.

11. … Be7 12. O-O?! (With a space advantage, White should avoid trading pieces and giving Black more room to move. Fortunately, Black thinks that the major issue in the position is her good knight on e5, and refuses to trade) d6 13. cxd6 Bxd6 14. Be2 b5?

Black tries to relieve the cramping, but tactics dominate strategy. I actually missed the strongest tactic, 15. Bxb5!!, after which 15. … axb5 16. Nxb5 Qc6 17. Nxd6+ wins 2 pawns. But this line is still ugly for Black:

15. Rc1 Qd7 16. f4! Nc4 17. Bxc4 bxc4 18. Nd2 Bb4?

A big mistake. Now Black pays for her uncastled king:

19. Nxc4! Bxc3 20. Nd6+!! Ke7? (Kf8 is better, because Black can get away from White’s rampaging pieces)

21. Rxc3! (Black can’t take on d6 because Bc5 wins the queen) Bb7 22. Bc5 Ke8 23. Nxb7+ Kc7

Now, I could just sit back, trade queens and win the piece up endgame. But “when you see a good move, look for a better one!” I had 20 minutes left on the first time control, so why not take a look, and I calculate out my mate in 8:

24. Bd6+!! Kxb7 25. Qb3+ Qb5 26. Rc7+ Kb6 27. Qe3+ Ka5 28. b4+ Qxb4 29. Bxb4+ Kxb4 30. Qb3+ Ka5 31. Rc5#

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