Friday, December 8, 2017

Game Analysis: NC Closed Championship - Round 5

And then there were four, and it is now Judgment Day! Going into the final round, Mark Biernacki lead the pack with a perfect score of 4, and he was assigned Black on board 1 against Tianqi Wang, who along with Daniel Cremisi and myself, the game shown below from board two, were the only others in contention for the title with 3.5 each. From our perspective at board 2, we both needed to win, and we needed either a win from White or a draw on board 1.

Let's see what happened on board 2!

NC Closed CHampionship, Round 5
W: Patrick McCartney (2090)
B: Daniel Cremisi (2367)
Slav Defense

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.e3 c6 4.c4

A direct transposition to the Slow Slav, which normally arises from 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3. Note that continuing in Colle style here with a move like 4.Bd3 or 4.c3 is ineffective. The success of the Colle System is reliant on Black blocking in his light-squared Bishop, and so after a move like 3...e6, then 4.Bd3 comes into play, but with 3...c6 played, White needs to strike at the Black center, and if Black does indeed bring the Bishop out, go for the Queenside weaknesses created by Black as a result of his Bishop abandoning the Queenside.

4...Bf5 5.cxd5

The "main line" is 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nh4 Bg6 7.Nxg6 hxg6, but the move played also has its venom, especially if Black doesn't know what he's doing. Even if he does, this move is no worse.

5...cxd5 6.Qb3 Qb6

Black's strongest response is thought to be 6...Qc7 7.Bd2 e6 8.Bb5+ and then he can block the check with either Knight move. White's advantage is minimal.

7.Qxb6 axb6 8.Nc3

Quoting GM Aaron Summerscale from his book A Killer Chess Opening Repertoire, "6...Qb6 7.Qxb6 axb6 8.Nc3 is a bit better for White due to Black's weak doubled b-pawns."

8...e6 9.Nh4 Bg6 10.Nxg6 hxg6 11.Bb5+ Nbd7 12.Bd2 Bd6 13.h3 O-O 14.O-O Rfd8 15.Rfc1 Ne4 16.Be1

The alternative would be for White to take on e4, saddling Black with doubled pawns, advance the a-pawn, and then double-up on the c-file with an advantage. For example, 16.Nxe4 dxe4 17.a3 Nf6 18.Rc2 g5 19.Rac1 +/=. The game move is also good.

16...Nxc3 17.bxc3 Nf6 Or 17...Ra3 18.c4 Nf6 19.cxd5 exd5 20.Rab1 Rda8 21.Bf1 Rxa2 22.Rxb6 Ra1 23.Rbb1 Rxb1 24.Rxb1 g5 25.Be2 Ra3 26.Bf3 Ra2 27.Kf1 Ne4 28.Rxb7 Ra1 with an advantage to White.


This is not a good move for White. Instead the immediate 18.a4 should have been preferred. For example, after 18...Ra7 19.f3 Ne8 20.Rcb1 Rda8 21.e4 Nc7 22.Bd3 b5 23.e5 Be7 24.Bxb5 Nxb5 25.Rxb5 Bg5 26.Rab1 Be3+ 27.Kf1 Rxa4, White has a clear advantage. Black's weakness on b7 is easier to access and attack than White's weakness on c3.


Black returns the favor by not playing 18...Ra3! first, and then pretty much proceeding with what he did in the game.

19.a4 Ne4 20.c4

White is anticipating Black's next few moves, and is going for pawn structure weaknesses in the Black camp. This is ok, but 20.Bd3 is stronger, holding on to the Bishop pair. The cost of saddling Black with weak pawns is White will lose the Bishop pair.

20...Nd6 21.cxd5 Nxb5 22.Rxb5 Rxd5 23.Rxd5 exd5

The fact that the position has been reduced to pieces that are not in White's best interest, such as the dark-squared Bishops, offsets the fact that Black's pawn structure is worse. White's advantage is minimal, and we see why now that 20.Bd3 would have been preferred.

24.Bb4 f6 25.Be7

With the idea of 26.Rc1 in response to a move like 25...Kf7.


Black wants nothing to do with that!

26.Bb4 Re6 27.Rc1 Rc6 28.Rxc6?

This move does White in as his advantage is gone. White is still better after 28.Bd2 or 28.Rc3. Now the game is drawn.

28...bxc6 29.Kf1 Kf7 30.Ke2 Ke6 31.Kd3 Bd6 32.a5

This was White's whole idea, but it's nothing more than a trick shot. Black of course can't take the Bishop. The rest of the game is nothing more than a feeble attempt by both sides to look for a few trick plays, but outside of a couple of feeble traps, such as Black making the wrong capture on move 33 or White playing the wrong move at move 57, there is nothing here for either side.


32...Bxb4?? 33.a6 +-

33.dxc5 bxa5 24.Bxa5 Bxc5 35.Bc3 Bd6 36.Bd4 Be5 37.Kc3 Kf5 38.Kb4 Bb8 39.Kc5 Ke6 40.Kc6 Bh2 41.f4 Bg3 42.Kc5 Be1 43.g4 Ba5 44.Kc6 Bd8 45.Bc3 Be7 46.Bd4 Bb4 47.Bc5 Ba5 48.Bd4 Be1 49.Bc5 Bg3 50.Bd4 Bh2 51.Kc5 Bg3 52.Kc6 Be1 53.Kc5 Bd2 54.Kc6 Bb4 55.Bc5 Bxc5 56.Kxc5 g5 57.fxg5

This move followed by immediately forcing off the central pawns seals the draw.

57...fxg5 58.Kd4 Kd6 59.e4 dxe4 60.Kxe4 Ke6 61.Kd4 Kd6 62.Ke4 g6 63.Kd4 Ke6 64.Ke4 Kd6 65.Kd4 Ke6 66.Ke4 Kd6 67.Kd4 1/2-1/2

So the game ended in a draw a board 2, but as it turns out, Biernacki had won at board 1 anyway, giving him the state title at a perfect 5 points. With board 3 being decisive, Daniel, myself, and one other tied for second with a final score of 4.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Reverse Angle 79

Author: Grant Oen, CCCSA Assistant Director

A sumptuous turnout of 64 players from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia competed in Reverse Angle 79.  The $850 prize fund was divided into three sections, Top, Under 1800, and Under 1400.

The top section of Reverse Angle is always strong, this time with 22 players, with the top seeds being National Masters Joshua "cows go" Mu (2250) and the newly crowned NC State Champion Mark "re-entry" Biernacki (2209).  There were also six experts in the event, including Dominique "NM" Myers (2115), NCSU student Benjamin Snodgrass (2060), and David Stamper (2004), whose last rated tournament was Reverse Angle 28 in 2012!

In the end, Vishnu "Vishy" Vanapalli (2027) and David Stamper, who is staging a big return to chess, each scored 3-0, earning $125 each.  Adharsh Rajagopal (1986), Henry Hopson (1873), Garret Allen (1828), and Carson Cook (1819) split the Under 2000 prize, good for $12.50 each.

Under 1800
The U1800 section featured 21 players rated 1300-1800, including Chessstream's Chacha Dejava (1781) and frequent CCCSA prize winner Michael Miller (1746).

Chacha Dejava and Connor Liu (1719) each won $112.50 for their perfect scores, and Ian MacNair (1584) and Grisham Paimagam (1559) split the $50 Under 1600 prize.

Under 1400
The 21 player U1400 section was led by top seeds and perennial U1400 powerhouses Gautam "got em" Kapur (1370), Paige Cook (1369), and Bhavani "did I win a prize" Dhulipalla (1336).

Nikhil "I have a question" Deshpande (1005) performed a clean sweep of the section, winning $150.  Gautam Kapur and Andrew Bouman (1065) tied for second place and the Under 1200 prize, earning $62.50 each.

UPSETS - 150 points or more
Under 1400, Round 1 - Nikhil Deshpande (1005) def. Pranav Swarna (1316) - 311 points
Under 1400, Round 1 - Adhith Srikanth (1086) def. Paige Cook (1369) - 283 points
Under 1400, Round 1 - Andrew Bouman (1065) def. Bhavani Dhulipalla (1336) - 271 points
Under 1400, Round 1 - Smayan Ammansani (979) def. Matthew Odom (1243) - 264 points
Top, Round 3 - David Stamper (2004) def. Joshua Mu (2250) - 246 points
Under 1400, Round 1 - Sarvajith Nalaneelan (870) def. Senthil Muthusamy (1105) - 235 points
Under 1800, Round 2 - Sampath Kumar (1487) def. Andrew Chen (1721) - 234 points
Under 1400, Round 3 - Henry Nguyen (877) def. Senthil Muthusamy (1105) - 228 points
Under 1400, Round 2 - Andrew Bouman (1065) def. Allan Miller (1285) - 220 points
Under 1400, Round 2 - Nikhil Deshpande (1005) def. Robert Murray-Gramlich (1218) - 213 points
Top, Round 1 - Austin Chuang (1841) def. Sulia Mason (2023) - 182 points
Top, Round 3 - Vishnu Vanapalli (2027) def. Mark Biernacki (2209) - 182 points
Under 1400, Round 3 - Nikhil Deshpande (1005) def. Akshay Rajagopal (1176) - 171 points
Top, Round 3 - Henry Hopson (1873) def. Sulia Mason (2023) - 150 points

USCF Rated Results

Upcoming Tournaments:

Until next time,
NM (not master) Grant "black shoes" Oen

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Game Analysis: NC Closed Championship - Round 4

After two fairly simple wins on Saturday, I am headed into the final day of the tournament amongst the top six in the standings. Three players had a perfect score while three others, one of them myself, were a half point behind. For the fourth round, I am Black once again, this time against James Dill, another 2000 player. This is the fourth time that we have faced, and the fourth time that I have had Black against him, with myself having a perfect 3 and 0 record. All three of those games started with the line of the French that I recommend for Black against the Advance Variation in the Introduction article of the French Repertoire that I wrote over the course of Mid-August to Mid-November, namely 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Bd7 5.Nf3 a6. Given the fact that with this being board 3, the match up was figured out the night before, and having played the same variation of the same opening three times, I didn't want to risk potential preparation from the night before, despite having won all three times. Therefore, instead of executing a French Defense for the fourth straight time against him, despite how beautiful my Round 3 game was executing the French Defense, I decided to go in the direction of the Petroff. Needless to say, it turned out to work in my favor as White's Queenside, outside of the Knight, never gets into the game, and White ends up playing, for all intents and purposes, down a Rook!

NC Closed Championship, Round 4
W: James Dill (2011)
B: Patrick McCartney (2090)
Petroff Defense

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.d4 d5 6.Bd3 Nc6 7.O-O Be7 8.Re1 Bg4 9.c3

The game move and 9.c4 are White's main options in this line. Note that trying to grab a pawn via 9.Bxe4? dxe4 10.Rxe4 Bxf3 11.gxf3 (or 11.Qxf3 Nxd4, giving the pawn back) is bad for White. The structural damage that White suffers is not worth the pawn.



Stronger and more normal are 10.Nbd2 or 10.Qb3. The move played in the game is actually weakening to White's position. It gives Black a hook, and it also weakens the h2-b8 diagonal. As we will see on Black's 19th move, advancing the g-pawn will often cause the h-pawn to hang. White should wait to advance any of the pawns in front of his King until he is forced to do so.


Black should instead play 10...Bh5. The pin on the Knight is the primary annoyance for White.


White gets a substantial advantage after 11.gxf3! Yes, White's pawn structure is shattered, but unlike the 9.Bxe4 line, Black's Knight is still on e4 and must move, gaining time for White, and there are no good places for the Knight to go. For example, 11...Nf6 12.Bxf5 is considered best, but White is still better and up a pawn, and he can use the open g-file for his heavy pieces. After 11...Nd6 12.Qb3!, Black again is in trouble. After the game move, Black has virtually no problems.

11...O-O 12.Nd2 Bd6 13.Nb3 Qh4 14.c4 Nb4 15.Rf1 Nxd3 16.Qxd3 dxc4 17.Qxc4+ Kh8


This move can't be good. White has two undeveloped pieces. The Bishop and the a1-Rook. The only undeveloped Black piece is the a8-Rook. On one side, it looks like White is trying to dethrone the Black Knight from the e4-square. However, all Black has to do is simply move the Knight, not trading it off, and then the c1-Bishop that is blocking in the a1-Rook is now being blocked in by the d2-Knight. This makes Black's decision fairly easy on what to do with the Knight.


This move not only avoids the Knight trade, but the Knight eyes the h3-pawn, which Black's next move will force the h3-pawn to hang.

19.Qd5 Qf4 20.g3

Unfortunately forced. Now the cover for the White King is about to be completely stripped.

20...Nxh3+ 21.Kg2 Qg4 22.Nf3


While this sacrifice works and Black is winning, mainly because White still has a Rook completely out of play, even stronger is 22...Bxg3! where after 23.fxg3 f4, White is dead!

23.Rxf2 Bxg3 24.Nh2 Bxh2+?

Much stronger is 24...Qh5!. The Bishop can't be taken because 25.Kxg3 is answered by 25...f4+, winning the White Queen.

25.Kxh2 c6

Possibly stornger for Black here is 25...Rf6, which is also close to equal after 26.Bd2 Qh5+ 27.Kg1 Rg6+ 28.Rg2 c6 29.Qc4 Rxg2+ 30.Kxg2 Qg4+ (or 30...Re8 31.Re1 with equality) 31.Kf2 Qh4+ 32.Kg2 Re8 33.Rg1 Re4 and while the position is close to equal, White still has a very difficult task defending the position, starting with the move 34.Kf1, which isn't obvious.


White misses his chance, and at this point, Black doesn't look back. After 26.Qf3! Qxd4 27.Be3, Black has no advantage!

26...Rae8 27.Qf4 Qh5+ 28.Kg2 Re1 29.Rf1


The position is still better for Black after this move, but in some ways, Black is getting too cute. Of course White can't take the pawn as 30.Qxg5? Re2+ followed by 31...Rg8 winning the Queen, but a much cleaner attack by Black would be to play 29...Re2+ 30.Rf2 Rfe8 and Black is simply winning.


Correct is 30.Qf3! Re2+ 31.Rf2 Rxf2+ 32.Kxf2 Qh2+ 33.Qg2 Qh4+ 34.Qg3 Qxd4+ 35.Qe3 Qh4+ 36.Qg3 Qxg3+ 37.Kxg3 f4+ 38.Kg4 h6 39.Kh5 Kg7 and while Black is still better, winning this position will still require a lot of work and many accurate moves by Black in order for him to win the game.


The death ticket to the White King.

31.Qf3 Rg4+ 32.Kf2 Qh2+ 33.Ke1 Re8+ 0-1

White resigned as 34.Be3 is answered by 34...Qxb2 and there is no way for White to hold his position together at this point.

This game was clearly by no means as well played by me as were rounds 2 and 3. That said, winning a game of chess doesn't always require perfect play, and many times, keeping up the pressure is often enough to cause the opposing side to bend and eventually break. That said, there were still opportunities for White to get back into the game, and often times, players with a stripped King will have that sense of being distraught and will often times lose focus on the position, and make any move that makes even a remote amount of logical sense when in reality, a situation like that which White was in this game is the exact moment that focusing and playing the best move on every turn becomes the most critical.

On the flip side, for Black, it is a sign that just because the position looks assuring doesn't mean that you can suddenly relax and think that any move of an attacking piece to a square near the opposing King necessarily means that it is a good move. Every move, a list of candidates needs to be established, and each and every one of them must be researched in granular detail. Often times, two or more moves make appear to make little or not difference, and will often look like they will simply transpose to one another, but many times one move is significantly better than the other due to very minor, though critical, details.

This win put me at three-and-a-half out of four, and in a three-way tie for second place at that time, with one player having a perfect score of four. Stay tuned as the next article will show what happened in that final round.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Simple Chess: Officially a Featured Streamer

Fellow chess players,

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families. I hope that you have a wonderful day of food, family, and relaxation.

I have exciting news to share with you!

I have officially been named a streamer. What does this mean? Well, it means I stream playing chess on using my Twitch channel. It also means that from time to time will help advertise my streams through Twitter and other platforms.

In fact, this Friday (November 24) I will be doing a live stream from 11pm until 2am and will be advertising on Twitter. I would love to see all of you in the stream if you are able to make it. Also, if you want to play some games Friday night let me know so I can send you a friend request on

If you can't make it this Friday then my entire schedule is posted below. I appreciate any support you are able to show to help make the community around my stream the best there is.

Twitch Stream Schedule (Weekly and all times are Eastern time)
Monday 11pm - 2am
Wednesday 11pm - 2am
Friday 11pm - 2am

See you over a chessboard or on a live stream,

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Game Analysis: NC Closed Championship - Round 3

In this article, we will analyze my round 3 game of the NC Closed Championship. So after re-entering the tournament with a half-point bye for round 1 and the strong performance in round 2, I walk into the room Saturday night with a point and a half and am assigned to play Black against the only other player with a point and a half, Scott Haubrich, at board 5.

The game is a French Tarrasch, and for those of you that have read my previous articles on Beating the French Tarrasch in September and on my game analysis from The New Hampshire Open in July, specifically round 2, will know that my take on beating the Tarrasch is understanding the ideas and not memorizing reams of theory. (NOTE: Clicking the article titles will take you there for those of you that haven't read them previously and would like to.)

This game is an excellent model game for understanding the ideas, and knowing how to put White away when he or she violates many of the principles in the French Tarrasch. You will also note that rather than the overly passive play in the game from The New Hampshire Open, the biggest violation committed in this game was not developing all of his pieces, and White gets put away in very short order.

So, without further ado, let's see what happened.

NC Closed Championship, Round 3
W: Scott Haubrich (2044)
B: Patrick McCartney (2090)
French Defense

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 c5 4.Ngf3 Nf6 5.exd5 exd5

Pretty much following the repertoire in the article posted in September. More often, the fourth and fifth moves will be inverted, but as was discussed then, move order tricks are always available to White, and what you do against 4.Ngf3 has to mesh with what you do against 4.exd5 because one can lead right back to the other, as was the case here via White opting to exchange the pawn rather than advance the pawn.

6.Bb5+ Bd7 7.Qe2+

This is an alternative to the main line, which is 7.Bxd7+, but it is not played nearly as frequently at the master level because the Queen can get harassed on the open file by a Black Rook in the near future, gaining time, as we will see later on in this game.


Playing 7...Qe7 is inferior. White gets the better position in an endgame because of the pawn structure. Black is about to be saddled with an isolated queen pawn, a.k.a. IQP, and the main trump for the player with the IQP is free piece play. Well, trading them off, and particularly the Queens, is not best in these circumstances.


More normal here is 8.dxc5, but the pawn grab is only temporary, like it is for Black in the Queen's Gambit Accepted (1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4). After 8...O-O, White can't really hold on to the extra pawn without destroying his own position. For example, after 9.Nb3 Re8 10.Be3 a6 11.Bd3 Ba4 12.Nfd4 Nbd7 13.O-O Nxc5, Black has regained the pawn with a level position. Note that Black can also regain the pawn by tactical means after 9.Nb3 via 9...Bxc5 10.Nxc5 Re8 11.Be3 Qa5+ followed by 12...Qxb5 or 12...Bxb5, depending on how White gets out of check.

Note that 9...b4? is even worse. After 9...Bxc5! 10.bxc5 (10.Bxd7 Nbxd7 doesn't help the cause) Re8! 11.Ne5 Bxb5 12.Qxb5 Rxe5+ is significantly better for Black. As mentioned in the note to White's 7th move, this idea of putting the Queen on e2 in order to grab the pawn on c5 can severely backfire on White.

Therefore, White should simply castle and make Black recapture the pawn with his Bishop rather than with the Knight like he normally does in the 5...Nf6 line and test Black's knowledge on the position. There is no advantage for White in this line outside of a psychological one if Black doesn't know his stuff.

So now let's go back to the game move, 8.Ne5, and look at a diagram.

So compared to the more normal lines of the Tarrasch with 5...Nf6, whether it be the main line with 7.Bxd7 as discussed in the Tarrasch article from September, or the 7.Qe2+ line discussed above, what can we say about the position after 8.Ne5? Well, for starters, White has moved a piece in the opening twice for unnecessary reasons. The Knight was not attacked, unlike the Bishop on move 7, which gives it the right to move again, and in this case, would normally capture its perpetrator on d7. The Knight was not in the way of other pieces, unlike say, in the Round 2 game in the previous article where White moved Ne5 early on to get out of the way of the Bishop and Queen to control g4 and h5, and allow White to go for the h-pawn advance. Here Black has not advanced his Kingside pawns at all, and so there is no hook for White to latch onto, and hence no reason for early advancement of the Kingside Pawns for White. It does attack d7 one more time, but Black has it well covered with his Knights on f6 and b8, and the Queen on d8. So the only thing that Black needs to figure out is whether or not there is a major problem for Black if he gives up his Light-Squared Bishop for a White Knight. Well, if Black is without his Light-Squared Bishop, he can harass the White Bishop with the move ...a6, and if the Bishop retreats to d3 rather than trade itself off, Black can play the move ...c4, forcing the Bishop to f5, and since Black still has his Dark-Squared Bishop, the move ...g6 should be fine for Black provided the Knight on f6 doesn't hang, and this would again force White to either take on d7, making the light squares a complete non-issue, or else retreat the Bishop to a passive square like h3. Now even if White takes the pawn on c5 first, allowing the Bishop to rest on d3, the move ...g6 will still plug up the diagonal, and Black's Bishop or Knight will land on c5, activating yet another piece for Black. Black also has tempo-gaining moves coming like ...Re8, hitting the White Queen. In the meantime, White spends another move to take the Bishop on d7, and in that time, Black develops a piece via the recapture, whereas White has traded away his developed piece. So what this boils down to is that Black should not mind giving up the Bishop for the White Knight on the basis that he can't get immediately killed on the light squares, and he will be light years ahead in development by not spending time doing something like taking White's Bishop on b5. Therefore, through basic logic and reasoning, Black's next move should be obvious.


Now even here I would say that White should probably castle and not fall behind in development. The d-pawn, while technically hanging, is not a real issue for White as Black would be left with doubled isolated pawns and White should easily be able to gain one of them.


Instead, White trades off what is arguably his best placed piece on the board, and grabs what is arguably Black's worst minor piece just to get the Bishop pair, and in the mean time, Black gets to develop his last minor piece in the recapture. This is a prime case of reasoning out what to do when White doesn't play the main moves, and understanding what to do here is more important than memorizing "correct play". You can use these ideas to figure out the right moves in correct play if you don't remember them, but not understanding these ideas will throw you for a tailspin when correct play is not executed by White.

9...Nbxd7 10.O-O a6

As mentioned previously, Black's idea is to force White to part with his Bishop for a Knight, and development of yet another piece for Black at the cost of a developed piece for White, or else force it to h3 and then follow that up with ...Re8.


White decides to part with the Bishop so that he can follow up with saddling Black with the IQP.


Those that have read the articles mentioned at the top will know that a sore spot for Black is f5, and not e5. Therefore, connecting the Rooks and taking with the Queen, which covers f5, makes more sense than taking with the Knight to cover c5 and e5. If White takes the pawn on c5, the Bishop can always recapture now that Black has castled. Outside of re-positioning the connected Rooks, presumably to e8 and either c8 or d8, Black's development is done! White's? Not so much! His Bishop and Rook are both undeveloped. The f1-Rook will want to re-position itself, presumably to e1, and the Knight has to relocate itself to let the Bishop out. Black is already at least slightly better.

12.dxc5 Bxc5 13.Nb3


An intermezzio move that once again shows that putting the Queen on e2 early on just to check the Black King is going to come back to bite White in the butt.


Black has a big advantage after 14.Nxc5 Rxe2 15.Nxd7 Nxd7 16.c3 Rae8.

14...Bb6 15.c3 Ng4

With the threat of 16...Nxf2 and 17...Re1+. In the mean time, the Knight is headed for e5.

16.Nd4 Ne5 17.Qd1 Rad8

Black develops his final piece while almost all of White's pieces are where they started. Black also has a cunning trap set up if White falls for it. If he doesn't, Black's position is still better. Putting the Rook on d8 backs up the Queen,and allows Black to use the e4 outpost without White having a tricks of taking and using the pin on the d-pawn to the Queen. There didn't seem to be any activity available for Black on the c-file, and hence the decision to go to the d-file instead.


White falls right into it! White should have developed the Bishop, whether it be to e3, f4, or g5.

18...Bxd4 19.cxd4

Unfortunately forced as 19.Qxd4? drops the exchange to 19...Nf3+


A very annoying move for White to have to face.


The lesser evils were either 20.Re2 Qg4 or 20.Rf1 Nb4, holding Black's advantage to a minimum.

20...Rxe3 21.fxe3 Qf5!

White is in a heap of trouble now.


This move loses on the spot. White had to try either 22.Bd2 or a Queen move like 22.Qd2, 22.Qe2, or 22.Qf1, but Black has a winning attack in all lines. Just not quite as easy as the one in the game.

22...Qf2+ 23.Kh1 Ne1 0-1

Game Over! The only way to stop both mate threats on f1 and g2 is to jettison the Queen, and even then it's only temporary.

Through basic understanding of the position, using the ideas from the articles mentioned at the beginning, Black won this game fairly easily, and it should be noted that with the game having a time control of G/120 with a 5 second delay, Black still had 81 minutes on the clock! There were only two moves the entire game where I spent more than 4 minutes, and that was figuring out where to put the Bishop on move 14 (d6, b6, or a7) and figuring out where to put the Rook on move 17 (c8 or d8). Otherwise, basic strategy and understanding of the opening themes instead of deep opening theory carried me through.

So at this point in the tournament, I have two and a half points out of three. Another major factor was that both games on Saturday (see the previous article on Round 2 for the Saturday afternoon game) were fun to play. In neither game did the opponent put up much resistance, and as a result, neither game was highly stressful, and energy levels were fully intact heading into Sunday.

Stay tuned as the Sunday games will be published shortly after the holiday weekend. Everybody have a good Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Upcoming Charlotte Chess Center Events

Tuesday, November 21 - Tuesday Night Action Round 3

Wednesday, November 22 - Sunday, November 26 - GM/IM Norm Invitational and Junior Invitational

Tuesday, November 28 - Tuesday Night Action Round 4

Saturday, December 2 - Reverse Angle 78

Tuesday, December 5 - Tuesday Night Action Round 5

Thursday, December 7 - First Thursday Blitz

Saturday, December 9 - Unrated Scholastic

Tuesday, December 12 - Tuesday Night Action Round 1

Friday, December 15 - Sunday, December 17 - Southeastern FIDE Championship

Tuesday, December 19 - CCCSA Holiday Party!  No Tuesday Night Action.

Wednesday, December 20 - Friday, December 22 - Winter Break Chess Camp

We will be closed Tuesday, December 26

Game Analysis: NC Closed Championship - Round 2

This article plus the next three by me will cover my road to second place in the NC Closed Championship.

I actually started off the tournament with a complete dud as White against Xiaodong Jin (1830) and decided to re-enter, taking a half point bye for the first round. I was initially a little skeptical about it despite being the 8 seed out of 36 players given that the loss had me riding a four game losing streak, but I went ahead and did it anyway, and little did I know that it would actually pay off in the end as the extra $40 turned into $300!

So without further ado, let's get started. In this article, I'm going to thoroughly analyze my round 2 game against Solomon Painter. Future articles will cover rounds 3 through 5.

North Carolina Closed Championship, Round 2
W: Patrick McCartney (2090)
B: Solomon Painter (1836)
Barry Attack

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Nc3

This move can be very annoying to King's Indian players. White is threatening to play 4.e4, which after a move like 3...d6, would transpose to the Pirc Defense, an opening that not a lot of King's Indian players play. The only reasonable way to stop the transposition is to play the move 3...d5, which Black does in the game, but while this move is natural to someone that normally plays the Grunfeld, most King's Indian players loathe this move, but their choice here is to either play that or else deal with playing a Pirc Defense. I will add that I did happen to notice Solomon playing the Black side of a King's Indian in the fourth round!

3...d5 4.Bf4

This is the starting point of the Barry Attack, not to be confused with the London System where the White Knight normally goes to d2 and the c-pawn is pushed to either c3 or c4. Mark Hebden was a major advocate of this opening. The idea in the Barry Attack is simple. Maintain a position that is free of weaknesses for White, and if Black plays actively in the center and on the Queenside, White aims for a slightly favorable endgame. If Black plays passively, White goes for a caveman-like attack via shoving the h-pawn up the board to get at the Black King. The latter is what happens in this one.

4...c6 5.e3 Bg7 6.Be2 O-O

Black is applying no pressure to White's center, therefore ...

7.Ne5 Nbd7 8.h4

Here we go with the Kingside attack.


As much as it appears to weaken Black's Kingside, either 8...h5 or 8...Nxe5 9.Bxe5 h5 was absolutely necessary. It does gain Black at least a move or two as after 8...h5, the immediate 9.g4? drops a pawn after 9...Nxe5 and 10...Bxg4. While a computer might try to claim equality after 8...h5, White still has the trumps, and Black is likely playing for nothing more than a draw.


The threat of 9...Ne4, while not fatal, was extremely annoying for White, and so he prevents it with this move as now 9...Ne4?? would drop a piece to 10.Nxe4 as the Queen is hanging on a5, and if he takes on d2, White takes back with the Knight on e4 and it's no longer being attacked.

Now you might be thinking "Great! Even one less piece of White's is covering g4! 9...h5 or 9...Nxe5 10.Bxe5 h5 must be even better than it was before!" Actually, it's just the opposite. as after 9...h5 10.Nd3 or 9...Nxe5 10.Bxe5 h5 11.f3, Black has nothing better than to retreat the Queen back to d8, losing the time gained for slowing down White's attack and other moves simply don't work. For example, after 9...h5 10.Nd3, the move 10...Nb6 can be answered by either 11.Bc7 or 11.b3, both of which are better for White.

9...Nxe5 10.Bxe5 e6

I presume that Black was looking to play ...c5 without dropping the d-pawn as 10...c5? is answered by 11.Bxf6 and no matter how Black takes back, he has no tricks to regain the pawn. For example, 11...Bxf6 12.Nxd5 Qxd2+ 13.Kxd2 cxd4 is answered by 14.Nxf6+ while the lesser evil, 11...exf6, is answered by 12.Nxd5 Qxd2+ 13.Kxd2 cxd4 14.exd4 and again there are no tricks to win the pawn back without wrecking the position. For example, 14...Rd8 15.Bf3 Be6 16.c4 f5 17.Kc3 Rac8 18.Ne7+ Kf8 19.Nxc8 Bxd4+ 20.Kb3 Rxc8 21.Bd5 Bxd5 22.cxd5 Bxf2 23.h5 Ke7 24.Rac1 Rxc1 25.Rxc1 and while the material is equal, the position is not! The position after 25...Kd6 26.Rc8 Kxd5 27.Rh8 Ke6 28.Rxh7 gxh5 29.Rh6+ followed by 30.Rxh5 is winning for White as is 25...Kd7 26.Rh1 and now both 26...Bd4 27.Kc4 Bxb2 28.Rb1 and 26...Bg3 27.hxg6 hxg6 28.Rh7 Ke7 29.Kc4 are both winning for White.

11.h5 Bd7 12.g4 Rac8

This move is an error as White can now force Black to either lose material, or pry open his Kingside. Black should have played the other Rook instead with 12...Rfc8.


Plugging up the last available escape square for the Knight without having to take on h5 once the g-pawn is pushed. Instead, Black can surrender the exchange with 13...Ne8 or 13...Rd8 14.g5 Ne8 15.Be7, but no matter white, Black is in major trouble.

13...Rfe8 14.g5 Nxh5 15.Bxh5 gxh5


White is in no hurry to grab the h-pawn as it is literally going nowhere. White would rather take on h5 with the Queen instead of the Rook. However, after something like 16.Qd1, Black has 16...e5 17.Qxh5, Black has 17...Bf5, defending his Kingside. Therefore, we block the e-pawn so that the Bishop can't come to the rescue of h7.


This trade really doesn't help Black at all. The immediate 16...c5 is preferable, though still significantly better for White, if not already winning.

17.dxe5 c5 18.Qd1 Kf8

Black does not have time to hunt down the Knight. After 18...d4?, White doesn't bother to capture twice on d4, but rather, play 19.Qxh5, winning as 19...dxe3 20.Qxh7+ Kf8 21.Qh8+ Ke7 22.Qf6+ Kf8 23.Rh8 is mate as is 19...Kf8 20.Qh6+ Ke7 21.Qf6+ Kf8 22.Rxh7 and mate can't be stopped. That leaves 19...Bc6, which is answered by 20.Qxh7+ Kf8 21.g6 Rc7 22.Qh8+ Ke7 23.Qf6+ Kd7 24.gxf7 Bxh1 25.fxe8=Q+ Kxe8 26.O-O-O and Black is busted. He can't take the Knight because of mate on d8. If he moves 26...Bc6, then White breaks through in the center starting with 27.exd4. If he moves the Bishop anywhere that White can trade his Knight for it, he can follow up with Rh1 with mate soon to come, and going to g2 simply drops the Bishop to a fork.

19.Qxh5 Ke7

And here inlies Black's other major problem. His own pieces block all the light squares, and so the Black King must walk down the path of the treacherous dark squares!


Both defending the d4-square and threatening discoveries on the King, leading to an advanced passed pawn on the seventh rank.


Getting out of the discovery with 20...Kf8?? leads to the same mate as discussed in the note to Black's 18th move. Also worth noting is that 20...Qb4 doesn't work either. White can simply answer with 21.f4! and White will castle Queenside the following move as 21...Qxb2?? leads once again to mate, this time via 22.g6+ Kf8 23.g7+ Kxg7 24.Qh6+ Kg8 25.Rg1+ Kh8 26.Qg7 mate.

21.g6+ Kc7 22.gxf7

This is where you can throw general principles out the window. Yes, a passed pawn on the edge of the board, especially with most of Black's pieces on the complete other side of the board, maybe harder to stop, but here, gaining the tempo and forcing the Rook off of the e-file is more critical so that the Queen can come in.

22.Rh8 23.Qe7

Threatening 24.Qd6+ Kd8 25.f8=Q, winning a Rook. Note also that Black can't win the Knight with 23...d4 as not only does White have major threats around the Black King, but even if White had nothing else, he could trade pawns once on d4 and follow up with a check on d6 and then grabbing the pawn. That said, White's after bigger things, like mating the King or winning a Rook.


Giving the King the c8-square and allowing the Rook to continue to eye f8.


There is no reason to go pawn hunting with 24.Qxc5+ as then White would need to go back to e7 to hold his major trump card on f7. Instead, White gets two more pieces involved in the attack. The dormant Rook that was sitting on a1, and the Knight on c3 that has been pinned for most of the game.

24...Kc8 25.Rh6

Setting up even more problems if Black tries to use the Queen to cover the d6-square.

25...Qa6 26.Rf6

Covering f2 in the event of any checks on f1 once the Rook leaves the back rank and also threatening to win a Rook via promotion on f8.


27.Rxd5!! 1-0

The fatal blow to Black's position. White's threat is 28.Rxd7 Rxd7 29.Qxf8+ followed by 30.Qc5+ and promotion of the f-pawn. If Black takes the Rook via 27...exd5, then 28.Rxa6 bxa6 29.Nxd5 and Black is not surviving this as 30.e6 is coming. Therefore, exhausting all of his possibilities, Black resigned.

In the next three articles, I will cover the final three rounds of the NC Closed Championship. For completeness, and for those of you that are curious how I got pounded in the first round, I had White in the following game against Xiaodong Jin (1830): 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.e3 b6 4.Bd3 Bb7 5.O-O d5 6.b3 Bd6 7.Bb2 O-O 8.Nbd2 Nbd7 9.Ne5 c5 10.Nxd7 Nxd7 11.f4 cxd4 12.exd4 Qh4 13.Qf3 Rac8 14.Rae1 Nf6 15.g3 Qh3 16.Re2 Rc7 17.Rg2 Qg4 18.h3 Qxf3 19.Nxf3 Ne4 20.Ne5 f5 21.Kh2 g6 (I declined a draw offer at this point) 22.c4 Bxe5 23.dxe5?? (23.fxe5 is equal. The move played loses.) 23...Nc5 24.Ba3 (Maybe not the best way to handle it, but no matter what, Black's winning material.) 24...dxc4 25.Bxc4 Bxg2 26.Kxg2 Rd8 27.b4 Rd2+ 28.Kg1 Rc2 29.Rc1 Rxc1+ 30.Bxc1 Kf7 31.Be3 Ne4 32.Bb3 Rc3 33.Bf2 Nxg3 34.Kg2 Nh5 0-1