Monday, March 19, 2018

Problems From Positions At The Ron Simpson Memorial

Hello everyone. Those of you looking for the next edition of the French Connection, it will come in about another week. This time, having just gotten back from the Ron Simpson Memorial, I have five problems for you to figure out based on the most critical position in each of the five games. Note that these are not "Mate in X" problems. Your job is to find the best move in each case. It could lead to mate or it could simply lead to a better position. That is for you to figure out.

Try to figure out the solution to each of the five problems. Then scroll down to see each of the games in its entirety along with the solution to each problem. This can also be a useful article for those of you that open 1.d4/2.c4 as every game starts out that way and White wins all five games, although in one of them Black missed a win!

Patrick McCartney - Atmika Gorti

White to Move

Levan Brejadze - Patrick McCartney

White is winning after any reasonable move, but one move is better than the rest. Can you find it?

Patrick McCartney - Gil Holmes

Once again, White is Winning with any reasonable move, but can you find the best move?

Dominique Myers - Patrick McCartney

Black to Move

Patrick McCartney - Ziyang Qiu

White to Move

Patrick McCartney - Atmika Gorti

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Bc4 c5 8.Ne2 O-O 9.Be3 Nc6 10.Rc1 Qa5 11.Kf1 cxd4 12.cxd4 Bd7 13.h4 Rac8 14.h5 Nd8 15.hxg6 hxg6 16.Kg1 Ba4 17.Qd3 b5


This move allows Black to equalize with correct play. The main thing about this problem is to realize that White is already better and that there is no need to do anything fancy. The simple 18.Bd5! gives White the advantage. The open h-file isn't going anywhere. White's Bishop is also ready to go to h6 to contest the fianchettoed Bishop. With the safer King and with most of Black's pieces either on the Queenside or completely bottled up, White's better.


The position is equal after 18...bxc4 19.Qh3 (19.Bxa5? cxd3 20.Rxc8 dxe2 is better for Black) Qh5 20.Qxc8 Qxe2 21.Qh3 Qh5 22.Qxh5 gxh5 and now 23.Rxc4 or 23.Rxh5 are both considered equal, though admittedly, I would rather have White as his position appears to be much easier to play.

19.Qh3 Re8 20.Qh7+ Kf8 21.Bh6 e6 22.Qxg7+ Ke7 23.Bg5+ Kd7 24.Bd3 Rxc1+ 25.Nxc1 Qa5 26.Be3 1-0

Levan Brejadze - Patrick McCartney

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 O-O 6.h3 e5 7.d5 a5 8.Bg5 Na6 9.g4 Qe8 10.Be2 Nc5 11.Nd2 c6 12.Qc2 Nfd7 13.h4 f6 14.Be3 Rf7 15.h5 g5 16.f3 Nb6 17.Nb3 Bf8 18.Nxc5 dxc5 19.O-O cxd5 20.cxd5 Bd7 21.Qb3 Qd8 22.Bb5 c4 23.Bxc4 Nxc4 24.Qxc4 Rc8 25.Qb3 Bc5 26.Bxc5 Rxc5 27.Na4 Bxa4 28.Qxa4 Qb6 29.Rf2 Rb5 30.b3 Rc7 31.Kg2 Kf8 32.Rd1 Rb4 33.Qa3 Rc3


Sure this wins, but it is not White's best move. The correct answer is 34.Rc1! This move forces Black to either surrender the c-file to White, or else surrender the a-pawn, putting him down two pawns. After 34...Rc7 35.Rfc2, the open file is White's. If instead 34...Qc5 or 34...Qc7, then a trade on c3 can be followed by grabbing the a-pawn.

34...Ke7 35.d7+ Kd8 36.Rd5 a4 37.h6 Rc5 38.Rd3 Qa5 39.Qb2 Qc7 40.Qd2 Rb6 41.bxa4 Rb1 42.Rb3 Rbc1 43.Rb2 R5c4 44.Qd5 Qxd7 45.Qxd7+ Kxd7 46.Rxb7+ Kc6 47.Rxh7 Rxa4 48.Rf7 Kc5 49.Rc7+ 1-0

Patrick McCartney - Gil Holmes

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.g3 dxc4 5.Bg2 a6 6.a4 Bb4+ 7.Bd2 a5 8.O-O O-O 9.Qc2 Bd7 10.Qxc4 Bxd2 11.Nfxd2 Bc6 12.e4 Qd7 13.Nc3 Rd8 14.Nb3 Na6 15.Rfd1 Nb4 16.Nc5 Qe7 17.d5 exd5 18.exd5 b6 19.dxc6 bxc5 20.Re1 Qf8 21.Rad1 Rab8 22.Nb5 Rb6 23.Rxd8 Qxd8 24.Qxc5 h6


There is no way for Black to stop the c-pawn following this Queen sacrifice. White will immediately win the material back and then some.

25.cxb6 26.c7 Qc8

Or 26...Qd7 27.Bb7

27.Rd1 Nd7 28.Bh3 Nd5 29.Rxd5 Qe8 30.Rxd7 Qe1+ 31.Bf1 1-0

Dominique Myers - Patrick McCartney

1.d4 e6 2.c4 f5 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 c6 5.Nf3 d5 6.O-O Bd6 7.b3 Qe7 8.a4 a5 9.Ba3 Bxa3 10.Nxa3 O-O 11.Qc1 Nbd7 12.Qb2 Ne4 13.Nc2 g5 14.Nce1 g4 15.Nd2 Qg5 16.e3 Rf6 17.Nd3 Nf8 18.Nf4 Ng6 19.h4 Nxh4 20.gxh4 Qxh4 21.Nxe4 fxe4 22.Ne2 Bd7 23.Ng3 Raf8 24.Rfe1 Rh6 25.Nf1 Rf3 26.Ra2 Rh3 27.Bxh3 Qxh3 28.Ng3 Qh2+ 29.Kf1 Rf6 30.Nxe4 Qh1+ 31.Ke2 Qxe4 32.Rg1 Be8 33.Qc2 Qf3+ 34.Ke1 Bg6 35.Qe2 Qe4 36.Rb2 h5 37.c5 e5 38.dxe5 Qxe5 39.Qd2 Be4 40.f4 Qe7 41.b4 Bf3 42.bxa5 Rxf4 43.Rxb7 Qe5 44.Qd3 Re4 45.Kf1


In severe time trouble, Black buckles. Black is absolutely crushing White after 45...Qh2!!. For example, 46.a6 g3 47.Rb2 Qxb2 48.Rxg3+ Bg4 49.a7 Qa1+ 50.Kg2 Qxa4 51.Qf1 Qxa7 and White's busted.

46.Rb1 Qxa4 47.a6 Qa2 48.Rb8+ Kf7 49.Rb7+ Ke6 50.Rh7 Qa1+ 51.Kf2 Qa2+ 52.Kg3 Be2 53.Qc3 d4 54.exd4 Qxa6 55.Rh6+ Kd7 56.Ra1 1-0

Patrick McCartney - Ziyang Qiu

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Qc2 e6 5.Bg5 Nbd7 6.e3 Bb4+ 7.Nc3 Qa5 8.Nd2 Ne4 9.Ndxe4 dxe4 10.Bf4 O-O 11.Be2 e5 12.Bg3 f5 13.dxe5 Nxe5 14.O-O Be6


White tactically wins at least a pawn with this move.

15...fxe4 16.Qxe4 Bd6

Or 16...Rf5 17.a3 Bd6 18.Rfd1 Bc7 19.f4 Rff8 20.b4 followed by 21.fxe5!

17.b4! Qxb4

Or 17...Qc7 18.c5 and White gets the piece back.

18...Bf5 19.Bxd6 Qxd6 20.Qd4 Qxd4 21.exd4 Rfe8 22.Bf3 Bd3 23.Rfc1 Rad8 24.d5 c5 25.Rc3 Bf5 26.Kf1 Rd6 27.Re1 Rxe1+ 28.Kxe1 Kf7 29.Kd2 Ke7 30.Rb3 Rb6 31.Rxb6 axb6 32.Ke3 Kd6 33.Be4 Bd7 34.Bxh7 b5 35.cxb5 Bxb5 36.Bd3 Be8 37.f4 b5 38.Be4 b4 39.g4 Bb5 40.h4 Bc4 41.h5 Bxa2 42.g5 Ke7 43.h6 gxh6 44.gxh6 Kf6 45.f5 Bc4 46.d6 Bb5 47.h7 1-0

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