MMCA Summer Open 1996

The MMCA Summer Open held on June 22 was quite an enjoyable event for me. The relaxed atmosphere, fast time control and excellent tournament direction by NM Bill Williams helped me to play my best and I ended up undefeated at 3 1/2. I tied for second with my friend, Lawrence Butler. Congratulations to NM Roman Levit on winning the event with a perfect score of 4. Although I was proud of my result, I was overjoyed when my student, Leanne Holm, age 9, won her first two games against much higher rated opponents. She was leading me by half a point! Ms. Holm ended up winning her class and scoring the upset prize! She has annotated her wins below and I have added additional notes.

 MMCA Summer Open / 22Jun96 Round 1 Leanne Holm (980)-Ilja Mihajlica (1600)

1. d4 Nf6
2. Nf3 b6
3. Bg5 e6

"Black has adopted the unorthodox English defense against the Torre attack. 3...Bb7 and 3...Ne4 are book in this position."

4. c3 ?! ...

"This move is too timid. I prefer 4.Nbd2 to answer 4...Bb7 with 5.e4, grabbing the center."

4. ... Bb7
5. Nbd2 ...

"Leanne: My knight move protected the knight on f3 and also prevented Black's knight from going to e4 after Be7.
Don: It's good that you are taking into account the opponent's future disposition of forces. However, after Black breaks the pin, he can play the knight to e4 anytime because the square is covered by his bishop on b7."

5. ... Be7
6. e3 0-0
7. Bd3 d6 ?

"Black is playing too passively. He should play 7...d5 to gain some space to work with."

8. 0-0 Nbd7 ?

"Consistent, but 8...c5! is better because it puts White's center under assault. "

9. b4 ! ...

"This move makes c5 harder and gains space on the Queenside."

9. ... h6
10. Bxf6 ...

"Leanne: I didn't mind exchanging my bad bishop.
Don: The bishop was bad, but because it was outside your pawn chain and active, it was okay. I would have played Bh4 to tempt him to play g5 and weaken his kingside, but that's my style and taste. Your move is good and shows your awareness of strategy, such as the bad bishop."

10. ... Nxf6
11. Qb3 ! ...

"Leanne: I liked how it (my Queen) was lined up with his king.
Don: It's important to notice pieces in line, but for the moment his king is safe because you can't apply more pressure on e6 or f7. Your move fit's in nicely with the idea of playing a4 to gain more space on the Queenside and to initiate a Queenside attack. Another idea was to play 11.e4 to gain space in the center."

11. ... Re8
12. Rfe1 a6
13. a4 ! ...

"Leanne: I saw that he might play b5."

13. ... Bf8
14. Rab1? ...

"You should have kept an eye on Black's last two moves. He has prepared a challenge to your center with 14...e5! Better was 14. e4 to answer 14... e5 with 15. d5 followed by 16. c4. If Black plays 14... d5 you could respond with 15. e5. I'm not sure why you played 14. Rb1."

14. ... e5 !
15. b5 ?? ...

"You can't allow the fork. 15. e4 exd4 16.cxd4 gives you an advantage."

15. ... e4
16. bxa6 Bxa6 ??

"Your opponent answers your blunder with his own! After 16..Bc6 17. d5 Bxd5 18. c4 Bc6 wins a piece."

17. Bxa6 Rxa6
18. Nh4 Qd7
19. Ra1 ? ...

"19. Qb5 Qxb5 20. ab is the only way not to lose the pawn."

19. ... Rea8
20. a5 b5 ??

"Simply 20...Rxa5 wins a pawn. However, if your opponent was tempted to win a piece with 20...Qg4?, he would realize his error after 21.g3 g5 22.Ng6! "

21. Reb1 c6 ?!

"21...Rxa5 22.Rxa5 Rxa5 23.Qb4 Ra2 24.c4 d5 25.c5 c6 gives Black a winning advantage. Now the initiative changes dramatically."

22. c4 ! bxc4
23. Nxc4 ...

"Leanne: Threatening a fork with 24. Nb6! "

23. ... g5 ?
24. Ng6 !! ...

"If 24...fg then 25. Ne5+ wins the Queen. "

24. ... d5
25. Nce5 ! Qe6
26. Nxf8 Kxf8
27. Qb4+ Kg7
28. Qc3 ! ...

"Leanne: Opening the b-file for my rook.
Don: Remarkably mature play for a 9 year old girl playing in her first adult tournament!"

28. ... Ne8 ?

"Black can still defend with 28...Nd7! to exchange off Black's dangerous counterpart."

29. Rb7 ! Nd6
30. Rd7 Kg8

"Leanne: Unpinning the f pawn."

31. Qc5 Nb5
32. h3 ! ...

"Leanne: Keeping his Queen out of g4.
Don: It is always a good idea to create "luft" when there is nothing better to do. This move, however, does much more by setting up a remarkable combination later on."

32. ... Rxa5 ??

"Leanne: I liked this move for me!
Don: Black finally accepts the pawn, but it is too little, too late."

33. Rxa5 Rxa5
34. Rd8+ Kg7
35. Qf8+ Kf6
36. Ng4+ Kf5
37. Nxh6+Kg6
38. Qg8+ !!...

"Leanne: I knew I had mate after this move."

38. ... Kxh6

"If 38...Kf6 39.Re8 Ra1+ 40.Kh2 Qd7 41.Ng4+ Kf5 42. Qh7# or 38...Kh5 39. g4+ Kh4 40. Kg2 Qg6 41. Nf5+ Qf5 42. gf and mate next move."

39. Qh8+ Kg6
40. Rg8+ Kf5
41. g4+ #

"A very convincing performance by the young lady from Madison in beating an experienced tournament player rated 600 points higher than her! "

MMCA Summer Open /22Jun96 Round 2 Herman Presswood (1900)-Leanne Holm (980)

1. e4 d6
2. d4 Nf6
3. Nc3 c6

"The Czech variation of the Pirc defense."

4. Nf3 Bg4
5. h3 Bh5

"Leanne: I didn't want to exchange my bishop for the knight."

6. Bc4 ...

"This move deviates from established praxis. 6. Qe2 e6 with the idea of castling queenside and pushing the g and h pawns. If 6. Be2 e6 7. Bf4 Be7 8. Nd2! Bxe2 9. Qxe2 O-O 10. O-O-0 d5 leads to equality according to Jansa and Pribyl. "

6. ... Qa5

"Leanne: I was thinking about 6...d5 instead, but I decided not yet."

7. 0-0 e5
8. dxe5 ...

"Leanne: I didn't think he would exchange so quickly."

8. ... dxe5
9. Bg5 ...

"Leanne: I expected 9. Bd2."

9. ... Be7
10. Qe2 0-0
11. g4 ?! Bg6
12. Nh4 ?!...

"White's last two moves are dubious. Black has not done anything wrong. There are no weaknesses in her camp and most of her pieces are on the kingside. Herman's attack should not succeed."

12. ... Nbd7
13. Nxg6 hxg6

"Leanne: I couldn't take with the pinned f pawn, even though I wanted to."

14. Rad1 Rfe8 !

"Leanne: I wanted to protect the bishop and prevent 15. Rxd7 followed by 15...Nxd7 16. Bxe7.
Don: Good! You have taken into account the opponent's plan and countered with your own. This rook also indirectly protects the e5 pawn."

15. Rd2 Nc5 !

"Leanne: I wanted to attack the e pawn twice."

16. Rfd1 Rad8 !

"Leanne: I played this move because I wanted to trade off his strong doubled rooks.
Don: Again you challenge the opponent's plan and prevent him from using his strengths to advantage."

17. h4 ?! ...

"Leanne: I wasn't expecting this move!
Don: He is attempting to storm your position, but your defensive resources are sufficient. White is simply denuding his own king of cover. His king position can now become a source of counterplay for you."

17. ... Rxd2
18. Rxd2 b5 !?

"Leanne: I didn't want his bishop to be on that diagonal.
Don: Excellent! You are trying to take away White's strengths! The bishop on c4 is a powerful piece which pins your f7 pawn and pressures your kingside. Its exchange or removal from the a2-g8 diagonal will destroy White's dream for an attack. "

19. Bb3 Nxb3
20. axb3 Qa1+ !
21. Nd1 Rd8 !?

"Leanne: I wanted to exchange off his other rook.
Don: Look what has happened to White's pieces! His once mighty bishop is dead, his proud knight has lost his nobility/mobility and his queenside is under tremendous pressure. "

22. Rxd8+Bxd8
23. Kg2 a6
24. c3 Qb1 !

"Don: This move attacks e4 and keeps b2 under observation. With one move, Black ties down the knight and queen! "

25. f3 Bb6 !

"Leanne: I liked this move because it attacked g1 and I thought it was on a good diagonal.
Don: Good! You should always strive to activate your worst piece. The bishop does nothing while it is defending the knight, which is safe enough. White would not be foolish enough to exchange off his only active piece for the relatively inactive knight. This would be tantamount to suicide since his dark squares have more holes in it than my socks!"

26. Be3 ! Bxe3 27. Nxe3 c5 28. Qd2 Kf8 !

"Leanne: I saw the check that was coming up.
Don: Wow! Even I might have been tempted to move the king to h7 instead of toward the center!
Leanne: At this point, I stopped writing my moves down.... He was in time trouble, and in the end I called his flag.
Don: An incredibly mature and cohesive game which makes her first game pales by comparison. Ms. Holm truly outplayed her opponent in this game!"

Finally, I would like to give my win in the third round against the very same opponent my student had defeated in the second! In this game, Herman shows a bit of rust from his 2 month layoff from competitive chess. Extra duties as a supervisor had prevented him from keeping in practice. However, Herman is a competitor and a gentleman who did not use this as an excuse as many players are wont to do. He took his 2 upsets in good stride and did not get "upset" over them. He knows as well as we all do that, in the words of the immortal Brad Phillips, "chess is greater than it's players and anyone can lose a game."

MMCA Summer Open /22Jun96 Round 3 Herman Presswood (1900)- Don Hwang (1773)

1. e4 e6
2. d4 d5
3. Nc3 Nf6

"The Classical variation of the French defense."

4. Bg5 Be7
5. e5 Nfd7
6. Bxe7 Qxe7
7. Nf3!? ...

"7.f4 is the mainline. But, this move has merit."

7. ... 0-0
8. Bd3 f5
9. Qd2 a6
10. Ne2 c5
11. c3 Nc6
12. 0-0 b5
13. Rae1 cxd4
14. cxd4 Nb6
15. b3 h6
16. Nf4 Kh7
17. Rc1 Bd7
18. Rc5 Nxd4
19. Nxd4 Qxc5
20. Ndxe6Bxe6
21. Nxe6 Qe7
22. Nxf8+ Rxf8
23. Qe3 Nd7
24. Re1 Nc5
25. Bb1 Ne6
26. Qb6 Nc5
27. Qd6 Qxd6
28. exd6 Ne4
29. Rd1 Nc3
30. Rc1 Ne2+