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Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Horseman and Szabo Trade Tactical Blows

     You have probably never heard of Derek G. Horseman who passed away at the age of 78 on March 18, 2010. Virtually unknown outside a few old-time English players, he was a strong player while at Oxford University. Chessmetrics estimates his high rating to have been 2494 in October of 1958, placing him at number 223 in the world. 
     He won the Hastings Challengers tournament in 1955/56 thereby qualifying for the prestigious Hastings Premier of 1956/57. 
     The story goes that is was Horseman who prevented Bobby Fischer from playing in the Premier that year. Frank Rhoden, the Hastings organizer, managed to get the 13-year old Fischer invited to the Premier at the last minute. Rhoden claimed Fischer was waiting at the airport, but there was a slight problem; one of the English players in the Premier (Peter Clarke, Horseman Jonathan Penrose and C.H.O'D. Alexander) had to yield their spot, so Rhoden requested Horseman do so and he refused. His refusal left Rhoden unhappy because the Fischer publicity value was lost. 
     It's hard to criticize Horseman because he had earned his spot. Besides that, Horseman did the best of the British players except for Clarke (+1 -1 =7) who tied for 5th with Laszlo Szabo. Horseman finished 8th with +2 -5 =2. Penrose (2.5 points) and Alexander (2 points) brought up the rear and neither of them won a single game. 
     In the process, Horseman drew with Szabo in a game featuring clever tactical blows by both players in a see-saw battle. In the end, Szabo had r a remarkable saving resource. Horseman defeated Penrose and Alexander. The Premier was won by Gligoric and Larsen (tied). His performance rating for the tournament is estimated to have been 2526. 
     Horseman competed in four British Championships 1954, 1956, 1957 and 1958 making a plus score in each of them. 
     Leonard Barden described Horseman as gentle, friendly and good humored. He was a sharp and inventive player with creative ideas and while at Oxford improved his game to around IM level.
     Although he continued to play chess, Horseman pursued a career in education as a math lecturer, then an Education Adviser until he retired. Until shortly before his death he coached juniors at the local chess club and a primary school.
     Horseman's son wrote that his father, a deeply devout man, had taught his four grandchildren to play chess. His son added that his father had played in Liverpool at the British championships in 2008 where he was the joint winner of the Under 175 (2000 Elo) section. 
     Horseman and his wife went on vacation in Spain in January, 2010, to escape the cold weather. While there he was suddenly taken ill with septicemia and was in hospital in the Costa del Sol until he was transferred by air ambulance to Southport where he died. 
     In the following game Horseman swings a mighty tactical hammer against a player who at the time was a world championship contender. Unfortunately for Horseman, his opponent found a lucky escape.

Laszlo Szabo - Derek Horseman

Result: 1/2-1/2

Site: Hastings Premier

Date: 1956

Nimzo-Indian: Rubinstein Variation

[...] 1.c4 ♘f6 2.♘c3 e6 3.♘f3 ♗b4 The Nimzo-Indian is popular a choice of players looking to win. By pinning the N black prevents 4.e4 and seeks to inflict white with doubled Ps. Also, black's delay in committing to a P-structure makes the defense very flexible. White will attempt to create a P center and prepare for an attack. 4.e3 This is white's most common continuation. He completes his development before committing to a definite plan of action. 4...b6 The main line is 4..O-O. The text move was favored by Nimzovich because by fianchettoing black increases control over e4. 5.d4 ♗b7 6.♗d3 O-O 7.O-O c5 8.♘a4 cxd4 9.a3 ♗e7 10.exd4 ♕c7 11.b4 ♘g4
11...a5 12.b5 d6 13.♖e1 ♖e8 14.♗f4 ♘bd7 White is slightly better. Ibragimov,I (2575)-Wells,P (2495)/Ubeda 1996
12.g3 f5
12...d6 Too passive. 13.♗b2 ♘d7 14.♖c1 ♖ac8 15.♘c3 ♕b8 16.♖e1 ♕a8 17.♘d2 ♘gf6 Black has lost a ot of time and white stands well. Buhmann,R (2587) -Saduakassova,D (2470)/Caleta ENG 2018
13.♘c3 d6 Black's position is not very promising, but this turns out to be a mistakes that allows white to seize the initiative and develop a dangerous attack.
13...a6 served black well in Botvinnik,M-Bronstein,D/Moscow 1951, but mostly because of Botvinnik's poor play later. 14.♖e1 ♘c6 15.♗f1 ♘d8 16.♗f4 ♗d6 17.♗xd6 ♕xd6 18.♗g2 ♘f7 and white is better.
13...♗xf3 14.♕xf3 ♘c6 15.♘e2 ♖ac8 16.h3 ♘f6 17.♗e3 White is only slightly better, but this appears to be black's best line.
14.h3 ♘f6 15.♕e2 ♗xf3 16.♕xf3 ♘c6 17.♕e3 Why not 17.Be3? 17...♕d7 18.d5 exd5 19.cxd5 ♘e5 20.♗b5 ♕b7 21.♖d1 a6 22.♗f1 This tame retreat allows black to equalize with 22...b5 securing an outpost for his N on c4.
22.f4 is a solid punch. After 22...axb5 23.fxe5 dxe5 24.d6 ♗d8 25.♕xe5 white stands well.
22...♖fe8 23.♗b2
23.f4 ♘f7 24.♕d3 g6 25.a4 ♗f8 26.♗e3 ♗g7 27.♖ac1 White has a promising position.
23...♗f8 24.♘e2 ♔h8 Horseman's passive play is resulting in his getting into trouble.
24...♘c4 was correct. 25.♕b3 ♘xb2 26.♕xb2 ♘e4 keeps white's advantage at a minimum.
25.♕b3 a5 26.♘d4 a4 27.♕c2 f4 Sacrificing a P for some play, but it's not quite enough. 28.gxf4 ♘g6
28...♖ac8 is best met by 29.♕f5 ♘g6 30.♖ac1 but here, too, white has an excellent position.
29.♘e6 ♘h4 30.♗xf6
30.♕c7 Was even better as after 30...♖e7 31.♕xb7 ♖xb7 32.♖ac1 black is reduced to just waiting.
30...gxf6 31.♕e2 Again, 31.Qc7 was better. 31...♗h6 32.♕h5 The point of his last move is revealed...black's N and B are forked. However, Horseman has a brilliant saving move.
32.♖ac1 keeps the win in hand. 32...♘g6 33.♕h5 ♖xe6 34.♕xh6 ♖g8 35.♔h1 ♖e4 36.♗d3 ♖d4 37.♗xg6 ♖xd1+ 38.♖xd1 ♖xg6 39.♕f8+ ♖g8 40.♕xf6+
32...♖xe6 Surprise! This move puts black back on an equal footing with his illustrious opponent. 33.♕xh6 (33.♕xh4 ♖g8+ 34.♔h1 ♕g7) 33...♖g8+ 34.♔h1 f5 After this black is a goner...if Szabo finds the correct move.
34...♘f5 This is the only way to stay alive. After 35.♕h5 ♖e4 36.♕xf5 ♕g7 37.♕g4 ♕h6 38.♕f3 ♖xf4 39.♕e3 ♕g6 40.♕g3 ♕f5 41.♕d3 ♕g5 White has to take the draw by repetition because if he doesn't he gets mated on either g1 or g2
35.♕xe6 White wins a R, but allows his opponent to draw.
35.♕xh4 and the rest is a matter of technique. 35...♕g7 36.♕g3 ♕xg3 37.fxg3 ♖e3 38.♖d3 ♖gxg3 39.♖xe3 ♖xe3 40.♔g2 with a won ending.
35...♕g7 White's next move is forced to avoid getting mated on g1 or g2. 36.♕xg8+ ♔xg8 37.♖dc1 As usual...wrong R! (37.♖ac1 ♕b2 38.♖e1 ♕xf2 39.♖e6 ♕f3+ draws) 37...♕b2 38.♖c8+ This looks good, but it should have lost!
38.♔g1 ♕g7+ 39.♔h1 ♕d4 40.♔g1 ♘f3+ (40...♕xd5 41.♗c4) 41.♔g2 ♘h4+ 42.♔g3 ♘g6 This ending is extremely difficult. In Shootouts black won two with 3 draws, but one of the wins (at 17 plies) lasted nearly 100 moves.
38...♔g7 39.♖c7+ ♔h6 40.♖e1 ♕xf2 41.♖e6+ ♘g6 42.♗g2 ♕xf4 43.♖c6 ♕f2
43...♕g3 was better. 44.♖cxd6 f4 45.♖c6 f3 46.♖c2 (46.♗xf3 ♕xf3+ 47.♔h2 ♕f2+ 48.♔h1 ♕f3+ 49.♔g1 ♕xa3) 46...fxg2+ 47.♖xg2 ♕xa3 is winning for black. If 48.♖xb6 ♕c1+ 49.♖g1 ♕e3 The threat of ...Qxh3 mate is too strong to be met.
44.♖exd6 f4 45.♖f6 ♔g5 46.♖f7 ♘h4 This threatens mate, but it allows Szabo to give him the slip.
46...♕e1+ 47.♔h2 ♕g3+ 48.♔g1 ♕xa3 Keeps the win in hand. It's similar to the note above, but white's best try is 49.d6 ♕e3+ 50.♔h2 ♕g3+ 51.♔g1 ♕e1+ 52.♔h2 ♘e5 53.♖g7+ ♔f5 54.d7 ♕d2 55.♖c3 (55.♖c8 ♘f3+ 56.♔h1 ♕e1+ mates) 55...♘xd7 56.♖f3 ♘e5 with a routine win.
47.♖g7+ ♔f5 Black has to accept a draw.
47...♘g6 is met by 48.♖xh7 f3 49.h4+ ♘xh4 50.♖g7+ ♔f5 51.♗h3+ ♔e4 52.♖c8 Black has to take a draw here or else his K gets chased from pillar to post. 52...♔xd5 53.♖d7+ ♔e5 54.♖e8+ ♔f6 55.♖e6+ ♔g5 56.♖g7+ ♔f4 57.♖g4+ ♔f5 58.♖g2+ wins
48.♖f7+ ♔g5 Draw (48...♔e5 49.♖e6+ ♔d4 50.♖xf4+ ♕xf4 51.♖e4+ wins)
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Monday, August 30, 2021

A Dogfight at the 1943 US Open

    The was a lot going on in 1943, but one of the best news stories had to be that the great snack food nachos were invented by Ignacio Anaya in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico. Also in Mexico, a farmer named Dionisio Pulido had a volcano start to form in his corn field. By the early 50s it was over 1,200 feet tall. It was the first volcano birth ever seen by man. 
     Out in the South Atlantic there was an island named Thompson Island. The island was first reported and named by whaling ship captain George Norris in 1825. The last reported sighting of the island was in 1893. The German survey ship Valdivia fixed the position of nearby Bouvet Island in 1898, it when it looked for Thompson, it couldn't be found! 
     If Thompson ever existed, it is probable that it disappeared in a volcanic eruption sometime in the 1890s, but in 1997 it was reported that the sea depth at the supposed location is greater than 7,900 feet, or about a mile and a half which made the existence of a submarine volcano all but impossible. Nevertheless, the island continued to appear on maps published as late as 1943. 
     In US chess, at the Hotel Syracuse in Syracuse, New York the US Open Championship and the NY State Championship were held in mid-August. As can be seen from the scores, the tournament was a battle between Horowitz and Santasiere. 

     Both of them jumped off to an early lead and both were undefeated. Santasiere had two early draws (with Katz and Otten) which left him trailing Horowitz by a full point until Horowitz was held to a draw by Katz. Horowitz and Santasiere met in the final round separated by half a point. Horowitz needed only a draw to finish first, but Santasiere could tie for first if he won. Strange as it may seem Santasiere, who was the reigning Marshall Club champion, took no chances, made no attempt to fight for a win and was content to draw by repetition. 
     A special guest at the event was 73 year old Herman Helms who was honored for his 50 years of publishing a chess column in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and 40 years of publishing the American Chess Bulletin. USCF president George Sturgis conferred upon him the title of Dean of American Chess. 
     In the Experts section G.O, Christensen of Brooklyn finished first with a +7 -0 =4 score and Louis Persinger, violinist, pianist and professor of violin, won the Class A tournament with a +9 -0 =2 score. 
     In the following game Horowitz defeats Arthur W. Wood, a local player from Syracuse, who also served as an officer in the state chess organization. The game features Boden's Mate which is a pattern in which two Bs on criss-crossing diagonals deliver mate. 
    The mate gets its name from Samuel Boden, who played it in Schulder–Boden, London 1853. However, it had been known previously from the game Horwitz–Popert, Hamburg 1844. It's a handy pattern to know (I have pulled it off once) and you can play through a collection of games featuring the pattern at chessgames.com HERE.

Arthur W. Wood - I.A. Horowitz

Result: 0-1

Site: US Open/NY State Champ, Syracuse

Date: 1943

English Opening: Four Knights Variation

[...] 1.e4 e5 2.♘f3 ♘c6 3.c4 Already Horowitz is looking for a sharp fight. He is best remembered as an author of chess books and his wonderful Chess Review magazine, but Horowitz was a leading player in the US during the 1930s and 1940s. He was Open Champion in 1936, 1938 and 1943. In 1941, he lost a hard fought match (+0-3=13) to Reshevsky for the US Championship. He played in four Olympiads (1931, 1935, 1937 and 1950). And, he scored one of the only two wins for the US by defeating Salo Flohr in the 1945 match against the USSR. The following year he drew both games againxt Boleslavsky. 3...♗c5 4.♘c3 ♘f6 5.d3 White is oblivious to the lurking danger.
5.♕c2 is a mistake as demonstrated in Sukhu, G-Sabirova,O (2250)/Mallorca 2004 which continued 5...d6 6.d3 ♘g4 7.♔e2
7.h3 is correct, but black still gets a significant advantage after 7...♗xf2+ 8.♔e2 ♗h4 9.hxg4 ♘d4+ 10.♘xd4 exd4
7...♘xf2 8.♖g1 ♘b4 9.♕a4+ ♗d7 10.♘b5 a6 and wins.
5.♘xe5 is the best way to try and maintain equality, but after 5...♘xe5 6.d4 ♗b4 7.dxe5 ♘xe4 8.♕d4 ♘xc3 9.bxc3 ♗e7 white has not fared well in practice.
5.h3 is unbooked, but appears to be worth a try. 5...d6 6.d3 with a roughly equal position.
5...♘g4 Already white is in difficult straits!
5...d6 Black misses his chance here if white plays 6.h3 instead of 6.♗g5 h6 7.♗h4 g5 8.♗g3 ♗g4 and black is better. Jankovic,M-Curic,T (1507)/Belgrade 2008
6.d4 This position has been reached by white in many games, but he has no really satisfactory move and the results have favored black. With this move white tries to block the Bs diagonal.
6.♕c2 ♘xf2 7.♘a4 ♘xh1 8.♘xc5 d6 9.♘a4 Black won. Djaziri,Y-Eryigit,C/Kusadasi 2004
6.♗g5 is met by 6...♗xf2+ 7.♔e2 f6 8.♗h4 ♗xh4 9.♘xh4 O-O with a huge advantage.
6...exd4 7.♘d5 d3 Opening the diagonal. White's position is difficult, but hardly lost. 8.♗e3 Closing the diagonal. 8...♘xe3 9.fxe3 Now white is left with a shattered P-formation and a seriously weakened K. 9...♘b4 This move has a loud bark, but not a lot of bite.
9...a5 10.♗xd3 d6 11.♕e2 O-O 12.O-O-O ♘e5 and black has a good positional advantage.
10.♗xd3 The best move.
10.♘xb4 ♗xb4+ 11.♔f2 ♗c5 12.♗xd3 O-O And white's position is most miserable.
10...♘xd5 While this straightens out whites' Ps it also prevents him from castling K-side.
10...O-O is the Stockfish way of doing things, but after 11.O-O d6 12.♔h1 c6 13.♘xb4 ♗xb4 14.♘d4 white is holding his position together and black's advantage is a positional one. Horowitz is playing for a tactical solution.
11.exd5 O-O 12.e4 d6 13.♕b3 Slightly better was 13.Qd2 then castle Q-side. 13...f5 14.O-O-O White's K has reached a safe haven and he can be considered to have equalized.
14.exf5 ♕e8+ 15.♔d1 ♗xf5 16.♗xf5 ♖xf5 17.♖e1 ♕h5 can't be good for white even though black doesn't have a forced win.
14...♕f6 15.♕c2 b5 Instead of the better 15...fxe4. Horowitz continues to seek a tactical solution. 16.cxb5 This looks risky, but if followed up correctly white is in no danger.
16.exf5 was also good. 16...bxc4 17.♗xc4 ♗xf5 18.♗d3 ♗xd3 19.♖xd3 and black's advantage is minimal.
16...a6 There is nothing at all wrong with this, but it's no more than a bluff...assuming white plays correctly that is. 17.a4 Bad!
17.bxa6 is quite satisfactory as after 17...♗xa6 18.♗xa6 ♖xa6 19.e5 ♗e3+ 20.♔b1 dxe5 21.♕b3 e4 22.♕xe3 exf3 23.gxf3 ♖fa8 24.♖he1 ♖xa2 25.♕e6+ ♕xe6 26.dxe6 ♖a1+ 27.♔c2 ♖xd1 28.♖xd1 ♖e8 29.♖d7 ♖xe6 30.♖xc7 ♖e2+ 31.♔c3 ♖e3+ 32.♔c4 ♖xf3 a draw is likely.
17.♔b1 This solid move forces black to declare himself. 17...fxe4 18.♗xe4 g6 19.bxa6 ♗xa6 20.♗d3 and black's attack has fizzled out and white is left a P ahead.
17...axb5 Black is now in a position to go after white's K, but the position is tricky as white is not without his own resources. 18.♗xb5
18.axb5 ♖a1+ 19.♔d2 ♗b4+ 20.♔e2 fxe4 21.♗xe4 (21.♖xa1 exd3+ 22.♕xd3 ♕xb2+ wins) 21...♖a2 22.♖d4 ♗c5 23.♖hd1 ♖e8 (23...♗xd4 24.♖xd4 ♗f5 25.♗xf5 ♕xf5 is winning for black.) 24.♔f1 ♗d7 and black has a winning attack.
18.e5 This is the best try after which black may not win! 18...♕h6+ 19.♔b1 bxa4 and black has a modest advantage, but in Shootouts white scored +1 -2 =2!
18...fxe4 19.♘d2 ♕h6
19...♗f5 is much better. After 20.♖hf1 e3 21.♘e4 ♕e5 white's best try is 22.♖xf5 ♖xf5 23.♘xc5 dxc5 24.♕c3 but after 24...♕xc3+ 25.bxc3 ♖f2 26.g3 ♖xh2 27.♖e1 e2 white would be fighting, probably unsuccessfully, for a draw. Here is the finish in a Shootout at 21 plies. 28.♔c2 g5 29.♔b3 h5 30.♔c4 h4 31.gxh4 gxh4 32.♔xc5 h3 33.♗xe2 ♖e8 34.♖g1+ ♖g2 35.♖h1 ♖exe2 36.♖xh3 ♖g6 37.c4 ♖a2 38.♖b3 ♖xa4 Even a R ahead this ending is surprisingly difficult. 39.♖b8+ ♔f7 40.♖c8 ♖a7 41.♖h8 ♔e7 42.♖h7+ ♔d8 43.♖h8+ ♔d7 44.♖h7+ ♔c8 45.♖h8+ ♔b7 46.♖h7 ♖a5+ 47.♔b4 ♖a1 48.♖f7 ♖c1 49.♖f4 ♔b6 50.♖f7 ♖b1+ 51.♔c3 ♖g3+ 52.♔d4 ♖d1+ 53.♔e4 ♖g4+ 54.♔e3 ♖xc4 55.♔e2 ♖xd5 and wins.
20.♕xe4 ♗f5 21.♕e2 ♕f6 Horowitz has been seeking a tactical solution ever since move 5, but it has resulted in a few imprecise moves here and there. In addition, Wood's defense has been decent. The result is that now with 22.Rdf1 white would have equalized. Instead, he misses the Boden's mate. 22.g4 Allowing an abrupt end to a brief, but sharp, dog fight.
22.♖df1 This give the K an escape square on d1. 22...♗d4 (22...♕c3+ 23.bxc3 ♗a3+ 24.♔d1) 23.♘f3 ♕h6+ 24.♘d2 with equal chances.
22...♕c3+ Boden's mate! (22...♕c3+ 23.bxc3 ♗a3#)
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