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Tuesday, April 2, 2024

A Complicated Win by George Kramer

The 1950/51 Manhattan Chess Club Championship was conduced at a furious pace as evidenced by the fact that some of the club’s strongest players at the time (Sidney Bernstein, Albert Pinkus, George Shainswit and Jack Soudakoff) finished way off the pace. 
    In this year’s championship, unlike his norm of playing recklessly, Arnold Denker, the defensing champion, played steady, but still imaginative chess and finished with 7 wins and 6 draws. 
    Even so, the outcome was not decided until the final round when Arthur Bisguier, trailing by half point, could not penetrate Denker's defense and had to be content with a draw and a second place finish. 
    Bisguier won more games than any of his rivals, but he had had a very poor start with losses to Edward Schwartz and Max Pavey in the first four rounds. Thereafter he simply could not make up his deficit. 
    Because of personal reasons, George Kramer played all but one os his games in advance of his schedule. Unfortunately, due to his moving to Boston Boris Siff was obliged to forfeit several games, but they had no effect on the top standings. 
    A real surprise was the poor showing of George Shainswit, the previous year's co-champion with Denker. His four losses amounted to his poorest showing in the last few years. 
    The winner of the following complicated game was George Kramer (1929-2014, 93 years old) the 1945 New York State Championship, the 1951-52 Manhattan club championship and the 1964, 1967 and 1969 New Jersey State Championships. He was also Manhattan Chess Club Champion in 1973 and Co-champion in 1974. 
    He tied for 3rd-4th in the 1948 US Championship with Olaf Ulvestad. He was a reserve for the U. team at the 1950 Olympiad, winning an individual bronze medal. 
    Outside of chess he was Dr. Kramer and was recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Scientists for dedication, achievements and leadership as a chess player.
    Kramer studied at Queen’s College in New York, earning a Bachelor of Science in 1951. Kramer served in the US Army, from 1952 to 1954. He then continued his education at the University of Pennsylvania where he earned a Master of Science in 1955 and a PhD in 1957, and started working for Exxon (now Mobil) in research and engineering. Kramer also authored several published works, in his professional career. During his more than 35 years with the company, he rose to the rank of senior research associate and research chemist before his retirement in 1994. 
    It’s a little known fact, but Kramer was Samuel Reshevsky’s analysi partner in his competition for the world chess title in 1948. 
    Information on Richard Einhorn does not seem to be available, but in 1945 he was playing first board for the championship wining City College of New York chess team. 

A game that I liked (Fritz 17)

[Event "Manhattan CC Champ, New York"] [Site "?"] [Date "1951.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Richard Einhorn"] [Black "George Kramer"] [Result "*"] [ECO "D85"] [Annotator "Stockfish 16"] [PlyCount "60"] [EventDate "1951.??.??"] {D85: Gruenfeld Defense, Exchange Vatiation} 1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 d5 3. d4 g6 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 c5 {Normally black plays 6...Bg7, but at the time it was believed that 6...c5 was necessary to break up white's center. It was thought this would ebhabce the scope of black's dark squard B a little by weakening the diagonal.} 7. f4 {An uncommon move that is a bit too ambitious. The modern way is either 7.Nc4 or 7.Nf3} (7. dxc5 Qc7 8. Qb3 Bg7 9. Bd3 O-O 10. Ne2 {Black is better. Roux Cabral,L-Letelier Martner,R Buenos Aires 1939}) (7. Be3 Qa5 8. Qb3 Bg7 9. Rd1 O-O 10. Bc4 cxd4 11. Bxd4 Bxd4 12. Rxd4 {Black is clearlyu better. Donovan,J-Pinkus,A Ventnor City 1942}) (7. d5 Bg7 8. Bb5+ Bd7 9. Bxd7+ Nxd7 10. Ne2 O-O 11. O-O {Equals. Pimenov,R-Khatenever,F (1981) St Petersburg 2007}) 7... cxd4 8. cxd4 e5 {Playing for complications. 8...Bg7 is the safe continuation.} 9. Nf3 (9. fxe5 Bb4+ 10. Kf2 {is OK, but the K's position appears uncomfortable.}) (9. dxe5 Bb4+ 10. Bd2 Qd4 11. Rc1 Qxe4+ 12. Kf2 {this position is also probably OK for white, but, again, his K is uncomfortable.}) 9... Bg4 {This is not best because it allows white so much play. 9...Bb4+ is probab;y best, but Kramer is still playing for complications. } 10. Qa4+ {White now has a lot of pressure on black's uncastled K.} Bd7 11. Bb5 (11. Qb3 {Intending Bc4 was much better.} Nc6 12. Bc4 Bb4+ 13. Kf2 O-O 14. fxe5 {with an excellent position.}) 11... exd4 $16 12. Qxd4 Bxb5 13. Qe5+ { Unfortunately for white he has misjudged the position and as a result black is right back in the game.} (13. Qxh8 {Black has no equalizing reply. It's odd, but the original annotator (a NM) made no comment on 13.Qe5+} Qd3 {is met by} 14. Kf2 Qe2+ {Perhaps it was thought that this was a dangerous situation for white especially with his Q way over on h8, but in reality white is winning. For example,,,} 15. Kg3 Bc6 16. Ba3 Nd7 17. Bxf8 Nxf8 18. Qe5+ {is winning for white.}) 13... Qe7 14. Qxb5+ (14. Qxh8 {is now neither better nor worse that taking the B!} Nc6 (14... Qxe4+ 15. Kf2 Nc6 16. Ba3 {wins as previously noted.} ) 15. Kf2 O-O-O 16. Qb2 Nb4 17. Kg3 Bc6 18. e5 {and black has enough play to claim equality.}) 14... Nc6 15. Rb1 {It would have been safer to play 15.Kf2} Qxe4+ 16. Kf2 (16. Qe2 {is a mistake.} Bb4+ 17. Bd2 Bxd2+ 18. Nxd2 Qxe2+ 19. Kxe2 {with an endgame advantage.} O-O-O) 16... a6 17. Qxb7 Bc5+ 18. Kg3 { [%mdl 2048]} O-O 19. Re1 Qc2 {This yields two pieces for a R.} 20. Rb2 $1 Bf2+ 21. Kh3 Qc5 22. Rxf2 Rfb8 23. Qd7 Rd8 24. Qb7 Qxf2 {Black should have been in serious difficulties after this!} (24... Rdb8 25. Qd7 Rd8 {taking the draw by repetition was his best course.}) 25. Qxc6 Rac8 {The original annotator commented that a look at the position shows that black has two open files for his Rs and white's K is awkwardly placed and ripe for exploitation. That was a superficial comment that was typical in the pre-engine days. Annotators often based their comments on the game's outcome.. Today, of course, engines are much more coldblooded in their assessment of the players' moves! Here white is winning...over 3.5 Ps according to Stockfish.} (25... Qxa2 $16 {was the best black had.} 26. Qf6 (26. Re5 Rdc8 27. Qe4 Rab8 (27... Rxc1 28. Qxa8+) 28. Bd2 Qb1 29. Qa4 Qb6 {Theoretically white is better, but would it be enough to win OTB?}) 26... Qc2) 26. Qxa6 {[%mdl 8192] This P snatch is worth two question marks because it leads to the loss of the game.} (26. Qf6 {is the narrow road that leads to a win.} Qc5 27. Bb2 Qf5+ 28. Qxf5 gxf5 29. Re3 Rd5 30. Ne5 { I am not sure what the practical outcome OTB would be, but in Shootouts using Stockfish white scored 5-- from this position.}) 26... Rc5 {[%mdl 32] As the original original annotator observed, there is no answer to this.} 27. f5 { This loses quickly, but even a better move would not have saved the game.} (27. Re5 {is best, but it does not really help much. The variations might be rather long winded, but the outcome is never in doubt.} Rxc1 28. Re2 (28. Qf6 Rf8 29. a4 Rc3 30. a5 Qf1 31. Kg3 Rc2 32. Ne1 Qf2+ 33. Kh3 Rc3+ 34. g3 h6 35. a6 Qf1+ 36. Kg4 Qf2 37. Ra5 Qd2 38. a7 Ra8 39. Qe5 Re3 {wins}) 28... Qc5 29. Qf6 Qc8+ 30. Kg3 Rc6 31. Qg5 Re8 32. Rxe8+ Qxe8 33. Qh6 {Hoping for a ,iracle (Ng5)} Rc5 34. Ng5 Qe1+ 35. Kh3 Rc3+ 36. Nf3 (36. g3 Rxg3+ 37. hxg3 Qh1+ 38. Kg4 f5#) 36... Qf1 {Threatening Rxf3+} 37. Kg3 Rc2 38. Qh3 h5 39. Kh4 (39. Ng5 Qf2#) 39... Rxg2 {Black mates in 19!}) 27... Rxf5 28. Qe2 {This move allows mate in 7, but he was lost in any case.} (28. Nh4 Rh5 29. Re4 Qf5+ 30. Kg3 Qxe4) 28... Rh5+ {Black mates in 6} 29. Kg4 Rd4+ {[%mdl 512]} 30. Nxd4 (30. Qe4 f5+ 31. Kf4 fxe4 32. Rxe4 Rf5+ 33. Kg4 Qxg2+ 34. Kh4 Rh5#) 30... Rh4+ {It's mate next move so white resigned.} *

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