The Check is in the Mail: September 2019

Jonny Owens (photo courtesy subject)
GAME OF THE MONTH This was a titanic struggle that ultimately led to Owens’ first place finish,
[pgn]

[Event "19W01"]
[Site "ICCF"]
[Date "2019.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Johnson, Rick"]
[Black "Owens, Johnny"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B90"]
[WhiteElo "2140"]
[BlackElo "2201"]
[PlyCount "126"]
[EventDate "2019.??.??"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nf3 {
A move that has become more popular later than the standard 7. Nb3. With 7.
Nb3 White plans possible queenside play against Black's potentially weak
queenside stucture. With 7. Nf3, the Knight exerts more center and kingside
influence.} Be7 8. Bc4 O-O 9. O-O Nc6 {Carlsen-Vachier Lagrave, Ivory Coast
blitz 2019 continued 9...Be6 10. Bb3 b5 when the machines recommend 11. Qe2 or
11. Qd3 instead of 11. Bg5.} 10. Bb3 Be6 11. Qe2 Na5 12. Rfd1 Nxb3 13. cxb3 {
The more natural 13, axb3 was seen in Andriasian-Abdusaltorov, Pro League 2019
which continued 13...Qc7 14. Bg5 Rac8 16. Bxf6 Bxf6 with about even chances.}
Nd7 14. Nd2 {This looks clumsy. cluttering the d-file and neglecting the
c-file. Better may be 14. Qd2.} b5 15. b4 {White stops any Black play on the
queenside, but Black's plan in this position is based on an eventual ...f5 or
even ...d5 and kingside action, but he cannot rush the counterplay.} h6 16. Nb3
Nf6 17. Na5 {The Knight looks good here, but it implies queenside play by
White, which is not forthcoming.} Qd7 18. f3 Rac8 19. Rd2 Qc7 20. a3 {White is
setting up a barricade. A more aggressive player would elect 20. a4} Qb8 21.
Rad1 Rc7 22. Bf2 Nh5 {Diagram # The first hint of Black's aggression which is
met ny continuing White passivity.} 23. Qe1 Rfc8 {Black seeks to preserve his
most valuable defensive piece -- the Bishop that protects d6.} 24. Bh4 Bf8 25.
h3 $2 {An unnecessary weakening of his King's position.} g6 26. Kh2 f5 27. Qe3
Rf7 {Black can also continue with 27...f4 and a slower build up of the attack.}
28. exf5 gxf5 29. Nd5 Kh7 30. Qd3 Bxd5 $6 {A surprising exchange which loses a
valuable attacking/defensive piece. The game becomes even now.} 31. Qxd5 Rcc7
32. g3 Qe8 33. Rg1 Ng7 34. Re1 Qe6 {Black offers an exchange of Queens which
White must decline as Black has an "extra" Pawn on d6.} 35. Qa8 Qc8 36. Qd5 Rc2
37. Rde2 Rfc7 38. Qd3 Rxe2+ 39. Rxe2 Qe8 40. f4 $2 {White should have remained
passive in his defense. Allowing Black two passsed center Pawns is too much.}
e4 41. Qe3 Qf7 42. Bd8 Rc8 43. Bb6 h5 $1 {With the queenside passive and the
d4 square impassable, Black turns his attention to White's vulnerable kingside
as both sides now hurry to bring their piecces there.} 44. Qd2 Ne8 45. Rg2 Qe6
46. Qd1 Nf6 47. Nb3 Bh6 48. Be3 Nd5 49. Nd4 Nxe3 50. Qg1 Qg6 51. Qxe3 Bg7 {
The scuffle on the kingside has brought about a weakening of the d4 square.
White's next is desperation.} 52. g4 $6 {Faced with pressure everywhere, White
gambles on open lines against Black's King.} fxg4 53. hxg4 hxg4 54. Kg3 d5 55.
Rh2+ Kg8 56. Rh4 Qf7 57. Rxg4 Kf8 {Black's King is safe and the counterattack
on the White King is about to begin.} 58. Kf2 Bf6 59. f5 Qh7 60. Ne6+ {Even
now Blck could slip -- 60. ...Ke7? 61 Qa7+} Ke8 61. Qf4 Ke7 {Also winning was
61. ...Rc2+ 62. Kg1 Qh8 and Black breaks through to a Queen and Pawn ending.}
62. Nc5 Qh1 63. Ke2 Kf7 {White resigns as the endgame is hopeless after 64.
Rg6 Bd4 65. Rxa6 Qg2+ 66. Kd1 Qh1+ 67. Ke2 Bxc5 68. bxc5 Qxc5 69. Rd6 d4} 0-1

[/pgn]
AUGUST RESULTS  Walter Muir Raymond Grinsteinner  18W11  5 ½-½ Walter Muir Alex Strobehn   19W03   6-0 Johnny Owens   19W01   4 ½-1 ½ John Collins Jeffrey Anson    17C10   5-1 Palciauskas             Allen Woollen  18V02   5-1 White’s mistake on move 18 leads to a fatal loss of material.
[pgn]

[Event "19W11"]
[Site "ICCF"]
[Date "2019.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Wade, Donald"]
[Black "Grinsteinner, Raymond"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B18"]
[WhiteElo "1844"]
[BlackElo "1539"]
[PlyCount "66"]
[EventDate "2019.??.??"]

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bf5 5. Ng3 Bg6 6. h4 h6 7. f4 e6 8.
Nf3 Nf6 9. Bd3 Bxd3 10. Qxd3 Nbd7 11. Bd2 Qb6 12. O-O-O O-O-O 13. Bc3 Nd5 14.
Qd2 Nxc3 15. Qxc3 Bd6 16. Ne5 Nxe5 17. fxe5 Bb4 {Diagram #} 18. Qb3 Rxd4 19.
Rxd4 Qxd4 20. Rd1 Qf4+ 21. Kb1 Be7 22. Rf1 Qxe5 23. h5 Rd8 24. Qf3 Qd5 25. Ne4
f5 26. Nc3 Qxf3 27. gxf3 Bf6 28. Rg1 Bxc3 29. bxc3 Rd7 30. f4 Kd8 31. Kb2 Ke8
32. Rg2 Kf7 33. c4 Rd4 0-1

[/pgn]
Black’s one promising kingside attack evaporates into a losing two-Pawn minus endgame.
[pgn]

[Event "19W03 "]
[Site "ICCF"]
[Date "2019.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Strobehn, Alex"]
[Black "Graupera, Carlos"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B01"]
[WhiteElo "1405"]
[BlackElo "1479"]
[PlyCount "63"]
[EventDate "2019.??.??"]

1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nxd5 4. d3 Nc6 5. Be2 e5 6. Bd2 Be6 7. Nc3 f6
8. O-O Be7 9. h3 Qd7 10. a3 O-O-O 11. b4 g5 12. Nxd5 Bxd5 13. c4 Bxf3 14. Bxf3
Nd4 15. Be3 Nxf3+ 16. Qxf3 Qxd3 17. c5 f5 18. Rfd1 Qe4 19. Qh5 f4 20. Bd2 Qf5
21. Qe2 c6 22. Bc3 Bf6 23. b5 Qe6 24. bxc6 Qxc6 25. Bxe5 Bxe5 26. Qxe5 f3 27.
g3 Rde8 28. Qxg5 Rhg8 29. Qf4 Ref8 30. Qe5 Qh6 31. Kh2 Re8 32. Qf5+ 1-0

[/pgn]
OBITUARY Robert Sigmond, born 1921, died March 16, 2019 at age 98.
[pgn]

[Event "GK"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "1982.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Sigmond, Robert"]
[Black "Baker, Norman"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A03"]
[WhiteElo "1838"]
[BlackElo "1878"]
[PlyCount "33"]
[EventDate "1982.??.??"]

1. f4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. e3 e6 4. b3 c5 5. Bb2 Be7 6. Ne5 O-O 7. Bd3 b6 8.
g4 Nfd7 9. g5 Nxe5 10. Bxe5 Ba6 {Diagram #} 11. Bxh7+ Kxh7 12. Qh5+ Kg8 13.
Bxg7 Kxg7 14. Qh6+ Kg8 15. Rg1 Qd7 16. Rg3 Bd6 17. g6 1-0

[/pgn]
Black owns the white squares in this Italian correspondence game.
[pgn]

[Event "Italy CC"]
[Site "corr"]
[Date "1963.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Molli"]
[Black "Pasqua, D.."]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C19"]
[PlyCount "76"]
[EventDate "1963.??.??"]
[Source "Chess Mail"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 c5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 Ne7 7. Nf3 Qa5
8. Bd2 c4 9. Ng5 h6 10. Nh3 Ng6 11. Be2 Nc6 12. O-O Bd7 13. Qe1 Nge7 14. Nf4 g6
15. f3 O-O-O 16. Qc1 Rh7 17. Rb1 a6 18. Be1 b5 19. Ra1 Qa4 20. Nh3 Rg8 21. f4
Nf5 22. Nf2 h5 {Diagram #} 23. Nh3 Rf8 24. Ng5 Rg7 25. Ra2 Kc7 26. h3 Rc8 27.
g4 hxg4 28. hxg4 Nfe7 29. Qd2 Rb8 30. Bd1 a5 31. Qh2 b4 32. Bd2 Rb6 33. Ra1
bxa3 34. Bc1 a2 35. Bf3 Rg8 36. Qh7 Rb1 37. Bb2 Rxb2 38. Qxf7 Qxc2 0-1

[/pgn]
Black sacrifices … and sacrifices …and sacrifices in this game from the 2016 Golden Knights semifinals.
[pgn]

[Event "16Ns05"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Wilson, Abe"]
[Black "Connelly, Thomas"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B90"]
[WhiteElo "2120"]
[BlackElo "2339"]
[PlyCount "58"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 Ng4 7. Bg5 h6
8. Bh4 g5 9. Bg3 Bg7 10. h3 Ne5 11. Nf5 Bxf5 12. exf5 Nbc6 13. Nd5 e6 14. fxe6
fxe6 15. Ne3 Qa5+ 16. c3 {Diagram #} Nf3+ 17. Qxf3 Bxc3+ 18. Kd1 Qa4+ 19. Kc1
Bxb2+ 20. Kxb2 Qd4+ 21. Kb1 Qb4+ 22. Kc1 Nd4 23. Qh5+ Ke7 24. Bc4 Rac8 25. Qg6
Rxc4+ 26. Kd1 Rhc8 27. Qh7+ Kd8 28. Nxc4 Qxc4 29. Qh8+ Ke7 1/2-1/2

[/pgn]
GAMES FROM 19W01 WALTER MUIR When White fails to find 14. hxg5, holding on to rough equality,  Black grabs hold and doesn’t let go.
[pgn]

[Event "19W01"]
[Site "ICCF"]
[Date "2019.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Fielding, Gerald"]
[Black "Johnson, Rick"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D35"]
[WhiteElo "2042"]
[BlackElo "2140"]
[PlyCount "62"]
[EventDate "2019.??.??"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Nc3 c6 6. Bg5 h6 7. Bh4 Bf5
8. Qb3 g5 9. Bg3 Qb6 10. Nd2 Nbd7 11. h4 Nh5 12. Qxb6 axb6 13. Bc7 Nf4 {
Diagram #} 14. e3 Ne6 15. Bg3 Rg8 16. hxg5 hxg5 17. a3 b5 18. Rc1 Bg6 19. Be2
f5 20. O-O Kf7 21. Nf3 f4 22. Bh2 Bd6 23. exf4 gxf4 24. Rfe1 Rh8 25. Nb1 Rh6
26. Nbd2 Rah8 27. Nf1 Be4 28. Rcd1 Rg8 29. g3 Nf6 30. Ne5+ Bxe5 31. dxe5 Ng5
0-1

[/pgn]
The fight between the two leaders was exactly that: a fight.
[pgn]

[Event "19W01"]
[Site "ICCF"]
[Date "2019.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Leonard, Andrew"]
[Black "Owens, Johnny"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B92"]
[WhiteElo "2268"]
[BlackElo "2201"]
[PlyCount "106"]
[EventDate "2019.??.??"]

{Sep} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nb3 Be6
8. Be2 Nbd7 9. f4 Qc7 10. f5 Bc4 11. a3 h6 12. Bxc4 Qxc4 13. Qd3 Rc8 14. Nd2
Qxd3 15. cxd3 Ng4 16. Ba7 {Diagram #} Be7 17. h3 Ngf6 18. Be3 g6 19. O-O Nc5
20. Bxc5 Rxc5 21. Nc4 O-O 22. g3 Kg7 23. Kh1 g5 24. b4 Rc7 25. Rac1 Rb8 26. Nb6
Rc6 27. Nbd5 Bd8 28. Nxf6 Bxf6 29. Nd5 Rbc8 30. Rxc6 Rxc6 31. a4 h5 32. b5 Rc8
33. bxa6 bxa6 34. Rb1 Bd8 35. Rb3 g4 36. hxg4 Rc1+ 37. Kg2 hxg4 38. Ne3 Ra1 39.
Nxg4 Rxa4 40. Ne3 a5 41. Nd5 Kf8 42. Kf3 Ke8 43. g4 Ra1 44. Rb8 Kd7 45. Rb7+
Ke8 46. f6 a4 47. Ra7 Ra3 48. g5 Rxd3+ 49. Kg4 Rd1 50. Ne3 Rg1+ 51. Kf5 Rg3 52.
Nd5 Rf3+ 53. Kg4 Rf1 1/2-1/2

[/pgn]
Queenside Pawns run faster than Kingside Pawns.
[pgn]

[Event "19W01"]
[Site "ICCF"]
[Date "2019.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Leonard, Andrew"]
[Black "Johnson, Rick"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B90"]
[WhiteElo "2268"]
[BlackElo "2140"]
[PlyCount "85"]
[EventDate "2019.??.??"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 Nf6 4. Nc3 cxd4 5. Nxd4 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nb3 Be7
8. f3 Be6 9. Qd2 O-O 10. O-O-O Nbd7 11. g4 Qc7 12. g5 Nh5 13. Kb1 b5 14. f4
Nxf4 15. Bxf4 exf4 16. Qxf4 Rac8 17. Nd4 Nb6 18. a3 Qb7 19. Qg3 Na4 20. Nd5
Bxd5 21. exd5 Qxd5 22. Bh3 Rc3 23. Nf5 Rxg3 24. Rxd5 Rxh3 25. Nxe7+ Kh8 26.
Rxd6 Nc5 27. Rc6 Ne4 28. Rxa6 Nxg5 29. Ra5 Nf3 30. Rxb5 {Diagram #} g5 31. a4
g4 32. Nf5 Nxh2 33. a5 Nf3 34. Rd1 g3 35. Rbd5 h5 36. Ne3 Kh7 37. a6 Ra8 38.
Rf5 Nh2 39. Rd6 Ng4 40. Rxf7+ Kg8 41. Rb7 Nxe3 42. a7 g2 43. Rg6+ 1-0

[/pgn]

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