Tamarkin’s Perfect Chess Vision
“This is the last night Jay Bonin and those other masters are going to beat up on me,” Larry Tamarkin said. “I’m getting Lasik done next week, so I’ll be able to see.” It was August 16, and Larry was getting ready to play in the Thursday Night Action tournament. With that attitude, I thought, he’s lost even before the first game. Next time I returned to the club, I found out that Larry swept all four games, winning the tournament by a full point. Larry was kind enough to annotate several games for this newsletter, computer assisted by Fritz 10 and HAL 9000. We will limit ourselves to just one game this issue. If you can’t wait to read more of Larry’s blend of philosophy, humor, and chess analysis, check out his Memoirs of a Chess Fish series on JeremySilman.com.
Larry Tamarkin (USCF 2067)—Moshe Uminer (USCF 1951)
(Notes by Larry Tamarkin)
Queen’s Gambit Declined
I played this guy once before and won a nerve-wracking game. This game was almost as crazy because I didn’t understand his ‘nonstandard’ moves.
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 Nbd7 5.Bf4 Be7 6.e3 0–0 7.h3 Bb4!?
A very weird move—I tried not to get upset. 7...c5 8.Rc1 a6 9.cxd5 Nxd5 10.Nxd5 exd5 11.dxc5 Nxc5 12.a3= is one of the book-lines.
8.Qb3 a5 9.Bd3 dxc4 10.Bxc4 Nb6= is also perfectly fine for Black.
I have discovered that players rated below 2000 usually play anti-positional moves like this. My problem is that I am still too weak to take advantage of those moves. (I’m also weak against other kinds of moves too.)
9.Bd3 f5 10.cxd5
Castling seems good also, with the following possibilities: 10.0–0!? Bxc3 (10...Nb6 11.Nb5! dxc4 12.Bxc4 Bd6 13.Bxd6 cxd6 14.Nc7! d5 15.Nxa8 Nxc4 16.b3+-) 11.bxc3 c6 12.Rab1 is rated by Fritz as a clear advantage for White. I like this position too.
10...exd5 11.0–0 c6 12.Ne5?!
Showing my own lack of understanding of the position, after which Black is at least equal again. A better try would be 12.Qb3!? Bxc3 13.bxc3 Nb6 14.c4 dxc4 15.Bxc4+ Kh8 (15...Nxc4 16.Qxc4+ Kh8 17.Rab1±) 16.Bd3±. White maintains a healthy positional advantage.
13.Bxe5 is safer, when 13...Be6 14.Ne2 maintains equality. I rolled the dice here hoping my opponent would mess up first.
Of course! The bishop will go to c7, where it will eye the e5-pawn. However, 13...Nc5! looks better. It’s not easy even for a master to find this move because it removes the knight from its lovely perch. I think the brutal honesty of computer evaluations is succeeding in making chess a much uglier game! Fritz’s line goes 14.Be2 Ne6 15.Bd3 Nxf4 16.exf4 Qh4 17.Ne2 Be7. I feel the position is about equal, though Fritz says it’s +0.37 in Black’s favor.
14.Rad1 Qe7 15.Bh2?!
Another mistake—of course mistakes are allowed in a 30–minute game—LOL. Better is 15.Na4 Qh4 16.f3 Ng5 17.Nc5 with equality.
Another mistake. After 15...Bc7, best is 16.Bxe4!? (I was intending, 16.f3 Nc5 17.Be2 Bxe5 18.Bxe5 Qxe5 19.Nxd5 which is equal, but all these crazy moves were getting me confused.) 16...fxe4 17.Rxd5! Bxh3 (17...cxd5? 18.Nxd5 Qf7 19.Nxc7 Rb8 20.e6! wins.) 18.Rd2 Be6 19.Nxe4 and White is slightly better.
With the clock ticking away, we are making enough lemons to make lemonade for the whole club.
Black cracks. He wants to attack here but maintaining the horse on e4 is not enough justification for this anti-positional move. He should’ve tried 16...Bc7!? 17.f3 Nc5 18.f4 Ba5 19.Nd4 Nxd3 20.Qxd3 Bb6 and Black is better because of his two bishops and less rigid pawn-structure.
17.Nd4 Bb6 18.f3 Nc5 19.Bxf5!
So I win a pawn. The rest is, relatively speaking, smooth sailing.
19...Nd7 20.f4 gxf4 21.exf4 Qf7 22.g4 Nc5 23.Kh1 Bxf5 24.Nxf5 Ne4 25.b4 h5 26.Qb2 hxg4 27.hxg4 Qh7 28.Rd3 Kg8
A weak move even though White is still winning. Better would have been 29.Qg2! Rae8 30.Rh3!
29...Rxf5 30.gxf5 Qxf5 31.Qg2+ Kf8 32.Rh3 Ke7 33.Qg7+ Kxe6 34.Rh6+ Nf6 35.Re1+, Black resigns.
I intended to answer 35...Kd6 with 36.Rxf6+!? Better, though less fun, would’ve been 36.Qe7#.
Larry also beat FM Asa Hoffmann on the road to perfection.