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Chess Notes

Weekly chess column

Metrowest Chess Club now has two electronic chessboards, which record games as they are played.  The games are published on its site, without the need of deciphering a handwritten sheet. 

Here is a fine specimen of one of its recent encounters.  Twelve-year-old Yi Yang, who tied for second in the Spiegel “14 & Under” scholastic championships this year, offers a pawn in a Benko Gambit.  Jacob Fauman accepts it and then gives it back.  Fauman takes the offensive but Yi counterattacks with force.

MCC 2013 February Swiss

Jacob Fauman vs. Yi Yang

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1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 b5 The Benko Gambit. Named after the Hungarian/US GM Pal Benko, who has promoted it for years. The gambit has been very popular for many years as it gives an active and dynamic game. The idea is that in return for the pawn, black gains pressure on the a- and b-files and when combined with the strong bishop on g7, gives him good play and enough compensation.

4. cxb5 a6 5. b6 Declining the gambit in what is called a “super solid" way. The line also goes by the less than eloquent name "Benko Gambit Accepted;- Pawn Return Line” 5. … Qxb6 Other lines are 5. .. a5, 5. ... e6(!) and 5. … d6.

6. Nc3 d6 7. Nf3 g6 8. Nd2 To avoid Black exchanging off his troubled child of a piece — his white square bishop — with Bg4.  

8. ... Bg7 9. e4 O-O 10. Be2 Nbd7 11. O-O Ne5 12. h3 Planning f4 so as to stop the black knight from going to g4.

12. … Bb7 12. ... g5 is the preferred move here in order to try to keep the knight on e5.

13. f4 Ned7 14. Kh2 Maybe unnecessary. I found one game that

the daring 14. g4!? was played. White won quickly after Black fell apart, i.e.; 14.

... e6 15. dxe fxe 16. Nc4 Qc7 17 Qxd6.

14. … Qc7 15. a4 e6 Black is first to

strike in the center and White does not seem in the best position to handle it

as 16. dxe fxe and White will have a hard time holding up Black's d5 16. Bf3 exd5 17. exd5 Now White will have to watch his d-pawn. Nb6 18. Nb3 Rae8 Black is first to the only open file. This combined with his pressure on White's isolated d-pawn, gives Black the advantage.

19. a5 Nbd7 20. Nd2 Re7 21. Nc4 Rfe8 22. g4?! This is like trying to put a fire out with gasoline. Notice how Black infiltrates in the next few moves all the open space around White's king.

22. … h6 23. Bd2 Nh7 24. h4 Again, pursuing the wrong plan. It is time for White to think about neutralizing Black's pressure on the e-file with Re1.

24.  … Bd4 25. Qc2 ?! Ndf6 26. g5 Bxc3 27.bxc3 Nxd5 28. f5 Nf4!! (Diagram) Very strong and the beginning of the end for White.

29. Bxf4  Bxf3 30. Kg3 If 30. RxB then 30. … Re2+ wins Re2 31. Qd3 Rg2+ 32. Kh3 Be4 33. Qxd6 Qb7 34. fxg6?? Probably in time trouble, White misses Black’s threat but after the much better 34. Ne3, Black still stands much better after either 34. … Re2 or hxg4. One fun line given by the computer is: 34. Ne3 Re2 35.Kg3 Bh1 36. Rxh1 R8xe3+ 37. Bxe3 Qg2+ 38. Kf4 hxg5+ 39. hxg5 Qxg5+ 40. Kf3 Qg2+ 41. Kf4 g5+ 42. Ke5 Rxe3#  34. … Bf5#; 0-1

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