SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
Gary Ruben (2436)http://www.vikingskak.dk/GambiteersGuild/ThePlayers.htm
Also known as The Woodsman
Born in: Manitoba, Canada, 1942
Manitoba junior champion in 1961
Living in: Pickering, Ontario, Canada
Married, two sons, one daughter and one granddaughter
Chess activities currently: ICCF Tournament Director and International CC Arbiter; Canadian CC National Master.
Chess activities formerly: period of years from mid 70’s to 80’s: Canadian CC Association Vice-President, Editor of the Association publication, Membership Secretary, Tournament Director.
Formerly OTB: Twice President Scarborough Chess Club ’70’s and previously Vice-President; former Director of Canadian Federation of Chess; former Secretary Ontario Chess Association.
Quotation: ”Somewhere along the line I learned to play a little bit of chess.”
Many of my older readers may have heard of Gary Ruben over the years. Certainly he has been one of the most active organizers in the history of chess in Canada! Today Gary is retired from all of that and is instead a dedicated correspondence player, often representing Canada in top flight international tournaments (individual and team events).
Today I present a short but bloody game that Gary won at the 10th North American Invitational CC Championship.
This was a server event.The start date was 1 July 2005. The end date was 1 January 2008. ICCF standard time control 10 moves in 60 days is used. 30 days of leave per year are available to each player. This event is organized by Marconi, Ralph P..
______________________________________________________________POSITION AFTER BLACK’S 9th MOVE ( 9…b5)
A very popular variation of the Rauzer Sicilian. Black launches a typical Queen-side counter attack before deciding what to do with his King. Many top level grandmasters have been attracted to this complicated line.
10. Bxf6 The usual move.
Normal now is 10… gf! . The Black King can hide behind the solid mass of pawns in the centre. There have been thousands of games played in this exact line and theory has yet to pronounce a final verdict. Black has achieved reasonable results.
This risky and provocative line is rarely seen today! Perhaps Black was hoping to catch Gary unprepared, but in correspondence chess such a strategy can often backfire.
Some theoretical texts now recommend 11. Bxb5!? as the best continuation after 11… ab 12. Ndxb5 Qd8 13. Nxd6 Bxd6 14. Qxd6 some seem to think that White has the advantage, but some master games have shown that after 14…Qe7 Black is ok.
If there is a refutation to Blacks risky line then this must be it.
Praxis has now concentrated on 11… de 12. Ndxb5! Diagram,right 12… Qd8 13. Nd6 Bxd6 14. Qxd6 ef ( if now 14… Qe7 15. fe simply leaves White a pawn up) but after 15. Ne4! Diagram,below right
White has strong pressure (15. Bxa6!? Rxa6 16. Nb5 Ra7 no so clear)
If now 15… Qe7 16. Qd2! f6 17. Nd6 Kf8 18. Bc4
Diagram below right
White intends to follow up with Rhe1 and develop pressure with the heavy pieces.
Finally, if 15… Ne7 16. Bc4! and Rhe1 with the same pressure.
INSTEAD, BLACK PLAYED A NOVELTY:
No doubt this is Akweis home preparation.
If now White tries to win a pawn with 12. Nxc6 Bxc6 13. ed Black has 13… Qd7 followed by Rd8 (with or without castling long) regaining the pawn with a reasonable position. Diagram,right
A very strong move that must have escaped Blacks attention during his preparation. This thematic sacrifice—common in the Sicilian defence — will allow White will pick up several pawns and at the same time expose the Black King in the centre.
12… ab 13. Ndxb5
Of course if 13… d5 then simply 14. Nc7 wins
Probably Black was braced for 14.Nxd6 Bxd6 15. Qxd6 Qe7!
Threatening 15.Nc7 Blacks move is virtually forced
Black just needs a breather to play …f6 and …Kf7 when he would stand quite well
Another very strong move. Black has no time for 15…f6 since after 16. Nc7ch Kf7 17.Na4! (threatening Nb6 or Nc5) Black finds that he has jumped from the frying pan into the fire. And 16…Rxc7 17.dxc7 Qxc7 18.Nd5 is very unattractive.
White now plans to rip open the Black King position starting with f5. Black is strategically lost. This game shows the problem with playing risky and provocative opening variations in correspondence games: the opponent has more time (days) to explore and investigate the position and come up with the very best continuation. Once your opponent has the advantage he will rarely let you escape!
15… Qa5 !?
Hoping for some counterplay and vacating the d8-square for the Black King should it be necessary. In this kind of position the best chance is to create a diversion on the other side of the board.
Gary knows what he has to do and his relentlessness in pursuing his task gives a very good impression!
16… Nb4!? More bluff than real.
As good as any, I suppose. If 16… Rb8 then play would probably proceed as in the game: 17. Nc7 Kd8 18. fe fe 19. Nxe6 Kc8 20. Qf4 and Black can hardly move.
17. fe !
White’s entire strategy resembles a kitchen can-opener!
17… fe 18. Nc7! ch Crushing.
Here Garys opponent , realizing that his opening surprise has been a complete disaster, did the honorable thing and resigned! A few variations show how depressing and hopeless Blacks position is:
If 18… Kd8 then after 19. a3! Nc6 20. Nxe6 Bxe6 21. Rxe6 Kd7 22. Qe3! Rb8 what else? 23. Rf1 Nd8 24. Re5! Qb6 25. Qh3! and the Black King can not survive very long
Or if 18… Kf7 then his majesty quickly gets mated after 19. Qf4 Kg8 (19… Kg6 20. Re5; 19… Qf5 20. Qxb4 Qg5 21. Kb1 Rxc7 22. Rf1 Kg8 23. Rxf8) 20. Rf1 etc.
Finally, if 18…Rxc7 19. dc Qxc7 20. a3! Nc6 21. Nd5 Qb7 22. Nb6! Bc8 23. Nxc8 Qxc8 24. Qd5! Kf7 25. Qf3 Kg8 26. Rd3! the Black position is horribly mangled.
MORAL OF THE STORY:
DON’T UNDER-ESTIMATE CORRESPONDENCE PLAYERS, NO MATTER HOW OLD THEY ARE!
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS