Although many players in the recent prestigious New York International tournament were competing principally for fortune, at least an equal number were hoping to achieve fame or recognition in the form of titles or title norms.
One of the successful aspirants was Dmitri London, a recent Soviet emigre who is now a student at Brooklyn College in New York. His score of 5-4 left him half a point shy of being a prizewinner, but it was more than sufficient to give him his first norm for the International Master title. And the chief aim of the Lone Pine Tournaments, after which the New York International was patterned, was to make it possible for young American chess players to gain recognition of this sort.
Though London's nine opponents all held either the grandmaster or international master title, he hung tough in each of his games. In today's featured game, he outplays one of America's top international masters, Nick deFirmian, in a difficult tactical melee. Nick, nicknamed Mr. Cool because of his combinative virtuosity and resourcefulness, even under extreme time pressure , must have been surprised by his inability to hornswoggle his more youthful adversary.
Sicilian Defense London deFirmian 1. P-K4 P-QB4 2. N-KB3 P-Q3 3. P-Q4 PxP 4. NxP N-KB3 5. N-QB3 P-QR3 6. B-K2 (a) P-K4 (b) 7. N-N3 B-K2 8. O-O O-O 9. B-K3 B-K3 10. P-B4 (c) PxP 11. RxP N-B3 12. N-Q5 BxN 13. PxB N-K4 14. K-R1 (d) R-B1 15. P-QR4 (e) R-K1 16. P-R5 N(B)-Q2 17. B-N1 B-B3 18. P-B3 P-KN3 19. Q-KB1 B-N2 20. Q-B2 Q-B2 21. R-KB1 R-K2 22. Q-R7 R(B)-K1 (f) 23. BxP N-KB3 24. B-N5 NxP (g) 25. BxR RxB (h) 26. R-K4 P-B4 27. R(K)-K1 Q-B2 28. N-Q4 N-KB3 29. P-R6 PxP 30. QxP P-Q4 31. N-B3 N-K5 32. R-Q1 P-N4 (i) 33. B-Q4 N-N5 34. BxB N(N)-B7 ch 35. K-N1 NxR 36. B-Q4 NxNP 37. N-K5 Q-B2 (j) 38. RxP N-B5 (k) 39. N-N4 Resigns (l)
A. This old-fashioned continuation is sound and has been resuscitated by World Champion Karpov in recent years, but more fashionable is 6. B-KN5, P-K3; 7 . P-B4, which can lead to the infamous Poisoned Pawn variation after 7. . . . Q-N3 or to the Polugaevsky after 7. . . . P-QN4.
B. Here 6. . . . P-K3 is the solid Scheveningen variation. The text is the classical Najdorf, which was extremely popular in the 1950s.
C. Another way to go is 10. P-B3, aiming for 11. N-Q5. The text gains space but cedes Black the important K4 square for his knight.
D. A useful move which safeguards the king and provides a safe closet for his QB, which will still bear down on the queenside.
E. This and his next restraining move fit in with White's scheme of queenside play.
F. A miscalculation, though not an obvious one. He was understandably searching for counterplay, as White was ready to play 23. R-QN4, with mounting pressure on Black's beleaguered queenside.
G. The move Black has counted on, but he may have overlooked that, after 25. BxR, NxR; 26. RxN, RxB; 27. R-QN4, he would be in great trouble, since after 27. . . . R-K2; 28. Q-R8 ch, B-B1; 29. P-R6, PxP; 30. R-N8, N-Q2; 31. R-B8 the Black queen is trapped, and 31. . . . N-N3 loses to RxB ch.
H. Realizing that the line in Note G work and that 27. . . . N-B3; 28. RxP or 27. . . . R-N1; 28. P-R6 also wins for White, Black decides that the sacrifice of the exchange offers him the best chance of saving the game.
I. A good try. Black hopes to get in 33. . . . Q-R4, which threatens 34. . . . N-N6 mate. White must be very careful, and his clever countersacrifice of the exchange is probably best.
J. This definitely loses, but other moves also seem futile, for 37. . . . Q-K 3; 28. Q-N7, N-R5; 29. N-N4, R-K2 (or 29. . . . Q-N3, QxQP ch), 30. N-R6 ch wins.
K. Loses immediately, but White threatened both 39. Q-N5 and 39. R-B7, and if 38. . . . R-KB1, then 39. Q-K6 ch is lethal.
L. Black cannot stave off 40. N-R6 mate, as 39. . . . P-R4 allows 40. Q-N6 ch , also mating.