Grand play in New York puts Soviet star on road to grandmaster
Vassily Ivanchuk of the Soviet Union recently celebrated his 20th birthday by outscoring a star-studded 63-player field, which included 35 grandmasters, to take clear first place in the ``A'' section of the New York Open International. The event, a nine-round Swiss-system tournament, was held in late march at the Penta Hotel in New York City.
Ivanchuk won his first five games, drew his next three outings, and scored again in the final round to finish with 7 points and garner the $20,000 first prize.
A full point behind the winner, but in sole possession of second place and the $10,000 runnerup prize, was Guillermo Garc'ia of Cuba.
Seven players shared third through ninth places and netted $1,971.43 in prize money each. They were the veteran Bent Larsen of Denmark, Vladimir Tukmakov and Alexander Chernin of the Soviet Union, Ivan Morovic of Chile, Bozidar Ivanovic from Yugoslavia, Nick deFirmian of the United States, and Attila Groszpeter of Hungary.
Each of these nine prizewinners is a grandmaster, with the exception of the tourney winner Ivanchuk, who, by winning, earned his first norm for the prestigious title.
The participation of second-place winner Garc'ia and a compatriot, Amador Rodr'iguez, set a milestone in that they are the first Cuban players to participate in a chess tournament in the United States since the Cuban revolution.
Garc'ia's good result somewhat soured for him when the US Treasury Department barred him from taking the prize money outside of the United States. The action was taken under provisions of the ``Trading With the Enemy'' Act of 1917, whose sanctions against Cuba under this law were put into effect by President John F. Kennedy in 1963. Garc'ia's $10,000 purse has been placed in a blocked, interest-bearing account in his name in this country.
Today's column features tournament winner Ivanchuk winning a critical game from the highly ranked Boris Gulko, the former Soviet dissident, who has settled with his family in Newton, Mass., and was recently appointed Grandmaster-in-Residence at Harvard University. Young Vassily makes everything look easy as he plays with unerring accuracy to take full advantage of Gulko's experimental opening play. Catalan Opening
Ivanchuk Gulko 1. P-Q4 N-KB3 2. P-QB4 P-K3 3. P-KN3 B-N5 ch 4. B-Q2 P-B4 (a) 5. B-N2 O-O 6. N-KB3 P-Q4 (b) 7. BxB PxB 8. QN-Q2 N-B3 9. O-O P-QN3 10. R-B1 B-N2 11. P-K3 Q-Q3 12. Q-R4 KR-B1 13. R-B2 R-B2 14. KR-B1 QR-QB1 15. PxP PxP 16. B-R3! (c) N-Q2 17. N-K5! (d) P-QN4!? 18. QxP/5 NxP 19. PxN RxR 20. RxR RxR 21. QxB NxN 22. PxN Q-Q1 (e) 23. P-K6 (f) PxP 24. BxP ch K-R1 25. N-B3 RxNP 26. N-K5 Q-KB1 27. QxRP R-K7 28. N-B7 ch K-N1 29. BxP R-K2 30. Q-Q4 Q-N1 (g) 31. N-K5 ch Resigns (h)
A.Here 4.... BxB ch and 4.... P-QR4 are seen more frequently. The text is a try of relatively recent origin, which usually leads to a more complex game.
B.This seems positionally dubious. White will trade bishops and subsequently exchange his QBP for Black's QP when White will enjoy an extra central pawn while Black's QN pawns are doubled.
C.By playing simple, natural moves, White has established a winning position. Should the attacked rook move, then 17.N-K5 is even stronger than in the text.
D.As the wags were wont to say, ``pin 'em and win 'em.'' Black's resourceful reply, which obtains an active rook for two pieces, is likely his best practical chance.
E.The vulnerability of his first rank is what prevents Black from obtaining decent counterplay.
F.Now White obtains a winning attack to boot. If 23.... RxN; 24.QxP ch, K-R1; 25.P-K7, and White's KP expands.
G.After 30.... RxN; 31.BxR ch, QxB (or 31.... KxB; 32.Q-KB4 ch); 32.Q-Q8 ch, and White has an extra pawn in the king-and-pawn endgame, which makes it an easy technical exercise for him.
H.Since 31.... K-B1 (31.... K-R1; 32.N-N6 ch, PxN; 33.Q-R4 mate); 32.Q-B4 ch, K-K1, White can choose from a large variety of wins, the simplest being 33.B-B6 ch, K-Q1; 34.Q-B8 ch, K-B2; 35.QxR ch, K-N3; 36.N-Q7 ch etc.
Arthur Bisguier, an international grandmaster for more than 30 years, is a former United States champion and has won or shared the US Open title five times. He played in the Chess Olympiads of 1953, '58, '60, and '64. He is technical adviser to Chess Life magazine.