Alabamian shines in US Juniors

Stuart Rachels of Birmingham, Ala., scored 6 points from nine games to win the 1988 United States Junior Championship, which was held at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. The top 10 rated players in the nation up to the age of 20 were invited to play. Top-seeded international master Patrick Wolff, 20, of Belmont, Mass. (last year's champion), and Benjamin Finegold, 18, of Columbus, Ohio, tied for second with 6 points each. Sharing fourth place with 5 points were Alex Sherzer, 17, of Fallston, Md., and Alexander Fishbein, 19, of Boulder, Colo. Filling out the field were Adam Lief of Palo Alto, Calif.; Daniel Pillone of Brielle, N.J.; Ron Buckmire of Troy, N.Y.; Danny Edelman of Cambridge, Mass.; and Andrew Serotta of Lansdale, Pa. Rachels, now 18, first gained fame by earning a master's rating at the age of 11 years, 10 months - the youngest player ever to do so. He has shown steady improvement, and this win gives him another opportunity to showcase his talent, qualifying him to compete in the 1988 World Junior Championship now under way in Adelaide, Australia. He is joined by Wolff, who earned a spot by finishing a strong third in last year's tournament in Manila.

Today's game from the US Junior features an impressive display by Rachels. His opponent, the 17-year-old Serotta, revives a hoary variation of the Sicilian Defense, at one time quite popular but which in recent years fell into desuetude, since all the critical complications have favored White. About a decade ago the variation was revived with some success as Black introduced a positional sacrifice of the exchange which offered practical chances. When Serotta violates the spirit of the opening by attempting to maintain material equality, he is mercilessly dissected by Rachels, who stymies all attempts at counterplay. Sicilian Defense

Rachels Serotta 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Bb4 (a) 6. e5 (b) Nd5 (c) 7. Bd2 (d) Nxc3 8. bxc3 Be7 9. Qg4 O-O (e) 10. Bd3 (f) f5 (g) 11. exf6, e.p. Bxf6 12. O-O Nc6 13. Rae1 e5 (h) 14. Qe4 g6 15. Qd5 + Kg7 16. Nb5 Ne7 17. Qd6 Qb6 (i) 18. c4 Qxd6 19. Nxd6 Nc6 20. f4 (j) Be7 21. fxe5 Nxe5 22. Rxf8 Kxf8 (k) 23. Bh6 + Kg8 24. c5 Bxd6 25. cxd6 Nxd3 26. Rf1 Resigns

A.An interesting move that indicates Black is in a fighting mood.

B.White accepts the challenge, since 6.Bd3, e5 (aiming for ... d5) is known to give Black an easy game.

C.Better than 6.... Ne4; 7.Qg4, which attacks the g-pawn and the knight. Black then has various complicated possibilities, all of them greatly favoring White, according to accepted theory.

D.Also good is 7.Qg4, but the solid text is fine and less committing.

E.The text tacitly offers the exchange, since 10.Bh6 would force 10.... g6.

F.A subtle move. White disdains the immediate win of the exchange with 10.Bh6, g6; 11.Bxf8, Bxf8, as Black will soon play d6 and complete his development, after which White's pawn weaknesses assure Black of couterplay. Perhaps he may not get get full compensation for the sacrifice, but a tough struggle may be expected.

G.With the naivet'e of youth, Black seizes his chance to maintain material equality. He should continue the positional gambit with 10.... d6, continuing to offer the exchange. As the play goes, White's queen and bishops raking the Black king soon force irremediable weaknesses.

H.This results in further pawn weaknesses, but also bad was 13.... Ne5, 14.Rxe5, Bxe5; 15.Qh5.

I.Here the exchange of queens affords little relief, as all of White's army works effectively, while Black's queenside never develops.

J.This move, which blows open more lines and allows White's other rook access to Black's king, effectively ends all meaningful resistance.

K.Now Black's king is boxed in, but 22.... Bxf8; 23.Ne8 ch and 24.Rxe5 costs a piece.

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