Summer Season Heats Up!

If one could say there was a most critical round in summer, it is round 2.  It is the awards ceremony and all the teams play that night at Arlington.  One begins to see separation in the standings and this past week was no different.  Here is a quick synopsis:

Coral Reef defeat Argyles as IM Eugene Meyer defeated Andy Samuelson the newly minted FM.  Congrats to Andy, as nobody in DCCL deserves the coveted title more than him for his dedication to the game in my opinion.  Fellow FM John Meyer won a nice game versus NM Bill Marcelino so the Coral Reef were in good position early on.  They finished off the match with a win by NM Sal Rosario to win 3-1 and put themselves in a great spot.

Sterling defeat Fury behind new face in Daniel Leach and tenacious Robert Cousins who both won.  FM Gilden drew NM Lowinger to seal the match.

Kings won big over Ashburn as the Kings out-rated them by substantial margins.  Ashburn was missing several key titled players and the Kings took advantage of it.  Mojo and Black Knights drew, and along with Ashburn are eliminated from contention for summer title.

Sterling and Coral Reef have a critical round 3 match-up and a win by either side would put distance between them and the field.  A draw in Fury/Argyles match will likely result in elimination for both.  Kings face Black Knights in a must-win round while Mojo-Ashburn play out the string.

For Amateur section, the Knight Watch face the Crows next round and win by Knight Watch clinches them the league title.  At 0.5/2 DMV is not eliminated yet but lots of things have to go right.

Have a great summer and many good events before next round in ACC Tornado/Potomac Open/US Open/Washington International.  Check them out!

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Underdogs Bite Back In Round 1:

Round 1 was a topsy-turvy round as several notable teams were upset.  Starting off, Sterling pulled off the upset behind solid efforts by Gilden and Cousins.  Sterling has  fared much better in Summer Season than Winter over last 3 years.  Perhaps this year they win the title.

The Kings did not have their main masters and the Fury took advantage by winning boards 2, 3 and 4 to post the solid victory.  The Argyles made it through the dreaded road trip to DC with the big wins behind McKenna and Savage.  The Coral Reef won easily versus Mojo.

DMV was stunned with an upset to Knight Watch but still has time to get back in race with a Swiss round at end.  Capital Crows had some great players on board but Black Knights Amateur fought hard and drew.  Onto round 2.

Argyles face Coral Reef and a win for either side could put some serious distance between the winner and the field.  Sterling faces Fury as this match is tough to forecast.  Kings-Ashburn is essentially an elimination match with both teams at 0-1.  Mojo-BK is on the schedule too.

Knights Watch can put themselves in a great spot at 2-0 with another win vs Black Knights.  DMV is in must-win mode early versus Capital Crows.  A loss by either side is doom for hopes to win the title.

All matches for round 2 are all ACC and the awards ceremony occurs for winter season.  Round should start at 8:30 after everything settles.  Hopefully everyone stays warm and consider attending Continental Class this weekend.  It is a solid event with good prizes and great competition!

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Questions And Answers With Summer Amateur Champions

I had the chance to interview Alexsey of DMV this past week and here were findings.  The statements here are solely of Alexsey and DMV (in general) for clarification.  Certainly freedom of speech is applied here and hopefully some of their concerns are addressed in future to make a more prosperous DCCL.

 

1)      How was team started up?

Back in 2015, Adam recruited me to the Arlington Storm, where I’ve met Lev Bagramian. After having played for the Storm for the entire season, we’ve decided to take matters into our own hands and start a new team, The Knight’s Watch. However, circumstances prevented me from participating on a regular basis and I was only able to play one match. Hence, I’ve made way for a friend of mine, Brian Curran.

By the time I was prepared to resume my participation in the DCCL, the Knight’s Watch had a full roster. At the same time, I’ve been getting acquainted with Josh and Victor, both of whom played in the Open Section during the summer season. Their debut in the open section was a baptism of fire, and it didn’t take much for me to convince them to help me start an Amateur team.

All three of us had a more analytical rather than a creative frame of mind, so we had a little bit of a hard time coming up with a name, but Josh insisted that we should have “DMV” as part of our name, alluding to his DC-Maryland-Virginia Chess Club that he hosts on Monday nights.  At first, I was prepared to just let it be called “DMV”, yet the implicit reference to the Department of Motor Vehicles is a bit nauseating, to say the very least.   So, I proposed to them,  “We’re going to take this season by storm, so we might as well be called the Blitzkrieg!”.

2)      What do you think was the key to your success this season?

I am not a talented chess player, but I have a knack for recognizing talent in others. To be sure, one significant reason why we won the league is that I was able to not only recruit strong players but also because these individuals were team-players and understood commitment. Their passion for the game and dedication to our team is completely unrivaled. I’d go so far as to say that no other captain in the Amateur section could have even dreamed of a stronger squad. Our players not only delivered the results over the board, it was always a pleasure to work

At every step of the way, I made it a point to frequently correspond with each of my players and preserve the team morale to the best of my ability. Additionally, Josh stepped into the co-captain role and did a great deal to nurture the interpersonal chemistry between our players in ways that motivated them to show up for every match and give their 100%.

3)      What matches were the toughest ones and why?

Despite the result, round 5 was certainly quite challenging.   I was re-united with my erstwhile team-mates, as we faced the Knight’s Watch.

Although we outranked them on every board, they were the defending champions who had no intention of rolling over. Prior to my match on board 4, I knew one thing and one thing only: people depended on me and I had no right to lose that match.

I’ve noticed a similar attitude in my opponent. I played Tim Paper, who is a jolly and an easy-going fellow, but he was uncharacteristically solemn before our match.

We’ve gathered around our table around 8:15, but Victor still sat on the other side of the ACC tournament hall, so our board 1 remained empty for a good ten minutes after that. At one point, I had to walk over there and admonish him “Get out there and show everyone that you’re better than Hyland!”. Suddenly, he sprung to life and forgot all about his ruminations from the weeks leading up to the match. Although Victor dominated Mark in nearly all of their matches, he was quite alarmed by the pace at which his friend’s game was improving. It took me a little while to get Victor to realize that Hyland is not going to be 2100 this year, as progressing from 2000 to 2100 is much harder than going from 1800 to 2000.

 

On board 1, Victor opened with 1. e4 and the game steered into the Guicco Piano. True to its names, the middle-game was very quiet and neither side showed considerable prospects of seizing an advantage.

 

On board 2, Mike Kobily played the Sicilian Sveshnikov against Bagramian and quickly found himself in trouble. He had doubled f-pawns, his king was stranded in the center and most pieces were on the board. With every passing move, it seemed to be just a matter of time until he’d collapse. Surely enough, by move 25, he was down two pawns and no-one could have imagined a different result for that match, other than a decisively winning end-game for white.

 

On board 3, Alex had the white pieces against Hans Dettmar’s Pirc Defense.  By move 10, he won a piece but left his king in the middle of the board for too long, so Hans was able to drum up considerable counter-play, winning back two pawns. The ensuing struggle was a complicated one, albeit it seemed clear that white had a slight edge, at the very least.

 

On the bottom board, Paper went into the London System and I’ve made a questionable choice to respond with the fianchetto variation.  We won this game too.

After this game, I spent quite a bit of time practicing the knight and bishop mate. Even more disconcertingly, I showed the position in question to my opponent and he assured me that he had no intention of giving me the opportunity to mate him with a bishop and knight. Needless to say, I should have implemented the plan I had in mind. In all likelihood, he would not have gone for the daring pawn sacrifice and I would have eventually won the end-game.

Throughout the latter part of the game, the Knight’s Watch players hovered over our board once every few minutes and appeared to be deeply concerned about it. So, the last thing I wanted to do was trade down into the end-game where Paper seemed likely to hold a draw. Instead of going for the scenario where a knight and bishop checkmate seemed to have been a possibility, I played a natural exchange of minor pieces where we went to a same-colored bishop ending. The only trouble was that I still had a backward pawn on e6.

Nonetheless, the psychological trick of dragging out my advantageous position for as long as possible seems to have worked. Somehow, Lev managed to lose an end-game where his opponent was two pawns down and had backward pawns on the f-file. From what I recall, he stepped into some kind of a nasty discovery, but even then, he was guaranteed to go into an ending at least one pawn up. How he managed to fall flat on his face was entirely beyond me.   Minutes before that, Alex converted an end-game where he had a bishop and two pawns against Hans’ four pawns.

As soon as Lev resigned, I forced a draw by sacrificing my bishop for white’s last pawn, sealing the win for us. Shortly thereafter, Mark received at least two draw offers but declined them. Somehow, he pressed too hard for a win and wound up losing instead.

All of the games lasted for over five hours, so this was by far the most challenging and time-consuming match of the season. The result was certainly misleading, as every single game was very close up until the very end. Our players not only delivered the results over the board, it was always a pleasure to work them.

 

4)      Does your team practice or train together?

We don’t schedule team practices, but the DMV Chess Club at Centreville meets every Monday night. In a way, we could call it an informal training ground for our team.

5)      What would you wish the DCCL could improve upon?

There is certainly a need for more structure in the DCCL. At the captains’ meeting, I’ve singled out GMU for criticism on these grounds. They had no core players and used different players for every match they played. Although a couple of other captains supported my idea of requiring all teams to submit a roster of core players at the beginning of the season, there wasn’t enough support to enact meaningful change. The impression I got is that the majority of DCCL captains and executives prefer chaos to order. They seem to have no problem with teams using different players every match and they are not in the least bit perturbed by how Ralph claims to have three teams but neglects to make sure that even two of them have a full roster for every match. Each time I tried to propose corrective measures, he interrupted me within seconds after I started speaking, but I talked over him anyway. Later that evening, someone else noticed that on paper, he has three teams; the reality of the matter is quite different. What he truly has is one team and he transfers all of his key players from one match to another. For example, in Round 1, his core players represent the Black Knights in the Open Section. In Round 2, they could be moved down to the Forestville Eagles. Next, they’ll be rotated to Black Knights Amateur and the vicious cycle will continue in this manner. Of course, when someone shed light on this problem, he just laughed it off and digressed to an entirely different topic. At a different time, another senior DCCL member complained that it is simply not possible for captains to get players to show up, regardless of what they do. In short, the most influential members of the DCCL not only have no interest in bringing more structure to our competitions, they stand categorically opposed to the idea of doing so and reflexively antagonize the slightest of suggestions that change is necessary. When others raise the issue that the quality of play in our league has been declining largely because of a large of structure, they cavalierly dismiss all of such allegations and insist that nothing can be done about it. Overall, the most

In short, there is definitely a need for more structure and I’d like to see a community initiative to encourage captains to develop core teams. Even more importantly, poaching should be discouraged and limitations need to be imposed upon practices involving mid-season recruitment. It is understandable that some players will quit in the middle of the season and will need to be replaced. Yet, if a team is recruiting 3-4 new players at the beginning of each match, that is a serious problem. Likewise, if a team never has enough players to complete their roster for any of their rounds, that is a problem with the character of the player they’ve initially picked up or the captain’s leadership. Yes, we all have better things to do than attending chess matches. Yet, if I sign up to play for a team and claim that I am available for this or that round, I have a responsibility to attend or to notify my captain within a reasonable amount of time prior to the match. Likewise, if I am in charge of a team and I know that one of my players is a notorious flake, it would be negligent of me to count on them to show up every time they promise to do so. On a similar note, if a team can only bring two or three core players to each match and have no prospect of finding at least a couple more reliable competitors, they shouldn’t bother competing in the league.

When one declares that they have a team, what they mean is that they have a limited number of players who will play a significant role in all team matches. However, if it becomes acceptable for captains to continuously recruit new players for every match, the very idea that they have a team is going to become meaningless. What’s really going on is that they don’t have any committed players and they are going to try to create a new roster for every match. GMU did not have a coherent team for this season because there was no continuity between the roster they had for round 1 and the one they had for the rest of their rounds. The only thing they had in common is that Jablon was present for all matches, but we cannot say that any of his other players participated in even half of the team matches.

Maybe it’s not such a bad thing that we only have four teams in the Amateur section this season. It’s better to have it this way than to be constantly concerned that your opponents may forfeit the match or recruit a large number of new players for every round. For the Winter season, there were only four teams: Blitzkrieg, Storm, Frederick and the Knight’s Watch. The rest did not have a cohesive squad to speak of and I don’t think the DCCL would have lost anything of value, had the other four teams not registered at all. Those four teams would have played each other twice and that would have been enough to fill 8 rounds. I would say that quality should be prioritized over quantity. If we can only have four Amateur teams for the next season, be it: there is no reason to keep on allowing teams to show up to match after match with just one or two players to represent them.

6)      What are your goals for the next two years as a team and as individual players?

We will be moving on to the Open Section for the Fall Season and we intend to become competitive there over the next two years. Perhaps by 2020, we could achieve a middle of the table finish in the Open Section.

 

7)      What are your favorite players of all time and why?

We generally don’t discuss the great chess minds of history, but I do believe that most players have a natural style that reflects their core character traits. Grandmasters tend to be more consistent than amateurs, as they often act with a clear plan, so their natural style is easier to detect than that of amateurs.

However, upon closer inspection, we can certainly see obvious differences in how amateurs prefer to play. I’ve also noticed that the style one chooses to play in often suits their natural strengths. For example, an experienced player who handles positions in a very dynamic manner often excels at calculation and recognition of tactical patterns. On the other hand, positional players are comfortable handling dry scenarios where neither side has the opportunity to win by a decisive tactical blow. I’ve also noticed that the natural positional players tend to be more comfortable playing defense and end-games than their competitors with a more swashbuckling approach to the game.

I would say that Victor is a quintessential positional player who is quite comfortable with a long game. Although he displays a strong understanding of dynamics and can certainly handle dicey positions, that is not where his natural play takes him. More often than not, he takes few risks and achieves an advantage through slow maneuvering. I don’t know if he has a favorite player, but Capablanca’s style certainly seems like a reasonably good fit.

Josh appears to be a polar opposite of him, as he seldom settles for quiet games and seldom finds himself playing a protracted ending. He always seeks to unbalance the position and many of his matches are decided by the middle-game. Again, no idea if he has a favorite player, but Nakamura is probably the best fit. In Josh’s defense, Nakamura is one of the few modern GMs who routinely play the Modern Benoni in competitions of the highest level.”

Alex’s style is somewhere in between, albeit he bears a much closer semblance to Josh than to Victor. He has been quite heavily influenced by Fischer and strongly identifies with his systematic manner of attacking. He seeks to unbalance the position early and is willing to take risks, but above all, he is a calculating player. He tends not to get carried away with speculative sacrifices or wild attacks and he is more than comfortable playing a quiet end-game, if the position calls for that.

Mike is a positional player who excels at end-games, albeit he is more aggressive than Victor. He is space conscious and often strives to build up his initiative in a gradual manner. In some sense, I’d say he is similar to Alex in the respect that his approach to chess strategy is systematic, yet he is less attack-minded and often prefers to play an end-game rather than undertake a decisive attack in the middle-game. Lasker is probably the closest fit.

As for myself, I’d say I am more similar to Mike than to any of our other players. However, I am much less systematic and I am more comfortable playing defense. Needless to say, I don’t have his end-game finesse either. My best wins often come out of dead-lost positions where I manage to launch a decisive counter-attack. I’ve always identified with Korchnoi’s style of play and he certainly has influenced me much more than any other world class player.

8)      How can other DCCL members join the DMV Club and what does it have to offer?

Other players may join the DMV Chess Club any time. We meet at the following address every Monday at 5.  13810 Braddock Rd D, Centreville, VA 20121

There, new players may play rated matches, analyze their games and meet stronger players who could help them advance to the next level.

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2017 Summer Events And Where They Fall Next To DCCL

Weekend of: Notable Events:
10-Jun DCCL RD 1/ACC Action
17-Jun Continental Class
24-Jun Philadelphia International/Waldorf Open
1-Jul World Open
8-Jul DCCL RD 2
15-Jul Charlottesville Open
22-Jul ACC Action
29-Jul Potomac Open
5-Aug US Open
12-Aug Washington International
19-Aug DCCL RD 3/ACC Action
26-Aug Atlantic Open
2-Sep VA Closed/MD Quick Blitz Action Championship
9-Sep DCCL RD 4
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DCCL 16-17 WINTER SEASON RECAP AND HISTORY INQUIRY

Hi everyone as this is NM Andrew Tichenor.  I will be taking over for NM Shawn Hoshall as the blogger for DCCL for future.  The winter season was exciting and packed with action from October to May.

For the Open season, Ashburn Junior went wire-to-wire in the open section.  The team was very strong as 1 IM, 2 FM’s, and 5 NM’s combined with many solid experts.  This team was able to throw out tough lineups each round.  Their most critical match was early on versus Argyles.  Expert Tim Rogalski won a wild affair with FM Allan Savage which clinched the match.  The biggest surprise was Arlington Fury who were tied for second as late as April despite only having 2 NM’s.  This team played hard each round and was never an easy out.

For the Amateur season, DMV Blitzkrieg rolled the competition going 9-0.  This team was loaded as many solid 1900’s and 2000’s throughout and just overwhelmed each of its opponents.  They finished 3 points ahead of perennial powerhouse GMU.  The DMV team would be a middle-tier team immediately if they entered open section.  Hopefully they can join the big dogs in the yard!

Well done for another good season and hopefully everyone has a great Memorial Day.

Frequently I get the questions about history of DCCL.  Here is a simple summary.

1985-1995 Arlington Rooks were the most dominant team (winning at least 11 titles!) with a core of IM Walter Morris, NM Geoff McKenna, NM Bill Mason and NM Harold Mouzon among others.  They used to say they had the 4 M’s who were deadly.  A very impresive run.

1995-2005 Coral Reef go down as the most dominant team (winning at least 13 titles!)  What made the Coral Reef especially tough was they had 2 strong IM’s in E. Meyer and Delaune followed by FM J. Meyer and NM’s Acholonu, Karell, Fink, and Rosario among others.  Many of them were in their prime and north of 2300.  They simply overwhelmed the competition with depth and strong players.  If you had to say a most successful team since 1985 overall, it has to be Coral Reef.

2005-2010 DC Metro.  This team was the all-star team from the Montgomery County/NOVA region with many notable masters such as Defibaugh, Schoch, Low and Uesugi manning the boards.  Team had strong teamwork and comadaerie.  Once the players started graduating from high school, team disbanded.  Brief but powerful run!

2010-2017 Ashburn.  This team started off as a fun activity for a local club but once they started bringing in 2200+ people, the team took off like a firecracker.  Team has won 4 of last 7 winter titles.  What really propelled the team into a new era was the Ashburn Mastery Program.  Lots of notable scholastic players developed their interest in chess with this program.  Team relies on a mix of adult and junior players which is different than most DCCL teams.

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Summer Stuff and the Emory Tate Jr Board Award

A few years ago at a league team captain meeting I proposed we have a blog because there was almost no information about this historic league and it’s players. The other team captains agreed but much to my dismay I was also voted to run the blog (That was never the plan haha).

The last few years I was determined not say a whole lot , keep things simple, try to be funny, and at the very least have something posted on the internet about this great league and its former and current players. I really don’t know what the future will bring in the amount of posts on the blog but most likely they will continue to slow down.

Below is a brief update over the last few months:

The Grind

The winter season in the DCCL is a grind. Every team plays every other team and only one team is left standing at the end. As previously reported on the DCCL home page the Open team left standing was Coral Reef. It didn’t look good for the Reef going into the final round. The Kings were having a fantastic season leading the field by a 1/2 point. The Kings however unexpectedly lost to Ashburn Junior while the Reef beat Rook and Role to overtake the Kings. A fantastic season by the Reef and their resurgence continues after winning the prior summer season as well.

In the amateur James Madison once again went undefeated and won 9-0.  This is James Madison’s 5th straight season win starting with the winter 2013-14 season.

Emory Tate Jr board prize

ETate

IM Emory Tate Jr

As proposed by league commissioner Andy Rea, and unanimously seconded by all other members at the bi-annual team meeting, the DCCL Board prize has been changed in honor of IM Emory Tate Jr to the “Emory Tate Jr board prize”.

As most of you know IM Tate was a well known and well liked International Master who played in the MidAtlantic for a time and also played in the DCCL in the 80’s. In 2016 he tragically and unexpectedly passed away. He was known throughout the World for his incredibly creative and attacking style of play. He made chess fun and was a larger than life presence when playing at any tournament.

My Emory Tate story.

I was talking to a good friend and told him about my experience with IM Tate and we both marveled how a few minutes of talking with someone can have a big impact on your life. We each have the ability to help, teach, and be a positive force.

I interacted with IM Tate only once in my life for a short period of time when I had just started playing. I believe it was at the Maryland Open in the late 80’s. I was a 15 year old or so kid rated 1600 or 1700 just starting out and he was a very strong master. I remember I was analyzing a game and he came by and sat down for a few minutes.

I knew he was a very good player and I was suprised he would come by and even bother to talk to a much lower rated player like me. I thought it was a very nice gesture.

What he said in those few minutes had a big impact on my style of play and improving in chess.

I remember pointing out moves I thought were good and he said something on the lines of “Where is your play?” (Where are you strongest on the board was what he was communicating). He would say this a couple of times until I picked out the right move.

I never ever forgot this and what it drilled into me was you play to your strength. You typically don’t focus on shoring up your weak points on the board but you double down on where you are strong.

This rule was a battle cry for me as a junior player as I made my way to the Expert and Master level.  Other strong players would sometimes describe me as someone who was “dangerous with the initiative”. Thank you IM Tate.

Summer has begun

The first round of the summer league has just begun and already some of the recent league winners got zapped with losses or draws. The top 2 teams from last winter lost ( Kings lost to Ashburn Jr) and drew (Coral Reef drew DMV Experts). The Ashburn Senior team which won the league 2 winters ago and was in the playoffs last summer lost to the Sterling Sacs.

1st Round Summer Game Total Crush:

I was utterly destroyed on white no less by my opponent Robert Cousins. In a loss certainly errors are made but I have to give Robert a lot of credit for playing a very nice game, sacking not one but 2 exchanges for an overwhelming CRUSH.

Hoshall S. 2225, Cousins R 2099

  1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 d6 3. f4 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7
  2. Bc4 Nc6 6. O-O Nf6 7. d3 O-O 8. Qe1

cousins1

In this position whites play is typically invested into a kingside attack. In an optimum world white will stick his queen on h4, play f5, bh6, ng5,  and perhaps sack his rook for the f6 Black knight. A plan as my good friend Paul Swaney has said has been around since the 1800’s. You can however still find 2800 rated players losing today in under 20 moves to this type of plan so it still works.

Nd4

  1. Nxd4

This move is fine by white but I was kicking myself after the game for not playing Qh4, allowing nxc2 by black and then simply playing Rb1. White will have a nice attack in an unbalanced position. I should have played where my strength was and listened to the advice I got years ago from IM Tate.

cxd4 10. Ne2? (This move is bad. White can not play a retreating knight move in this position and needs to play Nd5.  White has no attack now and black can place his pieces on good squares.) d5 11. exd5 Nxd5 12. Ng3 e6

  1. Kh1 a6 14. a4 b6 15. Bd2 Bb7 16. Ne4 Rc8
  2. Bb4

cousins2

So here is the situation. Blacks positions is nice but white is threatening to win the exchange on f8. If black takes the bishop with Nxb4 he trades off his good knight for blacks not so good bishop.

14…Rxc4 Wow!!!, instead of protecting or moving the rook on f8 to avoid the loss of the exchange black correctly decides to sac the other exchange! 18. Bxf8 Qxf8 19. dxc4 Ne3

cousins3

White is up 2 full exchanges in this position but totally lost.

  1. Nd2 Bxg2+
  2. Kg1 Bxf1 22. Nxf1 Nxc2 23. Qc1 Nxa1 24. Qxa1 a5
  3. Ng3 Qb4 26. Qa2 Qe1+ 27. Kg2 d3 crush
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The Diplomat

Down the Home Stretch

 With only two more matches left in the Winter season the Open section appears to have come down to a two team race.  The Kings who had big matches vs Coral Reef in February and the Argyles in March won them both and stand at 5-1.  Coral Reef has suffered only 1 loss this season and also stands at 5-1.  Good luck to both squads. 

In the Amateur section GMU stands at 7-0 and has wrapped up yet another season championship.  Can we say dynasty for this team?  Historically they have been on the type of run that Coral Reef was on in the early 2000’s.  Yet another outstanding season for this squad.

Below is a featured article about one of our top DCCL players, Srdjan Darmanovic written by Andy Tichenor

 The Diplomat

 As many of you know, one of the strongest players in the DCCL is NM Srdjan Darmanovic.  While being very successful over the board, he is also very successful in his professional and personal life.  He is ambassador of Montenegro to USA since 2010 and has discussed foreign policy with noted public figures such as President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry.  He was born in 1961 and has been a professor, while writing several books.  He is currently the top board for the Black Knights. 

If one has played him, you can attest to the solid play of this very strong master.  He plays Caro Kann Defense against e4 on most occasions and can systematically grind down experts and masters alike with grandmaster precision.  If one makes positional concessions or goes for unsound attacks, one is putting themselves at long odds against this seasoned veteran.  He rarely loses and has displayed good results since arriving in 2010.  Srdjan frequently plays in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC and many masters have seen first-hand why he was rated 2282 FIDE at one time.  Personally, he recently had a new son enter the world, so we wish him the best on that front!

The author thinks his closest parallel in style to world champions is GM Smyslov:  great understanding of English Opening, search for the truth in the position, and very good at the endgame.  Like GM Smyslov he is a very modest master, earning the respect and admiration of his peers. 

Below is a recent game by Srdjan at the Washington Chess Congress against another talented DCCL player Andy Samuelson.

 images[1]

Srdjan Darmanovic

(Annotated by: S. Hoshall)  In this game Srdjan makes no positional concessions but does make logical sound moves to quickly get a strong attack on the black side of the Bishop’s Opening ( themes: control of center, centralization, open file, stacked rooks).

 C54 Samuelson,Andrew 2316 Darmanovic,Srdjan 2266 Washington Chess Congress 10.10.15

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 Nc6 4.Nf3 Bc5 5.0-0 0-0 6.Re1 d6 7.c3 a6 8.Bb3 h6 9.Nbd2 Ba7 10.Nf1 Nh5 (10…Nh5, has given black good practical chances in this position) 11.Ng3 (11. Ng3 is a novelty) Nxg3 12.hxg3 Bg4 13.Be3 Qf6 14.Bxa7 Rxa7 15.Re3 Raa8 16.Qd2 Rad8 17.Rf1 Be6 18.Nh4 Bxb3 19.axb3

axb3 darm

The position is equal.  Although White has stacked pawns on the g and b files this is usually OK if due to a capture with the a and h pawns as in this case.  The stacked pawns can however become a more serious weaknesses particularly in an endgame. 

 d5 20.Qe2 dxe4 21.dxe4 Qe6 22.b4 Rd7 23.f4 Rfd8

rd8 darm

With blacks last 3 moves he has centralized his queen to a more effective square and stacked his rooks on the open d file.   3 moves ago the position was equal.  Now black is clearly better.

 24.Nf3 Qg4 25.fxe5 Qxg3 26.b5 axb5 27.Nd4 Qxe5 28.Nxb5 (28. Nxb5 opens the d file for black’s rooks and loses quickly.  28. Nf5 or 28. Qxb5 were better options for white but white would still be worse.) [ 28.Nf5 Ne7 29.Nxe7+ Qxe7 30.Qxb5-+] [ 28.Qxb5 Qxb5 29.Nxb5 Ne5 30.b4 c6 31.Nd4 Ra8-+] 28…Rd2 29.Qc4 Qg5

29...Qg5

Threatens mate on g2 and the rook on e3 is hanging among other problems.  30. Qxf7+ would bring no relief.

30.Re2 [ 30.Qxf7+ Kh8 31.Qf3 Qxb5 32.b4 Ne5-+]   30…Ne5 0-1

 

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