Sathyan – Friedman

Deepak Sathyan (1638) – Max Friedman (1880) (analysis by Mr. Henry Robinson)
TN State Championship (High School) TN Tech University, 2-15-2014



Max Friedman is a rising star on the Tennessee Chess scene. In 2007 his rating was 514, he is now a high class ‘A’ player knocking on the ‘Expert’ door. He has improved year by year, but is currently undergoing a metamorphosis into a really strong player. His championship game is very instructive. 1.d4 f5 This is the Dutch defense. First recommended in the late 1700’s this opening shows Black’s desire for attack. It is an aggressive advance on the kingside aiming to control of the e4 square. If White plays passively, he may find himself having to defend against Blacks aggressive intentions. The opening suits aggressively minded players. The drawback however, is pretty obvious – the move ignores development. Black plays a move that does not develope a piece, nor open a diagonal for a Bishop, and it somewhat weakens the kingside structure. It was believed by Tarrasch, one of the strongest players in the world in the early 1900’s, to be completely unsound. He suggested that the Staunton Gambit would really put Black to the test. (see variations on the next move). There are a few top Grandmasters today that disagree with Tarrasch. In particular US Champion, Hikaru Nakamura, he is a fan of the Dutch. At any rate, if you are going to respond to White’s 1.d4 with 1… f7–f5, you need to be very well versed in playing against the Staunton Gambit. 2.Nc3 This move is a favorite of many strong players (Gelfand, Ivanchuk and Grischuk). The idea is to take the sting out of any proposed Kingside pressure by focusing on fast development, sort of taming the tactical beast before it can get out of his cage. The following is an example of the Staunton Gambit, which Black must prepare against… [2.e4 fxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 c6 5.f3 d5 5…e3 or 5…Qb6 may be better 6.fxe4 dxe4 7.Bc4 White simply plays a pawn down with very good compensation. 7…Bf5 8.Nge2 Nbd7 9.0–0 e6 10.Ng3 Qa5 11.Nxf5 exf5 12.Be6 g6 13.Nxe4 fxe4 14.Bxf6 Nxf6 15.Rxf6 Ke7 16.Qf1 And Black is already lost. Be sure to study the Staunton if you play 1… f5!?] 2…d5 Beginning a ‘Stonewall’ formation, which removes all of White’s best gambit ideas. 3.Bf4 The Bishop develops, eyeballing the weak e5 square. 3…a6 This is a fairly popular line, preventing White’s Nb5. It counts on the Black structure being so solid, that he is not yet forced to develop. I start getting a bit nervous, if I have not moved a piece until move 4. But it has been proven to be okay by the masters (and it does have a pretty good record for winning). 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.e3 e6 6.Be2 c5 Striking the White center. Since White played 2.Nc3 before moving his pawn to c4, he really does not have a way to punish Black for ignoring development. So, Black increases the tension on the board. Again showing an aggressive personality on the chessboard! 7.Ne5 Nc6 8.Bg5 White is planning to fortify his control over the e5 square as Black has done over the e4 square. This looks like a bit of a waste of time, but as we have already seen, time does not seem to be that important with this type of pawn structure. 8…Bd6 9.f4 g6 This is not a good move. There is no reason to further weaken the structure around your King and ignore development. This apparently was prompted by fears around the h5–e8 diagonal. White has “double moved” two of his pieces, the Queen Bishop and the King Knight. Black has caught up in development and has a good game. A better try my have been  [9…0–0 10.0–0 cxd4 11.exd4 Qb6] 10.Bf3 cxd4 11.exd4 Be7 Now we see the further weakening on the Black Kingside has caused Black to go backward. …g6 is the culprit. Here is an axiom to live by in chess: ‘Every pawn move creates a weakness, so consider them carefully, they cannot be taken back.’ Moving pawns is required to play the game of chess, but ALWAYS consider the pros and cons of a pawn move. The move g6 weakened Blacks structure and pinned the queen down to protecting her King’s Horse. So, Black loses a move to protect the Horse. 12.h4 Very interesting. …g6 is actually a hook for opening lines on the Black kingside. White has decided to play aggressively, based on the weakness of the Black pawn formation. 12…Ne4 13.Bxe7 Continuing with his plan of exploiting the Black pawn structure weakness. But this just eases Black’s position, making it easier to vacate his King to the queenside. 13…Qxe7 14.h5 Nxe5 15.dxe5 g5 An excellent move, keeping White from opening lines for his forces. 16.Bxe4 dxe4 Another difficult decision concerning pawns. Capturing in this direction gives Black more elbow room for his Queen Bishop (Bc8–d7–c6). Capturing with the f-Pawn, would give Black a more dynamic structure (two mobile pawns in the center) and it would keep the d6 square covered up. Which is best? Hard to say, but at least we owe it to the position to carefully consider both! 17.g3 Qc5 I really like this move. Black’s queen is more aggressive here and she prevents White’s Qd4. 18.Qe2 Bd7 19.0–0–0 0–0–0 20.Rd6 This is why we mentioned the pawn capture earlier. It may be that this square is not that important, but if it were covered up, then no worries about it. On the other hand, Black needs to thin things down so that his protected passed pawn’s weight can be felt, so the open d-file is good for that. 20…gxf4 21.gxf4 Rhg8 22.Rhd1 Rg1 On the right track (thinning down the board), but not the best approach. Clearer was …Bc6 e.g. [22…Bc6 23.Rxd8+ Rxd8 24.Rxd8+ Kxd8 25.Qd2+ Kc8 And we still have a battle.] 23.Na4 An excellent move, keeping the position balanced. 23…Rxd1+ 24.Qxd1 Qe3+ 25.Kb1 Qf3 26.Nb6+ Kc7 27.Na8+ Also good is just exchanging stuff. It will lead to an equal game as it will be very difficult for Black to avoid perpetual check. [27.Rxd7+ Rxd7 28.Qxd7+ Kxb6 29.Qd8+ With a perpetual check. 29…Ka7 30.Qd4+] 27…Kb8 28.Nb6 Qxd1+ 29.Rxd1 Kc7 30.Nxd7 Rxd7 31.Rxd7+ Kxd7 The position has thinned down nicely for Black. He has little risk of losing. The protected passed pawn gives him all the chances. White on the other hand, must keep the Black King from invading. Let’s pause a moment and consider what plans are available.  Black has a path into Whites position via K37–f7–g7–h6–xh5 and win. White will have to counter this King trip by getting his pawns on the queenside rolling, so that if the Black King runs to the kingside, one of the White pawns will break through on the queenside. The problem is when White begins to move the queenside pawns, he will create weaknesses, which the Black King may be able to sneak through. 32.c4 Getting his pawns ready in case the Black King immediately heads to the Kingside. But this already creates a terrible weakness on d4. Let’s look for just a moment for an alternate plan for White: [32.Kc1 Kc6 33.Kd2 Kc5 34.c3 Keeping the King out. 34…b5 35.b3 So that if …b4 then c4! and the position is equal since both sides have protected passed pawns. 35…a5 36.Ke3 a4 37.Kd2 b4 38.c4 And the game will be drawn due to the fact that neither King can move very far from the enemy protected passer. This variation shows the importance of considering the weakness every pawn move creates. By planning c2–c3, keeping the Black King from penetrating the queenside, White could have drawn the game. The position after Black’s 31st move is very instructive. Set it up and play against a friend till you can get a clear understanding of the important principles involved!] 32…a5 Preventing the White b-pawn from getting to b4 when there would be no way for Black to break through. 33.Kc2 Kc6 34.Kc3 Kc5 This move is still winning, but let’s look at a variation that shows why c4 was worse than c3. As pointed out c3, keeps the Black King from going to d4. Here is why that is important: [34…e3 35.Kd3 Kc5 36.b3 e2 37.Kxe2 Kd4 38.Kf3 h6 39.Ke2 (39.a3 Kc3) 39…Ke4 And the Black King gobbles up the White pawns. Notice that White’s majority on the queenside is worthless. If the pawns had been on c3 and b3, Black could not get in!; 34…a4 Is also very strong 35.Kb4 (35.b4 axb3 36.axb3 b5) 35…Kb6 And Black’s a-pawn cannot be touched as the e-pawn will promote. 36.c5+ Kc6 37.Kc4 h6 38.b4 axb3 39.axb3 e3 40.Kd3 Kxc5 41.Kxe3 Kb4] 35.a3 [35.b3 Does not work well either. Blacks protected passed pawn simply deflects the White King and a simple King Pawn ending results. 35…b5 36.cxb5 Kxb5 37.a3 Kc5 38.b4+ axb4+ 39.axb4+ Kb5 40.Kb3 h6 41.Kc3 e3 42.Kd3 Kxb4 43.Kxe3 Kc3 44.Kf3 Kd3 45.Kf2 Ke4 46.Kg3 Ke3 47.Kg2 Kxf4] 35…a4 This is a really good move, sealing the game. 36.b4+ axb3 37.Kxb3 e3 38.Kc3 e2 39.Kd2 e1Q+ 40.Kxe1 Kxc4 41.Kf2 b5 42.h6 Kd4 Of course …Kb3 also wins, but Kd4 makes the win very easy. 43.Kg3 Ke3 44.Kg2 Kxf4 45.Kf2 Kxe5 46.Ke3 f4+ 47.Kd3 Kd5 48.Kc3 e5 49.Kb4 f3 50.Kxb5 f2 51.a4 f1Q+ 0–1 Congratulations to the Champion! P.S. Listen to your pawns, they hold the secret to correct planning!


*2013: Stripunsky and Peters Draw!
The current Tennessee Girls Champion Epiphany Peters (2082) took on Grandmaster Alexander Stripunsky (2645) in a simultaneous exhibition at the Nashville Chess Center on 10/18/2013. Epiphany, congratulations on the great game!


Comments are provided by Mr. Henry Robinson
1. d4 f5 {Looking through my database, it seems that Stripunsky nearly always opens with 1.e2-e4. He has never played against the Dutch in a tournament game, so Epiphany has already equalized!! Probably she has more experience than Stripunsky with the stonewall setup!} 2. Nc3 d5 {A very wise move. This move prevents an early e4 by White, thus avoiding some complications.} (2… Nf6 3. e4 fxe4 4. Bg5 Nc6 5. d5 Ne5 6. Qd4 {With a lot of complications (which almost always favors the Grandmaster).}) 3. Bf4 ({3. Bg5 can be a bit annoying if you are not sure what to do. In reality, Blackshould not be in the least concerned. Normal moves leave Black with a nice position…} 3. Bg5 Nf6 4. Bxf6 {(otherwise Black simply plays …e6)} exf6 5.e3 Be6 6. Bd3 Nc6 7. Qf3 Qd7 8. Nge2 O-O-O) 3… Nf6 4. Nf3 e6 5. e3 Bd6 6. Ne5 {Hoping to stir up a bit of panic, not realizing that he is playing a very strong chess player. Epiphany does not panic.} c6 {Realization of the Stonewall formation, but in truth, this move is not needed since White did not play c2-c4 earlier. Finishing development may be a bit better, but a Stonewall player has a psychological need to complete the formation.} 7. Bd3 Qc7 {A good move protecting the Black Bishop, thus allowing …Nbd7.} 8. h3 {This looks like an ‘annoyance’ move. Stripunsky wants Epiphany to castle, so he can play Qe2, castle long and throw up pawns till he mates her. But it will turn out later to be a weakness that Epiphany can ‘hook’ on to.} Nbd7 {Excellent! Normally we would like to see Black castle kingside, but here it is wise for Black to wait and see what White’s intentions are.} 9. Nxd7 Bxd7 10. Bxd6 Qxd6 {So, White’s early Ne5 has proven to be a bust. All it wound up doing was helping Black get developed. This Opening has been well played by Epiphany!} 11. O-O O-O-O {Seeing the pawn hook at h3, Epiphany envisions a quick attack, prying open the White King. Well done!} 12. Ne2 {The Grandmaster knows that his kingside is vulnerable and hopes to get some counterplay on the queenside with a pawn storm, but never quite gets the chance.} g5 {Excellent!} 13. f4 {A typical idea. By moving up the f-pawn, more defensive possibilities will open up for White. Without this, Black will advance here pawns and rip open the abandoned King’s position.} gxf4 {Now an open g-file, leading to the enemy King!} 14. Nxf4 e5 {Wow! Excellent play. This gives the Black Bishop some scope. White’s position is fragile at best!} 15. Nh5 {Hoping to exchange some pieces to ease the defensive task.} Nxh5 16. Qxh5 e4 17. Be2 Qg3 {This is a very strong move. Sometimes leading with the queen is not a good idea, but here, since it hits the weak White e-pawn, it is. Leading with a Rook actually is not as good here. For example:} (17… Rhg8 18. Rf4 Rg3 19. Kf2 {And the Rook has to move back since Rdg8 is met by Bg4 and the Black Rook is no longer protected. For example} Rdg8 20. Bg4 fxg4 21. Kxg3 gxh3+ 22. Kh2 Rxg2+ 23. Kh1 Rxc2 24. Rg1 Rxb2 25. Qxh7 {And the position is not so clear. That said, Epiphany’s move is best!}) 18. Qh6 {Protecting the e-pawn.} Rdg8 {Threatens mate!} 19. Rf2 Rg6 {The Grandmaster is in serious trouble!} 20. Qf4 Qxh3 21. g4 Qh4 {This is a good move, but very strong is …Rh6 threatening mate.} (21… Rh6 22. Rg2 Rg8 23. g5 (23. Rh2 Qxh2+ 24. Qxh2 Rxh2 25. Kxh2 fxg4 {The two extra pawns will win.}) 23… Rxg5 24. Qxg5 Rg6 25. Qxg6 Qxe3+ 26. Kh1 hxg6 {And the pawn wall begins moving very quickly. Black wins with f5-f4-f3 etc.}) 22. Rh2 Qg5 {Epiphany still has an edge after this, but she could continue her onslaught with …Qe7. This would protect f8, once the f-file opens and protect h7 just in case. For example:} (22… Qe7 23. Rf1 h5 24. g5 Rxg5+ 25. Kf2 Rhg8 26. c3 {The King could not escape immediately to e1 due to …Qb4 with immediate destruction.} (26. Ke1 Qb4+ 27. Kd1 Qxb2) 26… Be8 {With a won position, planning …Qc7.}) 23. Qxg5 Rxg5 24. Rh6 Rg6 {Getting rid of Whites most active piece. Very nice!} 25. Rxg6 hxg6 26. Kg2 fxg4 {Even though this messes up the Black pawns, it is a very good move. Both of those pawns are extra. Black need only tie down the White forces, then make a way for his King to penetrate the queenside.} 27. Re1 Kc7 28. Rh1 {The Grandmaster decided against a slow death and decides that the Black Rook is just too strong.} Rxh1 {This of course leaves Black better, but Epiphany misses the best move here, one that maintains the pressure and keeps winning chances alive.} (28… Rh3 29. Rxh3 (29. Bd1 Kd8 30. Re1 Ke7 31. Kg1 Kf6 32. Rf1+ Kg5 33. Rf7 Bf5 34. c3 Rxe3 35. Bb3 g3 {White is lost.}) 29… gxh3+ 30. Kg3 g5 {And White is hopeless.}) 29. Kxh1 Kd6 30. Kg2 b5 {Expanding on the queenside with the hopes of getting inroads for the King.} 31. Kg3 Ke7 32. a4 (32. Bxg4 {This just loses. King and pawn endings where one side has an extra passed pawn generally win.} Bxg4 33. Kxg4 Kf6 34. Kh4 g5+ 35. Kg4 Kg6 36. Kh3 Kh5 {And the White King is pushed back till Black finally abandons the g-pawn to swing over and eat up the White queenside pawns.} 37. Kg3 g4 38. Kh2 Kh4 39. Kg2 g3 40. Kg1 Kh3 41. Kf1 g2+ 42. Kg1 Kg3 43. c4 Kf3) 32… a6 {Too passive. Black can still get real winning chances with …bxa4 since inroads cannot be avoided. For example:} (32… bxa4 33. Kf4 Kd6 34. c3 c5 35. dxc5+ Kxc5 36. Kg3 Bb5 37. Bxg4 a6 38. Kf2 Kc4 {And game over.}) 33. c3 Kf6 {Satisfied with a draw. But it was still possible to try to win on the queenside.} 34. Kh4 Bc8 35. a5 Bd7 36. b3 Be6 37. Bd1 Bd7 38. Be2 Be6 39. Bf1 Kf5 40. Kg3 Kg5 41. Bg2 Bf5 42. Bf1 Bd7 43. c4 Be8 44. Be2 Bd7 45. Bf1 Be8 46. cxd5 cxd5 47. Be2 Bd7 48. b4 {Overall this was a very well played game by Epiphany.} 1/2-1/2

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