David Finnerman, a new face on the local chess club scene, won this year’s Consolation Swiss at the Schenectady Club. David is not exactly a new to the local area. He played in several local tournaments as well as events all around the northeast quadrant of the US from NYC to Vermont in the mid-1990s to 2000. Mr. Finnerman then took a break, according to his tournament record, retuning in 2006. Since coming back to the chess arena, David has built some success culminating in a 4th place finish in the Class B Section of the Eastern Class Championships in March, 2011 with a 4 - 1 score. My understanding from recent conversations with David is he will be captaining the Saratoga B team in this year’s CDCL matches.
It is always good to see new players enter the local mix, the more the merrier. Few have hit the ground running as Finnerman has. With a 5 - 0 sweep in the Consolation Swiss, David confirmed his strong B Class rating with the promise of future improvement. Today’s game versus Richard Chu, the second highest rated participant after Finnerman, is a short, sharp victory in the King’s Indian Defense. It illustrates why many players like the KID for Black; if White is not careful, Black can deliver mate in short order.
Chu, Richard - Finnerman, David [E90]
SCC Consolation Swiss Schenectady, NY, 24.03.2011
1.d4 d6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.e4 0–0 6.Bd3?!,..
Better and usual is 6 Be2. GM Har-Zvi taught his late lamented Saturday Group why this is so; the Bishop on e2, often followed up by f2-f3 and the Queen sitting on d1, make an advance of the Black g-pawn to g4 difficult or impossible. That advance is key to the Black plan: all out assault on the K-side. In the KID, particularly where White plays eventually d4-d5, Black does little on the Q-side. His whole focus is on pushing forward the K-side pawns, sacrificing something - often his Bc8 - to open lines for a direct mating attack on the White King. The plan most successful for White is to barricade g4 while advancing the c-pawn to c5, opening the c-file after preparation and penetrating to c7. The White counter-plan summed up is; barricade g4 and win on the Q-side.
The KID is not played so frequently by the world’s elite in the last decade as it had been previously. I can’t say if it is fashion or something more concrete, but a quick look at the databases finds the 2600+ players; Nakamura, Sacko, Inarkiev, Kotronias Smirin and Cheparinov occasionally playing the KID in recent years. Looking back to the 1990s a longer list of 2600+ players used the KID as one of their main weapons; Kasparov, Smirin, Grenfrld, Georgiev, Glek, Polgar, Miles, Bolgan, Shirov, Gelfand and Kamsky and they played it frequently. Harking back to Har-Zvi’s lessons again; theory is refined in the laboratory of high level tournament play, and since 2000 White has been somewhat more successful than has Black in the KID, so we see it less at the top.
All this is not important at the club level. We are just not that in tune with the latest wrinkles of theory. However with the proliferation of sources, the internet in particular, does give even the club player the possibility accessing ideas from the very best in the world. Exploiting those possibilities is a path forward for club players who want to improve their understanding of the opening. Richard counts more on his ability to create at the board than on study. A lot of the time this has been good enough to take points for the best local Experts. In this game it did not work.
6..., c5 7.d5 Bg4 8.h3 Bxf3 9.Qxf3 Nbd7 10.0–0 a6 11.Bf4?,..
Suspect from a positional view point. Why give Black a target that he can gain time by hitting? Better 11 Bd2, if he wants to move this piece.
Of course! Black taps the Bf4 and clears the way for the advance of the f-pawn. White needs to keep his dark squared Bishop on the board lest he willingly wants a lasting weakness on the dark squares in the center, so a tempo lost carelessly.
Also worthwhile is 12..., Bd4!? A possible line is; 12..., Bd4 13 Qe2? Ng3; winning the Exchange. Better play by White is 13 Qd1 Ng3 14 Re1, Ne5; with tension high in a very unclear position. Rybka says the game is equal or nearly so.
It is understandable that Black chooses not to put his “crown jewel”, the Bg7, at risk and takes another route. David was leading the tournament and a win will give a clean sweep. There is no need to court unclear complications
White has avoided the main lines of the KID, and Black often can whip up a dangerous attack in that circumstance. Finnerman no doubt sees White is prevented from playing the natural 13 f2-f4, because of the Knight fork on g3. That gives him a tempo that can be used to add to his active force on the K-side.
Played not only to work against the big White center. A line is open for the Queen to join the Knights massed near the White King.
Not so good. Needful here is 14 g4, beginning operations to drive off the Black horsemen. Play could continue 14..., Nf6 15 dxe6 fxe6 16 f4 Nc6 17 Be3, when Black has only a small advantage. Mr. Chu may have been worried about the loosening of defenses around his King, but not advancing the pawns to throw back the Knights gives Black valuable squares near the White King.
14..., Qh4 15.Kh2 f5 16.g3 Qf6 17.dxe6?!,..
Richard may have thought Black would recapture on e6 right away. Of course there is nothing that makes Black do so.
17..., f4! 18.gxf4?!,..
White now seems to have realized the move 18 Nd5, is met by 18..., fxg6+; and perhaps did not keep things straight in calculating the complicated position. In fact White is fine after 19 fxg3 Nf3+ 20 Rxf3 Qxf3 21 Qxf3 Rxf3 22 Be2 Rf2+ 23 Kg1 Bd4 24 Be3, a hard move to see six moves deep into calculations. Then, 24..., Bxe3 25 Nxe3 Rxe2; otherwise 26 Bxh5, and 27 Nf5, is quite good for White. After 25..., Rxe2 26 Rxe2, the game begins to level out to a R&N versus R&N with many pawns ending and there is no clear advantage for either side.
The move played in the game leaves behind weak squares close by the White King. White has set for himself a challenge to play very accurately to avoid an immediate loss.
18..., Nxf4 19.Bxf4?,..
The very first move is an error and a fatal one at that. White had to offer some material to stay afloat with 19 Nd5, then 19..., Nxd5 20 exd5 Nf3+ 21 Kg2 Nxe1 22 Rxe1, and with the strong passer on e6 as well as the pair of Bishops for the Exchange White is not too far from equality. After the text Black exploits the weak squares ruthlessly.
Black does not see the quick finish; 19..., Nf3 20 Rh1, the only way to prevent mate in two at most, 20..., Qg4+ 21 Kf1 Nd2+; collecting the White Queen for a lowly Knight and winning easily.
20.Kg2 Qg5+ 21.Kh1 Rf3 22.Kh2 Qh4
Black is creeping up on the White King in a fashion sometimes used by Matt Katrine, a 2300 player who for a long time was the strongest around the Capital District. When Matt had you completely boxed he in took delight in such cat-and-mouse play. Here 22..., Ng4+ 23 Kg2 Nxf2+ 24 Kxf3 Rf8 mate is shorter, and I think, a prettier finish.
A slightly longer resistance can be made with 23 Qxf3 Nxf3+ 24 Kg2 Rf8 25 Re3 Qf4; and mate will come in a few more moves one way or another. The text cuts things short.
More vintage Katrine! Simple is 23..., Qxh3+ 24 Kg1 Qg4+ 25 Kh2 Rh3 mate.
24.Kg1 Rg3+ 25.fxg3 Qxg3+ 26.Kh1 Qh2 mate. 0–1
I don’t know what Mr. Finnerman’s performance rating was for winning this event, a guess is somewhere in the high 1900s, maybe even over 2000. It is always a good accomplishment to win an event undefeated and not scored upon. David also played a couple of interesting games along the way. A noteworthy debut in local club play and a result deserving of compliments. Bravo!