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Gregory Kaidanov vs Alexander Onischuk
US Championship (2008), Tulsa USA, rd 7, May-19
Italian Game: Two Knights Defense. Polerio Defense Bogoljubow Variation (C58)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
May-22-08  tal lover: Amazing Game!!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: I did a double take when I saw the position at move 17.
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  Chessmensch: Kavalek features this game in his Washington Post chess column on May 26.
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  patzer2: By Lubomir Kavalek
Special to The Washington Post
Monday, May 26, 2008; Page C10

Yury Shulman clinched a spot on the Olympiad team by winning the U.S. championship last week in Tulsa, Okla. With five wins and four draws, the Chicago grandmaster finished undefeated with a 7-2 score, edging his friend, the Manassas grandmaster Alexander Onischuk, by a half point. In the 24-player, Swiss-style event, IM Larry Kaufman of Potomac, who won this year's U.S. senior championship, ended with a 3-6 score. Anna Zatonskih won the women's title, defeating Irina Krush in a grueling playoff. The two players shared first place with a 7 1/2 -1 1/2 score.

Mind Over Matter

Onischuk won a marvelously played game against the Kansas grandmaster Gregory Kaidanov. In the Two Knights Defense, black's spirited pawn sacrifices and active piece play brought unbearable pressure on white's position.


1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Na5 6.Bb5+ c6 7.dxc6 bxc6 8.Qf3 Be7!? (Curt von Bardeleben tested this natural developing move in the offhand games against Amos Burn in the Vienna Cafe in London in July 1895. The sacrifice of the second pawn has had a remarkably successful rate for black ever since.) 9.Bd3 (Accepting the pawn 9.Bxc6+ Nxc6 10.Qxc6+ is more challenging, but after 10...Bd7 the black pieces soon come to life.) 9...0-0 10.0-0 (A new move. The Dutch grandmaster John Van der Wiel gives 10.Nc3 h6 11.Nge4 Nd5 12.Ng3 g6 with excellent chances for black.) 10...h6 (Perhaps 10...g6!? 11.Nc3 Nd5 12.Nh3 Nb4 is even stronger.) 11.Ne4 Nd5! (White's pieces are entangled and black threatens to win material with 12...f5.) 12.Ng3 Nb4 13.Nf5 Bg5 14.Re1 Nxd3 15.cxd3 Qf6 (White is playing without the queenside pieces, a luxury he can't afford.) 16.Ng3?! (16.h4!? Bxf5 17.hxg5 hxg5 18.Nc3 was worth a try.) 16...Qxf3 17.gxf3 (White has four pawn islands and the two double-pawns are ripe to be picked up.)

17...c5!? (A sign of a great player. With his sacrifice of two pawns, Onischuk's knight leaps to the center and becomes a hungry beast. Defending with 17...f6 was possible, but less exciting.) 18.Rxe5 (White has no choice. After 18.b3 Nc6 19.Bb2 Nb4 black should win.) 18...Nc6 (18...Bh3 would have created problems on the first rank, for example 19.Ne4 Rae8 20.d4 Nc6 21.Rxc5 Nxd4 22.Nbc3 f5 and black wins.) 19.Rxc5 Nd4 (At the moment black is three pawns down, but that will change quickly.) 20.Nc3 (After 20.Kg2 Bb7 21.Ne4 f5 22.Nxg5 hxg5 black has a strong pressure.) 20...Nxf3+ 21.Kh1 Ne1 22.Nce4 f5 23.Nd6 (After 23.Nxg5 hxg5 24.Kg1 Re8!, threatening 25...Nxd3 and 26...Re1+, black has a decisive attack.) 23...Be7 (23...Nxd3!? 24.Rc3 Nxf2+ 25.Kg2 f4 26.Kxf2 fxg3+ 27.Kg2 gxh2 is also powerful.) 24.Rxc8 (After 24.Re5 Bxd6 25.Rxe1 Bb7+ 26.Kg1 Rae8! black has a big advantage.) 24...Raxc8 25.Nxc8 Rxc8 26.b4 (After 26.Nxf5 Bf6 27.b3!? Nxd3 [not 27...Bxa1 28.Ne7+] 28.Ba3 Rc2 29.Rg1 Rxa2 30.Be7 Bxe7 31.Rxg7+ Kf8 32.Rxe7 Ra5 black has good winning chances.) 26...Nxd3 27.Ba3 g6 (Protecting the f-pawn and also limiting white's knight. The black rook is ready to invade white's position.) 28.Rb1 Rc2 29.Nf1 Rxa2 30.Rb3 Nxf2+ 31.Kg1 Ne4 (After all, the dancing white is a pawn down in a hopeless position.) 32.Bb2 Kf7 33.d3 Ng5 34.Nd2 Bf6 35.Nc4 (After 35.Bxf6 Kxf6 36.Nf1 Nf3+ 37.Kh1 Rf2 38.Rb1 Kg5 the black king walks decisively to h3.) 35...Nf3+ 36.Kg2 Bxb2 37.Kxf3 Bd4 38.Kg3 g5 39.Ra3 Rxa3 40.Nxa3 Ke6 41.Nc2 Ke5 42.h3 Bb6 (White can't stop black's kingside pawns from marching down.) White resigned.

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