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Bill Chesney vs Boris Gulko
"Chesney Roasting on an Open File" (game of the day Dec-22-2011)
87th US Open (1986), Somerset, NJ USA, Aug-??
French Defense: Winawer. Advance Variation General (C16)  ·  0-1

ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Dec-22-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: What a spoilsport! White should have played on with 42. Kf4 Re4#


click for larger view

As pretty as a picture. A stunning finish to a stunning game. Black's sacrifice defuses the white queenside attack so that the only game in town is the black kingside storm. Exquisite.

As for the merits of the French, as a lifelong French player I really love the fact that 1. e4 players don't like it. And that is just why I play it. Just as my enemy's enemy is my friend, so is my opponent's least favourite opening, my favourite.

Or something like that.

The beauty of the french is the delayed aggression. Wait, wait, wait, wait, rip his head off.

There are lines against the french that us francophiles don't like to see. But I'm not going to tell you what they are. No sirree. That sort of loose talk would get me thrown out of the magic circle.

Dec-22-11  scormus: Fascinating game, and great pun.

<erniecohen> Yes, W surely misjudged his strategy after 23 ... Nxc4. Just look at all the moves he made going away from the Kside action! He might even have been losing after exchanging the N, his most agile piece in this position, just look where the W and B pieces are placed.

Dec-22-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: It's the season of miracles!
Dec-22-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: I think Chesney should stick to music--lol

White losing despite being up a queen for a rook? Sounds like the topic of a country song-lol

Dec-22-11  rapidcitychess: I'm lo-sing---
Despite being up, a queen for a rook.

Nah, doesn't really work.

Anyway, the French is one of those funny openings that I play from both sides. It's nice to know what your opponent is (most likely) thinking when you are playing him. :D

Dec-22-11  JohnBoy: This is an excellent GotD - a wonderful examination of flexibility versus material. I get the impression that the loss of the black Q was not intentional, but it turned out to be a great "sac". The position after white's 27th is telling. Black has no real attackable weaknesses, white cannot open anything up without giving up some (or a lot) of the material advantage he worked so hard to establish. All of the play belongs to black, and I don't think white can avoid having either the g or h file opened.

Masterful play would be to see such posibilites ahead of time and allow for them.

Dec-22-11  erniecohen: <JohnBoy> I wouldn't go so far as to say that Black stands better after move 27, but in any event White's difficulties stem not from the sac but from his subsequent play.
Dec-22-11  Jamboree: The final mating net is not a forced line and only occurred as a result of white's blunder on move 38.

Where is the Black win after 38. Qd2! ?

Now the queen is not self-blocking the white king escape square on g5, so none of the mating tricks work any more.

If 38. ... Rxd2, then just 39. R3xd2 and white is a simple exchange up (though due to cramped position it will likely lead to a draw). If 38. ... Bxd3? then just 39. Qxd3 and there is no mate, black loses. If 38. ... Rh1+, then the king just runs away and it leads to the same exchange up position. And any other move allows 39. Qxh2!, once again defusing the threat and leading to an exchange-up position.

What am I missing? The game was lost on move 38, not earlier.

Dec-22-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <Jamboree> Fritz agrees. 38. Qd2 leads to a levellish game but 38. Qg5 as actually played leads to a black win.

But then the players don't have the luxury we have of software to help us.

Dec-22-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <Jamboree: ...

Where is the Black win after 38. Qd2! ?

...

If 38. ... Rxd2, then just 39. R3xd2 and white is a simple exchange up (though due to cramped position it will likely lead to a draw).>

Actually, the material is then formally even: <B+2P vs. R>. Moreover, the strong active Black bishop is close in value to either of the White rooks. In my opinion, White would not survive a march of Black Q-side pawns. (But his K would not get immediately check-mated in the middle of the board either.)

Dec-22-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  NM JRousselle: 38 Qg5 is a blunder. Qd2 must be played.
Dec-22-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni:


click for larger view

<38?>

There is no doubt that 38.Qg5 was a blunder in this position, and that 38.Qd2 was forced. The interesting question in my mind is why Chesney missed it. He was certainly strong enough to find the move. When I played him a couple of years later he was rated 2301 and the result was not pretty.

There may have been some time pressure involved; the time limit was 50 moves in 2 1/2 hours. But I'm speculating the reason was psychological.

Consider his state of mind. 15 moves before he's won Black's queen for two pieces, and fully expects to win the game, even against a strong GM. True, Black has some positional pressure and White has some trouble breaking out of the bind, but those should be no more than technical difficulties.

But it keeps getting a little bit harder, and a little bit harder. White is getting uneasier; it will be devastating if he can't win this game.

Then we reach the diagrammed position, and White realizes his last move (37.Qxe3) has blocked his king's flight square from a mating attack along the h-file. Where to move the queen? 38.Qe1 loses the queen after 38...Bxd3 39.Rxd3 Rh1+ 40.Ke2 R8h2+, and 38.Qc1 suffers the same fate. 38.Qf4 Bxd3 39.Rxd3 Rh1+ 40.Kf2 R8h2+ 41.Ke3 Re1# is just another self block.

So that leaves 38.Qg5. Surely the queen is out of the way there!

If you had shown Chesney the diagrammed position as a defensive puzzle, I'm sure he would have found 38.Qd2. But at the board against Gulko, with a win slipping from his fingers and the clock ticking, it's a whole different deal. You've been there, haven't you?

Dec-22-11  The17thPawn: <Phony Benoni> - Yeah I've been there bur certainly not against a strong GM!! It's oh so easy to play Monday morning Quarterback as you point out but over the board is a nerve grinder.
Dec-22-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <phony benoni> Nice post. It's not so easy to put your queen en prise either!
Dec-23-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: Great post, <Phony Benoni>.

Apropos your observations: <"There is no doubt that 38.Qg5 was a blunder in this position, and that 38.Qd2 was forced. The interesting question in my mind is why Chesney missed it.">; and (with respect to Chesney’s thinking process in selecting his 38th move): <"White realizes his last move (37.Qxe3) has blocked his king's flight square from a mating attack along the h-file.">

… it turned out that the move he played (<38. Qg5>) also deprived his own king’s access to an essential flight square (albeit in a somewhat longer variation than the mating line with White’s king confined to only the first two ranks).

Dec-23-11  King Death: < Phony Benoni: There may have been some time pressure involved; the time limit was 50 moves in 2 1/2 hours. But I'm speculating the reason was psychological...

...If you had shown Chesney the diagrammed position as a defensive puzzle, I'm sure he would have found 38.Qd2. But at the board...with a win slipping from his fingers and the clock ticking, it's a whole different deal. You've been there, haven't you?>

<The17thPawn: <Phony Benoni> - Yeah I've been there bur certainly not against a strong GM!! It's oh so easy to play Monday morning Quarterback as you point out but over the board is a nerve grinder...>

I've been in just this situation against strong GMs. Things are going good but they have a way of putting lots of obstacles in your path.

It's the same way in poker. I've sat across the felt from about all of the old time top pros at World Series time in Vegas sometime or other and those guys don't fool around. If you show any weakness, you're going down hard so you better be strong.

This is one of the things that sometimes makes me laugh about comments after somebody's whipped out Houdini or Stockfish or Dumbbell. I imagine it's easy to fire up an engine and instantly tell the world what should have happened or even to analyze away from the heat of battle.

Dec-23-11  rilkefan: <<KD>: If you show any weakness, you're going down hard so you better be strong.>

Shouldn't you then pretend weakness and take advantage of loose play? So they should be wary of apparent weakness, etc?

<I imagine it's easy to fire up an engine>

On the one hand, it's interesting to get an objective viewpoint; on the other, see "objectively lost" in the recent Anand-Nakamura game.

Dec-23-11  King Death: <rilkefan> That was a generalization of course. There are always times to play passive and let them come to you, others where you go after it. The successful player will know what to do and when and get it right more often. Even this is an oversimplification. There's a lot more to it than that, because any good player can get it right in a given situation and still go broke. You might say I have experience when it comes to that. From both ends.

That whole "objectively lost" bit threw me for a laugh. That's going down a slippery slope. I'm all for being objective about strengths and weaknesses in both others and me. It's the best way to improve.

Dec-25-11  JohnBoy: You make a very good point, <cohen>. And I suppose you are correct that white mishandled a winning advantage.

But when I look at the position after 27.Qxb2 I see black as having a lot of dynamic resources and white has this heavy artillery that is tough to bring in to action. Kind of like the French at the Maginot line. Maybe that would have been a good pun here - white has a hard time getting around the c3-d4-e5 barrier without your proposed f4-f5 break. And that was made more difficult after the exchange of knights.

Dec-25-11  JohnBoy: Does anyone know anything about Bill Chesney?
Dec-25-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: I remember him from several US Opens in the 1980s as being usually in the 2200-2300 range. USCF records show him from California, rated 2329, but with only three tournament since 1990 and totally inactive after 1996.
Dec-25-11  King Death: I remember Chesney from tournaments here out west in the 80s, but I never played a lot. We were both about 2300 then and I don't think we ever played.
Jan-05-12  JohnBoy: <Death> - did you play SoCal? I see you are now in Oregon, but 30 yrs ago?

Maybe you played with some of my peers - DelFaro, Beelby, Frasco, Gibbons, Orfalea, the Boctors, etc. - though probably not me. I quit for school in about 1980.

Jan-05-14  Kyouko Sakura: Amazing game that that reminds us all about the strength of rooks and queens and how there were none for White.
May-13-14  SpiritedReposte: 36. ...Be3+! Slick.
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