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Leonid Yudasin vs Dennis Monokroussos
"Sick with Mono" (game of the day Feb-21-2010)
New York Masters 18th (2002), rd 1, Jul-23
Spanish Game: Schliemann Defense (C63)  ·  0-1



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Given 9 times; par: 93 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Sep-09-09  DiscoJew: "Message in a bottle (sending out an SOS)" -monokrousSOS
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Reminds me of the famous "Kavalanche" game, Gufeld vs Kavalek, 1962.
Feb-21-10  belgradegambit: Nice pun <sleepkid>. You just knew that monster central pawn mass would be trouble.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Watching the inexorable march of Monokroussos's pawns brings to mind a comment I saw in Chess Life many years ago about a similar advancing mass of pawns - "reminds me of a movie I saw once about Brazilian army ants."
Feb-21-10  SuperPatzer77: <FSR> Is Dennis Monokroussos a Brazilian?


Feb-21-10  dumbgai: Was 36...Qf6 a draw offer, or simply a one-time repeat to gain time?
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <SuperPatzer77> An American; I think he lives in Indiana. I would guess from the name that he's of Greek ancestry. He has a blog, "The Chess Mind" - As for army ants, biologist Edward O. Wilson wrote, "When it comes to the art of war, it's army ants that will make you break into a cold sweat. Armored tough, with machete jaws, these masterful fighters hack and dice prey vastly larger than themselves by acting in numbers beyond easy comprehension."
Feb-21-10  zatara: what is the point of 24.f4?
Feb-21-10  weary willy: This pun seems to work for Ustatians, but doesn't cross the Atlantic well. I think it refers Mononucleosis.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: FM Denis Monokroussos (he is a US player but I guess he was originally of Greek derivation or something) gives very instructive and entertaining video lectures on games - his own and others. He plays some ingenious chess. He came back to chess after a "leave of absence".
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: ♙storms will always warm the cockles of the heart of chessplayers.
Feb-21-10  HannibalSchlecter: Beautiful play by black. I like how he toyed with white with all those pawns ready to queen. Dennis was probably scratching his head wondering why his opponent kept on playing. Yudasin, there is an option called "Resign." Look into it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: What is the difference between a <pawn storm> and (2 ore more) <connected passed pawns>?
Feb-21-10  MrMelad: Great game! <Phony Benoni> Thanks!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessmensch: <SuperPatzer77> and <FSR> How many ants are there in a Brazilian? :-)
Feb-21-10  MrMrsKnight: He (Monokroussos) has a thing on chessbase every week that I can never access for some reason. He does live in Indiana and I think he works at Notre Dame.
Premium Chessgames Member
  naisortep: I was working that summer with Dennis at a chess camp. When he showed me the game the next day I was incredulous.

Dennis had not played in years and went to visit the Marshall as a spectator. Then Yudasin's scheduled opponent was not available so Greg Shahade asked Dennis if he wanted to fill in. The rest is history.

Be sure to check his blog, its one of the best -

Feb-21-10  David2009: THis is a tremendous game by Dennis Monokroussos. I was intrigued by the sacrifice - could it really be good? - and checked the database. This variation of the Schliemann (7 Nc3!?) has produces excellent results for Black: a position search of

click for larger view

(White to play at move 9) produces 10 games in which White plays 9. Nd5 and in which Black scores +6-1 = 3, so the Schliemann may be better than its reputation. The solitary win is P Thipsay vs M Lyell, 2001 which could have transposed to the present game, but diverges with 10. Bc4 instead of the defensive 10. Be2.

Turning to the present game, the critical position seems to occur at move 17 with White to play.

click for larger view

Here 17. Qe2? turns out badly: by trial and error with Crafty (link below) the following line seems much better: 17.Qh5 Qf7 18.Qg4+ Kh8 19.Qxe4 Bxf2+ 20.Kh1 and White is consolidating: e.g. if Qh5 21.Nxc7 Qxh4 22. Qxh4 Bxh4 23. Nxa8 Rxa8 24. Rf7 and White has the edge. There is a lot of play left in the position which is far from lost. I played on against Crafty and had a comfortable draw until I blundered.

Crafty link to the position at move 17 (White to play): (Yudasin vs Dennis Monokroussos 2002, 17?) I would encouage you to try your luck at winning with White: seldom easy against Crafty!

A word of warning: this on-line version Crafty is by no means infallible, it searches to about 11 or 13 ply. It would be interesting to have theverdict of the position at move 17 from a stronger engine.

Feb-21-10  WhiteRook48: that was not smart
Feb-21-10  jefflissa: I've had nightmares about losing games just like this.(against an army of passed pawns.)
Feb-21-10  AccDrag: <whiteshark:> What is the difference between a <pawn storm> and (2 or more) <connected passed pawns>?

The term "pawn storm" is usually used to mean several pawns are being used to batter an opponent. The Four Pawns Attack in the King's Indian (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f4) has been called a "central pawn storm" as White is trying to overwhelm Black in the center, using pawns.

In many Open Sicilian lines, White castles Q-side and flings his K-side pawns up the board, trying to deliver checkmate. This could also be called a pawn storm.

Connected passed pawns are simply that: two or more passed pawns on adjacent files. There need not be any attacking going on. Indeed, it is rare to have connected passed pawns with the enemy King directly in front in the middlegame. In an ending, the enemy King may rush to block the passers, but in a middlegame, if the King is staring at a wall of passed pawns coming down, that tends to mean big trouble, as he has no pawns of his own to hide behind!

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: check out the amazing (and amusing) pawn chains at move 29 and 45!
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Thanks <AccDrag>! I will chew on your post for a while...
Dec-29-11  James Bowman: If he played this game after a long absence he should quit more often.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: < David2009: ....(In)..... the present game, the critical position seems to occur at move 17 with White to play....>

This conclusion doesn't seem convincing to me-in my opinion, Yudasin maintained an advantage even after the move played. Another idea for White which occurred to me is 19.Nhf5, with a view to consolidating with g4, h3 and Kh2. In the game itself, White could have tried 21.Qh5 instead of 21.Nc2, which looks suspiciously passive, and the subsequent moves appear to give his opponent far too much leeway. There's a lot more to this-I'm scratching the surface of a complex position where both sides have chances, but my feeling is that Black doesn't really have enough for the piece.

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