Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tech produces its second grandmaster in the last four months

Tech produces its second grandmaster in the last four months
Posted: October 17, 2010 - 12:24am

International Master Gergely Antal, who just graduated from Tech in August with a degree in economics, has just earned his grandmaster title. He was the first titled chess player to come to Texas Tech in 2008, and he was also the first to capture a national chess title for the Knight Raiders.

In 2009, Antal won the prestigious National Tournament of College Champions and the Southwest Open. In December of the same year, he played an important role in helping the Knight Raiders make the Final Four for the first time in school history.

In March 2010, he narrowly missed his final grandmaster norm by just half a point. But a few weeks later he defended his Lubbock Open title with a perfect 8-0 score in back-to-back years.

At the Budapest First Saturday Chess Championship which has just concluded, Antal scored an incredible 6.5 points in his final seven games, including the final round victory against grandmaster Bui Vinh, to tie for first place and the grandmaster title.

Antal’s teammate and roommate Davorin Kuljasevic, a graduate student in finance, became the first Knight Raider to earn the Grandmaster title just a few short months ago. There are countless countries in the world that could not produce a single grandmaster because it is extremely hard. For SPICE to produce two grandmasters in the past few months speaks volume to the credibility of Texas Tech in the global chess community.

Congratulations to grandmaster Antal. He now joins the rank of only about 1,000 grandmasters in the world. Antal’s next tournament will be the prestigious SPICE Cup B group, which will start on Oct. 28. He hopes to come back to Texas Tech in the near future as a graduate student.

In addition to the SPICE Cup, the most prestigious annual international invitational chess tournament in the United States, there will be many other big events coming up for the local players.

The first one, the sixth “Get Smart! Play Chess!” tournament, will take place on Oct. 23 at the Science Spectrum.

The SPICE Cup Open Chess Championship and SPICE Cup 2010 Scholastic Chess Championship, will take place on Oct. 30 at the Texas Tech Student Union Building.

The SPICE Cup FIDE Rated Open will also take place at the Texas Tech Student Union Building on Nov. 5-7. More information is available on

Battle of the gender at the Chess Olympiad

Below is a battle of the gender game which took place just a few weeks ago at the Chess Olympiad.

Zhu Chen (2480) - Sveshnikov, Evgeny (2494) [D43]

39th Olympiad Men Khanty-
Mansiysk RUS (11.32), March 10, 2010

Zhu Chen used to be one of the stars of women’s chess in China a decade ago. She was the second Chinese player to ever win the Women’s World Championship (in 2001) after Xie Jun. I first saw Zhu play in Timisoara (Romania) in 1988 where she won the World Girls’ Under 12. I was there to help my sister Judit at the World Under 12 (among boys), which she ended up winning.

After Zhu married grandmaster Al-Modiahki, the couple settled in Qatar. At the 39th Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk, as already for a number of years, she represented her husband’s homeland. She played all 11 games on board two and scored a respectable 7 points. Zhu along with Judit and Chmilyte were some of the few women who chose to represent their nation in the Open Olympiad competition. Let’s see her overwhelming victory over the legendary Latvian grandmaster Evgeny Sveshnikov, who most known for a popular opening being named after.

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5 A rather popular and ambitious choice instead of the more solid 5.e3, which would be the start of the Meran defense.

5...h6 Lately this is more popular than the wild Botvinnik variation, which starts with 5...dxc4.

6.Bxf6 Zhu chose the solid approach to avoid the theoretical debate in the popular and extremely complicated 6.Bh4 dxc4 line.

6...Qxf6 7.e3 It is true that White gave up the pair of Bishops by the exchange on f6, seemingly for no reason. However, Black’s Bishop on c8 is no pride in any case.

7...Nd7 8.Bd3 dxc4 9.Bxc4 Bd6 The other more popular, and probably more advisable way to develop the Bishop to g7 starts with 9...g6 10.0–0 Bg7. In the same round, the Miton - Shulman game (in the Poland versus USA match) continued as such: 11.e4 e5 12.d5 Nb6 13. Bb3 0–0 14.Rc1 Rd8 15.Qe2 Bg4 16.dxc6 bxc6 17.Nd1 a5 18.Ne3 Bxf3 19.Qxf3 Qxf3 20.gxf3 a4 21.Bd1 Rd2 22.b3 Rxa2 23.Rxc6 Rb8 24.bxa4 Nxa4 25.Bc2 Bf8 26.Ra6 and draw was agreed.

10.0–0 Qe7 11.Ne4 The best plan. 11.e4 e5 12.d5 Nb6 is considered ok for Black, as played in 2000 in the Beliavsky – Sveshnikov game.

11...Bc7 12.Rc1 0–0 13.Bb3 A quiet preventive move. If now 13...e5?, then White continues with 14.d5 cxd5 15.Qxd5 Nb6? 16.Qc5 with a significant advantage. In another game several years ago Sveshnikov faced 13.Qc2 against Bocharov: 13…Rd8 14.Rfd1 Nf8 15.a3 Bd7 16.Nc5 Rab8 17.Qc3 Be8 18.b4 f6 19.e4 Kh8 20.h3 where White also had a small plus.

13...Rd8 14.Qc2 In the Bareev - Anand (Linares 1992) game 14.Qe2 a5?! 15.a3 Nf6 16.Nxf6+ Qxf6 17.Rfd1 was tried and White had a solid advantage. As an improvement for Black 14...Nf8 15 Rfd1 Bd7 was recommended by Dautov.

14...Nf8 The Carlsen - Shirov (Foros 2008) game continued with 14...a5 15.a3 Rb8 16.Rfd1 Nf8 17.Ne5 Bd7 instead, when Magnus made the debatable choice of trading on d7, although he later won the game due to eventual mistakes of Alexei.

15.Ne5 Bd7 16.f4 This is where the game has varied from the Bareev - Dreev game (from 1998), where White continued with 16.Nc5 instead. I personally like White’s position.

16...Kh8 A logical move to get out of the line of fire of White’s Bishop on b3, as the following variation demonstrates the dangers: 16...f6 17.Nxd7 Nxd7 18.f5 (using the pin) 18…Nf8 19.Nc5. However, it results in different problem, as now the f7 Pawn is only protected by one piece.

17.Qc5! Re8 After the Queen exchange with 17...Qxc5 18.Nxc5, Black would have to chose between losing either the b7 or the f7 Pawn.

18.Rf3 A smart move, combining the strategical pressure with a straight forward King side attack. The fancy 18.Nd6 Bxd6 19.Qxd6 looks pretty, but questionable if it improves White’s position.

18...f6 19.Nxd7 Nxd7 20.Qh5 f5 21.Ng5 Nf6?! Also after the better 21...Nf8, White’s attack is strong: 22.Nf7+ Kg8 (22...Kh7 23.Rg3) 23.Nxh6+! gxh6 24.Qxh6 Kf7 25.Qh5+ Ng6 26.Qxf5+.

22.Qg6 hxg5 23.fxg5 Ng4 Black’s position was also hopeless after 23...Nd5 24.Bxd5 exd5 (or 24...cxd5 25.Rh3+ Kg8 26.Qh7+ Kf7 27.Qh5+ Kf8 (27...Kg8 28.g6) 28.g6) 25.Qxf5 Qe6 26.Rh3+ Kg8 27.Qh7+ Kf8 28.Rf1+ Ke7 29.Qxg7+ Kd8 30.Rf7.

24.Rh3+ Kg8 25.Qxf5 25.Qh7+ Kf8 26.Qxf5+! would have been a nice touch, although the game move does the job just as well.

25...Nxh2 26.Qh7+ Kf8 27.Qh8+ Kf7 28.g6+ ! The most precise way which lead to a forced checkmate.

28...Kf6 29.Qh4+ Kxg6 30.Qh5+ Kf6 31.Rf1+ Nxf1 32.Rf3+ and Black gets checkmated on the following move. This is a pretty convincing victory for White and a nice game by Zhu. 1–0
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