Monday, September 29, 2008

SPICE Cup 2008: four co-champions

SPICE Cup 2008 is over. This tough tournament saw four co-champions out of ten participants. Sharing the top spots are GM Pentala, GM Kritz, GM Akobian, and GM Onischuk. SPICE Cup 2008 is a pretty strong tournament boasting an average rating of 2605 good for a category 15 event making it one of the strongest ever held in US soil. Next year GM Wesley So is set to compete in this event and the SPICE is aiming for a category 16-17. Below is one of my game pick from the tournament. It is not the best match of the tourney but I choose it because it is one of the most dramatic. Black has a completely winning position until he blew it all away with a blunder on his 31st moves, forcing him to resignjust seven moves later. Enjoy!

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Be7 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Bf4 c6 6.e3 Bf5 7.g4 Be6 8.Bd3 Nd7 9.h3 (the game is a Queens Gambit Declined. Other good alternative for white is 9.Qf3 which have been tried and produced good results lately)

9...Nb6 (many thought that this is a drawish move. 9...h5 could be played but quite a risky one for black. say 9...h5 10.gxh5 Ndf6 11.h6 Nxh6 12.Qc2 Qd7.)

10.Qc2 Bd6 11.Nge2 Ne7 12.0-0-0 g6 13.Kb1 Bxf4 14.exf4 Qd6 15.f5 gxf5 16.gxf5 Bd7 17.Ng3 Qf6 18.Nh5 Qh6 19.f6 Qxh5 (an exchange would favored black slightly. Black has nothing to do with his Knight on d7 actually. the passed pawn at d7 hardly posed a threat at all but a liability for white.)

20.Rhe1 Nbc8 21.fxe7 Nd6 22.Qd2 Bf5 (black is doing fine here as he will gain a tempo in the exchange.) 23.Bxf5 Qxf5+ 24.Ka1 Kd7 25.Re5 Qxh3 26.Qf4 Rhg8 27.Rde1 Rae8 28.a3 Rg4 29.Qd2 Qh4 30.Nxd5 cxd5 31.Rxd5 Rg6?? (a blunder. 31...Re4 was the key move. Now white pounces)

32.Qb4! Rxe7 33.Qxb7+ Kd8 34.Qb8+ Kd7 35.Qxa7+ Ke8 36.Qb8+ Kd7 37.Rc1 Re8 38.Qc7+ White wins 1-0

-Tournament official website

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