Canadian Zonals and Kingston Easter Congress: Best Games Awards

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  • #16
    Next, FM Hans Jung and I are pleased to announce the award for Best Game in the U2200 section. This goes to Benher Savio Joseph, for his round nine victory over Vincent Latorre.

    This game decided the section, and is a patient strategical victory, to triumph over a strong field with over 20 players, across nine rounds.

    We will post this game, with some light notes in the days ahead.


    • #17
      Vincent Latorre -- Savio Benher Joseph
      Kingston (Canada) Easter Congress 2022, U2200 section (9), played April 18
      French Defense, Winawer Exchange, C15
      Time controls: 40/90'+30", SD/30'+30"
      Head Arbiter and Organizer: IA /IO Aris Marghetis
      Notes by Frank Dixon

      This U2200 section was a very competitive group, with over 20 players, and there are many high-quality games. No one went unbeaten. Canadian chess has not seen a section such as this in the two years of the pandemic. So not only did we get a Zonal and a Women's Zonal in Kingston, we had Class players getting back into tournament chess!!!

      1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.exd5 exd5
      [White avoids the complications of the Winawer by heading for the Exchange variation, and this had to be disappointing to Black, who by choosing this line was seeking active play, but quite a few White players dislike the main lines. One of the most consequential games in chess history also saw White choose this line. In the game J.R. Capablanca -- Alexander Alekhine, 1st match game, World Championship, Buenos Aires 1927, the World Champion, playing White, went this route. He had never lost a game to Alekhine in over a decade of encounters, and only a few months before the match, had triumphed convincingly in the very strong New York 1927 super-tournament, with Alekhine in second place. His choice in the first game of the match showed that he was perhaps a bit unsure of his form, and Alekhine played very precisely to score his first win, never trailed, and went on to capture the title by 6 wins to 3, with 25 draws.]
      5.Bd3 Nc6 6.a3 Ba5 7.Be3 Nge7 8.Qf3 Be6 9.Nge2 Qd7
      [Preparing the option of castling on either wing. Some very sharp games can in fact result in this line, if players do choose opposite sides castling, with mutual pawn storms.]
      10.h3 O-O 11.O-O Bxc3 12.Nxc3 Rad8 13.Rfe1 Bf5 14.Rad1 Rfe8 15.Ne2 Bxd3 16.Rxd3 Nf5
      [Black already has little to fear, and aims to take over the initiative in the next few moves.]
      17.c3 Re4! 18.Ng3 Nxg3 19.fxg3 Rde8 20.Rd2 Qe6!
      [Reinforcing his control of the e-file, and White is now a little worse, being without any active counterplay. Black soon wins a pawn with a clear advantage.]
      21.Rde2 Na5! 22.Kf2 f5! 23.Bf4 Nc4 24.b3 Nxa3 25.Qd3 c6 26.Be5 Nb5 27.g4 fxg4 28.Rxe4 dxe4 29.Rxe4 hxh3! 30.Rh4 Rf8+! 31.Kg1 g6 32.Rxh3 Nd6!
      [Black's advantage comes from his extra pawn, safer King, and White's passive setup. Black's steady conversion to a win shows excellent technique.]
      33.c4 Nf7 34.Bf4 Rd8 35.Re3 Qf6 36.Re4 Nd6 37.Bxd6 Qxd6 38.Qe3 b6 39.Qg5 Rf8 40.Qe3 Rd8 41.g3 Rd7 42.Kg2 Kg7 43.Qc3 Kf7 44.Qf3+ Kg8 45.Kf2 Rf7 46.Rf4 Rxf4 47.gxf4 Qxd4+ 48.Kg2 Qd6 49.Qe4 Kg7 50.Kh3 Kf6 51.Kg2 b5 52.Kf3 bxc4 53.bxc4 a5!
      [This passed pawn will win the game for Black.]
      54.Qe8 Kg7 55.c5 Qxc5 56.Qd7+ Kh6 57.Kg3 Qd5 58.Qe7 Qb3+ 59.Kh4 Qb4 60.Qg5+ Kg7 61.Qe5+ Kf7 62.Kg4 a4 63.Qc7+ Qe7 64.Qa5 a3 65.Kf3 Qd6 66.Qa7+ Kg8 67.Qa8+ Kg7 68.Kg4 Qe6+ 69.Kf3 a2 70.Qa3 Qh3+, 0-1.
      Black's sectional victory take his rating into the 2270 range. Congratulations!


      • #18
        FM Hans Jung and I are pleased to award the Best Game prize for the U1900 section to Randika Balasooriya, for his win over Ferdinand Supsup, from round 8. Congratulations!!

        This game is a positional gem from the White side of a Scandinavian Defense, with precise conversion of a small endgame advantage. The win was pivotal to Randika's overall sectional victory, in a competitive group where no one who played a full schedule went unbeaten. His performance raised his rating to a new high of 1922; based on his play in Kingston, I believe his continued improvement to the 2000 level is very possible. He also won nicely in round 9 with a sharp attack, to clinch!

        Randika Balasooriya -- Ferdinand Supsup
        Kingston (Canada) Easter Congress 2022, U1900 section (8), played April 17
        Time controls: 40/90' + 30", G/30' + 30"
        Head Arbiter and Organizer: IA / IO Aris Marghetis
        Scandinavian Defense, B01
        Notes by Frank Dixon

        1.e4 d5
        [This defense was maligned for a long time. It had been used effectively by strong players such as J.H. Blackburne, Jacques Mieses, and Frank Marshall over a century ago, while several other Masters, including Yugoslav IM Knezevic and Austrian GM Robatsch, played it in the mid-20th century. World-class GMs Bent Larsen and David Bronstein played it with success from the late 1960s, spurring a re-naming from the Center Counter. GM Vishy Anand ventured it in his 1995 PCA World title match in New York, against holder GM Garry Kasparov, losing an interesting game; that was the first time the defense was seen in a world title match. World Champion GM Magnus Carlsen, a Norwegian, hence a SCANDINAVIAN himself, defeated super-GM rival Fabio Caruana with it at the Tromso Olympiad 2014. Australian GM David Smerdon has authored the most complete book yet seen on it in 2015, running to nearly 500 pages. Many new lines have been discovered, and popularity has grown.]
        2.exd5 Nf6
        [Most games before 1950 saw 2...Qxd5, and this is still seen today. The text is more flexible, and can transpose.]
        [3.c4, aiming to hold the pawn, is best met by 3...c6!, transposing into a Caro-Kann. Black gets sufficient compensation for the pawn, should White persist in holding it.]
        [A playable and more combative alternative, little explored, is 3...Nd7. Also seen are 3...c6 and 3...Nc6.]
        4.Be2 Nxd5 5.d4 Bf5 6.Nf3 e6 7.O-O Bd6 8.Re1 Nd7 9.a3 c6 10.c4 N5f6 11.Nc3 Rc8 12.Qb3 Qc7 13.Bg5 O-O
        [White has a small advantage in a position akin to several Caro-Kann lines. Black's main problem is a lack of space, and in this game he seems content to sit back and defend, rather than aiming for middle game counterplay.]
        14.Rad1 Bg4 15.h3 Bf5 16.Nh4 Be4 17.Bf1 Bg6 18.Nxg6 hxg6
        [Black has exchanged one set of minors, but at cost of time and structure. White exploits this well.]
        19.d5! cxd5 20.cxd5 e5! 21.Nb5! Qb6 22.Qa2!
        [Trading Queens would help Black.]
        22...Bc5 23.b4 Bd4 24.Nxd4 exd4 25.Rd2 a5 26.b5 Rfe8 27.Rde2 Rxe2 28.Rxe2 Qd6 29.Rc2 Rxc2 30.Qxc2 Qxd5
        [Black has won a pawn, but faces two bishops with his two knights, in an open position. After trading both sets of rooks, I think Black needs to keep the Queens on the board, to have a good chance to hold the game.]
        31.Bxf6 Nxf6 32.Bc4 Qe4 33.Bd3 Qe1+ 34.Kh2 Qc3?
        [After the exchange of Queens, White's bishop will show its strength. Black's passed pawn is containable. White soon regains the pawn, and plays very accurately with his more active King and space advantage, to bring home the victory.]
        35.Qxc3 dxc3 36.Kg3 Nd5?
        [Losing valuable time; Black needed to activate his King.]
        37.Kf3 Nc7 38.Ke3 Kf8 39.Bc4 Ke7 40.Kd3 f6 41.Kxc3 b6 42.Kd4 Ne8 43.Bd3 f5 44.Kd5 Kd7 45.Ke5 Nd6 46.h4! Nf7+ 47.Kd5!
        [White places Black in zugzwang, and forces a breakthrough.]
        47...Nh6 48.f3 Nf7 49.a4 Nh6 50.g3 Nf7 51.h5! gxh5 52.Bxf5+ Kc7 53.Bg6 Nd6 54.Ke6 Nc4 55.f4 Nb2 56.Bc2!
        [White has calculated every eventuality!]
        56...Nc4 57.Kf7 Ne3 58.Bd3 Kd6 59.Kxg7 Kc5 60.f5 Nxf5+ 61.Bxf5 Kb4 62.Bc2 Kc3 63.Bd1, 1-0.
        [White can feel very proud of this game!]


        • #19
          FM Hans Jung and I are pleased to award the Best Game Prize for the U1600 section, at KEC 2022, to Aaron Reeve Mendes, for his win in round 8 over Arnaud Jutras.
          Aaron won the section with 8/9, scoring 7 wins and two half-point byes, to triumph by 1.5 points!! He raised his rating from 1453 to 1642. But that isn't even all: he has since continued to excel, in several more recent tournaments, and now has a rating of 2106!!!! Talk about rapid improvement. That is a gain of 653 points in two months!! Congratulations, Aaron!!

          Aaron Reeve Mendes -- Arnaud Jutras
          Kingston Easter Congress 2022, U1600 section, round 8, played April 17
          Head Arbiter and Organizer: IA / IO Aris Marghetis
          Time controls: 40/90' + 30", SD/30' + 30"
          Caro-Kann Defense, B10
          Brief notes by Frank Dixon

          1.e4 c6 2.c4
          [This line limits Black's options, and often transposes into the Panov-Botvinnik Attack (1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.c4). It is sharp, and Black needs to be very precise in the early phase of the game. White delays d2-d4.]
          [Alternatively, Black could head for a King's Indian / Modern Defense formation, with 2...d6, following up with 3...g6, 4...Bg7.]
          3.cxd5 cxd5 4.exd5 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nxd5 6.Bc4 Nxc3
          [Similar to exchanges of this knight on c3 in certain Grunfeld and Semi-Tarrasch lines. Black trails in development, exchanging a piece which moved three times in the first six moves.]
          7.bxc3 Nc6 8.Nf3 e6
          [8...g6 would help create a Kingside fortress more able to fend off the type of attack which occurs in the game.]
          9.O-O Be7 10.d4 O-O 11.Re1 a6 12.Bf4 b5 13.Bd3 Bb7 14.Re3! Rc8 15.Ne5! Nxe5 16.Bxe5
          [White has a very nice position, with promising attacking chances.]
          [Black underestimates the danger. I think 16...f6 or 16...f5 would offer more resistance.]
          [Impressive to see a C-Class-rated player go for this type of tactic! But Aaron is a Class-C player no longer!!]
          17...Kxh7 18.Qh5+ Kg8 19.Rh3 Bh4
          [Only move to prevent mate, returning the piece. Black clears the f6 square to advance his f-pawn, creating luft for his King on f7.]
          20.Rxh4 f6 21.Qh7+ Kf7 22.Rg4 Rg8 23.Qg6+ Kf8 24.Rf4 Bd5 25.Qh7 Rxc3? 26.Re1 Bxa2?
          [Rather than grabbing unguarded pawns, Black needed to focus on defense for his last two moves, finding roles for his Queen and R/c8. His position would still be difficult, but he may have been able to defend.]
          27.h4! Bd5 28.h5 f5 29.Qg6 Qe7 30.Rxf5+ exf5 31.Rd6, 1-0.
          {Black in fact could have played on here, with 31...Rc7 32.Qxf5+ Bf7 33.Bxe7+ Rxe7, where there is still plenty of fight left. White is certainly better, but dogged defense might save a draw.]


          • #20
            I played Aaron in this tourney and have followed his amazing +2100 achievment. WELL Done !!


            • #21
              FM Hans Jung and I are pleased to award a Best Game prize, for the 2022 Women's Zonal in Kingston, to WIM Svitlana Demchenko, for her fine victory over Rachel Wang. Congratulations!!
              Svitlana placed second in the Championship this year, with an excellent 7.5/9, and has for several years been one of Canada's top female players. She won the Kingston Open on the EOCA circuit a few years ago!! She is a science student at the University of Ottawa, aiming for a medical career. Svitlana is well known for her excellent regular column at, called 'Svitlana's Smart Moves'!! She makes plenty of smart moves in this game!

              Rachel Wang -- WIM Svitlana Demchenko
              Canadian Women's Zonal, Kingston 2022 (8), played April 17
              Time controls: 40/90' + 30", SD/30' + 30"
              Head Arbiter and Organizer: IA / IO Aris Marghetis
              Dutch Defense, Leningrad variation, A88
              Brief notes by Frank Dixon

              1.d4 f5 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nc3 d6 4.g3 g6
              [This is the Leningrad variation, named for the second-largest Russian (and Soviet) city. Founded in 1703 by Tsar Peter I, on the eastern end of the Baltic Sea, it was at various times the nation's capital, and has been known as Petrograd, St. Petersburg, Leningrad, and now once more St. Petersburg. The variation, with a fianchettoed King's bishop, was developed by Masters from the city during the Stalin era, the mid-1940s, including a young Viktor Korchnoi (born 1931), who lost a drastic 1952 miniature with it to GM Paul Keres. It is akin to certain lines of the King's Indian Defense, with an early ...f7-f5; the KID, developed mainly by GMs Boleslavsky, Bronstein, and Geller, from the late 1930s, was also popular from that time. Prior, attention in the Dutch was focused on the Stonewall lines where Black places his c, d, e and f-pawns on light squares. Also seen were Dutch lines with ...d7-d6 and ...e7-e6 in combination, with Black's bishop on e7. World Champion GM Mikhail Botvinnik, raised in Leningrad, tried the Leningrad variation in game 19 of his title match in 1960, against challenger GM Mikhail Tal, when he was already trailing badly. GM Tal won a wonderful game, the first seen in a title series with this variation.]
              5.Bg2 Bg7 6.Nf3 O-O 7.O-O c6
              [This one of the older main lines, and can be reached by a variety of move orders. The first major book on the variation in English was written in 1981 for Batsford by English Master Tim Harding, and he covered this move and 7...Nc6 in depth. Within a few years, both had been overtaken in popularity by 7...Qe8, unmentioned both by Harding and ECO (1979). The 7...Qe8 move, a main move for decades in the Stonewall, was popularized in the Leningrad by young GMs such as Vladimir Malaniuk and Mikhail Gurevich, who were both developing their careers. It retains more flexibility than other Leningrad lines, and could transpose to some of them. The new idea led to a large rise in popularity at the GM / IM levels for the Dutch from the late 1980s. Another newer try is 7...Na6, which can also transpose to the main lines with 7...Qe8.]
              [Seems a harsh evaluation, but this move is an error, setting the bishop on an unproductive and time-wasting path for the rest of the game. At, there are 19 moves which have been tried here! Known to give a slight edge for White are three moves which have been around for some time: 8.d5, 8.b3, and 8.Rb1; a newer try which has done well, so far in many fewer examples, is 8.b4!]
              8...Nh5! 9.Bd2 e5! 10.d5 e4!
              [Black is already at least equal, and perhaps slightly better.]
              11.Bg5 Qe8
              [A move Black would like to make anyway.]
              12.Nd4 h6 13.Be3 c5 14.Ne6
              [Looks strong, but in fact it allows Black to trade off her light-squared bishop, which is a problem piece in the Dutch. The idea is a temporary pawn sacrifice, which has some merit, but turns out well for Black.]
              14...Bxe6! 15.dxe6 Qxe6 16.Nb5 Na6 17.Qxd6 Qxd6 18.Nxd6 b6
              [With the Queens exchanged, Black is significantly better, with a very solid position, no fears of King safety, and can now activate freely across the board.]
              19.Rab1 Nb4! 20.a3 Nc2 21.Bf4 Nd4 22.Rfe1 g5! 23.Bc1
              [White's sixth move with this bishop returns it to base.]
              23...Nf6 24.Nb5 a6 25.Nc3 Rad8 26.e3 Nc6 27.Na4 Nd7 28.b4 cxb4 29.axb4 b5! 30.cxb5 axb5 31.Nc5 Nxc5!
              [Sets up a very strong passed pawn.]
              32.bxc5 Bc3!
              [Gaining a vital tempo for advance of the b-pawn. Black's position is virtually won, as White has no useful counter-play and is reduced to passive defense.]
              33.Rf1 b4! 34.Bb2 Rd2! 35.Ba1
              [A sad epitaph.]
              35...Ra8! 36.g4 Rda2 37.Bxc3 bxc3 38.gxf5 c2 39.Rbc1 R8a4 40.Rfe1 Rc4 41.Bf1 Rxc5 42.f3 Ne5! 43.Kf2 Nd3+!, 0-1.
              [The end would be 44.Ke2 Nxe1 45.Kxe1 exf3, or 44.Bxd3 exd3. A very fine game from Black, precise and deep both strategically and tactically, exploiting White's somewhat passive play, by showing off the lesser-known variation's advantages.]


              • #22
                I and Frank Dixon have awarded a Best Game Prize (most interesting game!!?) to Nikolay Noritsyn for his win over Keith MacKinnon.

                IM Nikolay Noritsyn - Keith MacKinnon Rd5, Canadian Zonal, Kingston 2022
                1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 b6 4.Bf4 Bb7 5.e3 Be7 6.Nc3 Nh5 7.Bg3 0-0 8.Nd2 g6 9.Qg4 White states his intentions 9...f5 10.Qh3 f4 11.Be2 I was sitting at the next board and this move caught my eye. To say I was astonished is an understatement, I think I was flummoxed! I spent more time judging the result of the following sacrifice than I did on my own game. 11...fxg3 12.hxg3 Nf6 13.g4 Rf7 14.0-0-0 Bb4 15.Bd3 Bxc3 16.bxc3 Rg7 I had never seen this kind of defence before (rook on g7) 17.g5 Ne8 18.f4 Qe7 19.e4 Qa3+ 20.Kb1 Qxc3 Both sides are attacking the kings but at this point I must say I preferred Black's chances. 21.Nb3 a5 22.f5 a4 23.Rc1 Qb4 24.f6 Nxf6 Probably a cold shower for Black. (If 24...Rf7 White will play 25.e5 and 26.Bxg6) 25.gxf6 axb3 26.fxg7 h5 27.Qf3 Rxa2 28.Rcf1 Blunt threats of checkmate 28...Ra1+ 29.Kxa1 Qa3+ 30.Kb1 Qa2+ 31.Kc1 b2+ 32.Kd1 b1=Q+ 33.Bxb1 Qxb1+ 34.Ke2 Qb2+ 35.Ke1 Qa1+ 36.Qd1 Qxd1+ 37.Kxd1 Nc6 No more checkmate but can Black survive? The material deficit is knight and bishop and two pawns for the two rooks. 38.g4 Attack! 38...hxg4 39.Rhg1 Kxg7 40.Rxg4 Nxd4 41.Rfg1 Nf3 42.Rxg6+ Kf7 43.Rg7+ Kf6 44.R1g6+ Ke5 45.Rxd7 Bxe4 46.Rh6 c6 47.Rh5+ Bf5 48.Ke2 Kf4 49.Kf2 b5 50.cxb5 cxb5 51.Rb7 Bd3 52.Rh3 Ne5 53.Rh4+ Ng4+ 54.Ke1 Kg5 55.Rh3 Bc4 56.Rg7+ Kf5 57.Rh5 1-0
                Last edited by Hans Jung; Yesterday, 11:14 AM.


                • #23
                  This is an ABSOLUTELY AMAZING game!!
                  IM Nikolay Noritsyn, who had the highest CFC rating in the event, and picked in advance by many as the likely champion for 2022, was having a very rough tournament, his first over-the-board event against strong opposition in quite some time (because of COVID-19, very little tournament chess had been available in Canada for the previous two years). A former champion, he would up at just 50 per cent, losing four games in nine rounds. But he didn't lose confidence, and had the guts to go for the gusto with this daring effort. Congratulations, Nikolay, for this victory, which will be remembered forever in Canadian chess!!! I spoke with him briefly after the championship ended, trying to restore his spirits! He rebounded strongly to win the 2022 Ontario Open in Toronto, a few weeks later!