Oliver Barbosa writes
Final Top Standings
1. GM Oliver Barbosa PHI 2533, 7.0/9 2-4. GM Joshua Friedel USA 2536, GM Eugene Perelshteyn USA 2507, IM Yang Kaiqi CHN 2441, 6.5/9
5-13. GM Niclas Huschenbeth GER 2575, GM Evgeny Postny ISR 2570, GM Fabien Libiszewski FRA 2523, GM Carlos Hevia Alejano CUB 2497, IM John Burke USA 2489, GM Akshat Chandra USA 2480, GM Alexander Fishbein USA 2460, GM Denes Boros HUN 2452, IM Michael Song CAN 2419, 6.0/9
14-21. GM Samuel Sevian USA 2620, GM Mark Paragua PHI 2500, GM Darwin Yang USA 2493, IM Prasanna Rao IND 2455, IM Nicolas Checa USA 2454, IM Prav Balakrishnan USA 2427, IM Rolando Nolte PHI 2394, IM Michael Mulyar USA 2393, 5.5/9 Total of 75 Participants Time Control: 90 minutes for 40 moves, followed by 20 minutes to the end of the game, with a 30-second increment from move 1
Remember GM Oliver Barbosa? All Filipino chessers should. In the 40th Chess Olympiad (Istanbul) where the Philippines was in the lead deep into the tournament (we beat Iceland, Bulgaria drew with Hungary and clobbered England in successive rounds) Barbosa was 2nd board, played in all 11 rounds and scored five wins four draws and two losses.
That was one memorable Olympiad. Our powerful lineup was: board 1. GM Wesley So board 2. GM Oliver Barbosa board 3. GM Eugene Torres board 4. GM Mark Paragua board 5. IM Oliver Dimakiling This was the last good performance for our country in the Olympiads, and you may notice that our board 1, 2 and 4 have already left Philippine shores and live in the USA. Wesley has transfiliated to the US Chess Federation, but Oliver and Mark (on paper at least) still play for the Philippines.
How is GM Oliver Barbosa doing? He is still only 30 years old ( born Sept. 29, 1986) and obviously a lot of successes lie ahead of him. The problem is that several years ago the Philippine Sports Commission cut the allowances of many of our top chessplayers. This forced several of our best players, including Oliver, to leave the country seeking greener pastures.
International Grandmaster Richard Bitoon went to Texas, where another Filipino GM, Julio Catalino Sadorra, stays.
Grandmasters Mark Paragua and Oliver Barbosa wound up in New York where they tried to eke out a life in its tournament circuit and enroll chess students to pay for their daily bills.
Slowly, things started to look up for Oliver. New York has a thriving chess culture and Barbosa’s tremendous chess strength and very obvious talent helped him sign up a lot of paying students. Then he married the former Shine Gordovez, a Senior Fraud Specialist working in J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. Previous to that she was with the Philippine Heart Center.
Nowadays he does not play so much but once in a while reminds all of us just what a strong player he is. I will let him tell you about the 6th Washington International.
“The Washington International is one of the best organized tournament here in the US. Grandmasters have free accommodation and even guaranteed minimum prizes, which is why a lot of so a lot of GMs play in this tournament. I feel lucky to have won this tournament since there were a lot of higher rated players. Also, I don’t have the luxury of time to study and prepare top level chess anymore since I am working as a chess teacher here in NY. I would say previous preparations helped me a lot, experience in top level play and me being a very resourceful player helped me win this event. I’d like to thank Mr. Mike Reagan for organizing that tournament, and to my family and wife for their never ending support all the way.”
GM Barbosa sent me two of his games from Washington with his annotations. I will show you one today and the other on Tuesday.
His opponent in the following game, GM Eugene Perelshteyn is a well-known guy in US chess circles. Originally from Ukraine, his family moved to the US when he was still a child. Born 1980, Perelshteyn was the US Junior Champion in 2000. He has written two chess books on the opening and is the developer of the Android application, Chess Genie, a collection of puzzles for tactics training.
This is a crucial game for me. I remember I played Eugene before and I lost so I need to get back to him and this is the perfect opportunity for me.
We’re not going for crazy Sicilian lines, let’s go to quieter positions.
Not really the main line though I am trying to arrive at a particular middlegame position as you will see later in the game. I don’t have much time for preparation nowadays so it’s a good thing I can use some of my preparations when I was really active on tournament play.
Isolated pawn! It’s considered a weakness most of the time but this game shows the good points of having one.
No rush in taking the pawn back. 6... Qxd5 7.Nc3 Qa5 8.Bb5+ Bd7 9.Bc4
9...Nf6 10.Qb3 0–0 11.Bxf7+ (11.Qxb7? Bc6 12.Qxe7 Bxf3 13.gxf3 Nc6 14.Qc5 Qxc5 15.dxc5 Nd4 16.Kf1 A bit messy but white should still have the advantage) 11...Rxf7 12.Ne5 e6 13.Qxb7 Nd5 14.Nxf7 (14.Qxa8 Bxe5 15.dxe5 Qb6 gets white’s king and queen both in trouble) 14...Nxc3 15.Nh6+ Bxh6 16.Bxh6 Nb5+ 17.Bd2 Qb6 Black is slightly better;
9...Qb4 10.Qe2 Nf6 11.0–0 0–0 12.Bd2 White has a slight advantage.
Now this is the position I’m trying to reach. An isolated pawn. One of the positive points of having an isolated pawn is that you have more space and more active pieces and having said that of course I would make use of my pieces to create an attack rather than trade them.
Rooks should be on open or half open files.
Having an isolated pawn on the side is better than having an isolated pawn at the center.
Prevents Ne4 from black and also threatens the g6 pawn if ever black decides to kick my active bishop on g5.
Centralization! This move also restricts black from moving his f8 rook.
I think this is a critical point in the game. Both sides have finished their development and it’s time for some planning. The computer engine suggests h3 but of course I think it would hurt my position much if I play it out to h4 and maybe later play h5 weakening black’s kingside formation.
This is a mistake I calculated and hoped that he would fall for when I played 17.h4. There are two alternatives here.
First is 18...Nf6, a move that is hard to accept but it is more about provocation, tempting me to play c4 and block my own bishop. 19.Qe3 Nd7 20.h5 keeps an edge though.
After 18...Nb4 the continuation would be 19.Qd2 (19.Qh3 Nc6 with a repetition) Nc6 20.Nxc6 Qxc6 21.d5 Qc5 22.dxe6 Bd4 23.Be3 and White still has the edge.
Before I start the combination, every piece should be working including the bishop on b3.
POSITION AFTER 19...BXC5
20.Nxf7! Qxd4 Everything loses: 20...Kxf7 21.Rxe6; 20...Rxf7 21.Rxe6 Qxd4 22.Qxd4 Bxd4 23.Rxe7 Bxf2+ 24.Kh2 Rcf8 25.Bh6 and every black piece falls apart.
Later on, I determined that 21.Bxe6 was more efficient. I had actually thought of this move but stopped after 21... Qxd3 22. Ne5+ Kh8 23. Nxd3 Rc7 (23...Rce8 24.Bd7) 24.Rxc5 Nc6. I should have thought about it a bit longer for then I would surely have seen 25.Bf4 Re7 26.Bd6 and wins easily.
Now, wherever the rooks goes, it ends up getting captured by the knight’s discovered check.
[27...Rxh4+ 28.Bh3 wins]
Inaccurate! even though I’m still winning one shouldn’t miss opportunities like this. Correct was 28.Re8+ Kg7 29.g3!
We have run out of space so you will have to wait till Tuesday to see the other game Oliver annotated.