A full house at U.S. Ama­teur Team East

The Washington Times Daily - - Life - DAVID R. SANDS

As the politi­cians will tell you this elec­tion year, sup­port is nice, but it’s turnout that’s crit­i­cal. By that score, this year’s U.S. Ama­teur Team East cham­pi­onship, held again in its fa­mil­iar Par­sip­pany, N.J., home, sur­passed even its high stan­dards. The pop­u­lar team event, the largest of its kind in the United States and one of the largest gath­er­ings of its kind in the world, at­tracted a record 294 four-player teams this year.

As noted here pre­vi­ously, the team Fork­ing With Te­bow’s Knights Won’t Lead to Mat­ing” (od­dball team names are part of USATE tra­di­tion), an­chored by Yale GM Robert Hess, took the ti­tle and will square off in the play­off in the com­ing weeks with win­ners from the other three regions.

With teams limited to an av­er­age rat­ing of 2200, a sin­gle team at the USATE can span the rat­ings gamut, with a grand­mas­ter on top board and a Class E player on Board 4, with both games count­ing the same to­ward the final match score. Cel­e­brat­ing the lit­tle-guy, demo­cratic vibe of the tour­na­ment, we of­fer here a trio of games by play­ers squarely in the mid­dle of the rat­ings charts.

The Board 3 bat­tle be­tween Class A play­ers Dou­glas Ul­rich of One Point Too High and Wal­ter De Jong of the Bing­ham­ton Ec­ssh Dyslex­ics fea­tured some mas­ter-level tac­tics on both sides, start­ing with White’s very so­phis­ti­cated ex­change sac­ri­fice af­ter 21. Qe2 Qe6 22. Rd5!. DeJong wisely de­clines, as in lines such as 22. . . . Bxd5?! 23. cxd5 Qf6 24. g4! White threat­ens to over­whelm his op­po­nent with 25. e5 Qd8 26. e6 Re8 27. Qb2 f6 28. d6! Bxd6 29. e7 Bxe7 30. Qb3+ Kh8 31. Qf7 Rg8 32. Bxa8 Qxa8 33. Ne7, win­ning.

But af­ter 22. . . . Rfe8! 23. Bh3!?, Black should have grabbed the rook with 23. . . . Bxd5, as he has plenty for his lost queen af­ter 24. Nh6+ gxh6 25. Bxe6 Bxe6 26. Bxh6. In­stead, 23. . . . Qxe4?! 24. Qg4 g6? (Bc3! was the last, best hope — 25. Bg2 Qe6 26. Rd6 cxd6 27. Bxb7 Ra7 28. Bd5 Qe2 29. Nh6+ Kh8 30. Nxf7+ Rxf7 31. Qxe2 Rxe2 holds) opens the flood­gate for the im­pres­sive final as­sault.

Thus: 25. Bg2 Qe2 26. Nh6+ Kg7 (Kh8 27. Qxe2 Rxe2 28. Re5! wins ma­te­rial) 27. Bf3 Qe6 28. Be5+! f6 (Kxh6?? 29. Qh4 mate, while 28. . . . Kf8 29. Qd4 Bxd5 30. Bg7+ Ke7 31. Bxd5 Qe2 32. Qf6+ Kd7 33. Qc6+ puts the Black king in a mat­ing net) 29. Rd7+ Qxd7 (no bet­ter was 29. . . . Kh8 30. Qxe6 Rxe6 31. Bxb7 Nc5 32. Bxa8 Nxd7 33. Bxc7) 30. Qxd7+ Re7 31. Qg4 Rae8 32. Bxf6+! Kxf6 33. Qd4+, and Dejong re­signed fac­ing 33. . . . Re5 34. Ng4+ Kf7 35. Bxb7 Re1 36. Qf6+ Kg8 37. Nh6 mate.

More tac­ti­cal fun was on the menu in an­other Board 3 bat­tle, this one be­tween ex­pert Ed­ward Epp of the Tar­nished Knights and Class B player Ethan Klein of ICA3, with Klein scor­ing a nice up­set. In a Queen’s Gam­bit Ac­cepted, Black has to find an early sav­ing move in 12. Qb3 Nxd4!, ready to meet 13. Nxf7?! with 13. . . . Bxh2+ 14. Kxh2 Nxb3 15. Nd6+ Qe6 16. Bxb3 Qxb3 17. axb3 cxd6, win­ning a pawn.

With both play­ers poised to at­tack, an ill-timed check un­der­mines White’s game: 23. Qg8+? (g3! Qh5 24. Qg2 is equal) Ke7 24. Qg7+ Kd8 25. Nb5, and though White’s at­tack looks dan­ger­ous, it is Black who breaks through first with 25. . . . Nf3+! (good enough, but an ex­tra ex­cla­ma­tion point would have gone to 25. . . . Qxh2+!! 26. Kf1 [Kxh2 Nf3+ 27. Kh3 Rh5+ 28. Kg4 Nh2 is a very nice mate] Ng4 27. Ke2 Rxf2+ 28. Kd3 Rxe3+ and mate soon) 26. . . . Nxh2+ 27. Kg1 (Ke1 Rxe3+ 28. Kd1 Qxf2) Rxe3! 28. Nxd6 (fxe3 Qf2+ 29. Kh1 Qf1+! 30. Rxf1 Rxf1 mate) Qxf2+, and White gave up in light of 29. Kh1 Re1+ 30. Rxe1 Qxe1+ 31. Kxh2 Rh5 mate.

Fi­nally, one of the event’s more pi­quant fin­ishes came in the Board 1 game be­tween ex­pert David Petty of Rochester No. 2 and mas­ter Brian Hulse of the fam­ily team No Hulse Barred. Hav­ing ne­glected to cas­tle, Hulse hopes to de­flect the pres­sure on his e-file with 13. Bh4 Nxe4? (much too provoca­tive — with 13. . . . Nc5, Black is fine) 14. Bxe7 Nxd2 (see di­a­gram), when the ex­pected 15. Qxd2? Kxe7 16. Bf5 Bd5 holds things to­gether.

But Petty crosses up his op­po­nent with the lethal and un­ex­pected 15. Nxe6!, in­tend­ing 15. . . . fxe6 16. Bg6+ Kxe7 17. Qxe6+ Kd8 18. Qe8+! Rxe8 19. Rxe8 mate; Black re­signed at once.

Ul­rich Dejong

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