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U.S. Open: Tactics and Novelties
Tactics by IM Nikolay Minev

ECO  White             Black            Rd Place          Year

C02 Feeney            Plesset              U.S. Open, Reno1999
E27 Adianto           Eid                  U.S. Open, Reno1999
D37 Fedorowicz        Luchan               U.S. Open, Reno1999
A37 Terrie            Yermolinsky          U.S. Open, Reno1999
B07 Rodriguez, Andres Gordon               U.S. Open, Reno1999
A83 Gordon            Milicevic            U.S. Open, Reno1999
B93 Pilar             Trammell             U.S. Open, Reno1999

In my opinion, the following is one of the most interesting games played in 100th U.S. Open. It includes a theoretical novelty and a very nice finishing combination.

French Milner-Barry C02
Thomas Feeney
Kiven Plesset
U.S. Open, Reno 1999

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Qb6 6.Bd3 cxd4 7.cxd4 Bd7 8.O-O Nxd4 9.Nxd4 Qxd4 10.Nc3

This interesting gambit has been the object of extensive analysis for many years, and has been played in thousands of tournament games. Still, the possibilities for both sides have not been exhausted.


10...a6 is preferred by most players as a sounder defense than 10...Qxe5.

11.Qe2 Ne7!

11...Rc8 is the main line, recommended long ago by Keres and adopted in many opening books. The line continues 12.Kh1 Bc5 13.Bg5 h6 14.Bd2 Ne7 15.Rac1 Qh4! 16.f4 Nf5 17.Bxf5 exf5 18.b4! Ba7 (18...Bxb4?! 19. Nxd5) 19.Nxd5 O-O with approximately equal chances. However, in recent years, this variation has begun to lose ground because of some new attacking ideas for White, e.g., 15.f4!? (instead of 15.Rac1) 15...O-O 16.Rf3 Bb6? (Loses a piece. Mandatory was 16...Nf5, but after 17.Rd1!? Black faces big problems.) 17.Be3 Qb4 18. a3 Qb3 19.Bc2! 1-0, P. Djuric--Jovicevic, Yugoslavia 1994. According to Uhlmann, the move played in this game (11... Ne7) is the best continuation for Black.

12.Kh1 Qh4!?

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This interesting novelty combines the recommendations of Keres and Uhlmann. Uhlmann gives 12...Nc6 13.f4 Bc5! with chances for both sides.

13.f4 g6 14.Be3?!

Perhaps 14.Bd2 was better.

14...Nf5 15.Bxf5?

Critical for Black's idea is 15.Qf2.

15...gxf5 16.Rf3 Rg8

Setting a tactical trap. Black could also consider the sacrifice of a pawn to activate his light-squared Bishop: 16... d4!? 17.Bxd4 Rg8, intending 18...Bc6, or if 17.Rh3 Qg4 18.Bxd4 Qxf4.


By neglecting the basic strategic rule that a passed pawn should always be blocked (17.Bd4!), White falls into the trap.

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17...Qxh3! 18.gxh3 d4! 0-1

White's resignation is not premature. After the only available defense against the deadly check from c6, 19.Rf1 Bc6+ 20.Rf3 dxe3 21.Nd1 (21.Qxe3 Bc5! and wins), Black wins by 21...Bc5 22.Nxe3 Bxe3 23.Qxe3 Rd8 24.Qe2 Rd2 25.Qf1 Rxb2, followed by 26... Rb1 or by 26...Bxf3+ 27.Qxf3 Rb1+.

In this year's U.S. Open, I saw many examples of the classical Bishop sacrifice with Bxh7+. Here is one of them.

Nimzo-Indian Samisch E27
GM Utut Adianto
John Eid
U.S. Open, Reno 1999

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.f3 d5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 O-O 7.e3 b6 8. cxd5 exd5 9.Bd3 Re8 10.Ne2 Bb7?!

Stopping the advance of White's pawns in the center in this way is not feasible. Better is to exchange light-squared Bishops by 10...Ba6, which considerably decreases White's attacking chances on the King's wing.

11.O-O Nc6?

Original, but it doesn't solve the main strategic problem which Black faces. As a last resource for counterplay, Black must play 11...c5. Now White develops his attack quickly and without problems.

12.Ng3 Ne7 13.e4 dxe4 14.fxe4 c5 15.e5 Nfd5

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16.Bxh7+ Kxh7 17.Qh5+ Kg8 18. Qxf7+ Kh7 19.Nh5 Rg8 20.Nf6+ Nxf6 21.Rxf6 Rf8 22.Rh6 mate

The following two games are quite simple, but they contain instructive examples of double-attack.

Queen's Gambit Declined D37
GM John Fedorowicz
Jason Luchan
U.S. Open, Reno 1999

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 d5 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Qc2!?

A relatively new idea for the quick opening of the center by e2-e4, which fits Fedorowicz's active style perfectly.


Theory says this move leads to equality, but shows no continuations to prove it! Instead, 5...c5 is the usual reaction against Qc2 in the Queen's Gambit, but, after 6.dxc5 Na6 7.Bg5 Qa5 8.e3 Nxc5 9. Nd2! dxc4 10.Nxc4 or 10.Bxc4 O-O 11.Bf4!, White retains slightly better chances. I anticipate an interesting future for this variation.

6.e4 dxe4 7.Nxe4 b6?! 8.Nxf6+ Bxf6 9.Bd3 h6 10.Bh7+! Kh8 11.Be4 c6 12.Be3 Bb7 13.Qd2 Nd7 14.O-O-O Qc7

There is no defense against the coming sacrifice on h6, e.g., 14...Re8 15.Bxh6 gxh6 16.Qxh6+ Kg8 17.Bh7+ Kh8 18.Bg6+ Kg8 19.Qh7+ Kf8 20.Qxf7 mate.

15.Bxh6 Be7 16.Bf4 Bd6 17.Bxd6 Qxd6 18.Qg5 Nf6 19.Qh4+ Kg8 20.Ng5 Rfe8

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21.Qh8+! 1-0

For if 21...Kxh8 22.Nxf7+ Kg8 23. Nxd6, etc.

English A37
Hal Terrie
GM Alex Yermolinsky
U.S. Open, Reno 1999

1.c4 g6 2.Nc3 Bg7 3.Nf3 c5 4.g3 Nc6 5.Bg2 d6 6.O-O e5 7.Ne1 Be6 8.d3 Nge7 9.Nc2 d5 10.cxd5 Nxd5 11.Bd2?!

Inferior to 11.Ne4 b6 12.Ng5 Bc8 13.Ne3! Nde7 14.a3 a5 15.Ne4, equal, in Goldin--deFirmian, Tilburg 1992.

11...O-O 12.Nxd5 Bxd5 13.Bc3 Bxg2 14.Kxg2 Qd7 15.b4

This activity turns out to be in Black's favor because White's King is eventually exposed to check, and this creates an opportunity for a double-attack.

15...cxb4 16.Nxb4 a5!

The double-attack already works for Black. If 17.Nxc6? Qxc6+ and 18... Qxc3.

17.Nc2 b5 18.a3

White cannot play 18.Rb1 or 18.Rc1 because of 18...Qd5+ and 19...Qxa2.

18...Rfc8 19.Qd2?

Overlooking Black's reply. Mandatory was 19.Bb2 or 19.Kg1.


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A relatively rare situation when the double attack is imminent, e.g. 20.Ne3 (20.Bb2) Qc6+ and 21...Qxc3 (21... Qxc2), or 20.Kg1 Qc6, and White loses one of his minor pieces on c-file.

In modern chess, the fight for the initiative very often begins immediately after first few moves. Sometimes, the intention to do that is shown even earlier!

Pirc B07
GM Andres Rodriguez
Daniel Gordon
U.S. Open, Reno 1999

1.e4 d6 2.d4 g6 3.h4!? Nf6 4.Nc3 Bg7 5.Be2 h5?!

Probably not best, because it places the g5-square at White's disposal. Theory recommends immediate counterplay in the center by 5...Nc6, but, frankly speaking, the right defense for Black has yet to be found.

6.Nf3 c6 7.Ng5 Nbd7??

An instructive mistake. Black loses by force! 7...O-O or 7...Qc7 was mandatory.

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8.e5! dxe5 9.dxe5 Nd5

If 9...Nxe5 10.Qxd8+ Kxd8 11.f4 and Black loses an Exchange.

10.Nxd5 cxd5 11.e6 Ne5 12.f4 f6 13. fxe5 fxg5 14.Bb5+ Kf8 15.Qf3+ Bf6 16.exf6 Qa5+ 17.Bd2 Qxb5 18.fxe7+ Kxe7 19.Bxg5+ Kd6 20.Qa3+! Kxe6

If 20...Qc5 21.Be7+, or 20...Kc6 21.Qc3+ and 22.Qxh8.

21.Qe7+ Kf5 22.Qf6+ 1-0

The loser of the previous example used the same very active approach to the opening and celebrated a well-deserved victory in following game, which is also extremely interesting for the theory of the Staunton Gambit.

Dutch Staunton Gambit A83
Daniel Gordon
Dragol Milicevic
U.S. Open, Reno 1999

1.d4 f5 2.e4 fxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Nc6 5.d5 Ne5 6.Qd4 Nf7 7.Bxf6 gxf6 8.Qxe4
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Mentioning 7...gxf6 only as a move which deserves attention, ECO's latest edition finishes the variation with 8. Qxe4!?, unclear. In my opinion, as convincingly demonstrated in our game, this variation is unplayable for Black.

8...Bh6 9.f4 c6 10.Bd3 Qb6 11. O-O-O Nd6 12.Qf3 O-O 13.Nge2 f5 14.g4 e6 15.gxf5 exd5

Now White's attack is irresistible. Maybe 15...Nxf5 offers some defensive chances.

16.Rhg1+ Kh8 17.Qh5 Rf6 18. Rg3 Qd8 19.Rdg1 Qf8 20.Qg4 Bg7 21.Qxg7+ Qxg7 22.Rxg7 h5 23.Rg8+ Kh7 24.R1g7+ Kh6 25.Rg6+ Rxg6 26.Rxg6+  1-0

Sicilian Najdorf B93
Reynaldo Del Pilar
George Trammell
U.S. Open, Reno 1999

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.f4 e5 7.Nf3 Nbd7 8.a4 b6 9.Bc4 Bb7?

Black should play 9...Be7.

10.Ng5 d5 11.Nxd5 Bc5

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Not so clear is 12.Nxf6+ Qxf6 13. Bxf7+ Ke7 or 13.Nxf7 exf4.

12...Kxf7 13.Nxf6+ Kxf6 14.fxe5+ Ke7 15.Bg5+ Nf6 16.exf6+ gxf6 17. Bxf6+! Kxf6 18.Rf1+ 1-0

For if 18...Kg5 19.h4+ Kh6 20. Qc1+ Kg6 (20...Kg7 21.Rf7+ Kg6 22.Qf4) 21.h5+ Kxh5 22.Rf5+ Kg6 23.Qf4 and wins.   

Tactics Index


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