Wachusett  Chess Club

George Mirijanian

Allan Bennett wins Wachusett club title

   World Chess Federation (FIDE) master Allan Bennett of Chelmsford clinched his sec­ond straight Wachusett Chess Club championship Wednesday night in Leominster. The 40-year-old former state champion accomplished the feat by not even making a move!

   Thanks to fomer three-time club champion Philip Leasure of Winchendon, Bennett was able to claim this year's cham­pionship title when the former player defeated U.S. Chess Federation-rated expert Erik Zoltan of Leominster, Bennett's closest rival, in a makeup game at First Church Unitarian Universalist on West Street.

P. Leasure — E. Zoltan

Queen's Gambit Declined

[Slav Exchange Variation]

1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 c5!? [This characterizes the Krause Variation, a variation of the Queen's Pawn Opening named after Danish master and openings theoretician Orla Her­mann Krause (1867-1935), who analysed it for the Austrian chess magazine "Wiener Schachzeitung" in 1929. It is essentially a Queen's Gambit Reversed, with Black a tempo behind.]

 3. c3 [Also possible was 3. e3 and after 3...Nf6 4. c3 e6, a Colle System is reached. Worthy of consideration, however, was 3. c4!? The reply 3. dxc5 was obviously not to Leasure's liking, since Black would have options such as 3...Qa5+ followed by 3...Qxc5 or 3...e6, after which 4. e4! Bxc5 5. exd5 exd5 could bring about the Tarrasch-Marshall Variation in the French Defense.]

 3..cxd4 4. cxd4 [With this recapture, the game has transposed to the Exchange Variation of the Slav Defense in the Queen's Gambit Declined.]

 4...Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Bf4 [This is the normal position of the Slav Exchange Variation. The text move is certainly better than 6. Bg5?, which can be effectively answered by 6…Ne4!]

 6...g6?! [It is doubtful whether this move, setting up a kingside fianchetto, offers better chances than either 6...Bf5 or 6...e6. Even 6...a6!?, a waiting move, as was played in the game John Viloria vs. Allan Bennett, 57th New England Open, Framingham, Mass., September 1997, gave Black better prospects than the text move. After 6...Bf5 White gains nothing from 7. Qb3? because of 7...Na5! and after 8. Qa4+ Bd7 9. Qc2 Rc8 10. e3 b5! Black has the initiative. On 6...e6, which shuts in Black's dark-squared bishop, Black need not worry since the bishop operating from d7 can assist counterplay on the queenside with ...Na5 and ...b5. On 6...Qa5 7. e3 Ne4 could follow 8. Qb3, while 6...Qb6 could be answered by 7. a3!, for now 7...Qxb2?? traps the queen after 8. Na4! Qb5 9. e4! Qa5+ 10. Bd2.]

   7. e3 Bf5 8. Bd3 Bxd3 9. Qxd3 Bg7 10. a3 0-0 11.0-0 h6? [Better was 11...Nh5!]

   12. h3! Ne8 13. Rac1 e6 14. b4 Rc8 15. Na4 Nd6 16. Bxd6 Qxd6 17. Nc5 Qb8?? [Correct was 12...b6!  Even 12...Qe7 was better than the text move, which loses the "exchange" and the game.]

   18. Nd7 Qd6 19. Nxf8 Rxf8 20. Rc2 Bf6 21. Rfc1 Be7 22. Qc3 a6 23. Ne5 Rc8?! 24. Qd3 Kg7? 25. Nxc6 Rxc6 26. Rxc6 bxc6 27. Qxa6 and Zoltan resigned. (1-0)

   Although Zoltan has one game left — with the white pieces against Bennett — it will be anticlimactic, since, he cannot overtake the frontrunner.  The best he can do, however, is to finish as runner-up if he is able to beat the champion.  The current standings are as follows:

 6 points: Bennett

 5 points: Leasure

 4 ˝ points: Zoltan and Larry Gladding of Leominster.

 2 ˝ points: Walter Niemi of Lunenburg

 2 points: Martin Laine of Shelburne Falls

 1 ˝ points: Geoffrey LePoer of Westford

 1 point: Leonard Arsenault of Leominster