Electronic Knights

Gillmore Hoefdraad, a Suriname native with a globe-hopping resume, wins the 2nd Annual Electronic Knights Championship

By FM Alex Dunne

Gillmore Hoefdraad

Gillmore Hoefdraad

The hottest player in the 2005 Elec tronic Knights Championship has to be Gillmore Hoefdraad. From sunny Suri name where he was born in 1962, won several junior championships, and repre sented his home country at the Luzerne Olympiads, to Mexico where he was an economist for the Center of Monetary Studies for Latin America and the Caribbean, then to the U.S. in 1999 where he discovered correspondence chess, and finally to Beirut, Lebanon where he worked for the International Monetary Fund. Gillmore has annexed the second annual Electronic Knights Championship.

Gillmore had played an earlier Interna tional Correspondence Chess Federation correspondence event, and he liked the taste. His second tournament was the 2005 Electronic Knights and notes that "e mail has made correspondence chess much more interesting. It is quick, effi cient, and helps you stay on top on current chess developments." Gillmore has had to juggle chess with his world travel. He writes, "I have met, through the USCF correspondence tournaments very nice counterparts who have been always understandable to my frequent time out requests or delays in responding due to my loaded work related travel schedule. When possible I have tried to reply from any corner of the world I was in."

Gillmore's advice to aspiring correspon dence players: "If you love chess, but have a busy life, please play correspon dence chess. It will be very helpful when you retire and would like to play over the board again."

How does Gillmore play? Here's a taste from the final round.

Sicilian Defense, Yugoslav Attack (B78)

Gillmore Hoefdraad (2058) Zachary Cohn (1721) 2005 Electronic Knights Final

I. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 0-0 8. Qd2 Nc6 9. Bc4 Bd7 10. h4 h5

The Soltis variation has given new life to the Dragon variation. Black is willing to engage in a battle on the kingside in the hopes of surviving long enough to even tually counterattack on the queenside.

Gillmore chooses the most directly aggressive line from among many. Only 14. Kb1 has more adherents, but Gill more's reasoning is that Black's counterattack has been postponed by 10. ... h5 and so he aims for immediate bat tle. Nevertheless, the modern (2008) vote is for 14. Kb1.

And by 2007 the majority preference leans toward 16. ... b5 here with an occa sional success for 16. ... Na5.

17. Bxf6

There are still a few diehard fans of 17. h5 here.

After 18. Nd5

In the battle of opening theory, a crit ical position has been reached. Black's choice of 18. ... b5 is quite playable, but the move that has had the greatest suc cess for Black here is 18. ... Rxd5! 19. exd5 b5 20. h5 g5 21. fxg5 Bxg5+ 22. Kb1 when it has been Black who has been marking up the plus scores.

This apparent theoretical novelty attempts to improve Kubach Habermehl, 19 World Championship, which continued 20. f5 Rxd5 and drawn shortly after.

White has his queen's sight set on d6, Black fails to see White's idea and his game collapses.

And with an unanswerable threat on f6, White wins.

24 c3 25. b4 Rc4 26. Qxf6 Qd8 27. Qh6, Black resigned.

Ken Coryell on his 80-acre farm in Ohio

Ken Coryell takes second place

Second place was earned by Ken Coryell. Ken is a 59 year old self employed consulting engineer. He, too, is widely travelled, having lived and worked in many locations in the United States and overseas. He graduated in 1973 with a Masters degree in engineering from Ohio State University. He moved back to Ohio in 2000 where he lives with his companion Mary on her 80 acre farm. He has two children Lee, who recently graduated from medical school and Vir ginia who is working toward a doctorate degree in psychology. He enjoys home brewing, cooking (especially barbeque), playing the piano, church work, geneal ogy (he is a Mayflower descendent) and life on the farm.

At age four, Ken learned the game from his father. Ken remembers watching his dad make his postal moves in an old Post a Log album. Ken himself was first drawn to correspondence chess in 1970 using his father's Post a Logs. After col lege, his chess activity slowed down considerably until the early eighties when he began playing online through Com puserve and Leisure Linc. During the nineties, Ken's time was taken up raising his children, but now he has returned to the chess wars. At age 59 and after a heart attack, he finds he can no longer see as much over the board with the faster time limits, but correspondence chess still allows for careful analysis and sharp games can still be played.

Torre Attack (D03)

Ken Coryell (2075) Brian Stewart (2228) 2005 Electronic Knights Semifinal (Notes by Ken Coryell)

Preventing e4.

Looking for space on the queenside.

I am leery of gift pawns, especially from stronger players.

10 axb4 11. cxb4 Nf6

Already down a pawn, Black's ensuing doubled pawns give White a slight edge.

Bb7 16. 0-0 Qg5 17. Nf4 Rad8 18. Qc1 c5 19. bxc5 bxc5 20. dxc5 Bxa1 21. Qxa1

Material is even again, but White now has two passed pawns.

21 Qe7 22. Rc1 Rd2 23. Qc3 Rfd8 24. Bb3 Bc6 25. a4 Qd7

Interesting is 25. ... Qg5, but Black keeps watch on the two passers.

26. h3 Qe7 27. a5 R8d7 28. a6 Rd8 29. a7 R2d7 30. Ra1 Rxa7?

The game changer This allows the queen to penetrate the kingside. Better seems 30. ... Ra8 as it keeps Black's

Correspondence Chess queen more centralized.

31. Rxa7 Qxa7 32. Qf6 Rf8 33. Qxc6

I thought about 33. Ne6 fxe6 34. Bxe6+ Rf7 35. Bxf7+ Qxf7 36. Qxc6 Kg7 37. Qc8 f4 38. e4.

33 Rb8 34. Bc4 Rb1 + 35. Kh2 Rc1 36. Qe8+ Kg7 37. Qe5+ Kh6 38. h4 Rxc4 39. g4 Rxf4 40. g5+ Kh5 41. exf4 Qa3 42. Qe3, Black resigned.

Third place went to John Menke. John has retired, but his games work on. Here is a rousing game against vastly under rated Johnny Owens. At the end, Owen silently withdrew leaving Menke with a full point, but Menke had all but earned the point and a resignation would have been a more fitting conclusion.

King's Indian Defense, Averbakh Variation (E75)

John Menke (2358)

Johnny Owens (1709)

2005 Electronic Knights Preliminary

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 e6 4. Nc3 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. e4 g6 7. Nf3 Bg7 8. Be2 0-0 9. Bg5 h6 10. Be3 a6 11. a4 Nbd7 12. Nd2 Ne5 13. h3 Nh7 14. 0-0 g5

Black plays to keep e5 under control, but he cedes dangerous space on the kingside.

The last few moves have produced an interesting give and take. White has gained some white square control on the kingside; Black has eternalized possession of his e5 square. White is stuck with an e2 bishop that is semi bad, and Black has a c8 Bishop without a proper diago nal. Black has weakened his kingside structure and White's e4 is his weak square in the center. How both sides plan to take account of these advantages and disadvantages is instructive.

The rook plans a journey across the board to g3.

To counter Black's kingside activity, White opens up a second front on the queenside.

A rather surprising choice: White has decided to transfer all the action to the queenside (for now) where his heavy pieces dominate. All this he does, in order to then go back to the kingside. This is high class strategy, but Black is also up to the task.

Now the effects of White's plan are clearer Black's kingside is very lonely. Given a move or two, White's pieces will overrun the black king but Owens is prepared.

Vacating the strong e5 square to offer an exchange of pieces, but more impor tantly to exchange queens via the long diagonal when White's attack is greatly diminished.

A new phase of the battle commences White's advanced central pawn mass versus Black's nearly unmoved connected passed pawns. White's more active pieces give him some hope for an advantage.

Unappetizing was 32. ... Nxe4 33. Nxe4 Rxe4 34. Bf3 Rh4 35. Bg4 Bf6 36. Rc7 h5 37. Rxf7 hxg4 38. Rxf6 gxh3+ 39. Kh2 Bd7 40. Ne5.

33. Bf3 Be3 34. Nf1 Bg5 35. Rd4 Nd7 36. Bh5 Nf6 37. Bxf7 Rxe4 38. Rxe4 Nxe4 39. Rf3 b5

The skirmishes have gone in Black's favor. His pawn mass split up, his attack ing chamnces gone, Menke has to dig in to prevent being driven off the board. His solution? Reinvigorate his attack against the black king.

Black passes up the draw in hopes of scoring the win. After 41. ... Bxh4 42. Rf4 Ng5 43. Rxh4 Nxe6 44. fxe6 Bxd5+ 45. Kf2 Re8 46. Nf4 Bxe6 47. Rxh6+ Kg7 48. Rxe6 Rxe6 49. Nxe6+ Kf6 which online endgame databases rank this position as drawn.

Black fails to see the oncoming assault. Exchanging on g3 might lessen Black's winning chances but it would also lessen his losing chances.

43. Rf2 Nc4 44. Kh3 Rd8 45. Nf4 Bd4 46. Rc2 Be3 47. Ng6+ Kh7 48. Nh5

White has brought his army to bear on the black king and now needs only to find a file for his rook to invade on.

This helps the queenside pawns to advance but abandons a tempo in the defense of the king.

There is no defense by 52. ... Bxe6+ 53. Nxe6 Rg8 54. Rf3 Kg6 55. f7 Rc8 56. Nxd4 and Black's game has fallen apart.

53. f7 Bf5+ 54. Bxf5 + Nxf5 55. Ne6 Nxg3 56. Nxd8 Bg7 57. Kxg3 b4

Exciting to the end the electrons were buzzing in this game.

58. Ne6 Kg6

Also losing is 58. ... Be5+ 59. Nhf4 Bd6 60. f8=Q Bxf8 61. Nxf8+ Kg8 62. N8e6 b3 63. Nd3 Kf7 64. Nec5 and White wins.

59. Nexg7 Kxf7 60. Nf5 b3 61. Nd6+ Ke6 62. Nc4 Kd5 63. Nb2

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