In 2002 I flew to Reno to play my very first large tournament ever. It was the “20th Annual Western State Open”. The main reason I participated in this event was because one of my dreams at the time was to play in a simultaneous exhibition and be able to beat or draw the GM. The tournament offered the opportunity to play a clock simul against IM John Donaldson, and a non-clock simul against GM Andy Soltis. At the time I had a rating of 1540 with the US Chess Federation.
Mr. Donaldson played the Maroczy Bind against my Sicilian and was strangled in less
than 30 moves. Unfazed by my loss, I faced GM Andy Soltis the next evening. I am
very proud of this game not only because I was able to obtain a draw, but because
I was able to find the right defensive moves and noticed all of his tactical threats.
It was also one of the first times I planned a series of moves based on a specific
idea (trapping his rook along the h-file).
GM Andy Soltis
Louis Lima (1540)
I used to enjoy playing the Dragon and was trying, perhaps a little too hard, to
steer the game along those channels.
The first threat of the game. At the time I thought I had blundered and lost the
game with 6... g6 remembering the trap 8...
Qxd8 which some players have fallen for, including two 2100
rated players according to my chess database! Now I know that the 6... g6 line is
playable. Emanuel Lasker who “fell” for this trap (According to T.Harding in the
“Sicilian Sozin”) was able to draw against Carl Schelecter at the 10th World Chess
Championship. Bobby Fischer once finished off a player at a simul in 1964 after
Qxd5 threatening mate on f7 and the undefended
rook on a8) 12.
e6 It took me some horrifying seconds to find 9...
f5, simultaneously protecting the f pawn and the Knight on g4. I should
have seen all this before playing 8... Ng4. 10.
Threatening 14. Bxd6 exd6 15. e7+ discovery check winning the Queen or 14. Bxd6
Qxd6 15. Qxd6 Qxd6 16. e7+ winning the Rook and d pawn for the Bishop.
d5!? was an interesting alternative. For instance, if 14.
Bb3 then 14...
Ne4 and perhaps play against White’s overextended e pawn. I was mistakenly
concerned about the weakening of the h1-a8 diagonal which I thought could also prevent
me from making use of the b file with my rook later on. White, however, had very
different plans on the part of the board that mattered.
This move gets me away from the x-ray attack by the Bishop on b3, as White could
renew the discovery threat after Rad1. My main purpose for this move, however, was
to begin building pressure on the e pawn by moves like Rf6, Ng7, and Qg8 in conjunction
with the Bishop on c8. This piece arrangement also allowed me to get the Queen’s
help in staving mate along the h-file a few moves later.
White’s e pawn has fallen and his Kingside attack came up short. Now White has to
waste time extricating his pieces off the h-file to more useful positions. 22. Qe3
seems an effective move. It ties up my Queen to the defense of the Knight while
keeping a vigil on the weak f pawn. Another plan for White could have been to shift
the Rook over to the queenside and contest the b file.
Here I began a long think and remember having to pass twice when Mr.Soltis came
by my board, which he graciously accepted. I wanted to trap his Rook and was calculating
ways of achieving this.
Sacrificing a pawn in order to gain time to prevent any escape squares for the Rook,
and to begin preparing g5 and Qc7. The move is not so obvious to find, as one usually
does not push the pawn cover of one’s King when a Rook is directly behind it!
Qe6 White gets his pawn back but with a slightly
better pawn configuration of two islands versus three of mine. The Queens being
on the board though, seem to make this a very drawish position.
My plan to trap the Rook involved placing the Queen on c7 to defend the h pawn after
g5. Thus, I did not want to leave the Rook undefended. Perhaps a better temporizing
move would have been 24...
Rb8!? Attacking the queenside pawns. If 25.
g3 then c3 would be weak.
Nd5 seems to accomplish the same goal of pressuring the f pawn, while being
placed on a more active position.
Here I missed an opportunity to force White into a more defensive position by 29...
Qe2, and now have a variety of moves to choose from such as
Qh7 threatening 32... Qb1, or 31...
hxg4 losing the Knight).
Here I had the chance to swap off the Queens after 31...
Nd5 but was unsure about the resulting material
Later on after the game I found a way to make some headway. After 33...
Kh6 was another possibility that I missed.
Mr. Soltis made his made his last move and offered me a draw, which I accepted when
he returned to my board. The tournament would begin the next morning, but I had
already gotten my draw against one of my favorite chess authors, and that is all
that counted then.
Wonderfully done! Thank you for documenting the experience. Adds to the chess culture.
nice. excellent report and very instructive.
Impressive and thorough. I like this article thank you again.
On your 31st move, could you try playing f3 instead of gxh3? If it is playable ( and doesn't allow a perpetual check) this looks like a difficult move to have to face in time pressure.
Very very nice. I loved it. I'm sure you put up more of a challenge than me lol.
Nice of you to document your experiences Louis