What grandmasters fear most – in simuls (2)

by Alexey Root
8/3/2016 – In this part two of this article – part one had grandmasters tell us what they fear most during simuls – two FIDE masters recall their most memorable games from playing in simuls. Normally, FMs give simuls rather than play in simuls. Long before he became an FM, Keith Hayward played in grandmaster Lubomir Kavalek’s simul. The second FM, William Schill, couldn’t pass up the chance to play the current World Champion. They describe the experience.

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What grandmasters fear most – in simuls (2)

By WIM Alexey Root

When he was a high school senior with a US rating of 1870, and the reigning New Hampshire chess champion, Keith Hayward was one of 44 simul opponents for GM Lubomir Kavalek. This simul was in 1975, just one year after Kavalek was ranked tenth in the world. Recall from part one that grandmaster Keith Arkell mentioned that gambits and “any kind of sacrifice for initiative” can be difficult to play against in simuls. Then play through Kavalek-Hayward, which was a Latvian Gambit opening followed by sacrifices by Black for initiative.

The caption in the local 1975 newspaper reads: "Keith Hayward (left foreground) considers the options during a recent exhibition against International Grandmaster Lubomir Kavalek (right). Hayward was the only person at the match to defeat the grandmaster."

GM Kavalek provided some details: "I think I played in Boston before the NH simul. It was a hectic time in 1975. January Wijk, February Dutch simul tour, March-April US tour (first half by car, later flying), Bobby losing title, two books in the pipeline had to be finished, US championship, IBM, Teaside. The times were different in the 1970s, no Internet, no limiting the number and strength of opponents in simuls. You played simply everybody who showed up. There were not many opportunities to play grandmasters in those days, especially in mid-America. It was not unusual to have 80 opponents, including local masters. I tried to make it as entertaining as possible, sometimes going overboard. It is nice that some people preserve these simul games and articles."

[Event "Simul"] [Site "Somersworth NH"] [Date "1975.03.15"] [Round "?"] [White "Kavalek, Lubosh"] [Black "Hayward, Keith"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C40"] [Annotator "Hayward,K"] [PlyCount "100"] [EventDate "1975.??.??"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 f5 3. Nxe5 Qf6 4. Nc4 b5 {I saw this pawn sacrifice suggested as interesting in a counter gambits book. Chess was innocent back in 1975, and such ideas looked playable (before chess engines told us otherwise).} 5. Ne3 fxe4 6. Nc3 Qg6 7. Nxb5 Na6 8. d3 Nf6 9. dxe4 Bc5 10. e5 Ne4 11. Be2 O-O 12. Bf3 ({I believe I was playing in the correct spirit, but Kavalek could have refuted my setup with} 12. Qd5+ {. I suspect Kavalek was playing to lessen tactics and grind me down with a small edge, a good simul approach, but I managed to keep things complicated.}) 12... Bb7 13. O-O Bxe3 14. Bxe3 Nc3 $1 { A nice tactic. A memorable move for me, but objectively the position is close to even.} 15. Bxb7 Nxd1 16. Raxd1 Rab8 17. Bxa6 Qxa6 18. Nxc7 Qc6 19. Nd5 { White has a bishop, knight, and three pawns for the queen, technically enough material, but the Black queen is powerful in this ending.} Rfe8 20. b3 Qxc2 21. Rd2 Qe4 22. Bxa7 Rb7 23. Be3 Rxe5 24. Nc3 Qb4 25. Bd4 Rd5 $1 {Tactically alert, winning a bishop and knight for a rook, but the ending is difficult to win.} 26. Rfd1 Rxd4 27. Rxd4 Qxc3 28. g3 Ra7 29. R4d2 Kf8 30. h4 Ke7 31. Rd3 Qc6 32. a4 d6 33. Re3+ Kd8 34. Red3 Rd7 35. Rd5 Qc2 36. R1d3 h6 37. a5 Qa2 38. Kg2 Kc7 39. Rc3+ Kb7 40. Rf3 Qb1 41. Rfd3 g5 $1 {Tactics allow this pawn to move forward, but it was unclear to me if I would have enough pawns left to win.} 42. hxg5 hxg5 43. R5d4 g4 44. Rd1 Qxb3 45. R1d3 Qb1 46. Rd1 Qf5 47. Rf4 Qh5 48. a6+ Ka7 49. Kf1 Qh1+ 50. Ke2 Re7+ 0-1

Hayward fondly recalls his simul results: the win against Kavalek, a 1990 draw against grandmaster Edmar Mednis, a 1986 win against grandmaster Simen Agdestein, and a 1973 loss to IM Norman Weinstein. Hayward reports that his simul strategy is “to play my hardest, my normal stuff. I make no adjustments.” Hayward is a chess book author and maintains a web site of his old analysis.

FM William Schill, Director of Chess Curriculum at the Seattle Chess School, was a last-minute addition to a simul given by World Champion Magnus Carlsen in May of 2014. Schill messaged, “The organizers did slip me in on Magnus, but then I did not know I was playing until five minutes before hand. The other nine players were students. The students soon lost their games and it was just me and Magnus.” In part one, Grandmaster Julio Sadorra said that not knowing the strength of your opponents can be challenging. Consider the surprise Carlsen had during this simul game, as he was expecting to face only non-rated students rather than an FM.

[Event "New York simul"] [Site "New York City"] [Date "2014.05.15"] [Round "?"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Schill, William"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A01"] [Annotator "Schill,W"] [PlyCount "118"] [EventDate "1975.??.??"] 1. b3 e5 2. Bb2 Nc6 3. e3 Nf6 4. Bb5 Bd6 5. Na3 Na5 {I prepared this very odd looking move ten years ago while studying 1.b3} 6. Be2 c6 7. c4 Qe7 8. Nc2 c5 9. d3 Nc6 10. Nf3 O-O 11. O-O Bc7 12. e4 {If Carlsen wasn't in a hurry I expect he would have played a Reverse Hedgehog here by allowing me to play d5.} d6 13. Ne3 g6 14. Nd5 Nxd5 15. cxd5 Nd4 16. Nxd4 cxd4 17. Qd2 Bd7 18. Rac1 Bb6 19. f4 f5 20. Bf3 Rac8 21. fxe5 Qxe5 22. exf5 Qe3+ 23. Qf2 Bxf5 24. Rfe1 Qxf2+ 25. Kxf2 Rxc1 26. Rxc1 Bxd3 27. Ba1 {Beginning with this move there were only two players left, and I had to play instant chess with the World Champion. I have tried to reconstruct the game from memory and the positions visible in photos. More work is needed, there is a tempo missing somewhere.} Be4 28. Ke2 d3+ 29. Kd2 Bxf3 30. gxf3 Rxf3 31. Rc8+ Kf7 32. Bc3 Rh3 33. Rb8 g5 34. a4 Kg6 35. a5 Rxh2+ $2 (35... Bg1 $1 {I wish I had seen this idea during the game. The black bishop traces out a path to f4 and the white king is in great danger.}) 36. Kxd3 Rh3+ 37. Kc4 Bf2 $6 (37... Be3 {Carlsen explained that he expected to lose after this move, but that Bf2 put White back in the game.}) 38. Rxb7 Rf3 39. Rg7+ Kh6 40. Rd7 g4 41. Rxd6+ Kh5 42. Rd7 h6 $2 ({Too ambitious, simply} 42... Kh6 43. d6 (43. Rd6+) 43... g3 44. Rg7 $4 Rxc3+ 45. Kxc3 Kxg7 46. d7 Be1+ {and Black wins.}) 43. d6 g3 44. Rg7 Rf8 45. d7 Kh4 46. Bf6+ Kh3 {Magnus hurries to get to the excellent dinner that is waiting for everyone, and I get a break!} 47. d8=Q $2 ({For the first time a winning move for White is possible:} 47. Rh7) 47... Rxd8 48. Bxd8 g2 49. Rxg2 (49. b4 $2 Bg3 {wins for Black!!}) 49... Kxg2 50. b4 h5 51. b5 h4 52. b6 axb6 53. a6 b5+ 54. Kxb5 h3 55. Bb6 Bxb6 56. Kxb6 h2 57. a7 h1=Q 58. a8=Q+ Kg1 59. Qxh1+ Kxh1 1/2-1/2

William Schill, who held Magnus Carlsen to a draw. Bill is a FIDE Master, a national master, two-times WA State Chess Champion and 2016 Pacific Coast Open Champion. He is also a husband and father of two. Bill has been teaching chess for over 15 years. [Photo: Washington Chess Federation]

One-on-one game and analysis time with Magnus made a positive impression on Schill, who wrote:“It was just Magnus and I for at least twenty minutes. And what a nice guy! After the game he says to me 'Oh my! I thought I was going to lose for sure!' and he suggested an exchange sac which I had seen but scared off from."

WIM Alexey Wilhelmina Root (née Rudolph), is a chess player, teacher, and writer, who was the 1989 U.S. Women's Chess Champion. She holds the title of Woman International Master, and received a Ph.D. degree from UCLA. Root is Senior Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas and has written many books on the relationship between chess and education. [Wiki]

Topics Carlsen, Simul

Alexey Root was the 1989 U.S. Women's Chess Champion and is a Woman International Master. She earned her bachelor’s degree in History at the University of Puget Sound and her doctoral degree in Education at The University of California, Los Angeles. She has been a Senior Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Studies at UT Dallas since 1999 and is a prolific author.
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genem genem 8/4/2016 05:06
Interesting pair of articles - thanks Alexey.
Kesaris Kesaris 8/3/2016 06:08
This was really cool! Thank you! Aggelos www.chessgames.gr