Jay Bonin and Greg Keener
© 2016 Jay Bonin and Greg Keener All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by an information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the Publisher. Publisher: Mongoose Press 1005 Boylston Street, Suite 324 Newton Highlands, MA 02461 [email protected]
www.MongoosePress.com ISBN: 978-1-936277-77-3 Library of Congress Control Number: 2016918186 Distributed to the trade by National Book Network [email protected]
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Contents Acknowledgements About This Book Foreword Preface Chapter 1: Keep It Complicated, Stupid Chapter 2: Oh, No – Not You Again! Chapter 3: The Art of the Irrefusable Draw Offer Chapter 4: That’s No Way To Treat A Lady Chapter 5: Avoiding Dead Draws Chapter 6: The Endgame Chapter 7: Chess “Rope-a-Dope” Chapter 8: Beating Grandmasters Chapter 9: Tactical Potpourri Solutions Index of Games
Acknowledgements he authors wish to thank Brian Lawson, who provided a collection of unpublished games without which this book would not have been possible. In addition, the authors would like to thank the staff and board of the Marshall Chess Club, in particular its most recent presidents, Stuart Chagrin, Paul Rachlin, and Frank Brady, as well as its executive director, Bryan Quick. We would also like to thank Asa Hoffmann for his input on the manuscript and his thoughtful foreword; and Boris Izrayelit, Jon Munnell, and Cameron Hull for their encouragement and ideas offered from a reader’s perspective. Finally, we would like to thank Mongoose Press for investing in this project, as well as Jorge Amador for his tireless effort and thoughtful contributions throughout the editing process.
About This Book t’s an established culinary fact that too many cooks spoil the broth, and I think it’s safe to assume that any book with more than one author runs similar risks. However, we have taken a lot of effort to create a streamlined text for the reader here, in which Jay’s games are presented and analyzed with his own ideas front and center in every variation. Of course, we checked these variations with the help of our silicon friend Houdini, who sometimes showed us paths leading into the dark woods of uncertainty that we occasionally invite the reader to explore with us. However, throughout the book any reference to “I” or “myself” should be read as if Jay were speaking, with the one exception of this very page in which I – Greg Keener – have a chance to chat directly with you the reader.
As a tournament director at the Marshall Chess Club over the last few years, I have seen Jay Bonin win tournament after tournament after tournament – not always finishing in clear first place, but very often finishing “in the money.” I recall one of his longer winning streaks when he managed to come in clear first or tied for first a remarkable 9 events in a row. This is not an easy feat, even for a veteran GM. I recall scratching my head and wondering just how on earth was he so consistently “lucky” when it came to playing in open Swiss events. While talking with a group of club members one day, I posed the following question: How does Jay win? This was not a rhetorical question. I actually wanted to get a concrete answer. I knew that he had a variety of pet systems he liked to play, but so do most tournament players. I was aware that he favored endgames with knights, and that he was a tricky tactician in original positions as well. But what I was really looking for was a more complete answer to my question, one that focused on how he won Swiss event after Swiss event. So I approached him one evening at the Marshall Chess Club with this question in mind. His answer, which wasn’t entirely forthcoming at first, is what you’re holding in your hands. My contribution to this book has been mostly in prodding Jay with further questions, helping to structure his thoughts and to present the material in a way that I hope comes close to answering my original inquiry. Poring through thousands of unpublished games, we tried to isolate those that were not only interesting, but which also fit into certain themes that I think the reader will find intriguing and engaging in equal measure. Of course, my greatest challenge as co-author was to coax the genius out of Jay and present it to the reader in a logically consistent format. A book, after all, is not made up of ideas but of words and sentences, and – in the case of a chess book – many, many diagrams. Ultimately, I wanted to help bring this book into existence because it is a book that I have wanted to read and no one else had written it yet. Having read it now, I can say Jay has answered my question to my satisfaction, and I hope that you will find as much pleasure in reading his reply as I did in transmitting to you. Greg Keener New York City, July 2016
Foreword ay Bonin, like many others in chess, is a product of the Fischer Age. At 17, he first became hooked on chess while watching the Fischer-Spassky match on TV in 1972. Who would imagine that from these beginnings Jay would become an International Master and the most active titled tournament player in the U.S. for decades to come?
I first met Jay in 1974 when he faced me in a simultaneous exhibition that I gave at Kingsborough Community College. One would hardly notice Jay at the time: he was mildmannered, with a pleasant look and an unassuming demeanor. Soon, however, Jay would rapidly progress and become one of my most frequent, strong opponents, and indeed, a longtime friend. Jay’s path to success was to seek out all the possible venues to play in the New York area and beyond. He joined the Marshall Chess Club in 1972 and played in every weekend Swiss he could find. He also traveled around to small venues in the area. Later he would also join the Manhattan Chess Club. For decades, and to this day, if there was a tournament in the New York area, you could count on Jay playing in it. Like the mailman, Jay came through rain and sleet and snow and dark of night – sometimes to find out the tournament was cancelled! Nothing stopped Jay. Around 1980, the true heyday of New York chess began when the Bar Point Club, run by Bill Goichberg and Steve Immitt, opened on West 14th Street. Here there were tournaments every day, from quads to serious international events. Many young players and future grandmasters from the Soviet Union appeared here and both Jay and I faced them all, resulting in a great improvement in both of our games. With this experience behind us, Jay achieved the U.S. title of Senior Master and became an International Master in 1985, while I reached Senior Master and became a FIDE Master, at over 40 years of age. As the years progressed, Jay just kept on rolling like the Energizer Bunny, playing not only in New York but in the World Open, some U.S. Opens, and a brief trip or two to play in Europe. Among his famous feats are victories in the Marshall and Manhattan Chess Club Championships. In one year he won both of those events and also the New York State Championship, earning him the “Triple Crown” of New York chess. Jay always claimed he never studied chess, but I would often catch him playing over every game in the Chess Informant! I like to say that Jay could write a book titled “My 10,000 Greatest Games,” because he has played so much tournament chess over the last few decades that most of his games would not make the cut for that volume. However, much like myself, Jay is in the habit of carefully depositing his scoresheets in the nearest trashcan after an event, which makes the book your holding in your hands a rather unusual one. It contains mostly unpublished games that you will not find in Chessbase online or on any other database. When Internet chess arrived, Jay would play blitz online for many hours every day. In the early 2000s, the New York Masters, a weekly event, arrived at the Marshall Chess Club, organized by John Fernandez and Greg Shahade. Of course, Jay played in almost every one of these. Playing in this multitude of events earned Jay the nickname of “The Iron Man of
Chess.” Jay and I have now been playing against each other for over forty years. Our games have featured brilliant wins, tricky swindles, and egregious blunders! In all of this time, Jay seems to have a score against me of roughly 2 to 1. Sadly, the USCF’s official records only begin in 1991 and so many of our results have been lost. Jay is an interesting player to watch. You can tell how the game is going by the expressions on his face. A sly smile, a worried cloud, a visage of triumph all add up to the fact that this guy should not play poker! Jay’s chess style can be described as mostly positional. He loves maneuvering with knights so much that his characteristic knight maneuvers have become known as the “Bonin Knights.” He is also very strong in the endgame. But this is not to say that Jay doesn’t create combinations, as he has some incredible tactical wins against grandmasters, some of which you will see in this volume. We expect that Jay, a true U.S. chess institution, will keep on “Bonin” along for many years to come! Asa Hoffmann New York City, July 2016
Preface he journey began in February 1970, when I was in junior high at Andries Hudde JHS in Brooklyn. I was in homeroom, waiting for classes to begin, when I noticed two classmates playing chess on a wooden peg board. That caught my eye and I tried to follow the moves, unsuccessfully. Later that day, I went to a toy store in my neighborhood, where I bought a Hasbro plastic set with instructions and managed to teach myself how to play. Soon I was playing with my classmates, though all I can say was that I knew how to move the pieces and not much more than that.
For the next couple of years I was a casual player, until the summer of 1972. When Bobby Fischer went to Iceland to battle Boris Spassky for the World Chess Championship, I was working as a camp counselor in the Manhattan Beach Jewish Center. While on a break in the counselors’ lounge, I caught a glimpse of Shelby Lyman analyzing the Fischer-Spassky match on television. I was immediately hooked. Bobby Fischer was an inspiration to me and I started to look for places where I could play chess more seriously. I looked in the phone book, and the first place I found was the Chess and Checker Club of New York in Times Square. The place was jumping, with a TV on the premises to follow the match live. I went there four times to follow the match, and on my last visit I played one of the local hustlers, a tall, imposing man named Petar Lovrich. After losing two games and paying my time, I barely had enough money to get home. The next club I visited was Charles Hidalgo’s Chess House. A nicer place by the looks of it, it was there that I learned that chess can be played with a clock. I started playing speed chess and was nervous at first, but soon would get the hang of it. As a junior at James Madison High School, I played for the chess team. One match was against Sheepshead Bay HS; I played first board. My opponent was Paul Wurmbrand, who beat me like a drum – a very humbling experience! Talking with him afterward, I learned from Paul that he was a member of the Marshall Chess Club. It wasn’t like the other clubs I went to: I had to ring a bell and was surprised to see that it was the famous chess teacher Bruce Pandolfini who had buzzed me in. He was in the middle of a chess lesson as I walked up the stairs, when a nice older man, Bill Slater, greeted me as if I had been a member of the private club for years. Bill made me feel right at home, even playing some games with me. I was really impressed with how classy and busy this club was – the style of the pieces, the wooden clocks. There were blitz games, bughouse, and consultation games, and each table had an individual light above it. After Fischer beat Spassky, many people joined the club in the ensuing chess craze, and I was happy to be a part of it. A flyer for the Greater New York Scholastic Championships at the Hotel McAlpin caught my eye, and I played in the Novice section on the advice of my school team’s faculty advisor. It was a good decision, as I tied for first with 7 out of 8, winning a nice trophy. It was Bill Goichberg who directed my first event, and 44 years later he’s still directing major U.S. tournaments. Two months later I played in my first Marshall Chess Club competition. It was the Thursday Night Open, which is still running today. My opponents were mostly Class A and B players and my first USCF rating was 1412.
My rating went up very quickly, jumping to first category in a year, expert in two years, and master two years after that. As my game improved, I looked for more and more opportunities to play. There was “Chess City,” later known as the “Gameroom.” I played in the U.S. Open at the then-Statler Hilton, now known as the Pennsylvania. In 1974 and 1976, I played in the Pan-American Intercollegiate, which was the tourney that put me over 2200. In 1977 I played in my first FIDE-rated event at the Manhattan Chess Club and scored 5/9, earning a FIDE rating. However, other than sporadic tournaments at the McAlpin every couple of weeks and the Thursday Night Marshall tournaments, there wasn’t nearly as much chess activity as there is in New York today. Then in 1980, when Bill Goichberg opened up The Chess Center of New York, everything changed. It was a chess palace, with tournaments every day of the week and it was the place where my legacy started. Along with the late Lesley Braun, I played over three hundred games in 1981 and we were both featured in a Chess Life article by Andy Soltis as America’s most active chessplayers. Over the next 35 years, I would average between 400 and 500 tournament games a year, sometimes playing over 700 games in a single year. Most of these games would be held at the Chess Center of New York until it closed in 1984, then the Manhattan Chess Club from 1984 until its closure in 2002, and finally the Marshall Chess Club, where most of my games currently take place. Along the way there were such tournaments as the New York State Championship (which I have won four times) and numerous club championships at the Marshall, Manhattan, Queens, and Nassau County chess clubs. In 1997, I won all four of these clubs’ championships. All of this practice was supplemented by serious study, but not the kind of systematic, stepby-step program that we tend to think of nowadays. Instead, I would take copies of the Chess Informant, going through the games and deeply scrutinizing the annotations and commentary until I felt I understood what was going on. When Greg Keener approached me to write this book, I went to the USCF website to check my stats; these were the totals since 1991 when the USCF started keeping records: I had played 13,122 games, of which 8,133 were wins, 3,151 were draws – and 1,838 were losses. As I’ve been playing since 1972, one might only guess at how many tournament games I have played in total. The most interesting for me is the last figure: 1,838 losses. Nobody likes to lose, but I’ve taken it in the chin over 1,800 times. Despite many tournament wins, I have also suffered some really gut-wrenching defeats, after which I have had to rebound, get up off the mat, and try again. In this book, you’ll see what makes me tick, how I adjust and readjust, and then also – I hope – learn how to do so yourself. Jay Bonin New York City, July 2016
Keep It Complicated, Stupid hen I go to a tournament, I go with certain expectations: I expect to get the kind of game that I like – a nice sterile game, preferably a queenless middlegame or an endgame with at least one knight left on the board. Often, though, I can’t get the kind of game that I want and find myself one way or another forced into complications. I observe the strengths and weaknesses in a particular player’s game, make adjustments; my opponents do likewise. Many players who have faced me regularly have observed my preference for knights, so they will try to remove them early on, even if this leaves them slightly worse. Others will play aggressively and attack early in order to take me out of my comfort zone – which is often a good idea if you’re the weaker player and trying for an upset victory. Anyone who has read the late IM Simon Webb’s Chess for Tigers can tell you that the best way to trap a “Heffalump” is to lure them into a swamp of tactical complications.
It’s this kind of uncertainty that makes chess so exciting! If it were always simple, it would be boring and in all likelihood I would no longer be playing today. In this chapter, you will find a few of my least simple games, containing sparkling complexities that temporarily confuse even strong chess engines such as Houdini and Komodo. Of course, the title of this chapter is a reference to the famous acronym, K.I.S.S. – “Keep It Simple Stupid” – which is attributed to the renowned aeronautical engineer Kelly Johnson, whose design contributions were integral to the production of the SR-71 Blackbird spy plane as well as many other jet aircraft produced by Lockheed Skunk Works. Originally, the acronym was intended to remind engineers to keep their designs simple and elegant – so simple that the designs could be called “stupid.” K.I.S.S. has also been used by software developers as well as animators in search of ever more elegant minimalism. In general, this is also the kind of chess that I like to play, grinding out victories from simple, small advantages without needlessly over-complicating matters. Interestingly, the business world of management consulting adopted the phrase as well, inserting a comma and thus making the adage a derogatory imperative (as in “keep it simple, stupid” – implying that the person to whom they are speaking is stupid, as opposed to the antecedent to which the pronoun “it” refers). But in this chapter we will not keep it simple. Over the years, I’ve played in many fast time-control games, anywhere from Game/30, where players must complete all their moves in thirty minutes, to Game/45 and Game/60. In these faster time controls, time pressure is very likely, so a player should whip out the first 10 to 15 moves very quickly to leave more time for the rest of the game. Often, it comes down to who can complicate better, which means avoiding captures and responding to threats with threats rather than passive defense. The “game within the game” is to play anything that makes your opponent think and use up time on the clock. So as simple as I would like to be, I find myself playing complicated games frequently as well, in order to win fast time-control tournaments. The games in this chapter are therefore instructive not only for their intrinsic “chess value,” but also because they offer
insight into how an International Master routinely wins Swiss System tournaments by playing the game within the game. Let the complications begin! Oliver Chernin – Jay Bonin Marshall Chess Club, New York 2013 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3 g6 3.Bg2 Bg7 4.0-0 0-0 5.c4 Oliver finally transposes into his favorite English. 5…d5 6.cxd5 He keeps it sharp. I get active piece play, but my opponent gets a central pawn mass. 6…Nxd5 7.d4 Nc6 8.Nc3 Nb6 9.e3 e5
Black forces a decision. 10.d5 Na5 11.e4 c6 12.Be3 Nac4 Here is where I decide to go for complications. 12…cxd5 was simpler, but it released the tension in the center, while the computer likes the solid 12…Re8. 13.Bc5 Re8 14.b3 Nd7 The point behind my plan, as without this move I am lost. 15.Bxa7 Rxa7 16.bxc4 Nc5 Maybe 16…cxd5 was the way to go. 17.Qc2 f5 Oliver has won a pawn, but he will miss that dark-squared bishop! Now Black gets an initiative. 18.Nd2 f4 19.Nb3 Bf8 Now my dark-squared bishop comes into the fray.
20.Nxc5 Bxc5 21.gxf4 Creating more weaknesses. 21.Kh1 is better. 21…exf4 22.Rfe1 Hoping to get in e4-e5. 22…Qf6 Stopping e5 and now …f4-f3 is a threat. 23.Na4 Bd4 24.Rab1 f3 and Black won. 0-1 Jay Bonin – Mackenzie Molner U.S. Chess League, New York 2007 This game won the “Game of the Week” prize in the United States Chess League. At the time, Mackenzie was not yet a GM but a quickly rising National Master, and was perhaps a bit too creative with his opening play, allowing an enterprising sacrifice in this particular game. WGM Jennifer Shahade had this to say about my play in the following encounter: A victory for New York in this battle of former teammates. Bonin wins a clean attacking game after finding the knight sacrifice, 18.Nxf7!. One thing I liked about this game is that if White had missed the opportunity to sack, his attacking chances would have been slim. Even in the final position, it’s nice that White can only win with one move, 29.Be6+, although both players probably saw this a few moves before. 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 I play this move in order to prevent the Benko Gambit, which I myself play from time to time. 2…c5 3.d5 b5 4.Bg5 Ne4 5.Qd3 Nxg5 6.Nxg5 g6 Or …h7-h6 and …Ng5-h7. 7.Qxb5 I’ve won a pawn, but give Black the initiative in return. 7…Bg7 8.Nd2 Na6 Now with threats of …Nb4 and …Rb8, I have to return the pawn. 9.c3 Rb8 10.Qd3 Rxb2 11.Nc4 Rb8 12.e4 Preparing to complete development. 12…d6 13.Be2 0-0 14.0-0 Nc7 15.Rab1 Rxb1 16.Rxb1 e6 At this point I was worried about 16…Ba6, which would pin my c4-knight to the loose e2bishop and thus remove an important element from the queenside. The move 16…e6 seeks
counterplay in the center but weakens the d6-pawn, setting the table for the sacrifice two moves later. 17.Qg3 h6
18.Nxf7! A strong positional sacrifice that works because of Black’s move 16. In return for the knight, White gets a couple of pawns and threatens Rb8 too! 18…Rxf7 19.Nxd6 Rf8 20.Rb8 Qd7 Black is stepping on his own toes. 21.Nxc8 Rxc8 22.Rb7 exd5 23.Bg4 What could Black do? I was also threatening g6! 23…Qa4 24.h3 Making Luft to avoid the embarrassing back-rank mate that would follow after 24.Bxc8?? Qd1#. 24…Qxe4 If the rook moves, then White has Qxc7 with mate threats. 25.Bxc8 d4 26.cxd4 cxd4 27.Rxc7 Qe1+ 28.Kh2 Be5 29.Be6+ Saving my rook and leaving Black without any further serious threats. For instance, on 29…Kf8 30.Rf7+; or 29…Kh8 30.Rc8+ Kh7 31.f4 winning. 1-0 Jay Bonin – Tatiana Vayserberg Marshall Chess Club Chp, New York 2006 This game won the brilliancy prize for the 90th annual Marshall Chess Club Championship. On move 23, I sacrifice my queen, only to have her reappear three moves later on a8. 1.d4 f5
Black wants to play a Dutch, but I sidestep the main lines with an offbeat move. If instead 1…e6, seeking to reach the Dutch through a different move order, she will have to play a French after 2.e4. 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bg5 This bishop move is annoying for Dutch players to face, as it threatens not only to double their pawns and spoil their fun early, but also lays a not-so-subtle positional trap. For instance, if now 3…e6 then White can immediately respond with 4.e4!, when White will already have a lasting edge, having achieved the thematic pawn break on e4 against the Dutch at such an early stage in the opening. 3…d5 4.Bxf6 exf6 5.e3 Be6 Black prepares to go queenside, as castling kingside would give me attacking chances with a timely h2-h3 and g2-g4. 6.Bd3 Nc6 7.Qf3 Qd7 8.a3 0-0-0 Now I know where the black king lives and can begin to reroute my pieces accordingly. 9.Nge2 g6 10.Nf4 Bf7 11.Bb5 Not so much to pin the knight as to vacate the useful d3 square for my f4-knight to redeploy to the queenside. 11…Qd6 12.0-0 Here I considered taking the c6-knight and playing with the knight pair against the bishop pair in this semi-closed position, but then I thought that my b5-bishop had a bright future attacking Black’s king someday and decided to keep it after all. My opponent must have sensed that I was contemplating playing Bxc6, though, as on the very next move she denies me this exchange by retreating her knight to e7. 12…Ne7 13.b4
The race to attack begins! The logical result of opposite-side castling. Black will advance on the kingside while I will pressure the queenside.
13…h5 14.Nd3 g5 15.Nc5 g4 16.Qe2 Here 16.Qg3 would have ended Black’s kingside pressure, but after the exchange of queens it isn’t clear if White has anything on the queenside either. The text move is slightly inferior but keeps the tension. 16…f4 17.exf4 Nf5 18.Rfd1 Nh4 19.N3a4 I’m not going to protect my f4-pawn with 19.g3?, since it allows 19…Nf3+ followed by …h5-h4. Instead, I decide to stick to the program and marshal my queenside forces for a breakthrough. 19…Bh6 20.Rab1 Bxf4
21.Ba6! There’s no turning back. 21…bxa6 22.b5! This pawn turns out to be a choo-choo train, as it is immune from capture. If 22…axb5, then 23.Qxb5 and mate to follow, as the c5-knight controls the key escape square d7. 22…Rde8 This move misses the point and now White’s plan is unstoppable. Black could have fought harder with the calm and cool 22…Rd7!, when White’s position is still preferable, though with best play Black may have practical chances of surviving. One interesting line leads to a position where Black has three minors for the queen but is still worse due to poor piece coordination and a lack of king safety: 22…Rd7 23.b6 cxb6 (of course not 23…axb6 24.Qxa6+ Kd8 25.Nb7+, winning the queen) 24.Nxb6+ axb6 25.Qxa6+ Kc7 26.Nxd7 Bxh2+ 27.Kh1 Kxd7 28.Rxb6 Rc8 29.Rxd6+ Bxd6 30.Rb1. 23.b6 The final, pretty point: 23…axb6 24.Qxa6+ either mates or wins the queen. 23…Rxe2 24.bxa7
There is no stopping this pawn from reaching the promised land. 24…Bxh2+ 25.Kh1 Kd8 The only move that forestalls mate, as Rb8# is threatened. 26.a8Q+ Ke7 27.Qxh8 Nf5 28.Rb8 and Black resigns, as there is no answer to 29.Qf8#. 1-0 Jay Bonin – IM Alexander Ostrovskiy Marshall Chess Club, New York 2012 Alex and I have are both creatures of habit, and have played this opening many times. Despite that fact, he managed to surprise me with an enterprising sacrificial attack in this game after carefully building up pressure on the dark squares. My plan in this position after 9.Qc2 is to retain a central majority as a latent long-term threat and to grind out a simple edge in a long and boring game, but move 23 changed all that! 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.Nbd2 Bf5 5.Qb3 Qc7 6.e3 Nbd7 7.Bd3 e6
This move is going for sharpness rather than the bland position that occurs after 7…Bxd3 or the waiting move 7…Bg6. After the text move, Black will get saddled with doubled pawns following the bishop trade, but in return will gain an open e-file on which to place his rooks and apply pressure to White’s position. 8.Bxf5 exf5 9.Qc2 g6 10.cxd5 Nxd5 11.a3 A prophylactic move thrown in to preempt the harassing …Nb4. 11…Be7 12.0-0 0-0 13.b3 Bf6 14.Bb2 Rfe8 15.g3 Another prophylactic pawn push. This one takes the sting out of a possible …f5-f4 break, which is Black’s plan with the doubled pawns in this position. 15…a5 16.Rac1 Re7 17.Rfd1 Rae8 18.Nc4 Bg7 19.Ne1 This knight gets redeployed to d3 to support a b3-b4 pawn break. Black’s pieces look active, but where is the pawn break?
19…N7f6 20.Nd3 Ne4 21.b4 axb4 22.axb4 Bh6 23.Qb3 Getting ready to play 24.b5.
23…Nxg3!? Black has had enough of positional jockeying and, lacking useful pawn breaks, resorts to sacrifices to open my king up to attack. In fairness, this move is also the culmination of Black’s dark-square strategy and d-file pressure, and it contains some venom if White panics, though more correct appears to be 23…Nxf2!. 24.hxg3 Nxe3 25.Nxe3 Retaining pieces, but my engine prefers the calm 25.Re1 Re4 26.Ra1 Nxc4 27.Qxc4 Rxe1+ 28.Rxe1 Rxe1+ 29.Nxe1, which appears to simplify the position and refute outright the sacrifice on move 23. 25…Bxe3 26.Ne5 Bxc1 27.Rxc1 Qd6 28.b5 Qd5 The material is equal but unbalanced; more importantly, it looks like I have weathered the storm. Black’s last move is played in the hopes of bailing out into an endgame with a pawn majority, but my two minors turn out to be more than the rooks can handle. Also, the exchange of queens gives me control of the c-file and allows me to penetrate with a rook within three moves. 29.Qxd5 cxd5 30.Ba3 Re6 31.Rc7 Seventh Avenue! 31…f6 32.Nd7 Ra8 33.Bc5 Ra1+ 34.Kg2 g5
Black is hoping to set up a mating net with the moves …g5-g4 and …Re6-e1, but White has a mating net in mind too! 35.Nf8! Ree1 36.Nxh7 Re6 This move is forced, as I’m threatening mate in two after 37.Nxf6+ Kh8 38.Rh7#. 37.Bf8 The bishop joins in and completes the mating net. 37…g4 38.Bh6 Kh8 39.Nxf6! The final finesse. 40.Bg7# is threatened, and 39…Rxf6 40.Bg7+ will recover the piece with an easily won ending. 1-0 Jay Bonin – IM Timothy Taylor New York State Championship 2014 This game was played in the final round of the 2014 NYS Championship, one of many such championships in which I’ve competed. My opponent is a sharp and uncompromising player, so I knew going into this game that it would likely be a sharp fight. 1.d4 d5 2.Bg5 Nc6 3.e3 f6 4.Bh4 Nh6 5.c4 e6 6.Nc3 Nf5 7.Bd3 Not liking the position after 7.Bg3 h5, here I gambit a pawn to snuff out Black’s initiative. 7…dxc4 8.Bxf5 exf5 9.Nf3 Bb4 10.0-0 Bxc3 This exchange helps me strengthen my center, and my opponent may miss this bishop later on. 11.bxc3 Qd5 12.Nd2
Already the threat of f2-f3 and e3-e4 distracts my opponent, who tries to shore up the cpawn on the next move but allows a finesse that pins down his pieces to passive defense for a few moves. 12…b5 13.Qh5+ Qf7 14.Qf3 Bd7 15.a4 Rb8 16.axb5 Rxb5 17.Bg3 0-0 Returning the pawn to catch up in development, but now my passed d-pawn is scary. 18.Bxc7 Rc8 19.Bd6 Rb2 20.Rfd1
Defending the knight in the short term and placing the rook behind the passer for the long term. 20…Rc2 21.d5 Ne5 22.Bxe5 Trading advantages. My remaining knight is better than Tim’s bishop. 22…fxe5 23.e4 Rc7 24.d6 Rc6 25.exf5 Rxd6 Switching advantages again, now my focus is on the d-file. 26.Ne4 Rd3 Not 26…Rxd1?? 27.Qxd1 Rb2 28.Rxa7 Rb8 29.h4 Rd8 30.Nc5 Qxf5 31.Rxd7, and White wins easily.
27.Rxd3 cxd3 28.Qxd3 Ra2 Hoping to bail out with this move after exchanging the rooks, but I have… 29.Rb1 …and now the invasion on the b-file will be decisive. 29…h6 30.Rb8+ Be8
Forced to self-pin the bishop, as Tim realizes now, to his horror, that 30…Kh7 would be met by 31.Ng5+ hxg5 32.Qh3+ Qh5 33.Qxh5#. 31.g4 Ra1+ 32.Kg2 Qe7 33.Qd6 Kf8 34.f6 gxf6 35.Qxf6+ Qxf6 36.Nxf6 Ke7 37.Nxe8 a5 38.Ng7 a4 39.Nf5+ Kd7 40.Nxh6 Kc7 41.Rb4 a3 42.Rb3 a2 43.Ra3 1-0 With this win I was in good company, sharing second and third places with GM Maxim Dlugy. The New York State Champion that year: GM Gata Kamsky. Warren Wang – Jay Bonin Nassau Championship, New York 2014 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 I try to keep things solid against my youthful opponent. 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 g6 5.Nf3 a6 6.Bd3 Bg7 7.0-0 0-0 8.a3 I don’t quite understand this move. Better is 8.h3 with e3-e4 to follow. 8…Nbd7 9.h3 dxc4 I strike at the center first. 10.Bxc4 b5 11.Bd3 c5 12.d5 b4
White’s 12.d5 is interesting in that it leads to complications. 12…b4 is practically forced here, as I can’t afford to wait for White to play e3-e4 when his center would be overwhelming. 13.Ne2 Nxd5 14.Bxg6 hxg6 15.Qxd5 Rb8 16.Rd1 Qc7 17.axb4 Rxb4 18.Nf4 Nf6 I play this move to gain a tempo and to push the white queen around before White gets to play Nxg6. Thus far I’ve retained the bishop pair, but my king is under pressure. Here I am happy, as after the queen moves I will play …Bb7 and control the e4 square while White still hasn’t developed the c1-bishop. 19.Qd3 Bb7 20.Qe2 Rd8 21.Nd3 Rb3 Now I spoil it all with this move. 21…Rb5 was called for. 22.Nxc5 An overload combo, exploiting my b3-rook, which is hanging in some variations. 22…Bxf3 23.Qxf3 Rxd1+ 24.Qxd1 Rb8 25.Nxa6 Rd8
I was relying on this counter-shot to meet 25.Nxa6. 26.Qe2 Qd6 Suddenly I have counterplay despite the two-pawn deficit. The a6-knight can’t return to the
theater of operations, while the c1-bishop can’t be developed and …Qd1+ is a big threat. 27.b4? I don’t know what to recommend, but it’s certainly not this. Perhaps the simple 27.Qc2 would be good enough for a draw after, for instance, 27…Qd1+ 28.Qxd1 Rxd1+ 29.Kh2 Ne4 30.f3 Be5 31.f4 Bg7 32.Ra4 Nd6 33.Ra1 Ne4 34.Ra4 Nd6, etc. Another line that avoids repetition would be 27.Qc2 Qd1+ 28.Qxd1 Rxd1+ 29.Kh2 Ne4 30.f3 Be5 31.f4 Bg7 32.Ra4 Nd6 33.Ra1 Ne4 34.g4 Bxb2 35.Bxb2 Rd2+, recovering the piece and a pawn. This ending is likely drawn as well. 27…Qd1+ 28.Qf1 Ne4 Winning lots of material. 29.Rb1 Qxf1+ 30.Kxf1 Rd1+ 31.Ke2 Nc3+ 32.Kf3 Nxb1 0-1 Robert Hess – Jay Bonin Marshall Chess Club Chp, New York 2004 This game was played before Robert became a grandmaster, though he was already showing much promise as a young player at the time of this club championship. I was inspired to play the O’Kelly Sicilian by FM Asa Hoffmann. One of the main points of this variation is a positional trap – after the “normal” Sicilian moves, Black equalizes easily: 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 a6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Nb3 Bb4 and Black is equal already. 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 a6 3.g3 b5 4.Bg2 Bb7 5.d3 d6 6.0-0 g6 We have reached a Closed Sicilian by transposition. 7.Ng5 h6 8.Nh3 e6 9.f4 Ne7 10.Qe2 Nbc6 11.c3 f5
This move is double-edged and a little risky, but I don’t want to allow 12.g4 when White would have a dangerous initiative. 12.Re1 Qd7 13.a4 Bg7 14.axb5 axb5 15.Rxa8+ Bxa8 16.exf5 exf5 17.Na3 This move is played in the hope of exploiting the weak square b5.
17…b4 18.Nc4 0-0 19.Bd2 Another interesting line that leads to equality flows from the tempting 19.Nb6 Qa7 20.Nxa8 bxc3!. The idea is that Black is in no hurry to collect the trapped knight, which can be won at any time: 21.Bxc6 Nxc6 22.Qe6+ Kh7 23.bxc3 Bxc3 24.Qxd6 Rxa8 25.Re6 Bd4+ 26.Kf1 Qa1+ 27.Qxc6 Qxc1+ 28.Re1 Qa3=. 19…Rb8 20.cxb4 Weakening d4. I thought 20.Nf2 or possibly 20.Qe6 was OK for Black, but my young opponent wanted more! 20…cxb4 21.Qf2 Kh7 22.Kh1 Nd4 23.Bxa8 Rxa8 24.Nb6 Qb7+ 25.Qg2
White was relying on this move, but now there’s a surprise… 25…Qxb6! 26.Qxa8 Nec6 …and my knights are beasts. Another big worry for my opponent is stopping my queen from coming to d5 and invading the weak light squares. 27.Qe8? This allows an enveloping attack that is difficult to see coming. The calm and cool 27.Be3 would hold a draw by removing the dangerous d4-knight, as in 27.Be3 Qb5 28.Bxd4 Bxd4 29.Re2 Qd5+ 30.Rg2 Bxb2 31.Qb7+ Bg7 with a level if dynamic game. 27…Qb7 28.Rg1 Ne5+ 29.Rg2 Nxd3 30.Kg1 Nf3+ 31.Kf1 Qa6 32.Re2 An odd-looking move, though 32.Qe2 would be met by the devastating 32…Qa1+. 32…Nxd2+ 33.Rxd2 Nxf4+ Decisive. 34.Ke1 Nxh3 35.Qd7 Ng5 36.Rxd6 Qa1+ 37.Rd1 Qxb2 38.h4 Ne4 Mate is coming. 0-1 Jay Bonin – IM Bobby Kurniawan
New York 2011 What would a collection of my most complex games be without a King’s Indian Defense? I used to favor these sharp lines; these days, as White I tend to play the infinitely less interesting Exchange Variation with dxe5. This game features everything you could possibly want from a classic KID melee: White penetrates on the queenside with a pair of knights, while Black opens the g-file and attacks the king at all costs. After the dust settles, however, I manage to find a long sequence of checks that chases Black’s king to nearly all corners of the board in search of refuge: a real thriller! 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 0-0 5.e4 d6 6.Be2 e5 7.0-0 Nc6 8.d5 Ne7 9.Nd2 Ne8 10.b4 f5 11.c5 Nf6 12.f3 f4 13.Nc4 g5 14.a4 h5 15.Ba3 Ne8 16.b5 b6
Black’s last move, 16…b6, is interesting but also gives me an extra pawn break with the a4-a5 push. Possibly 16…dxc5 is preferable, when White’s queenside attack will take a few more moves to become a threat again. 17.cxd6 cxd6 18.Bb4 Rb8 19.a5 Rf6 20.axb6 axb6 21.Na4 The idea behind this move: 22.Naxb6 followed by 23.Ba5. 21…Bd7 22.Ncxb6 Rxb6 23.Ba5 Nc8 24.Rc1 Threatening to capture the knight. 24…Rg6 25.Rxc8
This looks natural, but it misses a winning finesse. Better is 25.Nxb6 Nxb6 26.Rc6!! Bxc6 27.bxc6 Bf6 28.Qb3 Kf8 29.Qxb6 and White wins. 25…Qxc8 26.Bxb6 Black escapes into an equal ending after the alternative 26.Nxb6 Qc5+ 27.Rf2 Bxb5 28.Bxb5 Qxb5 29.Qa4 Qxa4 30.Nxa4. 26…g4 27.Kh1 g3 28.Qc1 Qa8 Understandably, Black is not interested in a queen trade. In such positions, it’s attack or die! 29.Qc4 gxh2 30.Rc1 h4 31.Bf1 Bf6 32.Bf2 h3 33.gxh3 Qd8 34.Nb6 Bh4 35.Nxd7 Giving up this beautiful knight for Black’s bad light-squared bishop feels risky, but it is consistent with my idea of playing on the light squares. 35…Bxf2 36.Qc8 Qe7 37.Rc7 Kh8 At first glance, 37…Kh8 appears enigmatic, as a weaker player might try to win the f1bishop only to find himself down a queen a few moves later, as in the line 37…Rg1+ 38.Kxh2 Rxf1 39.Nf6+ Kf8 40.Nh7+ Qxh7 41.Rxh7. 38.Nf6 Qxc7 39.Qxe8+ Kg7 40.Nd7 Qc1 41.Qf8+ Kh7 42.Qf7+ Kh6 Not 42…Rg7 43.Nf6 Kh8 44.Qf8+ Rg8 45.Qxg8#. 43.Qf8+ Kh5 On 43…Kh7, I think I have to take a draw. 44.Qh8+ Rh6 45.Qe8+ Kh4 46.Qe7+ Kg3 46…Kh5. 47.Qg5+ Kxf3 48.Qg4+ Kxe4 49.Qe2+ Kxd5 50.Qa2+ Ke4 51.Qxf2 With this move, I am out of the woods and have managed to retain my b-pawn as well.
51…Kf5 52.b6 Rg6??
52…Qb1 is necessary to hold the position level. Houdini gives the following study-like line: 52…Qb1 53.Kxh2 Qb3 54.h4 Ke6 55.Bh3+ Kf7 56.Bg4 Rh8 57.h5 Ra8 58.b7 Ra2 59.Be2 Rxe2 60.Qxe2 Qg3+ 61.Kh1 f3 62.Qa2+ Ke7 63.Nxe5 Qe1+ 64.Kh2 Qh4+ 65.Kg1 Qe1+ 66.Kh2 Qh4+ 67.Kg1 Qe1+=. With the natural if incorrect text move 52…Rg6, White is able to attack the black king with a harassing series of checks once more after finally getting the chance to kill the pawn that has been haunting the white king on h2. 53.Kxh2 Qc6 This allows a pretty sequence. 54.Bd3+ e4 55.Qf3! Exploiting a double pin. If 55…d5, then e5 becomes a square for my Bonin Knight. 55…Rg3 56.Qh5+ Ke6 57.Qe8+ Kf5 58.Qf7+ Kg5 59.Qf6+ Kh5 60.Qf5+ Either winning the rook or mating. 60…Kh6 61.Qxf4+ 1-0 FM Raul Allicock – Jay Bonin New York 2012 The following game is an oddball Modern Defense in which I leave my king in the center for quite a while. Not thinking about castling, I instead advance a queenside pawn storm in a high-risk attempt to discourage my opponent from playing 0-0-0. Having achieved this objective, I then let him get a strong kingside attack that requires a queen sacrifice on my part to escape. 1.d4 d6 2.e4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.Be3 c6 5.Qd2 b5 6.Bd3 Bb7 7.Nf3 Nd7 8.0-0 a6 9.Rfe1 c5 10.a4 b4 11.Na2 Qc7 12.c4 Ngf6 13.d5
Now the center and the queenside are locked up. All the chips are on the kingside. 13…0-0 14.Bh6 e5 15.Nc1 a5 16.Ne2 Nh5 17.Bxg7 Kxg7 18.g4 Nhf6 19.Qg5 h6 20.Qh4 Nb6 21.Kh1? A mistake. White should batten down the hatches with 21.b3. Missing this idea allows Black to create counterplay on the queenside, where I didn’t really deserve it. Now 21…Qd7 wins a pawn and gives me hopes for a queenside offensive. 21…Qd7 22.Rg1 If 22.h3, Black plays 22…Nxa4 anyway, sticking with the program of a queenside breakthrough. 22…Nxa4 23.Ng3 Nxb2 Sure, why not? I’ve made my bed so I must lie in it. 24.Nf5+ Qxf5!
This queen sac slows down White’s attack and now my connected passers will have some say. 25.gxf5 Nxd3 26.Nd2 a4 27.Kg2 Nf4+ 28.Kf1 Rfb8 29.Ke1 Clearly in defensive mode now, White tries to run the king over to the queenside.
29…Bc8 30.Kd1 Bd7 31.f3 a3 32.Kc2 a2 Making way for the rook to penetrate to the a3 square. 33.fxg6 fxg6 34.Rg4
Perhaps White played this in the hope that I would take the g4-rook and miss the winning continuation. 34…Ba4+ 35.Nb3 35.Kb2 Nd3+ wins in similar fashion. 35…Bxb3+ 36.Kxb3 Ra3+ 37.Kc2 Rc3+ 38.Kd2 Rd3+ 39.Kc1 b3 And the pawns come rolling through. 0-1 Jay Bonin – GM Maurice Ashley Manhattan International 1988 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Nf3 c5 8.Bb5+ My pet variation against the Grünfeld. 8…Nc6 9.0-0 cxd4 10.cxd4 0-0 11.Be3 Bg4 12.Bxc6 bxc6 13.Rc1 Rc8 14.e5 Be6 15.Qa4 It’s not so much the c6-pawn, but the c5 square that I’m interested in. 15…Bd5 16.Nd2 Qd7 17.f3 Rb8 18.Nb3 Qf5 19.Nc5 Rb2 20.Rf2 Rxf2 21.Kxf2 f6 22.e6
An important moment in the game. Objectively speaking, 22.exf6 is likely better; however, the text move is much more dynamic and also contains some venom, as 22…Bxe6 is met by 23.g4!. 22…Qh5 23.Qxa7 Qxh2 24.Qxe7 f5 This might be the best chance to play for a win over the board, as now my king will be more exposed to an attack. However, Black also had the solid 24…Qh4+ 25.Ke2 Qg3 26.Rg1 Qb8 27.Kf2, and now 27…f5. 25.Nd7 f4 26.Nxf8 Qg3+ 27.Ke2 The only move. Now I run the gauntlet. 27…Qxg2+ 28.Bf2 Qxf3+ 29.Ke1 Qh1+ 30.Kd2 Qg2 31.Qf7+ Kh8 32.Qxf4 I think I’m safe, but – 32…Bh6
Maurice has one more trick up his sleeve. The tempting 33.Nxg6+ would of course lose on the spot to 33…Qxg6. Now I need only find a refuge from the checks after capturing the bishop. 33.Qxh6 Qxf2+ 34.Kc3 Qg3+ 35.Kb4 Qd6+ 36.Ka4
Finally, the checks run out and my extra rook will soon decide. 1-0 IM Jay Bonin – FM Asa Hoffmann New York Open 1993 Here is a game against my colleague, Asa Hoffmann. I’ve known Asa since the 1970s, and I’ve learned and picked up a few opening ideas from him over the years, such as the Pribyl, the Czech Benoni, and the O’Kelly Sicilian. Asa certainly is one of the more interesting chess personalities, and that comes through in his style over the board. This particular game features an offbeat defense sometimes called “The Rat.” GM Yasser Seirawan has been known to play it, as well as local New York legend FM Boris Privman. In this opening, it’s best to avoid the early queen trade and instead play 3.Nf3, inducing Black’s e-pawn forward and inviting complications. 1.d4 d6 2.c4 e5 3.Nf3 e4 4.Ng5 f5 5.Nh3 Be7 If 5…Nf6, then 6.Bg5 and White has a good position. 6.Nc3 c6 Asa cleverly continues to avoid …Nf6, frustrating my simple plan of development. Accordingly, I look for useful waiting moves and build up a queenside offensive. 7.Rb1 Na6 8.b4 Nc7 9.b5 Nf6 10.bxc6 bxc6 11.e3 After waiting so long for Black to play …Nf6 so that I could reply with Bg5, now I have to switch gears, as 11.Bg5 is met by 11…Ne6!. 11…0-0 12.Ba3 Getting my bad bishop to an active post. 12…Qe8 13.Be2 Kh8 14.0-0 Finally I’ve managed to castle: “Castle if you must, or if you want to, but not because you can.” – Hans Berliner. 14…Qf7 15.Qa4 Bd7
The battle lines are drawn. My play will be on the queenside, while Asa develops a kingside attack. 16.Qa5 Nce8 17.f3?! This move is a little too frisky. I should stick with the program and put a rook on Seventh Avenue with 17.Rb7. 17…exf3 18.Bxf3!? Here I offer Asa a pawn, which is nice of me. 18.Rxf3 or 18.gxf3 are also good, but the game move brings more pressure to the queenside in exchange for the temporary loss of a pawn. 18…Qxc4 19.Be2 Qe6 20.Rf3 Bd8 21.Qa6 Bb6 Asa sets a trap! The tempting 22.Rxb6 will be met by 22…Nc7!, winning a tempo off the queen, connecting the rooks, and netting the exchange, although 23.Nf4 Qf7 24.Qb7 axb6 25.Bxd6 Rfc8 26.Bxc7 Be8 27.Qxb6 Qxc7 28.Qc5 Bf7 still leads to an unclear ending. 22.Nf4 Qf7 If the queen goes to e7, she will be pinned. 23.Bc4 d5 24.Bxf8 Qxf8 There’s no need to recapture immediately. Better for Black is activating his pieces with 24…Nc7! 25.Qa3 Qxf8 26.Qxf8 Rxf8, with a level if unbalanced game. Less clear would be 24…Nc7 25.Qa3 dxc4, when White may hold an edge in material but the position is very complex and Black might have adequate compensation in the form of a kingside attack. 25.Rh3 Qd6 26.Rxb6 Now this works. If 26…Nc7, then a familiar pattern appears in the garden of forking paths: 27.Ng6+ Kg8 28.Nxd5 Nfxd5 29.Rxc6 Bxc6 30.Qxc6 Qxc6 31.Ne7+ Kf8 32.Nxc6. 26…axb6 27.Qxa8 dxc4 28.Ng6+ Kg8 29.Ne5 f4
The solid 29…b5 is an obvious alternative; however, with this move, Asa finds the best
chance to complicate a difficult position. 30.Nxd7 Qxd7 31.Qb8 fxe3 32.Qxb6 Now I need to keep an eye on his passed e-pawn. 32…Qe6 33.Qb1 Nd6 34.Rf3 Nb5 35.Ne2 Protecting my d4-pawn, as it’s important to keep pawns on the board and not allow Black to escape into a drawn ending. Next, I intend to play my trump card: the outside passed pawn on the a-file. 35…Nd5 36.a4 Nd6 37.Qb8+ Ne8 38.a5 c3 39.a6 c2 40.Rf1 And now it’s my turn to press. Black’s king is hemmed in by White’s rook, while the pinned e8-knight doesn’t contribute to Black’s defense either. 40…Ndc7 41.a7 Qa2 42.a8Q
Of course now is the time to push. After all the complications, I just simplify into a technical win with 42.a8Q. Also interesting to consider is 42.a8N due to the pin; however, it would likely transpose after 42…Qxa8 43.Qxa8 Nxa8 when we would reach the same position as in the game. 42…Qxa8 43.Qxa8 Nxa8 44.Rc1 Both c-pawns will fall and the passed d-pawn will decide. 44…Nac7 45.Rxc2 Nd5 46.Rxc6 Nef6 47.Nc3 Nf4 48.g3 e2 49.Kf2 Ng4+ 50.Ke1 Ng6 51.Ne4 No hurry here, as Ng5 is threatened. 51…Ne7 52.Re6 Nf5 53.Ng5 Nf6 54.Ra6 Kf8 55.Nf3 Everything’s defended and I scoop up the e-pawn. Up an exchange and with a protected passed pawn, the win from here is a simple matter of technique. 1-0 Jay Bonin – David Abramson
Marshall Chess Club Summer Fun 1991 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2 c5 7.d5 e6 8.0-0 exd5 9.cxd5 a6 10.a4 Bg4 Funny – I get a taste of my own medicine as I, too, play this line. 11.Bf4 Bxf3 12.Bxf3 Qe7 12…Ne8 would prevent White’s next move. 13.e5 dxe5 14.d6 Qe6 15.Re1 Nbd7 16.Bxb7
I win my pawn back and emerge with the bishop pair. 16…Rab8? 16…Ra7 is better, as now my passed a-pawn will be a long-term threat. 17.Bxa6 Rxb2 18.Bb5 Qf5? 18…Rb8 holds the position for Black. After the text move, Black loses control of the d5 square, which will prove painful two moves later. 19.Be3 Ng4 20.Nd5 Kh8 21.Bxd7 Qxd7 22.Bxc5 Rc8 23.Nb6 Rxb6 24.Bxb6 Rc6 25.a5 Rxd6
26.a6!! This move simply wins, as now if 26…Rxd1, then 27.Rexd1 followed by a6-a7 and Rd8+. 1-0 IM Kamran Shirazi – Jay Bonin New York 1990 My opponent here is a very aggressive romantic-style player. I’m always on the edge of my seat against such opponents, as their style is the opposite of my own. The opening he plays here is a Shirazi specialty. I remembered his quick loss to Jack Peters in the 1984 U.S. Championship following 1.e4 c5 2.b4 cb4 3.a3 d5 4.exd5 Qxd5 5.axb4?? Qe5+, winning a rook. His move order in this game prevents that premature fate. 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.b4 cxb4 4.d4 d5 5.exd5 Qxd5 6.c4 bxc3 7.Nxc3 Qa5 8.d5 e6 9.Bd2 Bb4 10.Qc1 exd5 11.a3 Bd6 12.Bb5 Nge7 13.Ne4 With this move, Kamran ensures that he will get the dark squares. 13…Qd8 14.Nxd6+ Qxd6 15.Bb4 Qf6 16.0-0 0-0 17.Bxc6 bxc6 18.Re1 Re8 19.Qc5 White is not interested in winning back the pawn at the expense of the initiative. 19…Be6 20.Bc3 Qf4 21.Nd4 Nf5 22.g3 This weakens the light squares. If 22.Nxc6, then I have 22…Rac8 with the idea of …d5d4. 22…Qd6 23.Qxd6 Nxd6
I am happy to have reached a queenless middlegame where White’s initiative will begin to peter out. If I can retain a passed pawn, then I will be able to create some winning chances by threatening to push it. 24.Bb4 Ne4 25.Nxc6 a5 A good distraction move. 26.Nxa5
Now the knight will not be going to the more useful d4 square anytime soon. 26…Ng5 Suddenly the tide is turning, as now I have counterplay on the light squares. 27.Rec1 d4 Here it occurred to me that I should push. The reason is not so much to advance the pawn as that my bishop would look nice on d5. 28.Rc5 h6 How convenient! This move is protecting my knight and making Luft at the same time. 29.Nc6 Bh3 30.f4 Not wanting to be tied down to the back rank, Kamran tries to make his own Luft, but the seventh rank is very weak now. 30…Nf3+ 31.Kf2 Forced: 31.Kh1 Re2. 31…Nxh2 32.Rh5 Bd7 33.Ne7+ Rxe7 34.Bxe7 Ng4+ 35.Kg1 f5 This move cuts off the h5-rook and supports my attack on the light squares. 36.Rd1
A natural but imprecise move that allows my rook to penetrate into the white camp. It was still possible to bail out into a bishops-of-opposite-color ending with 36.Bc5! d3 37.Rd1 Rb8 (37…Rc8 38.Rxd3!) 38.Bb4 Rc8 39.Rh4 Ba4 40.Rxg4 Bxd1 41.Rg6 Bf3 42.Kf2 Be4 43.Bd2. 36…Rc8 There is no stopping the rook from coming to c2. If White tries to occupy the second rank with his rook, he gets mated – 37.Rd2 Rc1+ 38.Kg2 Bc6+ 39.Kh3 Rh1+ 40.Rh2 Rxh2#.
37.Bb4 Rc2 38.Rh4 Ne3 39.Rxd4 Rg2+ 40.Kh1 Bc6 The mating net is now complete. 41.Rd6 Bf3 42.g4 Rxg4+ 43.Kh2 Nf1+ 44.Kh3 Bg2# 0-1 It’s worth noting that I missed a slightly shorter mate: 42…Rg3+ 43.Kh2 Nf1#. Jay Bonin – FM Ronald Young New York Championship 1989 This game was played at the now-shuttered Manhattan Chess Club, when it was located in the Carnegie Hall office building. In this game, Ronald Young cleverly avoids my pet line against the Grünfeld, luring me out of my comfort zone and into a complex middlegame. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Nf3 0-0 Avoiding my pet line 7…c5 8.Bb5+ that we saw earlier in this chapter. 8.Be2 c5 9.Rb1 Qa5 10.0-0 Back then I was young and frisky. Today I would play 10.Qd2, heading for an early endgame after the exchange of queens. 10…Qxa2 The battle lines are drawn. By taking the pawn, Black will fall behind in development but in return has an outside passed pawn as well as pressure against White’s big center. 11.Bg5 Qe6 12.e5 Rd8 13.Qa4 Hoping to get in 14.Bc4. 13…Nc6 If 13…Bd7, then 14.Qa3 cxd4 15.cxd4 and two pawns are hanging. Another line might be 13…Bd7 14.Qa3 b6 15.Rbd1, when White will maintain a big center. 14.d5 Rxd5 Not 14…Qxd5 15.Rfd1. 15.Bc4 b5?!
Black’s move is an attempt to muddy the waters with complications, though it turns out to not work. A better try would be 15…h6, with the idea that if (for instance) 16.Be3, then Black can save the exchange with 16…Qg4! pinning the bishop to the queen. More accurate is 15… h6 16.Bxh6!, when Black would have to simplify into a slightly worse game. 16.Qxb5 Bd7 17.Qb7 Rd8 Not 17…Rb8 18.Qxb8, winning the house. 18.Bxd5 Qxd5 19.Rbd1 Qe6 20.Qc7 a5 21.Rd2 Kf8 22.Rfd1 Ke8 23.Be3 Nxe5
Black has defended stubbornly, but now he is in a kind of Zugzwang as he has no useful moves and cannot resolve the pressure on the d-file. The simple 24.Qb7 or 24.Qxc5 would win a decisive amount of material, for example 24.Qb7 Qc6 25.Rxd7 Qxd7 (of course, 25… Rxd7 leads to mate after 26.Qb8+; while 25…Nxf3+ 26.gxf3 only delays matters by a single move) 26.Rxd7 Rxd7 27.Qb8+ Rd8 28.Qb5+ Kf8 29.Nd2, and White wins easily. Unfortunately, I missed this idea and played the much less accurate 24.Nxe5, allowing Black to crawl back from the grave. 24.Nxe5? Bxe5 25.Qxc5 Bd6 Shielding the d-file. 26.Qxa5 Bc6 27.Qb6 Qe4 28.f3 Qc4 29.Kh1 Qxc3 30.Bd4 Qc4 31.Bc5 Qb5
Here I should just trade and try to win a long, drawn-out technical endgame, as in 32.Qxb5 Bxb5 33.Bxd6 exd6 34.Rxd6 Ra8 when only White has winning chances and Black will suffer. However, I overestimated my winning chances after keeping the queens on the board. 32.Qa7? Ra8!
This is the move that I missed. Now I must return the exchange and Black has come back almost to equality! 33.Rxd6 exd6 Not 33…Ra7 34.Rd8#. 34.Re1+ Kf8 35.Qe7+ Kg8 36.Qxd6 h6?! Amazingly, I’m slightly better here as Black has weak dark squares. The move 36…h6 was an attempt to address this weakness by giving the king some refuge on the light squares. However, Black lacked the time for this move and instead needed to marshal his forces for defense with either 36…Bd7 or 36…Qa5. 37.h3 Qb7?? A fatal error that allows me to control the dark squares with 38.Bd4!. Better was sticking to the program with 37…Kh7. 38.Re7 A natural move, but an inaccuracy that misses the crushing 38.Bd4!. 38…Qb5 39.Qf6 With the idea of playing Bd4 now. 39…Qb1+ 40.Kh2 Qf5 41.Qxc6 After winning the bishop, I will have to endure a few checks, but my king will easily reach safety and the result is now clear. 41…Qf4+ 42.Kg1 Ra1+ 43.Kf2 Qh4+ 44.g3 Ra2+ 45.Re2 Rxe2+ 46.Kxe2 Qxg3
47.Qe8+ Kg7 48.Bd4+ f6 49.Qe7+ Kg8 50.Qe6+ Kf8 51.Qxf6+ and 1-0 as 51…Kg8 loses to 52.Qg7#, while 51…Ke8 52.Qe5+ will force the trade of queens. Jay Bonin – Majur Juac Marshall Grand Prix 2012 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 c5 3.d5 d6 4.Nc3 g6 5.e4 Bg7 6.Bb5+ Nbd7 7.a4 0-0 8.0-0 a6 9.Be2 Qc7 10.h3 A useful waiting move, taking away g4 from Black’s pieces, and making Luft. 10…b6 11.Bf4 h6 12.Nd2 I want to use the c4 square for my knight, which is why I often refrain from putting a pawn on that square on the second move of the game. 12…Ne5 13.Bh2 g5
This move does not stop me from playing 14.f4. Instead, it only makes the advance stronger. 14.f4 gxf4 15.Bxf4 Ng6 16.Be3 Kh7 Now the h6-pawn is a big target. 17.Kh1 Nd7 Black has gained use of the e5 square, but not much else as his queenside pressure amounts to little more than a paper dragon. 18.Bg4 Nde5 19.Bxc8 Raxc8 20.Qh5 e6 Black has never fully equalized, and now Majur seeks counterplay by opening the e-file. However, this will leave the f5 square weak. Better was the Benoni-like 20…b5. 21.Rf2 Qe7 22.g3 Qb7
With the idea of pushing …b6-b5. Black has managed to achieve balanced play now, as my last few moves were slow. I could have instead played for an all-out attack with 21.g4!. 23.Raf1 b5 24.axb5 axb5 25.Nf3 b4
And now the fun begins. The position is about equal, but razor-sharp – whoever blinks first will get cut. 26.Nxe5 Nxe5 Not 26…bxc3 27.Nxf7. 27.Nd1 exd5 This allows White to have too much pressure. Black wins the d-pawn, but weakens d5 and f5. Better are the solid 27…f6 or the ambitious 27…f5!, both moves addressing the pressure on the f-file. Black’s king now comes under tremendous pressure. 28.Bxh6! Bxh6?! Incredibly, 28…d4 is good enough to force a complicated ending that is hardly clear after 29.Bxg7+ Kxg7 30.Qg5+ Ng6 31.h4 Rce8 32.h5 Qxe4+ 33.Kg1 Re6 34.Rf6 Re5 35.R6f5 Rxf5 36.Rxf5 Qe1+ 37.Rf1 Qe7 38.Qg4 Qe6 39.Qxe6 fxe6 40.hxg6:
Black’s dangerous pawn mass provides just enough compensation to create headaches for White. Luckily, I did not have to solve this problem, as my opponent instead played the more natural 28…Bxh6. 29.Rf6 Ng6 30.Ne3 d4 31.Ng4 Qxe4+ 32.Kg1 Kg7 33.Qxh6+ Kg8 34.R6f4 This move wins the queen, though also possible was the cute 34.Rxd6. 34…Qe3+ 35.Nxe3 dxe3 36.Rxf7 Rxf7 37.Qxg6+ Rg7 38.Qe6+ 1-0 Jay Bonin – Tim Hoang New York 2012 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.Nbd2 I fell in love with this move late in my career, as passive as it looks, because it discourages …dxc4. 4.Nc3 is the main line, though too well analyzed. With the text move, my opponent is now in Bonin territory. 4…Bf5 5.Qb3 Qc7
5…Qb6 is played more than it deserves; even the quietest-looking position can harbor a trap. I respond with 6.Nh4, and if the light-squared bishop retreats to g6, then 7.Qh3 gives White a winning position. 6.e3 e6 7.Bd3 Bg6 8.0-0 Nbd7 9.Re1 Ne4 Not letting me play e3-e4. It gets complicated now. 10.Bxe4 dxe4 11.Ng5 Nf6 12.Qc2 Looks like I’m winning a pawn, but… 12…Qa5 I missed this move, which defends the pawn by tactical means and hits my g5-knight. The point is that my e1-rook is a big problem. 13.c5
Not happy to give up the d5 square, but on the other hand now possibilities based on b4-b5 appear on the horizon. 13…h6 14.Nh3 Nd5 15.a3 f5 16.b4 Qc7 17.Nc4 Be7 18.Ne5 Bh7 19.Nf4 Finally getting the knight back into the game. Black should take it now, but instead plays 19…Qc8 20.Nfg6 Rg8
The “Bonin Knights” are causing some mischief around the uncastled black king; however, Black will be able to exchange a bishop for at least one of them. Here 21.Nxe7 is best, as retaining the strong knight on e5 would ensure a solid edge in this position. Instead, I get a little positionally greedy and within a few moves the momentum shifts over to my opponent. 21.Rb1?! Bf6 22.Bd2 Bxg6 23.Nxg6 Kf7 24.Ne5+ Bxe5 25.dxe5 Qc7 26.Bc3 Rgc8 27.Bd4 b5
In stark contrast to the position after move 20, it is now Black who has a good knight against White’s bad bishop. My opponent now locks up the queenside with the idea of firming up his edge, but now the attack comes from a different direction. 28.f3! exf3 29.e4 fxe4 30.Qxe4 f2+ If 30…fxg2 31.Qh7 Rf8 (not 31…Rh8 32.Rf1! gxf1Q+ 33.Rxf1+ and White wins) 32.Kxg2 Nf4+ 33.Kh1, when Black has an advantage and the queen will soon penetrate along the d-
file. 31.Bxf2 a5 32.Rb3 Kg8 Finally castling by hand – but into an attack. 33.Qg4 Re8 34.Rh3 Kh8 35.Qg6 axb4 36.Re4 Rxa3?? An odd blunder that ends this otherwise interesting fight too soon. I had thought that 36… bxa3 could be met by 37.R4h4 and Rxh6+. However, Black has the simple 37…Re7, when he enjoys a winning position. Instead, he hangs a rook. 37.Qxe8+ 1-0 David Brodsky – Jay Bonin Marshall Chess Club Championship 2014 The French Defense is not for the faint of heart. Black gets a cramped position and a bad bishop, and it is unclear where his king is going to live. No one should have these kinds of problems in the opening – so, why would I willingly do this to myself? Sometimes, unorthodox moves can give your opponent a false sense of security. In the following game, I am eventually able to solve these problems and generate a counterattack, but only with a little help from my opponent. 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Be3 a6 8.Qd2 b5 9.Be2 Qb6 10.Nd1 Not sure about the future of this knight. Either 10.a3 or castling seems more natural. 10…a5 Preparing to activate my bad bishop and press on the queenside. Passive defense is doomed to fail in this kind of position: the only chance for survival is counterattacking with every piece that can be marshaled. 11.c3 Ba6 12.0-0 b4 13.Bxa6 Qxa6 One problem solved. 14.f5 Understandably, he wants to punish me for not castling. 14…a4
A critical moment. White has pressure on the kingside, which he can press with 15.fxe6 fxe6 16.Ng5 cxd4 17.cxd4 Nd8 18.Rc1 Be7 19.Qc2 Bxg5 20.Bxg5, when White would hold all the cards. 15.fxe6 fxe6 16.Bf2?! Best here is 16.Ng5 as in the line given in the previous note, though another idea would be the natural 16.Rc1 – or even the clever 16.a3 to block the a-file and limit Black’s queenside pressure. The text move blocks the f-file, which is where White’s pressure should be. 16…a3 17.Ng5 axb2 18.Nxb2 bxc3 19.Qxc3 cxd4 20.Qh3 Obviously not 20.Bxd4 Nxd4 21.Qxd4 Bc5, winning the queen. 20…Nd8 21.Nxh7 Looks like White got his attack after all, and he threatens Nf6 and Qh5+. What to do? 21…Kf7! A difficult move to find. I castle by hand, walking into several different possible checks. Now, only 22.Qf3+ retains an edge for White, as the other checks allow me to regroup my forces and defend adequately. 22.Bh4+?! Kg8 23.Nxf8 Nxf8 24.Qg4 Nf7 25.Qxd4 Nxe5 26.Qxe5 Rxh4 Not 26…Ng6 27.Qc7! Rxh4 28.Rf7 Rh7, when Black is reduced to passive defense. 27.Rac1 Re4
The b2-knight will be tactically exploited now to tie White into knots. 28.Qh5 Qb6+ 29.Rf2 Forced, as otherwise the b2-knight falls, but the pin is decisive. 29…Rf4 30.Rcf1 Rxa2 31.g3 Rf5 32.Qe8 White resigned a few moves later. 0-1 Eugene Jarva – Jay Bonin Nassau Grand Prix 2015 In this game, White employs a very quiet system and until move 16 it looks like perhaps it should be in another chapter. However, this near-miniature quickly builds up to a crescendo of complications on every move after move 15, with resignation coming just six moves later. 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.d4 d6 3.e3 g6 4.b3 Bg7 5.Bb2 0-0 6.Bd3 Nbd7 7.0-0 c5 I can also play 7…e5 here and if 8.dxe5, then 8…Ng4 exploiting the pin on the diagonal. 8.c4 e6 Deterring d4-d5. 9.Nbd2 b6 10.Re1 Bb7 11.Rc1 a6 12.a4 Maybe 12.a3 or even 12.h3, continuing the waiting policy. 12…Re8 13.e4 Worried about …e5-e4, White blinks first. Perhaps he should have developed the king’s bishop to e2 instead of d3. 13…cxd4 14.Bxd4 Nc5 My knight gets a square. 15.Bb1 Rc8
Developing my last piece. 16.e5 I don’t know what to recommend here, maybe 16.h3. Instead, my opponent loses patience and overextends. 16…Ng4
Now White’s position collapses. 17.exd6 Bxd4 18.Nxd4 Qh4 Instead of recapturing the pawn right away, my queen finds two weaknesses near White’s barely defended king. My guess is that White overlooked this in-between move. 19.N2f3 Qxf2+ 20.Kh1 e5 21.Re2? White was relying on this, but there is… 21…exd4! The final rejoinder, after which I will emerge up a piece. 0-1
Oh, No – Not You Again! e are all creatures of habit, with our own typical day-to-day routines. For instance, mine: I wake up, walk three-quarters of a mile to my favorite restaurant in the neighborhood where I live, and order three eggs with Canadian bacon and wholewheat toast, dry. I do this a few times a week pretty consistently. But sometimes I’ll go offscript and substitute a ham steak for the Canadian bacon just to change it up a little and keep the wait staff on their toes. After my full English breakfast, I often find myself traveling to the Nassau County Chess Club, the Queens Chess Club, or the Marshall Chess Club (a club that I’ve been attending regularly for over forty years). Whether it’s the Thursday night action tournament, a blitz event, a Grand Prix – whatever it is, like death and taxes, if you’re a chessplayer in New York City, one thing you can be certain of is that Jay Bonin will be in your chess tournament. Most psychologically challenging for me as a frequent tournament player is facing a particular opponent multiple times in only a short period of time – sometimes as many as four times in a week! I’m very wary of repeating the same variation in back-to-back games; I always hope to get the opposite color for the next encounter. It’s important to steer the position into channels that you like while taking your opponent out of their comfort zone, something that is easier to accomplish against a player whom you know and have faced many times. When I encounter the same opponent three or four times in a week, and sometimes with the same color, I’m presented with a question: Should I switch it up, or do I risk repeating the same opening variation? I usually go with common sense and switch it up because, if my opponent is diligent enough, he may have found a way to improve on his previous play. If a player loses a game, he or she can study the opening and see if there was a mistake somewhere. If I repeat the variation, my opponent might have an improvement ready, so I deny them the chance to show me what they’ve learned since our last meeting and instead give them a new problem to solve. Here is a selection of games against some of my most frequent opponents, illustrating both how I switch it up and what happens when I don’t.
Jay Bonin – IM Justin Sarkar New York 2015 In the first two games, I meet the talented IM Justin Sarkar. He is always very well prepared, and is incredibly tenacious over the board in original positions as well. Add to this the fact that he has a natural knack for the endgame and it becomes clear that Justin may very well be America’s next GM, if he isn’t already by the time of publication. I’ve held my own in many G/30s against Justin due to time pressure. The following win was encouraging, but it gave me a false sense of security entering the next game in which I trot out the same variation. If you follow baseball, you’ll notice that pitchers will throw fastballs, but then throw curveballs, sliders, changeups – all to keep the batter guessing. In chess, it’s important to keep them guessing too. In this pair of games, I make the mistake of throwing a fastball twice and get punished for it.
1.b3 e5 2.Bb2 Nc6 3.e3 Nf6 4.Bb5 Bd6 I have been seeing this move a lot lately. You can almost call it theory. Black’s idea is to overprotect his e-pawn, though the obvious drawback is that the bishop is awkwardly placed in front of the d-pawn. 5.Na3 This odd-looking move has the idea of bringing the knight to c4, a useful square that puts pressure on both the e5-pawn and the awkwardly placed bishop on d6. By developing the knight to a3, White also leaves his dark-squared bishop unobstructed. 5…Na5 Black moves his knight to avoid doubled pawns. 6.Nh3
I might as well develop my knight to this odd square, since the c8-bishop can’t chop it off and double my pawns anytime soon. An obvious plan behind this move is to play f2-f4 at some point. A more natural, but incorrect, alternative was tried in Sakaev – Sveshnikov, Gausdal 1992, which ended in only 15 moves after 6.Be2 a6 7.Nc4 Nxc4 8.bxc4 Qe7 9.a4 00 10.Nh3 Bc5 11.f4 Bxe3! 12.Bxe5 Ba7 13.Nf2 d6 14.Bb2 Re8 15.d4 Ng4, and White resigned. 6…0-0 7.0-0 Qe7 8.Nb1 Better than 8.Nc4. I want to leave the knight on a5 hanging out to dry with no useful moves. From b1, the knight will later re-emerge on c3 to join the fight for the center. 8…c6 9.Be2 Re8 On 9…Bc7, White has 10.b4, when 10…Qb4 is met by 11.Ba3 winning the exchange. 10.f4 exf4 11.Nxf4 Be5 Freeing himself for …d7-d5. 12.Bxe5 Qxe5 13.Nc3
As advertised, the knight re-emerges. And the a5-knight? 13…d5 14.Nh5 Looking to trade off an active piece. 14…Nxh5 15.Bxh5 g6 16.Bf3 Be6 17.Qe1 d4 Maybe 17…b6 followed by …Na5-b7 was the way to go. 18.exd4 Qxd4+ 19.Qf2 Rad8 20.Qxd4 Rxd4 21.d3 b6 21…c5 22.Nb5. 22.a3 Bd7 23.Rae1 Rxe1 24.Rxe1 Nb7
25.Nb5 Forking the rook and the a7-pawn, thus forcing exchanges, doubling Black’s pawns, and ultimately leading to a favorable endgame for White. 25…cxb5 26.Bxb7 Kf8 27.Re5 f6 28.Rd5 Rxd5 29.Bxd5 This should be a technical win. I have a passed d-pawn and Black’s b5-pawn is a target. 29…Ke7 30.Kf2 Kd6 31.Bg8 h5 Very bad. This creates a second target. 32.g3 g5 33.h4 Fixing the weakness. 33…Bg4 34.Ke3 Ke5 35.Bf7 Bd1 36.b4 gxh4 37.gxh4 Now f4 is for my king. 37…f5? A subtle error that allows me to win. 37…Kd6 would have held on longer, though it would not have changed the final result.
38.d4+ Kf6 39.Be8
The endgame is won from here, and so my opponent resigns. For instance, 39…Bxc2 40.Bxh5 Bb1 41.Bf3 Ba2 42.Kf4 Bf7 43.d5 Be8 44.h5 Bd7 45.Be2 a6 46.d6 Bc6 47.Bd3 Be8 48.h6 Kg6 49.Ke5 Kxh6 50.Bxf5 and White wins. If instead Black tries to firm up his position with …a7-a6, then I will play c2-c3 and Kf4 while Black runs out of moves, for example 39…a6 40.c3 Ke7 41.Bc6 Bb3 42.Bb7 a5 43.Kf4 Kf6 44.Bf3 Bf7 45.Bc6 Bc4 46.d5 Be2 47.d6 Ke6 48.d7 Ke7 49.bxa5 bxa5 50.Kxf5 with a won ending. 1-0 Jay Bonin – IM Justin Sarkar New York 2015 I repeated the same variation in this game. It turned out to be a bad decision. Seeing Justin at the Marshall all the time with his computer, I should’ve figured that he was going to study this line for improvements, and yet I willingly obliged. 1.b3 e5 2.Bb2 Nc6 3.e3 Nf6 4.Bb5 Bd6 5.Na3 Na5 6.Nh3 c6 7.Be2 Qe7 8.Nb1 Bc7
Here is the improvement. The idea is that now Black will be able to play …d7-d5 and build a very strong center. I must do something about my h3-knight, as soon enough Black’s light-squared bishop will be threatening to double my pawns. Accordingly, I abandon my plan to play f2-f4 and instead play the passive 9.f3 giving my knight a home on the f2 square. 9.f3 d5 10.Nf2 c5 11.Bb5+
A blunder, thinking that 11…Bd7 was forced. It turns out there was another option. 11…Kf8! 12.Be2 Losing more time, but I have to play this move as otherwise Black will play …c5-c4 and …a7-a6, trapping my bishop. 12…h5 13.d4 Opening the center while behind in development is generally inadvisable, and this position is no exception. Better is simply 13.0-0, when the position is level. 13…Nc6 14.dxe5 Bxe5 15.Nc3 Bf5 16.Qd2 d4 17.exd4 Bxd4 18.Ncd1??
Again, 18.0-0 is necessary. The move 18.Ncd1, which seeks to exchange off Black’s powerful dark-squared bishop, is a grave error and I went on to lose in time pressure. After this move, Black builds an enveloping attack with 18…Rd8 when White cannot escape the pressure. For instance, 18…Rd8 19.Nd3 Bxd3 20.cxd3 Nd5 21.Nf2 Qe5 22.Rb1 Nc3–+. I really have to be confident in my preparation in order to repeat the same line in back-to-back games against the same player. I guess the lesson to be learned is, “know your customers.” Switching up is most often the recommended course, because a good player will study and find improvements. Ultimately, 0-1. Ted Belanoff – Jay Bonin New York 2015 Ted Belanoff is a very aggressive, attacking player, so I chose the French Defense. Ted usually plays unorthodox moves and attacks early, and the counterattacking French is a good choice against such players. 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Qc7 7.Bd3 7.g4 and 7.Nf3 are standard here, but Ted likes offbeat stuff and holds his cards close to his chest. 7…cxd4 8.Nf3 Qxc3+ 9.Bd2 Qc7 10.Nxd4
Very risky. My opponent has a big lead in development but invites me to win another pawn. In my opinion, White cannot quite justify this from an objective point of view; however, this is Ted’s style! He usually finds himself slightly worse out of the opening and then generates a blistering attack seemingly out of thin air. So I take the pawn, but tread carefully over the next few moves and try to finish development quickly. 10…Qxe5+ 11.Be3 Nf6 12.0-0 0-0 13.Re1 Qc7 14.Bg5 Ted enjoys a little initiative for the pawns. Here, though, he could have done better: 14.Nb5 Qe7 15.Bf4 Nc6 16.Bd6 would have given him some material back. 14…Nbd7 15.Re3 Re8 An important move, giving me the possibility of …Nd7-f8 to hold the h7 square. “A knight on f8, there is no mate!” However, even stronger is 15… e5! 16.Nb3 e4, shutting out the bishop and making the rook look misplaced. 16.Rh3 Ne4 17.Qh5 Nf8 18.Bxe4 dxe4 Happy to see his light-squared bishop go. 19.Bf6 e5 Here I get carried away with defending. Simply taking on f6 is much better, as after 19… gxf6 20.Rg3 Ng6 21.Rh3 e5! Black’s monarch escapes, leaving White down a decisive amount of material. 20.Bxg7 Forcing the issue. 20…Kxg7 21.Qg5+ Ng6 22.Qh6+ Kf6!
Out into the valley of doom, but also the only move. If 22…Kg8, then 23.Qxh7+ Kf8 24.Qh6+ Ke7 25.Qg5+ Kf8 26.Qh6+ Ke7 with a repetition. If the king steps to the d-file, it’s curtains: 25…Kd7 26.Nb5 Qc6 27.Rd1+ Ke6 28.f4! and Black’s king is in dire straits. 23.Rh5 exd4 24.Qg5+ Ke6 25. f4 But this gives me a chance. 25…Qxf4 26.Qd5+ Ke7 27.Qc5+ Kd8 28.Qd5+ Kc7 Looks like I’m escaping now. 29.g3 Qe3+ 30.Kg2 Nf4+ Giving back material for the sake of counterattack. 31.gxf4 Rg8+ 32.Rg5 Bh3+ He’s had enough. Black’s extra piece and passed pawns will be decisive. 0-1 Ted Belanoff – Jay Bonin New York 2015 Only five days later, Ted and I meet again with the same colors and I decide to go with the French this time, too. In general, this goes against my philosophy of switching it up. However, rules were made to be broken. 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Qc7 7.Bd2 This move is a deviation from the previous game, though also a favorite of Ted’s. Had he continued with 7.Bd3, I had intended to play 7…cxd4 and proceed as in the previous game to see if Ted would try the same risky gambit as before. 7…b6 8.Qg4 f5 9.Qh5+ Practically speaking, 9.Qg3 is much better as the endgame is my comfort zone and the queens are necessary for the kind of fireworks that Ted usually employs. 9…Qf7 10.Qxf7+ Kxf7 11.Nf3 Ba6
11…h6 seems better, as it prevents any hanky-panky on the g5 square. 12.dxc5 Ted will get the b-file. 12…Bxf1 13.Rxf1 bxc5
A level endgame has ensued in which White has more active pieces and a lead in development, and Black has a big center. 14.Rb1 h6 15.Rb7+ Ne7 16.Be3 Rc8 17.Ke2 Ke8 Preparing …Nb8-d7. 18.Rfb1 Nd7 19.h4 Nc6
20.Rg1? White plans to open a new avenue of attack with 21.g4, but there is no time for this as Black can now contest the already open b-file. Instead, White had the chance to simplify and squeeze with 20.c4 d4 21.Bd2 Kd8 22.h5 Rc7 23.c3 dxc3 24.Bxc3 Rxb7 25.Rxb7 Kc8 26.Rb1. 20…Na5
Missing 20…Rcb8 21.Rgb1 Rxb7 22.Rxb7 Na5 23.Rb1 Nc4, when Black has a lasting edge. 21.Rb3? But this makes Black’s job easy. The rest is a matter of technique. 21…Nxb3 22.cxb3 Rab8 23.b4 d4 Rooks need open lines. 24.cxd4 cxb4 25.axb4 Rxb4 26.Ra1 Rb2+ 27.Kd3 Nb6 28.Rxa7 Nd5 29.Bd2 Rb3+ 30.Ke2 Nc3+ 31.Bxc3 Rcxc3 Here we each had less than five minutes and so the annotations stop, though I was able to convert the advantage. 0-1 Jay Bonin – Ted Belanoff New York 2015 We meet for a third time just two more weeks later, although now it is my turn with the white pieces and I get this cute miniature. 1.b3 e5 2.Bb2 Nc6 3.e3 d5 3…Nf6 is a popular move, as played by Justin Sarkar earlier in this chapter. 4.Bb5 Bd6 5.f4 Qe7
Attempting to hold the e5 square at all costs. Black should have considered 5…Qh4+ first and only then 6…Qe7, although an even more expedient solution, and perhaps stronger still, is the simple 5…f6. 6.Nf3 Bg4 7.fxe5 This move lets the pressure slip. Stronger is 7.0-0 0-0-0 8.Bxc6 bxc6 9.fxe5 Bxe5 10.Bxe5 Bxf3 11.Qxf3 Qxe5 12.Qg4+ Kb8 13.Nc3. Of course, (7.0-0) 7…e4 8.Bxg7 will also lead to an edge for White.
7…Bxf3?? A fatal miscalculation. 7…Bxe5 leads to simple equality after 8.Bxe5 Bxf3 9.Bxc6+ bxc6 10.Qxf3 Qxe5 11.0-0 Nf6 12.Nc3. 8.exd6 Qh4+ 9.g3 Qe4 9…Qg4 10.Be2. 10.Nc3 Bxd1 11.Nxe4 Bxc2 12.Nf2 d4 13.Bxd4 Kf8 14.Bxc6 Removing the last defender. 14…bxc6 15.d3 The bishop is trapped on c2 and Ted resigns in light of 15…cxd6 16.Rc1 c5 17.Bxc3 Bxd3, when White is up a piece for a pawn once the dust settles. 1-0 Nicholas Proudfoot – Jay Bonin New York 2015 I played Nick a lot in the 1990s at the Manhattan Chess Club. After 20 years, he makes his return to the chess arena and now we once again face off regularly at the Marshall. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Be2 c5 6.d5 e6 7.Nf3 0-0 8.0-0 exd5 9.exd5 9.cxd5 leads to sharper play, but White’s choice is dangerous, too, as it grabs space. 9…Re8 10.h3 Ne4 A typical idea to equalize. Black seeks to exchange a piece and take complete control of the dark squares. 11.Nxe4 Rxe4 12.Bd3 Re8 13.Qc2 Na6 14.a3 Bd7 15.Bf4 Qf6 16.Bg3
A safe move, but not the most accurate one. 16.Qd2 would have tightened the screws a tiny bit. Black’s pieces are not placed on ideal squares, but the bishop retreat justifies the black queen’s sortie to f6.
16…b5 Trying to undermine the d-pawn. 17.Nd2 Qxb2 18.Qxb2 Bxb2 19.Ra2 Be5 20.cxb5 Nc7 21.Bxe5 Rxe5 22.Nc4 Re7 Not 22…Rxd5 23.Be4. 23.Nxd6 Nxd5 24.Be4 Nc3 A fork in the road. Here I decide to exchange a pair of rooks and simplify, though also possible is the solid 24…Be6 keeping the rooks on the board. 25.Bxa8 Nxa2 26.Ne4 Bxb5 27.Ra1 Bc4 28.Nxc5 Re2 29.Bf3 Rc2
It looks drawish with equal material, but my pieces feel more active at the moment. 30.Be4 Rb2 31.Rb1 Rxb1+ 32.Bxb1 Nc3 33.Bc2 Kf8 His Royal Majesty enters the fray! 34.Bb3 34.f3 followed by 35.Kf2 seems better than the text move, as now Black’s king will be the first to reach the center, quickly becoming much more active. 34…Bxb3 35.Nxb3 Ke7 36.Kf1 Kd6 37.Ke1 Kd5 38.f3 White realizes to his horror that 38.Kd2 is answered by 38…Nb1, winning the a-pawn. 38…Kc4 39.Nd2+ Kd3 40.Nb3 Kc4 41.Nd2+ Kb5 The difference between the two knights is self-evident. Mine on c3 controls key squares, while the white knight on d2 gets in the way. 42.Nb3 Ka4 43.Nd4 Kxa3 44.Nc6 a6 45.Ne5 a5 46.Nxf7 Kb3 47.Ne5 a4 48.Nd3 a3 0-1 The a-pawn decides. Jay Bonin – Nicholas Proudfoot
New York 2015 I play the Nimzo-Larsen against opponents who I know like to fianchetto their king’s bishop, as it is very frustrating for them to face and if they insist on playing …g7-g6 and … Bf8-g7 then I quickly saddle them with a fractured pawn structure that I can play against while retaining my famous Bonin Knights. Five weeks passed between the previous game and this one, but with the white pieces I knew I would likely be able to carry out this plan against Nick, who wasted no time in playing …g7-g6. 1.b3 Nf6 2.Bb2 g6 This setup allows me to steer the game into my comfort zone at once. 3.Bxf6 exf6 4.c4 Bg7 5.Nc3 d6 6.g3 0-0 7.Bg2 Re8 8.e3 Nd7 9.d4 f5 10.Nge2 I enjoy light-square control, while Black has no constructive pawn breaks.
10…c6 11.0-0 Nf6 12.Qc2 Qe7 13.b4 Preparing b4-b5. 13…Ne4 14.b5 Nxc3 15.Nxc3 Bd7 16.bxc6 bxc6 17.Rab1 Rab8 18.Qa4 f4 What else? His dark-squared bishop has no active role to play. 19.gxf4 Rxb1 20.Rxb1 Bf5 21.Rc1 Solid, but stronger, is 21.Bxc6!. 21…c5 22.Nd5 Qd8 23.Qxa7? Letting Black achieve a little undeserved counterplay. Preferable is 23.dxc5 dxc5 24.Qxa7; after the text move, Black is able to create some pressure against my king. 23…cxd4 24.exd4 Re2 25.Ne3 Qh4 26.Qa8+ Bf8 27.Qf3 Rxa2 28.Nxf5 gxf5 29.Qg3+ Qxg3 30. hxg3 Now I can breathe a sigh of relief. With the queens off the board, we’ve reached an ending where White has an extra pawn and a superior pawn structure. The rest, as they say, is a
matter of technique. 30…Bg7
31.c5! The only winning move. 31…Bxd4 32.c6 Rxf2 33.Kh2 No more tricks. the c-pawn will cost Nick his bishop. 33…Bb6 34.c7 Bxc7 35.Rxc7 Rd2 36.Kh3 Kg7 37.Bf1 Kf6 38.Bb5 There’s no stopping the bishop from reaching the e8 square. 38…d5 39.Be8 d4 40.Rxf7+ Ke6 41.Rxh7 d3 42.Bd7+ Kf6 43.Rh6+ 1-0 Jay Bonin – Nicholas Proudfoot New York 2015 And now only three weeks later, I have to face Nick with White yet again. Sensing that he may have recently prepared a better response to my 1.b3 system, I switch back to 1.d4 so as to sidestep anything that he may have prepared for me. 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 d6 5.e4 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.dxe5 dxe5 8.Qxd8 Rxd8 9.Bg5
My bread and butter. The Exchange Variation of the King’s Indian Defense has earned me a lot of points with the white pieces. The first player takes no risks; ends any hope Black may have for a swashbuckling kingside attack à la Mar del Plata variation; and achieves a simple position with a bit of pull thanks to Black’s passive dark-squared bishop. 9…Nbd7 10.0-0-0 Rf8 11.Nd5 Nxd5 11…Nxe4 isn’t recommended, for instance 12.Be3 Nb6 (not 12…c6 13.Ne7+ Kh8 14.Nxc8 Rfxc8 15.Rxd7 and White is simply up a piece) 13.Nxc7 Rb8 14.Nb5 Be6 15.b3 Nd7 16.Kb2 a6 17.Nc7 Bg4 18.h3 Bxf3 19.Bxf3, when White has an active bishop pair and a space advantage. 12.cxd5 c6 Creating a big weakness that I manage to exploit later. 13.dxc6 bxc6 14.Be3 Nb6 15.Nd2 Be6 16.b3 Rfd8 Maybe here Black should try 16…Rfb8 with the idea of …a7-a5-a4 to create some problems for the white monarch. The immediate 16…f5 pawn break, to open up the position for Black’s bishops, should also be considered. 17.Nc4 Nxc4 18.Bxc4 Bxc4 19.Rxd8+ An important in-between move. By exchanging a pair of rooks now, the tiny edge that White enjoys will be more pronounced in the ending that follows. 19…Rxd8 20.bxc4 Bf8 The big problem for Black in the Exchange KID is the passivity of this bishop. On move 20 it is still searching for a purpose in life. 21.Kc2 Rb8 22.Rd1 Rb7? This inaccuracy allows me to penetrate and win a pawn. 23.Rd8 Kg7 24.Rc8 c5 Here our notation ends due to time constraints. However, after 25.Bxc5 Bxc5 26.Rxc5 f6
27.Ra5 it’s only a matter of time until Black resigns. 1-0 Jay Bonin – Juan Sena New York 2014 Here is a pair of games with NM Juan Sena, who always jokes with me about “taking me to school” when the pairings are posted and we see that we are again paired with one another. A talented chess coach for several elite New York City scholastic teams, Juan is a very versatile player: he can play solidly, he can attack, and he is a master of the rope-a-dope game. In all honesty, his record against me should be a lot better than it is, though I am often able to swindle him in the middlegame – as happens in the first game. These two games resulted from several tournaments we both played in, when I faced him no fewer than three times in four days, which creates precisely the kind of game-within-a-game strategizing that this chapter is about. What follows is a mixture of preparation, tactics, and luck – that is to say: chess! Though I will leave it to the reader to decide who was the teacher and who was the student in this particular series. 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 b6 4.Bg2 Bb7 5.0-0 c5 6.Nc3 Be7 7.b3 0-0 8.Bb2 a6 9.Re1 I choose the complicated route. I could have played 9.d4, looking to swap bishops after 9…cxd4 10.Nxd4. 9…d5 10.cxd5 Nxd5 11.Nxd5 Bxd5 12.e4 Bb7 13.d4 cxd4 14.Nxd4 Nc6
This is an inaccuracy that allows me to seize the initiative. 14…Nd7 maintains equality, though even then I may be able to gain control of the c6 square. 15.Nxc6 Bxc6 16.Qg4 g6 Pretty much forced: 16…Bf6 17.Bxf6 Qxf6 18.e5 wins a piece. 17.Red1 Qb8 18.Rac1 Qb7 19.Qf4 The threat is 20.Qe5. 19…f6 20.Qg4
The queen comes back to attack the weak e6-pawn. What to do now? 20…Kf7 is the only way to hold it, though even then Black will suffer – for instance, 20…Kf7 21.Bh3 Bd7 22.Bxf6 Bxf6 23.e5!, when White has a lasting advantage: 23…Bxe5? 24.Bg2! h5 25.Qe2 Qa7 26.Qxe5 Rac8 27.Rxc8 Bxc8 28.Rc1 Qe7 29.Rc7 Bd7 30.Bc6 Rd8 31.Qd4+–. Instead, my opponent seeks exchanges and activity but in the process allows me a nice winning continuation. 20…f5 21.exf5 Bxg2 22.fxg6 Rf5 23.gxh7+ With mate coming next, 1-0. Jay Bonin – Juan Sena New York 2014 After the previous game only the day before, Juan decides to switch it up from a Hedgehog to a Bogo-Indian. 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 Bb4+ 4.Bd2 a5 5.Nc3 Here I deviate from my usual path, smelling the danger of Juan’s preparation. Instead of the usual 5.g3 that I would normally play in this position, I invite simplifications that follow from 5…Bxc3 and 6…Ne4, hoping to bypass anything Juan may have studied in anticipation of facing me again. 5…0-0 6.Qc2 d5 This pawn thrust is necessary, as otherwise I will play 7.e4 with an advantage. 7.e3 b6 This ambitious move may cause problems for Black later, as he might get saddled with a backward c-pawn or, in some cases, the c6 square might become weak itself – as in both the previous game and this one. 8.cxd5 exd5 9.Bd3 Ba6 10.Ne5 Bxd3 11.Qxd3 Bxc3 12.Bxc3 Ne4 13.0-0 f6 14.Nf3 Nc6 15.Rfc1 Jumping on the c-file.
15…Qd6 16.a3 Preventing the annoying 16…Nb4. 16…Rfb8 17.Be1 I opt for retaining this bishop just in case Black was thinking of chopping it off with his knight. The long-term play is to move the f3-knight away in order to play f2-f3 and make the e4-knight retreat without having any useful moves to play. Plus, with Black’s pawns mostly on dark squares, it seems likely that this bishop will show its teeth later in the game. 17…Rb7 Protecting the weak c7-pawn. However, another plan for Black is to simply get rid of this weakness by moving the knight off c6 and then preparing …c7-c5. 18.Nh4 Qd7 18…g6 is necessary to keep the queens on the board. After the text move, I can force a favorable ending where White can press from a position of strength while Black must struggle to untangle his pieces. 19.Qb5 Nb8 20.Qxd7 Nxd7 21.Nf5 White is winning.
21…Kf7 22.f3 Ng5 23.Rc6 Nb8 24.Rc2 g6 25.Ng3 Ne6 26.Rd1
Placing the rook on a closed file seems odd at first glance, but this move is played with the idea of pushing e2-e4 next. 26…c6 Better is 26…Na6, again with the idea of preparing …c7-c5!. 27.e4 Ke7 28.Ne2 Kd7 29.Bg3 Finally, the bishop contributes. 29…b5 30.Rdc1 Rb6 31.exd5 cxd5 32.Rc8 After a few more moves, Black resigned as now the decisive loss of material cannot be avoided, for instance 32…b4 33.Rh8 Rc6 34.Rxc6 Kxc6 35.Rxb8 Rxb8 36.Bxb8. 1-0 Jay Bonin – FM Boris Privman New York 2013 Like me, Boris Privman is a very active chessplayer. Since 1991 when the USCF started keeping records, we have met on the chessboard over 300 times. Our play also matches in that Boris likes unorthodox openings and tries to steer the game into an ending. In this game we reach an ending soon enough, but one that is to my liking. 1.d4 d6 2.e4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5 Of course, White can trade queens now, but that’s playing into Boris’s comfort zone. Therefore, I keep the game dynamic for a while. 4.Nf3 exd4 5.Qxd4 a6 Preparing …Nc6, which if played right away would be answered by 6.Bb5, getting into my comfort zone. 6.Be2 Nc6 7.Qd1 I could probably go to d2 as well, but d1 just feels right. 7…Be7 8.0-0 0-0 9.b3 Re8 10.Bb2 Bf8 11.Nd2
Perhaps this is why d1 just felt right for the queen. It’s clear now that the d2 square is for the knight. 11…Nd4 12.Bd3 I definitely want to avoid exchanges. 12…Ne6 13.f4 Nc5 14.f5 Nxd3 15.cxd3 d5 It looks like Boris is freeing his position, but upon closer inspection there is the issue of his queen’s bishop. 16.Qf3 Bc5+ 17.Kh1 dxe4
This may be premature. 17…Bd4 or 17…c6 would be better. 18.Ncxe4 Now my backward d3-pawn cannot be exploited due to Black’s lack of development. 18…Bd4 19.Nxf6+ Bxf6 20.Bxf6 Qxf6 21.Ne4 Qd8 22.f6 This wedge is going to cause problems for my opponent. 22…g6 23.Qf4 Re6 In order to allow …Qd8-f8, but the c8-bishop is still a problem. 24.Rac1 Rc6 This makes it easy. If Black tried 24…c6, though, I had 25.Ng5 with an enveloping attack. My rooks will challenge the e-file and eventually penetrate on the seventh rank, with my queen perhaps joining in the fun on the weakened c7 square. 25.Rxc6 bxc6 26.Qh6 Forcing a technically winning ending. 26…Qf8 27.Qxf8+ Kxf8 28.Nc5 Bf5
At long last the bishop gets developed, but it is much too late. 29.Kg1 a5
30.Re1? Allowing Black counterplay that he doesn’t deserve with 30…Rd8!. Instead, 30.Rf4 was required to hold all of the advantages together. 30…Be6? Missing his chance to play …Ra8-d8. On 30…Re8 I would trade rooks, bring my king up to defend d3, and then create an outside passer with a2-a4 followed by b3-b4. 31.Kf2 I’m in no hurry to capture on e6, and instead gradually improve my position. 31…a4 32.Nxa4 Ke8 33.Re2 Kd8? This allows the knight to reach c5 with a decisive advantage. The rook lift 33…Ra5 is a hard move to find, but it would have allowed Black to hold on for longer. 34.Nc5 Bd5 35.a4 Boris had enough here and resigned. 1-0 Jay Bonin – FM Boris Privman New York 2013 We meet again a week later. Boris, too, is amenable to varying his openings, so we go from an Old Indian to a Catalan with a flick of the Bic. 1.d4 e6 2.Nf3 d5 3.c4 c6 4.Nbd2 I like putting my queen’s knight on d2, as it discourages …dxc4. 4…Nf6 5.Qc2 And I like Qd1-c2 to overprotect e4, preventing …Ne4 followed by …f7-f5 transposing
into a Stonewall Dutch. 5…Be7 5…Bd6, controlling e5, is preferable. 6.g3 0-0 7.Bg2 Nbd7 8.0-0 b6 9.b3 Bb7 10.Bb2 Rc8 11.Rac1 Rc7 11…c5 is superior, but Boris has an idea. 12.e4 dxe4 13.Nxe4 c5 14.Nxf6+ This is bad; just retreating to c3 is better, and if 14…Bxf3 15.Bxf3 cxd4, then 16.Nb5 gives White a big edge. 14…Bxf6 15.Rfd1 Qa8 Now the game is equal. 16.Ne1 cxd4 17.Bxd4 Bxd4 18.Rxd4 Ne5 The threat: …Bxg2 and …Nf3+. 19.Bxb7 Qxb7 20.Qe2 Can’t let the knight stay on e5! 20…Nc6 21.Rdd1 Rd7 22.Nf3 Rfd8 23.Rxd7 Rxd7 24.Rd1 h6 25. h4 a6 26.Rxd7 Qxd7 27.Qd2 My queenside majority leads me to soldier on. 27…Qxd2 28.Nxd2 Nd4
We have a dead-even knight-and-pawn ending – in other words, exactly the kind of position that I dream of achieving against most of my opponents! However, Boris is no slouch in the endgame and has a reputation as a fierce fighter and knowledgeable endgame player with excellent technique. 29.a3 Nc2 30.Nb1
Not 30.a4 which would cripple my majority. Now b3-b4 is in the works. 30…Kf8 31.Kf1 The king is a fighting piece in the endgame. 31…Ke7 32.Ke2 Kd6 33.b4 Ke5 34.Kd3 Ne1+ 35.Kd2 Nf3+ 36.Ke3 Ne1 37.Kd2 Nf3+ 38.Kd3 No draw! 38…Kd6 39.Nd2 Ne5+ 40.Kd4 Nc6+ 41.Ke3 f5 If 41…e5, then 42.Ke4 g6 43.g4 Ke6 44.g5. 42.f4 Kd7 I believe this was the last chance for …e6-e5, though there are other playable moves. 43.Nf3 Kd6 44.Kd3 e5?
An unforced error. It’s too late to implement this idea now, as I have placed my knight on a much better square and my king is ready to invade. Black can simply play 44…g6 or even retreat with the knight to e7. The pawn exchange allows me to enter a winning king-and-pawn ending that Boris incorrectly judged to be drawn. 45.fxe5+ Nxe5+ 46.Nxe5 Kxe5 47.h5 I won few moves later as Black is in Zugzwang. If 47…f4, then 48.gxf4 Kxf4 49.Kd4 shouldering off the black king, when c4-c5 can’t be stopped. 1-0 FM Boris Privman – Jay Bonin New York 2013 1.d4 c5 2.c3 Qa5 This is a Bonin specialty! It’s a great weapon against players who like to play the London System. The threat is 3…cxd4, forcing a recapture by the queen. I’ve faced 3.dxc5, 3.d5, 3.e3, 3.Nd2, and even 3.Na3.Taking White out of his comfort zone – I take pride in not giving
my opponent what he or she wants. This goal is easier to achieve when playing against a frequent opponent whose style and systems are familiar to you. 3.e3 Nf6 4.Bd3 d6 5.Nf3 g6 6.0-0 Bg7 7.Na3 0-0 8.e4 The idea behind this move is to activate the queen’s bishop, but it also leaves the d4 square weakened. 8…Bg4 9.Nc4 Qc7 10.a4 This prevents the pawn push…b7-b5, but committing on the flank allows a counter-strike in the center. Better is to push in the center first with either 10.dxc5 or 10.e5!. 10…cxd4 11.cxd4 d5
Leaving White with an isolated d-pawn. 11…Nc6 is another path to advantage, as the knight would head to the b4 square, from where it would not be easily dislodged. 12.exd5 Nxd5 13.Ne3 Nxe3 14.Bxe3 Nc6 15.Be4 Qd6 Wins the d-pawn. 16.Qd2 Bxf3 17.Bxf3 Nxd4 18.Bxd4 Bxd4 19.Bxb7 Rab8
From this position, I went on to convert in time trouble. If the b7-bishop moves, I have … Rxb2 followed by …Rf8-d8 when the pressure is too much for White to hold the game. 0-1
FM Boris Privman – Jay Bonin New Jersey 2013 A week later, Boris and I butt heads again. This time I intend to repeat the same idea. 1.d4 c5 Well, I almost got to repeat 2…Qa5, but Boris changed course first. 2.e3 Nf6 3.Bd3 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Nbd2 0-0 6.0-0 b6 7.c3 Bb7 8.Qe2 Nc6 9.a4 Qc7 10.Rb1 d5 Taking the center and threatening to hang onto it. If e2-e4, Black will respond with …e7-e6 when he will maintain a pawn duo on c5 and d5. 10… d6 or 10…Rfd8 would both be solid, though less ambitious. 11.dxc5 bxc5 12.e4 e6 13.Rd1 Rfd8 14.h3 Rab8 15.b3?
This is an error, as the g7-bishop’s influence will be felt on the other side of the board immediately. Constructive waiting moves, such as 15.Bc2 or 15.Re1, would have been better. 15…Nh5 16.Nf1 Simply hanging a pawn. But after 16.Bb2 Nf4 17.Qf1 dxe4 18.Bxe4 f5 19.Bxc6 Qxc6, White has no really useful moves and is paralyzed by the threats of doubling rooks on the dfile and …Nxg2. For instance, if now 20.h4, then 20…Rd7 21.Nc4 Nxg2 22.Qxg2 Rxd1+ 23.Rxd1 Qxf3 24.Qxf3 Bxf3, when Black is winning. 16…Bxc3 17.Bg5 Bf6 18.Bxf6 Nxf6 19.e5 Ne4 20.Bxe4? The calm 20.Rbc1 was called for. The text move opens the d-file and loses control of the d4 square. 20…dxe4 21.Rxd8+ Rxd8 22.N3d2 If 22.Qxe4 Nd4 23.Qe3 Bxf3 24.gxf3 Qxe5!. 22…Nd4 23.Qe3 Qxe5 24.Nc4 Qf4
When ahead, simplify. If 25.Qxf4, then 25…Ne2+ recovering the queen. 25.Na5 Bd5 26.Rc1?? Loses a rook, but doesn’t change the result as White is lost anyway. 26…Qxe3 27.fxe3 Ne2+ 0-1 Jay Bonin – Edward Kopiecki New York 2014 Eddie Kopiecki could be my heir apparent for the title of most active chessplayer. He plays in many open events as well as in class tournaments that I’m not eligible to play in, and – as you probably guessed – because we’re both so active, we have met over the board many times, at least 250 going back to the 1980s. When you play somebody so many times, you can learn a lot about their tendencies as a player. I know that Kopiecki can be very dangerous with the attack, and that he favors gambit play to achieve those kinds of positions. Against such a player, I strive to keep the position quiet and try to trade queens early. (It’s harder to attack when you’re in an endgame!) When I open with 1.d4, the answer is always 1…d5, although we did have a Budapest Gambit with …e7-e5 once. We’ve had countless QGD, Catalan, and Tarrasch and Semi-Tarrasch Defenses. In this game I try 2.Bg5, a longtime specialty. 1.d4 d5 2.Bg5 Nd7 Eddie has learned his lesson from past encounters. Too many times he played 2…Nf6 when after 3.Bxf6 I would simply outplay him from a sterile middlegame that didn’t suit his active style. 3.Nf3 Ngf6 4.Nbd2 g6 5.e3 Bg7 6.Bd3 0-0 7.0-0 c5 8.c3 b6 9.b4 Bb7 10.Qb1 Covering the e4 square and threatening bxc5. Decision time! 10…cxb4 11.cxb4 Rc8 12.a4 I’m not worried about the c-file. 12…Re8 13.a5 Rc3?!
This gives White a free hand to clamp down on the queenside with 14.a6, creating an annoying wedge and a long-term insurance policy for the endgame. Better is striking at the center with 13…e5!. 14.a6 Ba8 15.Bb5 Bc6 Otherwise, the pin is annoying. 16.Qb2 Forcing trades. 16…Bxb5 17.Qxc3 Bxf1 18.Kxf1 Qc8 19.Qxc8 Rxc8 20.Ke2 The king enters the fray. Black has the c-file, but is all dressed up with nowhere to go. 20…h6 21.Bh4 e5 This works out badly, but Eddie has already been taken out of his comfort zone. 22.Nxe5 Nxe5 23.dxe5 Ng4 24.f4 Nxh2 This knight will now be out of the game for a long time. 25.Ra3 Preparing Rd3. 25…Bf8 26.Rd3 Bxb4 27.Rxd5 Ng4 28.Ne4 Now my knight joins the fun. The a7-pawn is starting to look juicy. 28…h5
29.Rd8+ Simple chess. After this trade, I will be able to collect the queenside pawns while the black knight on g4 looks on from afar. 29…Rxd8 30.Bxd8 Kf8 31.Bxb6!
The final finesse that ends the game. 1-0 Jay Bonin – Edward Kopiecki New York 2014 A couple of weeks later, Ed and I meet again with the same colors. This time, I switch it up just to avoid any recent improvements Kopiecki may have worked on from our previous game. 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 c5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 The Semi-Tarrasch, a perennial Kopiecki favorite. 6.e4 Nxc3 7.bxc3 cxd4 8.cxd4 Nc6 9.Bc4 b5 10.Be2 Bb4+ 11.Bd2 Qa5
12.Bxb4 Amazingly, this is not the best move. I only recently came up with 12.Rb1 in another game. In that position, Black must trade bishops, but instead castled and I got a better game after 12…0-0 13.Bxb4 Nxb4 14.Qd2. However, the most accurate path for White is 12.a4! bxa4 13.0-0 Bxd2 14.Rxa4 Qd8 15.Qxd2±. 12…Qxb4+ 13.Qd2 Qxd2+ 14.Kxd2 And here we are again in my comfort zone: an endgame. 14…a6 15.Rhc1 Bb7 16.Rc5 Rc8 17.Rac1 Ke7 18.Ne5 Forcing trades once again. 18…Nxe5 19.Rc7+ Nd7 20.Rxb7 Rxc1 21.Kxc1 The result of these exchanges is that my rook and bishop are more active than my opponent’s pieces, not to mention the fact that my king’s not so bad on this square either. 21…Rc8+ 22.Kb2 Rb8 23.Ra7 Keeping the rook of course, to apply pressure to the pawns. 23…Rb6 24.e5
This is the move that really highlights the problems with Black’s position. Not only is d6 unavailable to the black king, but now my bishop can also use the h1-a8 diagonal. 24…f6 25.f4 fxe5 26.fxe5 Kd8 27.Bf3 g6 28.Kb3 My king comes onto the stage. 28…h5 29.Kb4 Zugzwang. 29…Nb8 30.Kc5 The rook falls, as 30…Nd7 is met by 31.Rxd7. 1-0 Edward Kopiecki – Jay Bonin New York 2013 Now a pair of games with Kopiecki playing White. 1.e4 c5 Having played many games against Kopiecki, I decided that the Sicilian is the best defense to play when he has the white pieces. 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e5 5.Nxc6 5.Nb5 is much better. The capture improves my control of the center, but White still has space. 5…bxc6 6.Bc4 Nf6 7.0-0 Bc5 8.Bg5 h6 9.Bxf6 We’ve had many games with 9.Bh4, but 9…g5 and later …h6-h5 made him uncomfortable. Giving up the bishop pair could have long-term consequences, however. 9…Qxf6 10.Nc3 0-0 11.Na4 Be7 12.Qd2 d6 13.f4 True to his aggressive style, Eddie opens up the game. But this strategy gives my darksquared bishop some much-needed life.
13…exf4 14.Rxf4 Qe5 15.Qf2 Be6 16.Bxe6 fxe6
Here Kopiecki sees the possibility of winning the a7-pawn after trading on f8. However, this continuation gives me a free hand to attack his poorly defended monarch. Better is the calm and collected 17.Raf1, tripling on the f-file and keeping White’s forces close to home. 17.Rxf8+ Rxf8 18.Qxa7?! Taking the bait. Now the queen is far away from the action and I get a strong attack. 18…Bh4! 19.Rf1? Allowing a decisive check on b5. 19…Rxf1+ 20.Kxf1 Qb5+ Much better than committing the same error White made with 20…Qxh2?, which would allow 21.Qe3 with equality. 21.Kg1 Qe2 22.g3 It’s all over: 22.h3 Bg3. 22…Bg5 23.Qa8+ Kh7 White faces the prospect of mate. 24.h4 Be3+ 25.Kh1 Qf2 0-1 Edward Kopiecki – Jay Bonin New York 2013 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e5 5.Nxc6 bxc6 6.Bc4 Nf6 7.0-0 Bc5 8.Nc3 0-0 9.Bg5 h6 10.Bxf6 Qxf6 11.Qd2 Rb8 Sensing that Kopiecki had probably come up with a surprise for me in this variation that we had just played in another tournament, I deviate first. 12.Na4 Be7 13.a3 d6 14.b4
Here, Kopiecki avoids playing 14.f4, which would create dark-square weaknesses around his king as in the previous game. 14…Qg5 15.Rad1
Allowing me to get into a queen-less middlegame with the bishop pair. From a purely psychological standpoint, he may well have done better to play 15.Qd3 and keep the ladies in the game to try and create tactical problems for me later on, as is his wont. 15…Qxd2 16.Rxd2 Kh8 17.Nc3 f5 18.f3 g5 19.Re1 g4 Aggression! 20.b5 White gets the d5 square, but the position is coming open for the bishops. 20…cxb5 21.Nxb5 d5?! Trying to activate my bishop, but the straightforward 21…gxf3 is consistent and stronger. 22.exd5 Bc5+ 23.Kh1 a6 24.Nc7 e4 Trying to open as many lines as possible and to exploit White’s vulnerability on the back rank. 25.fxe4 fxe4 26.Nxa6 Bxa6 27.Bxa6 e3 28.Rd3 White needs to play 28.Rde2 or 28.Rdd1. 28…e2 29.Rb3 Rbe8 30.g3?
A positional oversight that allows a winning combination. Better is to simply retreat the rook with 30.Rbb1, when White may well claim an edge. 30…Rf1+ 31.Rxf1 e1Q Black wins, as taking the queen leads to mate in two. 0-1
The Art of the Irrefusable Draw Offer n the 1987 New York Open, I played the Romanian grandmaster Florin Gheorghiu. It was the second time that I had played him. The first time was the year before in the same event, the 1986 New York Open, when I won a miniature (see Chapter 8). This time around, however, we found ourselves in an endgame, and to my surprise the GM offered me a draw. I thought I was better, and I guess I showed a lack of respect for my talented opponent because I remembered beating him the year before and thought I should try and do it again. It will likely come as no surprise to the reader that, after declining his draw offer, I ended up losing. Afterwards, a grandmaster colleague took me aside and said, “When a grandmaster offers you a draw, take it!” Interesting advice. Of course, taking the safe route is good for conserving energy, but sometimes you’ve got to roll the dice.
In general, when and whether to offer or accept a draw should involve an objective evaluation of the position in front of you, and not be predicated on the past performance of your opponent. Also, it is generally rude to offer a draw if you are down material, particularly when playing against a stronger opponent. I recall once finding myself in a rookand-pawn ending against GM Jan Smejkal of the Czech Republic, in which I had four pawns to his five. When I offered a draw, he returned nothing but an icy stare as if to say: “What – are you crazy?” I went down very soon after that – and deservedly so, having shown bad etiquette for even making such an offer. These early lessons in my career have informed my own technique for when and how to handle draw offers. There are a number of key moments in a game when I like to offer a draw – for instance, if I can, I will make the draw offer after making a capture, as there is something about capturing a piece nonchalantly with one hand and extending an olive branch and a handshake with the other that is irresistible to most players. It sounds like black magic, but try it! Trust me, it works. Another obvious factor that can affect the outcome of a game is the situation on the clock. For example, in a 30-minute game, if I have more time than my opponent (say, 10 minutes to my opponent’s 5) and I offer a draw in a more-or-less equal position, then my opponent will be more likely to accept simply because there’s too much to calculate and appraise in such little time. In this chapter we will see a number of games in which draw offers are accepted or rejected, and perhaps to the surprise of the reader our conclusion here is the opposite of the advice that my grandmaster colleague once gave me: If a grandmaster offers you a draw, whatever you do, don’t take it! Todd Bryant – Jay Bonin New York 2012 A well-timed draw offer can affect the outcome of the game in counterintuitive ways. Typically, when someone refuses a draw offer it is for a concrete reason: they think they have an advantage. Quite often, they proceed to overreact later in the game as they try to justify
their earlier refusal, and actually wind up losing. Truth be told, this happens more often than you might think and it is frequently part of my strategy for when and how to offer draws. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.f3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nc3 0-0 6.Be3 c5 7.dxc5 dxc5 8.Qxd8 Rxd8 9.Bxc5 Nc6
In this well-known gambit line, Black has more than adequate compensation for the pawn in the form of a lead in development. 10.Nge2 Nd7 11.Be3 Nde5 12.Nf4 White covers the d3-square but impedes his own development. 12…e6 A minor inconvenience, but necessary to cover d5 so as to prevent White’s minor pieces from making use of that square. 13.Rd1 Rxd1+ 14.Kxd1 Na5 15. c5 Not 15.b3 Nexc4!. 15…Bd7 16.Kc2 Rc8 17.Be2 Nac4 18.Bd4 Bf8 19.b3 Nc6 A strong in-between move. 20.Bf6 Nb4+ 21.Kb1 Na3+
I offered a draw with this move and my opponent refused. I’m winning my pawn back, but that’s about it. One reason my opponent may have refused the draw offer is because my a3knight could become an issue for me. 22.Kb2 Bxc5 23.h4 Trying to justify his refusal of a draw, my opponent now goes on the attack. 23…b5 24.Kxa3 This move is very ambitious. My poor knight is stuck over there, so why take it now? 24…Nd3+ 25.b4 Bxb4+ 26.Kb3 Bxc3 27.Bxc3 Nxf4 Now Black is up a pawn, but he’s not out of the woods yet. 28.Bf1 f5 An attempt to get some elbow room. 29.Be5 Nh5 30.g4 fxg4 31.fxg4 Ng7 32.Bg2 Rc5 33.Bd6 Rc8 34.h5 e5! Returning the pawn to activate my pieces. 35.h6?! It would have been better to take, as in 35.hxg6 hxg6 36.Rh6 Bxg4 37.Bxe5 Rc5 38.Ba1 Bh5=. 35…Ne6 36.Bxe5 Nc5+
And suddenly I’m better – an amazing turnaround. Where does the white king go? If 37.Ka3, then 37…b4+! 38.Kxb4 Nd3+ wins the e5-bishop. Other squares don’t lose the piece, but now Black will win the g4-pawn and his pieces invade. 37.Kc3 Nxe4? Allowing White to centralize his king with 38.Kd4. Better is keeping the threat of moving the knight and grabbing the g4-pawn with the bishop, when White would still be worse. 38.Kb2?! Running backwards spells doom. 38…Nc5 39.Bd5+ Be6 40.Bxe6+ Nxe6 41.Rd1 Rd8 42.Rxd8+ The final mistake, just going into a technically lost ending. I love knights! 42…Nxd8 43.Kb3 Nc6 44.Bf6 Kf7 45.g5
Now the kingside pawns will be targets. 45…Ke6 46.Kc3 Kd5 47.Kb3 a5 48.Kc3 Ke4 Black went on to win here by liquidating the queenside and winning the g- and h-pawns. 01
Jay Bonin – GM Michael Rohde New York 2012 1.b3 e5 2.Bb2 Nc6 3.e3 Nf6 4.Bb5 Bd6 5.Na3 Na5 6.Nh3
This is one of the most bizarre positions you’ll probably ever see: a bishop on d6 blocking the d-pawn, and three knights on the rim! But I’ve had this position more than twenty times! They’re rewriting the books on opening theory and opening principles! 6…Qe7 7.Nb1 I played 7.Nc4 against NM Oliver Chernin and was not happy with the result, so here I steer the horse in a different direction. 7…0-0 8.0-0 c5 9.f4 b6 10.Bd3 Nc6 11.Nc3 Nb4 12.Bc4 Bb7 13.a3 Na6 14.fxe5 A little impatient. 14.Qe1, with ideas of Qg3 or Qh4, is better. 14…Qxe5 15.Nf4 Now my idea is Nb5. 15…Qg5 16.Bxa6 If 16.Qe2, then 16…Nc7 and I’m on the defensive. 16…Bxa6 17.Rf3 With the idea of Rf3-g3 followed by Nc3-d5. 17…Be5 18.Rg3 Qf5 This allows a cute tactic, but on 18…Qh4 or 18…Qh6 I simply play 19.Rh3. 19.Ncd5 Nxd5 Obviously not 19…Bxb2 20.Ne7+ and the black queen drops. 20.Nxd5 Rfe8 21.Bxe5 Rxe5 22.c4
And here I offered a draw, which was accepted. My knight is placed very well, and I thought my opponent might be happier taking the draw than trying to solve the problem of this knight. Objectively speaking, however, I actually like Black’s position after 22…Bb7 23.Nf4 d5, when my backward pawn on d2 might be a problem. Curiously, the engine gives the following line as best: 22…Rxd5 23.cxd5 Bd3 24.Qg4 Qe5 25.Rd1 f5 26.Qh4 Qxd5 27.Qe7 Qf7 28.Qxf7+ Kxf7 with equality, though perhaps a pleasant position for Black despite being down the exchange. ½-½ Henry Qi – Jay Bonin New York 2014 It’s the final round of the Nassau Championship and a draw is good enough to at least tie for first. With the black pieces, I face an up-and-coming scholastic player to whom I plan to offer a draw early in the game so I can ensure first place and not risk losing by needlessly trying to win. 1.e4 e6 2.d3 d5 3.Nd2 c5 4.Ngf3 Nc6 5.g3 g6 6.Bg2 Bg7 7.0-0 Nge7 8.Re1 h6 I never castle kingside here, preferring to castle queenside. 9.h4 Qc7 10.Qe2 White, too, can switch gears here and play 10.exd5 exd5 11.d4!. 10…b6 11.Nf1 Bb7 12.c3 0-0-0
And here, after castling, I offered a draw, hoping to secure first place in the tournament without too much effort. Many a youngster has accepted my draw offers over the years in such situations, happy to gain rating points off me and tell their coach and friends that they drew an IM. But when scholastic players refuse my draw offer, I know they are serious players who often have bright futures in chess later on. Not being afraid is a great quality to have at the chessboard, and in this game my opponent surprised me by fearlessly refusing my draw offer! I remember when a 12-year-old Robert Hess refused a draw from GM John Fedorowicz. Only a few years later, now he himself is a GM. Based on his tenacity in this game, I predict Henry Qi will make master soon as well, if not achieve a higher title. 13.e5 d4 14.c4 g5 A Benko-like gambit for the attack. 15.hxg5 Ng6 16.gxh6 Bxh6 17.N1h2 White should not allow 17…Bxc1 and should instead consider 17.N1d2 or 17.Bxh6, with the idea of 18.N1h2 next. 17…Bxc1 18.Raxc1 Rdg8 With visions of …Nf4 dancing in my head. 19.a3 Kb8 20.Rb1 Ncxe5 A combination to denude the white king of his cover! The chess engine Houdini suggests 20.Rc2, as this would protect the f2-pawn, which hangs at the end of the forcing sequence following the game move. 21.Nxe5 Nf4 Now it’s clear why Black played 19…Kb8: the b7-bishop is not captured with check. Here, White appears to be completely lost as both the knight and queen are under fire. But my opponent finds the only move to continue the fight. 22.Nd7+ A counter-combo to force an ending. Man, this kid’s got heart! At the end of the forcing sequence, White will drop the f2-pawn and be on the worse side of my favorite kind of ending. 22…Qxd7 23.Qe5+ Qc7 24.Qxc7+ Kxc7 25.Bxb7 Kxb7 After the smoke clears, I’m still on top. 26.Rbd1 Nh3+ 27.Kg2 Nxf2 The technical phase arrives. 28.Rd2 Nh3 I avoid trading knights because White’s h2-knight lacks scope, so trading it off would only
help him get rid of a problem. It’s important to know when to trade and when not to trade; this is an obvious example of when not to trade. 29.Rf1 f5 30.b4 Ng5 31.Rb2 Kc7 32.bxc5 bxc5 33.Rb5 Kd6 34.Ra5 Rh6
I went on to win both the tournament and the game after a time-scramble finish in which the rest of the score of this game wasn’t written down. 0-1 Joshua Rubin – Jay Bonin New York 2012 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.d3 d6 6.Be3 e6 7.Qd2 Qa5 8.Rb1 Rb8 9.a3 Nd4 10.Nge2 b5 11.f4 Ne7 12.0-0 0-0 13.f5 A sharp pawn sac. 13…exf5 14.Nd5? After offering a pawn, White allows a massive exchange of material. This is inconsistent with the idea of the previous move. Better is 14.Nxd4 Bxd4 15.b4, with a complicated position where White has some compensation for the pawn. Note also that 14.Nxd4 cxd4 15.Nd5 only leads back to equality after 15…Qd8.
The critical position. Equal, and boring, would be 14…Qxd2 15.Nxe7+ Kh8 16.Bxd2 Nxe2+ 17.Kf2 Nd4 18.c3 Nb3. But a way to an edge for Black was available here, though I
missed it: 14…Nxe2+ 15.Kh1 Nxg3+ 16.hxg3 Qd8, when Black picks up a pawn with the desperado knight. Of course, on (14…Nxe2+) 15.Qxe2? Nxd5 16.exd5 Re8 Black has serious threats against the e3-bishop. 14…Qd8 15.Nxd4 cxd4 16.Bg5 f6 17.Bh6 Nxd5 18.exd5 Bxh6 19.Qxh6 Re8 20.Qh4 b4 21.Qxd4, and the game was drawn by agreement. My bishop lacks an active role, so it’s hard to say why White agreed to split the point here. Maybe time pressure was a factor, or perhaps he was afraid of 21…bxa3 22.bxa3 Rxb1 23. Rxb1 Re2, or maybe he thought 21…Qb6 was a good ending for me. ½-½ Jay Bonin – Arthur Tollefson New York 2013 1.d4 f5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bg5 e6 4. e4 fxe4 5.Nxe4 Be7 6.Bxf6 Bxf6 7.Nf3 b6 8.c3 Bb7 9.Bd3 Nc6 10.Qe2 I don’t castle yet, preferring instead to keep my options open. 10…Qe7 11.h4 0-0-0 Obviously Black’s not going to castle kingside, so I was ready to play Bd3-a6. 12.Ba6 d5 13.Nc5
The point. 13…bxc5 14.Bxb7+ Kxb7 15.Qb5+ Kc8 16.Qxc6 cxd4 17.cxd4 Qb4+ Fortunately for Black, there’s this check that escapes into an ending and resolves the tension. 18.Qc3 Qxc3+ 19.bxc3 Rhe8 And I have nothing. I could play anything and offer a draw, but I come up with this clunker of a move: 20.Ne5 20.Kd2 is better, and my instincts should have led me to keep the knight on the board in
this ending too! 20…Bxe5 21.dxe5 Rf8 Now Black is slightly better due to my weak pawns. 22.Rh3?! It’s likely that 22.0-0 is objectively correct, but this enigmatic rook lift gives my opponent lots to think about as I extend my hand with a draw offer. Rather than work out the position, my opponent accepted the draw! A relief, as Black is better in this ending and once again the Teflon-bone escapes with a well-timed draw offer! ½-½ Isaac Yetzman – Jay Bonin New York 2013 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.g3 0-0 5.Bg2 d6 6.e4 Nc6 7. Nge2 e5 8.d5 Nd4 9.f3 c5 10.a4 a6 11.b3 Bd7 12.0-0 b5
I thought I was good with this break. The d4-knight is a powerful piece that, if exchanged, will only be replaced by a protected passed pawn. 13.axb5 axb5 14.Rxa8 Qxa8 15.Nxd4 cxd4 16.Nxb5 Bxb5 17. cxb5 Qa5 Here, 17…Rb8 first is called for. 18.Qd3 Rb8 19.Bd2 Qxb5 20.Qxb5 Rxb5 21.b4
Now I started to get nervous. My protected passer is blockaded and White’s passer is ready to roll with the support of the bishop pair. 21…Nd7 I really wanted to play 21…Ne8 with the idea of …Nc7, followed by moving the rook and blockading b4 with the knight, but after 22.Rc1! I can’t do that, and Rc1-c8 is threatened. 22.Rb1 Bf6 Trying to redeploy the bishop to b6. 23.Bf1 Rb8 24.b5 Bd8 25.Bb4 Very well played. 25…Nc5 26.Bxc5 dxc5 Here I offered a draw and my opponent accepted. True, there’s bishops of opposite colors on the board and I’m blockading both pawns, but White should play on with Ra1-Ra6 and look for winning chances as my own rook can’t find any daylight. ½-½ Jay Bonin – Denys Shmelov New York 2008 1.g3 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Bg2 c5 4.Nf3 Be7 5.0-0 0-0 6.Nc3 Nc6 7.b3 a6 8.Bb2 Qc7 9.d4 cxd4 10.Nxd4 d6 11.Rc1 Nxd4 12.Qxd4 Bd7 13.Rfd1 Rfd8 14.h3 Rac8 15.Qe3 Qb8 Both sides have completed their development and White retains a pleasant edge thanks to his space advantage and greater scope for his pieces. Here, there is no reason to over-extend just yet, as simple moves will threaten to squeeze the life out of Black’s position. However, I mistakenly think I see a restricting queen move and end up stepping into a briar patch of counter-play with: 16.Qb6?!
Better was 16.Ne4 with a slight edge. After the text move I allow Black to equalize with dangerous counter-play. 16…d5 17.cxd5 Bc5 18.Qa5 b6 19.Qxa6 Qxg3! The point behind Black’s move 16. Black has active counterplay, while I am stuck with my queen practically out of the game over on a6. 20.e3 Qg5 21.b4?! My turn to seek activity, but this move is slightly inaccurate. The better move is again the simpler one: 21.Qe2. 21…Bxb4 22.dxe6 Bxe6 23. Rxd8+ Rxd8 24.Qxb6 Be7 25.Qb5 Qh4 26.Rd1 Rxd1+ 27.Nxd1 h5 It looks as if this move is necessary to prevent the shot Bxf6, exposing Black’s weak back rank. However, Black had another interesting line to force a draw here with 27…Bxh3! 28.Bxh3 Qxh3 29.Bxf6 Qg4+ 30.Kh2 Bd6+ 31.Be5 Qh4+ 32.Kg1 Qg5+ 33.Kf1 Qxe5 with a drawn position. 28.Qb8+ Kh7 29.Qf4 Forcing a queen trade. 29…Qxf4 30.exf4 Bxa2 31.Ne3 Despite my doubled pawns, I’m fine, as everything gets defended. 31…Nd7 32.Bd5 Bxd5 33.Nxd5 Bd6 34.f5
Keeping the black king out. The issue is no longer in doubt. 34…f6 35.f4 Nc5 36.Ba3 Ne4 37.Bxd6 Nxd6 38.Ne7 Ne4 With this move I demonstrated that there is little left to play for, and extended my hand in peace. ½-½ Jay Bonin – William Wright Philadelphia 2000 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bg5 Nbd7 6.e3 0-0 7.Rc1 c6 8.Qc2 h6 9.Bh4 a6 10.h3 dxc4 11.Bxc4 b5 12.Be2 Bb7 13.0-0 c5 14.dxc5 Nxc5 15.Rfd1 Qa5
Black has equalized, as White’s queen is not ideally placed to maintain control of the cfile in the long run. Here, White could play a2-a3 with the idea of b2-b4, but the pressure that Black will be able to build on the open c-file with his rooks will be enough to hold the position level. For instance, 16.a3 Rac8 17.b4 Qxa3 18.bxc5 Rxc5 19.Nd2 Rfc8 20.Ndb1 Qb4 21.Rd4 Qa5 22.Bf1 g5 23.Bg3 e5 24.Rdd1, when White would be happy to return the knight for the two pawns and escape into equality. Another try might be 16.Nd2, with the idea of transferring the knight to the queenside, but this will run into the same issue of Black’s being the first to control the c-file with rooks. Looking for an alternative path forward, I try to squeeze blood out of a stone and trade on f6. 16.Bxf6?! Bxf6 17.Nxb5 axb5
All the queenside pawns come off, and Black’s pieces are now more active. 18.Qxc5 Qxa2 19.Nd4 Qxb2 20.Qxb5
I confidently played this move looking to trade queens and offered a draw, which my opponent accepted. However, if Black plays 20…Bxd4, I have to take back with the pawn, when after 21.exd4 Qxb5 22.Bxb5 Black is better. Whew – another escape! ½-½ Jeffrey Mitchell – Jay Bonin New York 1999 1.c4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e5 5.Nb5 d6 6.e4 Be7 7.N1c3 a6 8.Na3 Be6 9.Bd3 Bg5
White has chosen the very solid Maróczy Bind setup against my Sicilian Kalashnikov. 9… Bg5 seeks to exchange off my dark-squared bishop, which is difficult to activate in this pawn structure. 10.0-0 Bxc1 11.Rxc1 Nf6 I should play 11…Nh6, preparing …f7-f5. 12.Nc2 0-0 13.Nd5 Rc8 14.Kh1 b5 Here 14…Re8 is good. The text pawn break gets me into trouble – following the simplifications, I’m left with an inferior ending.
15.Nxf6+ Qxf6 16.cxb5 axb5 17.Bxb5 Bxa2 18.Bxc6 Rxc6 19.Nb4 Rxc1 20.Qxc1 Be6 21.Qd2 Rc8 22.f3 h6 23.Rc1
And to my surprise, a draw offer, which I quickly accepted. White has a strategically winning game as his knight is better than my bishop and he enjoys an outside passed pawn, while my d-pawn is backward and White has a grip on the d5 square. ½-½ Kyron Griffith – Jay Bonin New York 2014 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 c5 4. Ngf3 a6
I play this when White delays capturing on d5 – it’s a personal preference. 5.exd5 exd5 6.Be2 Nc6 7.0-0 Bd6 8.Re1 Nge7 9.dxc5 Bxc5 10.Nb3 Bd6 11.c3 0-0 12.Bg5 Bg4 13.h3 Bh5 14.Nfd4 Bg6 I want to control the f5 square. 15.Bh5 But White insists. 15…Qd7 16.Nxc6 Nxc6 Very risky!
17.Bf3 h6 18.Be3 18.Bh4!. 18…Ne7
With this retreat, I both protected my d-pawn and offered a draw, which my talented younger opponent accepted: where have we heard that before? Once again we see a bullet dodged with a well-timed draw offer, as I’m clearly worse here. White can sit on the position with Nc5 or Bc5, or he can choose to mix it up with c3-c4, when if …dxc4 then Nc5 followed by taking on b7. Luckily for me, instead of pressing he chose to respect his elder and let me off the hook with a draw in a slightly worse position. ½-½ Shaun Swindell – Jay Bonin New York 2014 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5.Be2 Nc6 6.Nf3 Bg4 7.Be3 0-0 8.h3 8.d5 is standard here. My young opponent helps me conquer d4. 8…Bxf3 9.Bxf3 e5 10.d5 Nd4 11.a4 Of course not 11.Bxd4 exd4 12.Qxd4 Nxe4 13.Qxe4? Re8–+.
This looks like the natural reaction, but 11…c5 is slightly better. 12.Nb5 Re8 13.0-0 b6 This works out badly for Black. If instead 13…Nxf3 followed by …Nf6-d7, I would be solid. 14.Re1 Nxf3+ 15.Qxf3 Nd7 16.Bd2 Going for the b2-b4 break. 16…Nc5 17.b4 A nice concept. I win a pawn but yield the initiative. 17…axb4 18.Bxb4 Nxa4 19.Ra3 And White will control the a-file. 19…Nc5 20.Rea1 Rxa3 21.Rxa3 Qd7 22.Bxc5 bxc5 Now my extra pawn is doubled, and White strengthens his positional grip. 23.Ra7 Rc8
In this position, I rolled the dice and offered a draw, which my young opponent accepted. Once again, he should definitely play on here: my extra pawn is worthless and I have a rather bad bishop compared to his well-placed knight. ½-½ Jay Bonin – IM Justin Sarkar New York 2015 This game was played in the final round of a weekend FIDE event at the Marshall Chess Club. I needed only a draw to finish in first place, but I also wanted to surprise my opponent by playing 1.e4!. This game could just as easily fit into Chapter 2, but it makes more sense here as it is an interesting if quick draw by two IMs. 1.e4 c6 Justin usually plays the Najdorf Sicilian, but here he dodges my surprise with one of his
own and instead employs the Caro-Kann Defense. 2.Ne2 d5 3.e5 d4 4.c3 c5 5.Nf4 Qc7 6.Bb5+ Nc6 Both players have opted for very unusual moves in the hopes of tripping one another up. However, the position isn’t exactly novel, as Sarkar had the exact same game a few years earlier in J. Benjamin – J. Sarkar, Philadelphia 2012. There, Joel Benjamin decided to hold the pawn with 7.Qe2 Bf5 8.d3 dxc3 9.bxc3 a6 10.Nd5 Qd8 11.Bxc6+ bxc6 12.Nf4 g5 13.g4 Bxg4 14.Qxg4 gxf4 15.Qf3 Qd5 16.Qxd5 cxd5, and the game concluded in a draw after 38 moves. In my game, I opted to give up the pawn for a lead in development instead. 7.0-0 Qxe5 8.d3 Bd7 And here I think I could have played on for a slight edge with 9.Re1, when Black’s queen will struggle to find a square that is both useful and safe from attack, for example 9.Re1 Qf5 10.Na3 Nf6 11.Nc4 0-0-0 12.h3 h6 13.Bxc6 Bxc6 14.Re5 Qd7 15.Rxc5, and White has recovered the pawn but maintains the initiative. Of course, Black could retreat the queen to b8 when she would be slightly out of play and the pin on the e-pawn would be a source of concern for Black who remains underdeveloped. Sensing that my opponent may be feeling the pressure of lagging behind in development, though, I chose a quieter move before extending an olive branch. 9.Na3 With this move, I offered a draw. However, I probably should have played on as I am light-years ahead in development for the pawn. Not needing the win to secure a prize, however, I chickened out and left the chess club early to enjoy the rest of my evening at Wogie’s, my favorite sports bar in the West Village.
That’s No Way To Treat A Lady nowing when and how to exchange queens is an issue that bedevils even grandmasters, though in my own games I favor queenless middlegames and have developed a handful of lines in which I can reach them early on. Swapping the ladies early decreases the chances of falling into a mating attack; it can create psychological discomfort for my opponent, who may not have been expecting a queenless middlegame; and it allows me to steer the game towards my favorite types of endings more quickly without too much risk.
One famous example of this strategy in top-level chess was Vladimir Kram-nik’s choice of the Berlin Defense when facing Garry Kasparov in the Ruy López at the 2000 World Chess Championship in London. Effectively shutting down the world champion’s winning chances with the white pieces, Kramnik survived 16 games against Kasparov without suffering a single loss! Since then, the Berlin has enjoyed wild popularity in elite chess competition and has been played in world championship matches by Vishy Anand. Personally, I rarely play 1…e5 so the opportunity to play the Berlin never arises in my games. However, I do have a number of tried-and-true setups that lead to queenless middlegames: The King’s Indian Defense, Exchange Variation 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 0-0 5.e4 d6 6.Be2 e5 7.dxe5 dxe5 8.Qxd8 Rxd8 9.Bg5:
I pretty much make my living by playing White’s side of this position. Many tournament players aren’t prepared for a long, boring game without queens when they play the KID, and White has nothing more than a tiny space advantage. Yet, Black lacks the dynamism that most KID players relish and instead is forced to passively play accurate moves just to maintain the balance. More often than not, my opponent will crack and give up control of a key square, allowing for a winning ending to appear on the board seemingly out of thin air. The Trompowsky Attack
1.d4 d5 2.Bg5 c6 3.c3 Bf5 4.Nd2 Nd7 5.Qb3 Qb6:
In his book The Queen’s Bishop Attack: Revealed, GM James Plaskett gives excellent analysis of this type of position. In addition to the KID Exchange, these kinds of positions where the queens face off on b3 and b6 are my bread and butter. If Black captures on b3, then axb3 gives White a few mid-dlegame ideas. First of all, the pressure on the open a-file will be felt by Black’s a-pawn and often White will be able to double rooks on this file. And second, the doubled b-pawns can then be used like a tin can opener to march up the board and pry at Black’s position. The Slav Defense 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.Nbd2 Bf5 5.Qb3 Qb6:
Another position that I reach frequently in my games, with similar ideas to the ones given for the Trompowsky. The Rat Defense 1.d4 d6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 dxe5 4.Qxd8+ Kxd8:
This is a system I sometimes use as Black to achieve a quick, queenless middlegame. Of course, White is not obligated to play 3.dxe5 and the games where White doesn’t exchange in the center can be wildly complex and interesting as well. Now let’s see some examples of how this strategy works in practice. Michael Shapiro – Jay Bonin New Jersey 2001 In our first game, my opponent attempts to play the Smith-Morra Gambit, which I transpose into a c3 Sicilian and by move 6 we find ourselves in a queenless middlegame. In the c3 Sicilian, White often will exchange queens early – Sveshnikov himself advocates the line 1.e4 c5 2.c3 d5 3.exd5 Qxd5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.dxc5 Qxd1 7.Kxd1 e5 in The Complete c3 Sicilian. However, the present game features a slightly different variation in which White may have been too eager to remove the ladies from the board. 1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 d5 4.Qxd4 dxe4 5.Qxd8+ Kxd8
It’s a little risky going into a queen-less middlegame here for White, as Black’s kingside pawn majority is a long-term positional trump and there’s no clear way to immediately punish Black for having an uncastled king. Having gambited a pawn, White must play actively with something like 6.f3 exf3 7.Nxf3 Nf6 8.Bc4 Ke8 9.0-0, with adequate compensation. Instead, he plays passively and allows me to catch up in development and find safe haven for my king.
6.Be3 Nc6 7.Nd2 Nf6 8.0-0-0 Kc7 9.Bc4 Bg4 I prefer to have my bishop outside the pawn chain whenever possible. 10.f3 exf3 11.Ngxf3 e6 12.Bf4+ Bd6 Not fearing the discovered check, as my king has a safe haven on e7. 13.Bxd6+ Kxd6 14.Ne4+ Ke7 15.Nd6 Bxf3 16.gxf3 Na5 And now the process begins. The winning procedure involves simplification followed by advancing the kingside majority. 17.Be2 Rhd8 18.Nb5 Nd5 Heading for f4 to dominate the bishop. 19.Rhe1 Nf4 20.Rxd8 Kxd8 21.Bf1 Ke7 22.Re4 g5 23.Nd4 Nc6 The knight has done a wonderful job on a5 and it will now die peacefully. 24.Nxc6+ bxc6 25.Ra4 e5
Having a 4-2 majority offsets my queenside weaknesses. 26.Kc2 f5 27.b4 Trying to get his majority going, but mine is winning the race. 27…h5 28.Ra6 g4 29.fxg4 hxg4 30.Rxc6 Rh8 31.Rc7+ Kf6 32.Rxa7 Rxh2+ 33.Kd1 Or 33.Kb3 Rf2. 33…Rh1 34.Ke1 g3 35.Ra6+ Kg5 36.Ra8 g2 0-1 Jay Bonin – IM Yurij Lapshun New Jersey 2001 1.d4 d5 2.Bg5 f6
A very sharp reaction. 3.Bh4 Recently, I have switched to 3.Bf4, to prevent Black’s next move. 3…Nh6 4.f3 c5 A strong gambit. If 5.dxc5, then 5… d4 followed by …e7-e5 right away. 5.c3 Nc6 6.dxc5 e5 7.Bf2 Bf5 8.e4 I return the pawn for piece activity at once, although preparing this pawn push with 8.Nd2 would have been slightly more accurate. 8…dxe4 9.Qxd8+ Rxd8 10.Nd2 exf3 11.gxf3
Capturing with the knight looks more natural, but the knight has no future on that square and would need to be redeployed, while maintaining a pawn on f3 halts the movement of Black’s majority. We’ve quickly reached a queenless middlegame in which both sides have 4-2 majorities and the race to push is on! 11…Be7 12.Ne2 Kf7 Of course he could have also just castled here, as it’s still a legal move. 13.Ng3 Be6 14.b3 Rd7 15.Bc4 Rhd8 16.0-0-0 f5 Black tries to get his majority rolling, but my f3-pawn holds it off. 17.h4 …Be7-h4 was another threat that this move prevents. 17…g5 18.Ne2 Bxc4 19.Nxc4 Rxd1+ 20.Rxd1 Rxd1+ 21.Kxd1 gxh4 Black wins a pawn, but it’s not going anywhere for now. I could have prevented this line, though, with 18.hxg5 Bxg5 19.Bxe6+ Kxe6 20.Ngf1 Ng8 21.Be3 f4 22.Bf2, with an objectively level position, when material would be equal but White’s position would be passive and under pressure.
22.Ke1 Ke6 23.b4 Now it’s my turn. 23…a6 24.a4 h3 25.Kf1 The king keeps an eye on Black’s h-pawn. 25…Nf7 26.b5 axb5 27.axb5 Nb8?! 27…Ncd8 is preferable, as it controls the c6 square and ensures that Black’s extra kingside pawn is felt. For instance, 28.Nd2 Kd7 29.Ng3 Bh4! when the power of Black’s majority is felt, and the f5-pawn is immune from capture because White drops a piece after 30.Nxf5 h2! 31.Kg2 Bxf2. 28.Na5 The b-pawn looks tasty! 28…Nd8 29.f4 Gaining control of d4. 29…Bf6 30.fxe5 Bxe5 31.Bh4 f4
A clever try. If 32.Bxd8? f3! (32… h2?! 33.Ng3! fxg3 34.Kg2) 33.Nd4+ Bxd4 34.Bc7 (34.cxd4?? h2!) 34…Be5 35.Bxe5 Kxe5 36.Nc4+ Kd5 37.Ne3+ Kxc5, White’s position is hopeless due to Black’s pawns on f3 and h3. 32.Nxf4+ But the text move nips these ideas in the bud. 32…Bxf4 33.Bxd8 Now the b-pawn is toast. 33…Nd7 34.Nxb7 Be3 35.c6 Nb6 36.Bxb6 Bxb6 37.c4
There is no stopping c4-c5 followed by the advance of my pawns. 1-0 Jay Bonin – Vladimir Getman New Jersey 2001 1.d4 d5 2.Bg5 c6 3.c3 Bf5 4.Qb3 Qb6 5.Nd2 Nf6 5…Nbd7 is usually played before this. 6.Bxf6 exf6 I love playing against this structure. I can reach it via Larsen’s Opening: 1.b3 Nf6 2.Bb2 g6 3.Bxf6 exf6 4.c4. It’s very hard for the second player to plan any kind of pawn break with this structure. 7.e3 Be7 8.Ngf3 0-0 9.Nh4 Qxb3 Black blinks first. Neither player should trade queens in this type of position, because of the half-open a-file that results. 10.axb3 Be6
11.Bd3 Taking over the diagonal.
11…g6 12.b4 Nd7 13.0-0 Not 13.b5, because of 13…c5. 13…a6 The pressure on the a-file takes its toll. Now all the queenside pawns are on light squares: potential targets for my bishop. 14.Nhf3 Back to the center. 14…Rac8 14…f5 is a must. 15.e4 This break gives me the better pawn majority as Black’s doubled f-pawn will be a liability. 15…dxe4 16.Nxe4 f5 17.Nc5 Nxc5 18.bxc5 Fixing Black’s queenside. 18…Bd5 19.Rfe1 Bf6 20.Ne5 Rcd8 White threatened Nd7. 21.Re2 Rfe8 22.Rae1 h6 23.f4 Bh4 This helps me, but what can Black do? 24.g3 Bf6 25.h4 h5 26.Kf2 All of Black’s pawns are on light squares now. 26…Re7 27.Nc4 Rxe2+ 28.Rxe2 Bxc4 Black can’t stand the c4-knight any longer, but the bishop will turn out to be equally annoying. 29.Bxc4 Kf8 30.Rd2 Preparing the d4-d5 break comes next. 30…Be7 31.b4 Bf6 31…a5 is a better try: 32.bxa5 Bxc5, and now if 33.Rb2 then Black has the amazing 33… Rxd4. 32.Be2
Preparing Bf3 with a d4-d5 or b4-b5 break in due course. 32…Rd7 33.Bf3 Ke7 34.Ke3 Overprotects d4. 34…Kd8 35.Rd3 Re7+ 36.Kd2 Kc7 37.d5 Kc8 38.d6 Rd7 39.c4 Rd8 40.Kc2 Kd7 41.b5 axb5 42.cxb5 Rb8 43.Rb3 cxb5 44.Rxb5 b6 Black tries to liquidate. But now White breaks through. 45.c6+ Kxd6 46.Rd5+ Ke6 Not 46…Kc6 47.Rf5 winning a piece; 46…Kc7 47.Rd7 is also embarrassing. 47.Rd7 The threat: 48.d5#!. 47…Be7 48.Bd5+ Kf6 Black’s king is boxed out and the c-pawn decides. 49.c7 Rc8 50.Bb7 1-0 Russel Porter – Jay Bonin New York 1995 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Nge2 Nf6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 e5 The Sveshnikov Sicilian, played when I was young and handsome. Since then, I’ve switched to the Kalashnikov, playing …e7-e5 without a preliminary 5…Nf6. 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Be3 Of course, 7.Bg5 is the standard move, leading to sharp if very well-known lines. 7…a6 8.Na3 d5 I waste no time playing this move, which frees my game. I expected 9.exd5 followed by Nc4, but instead got… 9.Nxd5 Nxe4 10.Bb6
You’d think I had overlooked this – but in fact I had a response ready. 10…Bc5 Now if the bishops get traded I have full equality, so White tries for complications and the queens come off early. 11.Bxd8 Bxf2+ 12.Ke2 Bg4+ 13.Kd3 White’s king wanders into a dangerous neighborhood. 13…Nc5+ 14.Kd2 Bxd1 15.Bb6 Bg4 16.Nc7+ Ke7 17.Bxc5+ Bxc5 18.Nxa8 Rxa8 White has won the exchange, but his king will have trouble finding haven from the Bonin Bishops. Yes, I suppose I like bishops too, when the time is right – and here the time is definitely right. White’s rooks remain undeveloped while my minor pieces are swarming around the stranded royal in the middle of the board. 19.Ke1 Nd4 20.Rc1 Stopping the threat of 20…Bxa3 21.bxa3 Nxc2+, but now the attack comes from a different direction. Better is the logical 20.Bd3, developing and defending at the same time, though White’s position would still be shaky due to his poorly located king, for instance 20.Bd3 Be6 21.c3 Nf5 22.Nc2 g6 23.b4 Ba7 24.c4 Nh4 25.g3 Nf3+ 26.Ke2 Nd4+ 27.Nxd4 Bxd4, and Black’s extra pawn and bishop pair are still more than adequate compensation for the exchange. 20…Nf3+ 21.Ke2 e4!
Taking away the d3 square. The knight is still immune from capture, as after 22.gxf3 Bxf3+ 23.Ke1 Bxh1 White’s position is hopeless. 22.h3 Rd8 Now the threat of …Rd2# is in the air and the end is near. 23.Nb1 Nd4+ 24.Kd2 24.Ke1 Nxc2+ and …Rd1#. 24…Ne2+ Black wins back the exchange. This ambitious move, though, is less accurate than the simple retreat 24…Be6 which keeps all of the pressure on White. 25.Ke1 Ng3 26.hxg4 Nxh1 27.Bc4 Missing my next move; better but still leaving White worse would be 27.Nc3. 27…Be3 Black wins the other exchange. 28.Rd1 Bf2+ 29.Ke2 Ng3+ 30.Kxf2 Rxd1 31.Nc3 Nh1+ Luckily, I had this in-between move. 32.Ke2 Rg1 33.Nxe4 Rxg2+ 34.Kf3 Rxc2 35.Bf1 White will win the h1-knight, but at great cost: he loses all of his pawns. 35…Rxb2 36.Bg2 Rxa2 37.Bxh1 a5 The passed pawns will not be denied. 38.Ke3 b5 39.Kd3 Rh2 40.Bf3 a4 41.Nd2 Kf6 42.Ne4+ Ke5 The black king joins in the fun.
43.Nc3 a3 44.Bd5
And after making his move, White resigned, as now it’s clear that I will simply play 44… Rh3+ and 45…Rxc3. 0-1 Jay Bonin – FM Konstantin Dolgitser New York 1995 1.d4 d5 2.c4 Bf5 The Baltic Defense, a sharp line that yields the center and often leads to queenless middlegames. 3.cxd5 Bxb1 4.Rxb1 Qxd5 5.a3 Nc6 6.e3 e5 7.dxe5 Qxd1+ 8.Kxd1 Nxe5 9.f3
I was not overly worried about my king in this queenless middlegame, as it has a safe haven on c2. Because I enjoy the bishop pair and a more mobile pawn majority, I am in no rush to commit my pieces, and so seek first to restrict Black with the prophylactic 9.f3. It is important to take away squares from the black knights and quash Black’s counterplay possibilities before getting the pawns rolling. 9…Rd8+ 10.Kc2 As advertised. 10…Ne7 11.Nh3
Headed for the f2 square. 11…Nf5 12.Nf2 Be7 13.f4 Removing the offender so that I can develop my extra bishop. 13…Nd7 14.g4 Nd6 On h4, the knight would be out of play. 15.h4 f5 Trying to get more space, but this creates a target and weakens a critical diagonal. 16.g5 c5 Black tries to make use of his queenside majority, but it doesn’t get very far. 17.b3 b5 18.Bb2 Kf7 19.Bg2 Finally, with the threat of 20.Bd5+. 19…Nb6 Covers the d5 square but surrenders e5. 20.Nd3 Rhe8 Black tries to castle by hand, but my kingside pawns storm the gates. 21.Bc6 Rf8 22.h5 Rc8 23.g6+
Opening up the files for my rooks and creating multiple deadly threats. 23…Kg8 The only move. For instance, if 23…hxg6 24.hxg6+ Kg8 25.Rh7 Rf6 26.Rbh1 Rxg6 27.Rh8+. 24.h6 hxg6 25.hxg7 Rfd8 26.Rh6
The bishop is immune to capture: 26…Rxc6 27.Rh8+ Kf7 28.Ne5+ Kxg7 29.Nxc6+ Bf6 30.Rxd8 Nf7 31.Bxf6+ Kxf6 32.Rg8. 26…Kf7 27.Ne5+ Kxg7 28.Nd7+
The final offensive begins. 28…Kf7 Of course not 28…Kxh6 29.Rh1+ Bh4 30.Rxh4#. 29.Rh7+ Ke8 30.Ne5+ Rxc6 31.Nxc6 Rd7 32.Ne5 Rc7 33.Rh8+ Bf8 34.Nxg6 Rf7 35.Rd1 Ne4 36.Bg7 Now’s the time to simplify. 36…Nd7 37.Bxf8 Nxf8 38.Rd5 Rf6 39.Re5+ White wins a piece. 39…Kf7 40.Nxf8 Kg7 41.Nd7 Rd6 42.Rd8 Rd2+ 43.Kc1 Re2 44.Re7+ Kg6 45.Rg8+ Kh6 46.Rxe4 1-0 Jay Bonin – FM Stephen Muhammad New York 2001 1.d4 d5 2.Bg5 h6 3.Bh4 c6 4.c3 Bf5 5.Qb3 Qb6 6.Nd2 Nd7 7.Ngf3 Ngf6 8.e3 g5 9.Bg3 Nh5 10.c4 Nxg3 11.hxg3 Bg7 12.cxd5 Qxb3 13.Nxb3 Normally, I take back with the pawn in situations like this, but in this case I judged that I could use the c-file that was about to come open. 13…cxd5 14.Bb5
In this sterile position, I favor knights over bishops. 14…0-0-0 15.Rc1+ Kb8 16.Bxd7 Bxd7 17.Ne5 Be8 Not 17…Bxe5, after which my other knight will occupy d4 unchallenged. 18.Kd2 No need to castle here. My king is safe. 18…f6 Ousting my knight, but burying his bishop. 19.Nd3 b6 The c5 square is covered, but c6 is weak. 20.Rc3 e6 20…Rc8 must be played now. I control the c-file. 21.Nb4 Kb7 22.Rhc1 Rd7 This move stops Rc7, but it lets my knight in. 23.Nc6 Bg6 24.Nxa7 A cute combo to cash in on the pressure. If king captures knight, then Rc7 wins it all back. 24…Bf8 25.Nc6 Black threatened …Bb4. 25…Bd6 26.a4 This pawn push is like a can opener used to pry away Black’s control of the c5 square. 26…Rc7 27.a5 b5 28.Nc5+ Ka8 Not 28…Kxc6 29.Nxe6+.
29.Nb4 I could have taken on e6, but after 29…Rcc8 I couldn’t see how to get the e6-knight back into play. Post-mortem analysis shows that this was the best line after all, as White’s attack on the king doesn’t require extracting this knight, for instance 29.Nxe6 Rcc8 30.Rb3 Rhe8 (30… Be8 31.Nb4 Rxc1 32.Kxc1 Bxb4 33.Rxb4 is no better for Black) 31.Rxb5 Rxe6 32.Rb6 Bb8 33.Rc5 Rf8 34.Rcb5 Ba7 35.Ra6 Rxc6 36.Rxc6 Bf5. 29…Bf7 30.Nbd3 Now it’s on to simplification mode. 30…e5 Black tries to get active… 31.Ne4 …but the hits just keep on coming. 31…Rxc3 32.Nxc3 exd4 33.Nxb5 dxe3+ 34.Kxe3 The king enters the action. 34…Bb8 35.Rc6 Re8+ 36.Kd2 Re6 37.Nc7+ Bxc7 38.Rxc7 Bh5 39.f3 All game long, the black bishops have lacked scope. This move closes yet another door on them. 39…Re8 40.Nc5 1-0 He’s had enough. Jay Bonin – IM Joshua Waitzkin New York 1994 My opponent in this game was a top U.S. junior and the subject of the movie Searching for Bobby Fischer. No longer active, he’s now a martial-arts instructor and the author of The Art of Learning. 1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 c6 3.Bg2 Bg4 4.c4 e6 5.Qb3 Qb6 6.Ne5 Nf6 It is very risky to surrender a bishop for a knight in a position that could blow open at any moment. 6…Bf5 is better. 7.cxd5
7…Qxb3 Not 7…cxd5 8.Qa4+ winning a piece. The theme in these positions, with the queens staring at each other on b3 and b6, is that, in general, the player who initiates the trade will feel long-term pressure because of the open file created when the other player recaptures with the a-pawn. 8.axb3 As compensation for my doubled pawns, I have a half open a-file to work with and the a8rook will be stuck babysitting the a-pawn for the rest of the game. 8…exd5 9.Nxg4 Nxg4 10.Bh3 Already using the bishop for a strong purpose. Knight retreats to f6 or h6 allow 11.Bc8, winning the b7-pawn. 10…f5 11.f3 Nh6 12.d4 Threatening to win the f-pawn by Bxh6. 12…Bb4+ 13.Kf2 Not 13.Bd2 Bxd2 14.Kxd2, when Black no longer need worry about Bxh6 ideas and the fpawn will be safe. 13…0-0 14.Bxh6 Leaving all kinds of weak pawns. 14…gxh6 15.Na3 Heading for c2. 15…Kg7 16.Nc2 Be7 17.b4 Now the idea is 18.b5 cxb5 19.Ne3. 17…b5
Now the c- and a-pawns are backward. 18.Ra3
A versatile concept. I can double on the a-line while from a3 the rook can shuttle over to e3 as needed. 18…Bd6 19.Rha1 a6 20.Ne3 Kg6 21.Ng2 The f-pawn is looking like toast, while the b8-knight is a mere spectator. 21…Bxb4 22.Re3 Ra7 23.Nh4+ Kf6 24.Nxf5 h5 25.Nh4 Re7 I was threatening Re6+. 26.Rxe7 Kxe7 27.Nf5+ Kf6 28.Ne3 Ke7 29.Nc2 Bd6 30.Kg2 Breaking the pin and preparing to play 31.e4 dxe4 32.fxe4, with decisive control over the central squares. 30…h4 31.e4 dxe4 32.fxe4 hxg3 33.hxg3 c5 Too little, too late. 34.e5 Bc7 35.Ne3 Preparing the decisive invasion on the light squares. 35…cxd4 36.Nd5+ Kd8 37.Rc1
The final point. If 37…Bxe5, then 38.Rc8#. 37…Rf7 38.e6 1-0 39.e7 is next. Evan Rosenberg – Jay Bonin New York 2012 1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 0-0 5.d3 Nc6 6.e4 Nd4 Might as well grab a weak square. 7.Nge2 c5 8.0-0 d6 9.Nxd4 cxd4 10.Nb5 Ne8 I did not want to commit to …e7-e5 too soon. 11.b4 This only leads to weakening squares in White’s position. 11…a6 12.Na3 a5 Gaining control of the c5 square. 13.bxa5 Qxa5 14.Nb5 Qa4 Stopping a2-a4. 15.Bb2 Qxd1 16.Rfxd1 e5
Now …e7-e5 is in order, while the e8-knight covers the d6 square. 17.Ba3 Ra6 Thankfully, this rook lift is available as there is no other way to defend the weak pawn on d6. 18.Bb4 A good move, enabling a2-a4. 18…f6 Prepares …Rf7 and …Bf8. 19.a4 Rf7 20.f4 This advance is not as dangerous as it looks, as I can capture either way. 20…Bf8 This bishop seeks a more active role. 21.h3 Ng7 Aiming for …Ne6-c5. 22.Kh2 Bd7 The other bishop finally gets out. 23.Bf3 Ne6 24.Bg4 h5 I opt for the bishop pair instead. 25.Bxe6 Bxe6 26.fxe5 This exchange helps Black. Now …f6-f5 is a possible break. 26…dxe5 27.Bxf8 Kxf8 28.c5
Hoping to use the d6 square, but I have everything else. 28…f5 White may need to worry about his central pawns. 29.Rf1?! Now Black gets the upper hand. Instead 29.exf5 Bxf5 30.Rd2 keeps the position equal. 29…fxe4 Now I have a protected passer as an insurance policy against any endings. 30.Rxf7+ Kxf7 31.dxe4 Ke7 Heading towards c6. The white pawns on the a- and c-files are starting to look weak. 32.a5 Kd7 33.Nd6 Kc6 Mission accomplished: now something must fall. 34.Kg2 b6
Gaining a pawn and forcing a winning ending, though more accurate is the patient 34…Ra7 35.Kf2 Kxc5 36.Nc8 Bxc8 37.Rc1+ Kb4 38.Rxc8 Rxa5 39.Rc7 Ra2+ 40.Kf3 b5, with a simple technical win for Black. 35.cxb6 Kxd6 36.Rb1 Bc8 37.b7 Bxb7 38.Rxb7 Rxa5 39.Rb6+ Kc5 The rest needs no comment. 40.Rxg6 Ra2+ 41.Kf3 Ra3+ 42.Kf2 Re3 43.Rg5 Rxe4 44.Rxh5 d3 45.Rh8 d2 46.Rd8 Rd4 0-1
Avoiding Dead Draws n many of the lines that I play as White, I seek out a dull middlegame from the get-go. For instance, in this chapter you will see several examples of how I handle the King’s Indian Defense. It has always been my preference to sidestep the thickets of the main lines, instead choosing to exchange in the center early and reach simple positions that leave most KID aficionados frustrated. However, here I have a second hurdle to clear: having taken my opponent out of their favorite system and into an equal middlegame, how do I then recomplicate the position enough to create winning chances? One idea that you will see come up again and again in these positions is that I consistently leverage pawn majorities effectively. In an otherwise balanced position with an equal number of pawns where both sides have majorities on opposite wings of the board, I am patient and plodding in waiting for the right moment to mobilize my pawn mass or infiltrate my opponent’s with a minor piece. Often, the answer involves a combination of some risk-taking and playing a few key waiting moves to give my opponent just enough rope to hang himself. The theme of this chapter is therefore not only avoiding draws when an opponent plays drawish lines, but more specifically how to generate full points out of the sometimes lifeless lines that I favor.
Jay Bonin – Luis Bernardo Hoyos Millán New Jersey 1990 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.d4 0-0 5.e4 d6 6.Be2 Nbd7 7.0-0 e5 8.Be3 h6 9.dxe5 dxe5 So the pawn structure is symmetrical, but Black could become the proud owner of the d4 square if I’m not careful. 10.Nd2 A useful waiting move. 10…c6 Eventually this move has to come in to keep a knight out of d5, but now the d6 square is available. 11.c5 Qe7 12.b4 Rd8 13.Nc4
With the d-file the focal point of the position, play is dictated by the balance between my control of the d6 square and Black’s control of the d4 square. 13…Nf8 14.Qc1 Kh7 15.Nd6 Bg4 16.h3 I chose this over 16.f3 because the resulting exchange lets me contest control over the central square d4, while it also takes the sting out of a possible …Nh5-f4 invasion by avoiding the creation of additional dark-square weaknesses. 16…Bxe2 17.Nxe2 Ne6 18.Qc4 Ne8 Well, there goes my trump card. Black should be fine now. 19.Nxe8 Qxe8 20.Rad1 Rd7 A good move, as Black will take over the d-file. 21.a4 So I try to open the b-file for counterplay. 21…Rad8 22.Rxd7 Qxd7 23.b5 Qd3 24.Qxd3 Rxd3 25.bxc6 bxc6 26.Rb1 Rd7 27.f3 I would love to play Nc1 with the idea of Nb3, but …Rd1+ would be embarrassing as it would allow Black to paralyze my pieces. For instance, if 27.Nc1 Rd1+ 28.Kh2 f5 29.Rb2 f4 30.Bd2 Nxc5, Black’s advantage could be called a winning one. 27…Bf8 28.a5
There’s no time for defense. If 28.Rc1, then 28…Rd3 followed by 29…Ra3 when my apawn is indefensible. 28…Nd4 An interesting idea: making use of the rook on the open file as well as the strong grip on d4, but this move actually falls short as the passed d-pawn is easily blockaded. Better was taking the c-pawn right away, for instance 28…Nxc5 29.Rc1 Nb3 30.Rxc6 Nxa5 31.Rc8 Bd6 32.Nc3 Rb7, when Black enjoys an outside passed pawn and an edge. 29.Nxd4 exd4 30.Bd2 Bxc5 31.Rc1 Bd6 32.Rxc6 Bg3 33.Kf1 d3 34.a6 Be5 A blunder. The calm 34…g5 or even the natural 34…Rd4 would hold the position level. 35.Rc5 Bg3 36.Rd5 After this move, though, it’s over. The a7-pawn is toast. 36…Rc7 37.Rxd3 Rc2 38.Rd7 Kg7 39.Be3 g5 40.Rxa7 Ra2 41.Bd4+ All I have to do is go Ra8 and a6-a7. A very interesting game despite the symmetry, or perhaps even because of it. 1-0 Roman Krant – Jay Bonin New York 1993 1.g3 d5 2.Bg2 c6 3.d3 Nf6 4.Nd2 h6 5.e4 dxe4 6.dxe4 e5 7.Ngf3 Bg4 In this symmetrical position, I trade this bishop for a knight because my cleric will otherwise lack for an active role. 8.h3 Bxf3 9.Qxf3 Nbd7 10.0-0 Bc5
All of my minor pieces are in play here, while White still needs to develop his bishop sitting at home on c1. 11.Rd1 Qe7 12.a4 a5 13.Nc4 Nb6 Trying to keep pieces on the board is key when attempting to win such symmetrical positions. However, it’s very important to challenge this knight, as it is White’s most active piece. Of course, White isn’t obligated to trade and decides instead to redeploy to e3, with the threat of jumping into the cozy f5 square. 14.Ne3 g6 15.Ng4 Nxg4 16.Qxg4 16.hxg4 looks better to my eyes, as now I can breach White’s castled position by using my h-pawn as a battering ram. 16…h5 17.Qf3 h4 The barbarians have arrived at the gates, but there is no need to rush here as exchanging would be bad for White, whereas pushing g3-g4 would solve one issue (the open h-file) while creating another (dark-square weakness and the possibility of an eventual …f7-f5 pawn break). Also note that the g2-bishop has no active role. 18.Kh2 Nd7 19.Bd2 Qf6 20.Rf1 Qxf3 21.Bxf3 Nf8 Played not so much to redeploy the knight as to clear the d-file for my rooks. 22.Bg4 b6 23.Bg5 Nh7 24.Bd2 Of course not 24.Bxh4?? g5 when the bishop is toast, though 24.gxh4 Nxg5 25.hxg5 Be7 26.Rfd1 Ra7 27.Kg2 Bxg5 is equal. 24…Rd8 25.Rad1 Nf6 26.Bf3 On sentry duty, guarding an e-pawn. Not a great role for a bishop. 26…Ke7 Finally connecting the rooks.
27.Kg2 Nh5 28.Bg5+ f6 29.Bxh5 Rxd1 30.Rxd1 Rxh5 31.Bc1 hxg3 32.fxg3 Rh8
Time to take stock. The position should be a dead draw here. For instance, 33.Rd3 Ke6 34.h4 b5 35.Rc3 Kd6 36.Rf3 Ke6 37.Rc3 Kd6, etc. However, the imbalance in the pawn structure creates some winning chances if either side plays inaccurately, takes chances, or misses this forced repetition. I can try for an …f6-f5 or …b6-b5 break at some point, while White has the potential for an outside passer on the h-file. My bishop looks more active but it’s not striking at anything at the moment, while White’s rook looks more active than mine but has no entry point into my side of the board as d5, d6, d7, and d8 are all covered. These are the little kernels of complexity that can yield winning chances in this otherwise sterile endgame, but you must take risks to capitalize on them. 33.h4 b5 A risky break, weakening d5, but giving me an open file and the possibility of a passed pawn. 34.axb5 cxb5 35.Rd5 Rc8 36.g4 Ideas of g4-g5 and h4-h5 are in the air, while Black has a clear plan now of creating a passed a-pawn. In only a few moves we have gone from “dead draw” to “double-edged.” 36…b4 With the idea …a5-a4-a3. Let’s see: 37.b3? a4! 38.bxa4 Bd4 39.c3 (not 39.Rb5? Rxc2+!) 39…Rxc3 40.Bh6 Rc2+ 41.Kg3 b3, with a clear win for Black. Best for White here is something like 37.Bd2 Bd4 38.c3 bxc3 39.bxc3 Bc5, with a level game still. 37.c3 bxc3 38.bxc3 Ke6
White’s move 37 was inaccurate, as my a-pawn is much faster than his h-pawn. 39.h5 gxh5 40.gxh5 f5 Creating a second passer. 41.Kf3 Ba3 A killer: Black is threatening …fxe4 followed by …Rc4+. 42.Rxa5 Rxc3+ 43.Ke2 Bxc1 44.Ra6+ Kf7 45.exf5 Rh3 I collect the h-pawn and will cash in with my extra piece and e-pawn. 46.Re6 Bf4 0-1 Bora Yagiz – Jay Bonin New York 2015 1.e4 Nc6 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d3 Bg4 5.h3 Bxf3 6.Qxf3 Ne5 7.Qe2 Nxc4 8.dxc4 e6 9.0-0 c6 10.b3 Be7 11.Rd1 Qc7 12.Nd2 0-0 13.Nf3 Nd7 14.Ba3 Rfd8 15.Rd3 Nf8 16.Rad1 Ng6 17.Qd2 c5 18.Bb2 Rd7 19.h4
So far, so good. Bora has played solidly and retains an edge. The trades that follow give me the better pawn structure and a little more activity than I deserved.
19…Nxh4 20.Nxh4 Bxh4 21.Rxd6? Here he misses the boat by trading. 21.Qf4 Qd8 22.e5! would have left me struggling to defend an inferior position. 21…Rxd6 22.Qxd6 Qxd6 23.Rxd6 Rd8 24.Rxd8+ Bxd8
My, how fast things change. Suddenly Bora is saddled with a doubled c-pawn, while I have a healthy 4-3 majority on the kingside. It’s almost as if I am up a pawn here: although the position is likely drawn, only Black retains winning chances due to this imbalance. 25.Be5 Kf8 26.Bb8 a6 27.Kf1 Ke8 28.Ke2 Kd7 29.Bf4 Else 29…Bc7 30.Ba7 b6 and the bishop is trapped. 29…h5 30.Be3 Be7 31.c3 f5 32.exf5 exf5 33.g3 g5 While the position is still technically level, only Black can really press here with the kingside majority. In time pressure, I managed to convert. 0-1 M. Zlotnikov – Jay Bonin New Jersey 2009 1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 f5 4.Bg2 Nf6 5.d3 Bb4 6.Bd2 0-0 7.Nf3 d6 8.0-0 a5 9.Nd5 Bxd2 10.Qxd2 Kh8 11.Rac1 Nxd5
After a relatively quiet opening, I manage to complicate the position and the fireworks begin. 12.cxd5 Nb4 13.Qg5 Qd7 An awkward move as my c8-bishop is temporarily unable to develop, but I need to protect the c7-pawn and avoid trading queens, as doing so would simply activate all of his pieces. 14.Bh3 White is committed to the attack, but he loosens the stops on his position with this aggression. 14…Qf7 This move is safe, but it misses the in-between move 14…Nxa2 15.Rc4 Nb4, netting a clean pawn and leaving the b-pawn looking lonely. 15.Qh4 Nxd5 16.Ng5 Qg6 17.e4?!
Better is the simple retreat 17.Bg2. After the text move, White will win the c7-pawn after all, but now I get counterplay on the f-file. 17…fxe4 18.dxe4 Bxh3 And trading these bishops weakens the light squares. 19.Nxh3 Nf6 20.Rxc7 Nxe4 Threatening …Nd2-Nf3 and inducing another weakness. The tables are turning. 21.f4? Better is the calm and cool 21.Kg2 h6 22.f3 Nc5, when Black stands better but White may be able to hold. After the text move, White will drop the exchange. 21…Nd2 22.Rf2 Qb1+ 23.Kg2 Qe4+ 24.Kg1 Nf3+ 25.Rxf3 Qxf3 26.Qe7 One last gasp of an attack. I still must be careful, but objectively Black is completely winning here.
26…Qe3+ 27.Nf2 Rg8 28.f5 Qf3 29.g4 Raf8 30.Qxd6 e4 Now my passed e-pawn has some say. White runs back to defend, in effect raising the white flag. 31.Qg3 Qe2 32.Rc1 e3 33.Nh3 Rd8 With a decisive invasion. 0-1 Jay Bonin – Norman Rogers U.S. Open 1990 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2 Nbd7 7.e5 My pet line against 7…Nd7, though nowadays I take on d6 instead of castling on move 8. 7…Ne8 8.0-0 c5 9.Be3 cxd4 10.Bxd4 dxe5 11.Bxe5 Nef6
And we have an open position with opposite-side pawn majorities. 12.Bd4 Keeping the bishop centralized and nullifying its counterpart’s nefarious effects along the long diagonal. 12…a6 13.Re1 Qc7 14.Bf1 Re8 15.Ne5 Else …e7-e5. 15…Nc5 16.Rc1 Bh6 This attempt at aggression allows a cute riposte. 17.Nd5! Qd6 If 17…Nxd5? 18.cxd5 Bxc1 19.Qxc1 f6 20.Nd3, the knight is lost due to the pin on the cfile. 18.b4 Nce4 19.c5
The hits just keep coming. Now 19…Qxd5 20.Bc4! Qd8 21.Nxf7! is embarrassing. 19…Qd8 20.Nb6?!
I counterattack rather than defend, but here this is inaccurate as Black can emerge the exchange ahead with precise play: 20…Bxc1 21.Bc4 Be6 22.Bxe6 fxe6 23.Qd3 Bb2 24.Bxb2 Qxd3 25.Nxd3 Rad8. 20…Bxc1 21.Nxa8 Be6? Here 21…Bd2! would hang on to the material. 22.Nc7 Deflection. I decide it is better to jettison this knight than to lose my centrally placed bishop. 22…Bd2 Black finds the right move, but one turn too late. With both sides attacking, now the question is who will throw the last punch. 23.Nxe8 Bxe1 24.Nxf6+ exf6 25.Qxe1 Qxd4 26.Nf3 Qd5 27.a3 The smoke has cleared and it looks good for Black as his pieces are active. However, the change in the pawn structure favors me, as Black has compromised his majority into a doubled pawn, while my 3-2 on the queenside remains healthy. So I switch into trading mode and aim to simplify into an endgame with the ladies off the board. 27…Kg7 28.Qe3 Bd7 29.Qd4 Qxd4 30.Nxd4
Mission accomplished. Next step: to target the b7-pawn. 30…f5 31.Bc4 Kf6 32.f4 Taking away the e5 square. 32…Nc3 33.Kf2 My king will have some say here. 33…Nb1 34.Bd5 Bc8 35.Nc2 Temporary defense until my king’s position improves. 35…Nc3 36.Bf3 Ke7 37.Ke3 Ne4 A nice try, but I’m not taking the bait! 38.Kd4 Bd7 Better is 38…Nd2 39.Bd5 Nf1 40.h3 h6 41.a4 Ng3, when Black’s knight is harassing my pawns and his bishop remains faithful to the defense of b7. 39.Ne3 The knight heads to a5. After gradually building up a better position, something’s gotta fall now. 39…Bc6 40.Nc4 f6 Black’s doubled pawn is useless. 41.Na5 Kd7 42.Nxc6 Kxc6 43. a4 Another important in-between move. Black will run out of moves soon. 43…h6 44.g4 h5 45.gxf5 gxf5 46.h4 b6 47.cxb6 Kxb6 48.Bxe4 1-0 Jay Bonin – Steven Jablon New York 2013
1.d4 d5 2.Bg5 c6 3.c3 Bf5 4.Nd2 Qb6 5.Qb3 e6 6.Ngf3 Nd7 7.e3 Ngf6 8.Be2 h6 9.Bh4 Bd6 10.Bg3 Bxg3 11.hxg3 Qxb3 I never recommend this exchange because of the tactics on the a-file. 12.axb3 Ne4 13.b4 Ndf6 14.Nb3 Ng4 This act of aggression is easily repelled. 15.0-0 a6 16.Nfd2 I could have played b4-b5, undoubling my forward b-pawn, but instead I try to exchange Black’s knights to reach a knight-vs.-bishop position, where my knight will have much more scope. 16…Nxd2 17.Nxd2 0-0-0 And now I force a trade where White’s knight runs rings around Black’s bishop.
18.e4 dxe4 19.Bxg4 Bxg4 20.Nxe4 On my way to c5, where the knight forks b7 and a6. 20…h5 21.f3 Bf5 22.Nc5 h4 23.g4 Bg6 24.Kh2 Rd6 A natural-looking move, but not the best one here. One way to hold steady would be with 24…b6! 25.Ne4 Kb7; or 24…b6! 25.Nxa6 Bd3 26.Rfc1 Kb7 27.b5 Bxb5 28.Nb4, when Black has neutralized any pressure White may have had on the a-file. A riskier line was also possible: 24…e5!? 25.dxe5 Rd2, when Black has counterplay and practical chances, although he would objectively stand slightly worse. 25.Rfe1 Bh7 26.Re5
With the threat of 27.Rh5. 26…Rd5 Answers the threat, but loses differently. Preferable are 26…Rdd8 or 26…Bc2. 27.Rxd5 cxd5 28.b5 The decisive breakthrough. 1-0 Jay Bonin – Daniel Vasserman New York 2014 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 0-0 5.e4 d6 6.Be2 e5 7.dxe5 dxe5 8.Qxd8 Rxd8 9.Bg5 c6 10.Nxe5 Re8 11.0-0-0 Rxe5 12. Rd8+ Re8 13.Bxf6 Rxd8 14.Bxd8 Be6
So I come out a pawn ahead but Black starts to get piece activity more quickly than I do. 15.Rd1 Nd7 16.Bg5 Ne5 17.f4 f6 An important in-between move that allows Black to regain his pawn while limiting White’s play. Taking the pawn right away would be a mistake, as 17…Nxc4 would meet with 18.f5. 18.Bh4 Nxc4 19.Bxc4 Bxc4 20.Rd7
While an engine will evaluate this position as nearly dead even, there’s plenty of chess left to be played and, from a practical standpoint, lots of imbalances that need to be considered with every move. Both sides have pawn majorities on opposite wings, and Black’s bishop pair is offset by the white rook on the seventh, which limits his options. 20…b5 21.Bf2 a5 22.b3 Bf1 23.g3 Bg2 It looks like Black has gotten enough out of the position for easy equality. 24.Bb6 b4 Objectively not a bad move, but allowing my knight to have a clear path to invade is precisely the kind of break I’ve been waiting for on the queenside. Psychologically speaking, 24…a4 is a more challenging move for White to face, because White must choose between giving Black a passed pawn right away after exchanging or having his knight kicked away with the impending pawn push 25…b4. 25.Na4 Bxe4 26.Rd8+ Of course. After the trade, I win the a5-pawn and b4 is weak. 26…Rxd8 27.Bxd8 f5 28.Bxa5 Bf8 29.Bb6 Preparing Bc5. 29…Kf7 30.Bc5 Bxc5 31.Nxc5 And, just like that, Black is lost. The b4-pawn will fall. 31…Ke7 32.Nxe4?
I had evaluated that White could win this king-and-pawn endgame, but in fact Black can hold. Better is 32.Na6 h6 33.Nxb4, when White has a clear win. 32…fxe4 33.Kd2 Ke6 34.g4 h5 35.h3 hxg4 36.hxg4 c5?? Up until this point the endgame had been unwinnable for either side, but with this serious misstep Black falls into Zugzwang. Drawing was 36…Kd6 37.Ke2 Kc5 38.Kf2 Kd4 39.Ke2 Kc5 40.Ke3 Kd5 41.g5 c5 42.Kd2 Ke6 43.Ke2 Kd6 44.Ke3 Kd5 45.Kd2 Ke6 46.Ke2, when
neither side can make progress. 37.Ke3 Kd5 38.g5 The only move to win. Either 38.f5 or 38.Ke2 merely draw. 38…c4 39.bxc4+ Kxc4 40.f5 White’s pawns run faster. 40…gxf5 41.g6 f4+ 42.Kxe4 1-0 Jay Bonin – James Jeffrey New York 2013 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 0-0 5.e4 d6 6.Be2 Nbd7 7.e5 My favorite move against 6…Nbd7. 7…Ne8 8.exd6 cxd6
We’ve reached a nice and sterile position that could have arisen from Alekhine’s Defense. 9.0-0 Ndf6 10.d5 Bg4 11.Nd4 Bxe2 12.Ndxe2?! Better is 12.Qxe2, defending the c4-pawn with Her Majesty. 12…Rc8 13.Qd3 The position requires precision. While 13.b3 is also OK here, I prefer to cover the weak pawn with my queen, which also covers the e4 square and prevents the knight from reaching greener pastures on c5, as would happen after 13.b3 Ne4 14.Bb2 Qa5 15.Qd3 Nc5, when Black has annoying pressure on the queenside. 13…Ng4 14.b3 Ne5 15.Qh3 h5 He wants to bring his knight back to g4, but the price – weakening g6 – is too high. 16.Qe3
Now I regroup, with the idea of exploiting this new weakness, though 16.Bg5 or 16.Be3 are also good here. 16…a6 17.h3
Controlling the g4 square so that I don’t have to fret about his knight’s arriving there. 17…Nf6 At last this knight awakens from its slumber, though it would have been better to let it rest a while longer and strive for queenside counterplay. The following sharp line would lead to a dull ending: 17…b5! 18.cxb5 axb5 19.Nxb5 Nc4 20.bxc4 Bxa1 21.Na7 Rxc4 22.Nc6 Rxc6 23.dxc6 Qa8 24.Qb6 Qxa2 25.Be3 Be5=. 18.Bb2 Re8?! Again, 18…b5 is called for. 19.f4 Ned7 20.f5 Now Black’s king safety will be compromised. 20…Ne5 21.fxg6 Nxg6 22.Ng3 b5 Here Black finds the right idea, but a few moves too late, as my attack comes quicker. Perhaps he should have gambled with 22…e6. 23.Nf5 bxc4 I don’t care about the queenside any longer and don’t bother defending it – I’m after bigger game! 24.Nxg7 Kxg7 25.Ne4 cxb3 26.Qg5 Qb6+ 27.Kh1 Rc2 28.Bxf6+ exf6 29.Qxf6+ Kh6 30.Nxd6 1-0 Decisive material loss is unavoidable. Jay Bonin – Gerald Towns New York 2013
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 d6 5.e4 0-0 6.Be2 c6 7.0-0 Qc7 A rather offbeat line that Gerald likely employed to avoid the KID Exchange Variation. 8.Bf4 With this move, I provoke an aggressive response. 8…Nh5 9.Be3 e5 Consistent, but now I strike. 10.c5
Breaking up the center. This is a key idea I use when facing the King’s Indian Defense. From a psychological angle, KID devotees like to play a closed position where they have time to build up an attack on the kingside. Knowing this, I favor lines that open the center and deny them their fun, such as the Exchange Variation or (as in this case) the idea with 10.c5. Objectively, these positions are often stale and symmetrical; however, I’m happy with the resulting endgames and practically speaking many KID players quickly go astray by trying to generate an attack from a dead-level position. 10…dxc5 11.dxe5 Rd8 Or 11…Bxe5 12.Nxe5 Qxe5 13.f4, followed by Bxh5. 12.Nd2 The h5-knight is toast. 12…Qxe5 13.f4 Qd6? Black doubles on the open file, but falls into a terrible position. 13…Qe7 14.Bxh5 Bd4! 15.Qe2 gxh5 is fine for Black. 14.e5!
I still have to be careful, as the aggressive 14.g4 meets with 14…Bd4!, when Black has solved all of his problems and emerges with the better position. The text move buys a tempo off the queen while at the same time denying Black’s bishop the d4 square. Now Black’s kingside will be shattered after 14…Qe7 15.Bxh5 gxh5 16.Qxh5. 14…Bxe5?? This is sheer panic, though. Better to move away and pray. 15.fxe5 Qxe5 16.Nc4 He probably didn’t see this move either. 16…Rxd1 17.Nxe5 Rxa1 18.Rxa1 Ng7 19.Rd1 Not even three pawns for a piece saves Black here, as he lags behind in development. 19…Ne6 20.Ne4 Na6 21.Bh6 1-0 It’s mate after Nf6 and Nf7#. The Bonin Knights strike again! Jay Bonin – Carl Brandon Boor Philadelphia 2003 1.d4 d5 2.Bg5 f6 3.Bh4 These days, I prefer to retreat the bishop to f4 to avoid finding myself in a worse position, as in this game. 3…Nh6 4.f3 c5 5.c3 cxd4 6. cxd4 Nf5 7.Bf2 e5 Black already has an excellent position and White is almost behind in development, despite having made the first move in the game only seven short moves ago. My opponent makes the mistake of trying to simplify quickly, and misses a tactic on move 15. 8.e3 Bb4+ 9.Nc3 exd4 10.exd4 0-0 11.Bd3 Re8+ 12.Nge2 Nc6 13.0-0 Ne3
At first glance, this looks like an active move that forces some liquidation. However, this works out badly for Black. As a practical matter, he should just finish development with 13… Be6 and a simple level game. 14.Bxe3 Rxe3 15.Nf4 Nxd4? Black has fallen too far behind in development for such pawn-snatching, and it turns out that this move is a blunder plain and simple, as it drops the exchange. Better is 15…Bxc3 16.bxc3 Qd6 17.g3 Re7 18.Qb3 Be6 19.Qc2 g5 20.Nxe6 Qxe6, when Black has managed to finish development though he still stands slightly worse. 16.Ncxd5 Qd6 17.Nxe3 Qxf4 18.Nd5 Now it’s easy. 18…Qd6 19.Nxb4 Qxb4 20.Qe1 Qa4 21.b3 Qd7 22.Rd1
The threat of 23.Bc4 is too much to bear, for instance 22…Qf7 23.Bc4 Be6 24.Rxd4. 1-0
The Endgame y approach to Swiss System tournaments is not glamorous: I do not seek to win any brilliancy prizes or to spring theoretical novelties on my unsuspecting opponents – I leave this style of play to the chess youth who have infinitely more energy for study and memorization than I do. Instead, I focus on grinding out queenless middlegames and drawish endings for hours on end until my opponents crack, one by one. Please note, I am not suggesting that I am particularly talented in the endgame or that I am the second coming of Capablanca – I consider myself unworthy to even shine his shoes – it’s just that in my career as a chessplayer I have noticed that most tournament players are so incredibly inept at handling endgame positions that it is infinitely easier to rush towards an equal ending where they have plenty of subtle errors to discover on their own, than it is to try to out-calculate them in a complex middlegame where I may be unpleasantly surprised by a cunning opponent who is more familiar with a particular position than me.
I play in chess tournaments to win, plain and simple, and my approach is often to steer my opponent into an endgame as quickly as possible. Not necessarily a good endgame – just a simplified position where I run no risk of falling into a surprise attack. By now, it should be no great secret that this is how I win and in this chapter you will see some examples of my dull style in practice. Jay Bonin – Larry Remlinger New York 1992 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.0-0 exd4 8.Nxd4 Re8 9.f3 c6 10.Kh1 Nbd7 11.Bg5 h6 12.Be3 a6 13.Qd2 h5 14.Nb3 Ne5 15.Rfd1 Be6 16.Qxd6 Qxd6 17.Rxd6 Bxc4 18.Na5 Bxe2 19.Nxe2 Red8 20.Rad1 Rxd6 21.Rxd6 Ne8 22.Rd1 b5 23.b3 Bf6 24.h3 Rd8 25.Rxd8 Bxd8
And we have a minor-piece ending with even material. At first glance one might think, “draw.” But we have to think outside the box and look a little deeper than simply counting material. The first thing I look at when evaluating an endgame is the pawn structure. If the
structure were identical, a mirror image, I would offer a draw. Here, though, the pawn structure is unbalanced: Black has a queenside majority and White has his own majority on the kingside. The key comes down to which majority runs faster. With my next move, I seize the opportunity to exploit the weak c5 square and paralyze Black’s majority, giving my kingside pawns an advantage in the race. 26.Nb7 Be7 27.Bc5 I’ll be very happy with a knight on c5. 27…Kf8 28.Nd4 g5 With this move, Black stops f3-f4 at the big cost of weakening the f5 square, which my d4knight is eyeing. Now the c6-pawn is a target. With Black’s majority compromised, I have a straightforward winning plan of pressing forward on the kingside and eventually creating a passed pawn. 29.Nf5 Bxc5 30.Nxc5 Nc7 31. h4 f6 32.Kg1
My previous move fixed the h5-pawn, giving me two targets to work against, and …f7-f6 starts a chain reaction. In defending g5, my opponent has weakened the e6 square. Endgames often cannot be won without using your king and now His Royal Majesty makes his grand entrance into the thick of the battle. As more pieces get traded, it’s less likely that the king will get mated. The next phase of the plan is to bring my king to the center where he will exert the most influence. Meanwhile, my opponent’s king may inch forward to f7, but that’s as far as it will go, given that my knights cover all the entry points. 32…Ng6 33.b4 Fixing the a6-pawn. Now Black’s c7-knight is tied down. 33…Kf7 34.Kf2 gxh4 35.Ke3 Nf8 Better here is 35…Ne6!, seeking to trade off the strong knight on c5. 36.Nd4 Ke8 37.Nxc6 Nd7 38.Nxd7 Kxd7 39.Nd4 Now I pick up the h4-pawn. Note that the black knight can’t find its way to an active
square. 39…Na8 40.Nf5 Nb6 41.Nxh4 Ke6 42.Nf5 The threat is Ng7.The king must run back to defend. 42…Kf7 43.Kd4 Na4 44.Nd6+ Ke7 45.Nb7 The knight’s coming leap to c5 will decide matters. 1-0 Jay Bonin – Justin Sarkar New York 2001 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Bb7 5.Bg2 Be7 6.0-0 0-0 7.Nc3 Ne4 8.Nxe4 Bxe4 9.Ne1 Bxg2 10.Nxg2 d5 11.Qa4 Bf6 12.Rd1 Qd7 13.Qxd7 Nxd7 14.cxd5 exd5 15.Nf4 c6 16.Be3 Rfd8 17.Rac1 Rac8 18.b4 b5 19.a4 bxa4 20.Ra1 Nb6 21.Nd3 Re8 22.Nb2 Re4 23.Nxa4 Nc4 24.Nc3 Nxe3 25.Nxe4 Nxd1 26.Nxf6+ gxf6 27.Rxd1
At first sight, it looks like I’m better due to the many weak pawns in Black’s position, but it’s Black’s turn to move and he wastes no time going after my one weakness. 27…Rb8 28.Rc1 Rxb4 29.Rxc6 Rxd4 30.Rxf6 Re4 31.Kf1 Not 31.e3 d4, with a likely draw. 31…Re6 32.Rf3 Kg7 33.Ra3 a6 34.Ra5 Rd6 35.e3
Now 35…d4 would have been interesting. For example, the direct exchange 36.exd4 Rxd4 37.Rxa6 leaves White with something to play for, but is probably still a draw. In the game, I had thought I might respond with 36.e4!? just to try and keep things interesting, but this likely is even easier for Black to draw with, for instance 36…d3 37.Ke1 Re6! 38.f3 Rf6 39.f4 Rb6 40.Kd2 Rb2+ 41.Kxd3 Rxh2 42.Ke3 Rh3 43.Kf3 Rh6, and Black holds. 35…Kf6 36.Ke2 Ke5 37.Kd3 Rb6 38.f4+ Kd6 39.g4 Rb3+ 40.Kd4 Rb4+ 41.Kc3 Rb6 42.e4 Not best. 42.g5 fixes two pawns with one. After the text move, the game peters out into a draw. 42…dxe4 43.Rh5 e3 44.Kd3 Ke7 45.Rxh7 Re6 46.Ke2 Re4 This move is the drawing resource that I missed. 47.g5 Rxf4 48.Kxe3 Rg4 49.h4 Kf8 50.Kf3 Rb4 51.h5 Kg8 52.Rh6 Rb5 53.g6 fxg6 ½-½ A nicely defended game by Justin. Jay Bonin – Sergey Shchukin Philadelphia 2000 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.dxe5 dxe5 8.Qxd8 Rxd8 9.Bg5 Na6 A position with which the reader should be familiar by now. I love playing the King’s Indian Exchange Variation, mostly because it gives me so many opportunities to outplay my opponent in an ending. 10.Nd5 Rd6 11.Bxf6 Bxf6 12.b4 c6 13.Nxf6+ Rxf6 14.a3 Bg4 15.Rd1 Nc7 16.Nxe5 Bxe2 17.Kxe2 Re6 18.f4 f6 19.Rd7
Seventh Avenue is a good place to start. Now if 19…fxe5, I play 20.f5! gxf5 21.Rxc7 fxe4 22.Rxb7 Rf8 23.Rf1 and White’s better. 19…Ne8 20.Ng4 Rxe4+ 21.Kf3 Rxc4
Black has won a pawn, but my active pieces provide more than adequate compensation. 22.Re1 22.Rxb7 is obvious, but this in-between move has other threats. For instance, if (after 22.Re1) 22…b6, then 23.Nh6+ Kh8 24.Ree7 Rc3+ 25.Kg4 f5+ 26.Kg5 and Black cannot escape Rxh7#. 22…Rc3+ 23.Kf2 f5 24.Nh6+ Up to this point, I had been planning on the tactical trick 24.Rxe8, but here I decided against it as it leads merely to a massive exchange of material and a likely draw. For instance, 24.Rxe8 Rxe8 25.Nf6+ Kf8 26.Nxh7+ Kg8 27.Nf6+ Kf8 (not 25…Kh8 26.Rh7#) 28.Nxe8 Kxe8 29.Rxb7 Rxa3 30.Rg7 Ra4 31.Rxg6 Rxb4 32.Ke3 c5, with a simple draw. 24…Kh8 25.Ree7 Nf6 26.Rxb7 Rxa3 27.Rf7 Ne4+ 28.Ke2 Ra2+ 29.Ke3
Not 29.Kd1, falling into a well-known perpetual-check pattern: 29…Nc3+ 30.Kc1 Ne2+ 31.Kb1 Nc3+ 32.Kc1 Ne2+, etc. Of course not 33.Kd1? Nc3+ 34.Ke1 Re8+ 35.Kf1 Ra1+ 36.Kf2 Ne4+ 37.Ke2 Nd6+ 38.Rfe7 Rxe7+ 39.Rxe7 Rg1, when Black can claim an advantage. However, even after the text move Black has a drawing continuation demonstrated to me by my silicon sparring partner, Houdini: 29…Ra3+ 30.Kd4 Rd8+ 31.Ke5 Re8+ 32.Rfe7 Rxe7 33.Rxe7 Rd3! 34.Rxa7 Rd5+ 35.Ke6 Rd6+ 36.Kf7 Rf6+ 37.Ke8 c5 38.Nf7+ Kg8 39.bxc5 Nxc5 40.Nh6 Kh8 41.Re7 Nd3 42.g3 Nf2 43.Rd7 Ng4 44.Ke7 Kg7 45.Nxg4 fxg4 46.Ke8+ Kg8 47.Ke7 Kg7 48.Ke8+ Kg8 49.Re7. 29…Ra3+ 30.Kd4 Rd8+ 31.Ke5 Re8+ 32.Rfe7 Rxe7+ 33.Rxe7 Ra4?! Missing the ideas pointed out in the previous variation. 34.g4 Exploiting f5 and winning a new pawn. 34…Rxb4 35.gxf5 gxf5 36.Nxf5 Threatens mate. 36…Kg8 37.Nd4 Nf2 38.Ne6
Decisive. The f-pawn will also have a say in matters. 38…h5 39.Kf6 Ne4+ 40.Kg6 Rb8 41.Rg7+ The simple 41.f5 is better here, though at this point I was in time pressure, which also explains my blunder on the next move. 41…Kh8 42.Ng5??
Throwing away the win. Black can now easily simplify into a winning ending with 42… Nxg5 43.fxg5 Rg8, and the king-and-pawn ending is hopeless for me. 42…Rf8?? Inexplicably, Black returns the favor. Perhaps he saw the idea, but not the correct move order. 43.Nf7+ Rxf7 44.Rxf7 Kg8 45.Rxa7 Kf8 46.f5 Phew! Sigh of relief. This game shows that despite my preference for playing out drawish endgames, I’m certainly no Capablanca. On some days, I’m not even Bonin. 1-0 Jay Bonin – Keith Espinosa New York 2014 This game is an excellent example of one of my formulaic wins against the King’s Indian Defense. First, we trade queens and enter an early endgame. Next, we exchange more pieces, leaving pawn weaknesses on Black’s queenside. Finally, the white king penetrates the queenside and overwhelms Black’s forces, creating a deadly passed pawn. This formula is tried and true, and is responsible for many of my wins against this favorite defensive weapon of many class players and experts alike. 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 0-0 5.e4 d6 6.Be2 e5 7.dxe5 dxe5 8.Qxd8 Rxd8 9.Bg5 Nbd7 10.0-0-0 Rf8 11.Nd5 c6 12.Ne7+ Kh8 13.Be3 Re8 14.Nxc8 Rexc8 15.Ng5 Kg8 16.Bg4 Rd8 17.Bxd7 Rxd7 18.Rxd7 Nxd7 19.Rd1 Nf8 20.Nf3 b6 21.c5 bxc5 22.Rd6 Rc8 23.Bxc5 a6 24.Ne1 Ne6 25.Be3 Bf8 26.Rd7 Rc7 27.Rxc7 Nxc7
In this minor-piece ending, Black is hampered by split isolated pawns and a bishop that lacks scope. The winning plan for White is to penetrate on the queenside with his king and apply pressure to the weak pawns until one of them eventually falls. White’s outside passed pawn will then be unstoppable. 28.Nd3 f6 29.Kc2 Aiming to penetrate via a5. 29…Kf7 30.Kb3 Ke6 30…Nb5 is a better try, with the idea of …Nd6-Nb7 keeping the white king at bay. 31.Ka4 Kd7 32.Ka5 h5 33.Bb6 Bd6 34.Bxc7 Kxc7 35.Kxa6 f5 36.f3 fxe4 37.fxe4 g5 38.b4 h4 39.h3 Kd7 40.Kb7 1-0 Jay Bonin – Cameron Hull New York 2014 1.d4 d5 2.Bg5 Nf6 3.Bxf6 exf6 4.e3 Bd6 5.c4 c6 6.Nc3 Be6 7.cxd5 cxd5 8.Bd3 0-0 9.Qf3 Nc6 10.a3 Rc8 11.Nge2 a6 12.0-0 Qd7 13.Ng3 Bg4 14.Bf5 Bxf5 15.Nxf5 Rcd8 16.Nxd5 Bxh2+ 17.Kxh2 Qxd5 18.Rac1 Rfe8 19.Qxd5 Rxd5
I have a passed d-pawn, while Black’s position is compromised by his doubled f-pawns, a result of his second move of the game. I relish these kinds of positions where Black
immediately accepts doubled pawns in exchange for the bishop pair. It’s a matter of taste I suppose, but I will take the Bonin Knights and a better pawn structure over the bishop pair any day. 20.Rc5 This move is impatient and gives Black more counterplay than he deserves. Here I should play 20.Ng3 instead and consolidate my positional edge patiently. Of course, 20.g4 would allow Black to play 20…h5. 20…Rxc5 21.dxc5 Re5 22.Nd6 Rxc5 23.Nxb7 Rb5 24.Rc1 Trying to exploit the back rank. 24…Rxb7 25.Rxc6 h6 26.b4 a5 Black loses patience. Better is 26…Ra7 and praying. 27.bxa5 Ra7 28.a6 Kf8 29.e4 Ke7 30.Kg3 White misses a cute idea: 30.a4! Kd7 31.Rb6 Kc7 32.a5 and White’s advantage is undeniable. However, after the text move White still achieves a winning ending. 30…Kd7 31.Rb6 Kc7 32.Rb7+
Thanks to my extra pawn, I can liquidate into a winning king-and-pawn endgame. 32…Rxb7 33.axb7 Kxb7 34.Kf4 Kc6 If instead 34…g6, White plays 35.e5 f5 36.e6! fxe6 37.Ke5 and the pawns fall. 35.e5 fxe5+ 36.Kxe5 1-0 Eventually, I will decoy Black’s king with the a-pawn and invade on the kingside to sweep up the pawns. Jay Bonin – Edward Kopiecki New York 2012 1.d4 d5 2.Bg5 Nd7 3.Nf3 Ngf6 4.Nbd2 e6 5.e3 Be7 6.Bd3 0-0 7.0-0 b6 8.c4 h6 9.Bh4
Bb7 10.Rc1 c5 11.cxd5 Nxd5 12.Bg3 Rc8 13.a3 cxd4 14.Nxd4 Rxc1 15.Qxc1 Qc8 16.Bb5 N5f6 17.b4 Qa8 18.Nc6 Re8 19.Nxe7+ Rxe7 20.f3 a6 21.Bd3 b5 22.Nb3 Re8 23.Na5 Rc8 24.Qd2 Bd5 25.e4 Bc4 26.Bxc4 bxc4 27.Rc1 Nb6 28.Qd6 Nfd7 29.Bf2 Qb8 30.Qxb8 Rxb8 31.Nxc4 Rc8 32.Bc5 I had to see this move before going into this liquidation. 32…Na4 33.Be3 Now the rook is protected, freeing my knight. 33…Nab6 34.Nxb6 Rxc1+ 35.Bxc1 Nxb6
We have reached a bishop-vs.-knight ending, with White a pawn to the good. At the moment, my majority cannot be mobilized, but the threat is always there. The knight can’t stay on b6 forever, and my c1-bishop quells any …Nc4 invasion. So I activate my king. 36.Kf2 Kf8 37.Ke3 Ke7 37…e5 does not succeed in keeping my king out, for instance 37…e5 38.Kd3 Ke7 39.Be3 Nc8 40.Kc4 Kd7 41.Bc5 Kc6 42.a4 Nb6+ 43.Bxb6 Kxb6 44.Kd5, etc. 38.Kd4 Kd6 39.Bf4+ Now the bishop has its say. 39…Kc6 40.g4 Not so much a waiting move as a way to fix Black’s pawns. 40…Kb5 Positional fool’s gold. The a- and b-pawns will serve as sacrificial lambs to draw the black king away from the action. 41.Bd6 Headed for f8.
41…Nd7 42.h4 a5
This makes it easy, but if Black ever took the a3-pawn, I would have b4-b5 with discovered check – for example, 42…Ka4 43.h5 Kxa3 44.b5+ Ka4 45.bxa6 Ka5 46.a7 Nb6 47.Bc7! Ka6 48.Bxb6 Kb7 49.Ke5. 43.bxa5 Kxa5 44.h5 f5 45.Be5 fxg4 46.fxg4 Nf6 Black has no good moves. 47.Bxf6 gxf6 48.e5 And White will queen. 1-0 Jay Bonin – Aravind Kumar New York 2014 1.d4 d5 2.Bg5 c6 3.c3 Bf5 4.Nd2 Qb6 5.Qb3 Nd7 6.Ngf3 h6 7.Bh4 e6 8.e3 Ngf6 9.Be2 Bd6 10.Bg3 Bxg3 11.hxg3 0-0 12.Ne5 Nxe5 13.dxe5 Ne4 14.Nxe4 Bxe4 15.Qxb6 axb6
A very interesting ending has arisen where both sides have doubled pawns. Some people might agree to a draw here: Aravind did not. 16.f3 Bf5 17.g4 Bg6 18.Kd2 Connecting the rooks.
18…f6 Black should hold off on this break and play …b6-b5 first, when it would be hard for White to get anything going. 19.exf6 Rxf6 20.a4 Now I have simple plan to double rooks on the a-file and then break with a4-a5. 20…e5 Trying for central counterplay with the …d5-d4 break. 21.Ra3 Rd6 22.Rha1 Kf7 A mature move, as the hasty 22… d4 23.cxd4 exd4 24.e4 c5 25.a5 gives White an advantage. 23.a5 bxa5 24.Rxa5 Rxa5 25.Rxa5 My rook threatens to invade on the seventh or eighth ranks. 25…Rd7 26.g3 Planning f4-f5. 26…Ke7 Trying to transfer the king to the c7 square, freeing up his rook. 27.f4 exf4 Undoubling my pawns and giving me fewer things to worry about. It seems like 27…Be4 may be an easier way forward for Black in this position, though either way the position would remain equal. 28.gxf4 Bf7 Again, 28…Be4 should be played as the bishop sits passively on f7. 29.b4 A restraining move. 29…Kd6 30.Kd3 My king finally enters the fray, taking up a centralized post on d4. 30…Bg6+ 31.f5 Bf7 32.Kd4 b6?!
A needlessly weakening move. Black could have simply done nothing here with 32…Re7 and shuffled his pieces, carefully protecting everything as White has no way to make progress. 33.Ra6 An important move, not so much to attack b6 as to prevent …c6-c5. 33…Rb7 34.c4 This break is a real killer. If 34… dxc4, then 35.e4! intending e5-e6. 34…g6? This makes White’s task easy. Better is 34…dxc4, when things get complicated although White still retains an edge. 35.Rxb6 Liquidation. In the end, my king penetrates via e5 and f6. 35…Re7 36.Bf3 If I remember correctly, here Black’s flag fell, but in any case Black’s position is lost. 1-0 Jay Bonin – Benjamin Katz New York 2013 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 c5 4.d5 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.Nc3 g6 7.Bg5 h6 8.Bh4 g5 9.Bg3 Bg7 10.Nd2 0-0 11.e4 Qe7 12.Be2 Nbd7 13.0-0 Ne5 14.f4 gxf4 15.Bxf4 Nfd7 16.Bg3 a6 17.a4 Rb8 18.Kh1 Ng6 19.Nc4 Nde5 20.Ne3 b6 21.Qc2 Nh4 22.Rf2 Qg5 23.Bf4 Qe7 24. g3 Nhg6 25.Nf5 Bxf5 26.exf5 Nxf4 27.gxf4 Nd7 28.Rg2 Kh8 29.Bxa6 Bxc3 30.Qxc3+ Qf6 31.Bb5 Qxc3 32.bxc3 Nf6 33.Bc6 Rg8
Not necessarily to trade rooks, but to activate the king. Here I have a good bishop against an awkwardly placed knight. A key point in this position is that my bishop controls e8, so a black rook can’t go there. This means my rooks can use both the b- and e-files to infiltrate into Black’s camp. 34.Re1 Nh5 35.Re4 Rg7 36.Rxg7 Kxg7 37.Kg2 Now my king is free to roam. 37…Kf6 38.Kf3 My king protects the f-pawn a second time and frees my rook for a more active role. Black’s b6-pawn is now a target. 38…Ng7 39.Re1 Nxf5 40.Rb1 Threatening a4-a5. 40…Ne7 41.a5 Nc8 Taking my bishop would only give me another passer to work with. 42.Bd7 b5 Black hopes to save himself, but I choose the rook ending. The minor-piece ending might allow the black knight to blockade. 43.Bxc8 Rxc8 44.Rxb5 Ke7 45.Ke3
Headed for c4 with the idea of penetrating on the queenside. 45…Kf6 46.Kd3 Kf5 47.Ke3?! Silly. I should stick to my plan with 47.Kc4 Kxf4 48.Rb6, followed by a5-a6 with a straightforward winning plan. Post-mortem analysis showed an even stronger continuation here with 47.Rb7 Kxf4 48.Rxf7+ Ke5 49.Kc4 Ra8 50.Re7+ Kf5 51.Kb5 and an overwhelming position. 47…Re8+ 48.Kd3 Rd8 49.Rb7 f6 50.a6 Kxf4 51.a7 Ra8 52.Kc4 Here we are again. The same idea mentioned in the previous note will be decisive. 52…f5 53.Kb5 Ke5 54.Kc6 f4 55.Re7+ Kf6 56.Re6+ 1-0 Jay Bonin – George Berg New York 2013 1.b3 e5 2.Bb2 d6 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 g6 5.d4 exd4 6.Qxd4 Bg7 7.Qe3+ Qe7 8.Qxe7+ Kxe7 9.Nc3 c6 10.0-0-0 d5 11.h3 Rd8 12.e4 Be6 13.Ba3+ Ke8 14.exd5 Nxd5 15.Nxd5 Bxd5 16.Bxd5 Rxd5 17.Re1+ Kd8 18.Nf3 Bf6 19.g4 Nd7 20.Re4 h5 21.Rhe1 hxg4 22.hxg4 Kc7 23.c4 Ra5 24.Bb2 Rxa2 25.Bxf6 Nxf6 26.Rf4 Ra1+ 27.Kb2 Rxe1 28.Nxe1 Nd7 29.Rxf7 Rf8
George has done very well to force a knight ending and quelling a big initiative. It will
now boil down to the pawn majorities. My guess is that my majority is further away from George’s king. 30.Rxf8 Nxf8 31.f4 Wasting no time. 31…Ne6 32.Nd3 Played more to keep the knight out of c5 than to defend f4. 32…Kd6 White has a slight edge after 32…a5 33.c5 b5 34.cxb6 e.p. Kxb6. 33.b4 Ke7 34.Kc2 With the idea of transferring my king to e4. 34…Kf6 35.Kd2 b6 36.Ke3 c5 37.b5 Two pawns hold three, giving me the qualitative majority. 37…Nd4 38.Ke4 Mission accomplished. 38…Nc2 A good try: 39.Kd5 Ne3+. 39.Ne5 Intending Nc6. 39…Nb4 Another great try. Now if 40.Nc6, then 40…a5! 41.Nxb4 axb4 42.Kd3 g5 43.f5 Ke5 44.Kd2 Kf6 45.Kd3 Kf7 46.Kd2, with a draw where both kings have to babysit protected passed pawns. Even in simple-looking positions there are traps, so you must always be on guard! 40.Nd3
But now the idea in the previous note no longer works. For example, 40…a5 41.bxa6 Nxa6 42.Kd5, when after 42…Nb4+? 43.Nxb4 cxb4 44.Kd4 White will come around to collect the pawns. 40…Nc2 41.Ne5 Nb4 42.g5+ So I’ll enter this way. 42…Kg7 43.f5 gxf5+ 44.Kxf5 a6 45.bxa6 Nxa6 Now I must stop …Nc7 and …b6-b5. 46.Nd7 Nb4 47.Nxb6 Nc6 Again, stubborn defense by George. I go for queening the g-pawn. 48.Kg4 Ne7 49.Kh5 Nc6 50.Nd5 Ne5 51.Ne3 Kh7 52.Nf5 My opponent might have lost on time here, though his position is already hopeless. If 52… Nxc4, then 53.g6+ Kg8 54.Kh6 Ne5 55.Ne7+ Kf8 56.g7+ Kxe7 57.g8Q with a theoretically won ending. A Nalimov tablebase gives the following sample sequence: 57…Kf6 58.Qf8+ Ke6 59.Kg5 Kd5 60.Qf5 Kd6 61.Qf4 Ke6 62.Qe4 Kd6 63.Kf5 Nc6 64.Qe6 Kc7 65.Ke4 Nb4 66.Qf6 Kd7 67.Qb6 Nc6 68.Kd5 Nd8 69.Qa7+ Ke8 70.Qc7 Nf7 71.Ke6 Ng5+ 72.Kf5 Nh7 73.Qxh7 Kd8 74.Qb7 Ke8 75.Ke6 c4 76.Qe7#. 1-0 Jay Bonin – GM Walter Browne New York 1985 Grandmaster Walter Browne passed away recently. He was a six-time U.S. Champion and a fierce competitor. I had the pleasure of facing this legendary player four times, drawing each time. In the following game, we get into a fierce endgame tussle. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.a3 Ba6 5.Nbd2 d5 6.e3 Be7 7.b4 c5 8.Qa4+ Nfd7 9.Bb2 Bf6 10.Qb3 cxd4 11.exd4 dxc4 12.Bxc4 Bb7 13.0-0 0-0 14.Rac1 Na6 15.d5
I pitch a pawn for activity. Walter was threatening to play …Na6-c7-d5, blockading my isolani. However, I had a path to something slightly better here after 15.Bd3 Be7 16.Qc2 g6 17.Be4 Rb8 18.Bxb7 Rxb7 19.Qc4 b5 20.Qc6 Rb6 21.Qc3. Black’s pieces would be poorly coordinated and my clamp on the c-file would be good enough for a nagging edge. 15…Bxd5 16.Bxd5 Bxb2 17.Bxa8 Bxc1 18.Rxc1 Qxa8 19.Qc4 As compensation, I control the c-file and attack the knight on a6. 19…Nab8 20.Qe4 Off come the queens. 20…Qxe4 21.Nxe4 Here I was very happy despite being a pawn down. My rook threatens to invade Seventh Avenue and my e4-knight is coming to d6, while Black’s a6-knight keeps my rook out but is stuck for a while. 21…Na6 22.Nd6 Nab8 23.Rc7 a6 24.Kf1 g6 25.a4 Kg7 Bringing his king up the long way. The king is a fighting piece in the endgame. 26.Rb7 a5 I’m winning back the pawn anyway. I was threatening Nc4. 27.bxa5 bxa5 28.Ra7 Here maybe 28.Nd4 first, to prevent …Nc6. 28…Kf6 29.Rxa5 Ke7 30.Nc4 Rc8 Black has gained some freedom, but my outside passed a-pawn will be a long-term threat. 31.Nfd2 Nc6 32.Rb5 Rc7 33.a5 Nd4 34.Rb1 Nc5
He’s really gotten active now. I go for exchanges to ease the pressure. 35.Na3 Ra7 36.Nb5 Thanks to the hanging knight on d4, this move is possible. 36…Nxb5 37.Rxb5 Kd6 38.Ke2 Kc6 39.Rb6+ Kd5 40.Rb5 I’m happy with a draw, but Walter is a fighter. 40…Kc6 41.Rb6+ Kd5 42.Rb5 Kd4 43.Kd1 43.Nb3+ would be a blunder because of 43…Kc4! 44.Rxc5+ Kxb3, and I’ll lose my apawn to …Kb4. 43…Nb7 44.Kc2 Nc5 Obviously not 44…Nxa5 45.Rxa5 followed by Nb3+. 45.Nb3+ Now this is possible. 45…Nxb3 46.Kxb3 e5 It’s Walter’s turn to activate his pawn majority. We’re going down to the wire! 47.Kb4 f5 48.h4 e4 49.g3 Many pawns will get traded now. 49…e3 50.fxe3+ Kxe3 51.Kc5 Kf2 52.Kb6 Ra8 53.Kb7 With my king too far away, now the following sac works. 53…Rxa5 54.Rxa5 Kxg3 55.Kc6 f4
Spurning the h4-pawn, Black goes for the touchdown. 56.h5 This seals the deal. 56…f3 57.hxg6 hxg6 58.Rg5+ Kh4 59.Rxg6 f2 60.Rf6 Right down to the last pawn. ½-½ I would like to add that the game would have been adjourned at move 60. Walter Browne had enlisted the services of GM Pal Benko, who’s no slouch in the ending, as his adjournment advisor. Meanwhile, my second was Brian McCarthy, a 2300-level player. So this draw felt like a victory. Jay Bonin – Geoffrey Caveney New York 2014 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 d6 4.e4 Nbd7 5.Nf3 e5 6.Be2 Be7 7.0-0 0-0 8.Rb1 Re8 9.Qc2 exd4 10.Nxd4 Ne5 11.Rd1 Qc7 12.Bf4 Bd7 13.Rd2 Rad8 14.Rbd1 Bc8 15.h3 Bf8 16.Nf3 Nxf3+ 17.Bxf3 Qa5 18.Bxd6 Bxd6 19.Rxd6 Rxd6 20.Rxd6 Qc5 21.Qd3 Nd5 22.e5 Nf4 23.Qd4 Qxd4 24.Rxd4 Ng6
Black is about to recover his pawn. A draw looks likely, but my pieces enjoy more scope.
25.Ne4 Heading for d6. 25…Nxe5 26.Bh5 27.f4 is a threat. 26…g6 allows 27.Nf6+. 26…Be6 27.b3 Renewing my threats. The e6-bishop will be the victim of tactics. 27…h6 Not 27…Nd7 28.Nd6 Rb8 29.Nxf7 winning a pawn, or 29.Bxf7+ for that matter. 28.f4 Ng6 29.Nd6 White has f4-f5 in the air. 29…c5 30.Rd1
The rook is protected and f4-f5 is on again, so Black coughs up the exchange in the hope of releasing the tension. 30…Nxf4 There was another way, however: 30…Re7 31.f5 Nf4 32.Bf3 Bd7 33.f6 gxf6 34.Nxb7 Ne6 35.Bd5 Be8 36.Rf1 Kg7, when White still has an edge although material is even. 31.Nxe8 Nxh5 32.Rd8 Kh7 33.Nc7 The bishop gets traded and the d7-rook mops up. 1-0 Yefrim Zatz – Jay Bonin New York 2014 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Qc7 7.Nf3 b6 8.Bd3 Ba6 9.0-0 Bxd3 10.Qxd3 Nc6 11.dxc5 bxc5 12.Qb5 Rc8 13.Be3 Qa5 14.Rab1 a6 15.Qxa5 Nxa5 16.Rb6 Nc4 17.Rxa6 Ne7 18.Rb1 Ng6 19.Rb5 0-0 20.Bxc5 Ra8 21.Ra7 h6 22.a4 Ngxe5
23.Nxe5 Nxe5 24.f4 Nc4 25.Rbb7 Rxa7 26.Bxa7
Here I seem to be on the wrong side of things: I’m a pawn down and my opponent’s rook and bishop are active. He also has a dangerous, outside passed a-pawn. On the other hand, I have a nice-looking knight and some targets to shoot at, which is just enough for a level game. 26…g5 Black tries to get a passed e-pawn, but White doesn’t bite. 27.g3 g4 Hoping for a break with …h5-h4 and counterplay for my rook. 28.Kf2 Kg7 29.Rb8 Seemingly logical, but now I get active. 29…f6 Preparing …e6-e5, making a passer of my own. 30.Rxf8 Kxf8 31.Ke2 Ironically, White’s king can’t go too far as Kd3 is answered by …Nb2+ and …Nxa4. White’s a-pawn is frozen by the knight on the c4 square. 31…e5 32.Bc5+ Ke8 33.Bb4 Preparing a4-a5. 33…Kd7 34.fxe5 fxe5 35.Bf8 h5 36.Bb4 Kc6 Black threatens to win the a-pawn with 37…Nb6 38.a5 Nc4 followed by …Kb5 – what a turnaround! Now on 37.Kd3 Nb2+; or 37.Bf8 Nb6 38.Bg7 e4 39.Ke3 Nxa4. 37.a5 e4 38.Kf2 Kb5 39.Ke2
39…Nxa5?? Simply 39…Ka6 holds equality. 40.Be7?? White returns the favor. He should take the knight with 40.Bxa5 Kxa5 41.Ke3, when White has a clear win. After this time-pressure blunder, however, I won on time. 40…Nc4 0-1 Jay Bonin – James West New York 2014 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 d6 5.e4 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.0-0 Nc6 8.d5 Ne7 9.Nd2 c5 10.dxc6 bxc6 11.b4 d5 12.Rb1 Nxe4 13.Ndxe4 dxe4 14.Nxe4 Bf5 15.Bf3 Bxe4 16.Bxe4 Qxd1 17.Rxd1 Rfd8 18.Be3 f5 19.Bg5 fxe4 20.Bxe7 Rxd1+ 21.Rxd1 Bf8
Black trades off his problem bishop, but the rook ending offers no salvation due to the doubled e-pawns. 22.Bxf8 Rxf8 23.a3 a5 What to suggest? Black has too many weaknesses. 24.b5 Capturing on a5 gives chances. Creating a passed pawn is much simpler.
24…cxb5 25.cxb5 a4 26.b6
My plan is very simple: use the b-pawn to tie up Black’s rook and then walk my king up to e3 and collect the e-pawns. 26…Rb8 27.Rb1 Kf7 28.b7 Ke7 29.Kf1 Kd7 30.Ke2 Kc7 31.Ke3 Rxb7 32.Rxb7+ Kxb7 33.Kxe4 Kc6 34.Kxe5 It’s easy now. Black ventures one last desperate try. 34…Kc5 35.f4 Kc4 36.g4 Kb3 37.f5 gxf5 38.gxf5 Kxa3 39.f6 Kb2 40.f7 a3 41.f8Q a2 42.Qb4+ Ka1 43.Qc3+ Kb1 44.Qb3+ Ka1 45.Qc2 In the end, the h7-pawn hurts Black as it has to move. 1-0 Jay Bonin – Paul Saint-Amand Philadelphia 2001 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ng4 4.Bf4 Nc6 5.Nf3 Bb4+ 6.Nbd2 Qe7 7.e3 Ngxe5 8.Nxe5 Nxe5 9.Be2 0-0 10.0-0 Ng6 11.Bg3 Bd6 12.Bxd6 Qxd6 13.Rc1 Qe5 14.Qc2 d6 15.Nf3 Qe7 16.Rfd1 b6 17.b4 Bb7 18.c5 dxc5 19.bxc5 Be4 20.Qc3 Rfd8 21.g3 Rxd1+ 22.Bxd1 Rd8 23.Nd4 Ne5 24.cxb6 cxb6 25.Qc7 Qxc7 26.Rxc7 Nc6
It looks like I have a problem with my back rank.
27.Bf3 But after this shot it is Black who has the problem, as after 27…Bxf3 28.Nxf3 White will win the a-pawn (28…Rd6 29.Ne5 is crushing). 27…Nxd4 28.Bxe4 The combination of my active rook and bishop will give me good winning chances in this ending. 28…Nb5 29.Rc6 Not 29.Rb7 Nd6 30.Re7 Kf8. 29…g6 30.a4 Nd6 31.Bd5 Ready to support this bishop with e3-e4 when my majority starts to roll. 31…Rd7 32.e4 Kf8 33.Kg2 Ke7 34.e5 Nf5?
Better is 34…Nb7 35.Ba2 Nc5, when Black has managed to coordinate his minor pieces effectively. 35.Bxf7! Nd4 36.Rf6 Rd8 37.Ba2 Rf8 White was threatening to put the rook on f7. 38.Rxf8 Kxf8 39.Bc4 Preventing …a7-a6 and …b6-b5. 39…Ke7 40.f4 Nf5 41.Kf3 1-0 Morgan L. Pehme – Jay Bonin New York 1993 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bg5 Nbd7 4.Nbd2 e5 5.Ne4 Be7 6.Nxf6+ Bxf6 7.Bxf6 Qxf6 8.dxe5 Nxe5 9.Nxe5 Qxe5 10.c3 Bd7 11.Qd4 Bc6 12.Qxe5+ dxe5 13.0-0-0 Ke7 14.Rg1 Rhd8 15.Rxd8 Rxd8 16.g3 Kf6 17.Bg2 Bxg2 18.Rxg2 Kf5
We have reached a rook-and-pawn ending with my king running amok. Still, it needs an entry point. Meanwhile, my rook cuts off White’s king. 19.h3 Ke4 20.Rg1 Going the wrong way; 20.g4 followed by Rg2-g3 is the only hope. 20…h5 21.Rd1 Rxd1+ 22.Kxd1
The king-and-pawn ending gives Black practical winning chances because of his more active king. 22…g5 23.Kd2 g4 Just in time to stop f2-f3+. 24.hxg4 hxg4 25.Ke1 f5 Readying a new breach into the enemy camp. 26.Kf1 f4 27.Kg2 b5 Now we exhaust all the pawn moves on the queenside. 28.b3 c5 29.a3 c4 30.bxc4 bxc4 31.a4 a5
Zugzwang! White must give way now.
32.Kh2 32.gxf4 Kxf4 33.e3+ Ke4 34.Kg3 Kd3 35.Kxg4 e4 36.Kf5 Kxc3 37.Kxe4 Kd2 38.Kd5 c3, etc. A more interesting line is 32.f3+ gxf3 33.exf3+ Kd3 34.g4 Ke2! 35.g5 e4 36.g6 exf3+ 37.Kh2 f2 38.g7 f1Q 39.g8Q Qf2+ 40.Kh3 Qf3+. 32…f3 33.exf3+ Kxf3 34.Kg1 Ke2 35.Kg2 e4 36.Kg1 Kd3 0-1 GM Roman Dzindzichashvili – Jay Bonin Chicago 1992 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.g3 0-0 5.Bg2 d6 6.d4 c6 7.0-0 Qa5 8.h3 e5 9.e4 Nbd7 10.Re1 exd4 11.Nxd4 Ne5 12.Bf1 Qb6 13.Nb3 Be6 14.Be3 c5 15.Nd5 Bxd5 16.exd5 Qb4 17.Bd2 Qa4 18.Rc1 Rfe8 19.Bc3 b6 20.Nd2 Qxd1 21.Rcxd1 Ned7 22.Bd3 Rxe1+ 23.Rxe1 Re8 24.Rb1 Re7 25.Bc2 Ne8 26.Bxg7 Kxg7 27.Ba4 Nef6 28.Kf1 Ne5 29.a3 Kf8 30.Bc2 Rc7 31.f4 Ned7 32.Kf2 a6 33.g4 b5 34.b3 Nb6 35.Bd3 h6 36.Kf3 Re7 37.h4
My opponent, a legendary grandmaster, has a slight space advantage. His bishop is also slightly better than my knight. Therefore, I opt for a tactical solution but wind up losing a pawn in the process. 37…Nxg4 38.Kxg4 Re3 I wanted badly to play 38…h5+ 39.Kg5 Kg7, but 40.f5! quashes that idea. 39.Bc2 f5+ 40.Bxf5 gxf5+ 41.Kxf5 Kf7 42.h5 Nc8 Transferring my knight to a more active square. With help from my king, it will land on f5. 43.Kg4 Ne7 44.b4 44.a4 is almost certainly a better try for an advantage for White here, as the text move allows for massive simplification. Dzindzichashvili wants to get his rook active, while my idea now is to play …Kf7-f6 and …Ne7-f5. 44…cxb4 45.cxb5 axb5 46.Rxb4 Nxd5 47.Rxb5 Nf6+ 48.Kf5 Nxh5 49.Rb7+ Re7 50.Rxe7+ Kxe7 51.a4
Dzindzi was gambling that the outside passed pawn would do the trick, but my king rushes to the rescue. 51…Kd7 52.Ne4 Kc6 53.Kg4 Nxf4 Just in time. My two passers will tie down his king. 54.Kxf4 Kb6 55.Nc3 Ka5 56.Kf5 h5 Something’s gotta give now, as 57.Kg5 is answered by …d6-d5-d4, nudging the knight and snagging the last pawn. ½-½ Carl Haessler – Jay Bonin New York 1990 1.b3 d5 2.Bb2 Bg4 3.Nf3 Nd7 4.g3 Ngf6 5.Bg2 e6 6.0-0 Bd6 7.c4 c6 8.d4 Bxf3 9.Bxf3 0-0 10.Nd2 Qe7 11.a3 e5 12.cxd5 e4 13.Bg2 cxd5 14.Bh3 Rac8 15.Nb1 Rc7 16.a4 Rfc8 17.Na3 a6 18.Qb1 h5 19.Rc1 Ng4 20.Bxg4 hxg4 21.Nc2 Qf6 22.Ra2 Nf8 23.Ne3 Rxc1+ 24.Bxc1 Qxd4 25.Rd2 Qc3 26.Rd1 Ne6 27.Nxd5 Qc2 28.Qxc2 Rxc2
Another rook-and-minor-piece ending. My rook is more active, though there are still some tactical considerations beyond this positional feature. 29.Be3 Bc5 30.Kf1 Rb2 31.Bxc5 Nxc5 32.b4 Nxa4 33.Rd4 f5 34.Ne7+ Kf7 35.Nxf5 Nc3 36.Nd6+ Kf6 37.Rc4
White cannot play 37.Nxe4+ because of 37…Ke5. 37…Rb1+ 38.Kg2 Nxe2 With the threat of mate. 39.Nxe4+ There was no rush to win this doomed pawn. Up until this point, the position was level, but after the game move White will be in trouble. Better is 39.h3 gxh3+ 40.Kxh3 Ke5 41.Nxb7 Kd5 42.Rc5+ Kd4, with an even game. 39…Ke5 Now White’s in trouble. 40.h3? White pulls the wrong lever. Best now is 40.f4+ Kd5 41.Nd2 Rb2 42.Rc7 Ke6 43.Nc4 Nxf4+ 44.Kf1 Rb1+ 45.Kf2 Nh3+ 46.Ke2 Rxb4 47.Kd3 b5 48.Nd2 Ra4 49.Rxg7, when Black stands better but White still may have practical drawing chances. 40…b5 This wins material. 41.Rc2 gxh3+ 42.Kh2 Nd4 43.Nd2 Nxc2 44.Nxb1 Nxb4
Once the smoke clears, it’s evident we have a technical win for Black. 45.f4+ Kd4 46.Kxh3 Kd3 The knight is trapped. 0-1 Jay Bonin – Matthew Horwitz New York 2012 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 d5 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bg5 0-0 6.e3 h6 7.Bxf6 Bxf6 8.Rc1 c6 9.a3 Nd7 10.h3 Re8 11.Be2 dxc4 12.Bxc4 e5 13.0-0 exd4 14.exd4 Nb6 15.Ba2 Be6 16.Bxe6 Rxe6
17.Re1 Rxe1+ 18.Qxe1 Bxd4 19.Rd1 c5 20.Qe4 Qf6 21.Nxd4 cxd4 22.Rxd4 Rc8 23.a4 Qc6 24.Qe7 Re8 25.Rd8 Rxd8 26.Qxd8+ Kh7 27.a5 Nd7 28.Qe8 f6 29.Qe4+
I force the knight ending, which is likely dead drawn. The symmetrical pawn structure leaves little in the way of targets. However, I still prefer to play out these positions because of my better-placed knight. 29…Qxe4 30.Nxe4 b6 31.axb6 axb6 Black should probably take with the knight to go after White’s b-pawn. 32.Kf1 Kg6 33.Nd6 A key move, preventing the black king from entering the battlefield. 33…f5 34.Ke2 Kf6 35.Ne8+ Again forcing the king to an awkward square. 35…Kf7 36.Nc7 Ke7 37.Kd3 g5 Black has to safeguard his pawn, as …Ke6 is met by Ne8+ and Nxg7. Now my king gets active. 38.Kd4 Kd6 39.Nd5 f4 Making another concession. 39…Ke6 is a better try. 40.f3 Ke6 41.b4 Covers c5, preparing Ke4. 41…Kd6 42.Ke4 Kc6? This move demonstrates a misunderstanding of the position. Simply marking time with 42…Ke6 is sufficient for a draw. After the game move, my knight and pawn will keep the king from entering on the queenside while my king will infiltrate the kingside pawn phalanx from the rear. 43.Nc3
The king is locked out again, while mine threatens to munch on the king-side pawns. 43…Kd6 44.Kf5 Ne5
45.Na4? Missing the win. White should play 45.Ne4+ Kd5 46.Nf6+ Kd4 47.Ng8 Nf7 48.Kg6 Nd8 49.Kxh6 Ne6 50.Kg6, with a simple win. 45…Nd3 46.Nxb6 Nxb4 47.Kg6 Ke6 48.Kxh6 Nd3?? A time-pressure blunder that throws away the draw. Indicated for Black is 48…Kf5 49.Nc4 Nd5 50.Nd6+ Kf6 51.Ne4+ Kf5 52.Nxg5 Ne3 53.Nf7 Nxg2 54.Nd6+ Ke5 55.Ne4 Nh4 56.Nd2 Kf5 57.Kg7 Kg5 58.Ne4+ Kh5 59.Nf6+ Kg5 60.Nd5 Nxf3 61.Nxf4 Kxf4 ½-½. 49.Kxg5 Ne1 50.Kxf4 Nxg2+ 51.Kg5 1-0 Jay Bonin – FM Carlos Pujols New York 2012 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 c5 4.d5 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.Nc3 g6 7.Bg5 Bg7 8.Nd2 h6 9.Bh4 g5 10.Bg3 Nh5 11.Nc4 Nxg3 12.hxg3 0-0 13. e3 Qe7 14.Bd3 Nd7 15.Qc2 Ne5 16.Nxe5 Qxe5 17.a4 Bd7 18.0-0 Rac8 19.Rae1 Rc7 20.f4 gxf4 21. Rxf4 Re8 22.Qf2 Re7 23.Re4 Qf6 24.Rf4 Qe5 25.Bf5 a6 26.Bxd7 Rexd7 27.Rf5 Qe8 28.Qf4 Re7 29.Qxd6 Rxe3 30.Rxe3 Qxe3+ 31.Kh2 Re7 32.Qb8+ Kh7 33.Qf4 Qxf4 34.gxf4 Kg6 35.d6 Rd7 36.Rd5 f5 37.g4
37…fxg4? The mistake I was hoping for, allowing my knight to wreak havoc. Better is 37…Bxc3 38.gxf5+ Kf6 39.bxc3 b5!, and the ending should liquidate to a simple draw. 38.Ne4 b6 39.a5 h5? Without the help of Black’s pieces, his two connected passed pawns will not go very far. Meanwhile, this advance allows me to cause problems on the opposite flank. Better is 39… bxa5 40.Nxc5 Rd8 41.d7 Bf6 42.Nb7 Rb8, when Black may be holding. 40.axb6 Kf7 41.Rxh5 Bxb2 42.b7 A combo which leads to a cute win. 42…Rxb7 43.Rh7+ Bg7 44.Nxc5 Rb8 45.d7 Kg6 46.Rxg7+ Kxg7 47.d8Q 1-0 Oliver Chernin – Jay Bonin New York 2012 1.c4 e6 2.Nc3 d5 3.d4 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e3 0-0 6.Nf3 b6 7.Bd3 dxc4 8.Bxc4 Bb7 9.0-0 Nbd7 10.Qe2 Ne4 11.Nxe4 Bxe4 12.Bxe7 Qxe7 13.Rac1 c5 14.Rfd1 Rfd8 15.Bb5 Rac8 16.dxc5 Rxc5 17.Rxc5 Nxc5 18.Rxd8+ Qxd8 19.b4 Nd3 20.Qd2
Better to take Black’s invading knight; after this defensive move I get a favorable sequence. 20…Bxf3 21.Qxd3 Qg5 Now I obtain an attack. 22.g3 h5 23.h4 An overreaction. The calm 23.Qd7 holds easily. For instance, 23.Qd7 Qg4? 24.Qe8+ Kh7 25.Bd3+ Be4 26.Bxe4+ Qxe4 27.Qxf7 Qd5, with an advantage for White. Likely best would be something like 23.Qd7 Qe5 24.Bf1 Qa1 25.Qxa7 Be2 26.Qa8+ Kh7 27.Qg2. 23…Qg4 24.Qd8+ Kh7 25.a3
Unquestionably defending the b-pawn – but allowing checkmate. 25.Qd3+ f5 26.Qf1 Qxb4 27.Bc4 Qd6 28.Kh2 offers practical drawing chances. 25…Qh3 26.Qd3+ f5 With mate to follow. 0-1 GM Mikhail Kekelidze – Jay Bonin New York 2012 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 c5 4.d5 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.h3 b5 7.e4 Nxe4 8.Bxb5+ Bd7 9.Bxd7+ Nxd7 10.Qe2 Qe7 11.0-0 Nef6 12.Re1 Qxe2 13.Rxe2+ Be7 14.Nc3 Nb6 15.Nh4 Kd7 16.Nf5 Bf8 17.Bg5 Nfxd5 18.Nxd5 Nxd5 19.Rd1 Nb6 20.Nxd6
Thanks to White’s better development, this combo regains the pawn. However, the pressure on this file is released with a massive exchange of material that allows me to escape into a drawn K+§ ending. 20…Bxd6 21.Bf4 Nc8 22.Bxd6 Nxd6 23.Red2 Rhd8 All the pieces come off the board and my active king is able to hold crucial squares just in time to maintain the draw. 24.Rxd6+ Kc7 25.Rxd8 Rxd8 26.Rxd8 Kxd8 27.Kf1 White’s position is still cosmetically better than Black’s due to my ugly, split pawns. However, my king reaches the center just in time. 27…Kd7 28.Ke2 Ke6 29.Kd3 Kd5 30.b3 f5 31.f4 a6 32.g3 g6 ½-½ Joshua Colas – Jay Bonin New York 2012 1.d4 d6 2.e4 c6 3.Nf3 Bg4 4.h3 Bh5 5.Be2 e6 6.0-0 Nf6 7.Nbd2 d5 8.exd5 Nxd5 9.Ne5 Bxe2 10.Qxe2 Be7 11.c3 0-0 12.Ndf3 Nd7 13.Nxd7 Qxd7 14.Bd2 Rae8 15.Rad1 Bd6 16.Ne5 Qc8 17.c4 Ne7 18.Rfe1 f6 19.Nf3 Ng6 20.Bc3 c5 21.dxc5 Bxc5 22.Bd4 e5 23.Bxc5 Qxc5 24.Qe4 b6 25.b3 Rd8 26.Qc2 Nf4 27.Rxd8 Rxd8
Material is even here, but my pieces are more active and my pawn majority is more mobile. Therefore White decides to trade off one of his problem pieces. 28.Rd1 Rxd1+ 29.Qxd1 h6 Creating an escape hatch for His Majesty. 30.Qd7 e4 31.Qd2 White realizes that 31.Nd4 is met by 31.Qxd4 and 32…Ne2+, but the move he makes loses a pawn. 31…Nxh3+ The desperado knight kills a pawn before succumbing itself. 32.gxh3 exf3 33.Qd8+ Kf7 Not 33…Kh7 34.Qd3+, winning the f-pawn. 34.Qd7+ Kg6 35.Qe8+ Or 35.Qg4+ Qg5. 35…Kg5
36.Qe3+ White seeks salvation in a king-and-pawn ending, but comes up short. Before trading down into this type of endgame, it is always critical to calculate carefully, because there is no going back. Here, my talented young opponent rushes into this ending, missing a drawing resource: 36.Qd7! Kg6 37.Qe8+ Kf5 38.Qd7+ Ke4 39.Qg4+ Kd3 40.Qxf3+ Kc2 41.Qe2+ Kb1 42.Qd2 a5 43.Kg2, when Black still has a nagging edge but White can hold with annoying checks. 36…Qxe3 37.fxe3 Kf5 38.Kf2 Ke4 39.b4 f5 40.h4 g5 41.hxg5 hxg5 42.a3 g4 0-1 Jay Bonin – Jason Margiotta New York 2012 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.Nbd2 Bf5 5.Qb3 Qb6 6.Nh4 Qxb3 7.Nxb3 Be4 8.Nc5 b6 9.Nxe4 dxe4 10.Nf5 e6 11.Ng3 Bd6 12.e3 Nbd7 13.Be2 0-0 14.Bd2 Rac8 15.0-0-0 c5 16.Kb1 Rfd8 17.Bc3 Rb8 18.dxc5 Bxc5 19.Rd2 Kf8 20.Rhd1 Be7 21.b4 a5 22.a3 axb4 23.axb4 Ra8 24.Kb2 Kg8 25.Kb3 Nf8 26.Rxd8 Rxd8 27.Rxd8 Bxd8 28.Ka4 N8d7 29.Kb5 Kf8 30.Kc6 Ke7 31.Bd1
Here I seem to have everything going for me: the bishop pair, an active king, a healthier pawn majority. But nothing in chess is easy. 31…Ne8 Black sets a trap: the careless 32.b5?? meets with 32…Nd6 33.Bb3 Nb8#. During the game, I thought that taking on e4 led to the same fate, as in 32.Nxe4 f5 33.Ng3 Nd6 34.c5 Nb8#. But in fact I could have snatched this pawn, although it would have led to simplification and an easy draw for my wily opponent: 32.Nxe4 f5 33.b5 fxe4 34.Bb4 Nc5 35.Bxc5+ bxc5 36.b6 Nd6 37.b7 Nxb7 38.Kxb7. 32.c5 bxc5?! Better is the solid 32…f5. 33.Nxe4 f5 34.Nxc5 Nxc5 35.bxc5 Now it’s an easy game, as the black pieces are hampered and the white bishop pair controls everything.
35…g5 36.Be5 h5 37.Bxh5 1-0 Jay Bonin – Kapil Chandran New York 2012 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 d6 5.e4 e5 6.Be2 g6 7.Nd2 Bg7 8.a4 0-0 9.Nc4 Ne8 10.0-0 Nd7 11.a5 a6 12.Na4 Rb8 13.f3 f5 14.Nab6 Nxb6 15.Nxb6 f4 16.b4 cxb4 17.Bd2 Rf7 18.Bxb4 Bf8 19.c4 Nf6 20.Qd2 Nd7 21.Na4 Be7 22.Rfc1 Qf8 23.Qc3 Nc5 24.Bxc5 dxc5 25.Qxe5 Bd7 26.Qb2 Qe8 27.Qa3 Bxa4 28.Qxa4 Qf8 29.e5 Rf5 30.e6 Bf6 31.Rd1 Qg7 32.Rab1 Bd4+ 33.Rxd4 Qxd4+ 34.Kf1 Re5 35.Qd1 Qc3 36.Qc1 Qd4 37.Qb2
37…Qxb2 The queen exchange is forced, as otherwise Black’s lady is running out of squares: 37… Qe3 38.Rd1 (threatening to trap her in the middle of the board with Rd3) 38…Rh5 39.h3 Rf5 40.Bd3 Re5 41.Be4, when Black must jettison the exchange with 41…Rxe4 in order to avoid losing the queen. 38.Rxb2 An interesting ending has arisen. I am banking on my connected passed pawns to cash in, but they need support and at the moment they aren’t getting any from my bishop, which needs to find a more active role. 38…Kf8 39.Rb6 Ke7 40.Bd1 Heading to a4 and then d7. 40…Re3 41.Ba4 Rc3 42.Ke2 The king joins the battle. If now 42…Rxc4?, then 43.d6+! Kxe6 44.Bb3, winning the rook. Of course, 43…Kf6 44.Bd7 Rb4 45.Rxb4 cxb4 46.e7 leads to a simple winning endgame for White. 42…Ra3 43.Bd7
Now 44.d6+ is shaping up as a strong concept. 43…Rxa5? Black doesn’t have the luxury of capturing this pawn. Better is to get his king out of the line of fire and seeking to return the exchange for the passers, as in the following line: 43…Kf6 44.h4 Re3+ 45.Kd2 h5 46.d6 Rxe6 47.Bxe6 Kxe6 48.d7+ Kxd7 49.Rxg6 Rd8 50.Kc3 Rh8. Black is slightly worse here, but he retains practical drawing chances. 44.d6+ Kf6 45.e7 Kf7 46.Rxb7 The winning breakthrough. 46…Rh8 47.Kd3 Ra2 48.Bc6 Ra3+ 49.Kc2 1-0
Chess “Rope-a-Dope” hen in 1974 the late Muhammad Ali took on world heavyweight champion George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire, most boxing fans expected Foreman to retain the title. However, Ali used a paradoxical tactic that had been suggested to him by a boxing photographer at Madison Square Garden. He leaned against the ropes and allowed them to absorb the energy from his opponent’s blows. Once his opponent had tired himself out, he counterpunched. Later, Ali called this strategy “the rope-a-dope” and put it into great effect. During the fight – which was dubbed “The Rumble in the Jungle” and which has been called one of the greatest sporting events of the 20th century – Ali even leaned in to taunt the champ as he blocked and absorbed his punches: “They told me you could punch, George!” In an interview after the fight, Foreman admitted that
I thought he was just one more knockout victim until, about the seventh round, I hit him hard to the jaw and he held me and whispered in my ear: ‘That all you got, George?’ I realized that this ain’t what I thought it was.
In chess, this technique is employed by weak and strong players alike, and I employ it myself. In a lot of my games, I choose solid systems, a bit passive-looking but fundamentally sound. My opponents sometimes get a false sense of security and interpret my play as passive or weak, so they launch an attack. All too often, though, they are swinging at ghosts, and in doing so they end up neglecting some key aspect of their position such as development, or maybe creating a weakness in their pawn structure. And then I strike. The chess rope-a-dope springs into action when their attack fails, and suddenly I hit my opponent with a haymaker of a combination or manage to liquidate into an ending where they are simply worse. So my fellow chessplayers, tread with care, and don’t throw too many punches too early. Tyrell Harriot – Jay Bonin New York 2015 1.d4 d6 2.e3 e5 Avoiding the reverse Stonewall, a favorite of my opponent’s. 3.Nf3 Nd7 4.Bc4 Nb6 5.Bb3 e4 6.Nfd2 Nf6 7.c4 c6 Preparing to protect e4. 8.Nc3 d5 9.c5 This looks strong but, strategically speaking, keeping the tension may be preferable, as now Black has less to worry about. 9…Nbd7 10.f3 exf3 11.Qxf3 Be7 12.e4 The rope-a-dope in action: Tyrell gets aggressive.
12…dxe4 13.Ndxe4 0-0 14.0-0 Nxe4 Freeing up my game.
15.Bxf7+ This in-between move gets White into trouble. The boxer threw too many punches too fast, and now will find that his opponent comes off the ropes with better footing and counterplay. Better is the simple 15.Nxe4 Nf6 16.Be3 Kh8, etc. 15…Kh8 16.Nxe4 Or 16.Qxe4 Nf6, winning the exchange. 16…Nf6 Now everything is hanging. 17.Ng5 h6 Not a bad counterpunch, but missing the knockout 17…Ng4! 18.h3 Bxg5 19.Bxg5 Qxg5 20.hxg4 Be6!, picking up a piece. 18.Ne6 Bxe6 19.Bxe6 Qxd4+ 20.Be3 Qe5 And now I will be a pawn up. 21.Qh3 Bxc5 22.Rae1 Rae8 My last piece is developed, and we start the simplifying process, though the engine revealed a way to win another pawn by force here with the enigmatic line 22…Nh5 23.Bxc5 Qxc5 24.Qe3 (of course not 24.Kh1 Nf4! 25.Qb3 Rae8 26.Bc4 Rxe1 27.Rxe1 Nxg2!) 24… Rxf1+ 25.Kxf1 Qb5+ 26.Kg1 Qxb2. 23.Bxc5 Qxc5+ 24.Qe3 The only move. If 24.Kh1, then 24…Ne4 25.Qh4 Nf2+ 26.Rxf2 Qxf2 27.Qxf2 Rxf2 28.h3 Rf6 would be dispositive. 24…Qxe3+ 25.Rxe3 Re7 26.Rfe1 Rfe8 27.R3e2
Preparing to go into the minor-piece ending, which turns out to be not so easy. 27…Nd5 28.Bg4 Best is probably trying to keep one rook on the board with something like 28.g3 Nc7 29.Bc4 Rxe2 30.Bxe2 g6, when Black is up a pawn but the story is far from over. 28…Rxe2 29.Rxe2 Rxe2 30.Bxe2 Kg8
This ending is not as easy as it looks. While I am up a pawn and my knight has a central outpost from which to direct operations, White’s bishop will find targets on both wings if I’m not careful. 31.Kf2 Kf7 32.Kf3 Ke6 33.Ke4 Nf6+ 34.Kd4 Kd6 35.Bf3 Here 35.b4 should be played to restrain Black’s queenside majority. 35…a5 36.a4 Nd7 Now my Bonin Knight will get good squares. 37.Bd1 Nc5 38.Bc2 Ne6+ 39.Ke4 Kc5 Going for broke. 40.Ke5 Nd4 My knight takes up a dominating square, and it becomes a race. 41.Bd1 b5 42.h4 Here White should take on b5. 42…b4
43.g4? The fatal error, letting the black king to reach the c4 square and penetrate on the queenside. 43.b3 is called for, when White could even claim a small edge due to his better-placed king and longer-range minor piece. This is exactly the kind of position that the side with the knight must avoid in endings like this. 43…Kc4 44.g5 hxg5 45.hxg5 b3 Making room for the king to use the b4 square. 46.g6 c5 47.Kd6 Kb4 48.Ke7 Kxa4 49.Kf7 Nf5 Black prepares to play …Nh4 and …Nxg6, when White’s last threat will be nullified and Black’s pawn majority will decide. 50.Bg4 Nh4 51.Kxg7 Kb4 52.Kf6 Nxg6 53.Kxg6 c4 After a few more moves, my opponent resigned. 0-1 Jay Bonin – Tim Mirabile New York 2008 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bg5 Tim loves the Grünfeld, so I decide to avoid it. 3…Bg7 4.Nbd2 c5 5.c3 d6 6.e3 Nbd7 7.Be2 b6 8.0-0 0-0 9.Re1 Bb7 10.h3 I could have tried 10.a4 here, but by playing this conservative move I am hoping to provoke an aggressive response such as… 10…e5?! …which will likely work out badly for Black in the long term as it weakens the critical d5 square. The rope-a-dope in action! 11.dxe5
11.Nc4 first is more accurate. 11…dxe5 11…Nxe5 would prevent White from gaining a grip on the center. 12.e4
Now I control d5 and Black does not control d4, while e4 and e5 are occupied by pawns. What more could White ask for from an opening? 12…Qc7 13.Bc4 Bc6 14.Qe2 Preventing …b6-b5. 14…Qb7 15.Ba6 Qc7 16.Rad1 Rae8 Black does not like the d8 square for the rook because of the pin, though perhaps a more logical continuation would be to put the question to the bishop first to resolve this unpleasant issue. 17.Bb5 Removes a defender of d5. 17…Bxb5 18.Qxb5 h6 19.Bxf6 There goes another defender of the center. 19…Bxf6 20.Nc4 The Bonin Knight comes in with a bang! 20…Nb8
Let’s take stock of the position. White controls the open file and the center, and has two active knights. Meanwhile, Black has a knight that has moved twice only to return to its home square, and a bishop hemmed in by a poorly placed pawn on e5. After provoking my opponent with a few jabs, it’s now time for the right hook. 21.Rd6 Trying to stop 21…Nc6, though perhaps more consistent with my plan would be to reroute the knight via e3 to the promised land on d5. 21…Be7 22.Rd5 Instead, it’s the rook that reaches d5 first. 22…f6 Black protects e5 at the cost of weakening g6. So now I switch gears to focus on a new target. 23.Nh4 Kh7 24.Ne3 f5 More weaknesses. 25.Nf3 fxe4 26.Nd2 Bg5 27.Nxe4 Bxe3 28.Rxe3 Qc6 29.Qc4 No endgame for you – exchanging on c6 would solve the problem of Black’s poorly placed knight and allow him to play for a draw in a slightly worse ending, so the lady retreats to c4. 29…Re7 30.Rd6 Qc7 Black’s position has been bad for a while, but now it’s White to move and win.
31.Rxg6!! A killer. 31…Kxg6 32.Rg3+ Kh7 33.Qg8+ It is mate after 33…Rxg8 34.Nf6#. 1-0 Jay Bonin – Bora Yagiz New York 2014 1.b3 e5 2.Bb2 d6 3.d4 exd4 4.Qxd4 Nc6 5.Qe3+ Be6 6.Nf3 h6 7.Nd4 Nxd4 8.Qxd4 Qg5 9.Nd2 Ne7 10.h4 Qd5 11.Qxd5 Nxd5 12.0-0-0 0-0-0 13.g3 Nf6
A very fine move, with twin threats of …Ng4 and …d6-d5. 14.Bxf6 would deal with both threats but leave Black with a powerful bishop pair. 14.f3 d5 Black has equalized. 15.e3 Bc5 16.Re1 Rhe8 17.Bd3 Bb4 17…Bd7 is interesting. I really don’t want to give up the dark squares for the sake of
giving Black doubled pawns. 18.h5 White tries to gain a little space somewhere. 18…Rg8 Here I would try 18…Re7. 19.g4 Bxd2+
Boris finally blinks. The positional 19…Ne8, trying to improve the knight’s position, is good. 20.Kxd2 Ne4+ A loss of patience, this brilliant-looking combo actually lets me out of the box. 21.Kc1 Nf2 22.Rhg1 Nxd3+ 23.cxd3 f6 24.Bd4 Suddenly, my bishop is a monster while Black’s pawns are targets. Even in solid positions, there are hidden dangers if one side is passive. 24…Kd7 25.Kd2 Of course not 25.Bxa7 b6, when the bishop would be trapped. Like many American chessplayers, I learned this pattern by watching in agony as Fischer grabbed the h2-pawn in the first game of the 1972 world championship match against Spassky in Reykavík. 25…c6 26.f4 b6 27.b4 I can play on both sides, restraining the queenside while preparing the g4-g5 break. Previously, I was just a spectator. 27…Rc8 28.Rc1 Kd6 29.g5 c5 Finally achieving his break, but this pawn will become another target. 30.bxc5+ bxc5 31.Bb2 hxg5 32.fxg5 Bf7 33.g6 Be6 34.Ba3
Now the c5-pawn is toast. 34…Rh8 35.Rh1 Bg4 36.h6 gxh6 37.g7 Rhg8 38.Rxh6 Rxg7 39.Rxf6+ I went on to win in straightforward fashion. 1-0 Jay Bonin – Andre Zaremba New York 2011 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.Qb3 dxc4 5.Qxc4 Be6 6.Qc2 Bg4 7.Nbd2 Nbd7 8.g3 Qa5 This early queen sortie is a jab that I ignore. Instead of responding, I lean back on the ropes and finish my development. 9.Bg2 e6 10.0-0 Qh5 Up until now, both sides have played solid, almost boring, chess. This second jab with the queen looks intimidating, but ultimately works out badly for my opponent. 11.Nc4 Nb6 12.Nxb6
Going the simple route, although 12.N4e5 was an alternative which avoided simplification. 12…axb6 13.Ne5
After this uppercut, Black falls apart. The tactical threat is 14.Nxc6 bxc6 15.Bxc6+, while 14.Nxg4 leaves Black worse. 13…Nd5 14.Nxg4 Qxg4 15.e4 Nb4 16.Qb3 b5 The very hard-to-see 16…Qe2 may have been enough to hold for Black, the idea being that it prevents White from freely developing the bishop to d2 as in the game, giving Black just enough time to catch up in development. 17.Bd2 Na6 18.a4 b4 19.d5 Opening up the game for the better-developed pieces. Black has yet to castle. 19…e5 20.dxc6 bxc6 21.Qc4 Qe6 22.Qxe6+ There shouldn’t be any relief in this ending, either. 22…fxe6 23.Be3 The immediate 23.Rac1 is preferable, as it gains a tempo on Black’s weaknesses. 23…Bc5 24.Bxc5 Nxc5 25.Rac1 Nxa4 Or 25…Ra5 26.Rc4 followed by Rfc1. 26.Bh3
26…c5 A better try is 26…Kd7 27.Rfd1+ Kc7 28.Bxe6 Rhd8 offering improved defensive chances. For instance, 29.Bd5 Ra6 30.Rd3 and Black is fine (not 30.b3? Nc3 with a great position for Black). 27.Bxe6 Ke7 28.Bd5 Rac8 29.Ra1 Now I’ll invade on Seventh Avenue. 29…Nb6 30.Ra7+ Kf6? This is an inaccuracy that Black will not recover from. Better is the calm and collected
30…Kd6, when the royal will hold both weak pawns from a single promontory. After the text move, my rooks will invade and the c-pawn is sure to fall. 31.Rfa1 Rb8 If 31…Nxd5, I play 32.R1a6+ and take on g7 with check. 32.R1a6 Rhd8 Black must allow the invasion, as 32…Rhf8 33.Bb7 loses the knight. 33.Rf7+ Kg6 34.Rc7 Winning a pawn. 34…Rd6 35.Rxc5 Rbd8 36.Bb3 Now e5 and b4 are targets. 36…Kf6 37.Rb5 Nc8 38.Rxd6+ Rxd6 39.f4 This wins the pawn, as 39…exf4 is met by 40.e5+. 39…Rd4 40.Rxe5 g6 41.Re8
Corralling the hapless knight: 41…Nd6 42.e5+; or 41…Na7 42.Re6+; while if 41…Ne7, then 42.e5+ Kg7 43.Rxe7+. 1-0 Jay Bonin – B. Bournival New York 2011 1.d4 d5 2.Bg5 c5 3.dxc5 f6 4.Bc1 e5 5.e4 dxe4 6.Qxd8+ As always, I’m happy to trade queens and keep matters simple. 6…Kxd8 7.Nc3 Nd7 8.Nxe4 Nxc5 9.Ng3 Avoiding exchanging off my knight. While I’m happy to trade down into endgames quickly,
I favor keeping at least one knight on the board. 9…Be6 Understandably, Black doesn’t want to allow Bf1-c4, but 9…Bd6, to hinder my next move, might have been preferable. 10.f4 Ne7 With an interesting idea in mind. 11.fxe5 Nc6?
Better is the simple 11…fxe5 12.Nf3 Nc6 13.a3 a5 with a level game. Instead, Black swings wildly with a pawn sac followed by a queenside right-hook. 12.exf6 Nb4 The point behind Black’s pawn sacrifice. He was banking on this threat to justify it. What he missed was the coming cross-punch. 13.Bg5! Ke8 Obviously, 13…Nxc2+ 14.Kd2 picks up the knight as I threaten 15.fxg7 with discovered check. 14.0-0-0 gxf6 15.Bb5+ Kf7 16.Rf1 Now Black’s out of punches and it’s my turn. 16…Nxa2+ 17.Kb1 Be7 18.Nf3 Kg6 19.Be3 I’m threatening many things including Nh4+, and in addition the a2-knight is stranded. 19…Nb4 20.Nh4+ Kf7 21.Bxc5 Bxc5 22.Ne4
White wins a pawn. 22…Be7?? 22…Ba2+ was called for; after Black’s move, the light-squared bishop falls to a fork. 23.Ng5+ 1-0 Jay Bonin – Michael Cavallo New York 1991 1.d4 e6 2.Nf3 f5 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 d6 5.0-0 Be7 6.c4 0-0 7.Qc2 Qe8 8.Nbd2 Qh5 9.b3 Nc6 10.Bb2 g5
This is too big of a punch to throw. Leaning back on the ropes and connecting the rooks with 10…Bd7 is better. 11.d5 Of course. A wing attack is best met by a reaction in the center, as the saying goes. 11…Nd8 12.dxe6 Nxe6 13.Qxf5 Ng4 13…Nf4 14.Qxg5+ Qxg5 15.Nxg5 Nxe2+ 16.Kh1, and the e2-knight is trapped. 14.Qc2 Bd7 15.h3 Nh6 16.g4
The attack is repulsed, but the punch-drunk fighter tries one last sac. 16…Nxg4? An overreaction. Retreating with 16…Qg6 at least leaves Black standing to fight a few more rounds. After Black’s sacrifice, White quickly crashes through. 17.hxg4 Qxg4 18.Nh2 Qh5 19. e3 Stopping 19…Nf4. 19…g4 20.Ne4 With a pair of ideas – Ng3 and Qc3. 20…Qh4 21.Ng3 Ng5 22.Bd5+ Be6 23.Bxe6+ Nxe6 24.Qe4 And that’s that. 24…Ng5 25.Qxg4 1-0 IM Michael Brooks – Jay Bonin Philadelphia 1990 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3 d5 3.Bg2 c6 4.0-0 Bf5 5.d3 h6 6.b3 e6 7.Bb2 Nbd7 8.Nbd2 Bc5 9.Qe1 White signals his intention to attack. 9…0-0 10.e4 Bh7 It’s important to maintain control over the d5 square, while trading pawns would surrender control of c4. 11.Qe2 a5 I try to distract my opponent with this jab. 12.a3 Qb6 13.h3 Preempts any …Nf6-g4 ideas, so I reroute my knight via c7 to b5.
13…Ne8 14.d4 Here White overextends himself. 14.Kh1, keeping options open, is superior. 14…Be7 15.Ne5 Nxe5 16.dxe5 White hopes to use the d4 square for a piece, but he must tend to e4. 16…Nc7 17.Kh1 Rae8 This rook move contains some poison. 18.f4 Aiming to push f4-f5, but I’m ready for this pawn break. 18…f6 Now I open lines of my own. 19.exd5 exd5 20.Nf3 Ne6 Intending …Ne6-c5-e4, hitting g3. 21.exf6 Having thrown one punch too many, White finally blinks. 21…Bxf6 22.Bxf6 Nxf4 This powerful in-between move turns the tables. 23.Qd2 Nxg2 24.Bd4 c5 25.Bg1 Be4 A critical moment has been reached and White is confronted with a daunting question: which way to recapture?
26.Kxg2? An inaccurate move, as a new problem is exposed. The a1-rook is loose and will drop off. White had another variation at his disposal, though it, too, is unappealing: 26.Qxg2 Re7
27.Be3 Ref7 28.Bf4 g5 29.Kh2 gxf4 30.g4, when White is still worse, though at least not down the exchange. 26…Rxf3 27.Rxf3 Bxf3+ 28.Kxf3 Qf6+ 29.Kg2 Qxa1 The smoke has cleared and I’m up the exchange. Now the we enter the technical stage. 30.Qxd5+ Kh8 31.Qxb7 Qc3 32.Qc6 Qxc2+ 33.Bf2 Re2 34.Qf3 c4 35.bxc4 Qxc4 36.g4 Qe4 37.Kg3 Qxf3+ An important move to get my pawns off dark squares. 38.Kxf3 Rb2 39.Bc5 Rb3+ 40.Kg2 With White’s king cut off, it is time to activate my own king, to decisive effect. 40…Kg8 41.h4 g6 42.Kh2 Kf7 43.Kg2 Ke6 44.Bf8 h5 45.gxh5 gxh5 46.Kh2
Now the plan is to win a king-and-pawn ending. 46…a4 47.Kg2 Kf5 48.Kf2 Kg4 49.Be7 Rf3+ The power of the rook over the bishop. 50.Kg2 is answered by 50…Re3 and the bishop will have to leave one of the pawns hanging. 50.Ke2 Rh3 Now is the time to win the pawn, as the king is too far away. 51.Kf2 Rxh4 52.Bxh4 Kxh4 53.Kf3 Kg5 54.Kg3 Kf5 55.Kh4 Ke5 I leave the h-pawn as a decoy and collect the a-pawn. After winning the h-pawn, White’s king will be too far away to box me into stalemate. 0-1 Jay Bonin – Brian Campbell Boston 1988 1.d4 g6 2.c4 d6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 Nd7 5.Nf3 e5 6.Be2 Ne7 7.h4 This move may objectively be premature, as Black has not castled yet. Here it is my
opponent who tries to lean into the ropes and bait me into tiring myself out with early punches. However, in this game I have enough of an initiative to come crashing through the rope-a-dope. 7…exd4 8.Nxd4 Ne5 9.h5 N7c6 10.Be3 Be6 Black may miss this bishop later on. 11.Nxe6 fxe6 12.f4 Nf7 13.Bd3 Qe7
It looks like Black is escaping to the queenside, so I turn my attention to that side of the board. 14.Rc1 0-0-0 15.Qa4 d5 Black has been coyly leaning into the ropes this whole game as I grabbed space and applied pressure on both wings. This move looks very logical – it opens the center and exploits the placement of my bishop on e3. However, this punch doesn’t work out tactically and I quickly pummel my opponent back into the ropes with a series of crosspunches. 16.cxd5 exd5 17.Nb5 a6
If 17…dxe4, then 18.Rxc6 anyway. 18.Rxc6!
The killer. 18…axb5 Or 18…bxc6 19.Na7+ Kb8 20.Nxc6 Kc8 21.Bxa6+ Kd7 22.Nd4+ Kd6 23.Qc6#. 19.Bxb5 Qxe4 There is no good move anyway. 20.Qa8+ Kd7 21.Rc4+ Black faces an unpleasant choice: either the king can go to the e-file and I take the queen with check, or 21…Kd6 22.Qa3+. Therefore, 1-0. Jay Bonin – Edward Kopiecki New York 2014 1.d4 d5 2.Bg5 h6 3.Bh4 c6 4.c3 Qb6 5.Qb3 c5 This works out very badly. 6.dxc5 Qxc5 7.Nd2 Nc6 8.Ngf3 e5
At the cost of his piece development, my opponent has managed to build an impressive center. The only move to make him lose his footing practically suggests itself. 9.e4 I’m a million light-years ahead in development, so opening the game must favor me here. This works out tactically as well, as exchanging the e4-pawn won’t save Black either, for instance 9…dxe4 10.Nxe4 Qb6 11.Bb5 Be6 12.Qa4 Be7 13.Bxc6+ Qxc6 14.Qxc6+ bxc6 15.Bxe7 Nxe7 16.Nxe5 and White nets a pawn. 9…Be6 10.exd5 Bxd5 11.Bc4 Bxc4 12.Nxc4 Be7 He should at least try 12…b5, which would avoid the queenside pressure that arose in the game. After the game move, best for White is continuing with the theme of leading in development with the strong move 13.0-0-0, but I simply couldn’t resist the following punch.
13.Qxb7 Rb8 14.Qa6 Rxb2
Better is to go stumbling back with 14…Bxh4 15.Nxh4 Nge7 16.0-0 0-0 17.Rfe1 Rb5, when Black is bloodied but still standing. The text move is pure desperation. This hook comes with threats, but none of them are enough to parry my uppercut. 15.Nxb2 Qxc3+ 16.Kf1 Even stronger is the unnatural 16.Kd1, as all of the queen’s checking squares are covered. 16…g5 17.Bg3 Qxb2 18.Qxc6+ Kf8 19.Bxe5 1-0 Jay Bonin – Sam Barsky New York 2013 1.d4 g6 2.e4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.h3 Nf6 5.g3 c6 6.a4 a5 7.Bg2 Nbd7 8.Nf3 0-0 9.0-0 Qc7 10.Re1 e5 11.Be3 Nb6
This leads to fireworks that work out in White’s favor. 11…Re8 is a useful waiting move, while the tension-releasing 11…exd4 is good enough for simple equality. 12.dxe5 dxe5 13.Nxe5 Nh5 I guess this was the point – an attack on the dark squares in exchange for the pawn. However, this plan comes up a tad short.
14.Nd3 Nc4 15.Bc1 Bd4 16.Ne2 It’s important to overprotect the g3 square. 16…Bg7 16…Bb6 would leave the dark squares around his king weak. 17.g4 Nf6 18.Bf4 Qe7 19.b3 Black is pushed back. 19…Nb6 20.Ng3 c5 White has weathered the storm and pushed back Black’s forces. This pawn thrust is an attempt to continue the aggression, but it creates more weaknesses. 21.c4 Ne8 22.e5 My turn. 22…Nd7 23.Qd2 Ra6
The rook lift looks natural, but it leaves the c8-bishop hanging and vulnerable to tactics. 24.Bg5 Qe6 25.Nf4 Qb6 26.Nd5 Wins a piece. But the punch-drunk fighter keeps flailing. 26…Qxb3 27.Ne7+ Kh8 28.Nxc8 Nxe5 29.Bh6 Removing a defender. 29…Nxc4 30.Bxg7+ Nxg7 31.Qd7 Ne6 32.Rab1 Qc3 33.Rec1 Qd2 34.Qxb7 Nf4 35.Qxa6 Nxg2 36.Qf6+ 1-0 37.Ne7# is unavoidable. Jay Bonin – Michael Hehir New York 2013
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 0-0 5.e4 d6 6.Be2 e5 7.dxe5 dxe5 8.Qxd8 Rxd8 9.Bg5 c6 10.Nxe5 Re8 11.0-0-0 Nxe4
It’s dangerous to win back the pawn here, as the white knight will exert a lot of pressure on Black’s position after recapturing on e4. 12.Nxe4 Bxe5 13.Bf3 But I must be careful. After 13.Nf6? Bxf6 14.Bxf6 Nd7, Black solves his back-rank weakness and wins material since both white bishops are hanging. 13…Nd7 14.Rhe1 Nf8 15.Nd6 Re6 16.c5 Bd4 17.Ne4 Be5 18.Rd8 Bc7?
All tied up now, Black missteps with this unnecessary retreat, which allows for an enveloping attack. Preferable is to break the pin on the knight with the simple 18…Kg7. 19.Nf6+ Rxf6 Or 19…Kg7 20.Ne8+ Rxe8 21.Rdxe8. 20.Rxf8+ Leading either to mate or to the win of a rook. 20…Kxf8 21.Bh6+ 1-0
Jay Bonin – Nick Vetese Cleveland 2015 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 b6 4.g3 Bb7 5.Bg2 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Qe7 7.0-0 Bxd2 8.Nbxd2 d6 9.Re1 c5 10.e4 cxd4 11.Nxd4 0-0 12.Rc1 a6 13.Nb1 Nbd7 14.Nc3 Rac8 15.b3 Rc7 16.f4 Rfc8 17.Qd2 h5
Agressive but double-edged, as it potentially weakens Black’s kingside. 17…Nf8 would avoid weakening his position. 18.h3 g6 Black was playing to take the sting out of an e4-e5 break, but now instead comes… 19.f5 With Black having weakened e6 and g6, this move is now critical. 19…Ne5 20.Rf1 Kg7 Trying to patch things up on the f-file. 21.fxe6 fxe6
A bolt from the blue that muddies the waters. 22…exd5 23.Qg5 The point. 24.Nf5+ is the big threat now. 23…Kh7 24.Rxf6 Rf8 25.Rcf1 dxe4 Here the prophylactic 25…Bc8, preventing my next move, is called for. 26.g4 hxg4?? Opening the h-file leads to certain doom. Black could have held things together with 26… Rc5 27.Ne6 Rxf6 28.Qxf6 Qxf6 29.Rxf6 Ra5. 27.Qh4+ Kg7 28.Ne6+ Qxe6 29.Rxf8 Obviously much stronger than taking the queen, as now mate on h8 cannot be prevented, while 29…Nf7 is met by 30.R1xf7+. 1-0 Jay Bonin – Hans Niemann New York 2015 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 d5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.e4 Nxc3 7.bxc3 c5 8.Bb5+ My pet variation, which I used to beat GM Gata Kamsky (see Chapter 8). 8…Nc6 9.0-0 0-0 10.Be3
I usually play 10.Bxc6 followed by 11.Ba3, when if 11…cxd4 then 12.Nxd4. I switch it up here. 10…Qa5 11.Qa4 When facing young players, I always steer the contest into an ending because they usually struggle in that phase of the game. 11…Qxa4 12.Bxa4 cxd4 13. cxd4 Bg4 14.Bxc6 Only now do I capture.
14…bxc6 15.Rac1 Rfd8 16.Rc4 Defending and attacking at the same time. 16…Rab8 17.h3 Bd7 Black will regret this decision. Better is 17…Bxf3 followed by 18…Rb2, with active play. 18.Ne5 Be8 Taking on e5 would leave the dark squares very weak. 19.Rfc1 Rb6 20.a4 Rd6 21.Rc5 Rb4 Black counterattacks, but it’s a little late in the day for that. 22.a5 Ra4 Conceding the b-file is a positional mistake. Better is 22…Kf8. 23.Rb1 f6 24.Nc4 Rd7 25.Rb8 Kf7 26.e5 Much better than the tempting 26.Rxc6, which allows 26…Rxd4!. 26…fxe5
27.Nxe5+ But not 27.dxe5 Rxc4 28.Rxc4 Rd1+ 29.Kh2 Bxe5 30.Rf4+ Bxf4+ 31.Bxf4, when White can no longer claim any advantage. 27…Bxe5 28.dxe5 Re4 To stop e5-e6+. 29.Kh2 Avoiding …Rd1+ ideas. 29…h5 30.Rxc6 Rxe5??
This just drops a piece. Better is 30…Rd8 31.Rxd8 Bxc6 32.Rc8 Bb5 33.Bxa7 Rxe5 34.Bb6, and Black may be able to escape into a drawish opposite-colored-bishops ending if he can engineer a rook trade. 31.Rcc8 From this position, my young opponent played on a while before resigning. 1-0
Beating Grandmasters ell, dear reader, in the last few chapters you’ve seen me doing the grunt work, grinding out wins with small positional advantages against players rated 1700-2400. And I must admit, it isn’t always pretty. I don’t always have the advantage, but somehow get it done. When the situation arises, I can win with attacks culminating in some kind of sacrifice or combination. Otherwise I outplay them in a queenless middlegame or in an endgame. Whatever it takes. Some of these wins could lead to winning a tournament; other times, to a heartbreaking loss or draw that prevents me from winning the tournament or a place prize. Life goes on. Turn the page.
Some of you might be asking, Where are the grandmaster games? Well, I have not forgotten about the grandmasters. In this chapter, you will see exactly that – games against grandmasters. I have defeated many over the years. Some of those wins led to tournament victories, while others were followed by losses to other grandmasters and missing out, be it a norm or a cash prize – disappointment either way. Many people have come to me and said, “Jay, I think you have more grandmaster scalps than anyone else I know.” This may be true; maybe the late longtime IM Igor Ivanov has more. For those who remember Igor, you would’ve thought he was long a grandmaster; he wasn’t, but he did eventually earn the GM title. Anyway, it is what it is. I wish I could put every game I’ve won against grandmasters in this book, but space is limited. The games here will have merit. My first GM win was against Sammy Reshevsky. Always got to include the first one. High-profile GMs. Games that were part of significant tournament runs. Two that stand out are the 1986 New York International, and a streak in the 2005 New York Masters Action tournaments. Games with combinations are always satisfying. Games against GMs having a banner year, some of them reigning U.S. Champions at the time. Enjoy. I played my first game against a grandmaster – the illustrious Samuel Reshevsky, eighttime United States Champion as well as contender for the World Championship title in 1948 and 1953 – on my 27th birthday. A prolific chess writer and an accountant by profession, Reshevsky was also a devout Orthodox Jew who would not play on the Sabbath, which meant that organizers of major events in the United States often had to make schedule changes to accommodate the famous GM. My game with him took place in a Manhattan chess haven known as the Chess Center of New York, where I began my chess career and which I dearly miss. It was run by none other than Bill Goichberg, one of the premier organizers in this country for over four decades. Bill was later aided by Steve Immitt, who developed into another major organizer and tournament director in the United States. To his credit, Steve kept the Chess Center moniker going long after the closure of the bricks-and-mortar club in 1984. The occasion of my game with Sammy Reshevsky was an international tournament and Bill needed a volunteer to play Reshevsky in the first round at an earlier date, because he would not play on Saturday (the Jewish Sabbath). I happily volunteered, feeling thrilled to have my first chance at playing a GM on my birthday.
Samuel Reshevsky – Jay Bonin New York 1982 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 The Benoni – a sharp and possibly dangerous choice. 3…e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.Bd3 Sammy chooses the solid Penrose-Tal line, in which White opts for maintaining his center and a space advantage. 7…Bg7 8.Nge2 0-0 9.0-0 Na6 Intending to shift the knight to c7 to support a …b7-b5 break. Sammy’s going to work in the center, trying for an e4-e5 break. 10.h3 A useful move, making Luft and preparing to play Bc1-e3 at some point without having to worry about …Nf6-g4 ideas. 10…Nd7 11.Ng3 Ne5 12.Be2 Qh4 Not so much to develop as to prevent f2-f4. 13.Be3 f5 I strike first, taking the sting out of White’s center with this thematic break. 14.exf5 Bxf5 15.Nxf5 gxf5 Better than recapturing with the rook, which gives White the e4 square. 16.f4 Ng6 17.Kh2 Nc7 This puts pressure on the d-pawn, supports …b7-b5, and covers the potentially weak square e6.What more can you ask from a single move? 18.Qd2 Rae8
Finishing development. As weak as it looks, my f-pawn cannot be exploited yet. 19.g3 Qe7 20.Rf3 Qf7 21.Bf2 Kh8 Eyeing a counterattack on the g-file, and also moving off the light-squared diagonal just in case I win the d-pawn. 22.Bc4 Ne7 23.Rb1 This move feels too slow. He should challenge the e-file immediately. 23…Qh5 24.Kg2 Rg8 25.Re3 Bd4 An important move. By trading the bishops, I weaken e3. 26.Ree1 Bxf2 27.Qxf2 Rg7 28.Re3 Reg8 29.Rbe1 Nc8 This knight is heading to a better neighborhood. 30.a4 Nb6 31.Ba2 Nd7 32.Re7 Qg6 33.Rxg7 Rxg7 34.Nb5 Nxb5 35.Re6 Nf6 36.axb5 Qf7 37.Bb1 If 37.Qe1, then 37…Ne4 38.g4 Qh5! (with the idea of a perpetual) 39.Bb1 Rxg4+ 40.hxg4 Qxg4+ 41.Kh2 Qh5+ 42.Kg2 Qg4+ 43.Kh2 Qh5+, etc. He stops 37…Ne4 with the text move, but now I play instead: 37…Nh5 The Bonin Knight reaches a different premium square. 38.Rxd6 Rxg3+ 39.Kh2 Qe7 Preparing the final assault. 40.Re6 Qh4 41.Qf1 Rb3 42.Bc2 Rxb2 43.Qa1??
Pinning my helpless rook, but allowing mate in 2. After 43.Re8+ Kg7 44.Qg1+ Kh6 45.Re6+ Nf6 46.Qxc5 Qxf4+ 47.Kg2 Kh5, Black is still better but at least White is still fighting.
43…Qf2+ 44.Kh1 Ng3# 0-1 The first of many grandmaster scalps. I not only beat the legendary Sammy Reshevsky – I checkmated him! And on my 27th birthday, no less – an exhilarating feeling. I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday present. Four years after my win against Reshevsky, I entered the 1986 New York Open and started out like a house on fire with 4 points after the first five games, including three wins and two draws. I went on to lose three in a row before finally winning my last game. After losing three straight to GMs Jón Árnason, András Adorján, and Helgi Olafsson, I managed to rally with the following tactical win against none other than the late GM Robert Byrne in the last round. I finished this tournament 5/9, just narrowly missing a GM norm as well as a piece of the prize money. Three decades later, I still look back on this event fondly as one of my best performances among such elite players. When the event concluded, I had beaten 3 GMs (along with an IM) and felt – for the first time – like I may belong among them. We begin with my last game from that event, which came against the legendary Robert Byrne. One of the finest chess players of his generation, he authored the chess column for the New York Times, which I read avidly at the time. He was also a World Championship challenger in 1974, losing in the quarterfinal Candidates’ Match to former World Champion Boris Spassky. Jay Bonin – Robert Byrne New York 1986 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 I use the Sämisch sparingly today, preferring 5.Nf3 in this position. 5…a6 6.Bg5 c6 The Byrne variation – what else? 7.Qd2 b5 8.cxb5 Objectively, it’s probably not a good idea to trade here and the tension on the queenside should be met with action in the center. One alternative line is 8.e5 b4 9.exf6 exf6 10.Qe3+ Be6 11.Nd1 fxg5 12.d5 0-0 13.dxe6 Re8 14.Ne2 Rxe6 15.Qd2, with a level if ugly position. In retrospect, I would prefer 8.e5 b4 9.exf6 bxc3 10.Qe3 cxb2 11.Rb1 Bf8 12.Rxb2 Be6 13.fxe7 Bxe7 14.Bxe7 Qxe7 15.Bd3, with a nice space advantage for White. When I was younger, I played much riskier and more interesting chess than the above lines which look sterile by comparison to the game. 8…axb5 9.Bd3 Nbd7 10.Nge2 0-0 11.0-0 e5 12.d5
Forcing the queenside to clear up, though there was a better way of achieving this goal: 12.a4! b4 13.Nd1 Qb6 14.Be3 Qa5 15.Nf2 Bb7 16.dxe5 Nxe5 17.Nc1 Qc7 18.Nb3, with dynamic possibilities for both sides. After the game move, Black will enjoy some initiative and the c5 square for his knight. 12…b4 13.Nd1 cxd5 14.Qxb4 Nc5 15.Bb5 Rb8 16.a4 Qb6 This move looks very strong. Robert is threatening to play Nxa4. 17.Ne3? Here 17.Kh1 is best, as 17.Ne3 fails to the tactic 17…Ne6! winning a piece. 17…dxe4? Missing the idea in the previous note, my opponent now allows my pieces to occupy favorable squares. 18.Bxf6 Nd3 19.Qd2 Bh6 This looks strong at first sight, piling up on the pinned knight. However, the bishop is loose on h6 and Black may come to regret the weakened dark squares around his king. A simpler path forward is to simply exchange with 19…Bxf6 20.fxe4 Bg5 21.Qxd3 Qxe3 22.Qxe3 Bxe3 23.Kh1, when Black’s bishop pair will give him a slight edge in this ending despite the backward pawn on d6 and the hole on d5. 20.f4 exf4 21.Nxf4 Nxf4 22.Kh1 Finally getting out of the pin. Having missed the opportunity to put me away on move 17, my opponent himself now blunders with this move that allows a mating attack. 22…Be6 looks better at first glance, but then I have a surprising shot: 23.Rxf4! Bxf4 24.Nd5 threatening Ne7#, and if 24…Bxd5 25.Qxf4 with Qh6 and mate next. In fact, the antidote is 22…Nh5 – a difficult move to see which at one stroke holds the dark squares around Black’s king and uncovers the h6-bishop. After 22…Nh5 23.Nd5 Nxf6 24.Nxf6+ Kg7 25.Qc3 Qe3 26.Nh5+ Kg8 27.Nf6+ Kh8 28.Nxe4+ Qxc3 29.Nxc3, the game would have headed towards a drawish ending. Instead, I was delighted to see 22…Nd3??
23.Nd5! It’s mate after 23…Bxd2 24.Ne7#; or 23…Qb7 24.Qxh6 and 25.Qg7#. 1-0 Jay Bonin – Lev Alburt New York 1986 My second win in that event was against Lev Alburt. Lev also went on to be an accomplished chess author in his own right, and in addition he won the U.S. Championship that year. A known connoisseur of the Benko Gambit, I chose a move order that denied Lev the opportunity to employ his favorite line against me. Instead, we quickly arrived at an unusual Benoni and an unbalanced middlegame. 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 c5 3.d5 b5 4.Bg5 d6 You might say I make my living doubling my opponent’s f-pawns, and here I waste no time in doing so. 5.Bxf6 exf6 6.e4 a6 7.a4 b4 Now the c4 square is mine for the taking. This is a major drawback of this system for Black, as opposed to the main-line Benoni where White’s access to c4 is blocked by one of his own pawns. 8.Bd3 Nd7 9.0-0 Ne5 10.Nbd2 g6 Maybe 10…Bg4 is better. 11.Nxe5 I undouble the pawns, but leave the black dark-squared bishop in limbo. 11…fxe5 12.a5 This is a very important move: it fixes the a6-pawn; it controls b6 for my knight that’s headed to c4; and it makes the c2-c3 break stronger. 12…Bh6 13.Nc4
My knight takes up residence on this strong outpost, tying up Black’s forces to the defense of d6, while threatening to invade via b6 at any moment.
Leaving the h6-bishop hitting thin air. 13…0-0 14.c3 Now 14…Rb8 is met by 15.Nb6, when either the b- or the c-file will open up in my favor. Black would like to get something going with …f7-f5, but decides to resolve this tension first. 14…bxc3 15.bxc3 f5 16.Rb1 Threatening to penetrate with Rb6. 16…fxe4 17.Bxe4 Rf4 18.f3 Bf5 19.Qd3 Bxe4 20.fxe4 Rxf1+ 21.Rxf1 Together with my control of the b-file, these exchanges have improved my position by enhancing the importance of the outposts on c4 and e4. Black is now a sitting duck with no more counterplay levers to pull. 21…Ra7 22.Qh3 Bf8 23.Qe6+ Kg7 24.h3 I’m in no rush, as this move takes away the g4 square and demonstrates that Black has no good moves left to make. 24…h5 25.Kh2 Rb7 26.Rf3 Rc7 Removing the rook from the open file highlights the helplessness of Black’s position. He may have tried 26…Qe7 here, hoping for a queen trade, though this would drop the a-pawn after 27.Qc8 Rc7 28.Qxa6 h4 29.Qb5 Rb7 30.Qa4 Qd7 31.Qxd7 Rxd7 32.Rf1 Rb7 33.a6 Ra7 34.Ra1 with a simple winning ending for White. If Black tries to mark time and hold onto the a-pawn he gets squeezed off the board: 26…Qe7 27.Qc8 Ra7 28.Rf1 Kg8 29.Nb6 Kg7 30.g3 Kg8 31.Kg2 Kg7 32.h4 Kg8 33.Qb8, when Rxf8 and Qxa7 are coming. After the game move, Black can only watch as I repurpose my last piece for the attack. The knight’s done a wonderful job on c4, but now it is needed for the offensive on the other flank. 27.Ne3 Qe7??
This makes White’s task considerably easier. Understandably, Black seeks to exchange queens in order to relieve the pressure around his king. However, this move walks into a mating combination due to the well-placed knight.
28.Nf5+ gxf5 29.Rg3+ Mate will follow on g6 or g8. 1-0 Jay Bonin – Florin Gheorghiu New York 1986 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 d6 4.Nc3 g6 5.e4 Bg7 6.Nf3 0-0 7.h3 a6 8.a4 e6 9.Bd3 exd5 10.exd5 Re8+ 11.Be3 Nbd7
On 11…Bh6, I was planning 12.0-0 Bxe3 13.fxe3 Rxe3 14.Qd2 Re7 (not 14…Qe7? 15.Nd1!) with an initiative for the pawn. 12.0-0 Nh5 13.Qd2 f5 14.Bh6 Trying to eliminate a kingside defender. 14…Ne5 15.Nxe5 Bxe5 16.Bg5 Qa5 17.Rfe1 Bd7 18.Be2 The bishop is not doing much on d3, so I redeploy it to a more active post. 18…Nf6 19.Bf3
Covering the e4 square. 19…Kg7??
A blunder. Better is 19…Rf8 20.Bf4 Bxf4 21.Qxf4 Qc7, with a level position. After 19… Kg7, however, I have the shot… 20.Rxe5! …exploiting the unprotected queen on a5. 20…Rxe5 21.Bxf6+ Kxf6 22.Ne4+ fxe4 23.Qxa5 exf3 Florin plays on in vain. 24.Qc7 Ke7 25.Ra3 Getting my last piece into play. 25…fxg2 26.Re3 Rxe3 27.fxe3 b5 28.Qb7 Forcing Black off the a-file. 28…Rf8 29.cxb5 axb5 30.a5 Better than 30.axb5, as the a-pawn can’t be stopped from promoting. 30…Rf1+ 31.Kxg2 Rb1 32.a6 Rxb2+ 33.Kf3 He’s had enough. 1-0 Jay Bonin – Stefan Djurić New York 1986 This game is one of my chess combination crown jewels. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 c5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.e4 Nxc3 7.bxc3
And we have a Semi-Tarrasch. As in the Grünfeld, White is handed a nice center, which if left unchallenged could blow Black out of the water. Meanwhile, Black’s queenside majority is a long-term strategic trump that Black hopes to put into motion once he has blunted White’s central aggression. 7…cxd4 8.cxd4 Bb4+ 9.Bd2 Bxd2+ 10.Qxd2 0-0 11.Bc4 Nc6 12.0-0 Qd6 This awkward square for Her Majesty can lead to tactical problems, as in this game. 12… b6 or 12…Na5 are more thematic in this kind of position. 13.Rad1 Signaling White’s intent to push d4-d5. 13…Rd8 14.Rfe1 I’m in no hurry to open the center, and instead get the last piece into play. 14…Bd7 15.d5 exd5 16.exd5 Ne7 17.Ng5 Bg4? Note that 17…f6 would be a blunder here due to 18.Rxe7 Qxe7 19.d6+, picking up the queen. Best (though not quite enough) is simply to attack my light-squared bishop with 17… Rac8 18.Ne4 Qg6 19.Bd3 Bf5 20.d6 Nc6 21.Bb1, when the passed d-pawn is an annoying intruder in Black’s camp, though Black is still hanging on.
After Black’s last move comes the lightning bolt: 18.Nxf7!! A positional sacrifice to expose the king. 18…Kxf7 19.Qg5 The point. Now 19…Bxd1 20.Rxe7 wins for White. 19…Ng8 20.Qxg4 Nf6 Black was relying on this to save him, but the illusion is quickly shattered. 21.Re7+ The final, pretty point: the queen is lost, as 21…Kxe7 22.Qxg7 Ke8 23.Re1 leads to mate. 21…Qxe7 22.d6+ Ke8 23.Bb5+ 1-0 Larry M. Christiansen – Jay Bonin New York 1976 It was the last round of the Pan-American Intercollegiate Championship. I played first board for Brooklyn College and we were up against the powerhouse University of Southern Florida. Other leading chess schools in my era were the University of Toronto and the University of Chicago. The teams were strong in the ’70s, though nothing like today where teams often have several grandmasters lured by generous scholarships to Texas and St. Louis. My opponent in the last round was Larry Christiansen, at the time a Senior Master who went on to be a top U.S. player for many years. This game doesn’t neatly fit into any of the other chapters in this book, and yet not to include it would be an oversight in my own career as Larry was my first SM scalp and my performance in this tournament put me over 2200 for the first time. So, I am including this game in this chapter despite the fact that Larry was not yet a GM at the time it was played – though he was certainly playing at GM strength and earned the title a few months later in Linares, Spain, in 1977. 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.d4 g6 3.Nbd2 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Bc4 0-0 6.Qe2 Nc6 7.e5 dxe5 8.dxe5 Nd5 9.00 Na5 10.Bb3 Nxb3 11.axb3 Today, I try to keep my knights, but I was young then. 11…Qd7 A weird-looking move. I think I was planning …Qg4 at some point here, though White’s next move rules that out. 12.Ne4 b6 13.Rd1 Qc6 She flirts with danger on this square, but where else is a girl to go? 14.Ra4 a5
Preparing …Bc8-a6, but Larry beats me to the punch. 15.Rc4 Qb7 Not 15…Ba6 now, as my d5-knight hangs. 16.Ng3 c5 Gaining some space. 17.Rh4
Aiming for my king. Such aggression is a hallmark of Larry’s fierce, tactical style. At first, it would look like this rook is offside and may run short of safe squares. But look again – it controls the entire fourth rank and is ready to swing back to the queenside if needed. 17…f6 Trying for counterplay on the f-file like a rodeo clown taunting a bull so a rider can jump the wall to safety – anything to take his eyes off my king. 18.h3 Qc6 Preparing …Bb7 with latent tactical ideas on light squares and on g2 in particular. 19.c4 Nc7 20.Bh6 Bxh6 21.Rxh6 Ne6 22.Rd5
Plugging up the light squares to avoid tricks like …Bc8-b7, …Nd5-f4, and then …Nxg2. 22…f5 Here I almost played 22…Nf4? falling for 23.Qe4!, when 23…Nxd5?? loses quickly: 24.Rxg6+ Kh8 25.Rh6 Rf7 26.Ng5 fxg5 27.Rxc6+–. 23.Qd2 Bb7 24.Ng5 Nxg5 25.Qxg5 f4 Not 25…e6?? 26.Rxg6 hxg6 27.Qxg6+ Kh8 28.Qh6+ Kg8 29.Nh5 Qc7 30.Rd6 Qh7 31.Qg5+ Kh8 32.Rxe6 Bf3 33.Nf4 Rg8 34.Ng6+ Rxg6 35.Rxg6 Rg8 36.Qf6+ Rg7 37.Qd8+ Rg8 38.Rxg8+ Qxg8 39.Qxg8 Kxg8 40.gxf3, and White wins. 26.Nh5 Qe6 27.Nxf4 Rxf4 Simplification. 28.Qxf4 Bxd5 29.cxd5 Qxd5 The smoke has cleared and White’s attack has come to a halt. Now the rook becomes a liability on h6. 30.Qg3 Qe6 Still keeping an eye on g6. 31.Rh4 Rd8 32.Qe3 Rd5 33.Re4 Not 33.Qh6? Rd1+ 34.Kh2 Qxe5+ 35.g3 Qg7 and Black is ahead in material with no weaknesses. 33…Kg7 34.Kh2 h6 35.f4 h5 Stopping any g2-g4 ideas. 36.Rc4 Qf5 37.Re4 h4 38.e6 Qf6 39.Qf2 Rd3 40.f5 g5 41.Qc2 Rd5 The f-pawn falls. 42.Qc4 Rxf5 43.Qb5 Re5 I get there first. 44.Rxe5 Qxe5+ 45.Kh1 Qxe6
With two extra pawns it should be easy, but my king is a little airy. 46.Qe8 Qf7 47.Qc6 Qxb3 Make that three pawns. 48.Qd7 Qe3 49.Qb5 Qe6 50.b3 Qd6 51.Qe2 e5 52.Qg4 Qe7 53.Qe4 b5 Now a second passer will be created on the far wing. 54.Kh2 a4 55.bxa4 bxa4 56.Qxa4 e4 I give up a pawn in order to create a simple and solid formation where my queen can both support my passed pawns from behind and defend the king from checks. 57.Qa1+ Kh7 58.Kg1 e3 59.Qb1+ Kg7 60.Qb2+ Qf6 61.Qb7+ Kh6 No more checks to worry about. 62.Qb5 Qf2+ 63.Kh2 e2 64.Qc6+ Kg7 65.Qd7+ Qf7 0-1 The e-pawn will promote next, and so White resigns. As thrilled as I was with this win, as I recall the rest of my team lost their games in this match. Alexander Stripunsky – Jay Bonin New York 2011 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 A rare Petroff, an opening not featured in my repertoire and likely a surprise for my opponent. 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.d4 d5 6.Bd3 Be7 7.0-0 Nd6 This move (maybe a novelty) stops c2-c4 and supports the f5-bishop. 8.Re1 0-0 9.Nc3 c6 10.Ne2 Bf5 This bishop is usually a problem, so trading it makes life easier for the second player.
11.Ng3 Bxd3 12.Qxd3 Nd7 13. a4 a5 I prevent White from pushing to a5 and gaining space. Objectively, the position is equal, but Sasha has the more active pieces. 14.b3 Nf6 15.Bg5 Re8 16.Re2 Nfe4 Here I am playing for exchanges to release the pressure from my opponent’s piece activity. 17.Bxe7 Rxe7 18.Rae1 Re8 19.c4 Trying to undermine my position. 19…Nxg3 20.Rxe8+ Nxe8 21.hxg3 Nc7 The knight is headed for e6. 22.Qf5 g6 White was threatening Ng5. 23.Qg4 Ne6 24.Ne5 Threat: Nxf7. 24…Qf6 25.Re3 Even in this simplified position, there is pressure. 25…Rd8 26.c5 On 26.Rf3, I have 26…Qg5. 26…Qf5 I kill the attack at the cost of accepting a doubled, isolated pawn, but gain time thanks to the attack on the d-pawn. 27.Qxf5 gxf5 28.Nf3 b6
Having exchanged and defended carefully for the last 27 moves in order to slow down
White’s nagging edge from having gone first, finally I go on the march with a strike on the queenside. 29.cxb6 Rb8 30.Rc3 Rxb6 And now White has to defend b3. 31.Kf1 f6 Stopping Ne5. 32.Ke2 Kf7 33.Ke3 Rb4 Eyeing both of White’s weaknesses. 34.Kd3 Ke7 35.Kc2 Kd6 Black threatens to create a passed pawn with …c6-c5. 36.Rd3 c5 37.dxc5+ Nxc5 38.Re3 d4 Wasting no time. 39.Re8 d3+ 40.Kd2 Rxb3 Black is making inroads: a4 is weak and …Nc5-e4 is now a threat. 41.Nd4 Rb2+ 42.Ke3 d2 43.Ke2 Nxa4 With …Nc3 in mind. 44.Rd8+ Kc5 45.Ne6+ Kc4 46.Rd4+ Kb3 47.Rxd2 White has won the d-pawn but now the a-pawn kicks in. 47…Nc3+ 48.Kd3 Rxd2+ 49.Kxd2 Ne4+ Stopping Nc5 while hitting the f-pawn. 50.Kc1 Nxf2 Black starts a pawn collection on the other wing. 51.Nd4+ Kc3 52.Nxf5 Ne4 Taking away d6 from the white knight. 53.Kb1 Kd3
The a-pawn serves as a decoy while I go after the remaining pawns on the g-file. 54.g4 Ke2 55.Nd4+ Kf2 56.Nc6 a4 57.Ka2 Kxg2 58.Ka3 Nc5 59.Ne7 Kg3 60.Nd5 Ne4 The a-pawn has done a wonderful job of distracting White’s royal. White is too far away to stop my other pawns. 61.Kxa4 Kxg4 62.Kb3 h5 63.Kc2 Kf3 64.Kd3 h4 65.Ne3 Ng3 My knight takes away f5 and f1 from his knight. 66.Nc4 h3 And the pawn promotes. 0-1 Jay Bonin – Alexander Stripunsky New York 2005 This game was played during my glory days in the New York Masters, an Action Chess series that operated for three years, run by Greg Shahade and John Fernandez. Greg went on to run the U.S. Chess League as well as the U.S. Chess School, while his sister Jennifer has become a fixture in American chess journalism. 1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Bb4 3.Qc2 c6 4. a3 Bxc3 5.Qxc3 Qe7 6.d4 d6 7.c5
White’s idea is to open up the center as quickly as possible in order to maximize the effect
of the bishop pair. With any luck, we will also get an early exchange of queens. 7…Nd7 8.cxd6 Qxd6 9.dxe5 Qxe5 10.Qxe5+ Nxe5 Both players are happily within their element: sterile-looking endgames. 11.Nf3 Nxf3+ 12.gxf3 I hope to use the half-open g-file. Another reason to capture this way is to maintain a central pawn majority. 12…Be6 13.e4 Nf6 14.Rg1 g6 This weakens the dark squares on the long diagonal. 15.Be3 Nd7 16.f4 a6 This saves the a-pawn but weakens b6. 17.b4 f5 Sasha tries to fix my majority. If I play 18.e5, I get a protected passed pawn, but it is blockaded and d5 is weak. 18.Bh3 18.Bd3 is interesting, keeping pressure on both wings. 18…0-0-0 19.0-0-0 Nf6 20. exf5 Opening the g-file, but surrendering the d5 square. You can’t have everything. 20…Bxf5 21.Bxf5+ gxf5 22.Bd4 Rhf8 23.Rg7 Seventh Avenue! 23…Nh5 24.Rxh7 Nxf4 25.Bb6 Rxd1+ 26.Kxd1 Nd5 Black hopes that the knight will offer salvation, but White’s rook on the seventh rank has to be tended to – not to mention the passed h-pawn. 27.Bd4 Rd8 28.Rh8 I decide that the minor-piece ending is the way to go. 28…Rxh8 29.Bxh8 Kd7 30.Kd2
The kings join in the action. We’ve reached a bishop-vs.-knight ending with the same number of pawns. Objectively speaking this is an equal game, but Black’s task is made slightly harder by having the short-range piece. 30…Ke6 31.Kd3 Nf4+ 32.Kd4 b6 This move prevents me from invading by keeping my king off the c5 square, but the b6pawn will now become a target for my bishop. 33.Bg7 Nh3 34.f3 Ng5 35.Ke3 Bg7-d4 is threatened, forcing a compromise in the structure. 35…Kf7 36.Bd4 b5 37.Kf4 Ne6+ 38.Ke5 Ng5 39.Kxf5 Nxf3 40.Be5 Nh4+ 41.Kg4 Ng6 42.Bb2 Now the h-pawn will spell the difference by tying up Black’s king. 42…Nf8 43.h4 Ne6 44.Kf5 c5 45.h5 It’s important to avoid trades. 45…c4 Black has a protected passed pawn, but it’s not going anywhere. Meanwhile, my king walks over to the queenside for the kill. 46.h6 Nf8 47.Ke5 Kg6
48.Bc1 The bishop performs miracles, protecting my own passer while containing Black’s. However, even stronger here is the direct 48.Kd5! Nh7 49.Kc6 Ng5 50.Kb6 Ne4 51.Kxa6 c3 52.Bc1 Nd6 53.Kb6 Kh7 54.Kc6 Nf5 55.Kxb5. 48…Kh7 49.Kd6 Ng6 50.Kc6 Ne5+ 51.Kb6 Nd3 52.Be3 c3 53.Kxa6 c2 I can let go of the bishop, as his knight can’t cope with my pawns. 54.Kxb5 Ne5 55.a4 Nf3 56.a5 Nd4+ 57.Kc4 Nf5 58.Bc1 Nd6+ 59.Kc3 1-0 Jay Bonin – Hikaru Nakamura New York 2003 This game is my last victory against a young grandmaster who would later go on to be one of the top players in the world. He was 16 at the time and had just earned the GM title. 1.Nc3 Once in a while I play this move, championed by my colleague Asa Hoffmann. 1…c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.e4 a6 4.g3 Nc6 5.Bg2 g6 6.d4 Here I open it up and we transpose into a kind of Sicilian. 6…cxd4 7.Nxd4 Bg7 8.Be3 Nge7 9.a4 d6 10.0-0 0-0 11.Nb3 Intending to play a4-a5 and squeeze Black on the queenside. 11…b6 12.Qe2 Bb7 13.Rad1 Qc7 14.f4 Nb4 15.Qf2 b5 Black chooses activity over the passive 15…Nc8. 16.axb5 axb5 17.Bb6 Qb8 18.Nxb5
18…Ba6 He was relying on this resource to double my pawns and maintain a level game. Otherwise, I win material. For instance, 18…Rc8 19.Ba7 Rxa7 20.Qxa7 d5 21.Qxb8 Rxb8 with an edge for White. 19.c4 Bxb5 20.cxb5 Rc8 21.Rd2 Ra2 22.Rfd1 Bf8 23.Nc1 Ra1 24.Ne2 Rxd1+ 25.Rxd1 Rc2 Black has gotten a lot of activity, so I simplify matters and head into an ending. 26.Ba7 Qxb5 27.Nd4 Rxf2 28.Nxb5 Rxb2 29.Nxd6 Nec6 30.Bc5 I’m happy with a draw here, but my much higher-rated opponent (he was 2560 at the time) wanted more. 30…e5 Hikaru blunts one light-squared diagonal, only to open another one. 31.Bf1 exf4 32.gxf4 I must recapture here. Obviously not 32.Bc4 right away, as Black has 32…Ne5 holding the f7 square and embarrassing the c4-bishop. 32…Rc2 33.Be3 g5
Cute! If I take the pawn, then 34…Ne5 is annoying as it threatens mate in two. However, taking is objectively best here as the threat is easily parried, for example 34.fxg5 Ne5 35.Bf4 Nf3+ 36.Kh1 Nc6 37.Nf5 Nce5 38.h4 Ng4, etc. 34.Ne8 I try to get squares of my own. 34…gxf4 35.Nf6+ Kh8 36.Bxf4 Bc5+ 37.Kh1 Rf2 38.Nh5 Nc2 39.Bb5 The parties are duking it out, trying to get all their pieces to maximum-impact squares. 39…N6d4 40.Be5+ Kg8 41.Nf6+ This was an “Action” tournament (meaning 30-minute games), and about here we were both in time pressure. 41…Kf8
42.Nd7+ Obviously not 42.Nxh7+ Kg8 43.Nf6+ Rxf6 44.Bxf6 Nxb5, with an equal if unbalanced ending. Though here I missed the deep 42.Bc4!, which sets up a mating net around the black king that forces Black to jettison material in order to avoid checkmate, e.g. 42.Bc4 Ke7 43.Rb1 Nb4 (forced: 43…Ne3? 44.Rb7+ Kd8 45.Rd7+ Kc8 46.Ba6#) 44.Ng8+ Kf8 45.Ra1 Kxg8 46.Ra8+ Bf8 47.Bxd4 Rc2 48.Bc5 Rxc4 49.Bxf8, etc. 42…Ke7 43.Nxc5 Nxb5 44.Rd7+ Ke8 45.Rb7 f6 46.Bg3 Rf1+ 47.Kg2 Ne3+ 48.Kh3 Safe! Now a couple of things are hanging. 48…Nd4 49.Rxh7 Kf8 50.Rd7 Nf3 51.Bd6+ Kg8 52.Ne6 Who’s mating whom? 52…Rg1 Black’s idea is …Rg4 and …Ng1#. 53.Bg3
Threatening Rd3. 53…Ra1 54.Rd3 Ng1+ 55.Kh4 Ng2+ 56.Kg4 Ra4 57.Kf5 Ra7 58.Kxf6 Nf3 59.Rd8+ Kh7 60.Ng5+ I really must’ve been in time trouble to make this lemon. A quick victory could be had with 60.Rd3!, when 60…Ng1 meets with 61.Bf2, winning a piece; or 60…Kg8 61.Nc7 Ngh4 62.Rd8+ Kh7 63.Rd7+ Kh8 64.e5 Ra5 65.Nd5 Ra6+ 66.e6 Rc6 67.Ne7 and the rook gives itself up for the passed pawn with an easy win for White. 60…Nxg5 61.Kxg5 Ne3 62.Be5 Rg7+ 63.Bxg7 Kxg7 64.Rd7+ Kf8 65.h4 Nc4 66.h5 Ne5 67.Ra7 Nc6 68.Rc7 Nd4 69.Kf6 Kg8 70.h6 Nb5 71.Rd7 Nc3 72.h7+ 1-0 Jay Bonin – Alexander Shabalov New York 1992 This game was played at the famous Manhattan Chess Club, at its 46th Street location. In its 125 years of operation, the Manhattan Chess Club hosted some of the most prestigious events in the world, including the New York International in 1924 and two world championship matches in 1886 and 1891. Many of the finest players in America cut their teeth at the Manhattan, including Arnold Denker, Bobby Fischer, I.A. Horowitz, William Lombardy, and Samuel Reshevsky. The Manhattan club closed its doors for good in 2002. 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 Back in the day, I played the main line against the Slav/Semi-Slav complex. Now I favor the offbeat variation you’ve seen in earlier chapters with 4.Nbd2. 4…e6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Qc2 Bd6 7.Be2 0-0 8.0-0 dxc4 9.Bxc4 b5 The thematic pawn push in this Anti-Meran system, though 9…e5 is also possible here. 10.Bd3 Bb7 11.e4 I must act quickly, otherwise he will play …a7-a6 followed by …c6-c5. 11…e5 12.dxe5 Nxe5 13.Nxe5 Bxe5 14.h3 Qe7
14…c5 is an interesting gambit that would simplify the position. The idea is that Black recovers the pawn by capturing on e4 later on, for instance 14…c5 15.Bxb5 Qa5 16.Bd3 Rfe8 17.Be3 Rac8 18.Bc4 Bxc3 19.Qxc3 Qxc3 20.bxc3 Rxe4. 15.Be3 Rfe8 16.Rae1 a6 He intends …c6-c5. If Black cannot push to c5 in this position, he will be squashed. 17.Ne2 I don’t let him play it, and squeeze his position. If Black tries to enforce the pawn push with a rook move, his position suffers. For instance, 17…Rac8 18.f4 Bb8 19.Bc5 is clearly better for White, as Black’s light-squared bishop will be entombed on the queenside while White has both a strong center and an iron grip on the dark squares. 17…Bd6 18.Nd4 And now Nf5 is threatened. 18…g6 19.Nb3 My trusty steed redeploys to pressure Black’s weak dark squares on the queenside. 19…Nd7 He covers c5 and threatens to occupy it himself with a pawn. Time to switch gears. 20.Na5 Ne5 21.Nxb7 Qxb7?!
Better to get rid of my dangerous light-squared bishop while he still can: 21…Nxd3 22.Qxd3 Bb4 23.Rd1 Qxb7 24.f3 Qc7 leads to equality. After the text move, I will retain the light-squared bishop and ultimately use it to great effect. 22.Be2 Rac8 23.f4 Nd7 24.Bg4 A very powerful pin; the d-file is weak too. 24…Rc7 25.e5 Bb4 26.Rd1 Nf8 Black covers e6…
27.Bf3 …therefore, White focuses back on the c-pawn. 27…Rcc8 28.Rc1 Re6
29.Bd5! Now f7 is the target. 29…Re7 30.Bxc6 Nine moves later, the bishop Black neglected to trade off wins a key pawn. 30…Qb8 31.Qb3 Ba5 32.Bd5 Rd8 33.Rc6 Not allowing …Bb6. 33…Red7 34.Rd1 Qb7 35.Rd6 Rxd6 36.exd6 Qd7 37.Qa3 Where do we go now? 37…Re8 38.Bf2 Qd8 39.Kf1 White stops …Re2. 39…h5 40.d7 The final tactic, taking advantage of Black’s overloaded pieces. 40…Re7 Or 40…Nd7 41.Bc6, winning a piece. 41.Bh4 1-0 Jay Bonin – Alexander Shabalov New York 2003 Eleven years later, Shabalov and I meet again. He had won the U.S. Championship earlier
in the year, and here was looking to win the Marshall Chess Club Championship. This game won me the Brilliancy Prize. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 e6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Qc2 Bd6 7.Be2 0-0 8.0-0 dxc4 9.Bxc4 b5 The same variation, too. This time, though, he improves on our previous encounter with a different idea. 10.Bd3 Bb7 11.e4 e5 12.dxe5 Nxe5 13.Nxe5 Bxe5 14.h3 b4 Here it is. 15.Na4
I go after c5. If 15.Ne2 instead, then Black has 15…c5 with easy equality. 15…Bd4 16.Be3 A move not for the faint of heart – I willingly give myself doubled, isolated pawns to kill Black’s dangerous initiative. 16…Bxe3 17.fxe3 Nd7 18.e5 The point: I attack h7. If I just allow …Ne5 here, then Black is OK. 18…h6 White stands much better after 18…Nxe5 19.Bxh7+ Kh8 20.Rf5 g6 21.Rxe5 Kxh7. 19.e6! This sac leaves many weaknesses in Black’s camp, in particular the e-pawn and the g6 square. 19…fxe6 20.Bc4 Vacating squares for my queen. The b7-bishop is out of the game. 20…Qe7 21.Qg6 Rf6 22.Rxf6
22…Nxf6 22…Qxf6 leaves White better off after winning back the pawn, for instance 22…Qxf6 23.Qxf6 Nxf6 24.Rd1 Re8 25.Nc5 Bc8 26.Rd6. 23.Rc1 Threatening Na4-c5. 23…Rd8 24.Nc5 Bc8 25.Nd3 Heading to e5 or f4. 25…Rf8 26.Nf4 Bd7 27.Qd3 Rf7 28.Ng6 Qc5 29.Qd4 I’m happy with the level ending that arises after the queen trade, as Black will have a few weaknesses that need tending to. This game could also have been in the chapter on trading queens, as here Shabalov refuses my offer and places his lady on g5 to avoid the exchange. However, in the long run this turns out to be an error, as the king cannot find refuge and is chased further around the board. 29…Qg5 30.Ne5 Re7 31.h4 Qg3 32.Rf1 With many threats, such as Rf3 and Rf6. 32…Nd5 33.Rf3 Qe1+ 34.Kh2 Be8 The bishop tries to find a nice diagonal, as it has been dead the whole game. But it’s too late. 35.Rg3 h5 36.Qc5 The threat is 37.Bd5. 36…Rb7 37.Qd6 Nf6 38.Bxe6+ Kh7 39.Bf5+ Kg8 40.Nd3 I avoid one last trap: if 40.Qf6??, then 40…Qxg3+ wins for Black! After the text move, I can take on f6.
1-0 Jay Bonin – Gata Kamsky New York 2004 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Nf3 7.Bc4 is the Classical Variation, but I eschew popular lines in favor of less well-trodden paths. 7…c5 8.Bb5+ As I said before, this is my pet line, which simplifies matters and often heads into an endgame early. 8…Bd7 8…Nc6 and 8…Nd7 are also playable. 9.Bxd7+ Qxd7 10.0-0 0-0 11.Rb1
11…cxd4 A cheap trick here follows after 11…b6 12.dxc5 bxc5?? 13.Rxb8! winning a piece, as 13…Qxd1 meets with 14.Rxf8+. I admit to having won a few games like that, though there was no such luck against this former world championship contender. 12.cxd4 Rc8 13.Bb2 My intent is to play d4-d5 and trade bishops, weakening Black’s kingside. 13…Na6 14.Re1 I hold off on the d-pawn push, as 14…Nc5 would follow. 14…Rc4 15.d5 Nf3-e5 is in the air now, while bringing another attacker to e4 with 15…Nc5 would be met by 16.Bxg7 Rxe4 (not 16…Kxg7 17.Ne5, forking the queen and rook) 17.Rxe4 Nxe4 18.Ba1,
with a decisive material advantage for White – not to mention control over the dark squares. 15…Bxb2 16.Rxb2 Qc7 17.e5 Intending d5-d6. This same setup could have arisen from a Semi-Tarrasch; see Bonin– Djurić earlier in this chapter. 17…Nc5?! 17…Rd8 is necessary here to halt the d-pawn’s advance. 18.d6 Qd7
There’s nowhere safe to go, but this allows a vicious tactic. 18…Qa5 is preferable. 19.e6! Vacating the e5 square for knight tricks. 19…Qxd6 20.exf7+ Kg7 Of course not 20…Kxf7 21.Ne5+. 21.Rd2 Qf6 22.Rd8 Rxd8 23.Qxd8 Qxf7 24.Ng5 Ne6 25.Nxf7 Nxd8 26.Nxd8 b5 27.g3 Finally, I find time to create some Luft. 27…Kf8 28.Ne6+ Ke8 29.Re5 a6 30.Nc5 Rc2 31.Nxa6 Rxa2 32. Nc7+ Kd7 33.Nxb5 Ra5 34.Kg2 e6 35.f4 Ra2+ 36.Kh3 Rd2 37.Nc3 I will play Ne4 next, threatening Nc5 and Nf6+. 1-0 Gata Kamsky – Jay Bonin New York 2005 In this event, I scored 3.5/4 against GMs, one of my best-ever performances against topflight competition. The following is the one game that I drew in that event. Kamsky for years has been one of the finest players in the world, meeting Veselin Topalov in a Candidates’
match as well as Karpov in a World Championship match in 1995. A draw against such opposition can sometimes feel like a win. Accordingly, I’m including this game in this “Beating Grandmasters” chapter even though I split the point with Gata. 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bg5 Nbd7 4.Nbd2 e5 5.c3 Be7 6.e4 exd4 7. cxd4 Nxe4 Equalizing immediately. 8.Nxe4 d5 The point. I win the piece back, as 9.Bxe7 Qxe7 pins the e4-knight to the white king. 9.Qe2 dxe4 10.Qxe4 Nb6 11.Bd3 Be6 12.Bxe7 Qxe7 13.0-0 0-0-0
I’m very happy here, as my development is complete and Gata has a potentially weak dpawn. 14.a4 Nd5 15.a5 Gata tries to attack, but my position is solid. 15…a6 16.Rac1 Qf6 I play this move thinking of mounting an attack myself. Using the f4 square is a good place to start. 17.Ne5 Qf4 Black’s endgame is certainly better here thanks to White’s weak pawns. 18.Qe2 Nb4 19.Bc4 Rhe8 20.Bxe6+ Rxe6 21.Qc4 Nc6 22.Nxf7 Oops! I missed this shot. The idea is that after I take the knight on f7, Gata will get the piece back with d4-d5. Surprised by the brilliance of the idea, I missed the fact that it was actually a blunder as I have 22…Nxd4!, when White must surrender material with 23.Qxe6+ Nxe6. He can’t play 23.Nxd8?? in view of 23…Nf3+ 24.gxf3 Rg6+ 25.Kh1 Qxf3#. 22…Qxf7 23.d5 Re5 24.dxc6 Qxc4 25.Rxc4 Rxa5 26.cxb7+ Kxb7 27.g3 Gata’s position has improved a lot, while I have two weak pawns. However, I was still
confident in my drawing chances because my rooks are active. 27…Ra2 28.Rfc1 Rd7 29.R1c2 a5 30.Kg2 Rf7 31.h4 a4 Trading off the a-pawn should make things easier. 32.Rb4+ Kc8 33.Rc3 Rf6
The idea is …Ra6, renewing the threat of …a4-a3. 34.g4 Kd7 35.Kg3 Rb6 36.Rd4+ Kc8 37.Rdc4 Rb7 38.f3 Ra7 39.Rc2 a3 This move seals the draw. 40.bxa3 Rxc2 41.Rxc2 Rxa3 42.Kf4 Kd7 43.h5 h6 44.Ke4 Kd6 45.f4 c5 46.Kf5 Ra4 ½½ Jay Bonin – Aleksander Wojtkiewicz New York 2005 Aleksander Wojtkiewicz was a real talent of Latvian-Polish origin who dominated the American chess scene after emigrating here. The recent Mongoose Press series Wojo’s Weapons explores his approach to winning big Swiss tournaments with a style similar to my own. 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 0-0 5.e4 c6 6.Bd3 These days, I normally put the bishop on e2, a more solid if less aggressive square. 6…d6 7.h3 e5 8.0-0 exd4 9.Nxd4 Re8 10.Bc2 Na6 11.Bf4 Nc5 12.Re1 Nh5 13.Bh2 Be5 14.Nf3 Bxh2+ 15.Kxh2 Qf6
A double-edged position. Black has the f4 square, but a backward d-pawn. 16.Qd2 Nf4 17.Rad1 Nxh3 Now the fun begins. Obviously, 18.gxh3 Qxf3 is good for Black. Likely best is likely 18.Qe3, but I chose to muddy the waters with complications. 18.b4 Nd7? On 18…Ne6, I can play 19.Kxh3. However, Wojo missed a shot here with 18…Bg4!! 19.bxc5 Bxf3 20.gxh3 Qe5+ 21.Kg1 Bxd1 22.Nxd1, with a clear plus for Black. 19.Kxh3 Ne5+ 20.Kg3 It looks like my king is sitting on an awkward square, but I also appear to have gotten away with the extra piece. 20…Nxc4 21.Qd4 Qe6 22.Bb3 Qg4+ 23.Kh2 Ne5 24.Qxd6 Nxf3+ 25.gxf3 Qxf3 26.Qg3 Qh5+ 27.Kg2 Qh6 28.e5 Preparing Ne4. 28…Bf5 29.Ne4 Bxe4+ 30.Rxe4 Now f7 is exposed. 30…Rad8 31.Rxd8 Rxd8 32.Rf4 Rf8
33.e6 fxe6 34.Bxe6+ Kh8 35.Qc3+ 1-0 Kamil Miton – Jay Bonin New York 2005 First I had to face Wojo, and next his protégé. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5.f3 0-0 6.Bg5 h6 7.Be3 c5 A sound gambit. 8.d5 e6 9.Qd2 exd5 10.cxd5 By transposition, we have reached a Benoni. 10…h5 11.Nge2 Re8 12.Nc1 Na6 13.Be2 Nc7 14.0-0 Rb8 15.a4 a6 I really want to play …b7-b5. 16.N1a2 White plans to counter with b2-b4. On a2, the knight may be misplaced. 16…b5 17.b4 c4 18.Bd4 Perhaps 18.a5 is better. 18…bxa4
I break up my pawns to gain piece activity. The b5 square looks juicy. 19.Nxa4 Bd7 20.N4c3 Bb5 Holding my passer. 21.Rac1 Nd7 22.Bxg7 Kxg7 23.Nd1 White tries to reorganize. Another piece White might consider repositioning is the a2knight, which has been watching the game at a distance. 23…Ne5 24.Nf2 Covering d3. 24…f5 Black breaks up White’s center. This strategy is a little risky, as my king could come under fire at some point. 25.exf5 gxf5 26.f4 Ng4 27.Bxc4 Ne3 28.Bxb5 Nxb5 29.Rfe1 Qb6 In return for the pawn, my pieces enjoy great activity. 30.h3 Stopping ideas of …Ng4. 30…Re7 I missed 30…Qd4, leaving the game equal. 31.Nc3 Here White could have won a key pawn with 31.Rc6 Qd4 32.Qxd4 Nxd4 33.Rxd6, when Black’s superior piece activity is not quite enough compensation for White’s two-pawn advantage. 31…Rbe8 32.Qd3 Kh6
Clearing the g-file for the rook. 33.Kh2 Again, the weak d6-pawn could have been a target with 33.Nxb5 Qxb5 34.Rc6. 33…Rg8 34.g3 34.Rg1 looks like a reasonable (if passive) response, but it runs into Black’s greater activity: 34…Qd4! 35.Qxd4 Nxd4 36.Nd3 Rc7 37.Nd1 Rxc1 38.Nxc1 Nxd5, etc. If instead White avoids the queen exchange with 35.Ne2, he simply loses the d-pawn: 35…Qxd5 36.Qxd5 Nxd5 37.Ng3 Kg6, and Black stands better. 34…h4 35.g4 This does not work out very well. 35…fxg4 36.hxg4 Nxg4+ 37.Nxg4+ Rxg4 38.Ne4 Rxe4
Subsequent analysis shows that White can just eat the rook and weather the storm, though from a practical viewpoint it’s understandable why my opponent was reluctant to accept the sacrifice. However, my king is not that safe here, either, and White’s queen would be able to create some distractions with checks and consolidate the material advantage. For instance, 39.Qxe4 Qf2+ 40.Kh1 Rxf4 41.Qd3 Qf3+ 42.Qxf3 Rxf3 43.Rc4 Kh5, etc. An alternative line is 39.Qxe4 Qf2+ 40.Kh1 Rg3 41.Qe6+ Rg6 42.Qh3, when White is better. 39.Qf3?? This, however, loses immediately to a tactic. 39…Rgxf4 40.Qg2 Rxe1 and White resigned before I could play 41…Rf2 pinning the queen to the king. 0-1 Jay Bonin – Michael Rohde New York 1997 One of many encounters against my longtime rival, GM Michael Rohde. I’ve played more games against Rohde than anyone else – over 300 games dating back to 1974.
1.d4 d6 2.e4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Be2 0-0 6.0-0 c6 Michael chooses an unusual line of the Pirc. 6…Nc6 and 6…Bg4 are more popular. 7.a4 Qc7 8.a5 Not sure where to place my pieces yet, I decide to claim queenside space with this waiting move. 8…e5 9.dxe5 dxe5 10.Bc4 This is a good place to start. My bishop comes to the active square c4 and focuses on tactical motifs around the f7 square. 10…Na6 Tempting, although as I’ve just moved my light-squared bishop and Black’s knight is not very well placed on a6, I decline the offer to double his pawns at the expense of the bishop pair. 11.Ng5 Nh5 12.Ne2 Qe7 13.Be3 h6 14.Nxf7
At the board I felt pretty committed to this sacrifice, as retreating allows …Rfd8 and … Bc8-e6, when Black has solved all of his problems. Looking at it now, it seems that 14.Bxa6 Rd8 15.Qe1 bxa6 16.Nf3, with an equalish position, would have been a better way to go. 14…Rxf7 15.Bxf7+ Qxf7 He decides to capture with the queen so as to avoid any danger on the f-file. 16.Qd8+ Qf8 Now I have the option of an ending where my rooks are more active and Black is tied up on the queenside. 17.Rfd1 I choose this rook, as my other rook might go to b1. 17…Be6 18.Qxf8+ Bxf8 19.f3 Kf7
Why not 19…Nc5? This knight doesn’t see daylight otherwise. 20.Nc1 Destination: d3. 20…g5 21.Nd3 Bd6 22.b4 Now c5 is in my control. 22…Bc7 23.Rab1 As advertised, this rook now holds the b-pawn, the only real target for the poorly placed a6-knight. 23…Nf4 24.Kf2 Nxd3+ 25.Rxd3 So I have the d-file, and I threaten …b7-b5 opening another front. 25…Ke7 26.c3 Overprotecting b4 and more or less forcing Black to reroute his knight via b8, which will be awkward as the a8-rook still has yet to be developed. Here, I also spotted the pawn push h2-h4 as a new breakthrough possibility on the opposite wing. This would allow my b1-rook to swing over to the h-file and invade with decisive effect before Black had a chance to coordinate his forces. If everything goes according to plan, my rook will penetrate on the hfile and I’ll have a passed g-pawn. 26…Nb8 27.h4 gxh4 28.Rh1 h3 29.g4 b6
Here 29…Nd7 seems best, though understandably Black is striving to open a file for his encumbered pieces. This proves to be too little, too late. On 29…h5, I play 30.Rxh3 anyway, when 30…hxg4 is met by 31.Rh7+. 30.axb6 axb6 31.Rxh3 Nd7 Finally, the knight comes into play, but the ship has already sailed. 32.Rxh6 Nf8 33.Rh8 Kf7 34.Bh6 1-0
I thought that my opponent could play on for a while after 34…Re8. However, this would drop the c7-bishop: 34…Re8 35.Bxf8 Rxf8 36.Rh7+ Ke8 37.Rxc7. Therefore, my opponent resigned. With this victory in hand, I went on to win my third New York State Champion title! Jay Bonin – Alexander Shabalov New York 2014 Here we see another victory against the talented GM Alexander Shabalov. A good start but poor finish for me in this edition of Foxwoods. 1.d4 d5 2.Bg5 f6 3.Bf4 Nc6 4.e3 4.Nf3 Bg4 is annoying, so I delay committing my pieces with this waiting move. 4…Bf5 5.a3 I want to play c2-c4 but …Nb4 is threatened, so I again cautiously cover squares with pawns and wait. 5…Qd7 6.Nf3 g5 This is why Shabalov is such a great player: consistent aggression. While I have been playing waiting moves, he prepares to castle long and launches a pawn assault right in the opening. 7.Bg3 h5 8.h4 g4 9.Ng1 Redeploying to e2 via the g1 square. I thought the knight had more options here because if it goes to d2 now it doesn’t have much further to go. 9…e5 10.Bb5 a6 11.Ba4 If I take, then the pressure on c2 gives Black some initiative, for instance 11.Bxc6 Qxc6 12.Nc3 0-0-0 and Black has some pull. 11…b5 12.Bb3 exd4 13.exd4 Na5 14.Ne2 Nc4 15.Ra2 A convenient way to defend, and now a3-a4 is in the air. 15…Ne7 16.a4 Nc6 17.c3 Qh7 Black can do damage on this diagonal. 18.0-0 N6a5
With my back against the wall, I go into sac mode almost instinctively. 19.Nf4 Nxb3 20.Nxd5 This in-between move initiates complications that work out in my favor. 20…0-0-0 Castling at long last, but there are weaknesses around the king. 21.Nxf6 Qg6 22.axb5 Nca5 I have many pawns for my piece. and Black’s king lacks cover. 23.Nd2 Be6? This natural-looking move loses. Now I’ll be a rook down, but I open a new path to the black king. Better would have been the clever 23…Bc2, though even here White emerges with an advantage thanks to his queenside pawns, e.g. 23…Bc2 24.Qe2 Qxf6 25.Nxb3 Bxb3 26.Rxa5 Qe6 27.Qxe6+ Bxe6 28.bxa6 Bc4 29.Rb1 Kd7 30.b3 Bd3 31.Re1 Ra8 32.c4. 24.Rxa5 Nxa5 25.Qa4 Qxf6 26.Qxa5 Threatening mate. 26…Bd6 On 26…Rd7, 27.bxa6 is strong, though 27.Be5 is simple and decisive. 27.Ne4 Qf5 28.Nc5
A killer. The knight is immune from capture and a new mate threat appears. 28…Rdf8 29.Qxa6+ Kd8 30.Bxd6 Bc8 31.Qa5 1-0 31…Qf7 32.b6 wins. Jay Bonin – Mikhail Kekelidze New York 2013 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bg5 Another unorthodox favorite of mine to steer away from the main lines. 3…Bg7 4.Nbd2 0-0 5.c3 d5 6.Bxf6 exf6 Very clever. On 6…Bxf6, I play 7.e4 and gain space. After the game move, 7.e4 is not possible (7.e4 dxe4 8.Nxe4 Re8). 7.e3 c6 8.c4 But this break is – and, against this doubled-pawn structure, it’s a good idea to hammer away at d5. 8…dxc4 9.Bxc4 f5 The black bishop is freed up, but the white bishop’s scope is cut down. 10.0-0 Nd7 11.Rc1 c5
It’s dangerous to open the game when behind in development. 11…Nb6-d5 followed by … Be6 is more solid. 12.Nb3 cxd4 13.Nbxd4 Qe7 14.Qb3 Nb6 15.Bb5 Trying to provoke the weakening …a7-a6. 15…Rd8 16.Rfd1 f4 17.exf4 Bg4 18.Re1 Qf6 19.h3 Bxf3 20.Nxf3 Qxf4 Perhaps 20…Qxb2 is superior to this move from a practical standpoint, as it gives Black a 2-to-1 queenside majority after the queen trade. 21.g3 Qf5 22.Rc7 The f7 square could be a nice target. 22…Rd5?
An interesting but incorrect rook lift. 22…Rf8 or 22…Qd5 would have held the crucial squares. 23.Be8! Black had not considered this surprising move. The f7-pawn falls and Black’s king is encircled by enemy forces.
23…Kh8 24.Rxf7 Qh5 25.Ree7 With two rooks on the seventh, it’s over now. 25…Qxh3 26.Rxg7 Winning, but missing the more elegant mate in four 26.Rf8+ Bxf8 27.Qc3+ Rd4 28.Qxd4+ Kg8 29.Bf7#. 26…Rh5 27.Qg8# 1-0 Jay Bonin – Irina Krush New York 2013 As of this writing, Irina Krush is a 7-time U.S. Women’s Champion, as well as the first American woman to earn the grandmaster title. This game was published in the “My Best Move” column in Chess Life magazine in June 2015. 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 d5 4.Nbd2 I like this early Nd2 in the Queen’s Gambit. 4…Be7 Conservative; 4…c5 should be tried here. 5.g3 0-0 6.Bg2 b6 Taking on c4 is less desirable because from c4 the knight would exert influence on e5 and a5. 7.0-0 Bb7 8.b3 c5 9.Bb2 Nc6 Here 9…Nbd7 is in order, as explained in the next note. 10.cxd5 Nxd5 11.dxc5
With Black’s knight on d7, I would not make this capture. As things stand, now the position opens up in White’s favor.
11…Bxc5 12.a3 a5 13.Nc4 Qe7 14.e4 Gaining space. 14…Nf6 15.e5 Nd5 16.Nfd2 This looks wrong, but it has a nice tactical point. 16…b5 17.Ne4 The point: I get a great attack on the kingside. 17…bxc4 18.bxc4 Ne3 On 18…Nc7, I have 19.Nf6+ with a strong offensive. 19.fxe3 Bxe3+ 20.Kh1 Rad8 21.Qh5 Ne4-f6+ is threatened again, though now it is even stronger as I also have the f-file. 21…h6 22.Rf3 More ammunition. 22…Bd4 This looks like it holds. 23.Nf6+ Kh8 24.Bc1!
Now h6 is the fatal target. Clearly worth the rook on a1. 24…Bxe5? This doesn’t help, although intuitively it looks like it should. Black now loses, though my famous opponent missed the continuation 24…Bxa1! 25.Bxh6 Rd1+ 26.Bf1 gxf6 27.Bc1+ Kg7 28.Qg4+ Kh8 29.Qh5+ Kg7 30.Qg4+, when White must take the perpetual as there is no mate and I have sacrificed more than I can get back. 25.Bxh6 Bxf6 26.Rxf6 Qxf6 27.Bg5+ Kg8 28.Bxf6
The rest is easy. 28…gxf6 29.Rf1 Rd7 30.Qg4+ Kh7 31.Rxf6 1-0 Black cannot avoid mate. Mikhail Kekelidze – Jay Bonin New York 2012 Not the flashiest win in the world, but a victory nonetheless. 1.d4 d6 2.e4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5 4.dxe5 dxe5 5.Qxd8+ Kxd8 6.Bc4 Be6 7.Bxe6 fxe6
I have had this position a few times now, making draws with top American grandmasters like Tamaz Gelashvili and Giorgi Kacheishvili. This defense is basically a drawing weapon, but it also tempts the first player to overreach as the doubled e-pawns are not easy to exploit. This is precisely what happens in this game, as my opponent strained too hard with an illusory advantage and wound up with a losing position instead. 8.Be3 Nbd7 Intending …Bf8-c5. 9.0-0-0 Bb4 10.f3 Bxc3 11.bxc3 So I double his pawns, too, and now my chances improve. I have the c4 square for a knight someday as well. 11…Ke7 12.Nh3 c5 Overprotecting d4 in case White plays f2-f4. 13.Rd2 Rhc8 I’m not worried about the d-file yet, as I have the idea …Rc8-c6-a6 with counterplay against White’s weak pawns. 14.Rhd1 Rc6 15.Bg5 Nb6 16.f4 White strikes.
16…h6 17.fxe5 hxg5 18.exf6+ gxf6 19.e5 fxe5 20.Nxg5 Rg8 21. h4 e4 Now it all comes down to tactical tricks in time pressure. 22.Nxe4 Rg4 recovers the pawn, while I have the idea of playing …e4-e3 to distract White’s rooks and activate my knight with tempo gain. 22.Re2 e3 As advertised, the idea is to play …Nc4 with tempo as this pawn is doomed anyway. 23.Rxe3 Nc4 24.Rf3 Rg7 25.Re1 Ra6 Now the a-pawn falls, as 26.Kb1 is met by 26…Nd2+. 26.g4 Rxa2 Threatening mate. 27.Rxe6+ Kd7 28.Kd1? The losing move – time pressure was a factor here.
I am certain that my opponent thought that, after 28….Rxg5 29.hxg5, the g-pawn would queen as the rook cuts the king off from attacking the passers. However, Black has a way to stop both pawns with 29…Kxe6 30.g6 Ra4 31.g7 Nb2+ 32.Kc1 Rxg4 Kxb2 a6 34.Kb3 Rxg7, when Black is on top. Of course, the simple 28.Rd3+ Kc7 29.Kb1 is good enough for a winning advantage. 28…Rxg5! 0-1 This game just goes to show that even a solid grandmaster can overreach in a simplelooking position. Michael Rohde – Jay Bonin New York 1988 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Be3 Qb6 Times have changed a lot. Today my preference is 7…a6 followed by 8…b5.
8.Na4 Qa5+ 9.c3 cxd4 10.b4 Nxb4
A sharp piece sacrifice. The compensation comes in the form of queenside pressure together with the fact that the queen’s knight will be stuck on a4 for a while, from which it has no good squares to jump to. In addition, Black gets tremendous piece activity. 11.cxb4 Bxb4+ 12.Bd2 Bxd2+ 13.Nxd2 b6 Preparing to play …Bc8-a6 and bolstering c5. 14.Bd3 Ba6 15.Nb2 Nc5 Taking over the d3 square and angling to penetrate White’s camp with a knight, perhaps on the outpost e4. 16.Bxa6 Qxa6 Further compensation now: White cannot castle. 17.Nb3 Or 17.Qe2 Qa3, threatening …Qxb2 and …Nd3+. 17…Rc8 18.Nxd4 Ne4 19.Qd3 Qa5+ 20.Kf1 0-0 Completing development. I try to grab the c-file while White is still busy untangling himself. 21.Nd1 He was worried about …Rc8-c3, though I have another entry square for my rook. 21…Rc4 22.Nb3 Qb4 23.g3 Of course not 23.a3 Qxb3 24.Qxb3 Nd2+. 23…Rfc8 24.Kg2 Rc2+
The rook stops by for a visit on the second rank, while White’s d1-knight only serves to disconnect his forces. 25.Kh3 h5 Setting up a mating net. 26.Qe3 R8c3 Decisive – this wins by taking advantage of White’s overloaded pieces. 27.Nxc3 Nf2+ 28.Qxf2 And the queen must go, as 28.Kh4 is answered by 28…Qe7+ 29.Kxh5 g6+ 30.Kh6 Ng4#. 28…Rxf2 29.Nd1 Despite having a rook and two knights for the queen, White lacks the coordination necessary to mobilize his forces. 29…Re2 30.Rf1 a5 The threat of a passed pawn is a further worry. 31.Nc1 Rd2 32.Nb3 Rc2 33.Ne3 Re2 34.Ng2 Qe4 The winner. On 35.Nh4, 35…g5 seals the deal, as 36.fxg5 allows 36…Qg4#. 0-1 Jay Bonin – Leonid Shamkovich New York 1987 Leonid Shamkovich was one of the earliest Russian immigrants to arrive on the New York chess scene. He came to NYC in 1975 and was the first grandmaster I ever played in a live tournament game. He won, but several years later I was able to get my revenge. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6 3.Nf3 Nbd7 4.Nc3 c6 5.e4 e5 The Old Indian, a very stodgy defense that I often employ myself. 6.Be2 a6
Hinting at a …b7-b5 pawn break? 7.0-0 Be7 8.Rb1 This move is intended to gain my own space, as trying to prevent Leonid from playing … b7-b5 with a2-a4 would only weaken squares and invite Black to play …a6-a5! and, possibly, occupy c5 with a knight someday. 8…b5 9.b4 Bb7 10.dxe5 dxe5 11.c5
This move not only gains more space, it also ensures that the black b7-bishop will remain unhappy for a long time. 11…a5 12.a3 0-0 13.Qc2 axb4 14.axb4 Qc7 15.Bd1 A natural move here would be 15.Rd1. I try to transfer my king’s bishop to a more useful diagonal where it pressures the f7 square. 15…Nh5 16.g3 No …f7-f5-f4 for you. 16…g6 17.Qe2 Ndf6 18.Bb3 Bc8 19.Bb2 Now I target e5. 19…Bh3 20.Rfd1 Nd7 21.Qe3 Eyeing h6. 21…Bg4 22.Rd2 Getting out of the pin. Black has no point of entry on the a-file for his pieces. 22…Ng7 23.Ng5 Rad8 Maybe Black needs to try 23…Ne6 24.Nxe6 Bxe6 25.Bxe6 fxe6, when his position looks ugly but remains solid as it’s hard to get at those doubled pawns.
24.h3 Bxg5 Forced, but now the dark squares get very weak. 25.Qxg5 Be6 Better than 25…Bxh3, when I can play 26.Qh6 with an attack. 26.Bxe6 Nxe6 Black has solved a major problem with this bishop trade, but the long-term disadvantage on the dark squares remains. 27.Qe3 Nf6 If 27…Nd4, then 28.Ne2. 28.Rxd8 Rxd8 29.Ne2 Covering d4 and preparing f2-f4 to pry open the dark squares. 29…Ne8 30.f4 exf4 On 30…f6, 31.Qb3 is very strong, as if 31…N8g7 then 32.f5 wins, while 31…Qf7 hangs the e5-pawn. 31.Qc3
This in-between move forces Black to loosen his king’s cover. 31…f6 32.Qb3 Qf7 33.gxf4 Now f4-f5 is in the air, followed by Nd4 hitting c6. 33…Rd2 Black seeks counterplay. 34.Qe3 Qd7 35.f5 Rd1+ Black looks to relieve the pressure through this exchange, though I’m happy to trade rooks.
He would have been better served to keep the tension, for instance with 35…gxf5 36.exf5 Ng5 37.Bxf6 Nxh3+ 38.Qxh3 Nxf6 39.Re1 when, if anything, Black stands slightly better. 36.Rxd1 Qxd1+ 37.Kf2 gxf5 38.exf5 N6g7 39.Qe4 Now c6 is the problem. 39…Kf8 40.Bc1 The bishop finds a new diagonal. 40…Qb3 41.Be3 Qd5 This solves nothing, as the ensuing endgame leaves me winning. 42.Qxd5 cxd5 43.Nd4 Nc7 44.Bh6 Wins by force: 44…Kf7 45.Bxg7 Kxg7 46.Ne6+ and I queen the c-pawn. 1-0 Bosko Abramović – Jay Bonin New York 1985 When talking about my best tournaments, people often bring up my performance at the 1986 New York Open. But I also had a standout performance in the same event the previous year, when I scored 5.5/9 and earned my final IM norm. Along the way, I made many draws against notables like GMs Shamkovich, Walter Browne, and Eugenio Torre, and fellow IMs Bernard Zuckerman and Igor Ivanov. The following game is my win from that event against the Serbian GM Bosko Abramović. 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nf3 d6 Today I choose the Pirc Defense. 4.Be2 Nf6 5.Nc3 0-0 6.0-0 Bg4 7.Be3 Nc6 8.h3 8.d5 is a move here; I Intend to trade on f3 anyway. 8…Bxf3 9.Bxf3 e5 Consistent. I want to conquer the d4 square. 10.dxe5 Nxe5 If 10…dxe5, White will probably play 11.Nd5. 11.Be2 Re8 Going for pressure against the e-pawn. 12.Qd2 Ned7 13.f3
This natural move weakens the dark squares. On 13.Bf3, I can go back to e5 with the knight and offer a draw. 13…Nh5 14.Bc4 White has his sights on f7. The battle lines are drawn! 14…Nb6 15.Bb3 Be5 Trying to provoke f3-f4, which would weaken e4. 16.Bg5 Bd4+ This tactical trick gives White another chance to draw. If 17.Kh2, then 17…Be5+ and now 18.f4 is a blunder. 17.Be3 Bxe3+ 18.Qxe3 Qh4 With the black bishops off the board, the dark squares are weaker. 19.f4 d5 Black must react quickly to the threat of f4-f5. If 20.Nxd5, then 20…Nxd5 21.Bxd5 c6, followed by …Nh4-g3 and taking on e4. 20.f5 g5 I prevent a line from opening up for White, lock it up and at the same time make possible …g5-g4 opening my own lines. 21.Kh2 g4 The only way to stop …g4-g3. 22.f6 d4 Deflecting the queen from g3. The counterattack begins. 23.Qxd4 Qg3+ 24.Kh1 Rad8 A useful in-between move. 25.Qf2 gxh3 He cannot trade queens, on pain of dropping the exchange.
26.Ne2 White’s position was already quite bad, but there’s no coming back from this forcing exchange of pieces. Better was keeping the queens on the board for a while longer and complicating with something like the following creative line starting on the previous move: 25.Qc5 gxh3 26.Bxf7 Kh8 27.Qf2 hxg2+ 28.Qxg2 Qh4+ 29.Qh2 Ng3+ 30.Kg1 Qxh2+ 31.Kxh2 Nxf1 32.Rxf1 Re5. White remains worse, but things remain complicated. 26…Qxg2+ Even in the ensuing endgame, my initiative remains strong and here White is just lost after the queen trade. 27.Qxg2+ hxg2+ 28.Kxg2 Rxe4 29.Kf3 Rde8 There are too many threats along the e-file. 30.Nc3 Rf4+ 31.Kg2 Rxf6 Finally removing the annoying f-pawn. 32.Kh3 Nf4+ 33.Kg4 h5+ 34.Kg5 The white king walks the gangplank to his doom. 34.Kg3 would have made things a little harder for me; now it’s easy.
34…Re5+ 35.Kh4 Not 35.Kxf6 Nd7#! 35…Nd7 And now the other knight comes around to finish business. 36.Rad1 Nf8 37.Rg1+ N8g6+ 38.Kg3 Re3+ Now there is the unpleasant choice of 39.Kh2 Rh3#, or 39.Kf2 Nd5+ 40.Kg2 Nh4+ winning an exchange or mating. Therefore, 0-1 Alexander Lenderman – Jay Bonin New York 2014 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 The Winawer. A favorite. 4.a3 Bxc3+ 5.bxc3 dxe4 6.Qg4 Alex opts for a sharp line. 6…Nf6 7.Qxg7 Rg8 8.Qh6 Nbd7 9.a4 c5 White has the bishop pair, but his king needs a home. 10.a5 Qc7 11.Bb5 Ke7 12.Ne2 a6 13.Ba4 Rg6 14.Qf4
As usual, I’m happy to trade queens as I won’t have to worry about getting mated anytime soon. 14…Qxf4 15.Bxf4 c4 After this, White should play 16.0-0 when the position is complicated but the bishops may outclass the knights if the center comes open.
16.Rb1 Nd5 17.Bg3 f5 Now I have the initiative and soon the a4-bishop will be left out of the action. 18.Rb2 N7f6 19.Kd2 b5 A tactical trick to activate my bishop. 20.axb6 Bb7 21.Ra1 e3+ The breakthrough. 22.fxe3 Ne4+ 23.Ke1 Nxe3 24.Nf4 Nxg2+ 25.Nxg2 Nxg3 26.hxg3 Rxg3
Practically speaking, there are too many threats to answer, so White resigns. 0-1 In the post-mortem analysis, I found that White could have made my job a little harder with 27.Bb5!, jettisoning the bad pieces and exchanging a pair of rooks to escape into an ending where White is only slightly worse after 27…axb5 28.Rxa8 Bxa8 29.Nf4 Bc6 30.Ra2 Rg8 31.Ra7+ Kd6 32.Rxh7. Mikhail Kekelidze – Jay Bonin New York 2014 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5 4.Nf3 bxc4 I play the Benko Gambit sparingly, though here I’m quite happy as I’ve managed to open the b-file without giving up a pawn for it. 5.Nc3 d6 6.e4 Bg4 I play thematically for control of the dark squares. 7.Bxc4 Nbd7 8.Be2 Bxf3 9.gxf3
The position is very double-edged. With this capture, White signals his intent to attack along the g-file, so I opt for keeping my king in the center, as 9…0-0 would put His Majesty directly into the line of fire. 9…g6 10.f4 Bg7 11.h4 Here he comes! 11…Rb8 12.h5 Nxh5 13.Bxh5 gxh5 14.Qxh5 Qa5 15.Qf3 Already in retreat. 15…c4 This is a typical Benko Gambit maneuver that is played to vacate the square c5 for a Bonin Knight. 16.Kf1 Bd4 My bishop joins the party on the dark squares. 17.Nd1 Nf6 White cannot even play e4-e5, and is running out of useful moves to make. 18.Be3 Bxe3 19.Nxe3 Qa4 With an eye on the e-pawn. 20.Nd1 He could have tried 20.e5 now and prayed, although even the power of prayer here would come up short. 20…Rg8 Finally my king’s rook gets involved. 21.Ne3 c3 22.b3
22.bxc3 Nxe4 is not great for White, but the game move just loses. 22…Rxb3! The passed pawn is now is a monster. 23.axb3 Qxa1+ 24.Ke2 Qb2+ 25.Kd3 Qd2+ 26.Kc4 c2 And I queen. 27.e5 c1Q+ 28.Rxc1 Qxc1+ 0-1 All through the game, my king sat safely on e8 and watched the fireworks on the wings. Jay Bonin – Alexander Bagratoni New York 2014 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 d5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.e4 Nxc3 7.bxc3 c5 8.Bb5+ My pet line in the Grünfeld, which we’ve seen several times now. 8…Bd7 9.Bxd7+ Qxd7 10.0-0 cxd4 11.cxd4 Nc6 12.Bb2
And this is my favorite plan in my favorite variation. Black should probably hold off trading on d4, as releasing the tension makes White’s task easier.
12…0-0 13.Rb1 Na5 14.d5 Getting the central majority going and preparing the bishop trade to weaken the kingside. 14…Bxb2 15.Rxb2 Rac8 16.Qd2 This sets up a cheapo: If 16…Nc4, then 17.Qh6 when obviously 17…Nxb2?? is met by 18.Ng5 with a good game. 16…b6 17.Qf4 Rfd8 18.h4 Getting ready to use my h-pawn as a battering ram to further weaken Black’s kingside. 18…Qe8 19.h5 Rc4 20.Re1 Rdc8 On 20…Rxd5, I have 21.Ne5 Ra4 22.Nxf7. 21.Ne5 Rc2 22.Rb4 I gamble the a-pawn, hoping to use the b4-rook for an attack. 22…Rxa2 23.Nf3 Preparing e4-e5 and d5-d6. 23…Qf8 We’re both in time pressure as this is Game/30. 24.e5 e6 Panic. 25.d6 Nb7 26.Qf6 White prepares Rb4-h4. 26…Rac2
Missing the decisive idea 27.hxg6 hxg6 28.Rh4 Qg7 29.Qe7 Rb8 30.Ng5, when something has to give. 27…Nc5 In extreme time pressure, I stopped keeping score at this point, though I went on to win from this dominating position. 1-0 Anthony Miles – Jay Bonin New York 1994 My game against Great Britain’s first GM. 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 Nbd7 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Bf4 c6 7.Qc2 Be7 8.h3 Nf8 9.e3 Ne6 10.Be5 0-0 11.Bd3 Re8 12.0-0-0
At first glance, it looks as though White missed a chance to win the h7-pawn, but that line doesn’t quite work with his king still stuck in the center, so he decides to castle. For instance, if instead 12.Bxf6 Bxf6 13.Bxh7+, then after 13…Kf8 14.Bf5 Nxd4 15.Nxd4 Bxd4 Black is doing just fine. With the text move, White prevents this idea and signals his intent to attack with his kingside pawns now, so I play… 12…g6 …with the idea of “fianchettoing” my knight on g7 and playing …Bf5 to hold back the coming storm and buy some time for my attack on the opposite flank. 13.Kb1 a5 Here we go! 14.g4 b5 15.g5 This will slow him down. The push h2-h4-h5 is the preferred plan. 15…Nh5 Occupying h5.
16.h4 a4 Black intends to break with …a4-a3. 17.Nh2 Qa5 Preparing …b5-b4. 18.Ne2 c5 Since b5 is attacked only once, now is the time to open the c-line. 19.dxc5 Nxc5 20.Nd4 Bd7 21.Rc1 b4 Now intending …b4-b3. 22.Qd1 Bf8 23.Nhf3 Rac8 24.Qe2 Bg7 25.Bh2 Why not trade? The g7-bishop might make life miserable. 25…a3 26.b3 Ne4 Aiming for c3. White decides not to concede the light squares. 27.Rxc8 Rxc8 28.Qe1 Nc3+ 29.Ka1 Re8 30.Rg1 Qc5 31.Qc1 Qc8 …Bd7-g4 is the idea. 32.Bd6 Bf8 33.Bxf8 Kxf8 34.Qd2 Bg4 35.Ne1 Bd7 36.Be2 Ng7 Next stop: the f5 square. 37.Nd3 Nf5 38.Bf3 Nxd4 39. exd4 At last opening the e-file. 39…Qb8 40.h5 White finally gets this break in. 40…Bf5 41.hxg6 hxg6 42.Nf4 Be4 43.Bd1 The bishop will be passive here. 43…Nb1! A funny move, but it works. Where does the queen go? 44.Qe3 Bf5 45.Qg3 Qb6 46.Ne2
46…Rxe2! The crusher, but Tony soldiers on. 47.Qh4 Obviously not 47.Bxe2 Qxd4+ 48.Qc3 Qxc3#. 47…Re4 While still winning, this move misses a mating idea: 47…Qc7! 48.Qg3 Qxg3 49.Rxg3 Re1 50.f4 Be4 51.Rh3 Rxd1, with …Nc3# to follow. 48.Qh8+ Ke7 49.Bc2 Qxd4+ 50.Qxd4 Rxd4 51.Kxb1 Rd2 It’s easy now. 52.Bxf5 Rb2+ 53.Ka1 gxf5 54.Rf1 Kd6 55.f4 Rd2 56.Kb1 d4 57.Rg1 Kd5 58.g6 fxg6 59.Rxg6 d3 60.Rg1 Rf2 61.Rd1 Kd4 62.Rc1 d2 63.Rh1 Re2 64.Kc2 Re1 0-1
Tactical Potpourri hen asked about my own study habits, or – more directly – when someone asks, “Jay, how did you make it to 2400?”, I don’t always have a great answer. I never had a coach, and in the ’70s and ’80s as I was climbing the rating list, game databases, chess engines, and computers in general were neither as powerful nor as ubiquitous as they are today. Taken together with the fact that the Internet had not yet created the possibility for the instantaneous and free exchange of information, this meant that as an autodidact I had little in the way of formal training other than what was available in Chess Informants and Shakmatny Byulletens when I could find them, and taking the time to thoroughly understand the critical positions in the games published there. I would try to understand not just the tactics that occurred in a game, but the missteps that led to them. Ultimately, I learned by playing stronger opposition and subjecting my own games to the same scrutiny.
In this chapter, you will find 100 diagrams taken from my own games. In each position, it is Bonin to move. So in the diagram taken from the game E. Balck – J. Bonin (#99), it is Black to move. Similarly, in the diagram taken from the game J. Bonin – E. Frumkin (#85), it is White to move. Generally, there is only one diagram per game, though numbers 22-23 and 81-82 are taken from the same game and notated accordingly. Rather than give engine-like positions out of context, whole games are presented with the moves actually played by both sides following the diagram/puzzle section, with minimal commentary where necessary. The idea for this format has always appealed to me, both as an avid reader of Chess Informant as well as a fan of Laszlo Polgár’s book Chess, which features a similar chapter of problems taken from his three famous daughters’ games with complete scores given in place of solutions. By playing through the score of the game, the reader will appreciate not just the brutal truth of the fork on the board, but – just as importantly – the route taken by the players to arrive at the fork. Some of the tactics will be immediately obvious to strong players, while others may be tricky enough to give pause even to masters. While many of the problems feature back-rank weaknesses, forks, and overloading, my favorite positions involve finding a tactical path to simplification into a technically won ending. Happy Solving!
1. A. Schlonsky – J. Bonin New York 2015
2. J. Bonin – V. Chen New York 2015
3. J. Bonin – K. Dolgitser New York 1995
4. V. Rajlich – J. Bonin Philadelphia 1998
5. I. Krush – J. Bonin New York 1998
6. J. Bonin – A. Karklins Philadelphia 1995
7. E. Tegshsuren – J. Bonin U.S. Chess League 2005
8. J. Bonin – S. Muhammad New York 2001
9. I. Kreitner – J. Bonin Philadelphia 2000
10. J. Bonin – M. Hehir New York 2012
11. J. Bonin – W. Hellner New York 2012
12. J. Bonin – A. Relingado New York 2012
13. J. Bonin – L. Pressman New York 2012
14. R. Hess – J. Bonin New York 2003
15. H. Rolletschek – J. Bonin New York 1990
16. J. Bonin – A. Feuerstein New Jersey 1999
17. G. Berg – J. Bonin New York 2014
18. W. Hellner – J. Bonin New York 2000
19. J. Bonin – P. Berner New York 2014
20. T. Taylor – J. Bonin New York 2014
21. J. Bonin – G. Braylovsky New York 2007
22. D. Pruess – J. Bonin U.S. Chess League 2007
23. D. Pruess – J. Bonin U.S. Chess League 2007
24. J. Bonin – D. Moore New Jersey 2007
25. J. Bonin – G. Berg New York 2006
26. N. Cardenas – J. Bonin New York 2014
27. Harden – J. Bonin New York 2014
28. J. Bonin – H. Terminotto New York 2014
29. Albano – J. Bonin New York 2015
30. J. Bonin – B. Yagiz New York 2014
31. L. Pressman – J. Bonin New York 2015
32. J. Bonin – C. Mena New York 2014
33. J. Bonin – M. Juac New York 2014
34. C. Vitoux – J. Bonin New York 2014
35. B. Fuchs – J. Bonin New York 2014
36. J. Bonin – S. Djurić World Open, Philadelphia 1986
37. D. Stepa – J. Bonin New Jersey 2006
38. J. Bonin – E. Gaillard New York 2005
39. J. Bonin – R. Costigan U.S. Chess League 2005
40. R. Johnson – J. Bonin Minneapolis 2005
41. C. Gu – J. Bonin Philadelphia 2011
42. J. Margiotta – J. Bonin New York 2015
43. J. Bonin – M. Uminer New York 2012
44. E. Rosenberg – J. Bonin New York 2013
45. J. Bonin – E. Cimafranca New York 2014
46. J. Bonin – Dennis Fan Li New York 2015
47. R. Olsen – J. Bonin New York 2015
48. J. Bonin – D. Penkalski USA 1993
49. R. Krant – J. Bonin New York 1993
50. J. Bonin – M. Belorusov New York 2001
51. J. Bonin – R. Simonaitis New York 2015
52. J. Bonin – A. Simutowe New York 2001
53. D. Ippolito – J. Bonin New York 2001
54. J. Bonin – S. Shchukin Philadelphia 2000
55. J. Bonin – J. Colas Brooklyn 2015
56. Y. Zatz – J. Bonin New Jersey 2001
57. E. Bannon – J. Bonin Philadelphia 2001
58. J. Bonin – P. Saint-Amand Philadelphia 2001
59. J. Bonin – S. Ginert New York 2001
60. E. Kopiecki – J. Bonin New York 2005
61. J. Bonin – J. Hanken Philadelphia 2003
62. R. Hess – J. Bonin New York 2003
63. S. Agaian – J. Bonin New York 2003
64. J. Bonin – D. Kedyk New York 2003
65. R. Oresick – J. Bonin New Jersey 1999
66. V. Rajlich – J. Bonin Philadelphia 1998
67. V. Martirosov – J. Bonin U.S. Chess League 2011
68. J. Bonin – A. Cortese New York 2013
69. K. Davidson – J. Bonin New York 2013
70. J. Bonin – E. Epp U.S. Senior Open 2012
71. J. Bonin – A. Bokiev New York 2014
72. J. Bonin – W. Hellner New York 201
73. J. Bonin – B. Westin London 1987
74. P. Large – J. Bonin London 1987
75. J. Bonin – R. Young New York 1988
76. J. Bonin – J. Lewis New York 1991
77. J. Bonin – C. Hall Philadelphia 1991
78. J. Bonin – K. Burger Philadelphia 1990
79. J. Bonin – P. Song New York 1990
80. J. Bonin – L. Braun New York 1992
81. J. Lawrence Bezviner – J. Bonin New York 1992
82. Lawrence Bezviner – J. Bon New York 1992
83. J. Bonin – Y. Marcus Philadelphia 1991
84. J. Bonin – B. Izrayelit New York 2014
85. J. Bonin – E. Frumkin New York 2014
86. D. Shapiro – J. Bonin New York 1989
87. S. Cappelan – J. Bonin New York 2014
88. J. Bonin – E. Balck New York 2014
89. J. Bonin – M. Belorusov New York 2001
90. J. Bonin – N. Vuličević New York 1992
91. E. Bannon – J. Bonin Philadelphia 2001
92. A. King – J. Bonin New York 2012
93. J. Bonin – R. Ballantine New York 2012
94. J. Bonin – L. Pressman New York 2012
95. J. Bonin – N. Bernstein New York 2012
96. Offermann – J. Bonin New York 2014
97. J. Bonin – J. Black, Jr. New York 2013
98. J. Bonin – J. Margiotta New York 2013
99. E. Balck – J. Bonin New York 2014
100. J. Bonin – B. Schmauch New Jersey 2000
Solutions 1. A. Schlonsky – J. Bonin New York 2015 1.e4 Nc6 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Nf6 4.Nc3 Bg4 5.Be2 g6 6.d5 Bxf3 7.Bxf3 Ne5 8.Be2 Bg7 9.f4 Ned7 10.Be3 0-0 11.0-0 c6 12.Qd2 cxd5 13.exd5 Qa5 14.Rfe1 Rfc8 15.Kh1 Nb6 16.Rad1 Qb4 17.Rb1 Nc4 18.Bxc4 Rxc4 19.a3 Qa5 20.Bd4 Rac8 21.Rbd1 Qc7 22.Qe2 Qd7 23.Qxe7
23…Rxd4! 24.Rxd4 Re8 25.Qxe8+ Nxe8 26.Rde4 Nf6 27.Re7 Qc8 28.g3 Qh3 29.Ne4 0-1
2. J. Bonin – V. Chen New York 2015 1.b3 Nf6 2.Bb2 d6 3.Bxf6 exf6 4.c4 Be7 5.Nc3 c6 6.g3 Bf5 7.Nf3 Nd7 8.Bg2 0-0 9.0-0 Qc7 10.d4 Bg6 11.Nh4 a6 12.Rc1 f5 13.Nxg6 fxg6 14.e3 Bf6 15.b4 g5 16.b5 axb5 17.cxb5 c5 18.Qf3 cxd4 19.exd4 Kh8 20.Nd5 Qa5 21.Qxf5 Qxb5 22.Rc7 Rad8 23.Rb1 Qa4
24.Nb6! Nxb6 25.Be4 g6 26.Rxh7+ 1-0
3. J. Bonin – K. Dolgitser New York 1995 1.d4 d5 2.c4 Bf5 3.cxd5 Bxb1 4.Rxb1 Qxd5 5.a3 Nc6 6.e3 e5 7.dxe5 Qxd1+ 8.Kxd1 Nxe5 9.f3 Rd8+ 10.Kc2 Ne7 11.Nh3 Nf5 12.Nf2 Be7 13.f4 Nd7 14.g4 Nd6 15.h4 f5 16.g5 c5 17.b3 b5 18.Bb2 Kf7 19.Bg2 Nb6 20.Nd3 Rhe8 21.Bc6 Rf8 22.h5 Rc8
23.g6+! Kg8 24.h6 hxg6 25.hxg7 Rfd8 26.Rh6 Kf7 27.Ne5+ Kxg7 28.Nd7+ Kf7 29.Rh7+ Ke8 30.Ne5+ Rxc6 31.Nxc6 Rd7 32.Ne5 Rc7 33.Rh8+ Bf8 34.Nxg6 Rf7 35.Rd1 Ne4 36.Bg7 Nd7 37.Bxf8 Nxf8 38.Rd5 Rf6 39.Re5+ Kf7 40.Nxf8 Kg7 41.Nd7 Rd6 42.Rd8 Rd2+ 43.Kc1 Re2 44.Re7+ Kg6 45.Rg8+ Kh6 46.Rxe4 1-0
4. V. Rajlich – J. Bonin Philadelphia 1998 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nf3 d6 4.c4 Bg4 5.Be2 Bxf3 6.Bxf3 Nc6 7.Be3 e5 8.d5 Nd4 9.Nc3 c5 10.Qa4+ Kf8 11.Bd1 Nf6 12.0-0 h6 13.b4 b5 14.Qa3 a5 15.Nxb5 Nxb5 16.cxb5 axb4 17.Qd3 Ra3 18.Bb3 h5 19.Rae1 Bh6 20.Bxh6+ Rxh6 21.f4 Nd7 22.Qd2 Kg7 23.f5 g5 24.f6+ Nxf6 25.Qxg5+ Rg6 26.Qf5 Qb6 27.Qf2 Qxb5 28.Re3 c4 29.Rg3 Qc5 30.Rxg6+ fxg6 31.Qxc5 dxc5 32.Bxc4 Nxe4 33.Bb3 Nd6 34.Rc1 Ra5 35.h3
35…c4! 36.Bxc4 Rc5 0-1
5. I. Krush – J. Bonin New York 1998 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6 3.Nc3 e5 4.Nf3 Nbd7 5.Bg5 Be7 6.e3 0-0 7.Qc2 Ne8 8.Bxe7 Qxe7 9.Bd3 Ndf6 10.0-0-0 g6 11.h3 Ng7 12.g4 c6 13.g5 Nfh5 14.c5 dxc5 15.dxe5 Bf5 16.Bxf5 Nxf5 17.Ne4 b6 18.Rd2 Qe6 19.Kb1 Rfd8 20.Rhd1 Rd5 21.Nc3 Rxd2 22.Rxd2 Ne7 23.Ne4 Nd5 24.Nf6+ Nhxf6 25.gxf6 Nb4 26.Qb3 Qf5+ 27.e4 Qxe4+ 28.Ka1 Nd5 29.a3 h6 30.Rc2 Rd8 31.Rc4 Qe2 32.Rg4 Qf1+ 33.Ka2 Qxh3 34.Rg3 Qe6 35.Nh4 a5 36.Nxg6 fxg6 37.Rxg6+ Kf8 38.Ka1
6. J. Bonin – A. Karklins Philadelphia 1995 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2 c5 7.d5 b5 8.cxb5 a6 9.0-0 axb5 10.Bxb5 Ba6 11.Qe2 Bxb5 12.Nxb5 Ra4 13.Nc3 Rb4 14.a3 Rb7 15.Nd2 Nfd7 16.Nc4 f5 17.exf5 Rxf5 18.f4 Qf8 19.g4 Rf7 20.Ne4 Bd4+ 21.Be3 Bxe3+ 22.Qxe3 Nf6 23.Ng5 Na6 24.f5 Nxg4 25.Qe6 Nc7
26.fxg6! Nxe6 27.gxf7+ Qxf7 28.Nxf7 Nd4 29.h3 Nf6 30.Nfxd6 Rb3 31.Rxf6 exf6 32.a4 Ne2+ 33.Kf2 Nf4 34.a5 Nxh3+ 35.Ke2 Nf4+ 36.Kd2 Nxd5 37.a6 Nc7 38.a7 h5 39.Re1 1-0
7. E. Tegshsuren – J. Bonin U.S. Chess League 2005 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.d4 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.Be3 exd4 8.Nxd4 Re8 9.f3 Nc6 10.Qd2 Nh5 11.0-0 Nxd4 12.Bxd4 Nf4 13.Rfd1 Bxd4+ 14.Qxd4 Nxe2+ 15.Nxe2 b6 16.b4 a5 17.a3 Bb7 18.Nc3 Qg5 19.Rac1 axb4 20.axb4 f5 21.exf5 Bxf3 22.Rd2
22…Re2! 23.Rxe2 Qxc1+ 24.Kf2 Bxe2 25.Qd5+ Kg7 26.f6+ Kxf6 27.Qxa8 Bxc4 28.Qh8+ Kg5 29.Qd8+ Kh5 30.g4+ Kxg4 31.Qc8+ Kh4 32.Qd8+ g5 0-1
8. J. Bonin – S. Muhammad New York 2001 1.d4 d5 2.Bg5 h6 3.Bh4 c6 4.c3 Bf5 5.Qb3 Qb6 6.Nd2 Nd7 7.Ngf3 Ngf6 8.e3 g5 9.Bg3 Nh5 10.c4 Nxg3 11.hxg3 Bg7 12.cxd5 Qxb3 13.Nxb3 cxd5 14.Bb5 0-0-0 15.Rc1+ Kb8 16.Bxd7 Bxd7 17.Ne5 Be8 18.Kd2 f6 19.Nd3 b6 20.Rc3 e6 21.Nb4 Kb7 22.Rhc1 Rd7 23.Nc6 Bg6
24.Nxa7! Bf8 (or 24…Kxa7 25.Rc7; if 24…Ra8 then 25.Nb5 renews the threat of Rc7) 25.Nc6 Bd6 26.a4 Rc7 27.a5 b5 28.Nc5+ Ka8 29.Nb4 Bf7 30.Nbd3 e5 31.Ne4 Rxc3 32.Nxc3 exd4 33.Nxb5 dxe3+ 34.Kxe3 Bb8 35.Rc6 Re8+ 36.Kd2 Re6 37.Nc7+ Bxc7 38.Rxc7 Bh5 39.f3 Re8 40.Nc5 1-0
9. I. Kreitner – J. Bonin Philadelphia 2000 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e5 5.Nb5 d6 6.c4 Be7 7.Be2 Be6 8.N1c3 a6 9.Na3 Bg5 10.Nc2 Bxc1 11.Rxc1 Nf6 12.0-0 0-0 13.Ne3 Rc8 14.b3 Nd4 15.Re1 Qa5 16.Ned5 Bxd5 17.exd5 b5 18.Bf1 bxc4 19.Bxc4 Nb5 20.Qf3 Nxc3 21.Qxc3 Qxc3 22.Rxc3 a5 23.Rcc1 Rc5 24.Rcd1 Rfc8 25.f3 Kf8 26.Kf2 Nd7 27.Ba6 R8c7 28.Rd2 Nb6 29.Red1 f5 30.h4 g6 31.Kg3 Ke7 32.Be2 Rc2 33.Bb5 f4+ 34.Kh3 R7c3 35.Kg4
35…Nxd5 36.Kg5 (if 36.Rxd5, then 36…Rxg2+ 37.Kh3 R3c2 threatens two different mates, on g3 and h2) 36…Ne3 37.Rxc2 Rxc2 38.Rd3 Nf5 39.g4 fxg3 40.Rd1 g2 41.h5 Nd4 0-1
10. J. Bonin – M. Hehir New York 2012 1.d4 g6 2.e4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.h3 a6 5.a4 b6 6.g3 Bb7 7.Bg2 Nd7 8.Nge2 e5 9.Be3 Ne7 10.0-0 0-0 11.Qd2 Nc6 12.Rad1 a5 13.f4 exd4 14.Nxd4 Nc5 15.Qf2 Re8 16.Nxc6 Bxc6 17.e5 Bxg2 18.Kxg2 Qd7 19.Bxc5 Qc6+ 20.Nd5 bxc5 21.exd6 cxd6 22.b3 Rac8 23.c4 f5 24.Rfe1 Kh8 25.g4 Rxe1 26.Rxe1 Re8 27.g5 h6 28.h4 Kg8 29.Rxe8+ Qxe8 30.Kf1 hxg5 31.hxg5 Bd4 32.Qe2 Qe4 33.Qxe4 fxe4 34.Ke2 Kf7 35.Nc7 Ke7 36.Nb5 Ke6
37.b4! (I use the overload on the d4-bishop to create an outside passed pawn) 37…axb4 38.f5+ (creating a second passer) 38…gxf5 39.a5 Kd7 40.a6 Kc6 41.a7 Kb7 42.Nxd4 cxd4 43.g6 b3 44.g7 (White queens with check) 1-0
11. J. Bonin – W. Hellner New York 2012 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.Nbd2 h6 5.Qc2 e6 6.g3 Bd6 7.Bg2 Nbd7 8.0-0 0-0 9.e4 dxe4 10.Nxe4 Nxe4 11.Qxe4 Nf6 12.Qe2 Re8 13.b3 Qc7 14.Bb2 b6 15.Ne5 Bb7 16.Rad1 c5 17.dxc5 Bxc5 18.Rd3 Rad8 19.Rfd1 Rxd3 20.Qxd3 Bxg2 21.Kxg2 Be7 22.Qf3 Rc8
23.Rd7! (interference) 23…Qxe5 24.Bxe5 Nxd7 25.Qb7 Rd8 26.Qxa7 Bc5 27.Bc7 Re8 28.Bd6 Nf6 29.Bxc5 bxc5 30.Qxc5 Rd8 31.b4 Rd2 32.a4 Ne4 33.Qe3 f5 34.c5 Kf8 35.a5 Ke8 36.Qxd2 Nxd2 37.a6 1-0
12. J. Bonin – A. Relingado New York 2012 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.Nbd2 a6 5.Ne5 Bf5 6.Qb3 Ra7 7.Ndf3 e6 8.Bd2 Be7 9.Bb4 b5 10.cxb5 cxb5 11.e3 0-0 12.Be2 Nfd7 13.Rc1 Bxb4+ 14.Qxb4 Qb6 15.0-0 f6 16.Nd3 Bxd3 17.Bxd3 e5 18.Qb3 Qd6 19.Be4 Nb6 20.dxe5 fxe5 21.Rfd1 Kh8 22.Bxd5 Rc7 23.Rxc7 Qxc7 24.Ng5 Nxd5 25.Qxd5 Qe7
26.Qxe5! (in the spirit of Capablanca; if 26…Qxe5, then 27.Nf7+ wins back the queen as 27…Rxf7 allows 28.Rd8 with mate) 26…Nc6 27.Qxe7 Nxe7 28.Rd8 Rxd8 29.Nf7+ Kg8 30.Nxd8 Nd5 31.Nc6 Kf7 32.Kf1 Ke6 33.Ke2 Kd6 34.Nd4 g6 35.a3 Kc5 36.Kd3 b4 37.a4 Nb6 38.b3 Nd5 39.g3 a5 40.e4 Nc3 41.Ne6+ Kd6 42.Nf8 1-0
13. J. Bonin – L. Pressman New York 2012 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 d5 5.Bg5 Ne4 6.cxd5 Nxg5 7.Nxg5 e6 8.Qd2 exd5 9.Qe3+ Kf8 10.Qf4 Bf6 11.h4 Kg7 12.e3 c6 13.Bd3 Na6 14.g4 Qc7 15.Qxc7 Nxc7 16.Rg1 h5 17.gxh5 Rxh5
18.Nxf7! Bf5 19.Bxf5 Rxf5 20.Nd6 Rh5 21.Nxb7 Rb8 22.Nc5 Rxb2 23.Rb1 Rxb1+ 24.Nxb1 Bxh4 25.Ke2 Rf5 26.Nd3 Ne6 27.Nd2 Nd8 28.Nf3 Be7 29.Rc1 Rf6 30.Nfe5 1-0
14. R. Hess – J. Bonin New York 2003 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 c6 4.f4 d5 5.e5 h5 6.Nf3 Bg4 7.Be2 e6 8.Be3 Nh6 9.Bf2 Nf5 10.g3 h4 11.Nxh4 Bxe2 12.Qxe2 Nxh4 13.gxh4 Bf8 14.0-0-0 Qa5 15.Be1 Qa6 16.Qe3 Nd7 17.Kb1 Nb6 18.b3 Rc8 19.Ne2 Be7 20.Ng1 c5 21.Nf3 c4 22.Bc3 Qb5 23.Ka1 Qc6 24.Bb2 c3 25.Bc1 a5 26.Rdg1 a4 27.f5 gxf5 28.Rg7 Ra8 29.Ng5 axb3 30.cxb3 Kd7 31.Nxf7
31…Rxa2+! 32.Kxa2 Ra8+ 33.Kb1 c2+ 34.Kb2 Ba3+ 0-1
15. H. Rolletschek – J. Bonin New York 1990 1.e4 e6 2.d3 d5 3.Nd2 c5 4.Ngf3 Nc6 5.g3 Nge7 6.Bg2 g6 7.0-0 Bg7 8.Re1 b6 9.e5 Qc7 10.Qe2 h6 11.c3 Ba6 12.g4 g5 13.Qe3 Ng6 14.d4 cxd4 15.cxd4 Nf4 16.a3 0-0 17.Nf1 f6 18.Bd2 fxe5 19.Nxe5 Nxe5 20.dxe5 Nxg2 21.Kxg2 d4 22.Qh3 Bb7+ 23.Kg1 Qc6 24.Ng3 Qf3 25.Qf1 Qxg4 26.Bb4 Rf3 27.Rad1 Bf8 28.Bd2 Bc5 29.b4
29…Raf8! 30.Qg2 (if 30.bxc5, then 30…Rxf2 leads to mate) 30…Be7 31.Bc1 Qh4 32.Re2 d3 33.Re3 Rxf2 34.Qxf2 Rxf2 35.Kxf2 Qxh2+ 36.Ke1 g4 37.Rexd3 Bf3 0-1
16. J. Bonin – A. Feuerstein New Jersey 1999 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5 4.cxb5 a6 5.f3 axb5 6.e4 b4 7.e5 Ng8 8.f4 d6 9.Bb5+ Bd7 10.Bc4 g6 11.Qe2 Qb6 12.Nd2 dxe5 13.fxe5 Bg7 14.Ngf3 Nh6 15.Ne4 Nf5 16.Bf4 0-0 17.Rd1 Kh8 18.0-0 Ra5 19.Kh1 Bb5 20.d6 Bxc4 21.Qxc4 exd6 22.Nfg5 d5 23.Qxd5 Na6 24.e6 Nd4 25.exf7 Nf5 26.Ne6 Rxf7
27.Bc7! (back-rank weakness) 27…Rxc7 28.Qd8+ 1-0
17. G. Berg – J. Bonin New York 2014 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nf3 d6 4.Be2 Nf6 5.Nc3 0-0 6.h3 c6 7.a4 a5 8.Be3 Na6 9.0-0 Nb4 10.Qc1 b6 11.Nd2 c5 12.Nb5 cxd4 13.Nxd4 Bb7 14.c3 Na6 15.f3 e5 16.Nb5 d5 17.Rd1 Nc5 18.Bxc5 bxc5 19.Nc4 Qe7 20.Nb6 Rad8 21.Nxd5 Nxd5 22.exd5 Bxd5 23.Qe3 Bf6 24.c4 Bc6 25.Bd3
25…e4! 26.fxe4 Bxb5 (with the idea of …Bd4) 0-1
18. W. Hellner – J. Bonin New York 2000 1.c4 Nc6 2.d4 e5 3.d5 Nce7 4.e4 Ng6 5.g3 Nf6 6.Nc3 Bc5 7.Bg2 0-0 8.Qd3 d6 9.Nge2 Ng4 10.0-0 f5 11.h3
11…Nxf2! (not 11…fxe4 12.Nxe4, but now 12.Rxf2 Bxf2 wins the house) 0-1
19. J. Bonin – P. Berner New York 2014 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.c4 e6 4.g3 Be7 5.Bg2 0-0 6.Nbd2 c6 7.Qc2 Nbd7 8.0-0 a6 9.e4 dxe4 10.Nxe4 Nxe4 11.Qxe4 Nf6 12.Qe2 c5 13.dxc5 Bxc5 14.b3 Ne8 15.Bb2 Nd6 16.Ne5 Qe7 17.Qh5 f6 18.Nc6 Bxf2+ 19.Rxf2 bxc6 20.Rd1 Rd8 21.Rfd2 Nf7 22.Rxd8+ Nxd8
23.Ba3! (overload – White either mates or wins a piece) 23…Qc7 24.Qe8# 1-0
20. T. Taylor – J. Bonin New York 2014 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6 3.Nc3 e5 4.e3 Nbd7 5.Nf3 g6 6.Be2 Bg7 7.b3 0-0 8.Bb2 Re8 9.Qc2 exd4 10.exd4 Nf8 11.0-0 Bf5 12.Qd2 Ne4 13.Nxe4 Bxe4 14.Rae1 Qf6 15.Bd1 c5 16.Ba1 d5 17.cxd5 Qf5 18.d6 Ne6 19.Be2 Qd5 20.Qa5 Qf5 21.Bc4 Nf4 22.d7 Qxd7 23.Ne5
23…Qh3! and mate is coming. 0-1
21. J. Bonin – G. Braylovsky New York 2007 1.c4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 e5 4.g3 g6 5.Bg2 Bg7 6.Rb1 Nge7 7.a3 a5 8.d3 0-0 9.0-0 d6 10.Ne1 Be6 11.Nd5 a4 12.b3 axb3 13.Rxb3 Na5 14.Rb1 Nxd5 15.cxd5 Bd7 16.f4 c4 17.fxe5 dxe5 18.Be3 b5 19.Bc5 Re8 20.d6 Rc8 21.Bb4 Nc6 22.dxc4 Nxb4 23.Rxb4 bxc4 24.Bd5 Be6 25.Bxe6 Rxe6 26.d7 Rc7
27.Rb8 (removing the blockade) 27…Qxb8 28.d8Q+ Re8 29.Qxb8 Rxb8 30.Qd6 Rbc8 31.Nc2 c3 32.a4 Ra7 33.Qd5 Bf8 34.Kg2 Rc5 35.Qb3 Rcc7 36.Rb1 Rd7 37.Qb8 Rxa4 38.Qe8 Rd2 39.Rb8 1-0
22. and 23. D. Pruess – J. Bonin U.S. Chess League 2007 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e5 5.Nb5 d6 6.N1c3 a6 7.Na3 Be6 8.Nc4 Rc8 9.Be3 Nd4 10.Bxd4 Bxc4 11.Bxc4 Rxc4 12.Be3 Be7 13.Qd3 Rc6 14.0-0 h6 15.Nd5 Nf6 16.c4 0-0 17.f3 Nxd5 18.Qxd5 Bg5 19.Bf2 Qe7 20.Rad1 Rfc8 21.b3 h5 22.Rd3 h4 23.h3 Bf4 24.Rfd1 b5 25.cxb5 axb5 26.Qxb5 Rc2 27.Rxd6
27…Rxf2! 28.Rc6 (or 28.Kxf2 Rc2+ and 29…Qg5–+) 28…Rxc6 29.Qxc6 Be3 30.Qc8+ Kh7 31.Kh2 Qg5 32.Qg4 Rxa2 33.Rb1 Qf4+ 34.Kh1 Qxg4 35.hxg4 Kh6 36.Kh2 Kg5 37.Kh3 Kf4 38.b4 g5 39.b5 Bb6 40.Kh2
40…h3 41.Kxh3 Ra8 42.g3+ Kxf3 43.Rf1+ Bf2 0-1
24. J. Bonin – D. Moore New Jersey 2007 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 0-0 5.e4 d6 6.Be2 c6 7.0-0 Na6 8.Rb1 e5 9.dxe5 dxe5 10.b4 Qe7 11.Ba3 c5 12.bxc5 Nxc5
13.Nd5! (this forces the win of a piece) 13…Nxd5 14.Qxd5 (now on 14…b6, White takes the a8-rook) 1-0
25. J. Bonin – G. Berg New York 2006 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 c5 3.d5 b5 4.Bg5 Qb6 5.Bxf6 Qxf6 6.e4 Qxb2 7.Nbd2 g6 8.Rb1 Qxa2 9.Bxb5 Bg7 10.0-0 Ba6 11.Qe2 0-0 12.Nc4 Bc3 13.Qd3 Bxb5 14.Rxb5 Bb4 15.c3 Qa6 16.Nb2 Bxc3
17.Rxb8! (winning a piece) 17…Qxd3 18.Rxf8+ Kxf8 19.Nxd3 d6 20.Rc1 Bg7 21.Nd2 Rb8 22.Kf1 a5 23.Nc4 a4 24.Ke2 Rb3 25.Rc2 Rc3 26.Rxc3 Bxc3 27.Kd1 Ke8 28.Kc2 Bd4 29.Kb1 Kd8 30.Ka2 1-0
26. N. Cardenas – J. Bonin New York 2014 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 0-0 6.Be3 c5 7.d5 e6 8.Qd2 exd5 9.cxd5 Re8 10.0-0-0 a6 11.a4 b5 12.axb5 axb5 13.Bxb5 Bd7 14.Nge2 Qa5 15.Bxd7 Nfxd7 16.Kc2 Na6 17.Ra1 Nb4+ 18.Kb3
18…c4+! 19.Kxc4 Ne5+ 20.Kb3 Qc7 21.Qd4 Rab8 (White cannot escape the deadly discovery) 22.f4 0-1
27. Harden – J. Bonin New York 2014 1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 d3 4.Bxd3 Nc6 5.c4 d6 6.Nc3 g6 7.Be3 Bg7 8.Rc1 Nf6 9.h3 Nd7 10.Qe2 0-0 11.Bb1 b6 12.Nf3 Ba6 13.0-0 Nde5 14.Nxe5 dxe5 15.Rfd1 Nd4 16.Qf1 e6 17.b3 Qe7 18.Rd3 Rfd8 19.Rcd1 Rd7 20.f3 Rad8 21.Qf2 Bb7 22.Qd2 f5 23.Bg5 Bf6 24.Bxf6 Qxf6 25.exf5 exf5 26.Qe3 Bc6 27.Re1 e4 28.fxe4
28…Nc2 (interference) 29.Bxc2 Rxd3 30.Bxd3 Qxc3 31.exf5 Re8 (White threatened 32.Qe6; he lost on time here) 0-1
28. J. Bonin – H. Terminotto New York 2014 1.d4 f5 2.Nc3 e6 3.e4 fxe4 4.Nxe4 Nf6 5.Bg5 Be7 6.Bxf6 Bxf6 7.Nf3 0-0 8.c3 d5 9.Nxf6+ Qxf6 10.Bd3 Nc6 11.Qe2 Bd7 12.0-0 Rae8 13.Rae1 Re7 14.b4 a6 15.a4 Rfe8 16.b5 axb5 17.axb5 Na5 18.Ne5 c6 19.b6 c5 20.Nxd7 Rxd7
21.Bxh7+! (winning a pawn; if 21…Kh8 then 22.Qh5, while if 21…Kf8 then 22.Qb5 wins a second pawn) 1-0
29. Albano – J. Bonin New York 2015 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f4 c5 6.d5 b5 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Ng4 9.e6 Ne5 10.exf7+ Nxf7 11.Nxb5 0-0 12.Nf3 Bg4 13.Be2 Nd7 14.0-0 a6 15.Nc3 Bxf3 16.Bxf3 Nd6 17.Be2 Ne5 18.Rxf8+ Qxf8 19.Qa4 Ng4 20.Nd1 Bd4+ 21.Kh1 Ne4 22.Bf3 Qf5 23.Qc6
30. J. Bonin – B. Yagiz New York 2014 1.d4 d6 2.e4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5 4.Nf3 Nbd7 5.g3 Be7 6.Bg2 0-0 7.0-0 c6 8.a4 Re8 9.Re1 Qc7 10.h3 b6 11.b3 Bb7 12.Bb2 a6 13.Qd2 Rad8 14.Rad1 Bf8 15.Qc1 exd4 16.Nxd4 d5 17.exd5 Rxe1+ 18.Rxe1 cxd5 19.Nf5 Nc5 20.Qg5 Ne6
21.Nh6+ Kh8 22.Qe5 (White wins a pawn) 22…Bd6 23.Nxf7+ Qxf7 24.Qxe6 Qc7 25.Nxd5 Nxd5 26.Bxd5 Bc5 27.Bxb7 Qxg3+ 28.Kh1 1-0
31. L. Pressman – J. Bonin New York 2015 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Be3 a6 8.dxc5 Bxc5 9.Qd2 b5 10.Ne2 Qb6 11.Bxc5 Nxc5 12.Qe3 b4 13.Ned4 Nxd4 14.Nxd4 a5 15.Bd3 Ba6 16.0-0 Nxd3 17.cxd3 0-0 18.Kh1 Rac8 19.g4 a4 20.f5 Kh8 21.Rad1 a3 22.bxa3 bxa3 23.Rd2 Rg8 24.Rdf2 Rc3 25.fxe6 fxe6 26.Rf8 Bxd3 27.Qf2 Bxf1 28.Qf7
(it looks like White is forcing mate, but there’s more to the story) 28…Bg2+! 29.Kxg2 Qb2+ 30.Qf2 Rxf8 0-1
32. J. Bonin – C. Mena New York 2014 1.b3 d5 2.e3 Nf6 3.Bb2 e6 4.f4 b6 5.Nf3 Bb7 6.Bb5+ c6 7.Be2 Nbd7 8.a4 a6 9.0-0 Be7 10.Qe1 Qc7 11.Nc3 h6 12.Nd1 g5 13.Ne5 gxf4 14.Nxd7 Kxd7 15.Rxf4 Qd8 16.Qf1 Ne4 17.Nf2 f5 18.Nd3 Nd6 19.a5 Rg8 20.axb6 Ne4 21.Ne5+ Kc8
22.Rxe4! dxe4 (22…fxe4 23.Qxf7+–) 23.Bc4 Qd6 24.Nf7 Qd7 25.Qf4 (threat: 26.Be6) 25…Bd8 (25…Rg6 26.Ne5) 26.Nd6+ 1-0
33. J. Bonin – M. Juac New York 2014 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 0-0 5.e4 d6 6.Be2 Na6 7.0-0 e5 8.Rb1 Re8 9.dxe5 dxe5 10.Qxd8 Rxd8 11.b4 c6 12.Be3 Ng4 13.Bg5 f6 14.Bd2 Nc7 15.h3 Bh6
16.Be1!, and the hapless g4-knight is lost. 1-0
34. C. Vitoux – J. Bonin New York 2014 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.dxc5 Nc6 6.Nf3 d4 7.a3 Ba5 8.b4 dxc3 9.bxa5 Qxd1+ 10.Kxd1 Nxa5 11.Ng5 Ne7 12.Bd3 Bd7 13.Ne4 Bc6 14.Nd6+ Kd7 15.f3 f5 16.Be3 Nd5 17.Ke2 b6 18.Nc4 Nxc4 19.Bxc4 Nxe3 20.Kxe3 bxc5 21.Kd3 Rhd8 22.Kxc3 g5 23.Rhd1+ Ke7 24.Rxd8 Rxd8 25.h4 gxh4 26.Rh1 Rd4 27.Bd3 Bd5 28.Kd2 Bc4 29.Ke3 Bxd3 30.cxd3 f4+ 31.Ke2 Ra4 32.Rc1 Rxa3 33.Rxc5 Ra2+ 34.Kf1 h3 35.gxh3 Kd7 36.Rc4 a5 37.Rxf4 Kc6 38.Rd4 a4 39.Rd6+ Kb5 40.Rd8 a3 41.Rb8+ Ka4 42.Ra8+ Kb3 43.Rb8+ Kc3 44.Rc8+ Kxd3 45.Ra8 Kd4 46.f4 Ke4 47.Ra4+ Kf3 48.Ke1 Ra1+ 49.Kd2 a2 50.f5
50…Rf1! (winning a rook) 0-1
35. B. Fuchs – J. Bonin New York 2014 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d6 3.e3 g6 4.b3 Bg7 5.Bb2 0-0 6.c4 Nbd7 7.Qc2 c5 8.Bd3 cxd4 9.exd4 Nh5 10.0-0 Nf4 11.Re1 Nxd3 12.Qxd3 Nf6 13.Nc3 Bf5 14.Qe2 Re8 15.h3 Qa5 16.a3 Rac8 17.Nh4 Bd7 18.Ne4 Nxe4 19.Qxe4 a6 20.Rad1 b5 21.b4 Qa4 22.c5 dxc5 23.dxc5 Bxb2 24.Rxd7 Qxa3 25.c6 Bf6 26.Re3 Qa4 27.c7 a5 28.Red3
28…Rxc7! (netting a pawn) 29.Rxc7 Qa1+ 30.Kh2 Qe5+ 31.Qxe5 Bxe5+, and Black will be up two pawns. 0-1
36. J. Bonin – S. Djurić USA 1986 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 c5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.e4 Nxc3 7.bxc3 cxd4 8.cxd4 Bb4+ 9.Bd2 Bxd2+ 10.Qxd2 0-0 11.Bc4 Nc6 12.0-0 Qd6 13.Rad1 Rd8 14.Rfe1 Bd7 15.d5 exd5 16.exd5 Ne7 17.Ng5 Bg4 18.Nxf7 Kxf7 19.Qg5 Ng8 20.Qxg4 Nf6
21.Re7+! Qxe7 (21…Kxe7 gets mated: 22.Qxg7+ Ke8 23.Re1+) 22.d6+ Ke8 23.Bb5+ (the final point: if 23…Kf7, then 24.dxe7 wins) 1-0
37. D. Stepa – J. Bonin New Jersey 2006 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 c5 4.d5 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.Nc3 g6 7.e4 a6 8.a4 Bg4 9.Be2 Bxf3 10.Bxf3 Nbd7 11.0-0 Qe7 12.Re1 Bg7 13.Bg5 0-0 14.a5 Rfe8 15.Qd2 Qf8 16.Bd1 b5 17.axb6 Nxb6 18.f3 Nfd7 19.Be2 c4 20.Na4 Reb8 21.Nxb6 Rxb6 22.Ra2
22…Rxb2! (winning a pawn because of a fork trick) 23.Rxb2 c3 24.Qc2 cxb2 25.Rb1 a5 (intending to join his comrade) 26.Rxb2 (26.Qa4 Nc5) 26…Bxb2 27.Qxb2 a4 28.Qa3 Qb8 29.Be3 (or 29.Bd1 Qb1) 29…Qb1+ 30.Kf2 Qc2 31.Bf4 Qc5+, and the pawn will queen. 0-1
38. J. Bonin – E. Gaillard New York 2005 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bxf6 Bxf6 7.e3 0-0 8.Rc1 c6 9.a3 Nd7 10.h3 Re8 11.Be2 dxc4 12.Bxc4 c5 13.0-0 cxd4 14.exd4 Nb6 15.Ba2 Bd7 16.Ne4 Bc6 17.Bb1 Rc8 18.Qd3 Nd5 19.Ne5 g6 20.Qf3 Rf8 21.Ba2 Bg7 22.Rfd1 Qb6 23.b4 Qd8 24.b5 Be8 25.a4 f6 26.Rxc8 Qxc8
27.Nd6! Qb8 28.Nec4 Bf7 29.Re1 Qc7 30.Nxf7 Qxf7 31.Nd6 (winning a pawn) 31…Qd7 32.Rxe6 1-0
39. J. Bonin – R. Costigan U.S. Chess League 2005 1.d4 d5 2.Bg5 h6 3.Bh4 c5 4.dxc5 g5 5.Bg3 Bg7 6.c3 Na6 7.e4 Nf6 8.Bb5+ Kf8 9.Bxa6 bxa6 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nf3 Bg4 12.Nbd2 Nf4 13.Bxf4 gxf4 14.Qa4 Qc7 15.0-0 Rb8 16.Qa3 Rg8 17.Kh1 Qc6 18.Rg1 Rd8 19.Qb4 e5 20.Rae1 f6 21.Qe4 Qxc5 22.Qg6 Qc8 23.Ne4 Bf5 24.Qh5 Bg4 25.Qh4 Qf5
26.Nxe5! Qxe5 27.Qxg4 f5 28.Qh4 (the point) 28…Re8 (he was relying on this to save him, but…) 29.f3 (now 29… fxe4 30.Rxe4, followed by Rf4, and it’s all over) 29…Qc7 30.Nf6 Re3 31.Nd5 Qe5 32.Nxf4 (much better than taking the rook) 1-0
40. R. Johnson – J. Bonin Minneapolis 2005 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 d6 3.e3 g6 4.Nd2 Bg7 5.c3 Nbd7 6.Ngf3 Nh5 7.Bg5 h6 8.Bh4 g5 9.Bg3 Nxg3 10.hxg3 e6 11.Bd3 a6 12.Qe2 Qe7 13.Bc2 b6 14.Qc4 c5 15.Qd3 Bb7 16.0-0 g4 17.Nh4 Bf6 18.Rfd1 0-0-0 19.Qe2 Bxh4 20.gxh4 Qxh4 21.Ne4 Nf6 22.dxc5 dxc5 23.Nd6+ (this looks strong) 23…Rxd6 24.Rxd6
24…g3! (but this is stronger) 25.fxg3 Qxg3 26.Qd2 Ng4 27.Re1 Bxg2 (the final blow) 28.Qxg2 Qxe1+ 29.Qf1 Qg3+ 0-1
41. C. Gu – J. Bonin Philadelphia 2011 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d6 3.Nc3 a6 4.a4 d5 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.Be2 e6 7.h3 Bxf3 8.Bxf3 Bb4 9.0-0 Nf6 10.Qd3 0-0 11.Bg5 Be7 12.Be3 Nbd7 13.Be2 dxe4 14.Nxe4 Nxe4 15.Qxe4 Nf6 16.Qd3 Qc7 17.c3 Rfd8 18.Qc2 c5 19.Bd3 h6 20.Qe2 Rac8 21.a5 c4 22.Bc2 Rd5 23.f4 Rxa5 24.Rae1 b5 25.f5 e5 26.Bc1 e4 27.Bxe4 b4 28.Bf4 Bd6 29.Bxd6 Qxd6 30.Bc2 bxc3 31.bxc3 Ra3 32.Qd2 Qg3 33.Rf3 Qg5 34.Qxg5 hxg5 35.Re5 Rb8 36.Be4 Rbb3 37.Bd5 Rxc3 38.Bxc4 Rc1+ 39.Bf1 Raa1 40.Rc5 Ne4 41.Rxc1 Rxc1 42.Rd3 a5 43.d5 Nd6 44.Kf2 Ra1 45.Rb3 Kf8 46.Rb6 Ke7 47.g4 a4 48.Ra6 Ne4+ 49.Ke3 Nd6 50.Bd3 a3 51.Kd2 Rh1 52.Rxa3 Rxh3 53.Ra6 Rg3 54.Ra4 Kf6 55.Be2 Ke5 56.Ra5
56…Rxg4! 57.Bxg4 Nc4+ 58.Kc3 Nxa5 59.Kb4 Nb7 60.Kb5 Kd6 61.Kc4 Nc5 62.Kd4 Nd7 63.Bh5 f6 64.Bf3 Nb6 65.Bg2 Nc8 66.Bf3 Ne7 67.Be4 g4 68.Kc4 g3 69.Kd4 Nxf5+ 0-1
42. J. Margiotta – J. Bonin New York 2015 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.Nf3 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e5 5.Nb5 d5 6.cxd5 Bc5 7.e3 a6 8.N5c3 0-0 9.Be2 e4 10.Nd2 Bb4 11.0-0 Re8 12.Qa4 Bxc3 13.bxc3 Qxd5 14.Qb3 Nbd7 15.Qxd5 Nxd5 16.c4 Nc3 17.Bd1 Nc5 18.Bb2 Nxd1 19.Rfxd1 Bg4 20.Rdb1 Rad8 21.Bd4 Ne6 22.Nb3 Be2 23.Rc1 b5 24.cxb5 axb5 25.a4 Bc4 26.Rc3 bxa4 27.Rxa4 Bxb3 28.Rxb3
43. J. Bonin – M. Uminer New York 2012 1.d4 d5 2.Bg5 g6 3.c3 c6 4.Nd2 f5 5.e3 Bg7 6.h4 Nd7 7.Ngf3 Ngf6 8.Bd3 Ne4 9.Bf4 h6 10.g4 fxg4 11.Nxe4 dxe4 12.Bxe4 gxf3 13.Bxg6+ Kf8
14.Qb3! Ne5 (not 14…e6 15.Bd6+ and wins; 15.Qxe6 is a blunder because of 15…Ne5) 15.dxe5 e6 16.Rd1 Qc7 17.Rh3 Bxe5 18.Rxf3 Bxf4 19.Rxf4+ Kg7 20.Rf7+ Qxf7 21.Bxf7 Kxf7 22.Qb4 Ke8 23.Qd6 1-0
44. E. Rosenberg – J. Bonin New York 2013 1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 0-0 5.d3 Nc6 6.e4 Nd4 7.Nge2 c5 8.0-0 d6 9.Nxd4 cxd4 10.Nb5 Ne8 11.b4 a6 12.Na3 a5 13.bxa5 Qxa5 14.Nb5 Qa4 15.Bb2 Qxd1 16.Rfxd1 e5 17.Ba3 Ra6 18.Bb4 f6 19.a4 Rf7 20.f4 Bf8 21.h3 Ng7 22.Kh2 Bd7 23.Bf3 Ne6 24.Bg4 h5 25.Bxe6 Bxe6 26.fxe5 dxe5 27.Bxf8 Kxf8 28.c5 f5 29.Rf1 fxe4 30.Rxf7+ Kxf7 31.dxe4 Ke7 32.a5 Kd7 33.Nd6 Kc6 34.Kg2
34…b6 35.cxb6 Kxd6 36.Rb1 Bc8 37.b7 Bxb7 38.Rxb7 Rxa5 (a technical win) 39.Rb6+ Kc5 40.Rxg6 Ra2+ 41.Kf3 Ra3+ 42.Kf2 Re3 43.Rg5 Rxe4 44.Rxh5 d3 45.Rh8 d2 46.Rd8 Rd4 0-1
45. J. Bonin – E. Cimafranca New York 2014 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 d5 4.g3 Be7 5.Bg2 0-0 6.Nbd2 c5 7.0-0 Nc6 8.cxd5 exd5 9.dxc5 Bxc5 10.Nb3 Be7 11.Bf4 a5 12.Rc1 a4 13.Nbd4 Qb6 14.Nxc6 bxc6 15.Ne5 Bb7 16.Qc2 c5 17.Rfd1 Rfd8 18.e4 h6 19.exd5 Nxd5
20.Nxf7 Kxf7 21.Rxd5 Rxd5 22.Bxd5+ Bxd5 23.Qf5+ Ke8 24.Qxd5 Ra7 25.Qg8+ Bf8 26.Re1+ Re7 27.Rxe7+ Kxe7 28.Qd5 Qa6 29.Kg2 g6 30.Be5 (Zugzwang) 1-0
46. J. Bonin – Dennis Fan Li New York 2015 1.d4 f5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bg5 d5 4.Bxf6 exf6 5.e3 Be6 6.Bd3 Nc6 7.Qf3 Qd7 8.a3 0-0-0 9.Nge2 h5 10.b4 Kb8 11.Na4 b6 12.0-0 g5 13.Nec3 g4 14.Qe2 Ka8 15.Bb5 h4 16.Rfb1 f4
17.Nc5 bxc5 18.bxc5 Rb8 19.Ba4 (Black cannot stop Qa6 with a winning attack; if 19…Bf7, then 20.Qa6 Be8 21.Bxc6+ Qxc6 22.Rxb8+ Kxb8 23.Rb1+ either mates or wins the queen) 10
47. R. Olsen – J. Bonin New York 2015 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e5 4.Nc3 d6 5.e4 Be7 6.Be2 Nbd7 7.Nf3 Nf8 8.0-0 Ng6 9.Ne1 a6 10.a4 Nd7 11.Nd3 Bg5 12.Bg4 Bxc1 13.Qxc1 0-0 14.Qe3
14…Nb6! 15.Bxc8 Nxc4 (an in-between move that nets a pawn) 16.Qe2 Rxc8 17.b3 Na5 18.Qc2 Nxb3 19.Qxb3 c4 20.Qc2 cxd3 21.Qxd3 Nf4 (wins a piece to …Rxc3, or if 22.Qd2 then 22…Qg5 threatening both mate and …Rxc3) 0-1
48. J. Bonin – D. Penkalski USA 1993 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.0-0 Nc6 8.d5 Ne7 9.Nd2 Nd7 10.b4 f5 11.c5 Nf6 12.f3 f4 13.Nc4 g5 14.a4 Ng6 15.Ba3 Ne8 16.b5 b6 17.cxd6 cxd6 18.Bb4 Rf7 19.a5 Rb8 20.axb6 axb6 21.Na4 h5 22.Ncxb6 Rxb6 23.Ba5 Rfb7 24.Rc1 Bd7 25.Rc6 Bxc6 26.dxc6 Qb8 27.cxb7 Rxb7 28.b6 Nf6 29.Ba6 Rd7 30.Qb3+ Kh7 31.Rc1 d5 32.Rc8 Qd6 33.Bb4 Qe6 34.b7 Qxa6 35.b8Q dxe4 36.Rc7 Rd3 37.Bf8 Nd7 38.Bxg7 Nxb8 39.Bxe5+ Kh6
40.Rh7+ (forcing mate) 40…Kxh7 41.Qf7+ Kh6 42.Qg7# 1-0
49. R. Krant – J. Bonin New York 1993 1.g3 d5 2.Bg2 c6 3.d3 Nf6 4.Nd2 h6 5.e4 dxe4 6.dxe4 e5 7.Ngf3 Bg4 8.h3 Bxf3 9.Qxf3 Nbd7 10.0-0 Bc5 11.Rd1 Qe7 12.a4 a5 13.Nc4 Nb6 14.Ne3 g6 15.Ng4 Nxg4 16.Qxg4 h5 17.Qf3 h4 18.Kh2 Nd7 19.Bd2 Qf6 20.Rf1 Qxf3 21.Bxf3 Nf8 22.Bg4 b6 23.Bg5 Nh7 24.Bd2 Rd8 25.Rad1 Nf6 26.Bf3 Ke7 27.Kg2 Nh5 28.Bg5+ f6 29.Bxh5 Rxd1 30.Rxd1 Rxh5 31.Bc1 hxg3 32.fxg3 Rh8 33.h4 b5 34.axb5 cxb5 35.Rd5 Rc8 36.g4 b4 37.c3 bxc3 38.bxc3 Ke6 39.h5 gxh5 40.gxh5 f5 41.Kf3
41…Ba3 (winning material: if 42.Bxa3, then 42…fxe4 43.Kxe4 Rc4+ and the d5-rook drops) 42.Rxa5 Rxc3+ 43.Ke2 Bxc1 44.Ra6+ Kf7 45.exf5 Rh3 46.Re6 Bf4, and the h-pawn falls. 0-1
50. J. Bonin – M. Belorusov New York 2001 1.d4 d5 2.Bg5 Nf6 3.Bxf6 exf6 4.e3 g6 5.c4 dxc4 6.Bxc4 Bg7 7.Ne2 0-0 8.Nbc3 Nd7 9.b4 c6 10.0-0 Nb6 11.Bb3 Qe7 12.Rb1 Rd8 13.Nf4 Bf5 14.Rb2 Bh6 15.Qf3 Kh8 16.g4 Qxb4 17.Nd1 Bc8 18.Nxg6+ Kg7 19.Ne5 Rf8 20.Nxf7 Nc4 21.Bxc4 Qxc4 22.Nd6 Qa6 23.Nc3 Qa3
24.Nf5+ Bxf5 25.Rxb7+ Rf7 26.Rxf7+ Kxf7 27.Qxf5 Qxc3 28.Qxh7+ Ke6 (the pretty point here is that 28…Bg7 is met by 29.Rb1, with the unstoppable threat of Rb7+; 29…Rg8 is answered by 30.Rb7+ Kf8 and now the quiet 31.Qg6, threatening mate on f7 or Rb8+xg8) 29.Qxh6 Rg8 30.Qf4 (with three pawns to the good and Black’s king exposed, this should not be taxing) 30…Qc2 31.e4 Qxa2 32.Rc1 Qa4 33.Rxc6+ 1-0
51. J. Bonin – R. Simonaitis New York 2015 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.g3 c5 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Nc3 Nc6 7.Bg2 Be7 8.0-0 0-0 9.Be3 Bg4 10.Ne5 Nxe5 11.dxe5 d4 12.exf6 Bxf6 13.Nd5 dxe3 14.fxe3 Bxb2 15.Rb1 Be5 16.Rxb7 Qg5 17.Qd3 Be6 18.e4 Rad8 19.Rxa7 h5 20.Ra5 h4 21.Rxc5 hxg3 22.hxg3 Bxg3
23.Qxg3 (setting up for a cute finish) 23…Qxg3 24.Ne7+ and mate on h5. A lucky escape! 1-0
52. J. Bonin – A. Simutowe New York 2001 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 c6 4.Qc2 Nf6 5.Nbd2 Nbd7 6.g3 dxc4 7.Nxc4 c5 8.Bg2 cxd4 9.Nxd4 Nc5 10.Nb5 a6 11.Nc3 Nd5 12.0-0 Nxc3 13.Qxc3 f6 14.Be3 Bd7 15.Rfd1 Rc8 16.Rac1 b5 17.Nd6+ Bxd6 18.Rxd6 Na4 19.Qxc8 Qxc8 20.Rxc8+ Bxc8 21.Rc6 Bb7
22.Rc2 (simplest) 22…Bxg2 23.Kxg2 1-0
53. D. Ippolito – J. Bonin New York 2001 1.d4 c5 2.d5 e5 3.e4 d6 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bb5+ Nd7 6.a4 a6 7.Be2 Bg5 8.Bxg5 Qxg5 9.Nf3 Qxg2 10.Rg1 Qh3 11.Rxg7 Qh6 12.Rg5 Nf8 13.Qd2 Ng6 14.a5 Nf4 15.0-0-0 Nf6 16.Rdg1 Bd7 17.Qe3 0-0-0 18.Kb1 Kb8 19.Rg7 Rhg8 20.Rxf7 Rxg1+ 21.Nxg1 Qg6 22.Rxf6 Qxf6 23.Bc4 Rg8 24.Nge2 Ng2 25.Qd3 Ne1 26.Qe3 Ng2 27.Qd3 Qxf2 28.Bxa6 Qf1+ 29.Ka2 Ne1 30.Qc4 Nxc2 31.Bb5
31…Rg2! 32.Kb3 Nd4+ 33.Nxd4 Qxc4+ 34.Kxc4 cxd4 35.Bxd7 dxc3 36.Kxc3 Rxh2 37.b4 h5 38.Kd3 h4 39.Ke3 Rb2 0-1
54. J. Bonin – S. Shchukin Philadelphia 2000 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.dxe5 dxe5 8.Qxd8 Rxd8 9.Bg5 Na6 10.Nd5 Rd6 11.Bxf6 Bxf6 12.b4 c6 13.Nxf6+ Rxf6 14.a3 Bg4 15.Rd1 Nc7 16.Nxe5 Bxe2 17.Kxe2 Re6 18.f4 f6 19.Rd7 Ne8 20.Ng4 Rxe4+ 21.Kf3 Rxc4 22.Re1 Rc3+ 23.Kf2 f5 24.Nh6+ Kh8 25.Ree7 Nf6 26.Rxb7 Rxa3 27.Rf7 Ne4+ 28.Ke2 Ra2+ 29.Ke3 Ra3+ 30.Kd4 Rd8+ 31.Ke5 Re8+ 32.Rfe7 Rxe7+ 33.Rxe7 Ra4 34.g4 Rxb4
35.gxf5 (A blunder; I missed 35.Re8+ Kg7 36.g5, threatening 37.Rg8#. If now 36…Nf6, then 37.Re7+ followed by taking the knight) 35…gxf5 36.Nxf5 Kg8 37.Nd4 (instead, I win the hard way) 37…Nf2 38.Ne6 h5 39.Kf6 Ne4+ 40.Kg6 Rb8 41.Rg7+ Kh8 42.Ng5 Rf8 43.Nf7+ Rxf7 44.Rxf7 Kg8 45.Rxa7 Kf8 46.f5 1-0
55. J. Bonin – J. Colas Brooklyn 2015 1.Nf3 c5 2.e4 e6 3.b3 Nc6 4.Bb5 Qc7 5.0-0 d6 6.Bb2 a6 7.Bxc6+ Qxc6 8.d3 Nf6 9.e5 dxe5 10.Nxe5 Qc7 11.Nd2 Be7 12.Re1 b5 13.Qf3 Bb7 14.Qh3 0-0 15.Re3 Nd5 16.Rg3 Bf6 17.Re1 Qa5 18.Qh6 Qc7
19.Ne4 (if 19…Bxe5 then 20.Rxg7+ and mate) 19…Qe7 20.Nc6 Bxb2 21.Nxe7+ Nxe7 22.c3 Ng6 23.Qd2 Ba3 24.h4 Nxh4 25.Nf6+ Kh8 26.Rxg7 Kxg7 27.Qg5+ 1-0 56. Y. Zatz – J. Bonin New Jersey 2001 1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 0-0 5.d4 d6 6.Nf3 c6 7.0-0 Qa5 8.d5 cxd5 9.cxd5 Bd7 10.a3 Rc8 11.Be3 Na6 12.b4 Qd8 13.Rc1 Nc7 14.h3 Nb5 15.Nxb5 Rxc1 16.Qxc1 Bxb5 17.Nd4 Rc8 18.Qd2 Bc4 19.Nc2 Qc7 20.Rc1 Bb3 21.Bg5 Bxc2 22.Bxf6 Bxf6 23.Be4
23…Bxe4! 24.Rxc7 Rxc7 25.f3 Rc2 26.Qd1 Ra2 27.Kg2 Bc2 28.Qc1 Bd3 29.Qc8+ Kg7 30.Qxb7 Rxe2+ 31.Kh1 Bd4 (weaving a mating net) 32.a4 Re1+ 33.Kg2 Bf1+ 34.Kh2 Re2+ 35.Kh1 Bg2+ 0-1
57. E. Bannon – J. Bonin Philadelphia 2001 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e5 5.Nf3 h6 6.Bc4 Nf6 7.Nc3 a6 8.0-0 Bc5 9.Qd3 d6 10.a3 0-0 11.Nd5 Be6 12.Bd2 Rc8 13.Rad1 Kh8 14.Bc1 Ne7 15.Ne3 Bxe3 16.Bxe6 Bxf2+ 17.Rxf2 fxe6 18.Re2 Qb6+ 19.Kh1 d5 20.Nxe5 Nxe4 21.Nd7 Nf2+ 22.Rxf2 Qxf2 23.Nxf8 Rxf8 24.Be3 Qf5 25.Qb3 Ng6 26.c4 Nh4 27.Bc5 Qg4 28.Qc2
28…Rf2! 29.Qxf2 Qxd1+ 30.Qg1 Qxg1+ 31.Kxg1 dxc4 32.Kf2 Kg8 33.g3 Ng6 34.Bd6 Kf7 35.Ke3 Ne7 36.g4 h5 37.h3 hxg4 38.hxg4 Nc6 39.Ke4 b5 40.Bf4 a5 41.Bd2 b4 42.axb4 axb4 43.Be1 c3 (the final combo, creating a passer) 44.bxc3 b3 45.Kd3 Ne5+ 0-1
58. J. Bonin – P. Saint-Amand Philadelphia 2001 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ng4 4.Bf4 Nc6 5.Nf3 Bb4+ 6.Nbd2 Qe7 7.e3 Ngxe5 8.Nxe5 Nxe5 9.Be2 0-0 10.0-0 Ng6 11.Bg3 Bd6 12.Bxd6 Qxd6 13.Rc1 Qe5 14.Qc2 d6 15.Nf3 Qe7 16.Rfd1 b6 17.b4 Bb7 18.c5 dxc5 19.bxc5 Be4 20.Qc3 Rfd8 21.g3 Rxd1+ 22.Bxd1 Rd8 23.Nd4 Ne5 24.cxb6 cxb6 25.Qc7 Qxc7 26.Rxc7 Nc6 27.Bf3 Nxd4 28.Bxe4 Nb5 29.Rc6 g6 30.a4 Nd6 31.Bd5 Rd7 32.e4 Kf8 33.Kg2 Ke7 34.e5 Nf5
35.Bxf7! Nd4 36.Rf6 Rd8 37.Ba2 Rf8 38.Rxf8 Kxf8 39.Bc4 Ke7 40.f4 Nf5 41.Kf3 1-0
59. J. Bonin – S. Ginert New York 2001 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Bb5+ c6 8.Ba4 0-0 9.Ne2 e5 10.Ba3 Re8 11.d5 b5 12.Bb3 Bb7 13.0-0 Nd7 14.dxc6 Bxc6 15.Bxf7+ Kxf7 16.Qb3+ Re6 17.f4 Qb6+ 18.Kh1 Bxe4 19.Rad1 Ke8 20.fxe5 Bxe5
21.Rd6! (interference and deflection) 21…Rxd6 22.Qg8+ Nf8 (or 22…Ke7 23.Rf7 Ke6 24.Rf8+ Ke7 25.Qf7#) 23.Qxf8+ Kd7 24.Rf7+ Ke6 25.Re7+ Kd5 26.Qxa8+ Qc6 27.Qg8+ Re6 28.c4+ bxc4 29.Qd8+ Rd6 30.Qa5+ 1-0
60. E. Kopiecki – J. Bonin New York 2005 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 g6 4.Be3 Nh6 5.f3 f6 6.Qd2 Nf7 7.h4 e6 8.Nh3 Bb4 9.Nf2 Qa5 10.Bd3 e5 11.0-0 Nd7 12.a3 Bxc3 13.bxc3 Nb6 14.Ng4 Bxg4 15.fxg4 dxe4 16.Bxe4 Nd6 17.Qd3 Nxe4 18.Qxe4 Qxc3 19.dxe5 Qxe5 20.Qxe5+ fxe5 21.Rad1 Nd5 22.Bg5 h6 23.c4 Nc3 24.Bf6 Nxd1 25.Bxh8 Ne3 26.Rb1 Nxg4 27.Rxb7
27…0-0-0!. A novel position: with this move, I create a triple threat – the b7-rook hangs, the h8-bishop hangs, and mate is threatened on d1. The Dutch chess journalist Tim Krabbé posted this game in his column. 0-1
61. J. Bonin – J. Hanken Philadelphia 2003 1.d4 c5 2.d5 e5 3.e4 d6 4.Bb5+ Nd7 5.a4 Be7 6.Nf3 Ngf6 7.Nc3 0-0 8.0-0 a6 9.Be2 b6 10.Nd2 Ne8 11.Nc4 Bg5 12.Bg4 Bxc1 13.Qxc1 Rb8 14.f4 b5 15.axb5 axb5 16.Na5 Qh4 17.Bxd7 Bxd7 18.Nc6 Bxc6 19.dxc6 Rb6 20.Nd5 Rxc6 21.Ra8 Kh8 22.fxe5 Qxe4
23.Rxf7! Rg8 24.Ne7 Rc7 25.Nxg8 Qxa8 26.Rf8 Rf7 27.Rxf7 Kxg8 28.Qf1 Nf6 29.Rxg7+ (the final, pretty point; I liquidate into a technical win) 29…Kxg7 30.Qxf6+ Kg8 31.exd6 Qd5 32.h3 (escape hatch) 32…Qd1+ 33.Kh2 Qd2 34.h4 (the threat: 35.h5 h6 36.Qg7#) 34… c4 35.Qe6+ Kf8 36.d7 Qf4+ 37.Kh3 (no more checks) 1-0
62. R. Hess – J. Bonin New York 2003 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 c6 4.f4 d5 5.e5 h5 6.Nf3 Bg4 7.Be2 e6 8.Be3 Nh6 9.Bf2 Nf5 10.g3 h4 11.Nxh4 Bxe2 12.Qxe2 Nxh4 13.gxh4 Bf8 14.0-0-0 Qa5 15.Be1 Qa6 16.Qe3 Nd7 17.Kb1 Nb6 18.b3 Rc8 19.Ne2 Be7 20.Ng1 c5 21.Nf3 c4 22.Bc3 Qb5 23.Ka1 Qc6 24.Bb2 c3 25.Bc1 a5 26.Rdg1 a4 27.f5 gxf5 28.Rg7 Ra8 29.Ng5 axb3 30.cxb3 Kd7 31.Nxf7
31…Rxa2+ (mating attack) 32.Kxa2 Ra8+ 33.Kb1 c2+ 34.Kb2 Ba3+ (wins the house) 0-1
63. S. Agaian – J. Bonin New York 2003 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.c4 Nb6 5.exd6 cxd6 6.Nc3 g6 7.Bd3 Bg7 8.Nge2 0-0 9.Be3 Nc6 10.b3 d5 11.c5 Nd7 12.Rc1
12…Nxc5 (the fork trick on d4 recovers the piece) 13.dxc5 d4 14.Bd2 dxc3 15.Bxc3 Bxc3+ 16.Nxc3 Qa5 17.Bb5 Rd8 18.Qe2 Nd4 19.Qc4 a6 20.Ba4 Be6 21.b4 Qc7 22.Qf1 Qe5+ 23.Ne2 Bxa2 24.f3 a5 25.b5 Bb3 0-1
64. J. Bonin – D. Kedyk New York 2003 1.Nc3 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nxe4 Nd7 4.h3 Ngf6 5.Nxf6+ Nxf6 6.Bc4 e6 7.d4 Be7 8.Nf3 a6 9.Qe2 b5 10.Bd3 Bb7 11.Bxb5+ c6 12.Bd3 0-0 13.Bg5 c5 14.dxc5 Bxc5 15.0-0-0 Qb6 16.Ne5 Bd4 17.c3 Bxe5 18.Qxe5 Nd5 19.Be3 Nxe3 20.Qxe3 Qa5 21.Kb1 Rab8 22.c4 Bxg2 23.Rhg1 Bf3 24.Rc1 Bh5 25.Rg5 Qb4 26.Bxh7+ Kxh7 27.Rxh5+ Kg8 28.b3 Qa3 29.Rg1 f6
30.Rxg7+! (exposing the king to a mating attack) 30…Kxg7 31.Qg3+ Kf7 32.Rh7+ Ke8 33.Qg6+ (33.Qxb8 is slightly stronger as it ends the game with checkmate) 33…Kd8 34.Qd3+ (delayed reaction) 1-0
65. R. Oresick – J. Bonin New Jersey 1999 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bg5 Bg7 4.Nbd2 d5 5.e3 0-0 6.Be2 Nbd7 7.0-0 c5 8.c3 b6 9.Bd3 Bb7 10.Qe2 Ne4 11.Bh4 Re8 12.Rad1 Qc7 13.Ng5 Nxg5 14.Bxg5 e5 15.dxe5 Nxe5 16.Bf4 a6 17.Nf3 Qc6 18.Nxe5 Bxe5 19.Bxe5 Rxe5 20.Qf3 Qc7 21.Qf4 Qe7 22.Be2
22…d4! (a powerful clearance sacrifice; the pretty point is 23.cxd4 Rf5 24.Q-moves Rg5, and g2 falls) 23.Bf3 Rf5 24.Qg3 Bxf3 25.Rc1 Bxg2 26.Rfe1 d3 27.f4 d2 28.Qxg2 dxe1Q+ 29.Rxe1 Rd8 30.Qe2 Qe4 31.Qf2 Rfd5 0-1
66. V. Rajlich – J. Bonin Philadelphia 1998 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nf3 d6 4.c4 Bg4 5.Be2 Bxf3 6.Bxf3 Nc6 7.Be3 e5 8.d5 Nd4 9.Nc3 c5 10.Qa4+ Kf8 11.Bd1 Nf6 12.0-0 h6 13.b4 b5 14.Qa3 a5 15.Nxb5 Nxb5 16.cxb5 axb4 17.Qd3 Ra3 18.Bb3 h5 19.Rae1 Bh6 20.Bxh6+ Rxh6 21.f4 Nd7 22.Qd2 Kg7 23.f5 g5 24.f6+ Nxf6 25.Qxg5+ Rg6 26.Qf5 Qb6 27.Qf2 Qxb5 28.Re3 c4 29.Rg3 Qc5 30.Rxg6+ fxg6 31.Qxc5 dxc5 32.Bxc4 Nxe4 33.Bb3 Nd6 34.Rc1 Ra5 35.h3
35…c4! (winning everything) 36.Bxc4 Rc5 0-1
67. V. Martirosov – J. Bonin U.S. Chess League 2011 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d6 3.c4 g6 4.Nc3 Bg7 5.e4 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.0-0 exd4 8.Nxd4 Re8 9.f3 Nc6 10.Be3 Nh5 11.Qd2 Nxd4 12.Bxd4 Nf4 13.Rfd1 Bxd4+ 14.Qxd4 Nxe2+ 15.Nxe2 b6 16.Nc3 Bb7 17.Rac1 Qg5 18.Nd5 Bxd5 19.cxd5 Re7 20.Rc4 f5 21.Qd2 Qxd2 22.Rxd2 fxe4 23.fxe4 Rf8 24.Rdc2 Rff7 25.b4 b5 26.Rd4 Rf4 27.a3 Kg7 28.a4 bxa4 29.b5 Rfxe4 30.Rxe4 Rxe4 31.Rxc7+ Kf6 32.Rxh7
32…a6 33.b6 a3 0-1
68. J. Bonin – A. Cortese New York 2013 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 c6 3.c4 Nf6 4.Nbd2 Bf5 5.Qb3 Qc7 6.e3 Nbd7 7.Bd3 Bxd3 8.Qxd3 Rd8 9.e4 dxe4 10.Nxe4 Nxe4 11.Qxe4 Nf6 12.Qe2 e6 13.0-0 Be7 14.b3 0-0 15.Bb2 Rfe8 16.Rad1 Nd7 17.Rd3 Bf6 18.Rfd1 c5 19.g3 a6 20.Qd2 cxd4 21.Bxd4 Nc5
22.Bxf6 Rxd3 23.Qg5 1-0
69. K. Davidson – J. Bonin New York 2013 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 c6 4.Nf3 d5 5.h3 a6 6.Bf4 Qa5 7.exd5 cxd5 8.Bxb8 Rxb8 9.Bd3 Nh6 10.Qe2 Nf5 11.Bxf5 Bxf5 12.0-0-0 0-0 13.Qxe7 Rfc8 14.Ne5
14…Rxc3 15.bxc3 Qxc3 16.Qxf7+ Kh8 17.Nd3 Rc8 18.Ne1 Bxc2 19.Qf3 Bd3+ 0-1
70. J. Bonin – E. Epp U.S. Senior Open 2012 1.d4 g6 2.e4 Bg7 3.Nc3 c6 4.Nf3 d6 5.h3 Nd7 6.a4 a5 7.g3 Qc7 8.Bg2 e5 9.0-0 Ngf6 10.Be3 0-0 11.Qd2 Re8 12.Rad1 exd4 13.Nxd4 Nc5 14.f3 b6 15.g4 Ba6 16.Rfe1 Rad8 17.Bh6 Bxh6 18.Qxh6 Bb7 19.f4 Qe7
20.Nf5 gxf5 21.exf5 Nxg4 22.hxg4 Qf8 23.Rxe8 Rxe8 24.Qxf8+ Kxf8 25.Rxd6 Re1+ 26.Kf2 Rc1 27.Bxc6 Ke7 28.Rh6 Bxc6 29.Rxc6 Rxc2+ 30.Ke3 Rxb2 31.Rc7+ Ke8 32.Nd5 Nxa4 33.Nf6+ Kd8 34.Rxf7 Nc5 35.Nd5 a4 36.Ra7 Rb3+ 37.Kd4 a3 38.f6 Nd7 39.Ra8+ 1-0
71. J. Bonin – A. Bokiev New York 2014 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.Nbd2 e6 5.Qc2 Be7 6.g3 0-0 7.Bg2 Nbd7 8.0-0 b6 9.b3 Bb7 10.Bb2 Rc8 11.Rac1 c5 12.Qb1 dxc4 13.Nxc4 cxd4 14.Nxd4 Bxg2 15.Kxg2 Nc5 16.Rfd1 Qc7 17.Kg1 Qb7 18.Ne5 Rfd8 19.f3 h6 20.e4 Bd6
21.Nec6 (this will win at least an exchange, as White threatens 22.e5 or 21…Rxc6 22.Nxc6 Qxc6 23.b4) 21…Be7 22.Nxd8 1-0
72. J. Bonin – W. Hellner New York 2014 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.Nbd2 Bf5 5.Qb3 Qb6 6.Nh4 Bg6 7.Qh3 (A very powerful move: the twin threats of Qc8+ and Nxg6 will compromise Black’s position. After GM Tamaz Gelashvili pulled this on me a few years ago, I started using it myself, winning at least twenty games with it.) 7…Qc7 8.Nxg6 fxg6 9.g3 Qd7 10.Nf3 Ng4 11.c5 (all White needs now is Bf4 and total control; Black finds the best chance) 11…e5 12.Nxe5 Nxe5 13.dxe5 Bxc5 14.Qxd7+ Nxd7 15.f4 Ke7 16.Bh3 h5 17.Bd2 a5 18.Rc1 Bb6 19.Rf1 Ra6 20.Rf3 Rb8 21.Rb3 Bd4 22.e3 Bb6 23.Bf1 Raa8
24.e6 (wins a piece by force, as 24…Kxe6 fails to 25.Bh3+ followed by 26.Bxd7) 1-0
73. J. Bonin – B. Westin London 1987 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bg5 0-0 6.e3 b6 7.Be2 Bb7 8.Bxf6 Bxf6 9.cxd5 exd5 10.0-0 Qe7 11.Qb3 Rd8 12.Rad1 c6 13.Rfe1 Nd7 14.Bd3 Qf8 15.e4 dxe4 16.Nxe4 Re8 17.Bc4 Re7 18.Neg5 h6 19.Rxe7 Bxe7 20.Bxf7+ Kh8 21.Bg6 hxg5
22.Ne5 (leads to a winning attack, although 22.Qe6 is even stronger) 22…Qf4 (if instead 22…Nf6, then White wins with 23.Nf7+ Kg8 24.Nxg5+ Kh8 25.Qh3+ Kg8 26.Bh7+ and mate) 23.Nf7+ 1-0
74. P. Large – J. Bonin London 1987 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 Ne7 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 b6 7.Nf3 Ba6 8.Bxa6 Nxa6 9.Ng5 h5 10.0-0 Nb8 11.Qf3 Nf5 12.Qh3 Nc6 13.g4 Nh6 14.Qxh5 Qd7 15.f4 0-0-0 16.f5 exf5 17.gxf5 f6 18.Ne6 Rdg8 19.Qe2 g6 20.Qa6+ Kb8 21.Nc5 gxf5+ 22.Kh1 Qc8 23.Qb5
23…Ng4! (Who’s mating whom? 24.Qxc6 is met by 24…Rxh2+ 25.Kg1 Nxe5+, winning the queen) 24.Bf4 Nxh2 (now 25.Na6 is met by 25…Qxa6) 25.Bxh2 Rxh2+ 26.Kxh2 Rh8+ 27.Kg2 Qg8+ 28.Kf2 Rh2+ 29.Ke1 Qg3+ 30.Kd1 Qxc3 31.Nb3 Qxc2+ 32.Ke1 a6 33.Qxd5 Qe2# 0-1
75. J. Bonin – R. Young New York 1988 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 d5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.e4 Nxc3 7.bxc3 c5 8.Bb5+ Bd7 9.Bxd7+ Qxd7 10.0-0 0-0 11.Rb1 cxd4 12.cxd4 Nc6 13.Bb2 Rfd8 14.d5 Bxb2 15.Rxb2 e6 16.Rd2 exd5 17.exd5 Na5 18.Ne5 Qd6 19.Re1 Re8 20.Rde2 Red8 21.Ng4 h5 22.Nh6+ Kg7 23.Nxf7 Kxf7 24.Re6 Qxd5 25.Re7+ Kf8 26.Qc1 Qd2 27.Qc7 Qd4 28.Qxa5 Re8 29.Qg5 Rxe7 30.Qxe7+ Kg8 31.Qg5 Qd3 32.h4 Rf8 33.Re6 Kg7
34.Re7+ (the beginning of a mating attack) 34…Kg8 35.Qe5 Rf7 36.Re8+ Rf8 37.Qe6+ Kg7 38.Qe7+ Rf7 39.Qe5+ Kh6 (39…Rf6 loses to 40.Re7+) 40.Rh8+ Rh7 41.Qf4+ 1-0
76. J. Bonin – J. Lewis New York 1991 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 c5 4.d5 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.Nc3 g6 7.h3 Bg7 8.e4 0-0 9.Bd3 b5 10.Nxb5 Re8 11.0-0 Nxe4 12.Bxe4 Rxe4 13.Ng5 Rb4 14.Qf3 Bf5 15.g4 Bf6 16.gxf5 Rxb5 17.Ne4 Be7 18.b3 Nd7 19.Bb2 Rab8 20.Qc3 f6 21.Rae1 Qf8 22.f4 Qf7 23.Ng5 (coming into e6 by tactical means) 23…Qg7
24.Qe3 (with twin threats on e6 and e7) 24…R5b7 25.Qxe7 Qxe7 26.Rxe7 fxg5 27.Rg7+ Kf8 28.fxg6 hxg6 29.fxg5+ Ke8 30.Rff7 Kd8 31.Bc3 and White will win a piece, at least. 1-0
77. J. Bonin – C. Hall Philadelphia 1991 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ng4 4.Bf4 Bb4+ 5.Nd2 Nc6 6.Ngf3 Qe7 7.e3 Ngxe5 8.Nxe5 Nxe5 9.Be2 d6 10.0-0 Bxd2 11.Qxd2 0-0 12.Rfd1 b6 13.b4 Bb7 14.c5 dxc5 15.bxc5 Qxc5 16.Rac1 Qe7 17.Qc3 Ng6 18.Qxc7 Qxc7 19.Bxc7 Rac8 20.Bb5 Ra8 21.Bd7 f6 22.f3 Kh8 23.Kf2 Rf7 24.Be6 Re7 25.Bb3 Rc8
78. J. Bonin – K. Burger Philadelphia 1990 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.d4 Bg7 4.Nc3 d5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.e4 Nxc3 7.bxc3 0-0 8.Rb1 c5 9.Be2 Nc6 10.d5 Ne5 11.Nxe5 Bxe5 12.Qd2 e6 13.f4 Bg7 14.c4 e5 15.0-0 Qd6 16.f5 b6 17.Rf3 Bd7 18.Rg3 Be8 19.Bg4 f6 20.fxg6 Bxg6 21.Be6+ Kh8
22.Rxg6! hxg6 23.Qd3 1-0
79. J. Bonin – P. Song New York 1990 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Nf3 c5 8.Bb5+ Bd7 9.Bxd7+ Nxd7 10.0-0 0-0 11.Rb1 b6 12.Bg5 Re8 13.Qd2 Qc7 14.Bh6 Rad8 15.Bxg7 Kxg7 16.Rbd1 Nb8 17.d5 Nc6 18.c4 e5 19.Ne1 Nd4 20.Nd3 f6 21.f4 exf4 22.Rxf4 g5 23.Rg4 h6 24.Rf1 Qd7 25.h3 Qd6 26.Nf4 Rf8 27.Qf2 Kh7 28.Nh5 f5 29.exf5 Rxf5 30.Qe1 Rdf8 31.Rxf5 Rxf5 32.Re4 Kg6 33.Ng3 Rf7
34.Re6+! (getting a strong passed pawn and access to Black’s king) 34…Nxe6 35.dxe6 Qd4+ 36.Kh2 Re7 37.Qb1+ Kf6 38.Qf5+ Kg7 39.Nh5+ Kg8 40.Qg6+ Kf8 41.Qxh6+ Ke8 42.Nf6+ Kd8 43.Qf8+ 1-0
80. J. Bonin – L. Braun New York 1992 1.e4 c6 2.d3 d5 3.Nd2 e5 4.Ngf3 Nd7 5.d4 exd4 6.exd5 c5 7.Qe2+ Qe7 8.Ne4 Ngf6 9.Nd6+ Kd8 10.Qxe7+ Kxe7 11.Bf4 Nxd5 12.Bg3 N7f6 13.0-0-0 Be6 14.Re1 Nh5
15.Nxf7! (Winning a pawn and compromising an already shaky king position. My opponent was a fellow highly active player; he died in 1998.) 15…Kxf7 16.Ng5+ Kf6 17.Rxe6+ Kxg5 18.Re5+ Kf6 19.Rxh5 Nb4 20.Bh4+ Kg6 21.g4 (tightening the noose) 21…Bd6 22.h3 Nc6 23.Bd3+ Kf7 24.Rf5+ Ke6 25.Re1+ Kd7 26.Rf7+ Kc8 27.Re6 1-0
81. and 82. J. Lawrence Bezviner – J. Bonin New York 1992 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 0-0 6.Be3 c5 7.dxc5 dxc5 8.Qxd8 Rxd8 9.Bxc5 Nc6 10.Nge2 Nd7 11.Be3 Nde5 12.Nf4 Nb4 13.Rc1 Be6 14.a3 Nbd3+ 15.Nxd3 Nxd3+ 16.Bxd3 Rxd3 17.Nd1
17…Bxb2! (overloaded pieces) 18.Rb1 Bxa3 19.Rxb7 Bxc4 20.Bxa7
20…Rxa7! (Black will win the a7-rook with …Bb4+, and if Kf2 then …Bc5+; while moving the king to a light square is met by …Ra3 with discovered check) 0-1 83. J. Bonin – Y. Marcus Philadelphia 1991 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.0-0 Nbd7 8.Be3 exd4 9.Nxd4 Re8 10.f3 c6 11.Qd2 Ne5 12.Rad1 a6 13.Nb3 Be6 14.Qxd6 Qxd6 15.Rxd6 Bxc4 16.Na5 Bxe2 17.Nxe2 Re7 18.Rfd1 Ne8 19.Rd8 Rxd8 20.Rxd8 Bf6 21.Nf4 Nd7 22.Nxb7 Kg7 23.b3 Nf8 24.Nd6 Nc7
25.Nh5+! (simplification by tactics) 25…gxh5 26.Nf5+ Kg6 27.Rxf8 (with a fairly routine win) 27…Re8 28.Rxe8 Nxe8 29.Bf4 Bd8 30.Kf1 Nf6 31.Nd4 c5 32.Nc6 Bb6 33.Ne7+ Kg7 34.Be5 Bd8 35.Nd5 1-0
84. J. Bonin – B. Izrayelit New York 2014 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.c4 c6 4.Nbd2 e6 5.Qc2 Bd6 6.g3 Nbd7 7.Bg2 0-0 8.0-0 a6 9.b3 b5 10.e4 dxe4 11.Nxe4 Nxe4 12.Qxe4 Bb7 13.c5 Nf6 14.Qe2 Be7 15.Bb2 b4 16.Rfd1 a5 17.Ne5 Nd5 18.Bh3 Ba6 19.Qf3 Bb5 20.a3 bxa3 21.Rxa3 Qc7 22.Rda1 Nb4 23.Bc3 Nc2
24.Rxa5 (a rook sacrifice for the attack) 24…Nxa1 25.Rxa8 Rxa8 26.Qxf7+ Kh8 27.Bxe6 (threatening 28.Qg8+ and Nf7#) 27…Bd6 (What can Black do? If 27…g6 then 28.d5 threatens a million discoveries; and 27…h6 28.Ng6+ Kh7 29.Bf5 is killing) 28.cxd6 Qxf7 29.Nxf7+ Kg8 30.d7 (and I win back my rook investment with enormous interest surplus) 30…Kf8 31.Bb4+ Kg8 32.Nd6+ Kh8 33.Nc8 (and the d-pawn queens) 1-0
85. J. Bonin – E. Frumkin New York 2014 1.b3 d5 2.e3 e5 3.Bb2 Bd6 4.c4 Nf6 5.Na3 c6 6.cxd5 cxd5 7.Nb5 Nc6 8.Nxd6+ Qxd6 9.Bb5 0-0 10.Ne2 Bd7 11.f4 exf4 12.Nxf4 Rfe8 13.0-0 Ne5 14.Bxd7 Qxd7 15.h3 Rac8 16.Rc1 Qd6 17.Rxc8 Rxc8 18.Qa1 Nfd7 19.Bxe5 Nxe5 20.Qd4 Rc5 21.b4 Rb5 22.Qxa7 Rxb4
23.Nxd5! (back-rank weakness; rook moves are met with 24.Qa8+ Qf8 25.Ne7+) 1-0
86. D. Shapiro – J. Bonin New York 1989 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 c5 5.Bd3 Nc6 6.Nge2 d5 7.0-0 dxc4 8.Bxc4 cxd4 9.exd4 Nd5 10.Qd3 0-0 11.a3 Nxc3 12.bxc3 Be7 13.f4 b6 14.Ng3 Bb7 15.f5 e5 16.Nh5 Kh8 17.f6 Bxf6 18.Nxf6 gxf6 19.Bh6 Rg8 20.d5 Ne7 21.Rad1 Qd6 22.Bb3 Rad8 23.Rf2 f5 24.Bc1 f4 25.a4 Bc8 26.c4 f6 27.Ba2 Nf5 28.Bb1 Qc5 29.Ba3 Qe3 30.Bb4 Rg7 31.Re1 Qxd3 32.Bxd3 Nh4 33.Kh1 Rdg8 34.Bf1 Bh3 35.d6 Nxg2 36.Rc1
36…Ne1! (back-rank weakness again) 0-1
87. S. Cappelan – J. Bonin New York 2014 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 0-0 6.Be3 c5 7.d5 e6 8.dxe6 Bxe6 9.Qd2 Nc6 10.Nd5 Bxd5 11.cxd5 Ne5 12.Nh3 Qd7 13.Bh6
13…Qxh3 (a winning simplification; instead of 13.Bh6?, White should have played 13.Nf2) 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.Qc3 Qh6 16.g3 Kg8 0-1
88. J. Bonin – E. Balck New York 2014 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 b6 4.g3 Bb7 5.Bg2 d5 6.cxd5 Bb4+ 7.Bd2 Bxd2+ 8.Nbxd2 Nxd5 9.0-0 0-0 10.e4 Nf6 11.Qc2 Nbd7 12.a3 c5 13.e5 Nd5 14.dxc5 Nxc5 15.b4 Nd7 16.Ne4 Rc8 17.Qd3 Qc7 18.Neg5 g6 19.Rfe1 Kg7 20.Nd4 Nxe5 21.Ndxe6+ fxe6 22.Qd4 Qc3 23.Qxe5+ Qxe5 24.Rxe5 Kf6 25.Rae1 Rc7 26.Nxe6 Re8 27.Nxc7 Rxe5
28.Ne8+! Ke6 29.Bh3+ 1-0
89. J. Bonin – M. Belorusov New York 2001 1.d4 d5 2.Bg5 Nf6 3.Bxf6 exf6 4.e3 g6 5.c4 dxc4 6.Bxc4 Bg7 7.Ne2 0-0 8.Nbc3 Nd7 9.b4 c6 10.0-0 Nb6 11.Bb3 Qe7 12.Rb1 Rd8 13.Nf4 Bf5 14.Rb2 Bh6 15.Qf3 Kh8 16.g4 Qxb4 17.Nd1 Bc8
18.Nxg6+! Kg7 19.Ne5 Rf8 20.Nxf7 Nc4 21.Bxc4 Qxc4 22.Nd6 Qa6 23.Nc3 Qa3 24.Nf5+ Bxf5 25.Rxb7+ (leading to a strong attack) 25…Rf7 26.Rxf7+ Kxf7 27.Qxf5 Qxc3 28.Qxh7+ (not best – 28.Rb1 was very strong: if 28…Re8, then 29.Qh5+) 28…Ke6 29.Qxh6 Rg8 30.Qf4 Qc2 31.e4 Qxa2 32.Rc1 Qa4 33.Rxc6+ 1-0
90. J. Bonin – N. Vuličević New York 1992 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.b3 c6 6.Bg2 Bb4+ 7.Bd2 Be7 8.0-0 d5 9.Bc3 Nbd7 10.Nbd2 0-0 11.Re1 Bb7 12.e4 dxe4 13.Nxe4 Nxe4 14.Rxe4 Qc7 15.Re1 Rad8 16.Qc2 Nf6 17.Rad1 h6 18.Rd2 c5 19.d5 exd5 20.Rde2 Rfe8 21.Bxf6 gxf6 22.Nh4 d4 23.Qf5 Bc8 24.Qh5 d3 25.Rd2 Bf8 26.Rxe8 Rxe8 27.Bd5 Re5 28.Qg6+ Bg7 29.Qxd3 Re1+ 30.Kg2 Qd7 31.Qg6 Qh3+ 32.Kf3 Re7 33.Qh5 Bd7 34.Be4 Qxh2 35.Qd5 f5 36.Bxf5 Qh1+ 37.Kg4 Bxf5+ 38.Nxf5 Qe4+ 39.Qxe4 Rxe4+ 40.f4 Bd4 41.Nxh6+ Kg7 42.Nf5+ Kf6
43.Kf3! (making way for g3-g4; the knight is immune to capture) 43…Bc3 44.Kxe4 Bxd2 45.Nd6 (with the twin threats of 46.Nc8 and 46.Kd5) 45…Ke6 46.Nc8 f5+ 47.Kf3 Kd7 48.Nxa7 1-0
91. E. Bannon – J. Bonin Philadelphia 2001 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e5 5.Nf3 h6 6.Bc4 Nf6 7.Nc3 a6 8.0-0 Bc5 9.Qd3 d6 10.a3 0-0 11.Nd5 Be6 12.Bd2 Rc8 13.Rad1 Kh8 14.Bc1 Ne7 15.Ne3 Bxe3 16.Bxe6 Bxf2+ 17.Rxf2 fxe6 18.Re2 Qb6+ 19.Kh1 d5 20.Nxe5 Nxe4 21.Nd7 Nf2+ 22.Rxf2 Qxf2 23.Nxf8 Rxf8 24.Be3 Qf5 25.Qb3 Ng6 26.c4 Nh4 27.Bc5 Qg4 28.Qc2
28…Rf2! (interference and deflection: 29.Bxf2 Qxg2#) 29.Qxf2 Qxd1+ 30.Qg1 Qxg1+ 31.Kxg1 dxc4 (two pawns to the good, Black’s task becomes purely technical) 32.Kf2 Kg8 33.g3 Ng6 34.Bd6 Kf7 35.Ke3 Ne7 36.g4 h5 37.h3 hxg4 38.hxg4 Nc6 39.Ke4 b5 40.Bf4 a5 41.Bd2 b4 42.axb4 axb4 43.Be1 c3 44.bxc3 b3 45.Kd3 Ne5+ 0-1
92. A. King – J. Bonin New York 2012 1.d4 d6 2.Nf3 Bg4 3.c4 Bxf3 4.exf3 c6 5.Nc3 e6 6.Be2 d5 7.Qb3 Qb6 8.c5 Qxb3 9.axb3 e5 10.Be3 exd4 11.Bxd4 Nd7 12.b4 Ngf6 13.0-0 Be7 14.Bd3 0-0 15.Na4 a6 16.Rfe1 Rfe8 17.f4 g6 18.f3 Bf8 19.Kf1 Bg7 20.Bc2 Nh5 21.Be3 f5 22.g4 fxg4 23.fxg4
23…Nxf4! (winning a pawn, as 24.Bxf4 Rf8 wins back the piece with dividends) 0-1
93. J. Bonin – R. Ballantine New York 2012 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.Nbd2 e6 5.Qc2 Nbd7 6.g3 Be7 7.Bg2 0-0 8.0-0 Re8 9.b3 c5 10.Bb2 b6 11.e4 dxe4 12.Nxe4 Bb7 13.Nxf6+ Nxf6 14.Rad1 Qc7 15.dxc5 Qxc5 16.Ne5 Bxg2 17.Kxg2 Rad8 18.Qe2 Bd6 19.f4 Nd7 20.Nxd7 Rxd7 21.Rd3 Red8 22.Rfd1 h6 23.Qf3 Qc7 24.f5 exf5 25.Qxf5 Qc6+ 26.Kh3 Re7
27.Qg4! f5 (if 27…g6 then 28.Rxd6, while 27…g5 is met by 28.Qd4) 28.Qg6 (29.Rxd6, exploiting the overload, is next) 1-0
94. J. Bonin – L. Pressman New York 2012 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.Nbd2 Bf5 5.Qb3 Qb6 6.Nh4 Be6 7.c5 Qxb3 8.Nxb3 b6 9.Bf4 Nbd7 10.Nf3 Bg4 11.Ne5 Nxe5 12.Bxe5 Nd7 13.Bg3 e6 14.f3 Bf5 15.e4 dxe4 16.Ba6 e5 17.fxe4 Bxe4 18.0-0 Be7 19.Rae1 Bd5 20.Bxe5 Nxe5 21.Rxe5 Kd7 22.Be2 bxc5 23.Nxc5+ Bxc5 24.dxc5 Rhe8
25.Rxd5+! (a combo leading to a winning attack) 25…cxd5 26.Bb5+ Kd8 27.Rxf7 (much better than taking the rook; the c-pawn decides) 27…Rg8 28.c6 (if 28…Rc8, then 29.Rd7+ Ke8 30.c7! and White wins) 1-0
95. J. Bonin – N. Bernstein New York 2012 1.d4 e6 2.Nf3 d5 3.c4 c6 4.Qc2 f5 5.g3 Nf6 6.Bg2 Bd6 7.0-0 0-0 8.b3 Qe7 9.Bb2 Nbd7 10.Nbd2 Ne4 11.e3 b6 12.Nxe4 fxe4 13.Nd2 Nf6 14.f3 exf3 15.Nxf3 Bd7 16.Rae1 Be8 17.Ne5 Bxe5 18.dxe5 Nd7 19.cxd5 cxd5 20.Qc7 Qc5 21.Qd6 Qxd6 22.exd6 Bg6 23.Rxf8+ Rxf8 24.Rc1 Nc5 25.Ba3 Rd8 26.Bxc5 bxc5 27.Rxc5 Rxd6 28.Rc8+ Kf7 29.Rc7+ Kf6 30.Rxa7 Rc6 31.g4 Rc1+ 32.Kf2 Rc2+ 33.Kg3 Rc3 34.Bf3 (here Black misses 34…d4!, with the idea of 35.exd4 Be4 winning a piece; instead, he takes the bait) 34…Rxe3?
35.Kf4! Rc3 36.g5# 1-0
96. Offermann – J. Bonin New York 2014 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 a6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Nb3 Bb4 7.Bg5 h6 8.Bxf6 Bxc3+ 9.bxc3 Qxf6 10.Bc4 d6 11.0-0 0-0 12.Bd5 Nd7 13.Na5 Nc5 14.Rb1 Ra7 15.Qd2 b5 16.c4 Ne6 17.Nc6 Rc7 18.cxb5 axb5 19.Nb4 Nf4 20.Rfe1
97. J. Bonin – J. Black, Jr. New York 2013 1.d4 c5 2.d5 e5 3.e4 d6 4.Bb5+ Nd7 5.a4 a6 6.Be2 Be7 7.Nf3 Nf8 8.h4 Bg4 9.g3 Nf6 10.Nfd2 Bd7 11.a5 Bb5 12.Nc3 Bxe2 13.Qxe2 h5 14.Nc4 N8d7 15.Bg5 Qc7 16.Na4 Ng8 17.Ra3 Bxg5 18.hxg5 g6 19.Rb3 Ne7
20.Rxb7! (wins the house; 19…Rb8 instead of 19…Ne7 was necessary) 20…Qd8 21.Nxd6+ Kf8 22.Qf3 Rh7 23.Nb6 Nxb6 24.Rxb6 Rb8 25.Qf6 Rxb6 26.axb6 Qxb6 27.Qxe7+ 1-0
98. J. Bonin – J. Margiotta New York 2013 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.Nbd2 Bf5 5.Qb3 Qb6 6.Nh4 Qxb3 7.Nxb3 Bc2 8.Nd2 e6 9.a3 a5 10.b3 Nbd7 11.Bb2 h6 12.e3 Bd6 13.Nhf3 Ne4 14.Rc1 Nxd2 15.Nxd2 Bh7 16.Be2 0-0 17.0-0 Bg6 18.Rfd1 Bh7 19.Nb1 Bg6 20.Nc3 Bh7 21.Na4 Rfe8 22.g3 Rad8 23.Nc5 Nxc5 24.dxc5 Be7 25.cxd5 Rxd5 26.Rxd5 exd5 27.Bd4 Bf5 28.Kf1 Kh7 29.Ke1 g5 30.Kd2 Kg6 (Black’s last prepares …Be7-f6, but more precise is 30…g4! – what happens now is embarrassing) 31.g4 Be6 (not 31…Be4 32.f3) 32.Bd3+ f5 33.h4 (this shot will win at least a pawn) 33…Bf6
(33…gxh4 meets with 34.gxf5+ followed by Rg1+ winning a piece, but this move loses, too) 34.gxf5+ 1-0
99. E. Balck – J. Bonin New York 2012 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 a6 3.c3 e6 4.d4 d5 5.e5 Nc6 6.Bd3 Bd7 7.0-0 Rc8 8.a3 c4 9.Bc2 Be7 10.h3 h5 11.g3 Nh6 12.h4 Nf5 13.Bg5 Qb6 14.Ra2 Na5 15.Nbd2 f6 16.exf6 gxf6 17.Bf4 Bd6 18.Bxf5 exf5 19.Bxd6 Qxd6 20.Qe2+ Kf7 21.Qe3 Rce8 22.Qf4 Qxf4 23.gxf4 Rhg8+ 24.Kh2 Re2 25.Raa1 Nb3 26.Rad1 Rg4 27.Nxb3 cxb3 28.Rd2 Bb5 29.Re1 Rxe1 30.Nxe1 Rxh4+ 31.Kg3 Rh1 32.Ng2
32…Bf1! (What’s simpler than liquidation? The threat is simply to play …Rg1, though I’m also threatening 33…h4 34.Nxh4 Rh3+ winning the knight, while 34.Ne3 is met by 34… Rh3#) 33.f3 Bxg2 34.Rxg2 Rc1 0-1. The threat of …Rc2, coupled with the advance of the hpawn, proves too much.
100. J. Bonin – B. Schmauch New Jersey 2000 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bxf6 Bxf6 7.e3 0-0 8.Qc2 c6 9.0-0-0 a5 10.h4 Na6 11.g4 Nb4 12.Qb1 g6 13.g5 Bg7 14.a3 Na6 15.h5 hxg5 16.hxg6 f5 17.cxd5 cxd5 18.Bxa6 Rxa6 19.Rh7 g4 20.Ne5 Bd7 21.Rdh1 Be8 22.Qd3 Bxe5 23.dxe5 Bxg6 24.R7h6 Kg7 25.Ne2 Qc7+ 26.Kb1 Qxe5 27.Nf4 Rf6 28.Qb5 Qc7
29.Rxg6+ (a powerful sacrifice allowing my queen to participate in the attack) 29…Rxg6 30.Qe8 Kf6 (30…Rh6 31.Rxh6 Kxh6 32.Qg6#) 31.Qxg6+ Ke5 32.Nd3+ Ke4 33.Rd1 g3 34.Nc5+ (giving back the piece to set up a mating net) 34…Qxc5 35.Qxg3 (now 36.Qf4# is the threat, and if 35…e5 then 36.Qg2#) 35…d4 36.Qg2+ (36.Qf4 also wins: 36…Kd5 37.Rxd4+ Kc6 Rc4) 36…Ke5, and Black resigned before I could play 37.exd4+. 1-0
Index of Games Oliver Chernin – IM Jay Bonin English Opening IM Jay Bonin – Mackenzie Molner Indian Defense: Pseudo-Benko IM Jay Bonin – Tatiana Vayserberg Dutch Defense IM Jay Bonin – IM Alexander Ostrovskiy Slav Defense IM Jay Bonin – IM Timothy Taylor Pseudo-Trompowsky Warren Wang – IM Jay Bonin Slav Defense Robert Hess – IM Jay Bonin Sicilian Defense IM Jay Bonin – IM Bobby Kurniawan King’s Indian Defense FM Raul Allicock – IM Jay Bonin Modern Defense IM Jay Bonin – GM Maurice Ashley Grünfeld Defense IM Jay Bonin – FM Asa Hoffmann The Rat IM Jay Bonin – David Abramson King’s Indian Defense IM Kamran Shirazi – IM Jay Bonin Sicilian Defense IM Jay Bonin – FM Ronald Young Grünfeld Defense IM Jay Bonin – Majur Juac Benoni Defense IM Jay Bonin – Tim Hoang Slav Defense
David Brodsky – IM Jay Bonin French Defense Eugene Jarva – IM Jay Bonin King’s Indian Defense IM Jay Bonin – IM Justin Sarkar Nimzo-Larsen Attack IM Jay Bonin – IM Justin Sarkar Nimzo-Larsen Attack Ted Belanoff – IM Jay Bonin French Defense Ted Belanoff – IM Jay Bonin French Defense IM Jay Bonin – Ted Belanoff Nimzo-Larsen Attack Nicholas Proudfoot – IM Jay Bonin King’s Indian Defense Nicholas Proudfoot – IM Jay Bonin Nimzo-Larsen Attack IM Jay Bonin – Nicholas Proudfoot King’s Indian Defense IM Jay Bonin – Juan Sena Symmetrical English IM Jay Bonin – Juan Sena Bogo-Indian Defense IM Jay Bonin – FM Boris Privman Pirc Defense IM Jay Bonin – FM Boris Privman Catalan FM Boris Privman – IM Jay Bonin Old Benoni FM Boris Privman – IM Jay Bonin Old Benoni IM Jay Bonin – Edward Kopiecki Pseudo-Trompowsky
IM Jay Bonin – Edward Kopiecki Semi-Tarrasch Edward Kopiecki – IM Jay Bonin Sicilian Defense Edward Kopiecki – IM Jay Bonin Sicilian Defense Todd Bryant – IM Jay Bonin King’s Indian Defense IM Jay Bonin – GM Michael Rohde Nimzo-Larsen Attack Henry Qi – IM Jay Bonin King’s Indian Attack Joshua Rubin – IM Jay Bonin Closed Sicilian IM Jay Bonin – Arthur Tollefson Dutch Defense Isaac Yetzman – IM Jay Bonin King’s Indian Defense IM Jay Bonin – Denys Shmelov English Opening IM Jay Bonin – William Wright Queen’s Gambit Declined Jeffrey Mitchell – IM Jay Bonin Sicilian Kalashnikov FM Kyron Griffith – IM Jay Bonin French Defense Shaun Swindell – IM Jay Bonin King’s Indian Defense IM Jay Bonin – IM Justin Sarkar Caro-Kann Defense Michael Shapiro – IM Jay Bonin Sicilian Defense IM Jay Bonin – IM Yurij Lapshun Pseudo-Trompowsky
IM Jay Bonin – Vladimir Getman Pseudo-Trompowsky Russel Porter – IM Jay Bonin Sicilian Defense IM Jay Bonin – FM Konstantin Dolgitser Baltic Defense IM Jay Bonin – FM Stephen Muhammad Pseudo-Trompowsky IM Jay Bonin – IM Joshua Waitzkin King’s Indian Attack Evan Rosenberg – IM Jay Bonin English Opening IM Jay Bonin – Luis Bernardo Hoyos Millán King’s Indian Defense Roman Krant – IM Jay Bonin King’s Indian Attack Bora Yagiz – IM Jay Bonin Nimzowitsch Defense M. Zlotnikov – IM Jay Bonin English Opening IM Jay Bonin – Norman Rogers King’s Indian Defense IM Jay Bonin – Steven Jablon Pseudo-Trompowsky IM Jay Bonin – Daniel Vasserman King’s Indian Defense IM Jay Bonin – James Jeffrey King’s Indian Defense IM Jay Bonin – Gerald Towns King’s Indian Defense IM Jay Bonin – Carl Brandon Boor Pseudo-Trompowsky IM Jay Bonin – Larry Remlinger King’s Indian Defense
IM Jay Bonin – IM Justin Sarkar Queen’s Indian Defense IM Jay Bonin – Sergey Shchukin King’s Indian Defense IM Jay Bonin – Keith Espinosa King’s Indian Defense IM Jay Bonin – Cameron Hull Trompowsky Attack IM Jay Bonin – Edward Kopiecki Pseudo-Trompowsky IM Jay Bonin – Aravind Kumar Pseudo-Trompowsky IM Jay Bonin – Benjamin Katz Benoni Defense IM Jay Bonin – George Berg Nimzo-Larsen Attack IM Jay Bonin – GM Walter Browne Queen’s Indian Defense IM Jay Bonin – Geoffrey Caveney Old Indian Defense Yefrim Zatz – IM Jay Bonin French Defense IM Jay Bonin – James West King’s Indian Defense IM Jay Bonin – Paul Saint-Amand Budapest Defense Morgan L. Pehme – IM Jay Bonin Indian Defense GM Roman Dzindzichashvili – IM Jay Bonin English Opening Carl Haessler – IM Jay Bonin Nimzo-Larsen Attack IM Jay Bonin – Matthew Horwitz Queen’s Gambit Declined
IM Jay Bonin – FM Carlos Pujols Benoni Defense Oliver Chernin – IM Jay Bonin Queen’s Gambit Declined GM Mikhail Kekelidze – IM Jay Bonin Benoni Defense FM Joshua Colas – IM Jay Bonin Pirc Defense IM Jay Bonin – Jason Margiotta Slav Defense IM Jay Bonin – Kapil Chandran Benoni Defense Tyrell Harriot – IM Jay Bonin Queen’s Pawn Opening IM Jay Bonin – Tim Mirabile Torre Attack IM Jay Bonin – Bora Yagiz Nimzo-Larsen Attack IM Jay Bonin – Andre Zaremba Slav Defense IM Jay Bonin – B. Bournival Pseudo-Trompowsky IM Jay Bonin – Michael Cavallo Dutch Defense IM Michael A. Brooks – IM Jay Bonin King’s Indian Attack IM Jay Bonin – Brian Campbell King’s Indian Defense IM Jay Bonin – Edward Kopiecki Pseudo-Trompowsky IM Jay Bonin – Sam Barsky Pirc Defense IM Jay Bonin – Michael Hehir King’s Indian Defense
IM Jay Bonin – Nick Vetese Queen’s Indian Defense IM Jay Bonin – Hans Niemann Grünfeld Defense GM Samuel Reshevsky – IM Jay Bonin Benoni Defense IM Jay Bonin – GM Robert Byrne King’s Indian Defense IM Jay Bonin – GM Lev Alburt Indian Game IM Jay Bonin – GM Florin Gheorghiu Benoni Defense IM Jay Bonin – GM Stefan Djurić Semi-Tarrasch GM Larry M. Christiansen – IM Jay Bonin Pirc Defense GM Alexander Stripunsky – IM Jay Bonin Petroff Defense IM Jay Bonin – GM Alexander Stripunsky English Opening IM Jay Bonin – GM Hikaru Nakamura Van Geet Opening IM Jay Bonin – GM Alexander Shabalov Slav Defense IM Jay Bonin – GM Alexander Shabalov Slav Defense IM Jay Bonin – GM Gata Kamsky Grünfeld Defense GM Gata Kamsky – IM Jay Bonin Old Indian Defense IM Jay Bonin – GM Aleksander Wojtkiewicz King’s Indian Defense GM Kamil Miton – IM Jay Bonin King’s Indian Defense
IM Jay Bonin – GM Michael Rohde Pirc Defense IM Jay Bonin – GM Alexander Shabalov Pseudo-Trompowsky IM Jay Bonin – GM Mikhail Kekelidze Torre Attack IM Jay Bonin – GM Irina Krush Queen’s Gambit Declined GM Mikhail Kekelidze – IM Jay Bonin Philidor Defense GM Michael Rohde – IM Jay Bonin French Defense IM Jay Bonin – GM Leonid Shamkovich Old Indian Defense GM Bosko Abramović – IM Jay Bonin Pirc Defense GM Alexander Lenderman – IM Jay Bonin French Defense GM Mikhail Kekelidze – IM Jay Bonin Benko Gambit IM Jay Bonin – GM Alexander Bagratoni King’s Indian Defense GM Anthony Miles – IM Jay Bonin Queen’s Gambit, Exchange Variation