Wilbert Paige Memorial: Round #5

Wilbert Paige Memorial
(14-23rd of July 2001, Harlem NY, Hotel Theresa)

Round #5 (Wednesday, 18 July 2001)

Pre-game analysis: Interesting matchups. Ernest “Steve” Colding, the proprietor of a new chess club in Brooklyn has been shut out of the win column, but don’t write him out of this matchup. Kobese of course, is a super-solid player and Colding will undoubtedly attempt to crack his fortress with a bit of provocation. Muhammad-Simutowe is certainly the marquis matchup of the round. Muhammad is perhaps the best-prepared player in the tournament and Simutowe is a naturally-gifted player who can and will apply pressure to Muhammad’s quiet opening system. Muhammad needs three points out of five rounds to win his first IM norm and is in a good position to do so. Solomon-Simpson will probably be a slugfest. Simpson has been erratic and has not been able to get into his attacking zone. Solomon is coming off on a resounding win over IM Simutowe and is playing with a lot of confidence. Nsubuga may have problems against Schleifer. Nsubuga’s positional style is quite solid, but he cannot repeat the same positional mistakes as he did against Rogers. If he does, Schleifer will get a position like the one he got against Solomon. . . all of his black pieces entrenched in the white camp. Morrison-Rogers should be interesting; both have fighting styles. Both take few risks, but will launch attacks if there is an opening. Rogers needs a win to keep IM norm hopes within reason.

The Battle in Harlem!! Copyright ©, Daaim Shabazz.

The Battle in Harlem!!

Kobese-Colding, 1-0
Muhammad-Simutowe, 1-0
Solomon-Simpson, 0-1
Nsubuga-Schleifer, 0-1
Morrison-Rogers, ½½

Post-mortem analysis: Colding wasted precious time in the opening and ended up getting his king stuck in the center of the board. Kobese proceeded to open all fronts to the exposed king and made quick work of the New York Master. Muhammad played his favorite London System and aggressively expanded with 15. c5!? After much speculative play, Simutowe forged ahead into unfavorable complications. He had played 11. . . f5 and then traded off his dark-squared bishop leaving the king naked. Muhammad sidestepped counterplay, forged ahead and mated Simutowe. Simpson trotted out the Blumfield Gambit against Solomon and developed activity for his pieces. While he was saddled with a blockaded isolated pawn, Simpson decided to play around isolani and conjured up a deadly attack on Solomon’s king. His 33. . . Ne3! was a thunderbolt that sent Solomon reeling. . . he resigned a few moves later.

Two-time Ugandan Olympian, NM Grace Nsubuga. Copyright ©, Daaim Shabazz.

Two-time Ugandan Olympian, NM Grace Nsubuga

The most heartbreaking game of the round was that of Nsubuga’s effort against Schleifer, the Canadian IM. The Ugandan national played an adventurous opening, and despite apparent misplacement of pieces, he later developed an advantage. After the game built up to a pitch, Nsubuga penetrated and then sacked an exchange for what seemed like an irresistible attack. However, he missed the best continuation after which Schleifer was happy to demonstrate the technique on how to win an ending an exchange up.

Morrison-Rogers game was perhaps one of the most exciting (from beginning to end). After a peculiar opening in which black had to play 8. . . Kf8 on move eight, black later equalized, sacked a pawn to open a file, and then “blitzed” the white king. Morrison somehow wiggled out of an inferior position, and after developing a better position in the ending, he could not make use of his extra pawn. The game was drawn.

John Evans... former national champion of Panama. Copyright ©, Daaim Shabazz.

John Evans… former national champion of Panama visiting

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