Wilbert Paige Memorial: Round #6

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

Round #6 (Thursday, 19 July 2001)

Pre-game analysis: Rogers came off of an exciting draw and will attempt to keep his norm hopes alive against the winless Colding. Colding had chances against Morrison, but little else has gone his way this tournament… he’s a much better player than his score indicates. This will be a hard-fought game, but Colding may be able to neutralize Rogers. Simutowe-Nsubuga is a battle of players with contrasting styles. Nsubuga should be very familiar with Simutowe’s style and may be able to surprise the Zambian who will be very confident in this matchup.

FM Stephen Muhammad on verge of clinching IM norm.

FM Stephen Muhammad on verge of clinching IM norm.

In Simpson-Muhammad, both players are coming off of exciting games and will be looking to keep the momentum going. A win by Muhammad will almost clinch an IM norm. Simpson will be looking to throw some blows at Muhammad who, on occasion, has problems with very aggressive players. The battle of the two South Africans will certainly be watched in Gauteng and Cape provinces. Kobese will certainly have the edge as the more seasoned of the two and will of course have to face Solomon’s favorite Lasker-Pelikan Sicilian if he plays his usual 1. e4. Schleifer-Morrison will be a key matchup as IM Schleifer is trying to stay ahead of the field and FM Morrison is trying to keep his quest for the IM title alive. FM Morrison is under heavy pressure to score three points out of his last four encounters. He’ll have a tough road, but may get an upset if the Canadian IM relaxes as he did in his near-loss against Nsubuga.

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

Post-mortem analysis: What an eventful day! Colding broke his scoreless drought in an exciting draw with Rogers. The game was very tactical as Rogers uncorked a double sacrifice beginning with 20…Rxc3!? A messy game ensued, and Colding went for the win with 40. Rxf5!? The sack wouldn’t be enough and the game petered to a drawn ending. Both the longest game and shortest (decisive) games were played and involved the four African players sitting at the same table! Simutowe mopped up Nsubuga in a 24-move rout after taking advantage of Nsubuga’s poor handling of the Nimzo-Indian. The Zambian star hit Nsubuga with the tactical shot, 20. Nxd5! Not realizing the danger, Nsubuga blundered with 20. . . Nxd5? and his position fell like a house of cards after 21. Nc6. The biggest story of the day was a 6-hour and 50 minute marathon between the two South African players.

Kobese vs. Solomon (foreground); Simutowe vs. Nsubuga (background). Copyright ©, Daaim Shabazz.

IM Watu Kobese vs. FM Kenny Solomon (foreground)
IM Amon Simutowe vs. NM Grace Nsubuga (background)

Kobese, a two-time African zonal champion, side-stepped Solomon’s prepared lines with the Rossolimo Sicilian. He then dominated play throughout and eventually won a pawn. However, Solomon’s stubborn defense and well-timed replies forced a queen ending which are perhaps the most difficult to win due to drawing tricks. Solomon forced a queen trade and at 9:50 p.m. (after almost seven hours of play), the game ended in a 91-move draw. The up-and-coming Solomon is gaining valuable experience and still has a remote chance at an IM norm if he wins his last three games. FM Muhammad has been the most consistent in this tournament and had a surprisingly easy time with FM Simpson. Simpson tried to create imbalances in the position, but ended up making a mess of his position. Muhammad surgically cut through white’s position like a laser beam and now his IM norm is highly probable.

Schleifer vs. Morrison (foreground); Colding and Simpson (background). Copyright ©, Daaim Shabazz.

IM Michael Schleifer vs. FM William Morrison (foreground)
NM Ernest Colding and FM Ron Simpson (background)
Photos by Daaim Shabazz

The Morrison-Schleifer game featured some interesting ideas. The game featured a lot of maneuvering as both players played on their own halves of the board. However, there were many points where both players could’ve gone wrong due to the dynamism of the position. In the final position, Morrison extra pawn is in trouble and a dynamic balance will be achieved.

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