FM Philip Corbin (2235)
FM Delisle Warner (2248)

Barbados Championship (11)

FM Delisle Warner has scored 4.5 in the last five encounters with Corbin becoming reminiscent of the Tal-Korchnoi rivalry. Warner can clinch the title with a draw, but of course Corbin needs a win for the tiebreak. Perhaps Corbin will prepare some "home cooking" to rattle Warner in this high-pressure situation.

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2!? According to IM Kevin Denny, Corbin doesn't usually play the Tarrasch, so apparently he is avoiding Warner's home preparation. 3... Nf6 4. e5 Ne4!? Well... maybe not! A surprise move by Warner... apparently the result of his OWN home-preparation. Alas... the battle begins! 4... Nfd7 5. f4 (5. Bd3 c5 6. c3 Nc6 7. Ne2 Qb6 8. Nf3 cxd4 9. cxd4 f6 10. exf6 Nxf6 11. O-O Bd6 was once popular.) 5... c5 6. c3 Nc6 7. Ndf3 Qb6 8. g3 cxd4 9. cxd4 Bb4+ 10. Kf2 g5!? is another popular line. 5. Bd3 5. Nxe4 dxe4 6. Be3 (6. c3 c5) (6. f3 c5) 5... Nxd2 6. Bxd2 c5 7. c3 Qb6?!

Mixing it up right away. Visitors at the Internet Chess Club stated that this is not the best game for Warner and plays into the hands of Corbin. 8. Nf3 c4 9. Bc2 Qxb2 12-time Barbadian Champion IM Kevin Denny sat out the tournament, but was following the contest at the ICC. He mentioned: "Corbin likes chaos....while Warner likes they should both be happy." 10. O-O Be7 11. a4 Qb6 12. Ng5 Bxg5 13. Bxg5 White's bishop is a tower of power, but Fritz 8 evaluates the position as roughly equal. 13... Nc6 14. Bc1 Interesting choice by Corbin. He decides that the dark-squared bishop is better placed along the a3-f8 diagonal. Another suggested move at the ICC was 14. f4?! but after 14... h6 15. Bh4 the bishop appears to be misplaced. 14... Qa5 15. Qf3!? The move everyone wanted to see was 15. Qg4!? which forces 15... Kf8 (15... g6 would make Corbin salivate) (15... Qxc3?? 16. Qxg7 Qxa1 17. Qxh8+ Kd7 18. Qxh7) I suggested 15. Qe1!? O-O 16. Ba3 (16. f4?! f6) 16... Rd8 and after 17. f4! white has a nice attacking formation with ideas like Rf3 and Qh4. 15... Bd7 At this point, Dr. Kumar Areti in Barbados phoned me and mentioned that both players were taking their time and at this point Warner had 42 minutes left... Corbin had 46. 16. Ba3 O-O-O 17. Rfb1 a6?

This move is played to prevent Rb5, but loses material to 18. Bc5! 18. Qxf7?? and Black plays "Pac-Man" on the white pawn chain after 18... Qxc3 19. Ra2 Qxd4 20. Rab2 Nxe5 18... Qc7 Will Corbin take the exchange or go for a direct onslaught on the weakened queenside? 19. Bb6 Qb8 20. Rb2 Instead of netting the exchange, Corbin prefers to build up the attack on the dark squares. Perhaps he felt that Warner could establish a fortress in the closed position after moves like 20. Bxd8 Nxd8 21. Qg3 (21. Rb6?! Qc7 22. Rab1 Bb5 23. Rd6 Bc6) 21... g6 20... Be8 20... Rdf8 21. Bc5 and doubling the rooks is strong. 21. Qg3 Probing more weaknesses. 21... g6 22. Rab1 Rd7 23. a5 f5 24. Ba4 24. exf6 Qxg3 25. fxg3 Rf7 26. Rf1 Nb8 27. g4 g5 24... Rf7 25. f4 Bd7 White has cemented his grip on the dark squares while black's Queen is virtually lifeless on b8. The problem is white has to find a way in or black may start kingside activity. 26. Qf2? Nxe5! Now the counterattack! 27. dxe5 Bxa4 28. Ba7 This game has taken a turn and at this point Corbin has only 2:16 minutes left on his clock! No longer having the two bishops, white will have to rely on weaknesses, but black is solid and merely has to avoid any tricks. 28... Qc7 29. Rxb7 Qxb7 30. Rxb7 Kxb7 31. Bc5 31. Qb6+?? Ka8 32. Qb4 (32. Qxe6 Rxa7 33. Qxd5+ Rb7 34. Qxc4 Bb5) 32... Kxa7 33. Qxa4 Rc7 and Black is better. 31... Rc7 32. Bd6 Rc6 Strangely enough black's rooks still have no open lines. 33. Qh4 d4! An exclamation point not only because it is a good move, but with Corbin in serious time pressure, it will certainly require some extra thought. Former Barbados Champion, FM Ron Buckmire had a different view: "In my gut I think that 33..d4! should still be winning for white but I think that it may force the draw. If Black gets a pawn to c3 then all he needs is a tempo to get to c2 and the position is drawn. What's amazing is that Warner did NOT have that in mind when he played d4, he just wanted to play d3." 34. Qe7+ Ka8 35. Bc5 Rxc5 36. Qxc5 d3? 36... dxc3 37. Qxc4 c2 38. Qxa6+ Kb8= when white has to take the perpetual check. 37. Qxc4 Bb5 38. Qd4 FM Buckmire recommended Qc7! and Fritz 8 gives the following line: 38. Qc7! Rb8 39. Kf2 Rb7 40. Qc8+ Rb8 41. Qxe6 Rd8 42. Qf6 Rd5 43. Qf7 Rd8 44. Qc7 Rd7 45. Qc8+ Ka7 46. e6 38... Rc8 39. Kf2 Rc7 40. Qd8+ Kb7 41. Ke3

and after making his move Corbin flagged! Fritz 8 evaluates the position as winning for white, but it hard to see how white could win this. It appears to be dynamic equality. Nevertheless, Warner wins the Barbados Championship with a perfect 11-0 score. Congratulations to FM Delisle Warner, the new Bajan Champion! 0-1 [Shabazz D.]

Game(s) in PGN