Donald Byrne - Penn State Masters
Day Three

Round Four

The games of this round may have shown that the players were battling the effects of fatigue. Three draws ended in less than 20 moves and one game ended in a terrible blunder. Perhaps playing two games in a day (at this level) has its drawbacks.


Belorusov- Kriventsov, ½-½. Neither player broke into a sweat and agreed to a 8-move draw.

Charbonneau-Rogers, 0-1. This was major disaster for Charbonneau as his IM norm chances were hurt by an incredible blunder. Rogers stuck to his script and continued with his favorite …g6  Caro Kann. Typical of hypermodern openings, an interesting balance occurred. The Canadian decided to play for space and open lines after 9.dxc5. Rogers hatched a creative plan and marched forward with the emboldened 12… g5!? followed by 13… g4!? White's pawn structure was weakened after 16… Nxe5, and Charbonneau would rely on open lines to get at the king. Rogers was careful not to fall for any traps allowing a rapid attack on his centralized king and played 18… Qa6. Taking the c3-pawn would have landed him in trouble after 19.Rxb7. What happened next was an example of what GM Nikolai Krogius called "deficiency of attention." The Canadian master took the h6-pawn and resigned immediately after 21… Rxg3+! as 22.fxg3 loses the queen to Bxd4+! Charbonneau claimed to be better after 21.Qe2 instead of 21.Qxh6?? He does have an advantage in space and his pieces would have been better.

Formanek-Simpson, ½-½. This game featured a King's Indian that seemed destined for gridlock.  A draw was decided before testing the waters. This may have been good for Simpson as he feels more comfortable in wide-open positions where his pieces can roam around the board. Formanek remains within striking distance of the lead.

Muhammad-Chiong, 0-1. Interesting game… pure positional play and subtle nuances. Both players were probably satisfied with their positions out of the opening and would carry out aggressive campaigns on different parts of the board… Chiong on the queenside and Muhammad in the center. The problem for Muhammad was that Chiong queenside initiative demanded immediate attention. Black had cleared out a path on the queenside for the passed pawn and white had to set up a knight blockade. The heat was turned up a notch, as black was able to create a crushing bind.  Unable to break black's suffocating pressure, white gave up.

Adu-Schneider, ½-½. Another lifeless draw as players seem to be conserving energy for the last four rounds.  This game featured a few traps, and in the end, the position was unclear. White has a better pawn structure, but his pieces were awkward. Black had piece play, but his king's position was weakened. The players decided that these factors cancelled each other, and agreed to a draw.

Standings: Chiong, Rogers, ; Formanek, ; Charbonneau, Kriventsov,  1½; Muhammad, 1; Adu, Belorusov, Schneider, Simpson, ½.

Games from Round Four (link to Penn State)
Player Photo Gallery

Games played in advance (Round Nine)

Round nine was actually played on Friday, 22 February 2002. This was done to accommodate the travel schedule and personal obligations of the players.


Chiong-Kriventsov, 0-1. This game saw 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.d5!? This move seemed atypical in that it allowed the g7-bishop room to unleash power, and allowed black to attack the center swiftly with 5… c6 and 7…b5! White could not dawdle with 9.Nxb5?! due to black's "Benko-like" pressure on the queenside.  The fireworks started toward the end of the game when the Filipino tried to sack a queen to promote a pawn resting on the seventh rank.  The black queen moved in double-time and caught the  pawn… white's last hope.

Rogers-Schneider, 1-0. This match featured the tournament front-runner with the player sharing the basement cellar.  Rogers was impressive in the latter part of last year, and has started strong in this tourney. Here he makes quick work of Schneider after capitalizing on his opening sluggishness. The Albin-Chatard attack is a dangerous line of the French, but shouldn't pose a problem if black is prepared.  However, after 9.Qh5!, black was already busted. Rogers won the game decisively despite the fact that he never moved his rooks or king from their original squares!!

Simpson-Charbonneau, 0-1. This was a disaster for Simpson who is trying to break into the win column against Canada's rising star. Simpson went back to 1.c4 but neglected his development in the opening. Black achieved piece mobility and white began retreating.  White failed to solve his opening problems and his king got stuck in the center of the board under the eye of menacing black pieces. In the final position, he would lose massive material or surrender mate.

Formanek-Belorusov, ½-½.  This was a quick draw. Neither side had the stomach for battle this morning.

Muhammad-Adu, ½-½. So far, this is one of the most intriguing games of the tournament. Muhammad's Ra3-e3 manuever was interesting. He tried to take advantage of black's peculiar piece positioning. Adu then blundered a pawn with 9… Nbc6? but developed compensation for the pawn after 18… Na5.  After the queens were traded, minor pieces ruled the game, and the ace from Nigeria tried to put the squeeze on Muhammad's position. More pieces were traded and a level rook ending ensued.  In the final position, a well-known rook ending was reached.

Standings: Rogers, 4½; Chiong, ; Formanek, 3; Charbonneau, Kriventsov,  2½; Adu, Belorusov, Muhammad, 1½; Schneider, Simpson, ½.

Games from Round Nine (link to Penn State)
Player Photo Gallery