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  • Writer's pictureOklahoma Chess Association

Two games + some photos of the 2023 Rozsa Trophy invitational in Jenks

Amburgy, Ryan (2360) Zelnick, David (2094) [A56]

[Notes by Max Barnes (MB) / Joe Veal (JV)]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e5

(JV) Zelnick's interesting choice to go into the Czech Benoni reminded of a State Scholastic Championship game a few years ago, Amburgy/Teubner. Typically, Zelnick essays the Tarrasch Defense for Black.

4.Nc3 d6 5.e4 Be7 6.h3 h5 7.Nf3 Nbd7 8.Bd3 Nf8 9.Be3 Ng6 10.Qd2 h4

(MB) The last move of theory. Usually here, white opts to castle Queenside and go for play on the Kingside.

11.Ng1 Nh5 12.Nge2 Bf6 13.0–0 Bd7

(MB) Black should have an easier time pushing on the queenside.


(MB) Here black can play 14... Ngf4, as after 15. Nxf4 exf4 16. Bxf4 Nxf4 17. Qxf4 Be5 18. Qe3 g5, black is pushing on the Kingside and white's pieces are somewhat misplaced.

14...a6 15.b4 b6

[(MB) Alternatives: 15...Ngf4 or 15...Nhf4] 16.bxc5 bxc5 17.Rb3

(Tom B Comment: My suggestion here would be the positional move 17.Bc2 intending Ba4, trading off white's bad bishop for black's good one and apparently preventing the strong sacrifice black makes in a few moves.)

17...Qc8 18.Rfb1

(JV)-Ryan has a nagging advantage; however, he needed to play 18. Kh2 to keep his edge and prevent Bxh3. Once Zelnick plays Bxh3, he is better. (Engines may say it is equal but it is quite difficult to defend against the attack).


(MB) The idea here, as seen in the game, is that after 19. gxh3 Qxh3, Black's threat of Ng3 is very strong.

19.gxh3 Qxh3 20.Rb8+

(JV)- This is an error by Ryan where the engine suggests Bc2 as a defense, but it is a human one. 20...Rxb8 21.Rxb8+ Bd8 22.Qd1

[(MB) This is an important move, as the queen needs to get to f3 to try and defend the attack.]

22...Ng3 23.Nxg3 hxg3 24.Qf3 Nh4

[(MB) Black is significantly better here.]

25.Rxd8+ Kxd8 26.Bg5+ f6 27.Bxf6+?

(MB) A critical mistake. Better was 27. Bxh4, followed by 27... gxf2+ 28. Kxf2 Qh2+! 29. Ke1 Rxh4 where black still has an advantage. However, after … 27...Ke8 (MB) Black could have safely taken 27... gxf6 and then ran his king to c8/b6 to avoid the checks, where he would be up an exchange with a mating attack.

(JV)- Ryan resorted to what I call a "bluff counter sacrifice" in a dead lost position on move 27. Bxf6+.

27...gxf6 28.Qxf6+ Kc7 29.Qe7+ Kc8 28.Bxh4 gxf2+ 29.Kxf2 Rf8 30.Qxf8+ Kxf8

(MB) Although this endgame is technically winning for black, it can be hard to prove against a strong player.

31.Bg3 Qh6 32.Ke2 Qc1 33.Be1

(MB) Black should aim to push his G-pawn sooner rather than later.

33...Qf4 34.Nd1 Qg4+ 35.Kd2 Qf3 36.Ne3

(MB) Now that white has managed to get his Knight to e3, a draw is possible, as he has close to achieved a fortress-like setup.

36...g6 37.a3 Ke7 38.Bh4+ Kd7

(MB) A draw was agreed, as it is hard for Black to make any progress. He would like to push his G-pawn down the board, but as he only has one piece to white's three, any time that a square is defended twice the pawn cannot move there, making it very hard to prove any advantage.


Braunlich, Tom (2214) Hulsey, Mark (2151) [E92]

[Notes by Max Barnes (MB) / Joe Veal (JV)]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 0–0 5.e4 d6 6.Be2 e5 7.d5

(JV)- The Petrosian Variation of the KID.)

7...a5 8.Nd2

(TB comments; This is a relatively recent way to approach this variation. The old way was 8.Bg5 to slow Black's kingside play, followed by castling kingside, with queenside expansion coming for white. But, as Mark said after the game, Kasparov had shown how to deal with that for Black.)

8...Na6 9.h4!?

(JV)- Braunlich's h4 put Mark to a tough choice (allow White to play h5, or block it and possibly never attaining the f5 break). Hulsey blocked but he had issues generating the typical KID counterplay.

9...h5 10.Nf1 Nc5 11.f3

(MB) White's most common move here is 11. Bg5. By playing f3, White defends the e4 pawn, while also creating the long-term opportunity of moving g2–g4 to start an attack.

11...Bd7 12.Be3 Qe7 13.Qd2 Rfb8 14.0–0–0

(MB) By playing 14.0–0–0, white has made his attacking intentions clear on the Kingside. The game will now be a race; White will try and breakthrough on the G and H files, and black will try to break through on the A and B files, and whoever does so faster will most likely win.


(MB) 14... c6 is an improvement, as time is of the essence here. Black's idea here is to move his knight to g8 and potentially trade Bishops on h6; however, 14... Kh7 is a little too slow.

(JV)- NM Hulsey was wanting to seal off Kingside counterplay before undertaking Queenside play. Engine suggests 14...c6 but after 14...c6 15.dxc6 bxc6 16.Qxd6 Qxd6 17.Rxd6 Ne6 Black is scrambling for drawing chances.

(Tom B comments: Mark explained after the game his original intention here had been to gambit the exchange with 14...b5!? 15.cxb5 Qe8!? followed by taking twice on b5. However, he decided it needed preparation to work. (i.e., perhaps play ...a4...a3 first). Of course, the engine sneers at this exchange gambit as no good, but in a practical game it might have been worth trying. Instead, he tries to stabilize his kingside defenses first, but said he regretted that later, as he never gets the chance for the sac.)


(JV)- This is a natural move that does not spoil the advantage, but the engine suggests g4 as more to the point. [15.g4 hxg4 16.h5!?)

15...Qf8 16.g4 16… Ng8 17. gxh5

(MB) White's advantage is clear; he has made a lot of progress in the direction of Black's King.


(JV)- A strange move, but Black has issues. If 17...gxh5 18.Ng3 wins the h-pawn with the attack coming. At this point, Black is dead lost as long as Tom is patient.

18. hxg6+ Nxg6 19.h5 Nf4 20.h6 Bh8 21.Ng3

(MB) Although 21. Bxf4 may "win a pawn," allowing Black's h8 bishop the open a1–h8 diagonal is definitely not worth it, as then Black's attack on the Queenside becomes much more menacing.

21...Nh3 22.Be3 Nf4 23.Nh5 a4 24.Rdg1 Ng6 25.Ng7 a3 26.b3

(MB) By playing b3, white has stopped all of Black's attacking ideas. There just aren't enough Black pieces helping on the Queenside to break through.

26...Qe7 27.Bg5 f6 28.Be3 Rg8 29.Nf5 Qf7 30.Bf1

(MB) White is rerouting his pieces to their best possible squares, slowly preparing a breakthrough on the Kingside (possibly through Bf1–h3–g4–h5, if allowed) 30...Ne7?? 31.Rg7+ (MB) Ending the game on the spot. After 31... Bxg7 32. hxg7+, Black will either get mated or have to sacrifice his queen with 32... Qh5. A very well-played game by Braunlich, with a nice tactical finish.


From Tom Braunlich: This is my favorite picture for the tournament. Gabe Coss, who made the trophy, also made a "tiny trophy" for second place. It was meant as a joke, but everybody loved it!

Now that's a good sport: FM Ryan Amburgy shows off his "tiny trophy" for second place.

TD Paul Covington presents the Rozsa Trophy to Tom Braunlich.

The field (from left): Thomas Amburn, Tom Braunlich, TD Paul Covington, Ryan Amburgy, David Zelnick, Anthony Paolercio, and Mark Hulsey

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