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The main playing hall at the Coralville Marriott. “I


remember the drive into Iowa City in college, which feels


like yesterday but was in fact over a decade ago, when this whole place was a cornfield.


Literally. Now it’s an upscale commercial park featuring trendy restaurants with


vegan-friendly menus, four- star hotels, sushi stops,


cobblestone streets, cafes, a bus depot, even an antique


automobile museum. Times change.”


Consider the following two games, presented here in fragmented form, as simply part of the story. As the narrative progresses, so do the games.


NIMZO-INDIAN DEFENSE, CLASSICAL VARIATION (E38) IM Rolando Nolte (FIDE 2417, PHI) GM Sergei Tiviakov (FIDE 2651, NED) JAPFA Grandmaster Tournament 2014 (5), Jakarta, Indonesia, 04.20.2014 True Story.


“You want to see a real will to win?” Gopal


asks. He lays sideways on his twin bed across from mine in the Coralville Marriott, shirt pulled up, and rubs his belly. He makes a few clicks on his old laptop and says, “Here, come feast your eyes on this.” I reach over and grab the laptop from


Gopal. He stands up, pulls his shirt back down and looks for hummus leftover from lunch in the hotel fridge.


1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 c5 5. dxc5 Bxc5 6. Nf3 Qb6 7. e3 Qc7 8. Be2 b6 9. a3 Bb7 10. b4 Be7 11. Bb2 a6 12. Rc1 d6 13. 0-0 Nbd7 14. h3 Rc8 15. e4


“Now like a Sicilian structure,” I say. Gopal


SICILIAN DEFENSE, KAN VARIATION (B42) James Neal (2149) Petros Karagianis (2280)


61st Iowa Open (4), Coralville, Iowa, 08.30.2015


Notes by Gopal Menon.


1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Bd3 Qc7 6. Qe2 Bd6!?


An interesting move, borrowing a common


theme from the Kan’s sister opening, the Taimanov. The idea is to control the dark squares, however it’s value is doubtful. (6. ... Nf6 appears playable anyway: 7. e5 Nd5 8. 0-0 d6 dissolving White’s ‘spearhead’ pawn on e5.


7. Nf3 Perhaps surprised by Black’s last move, White


reacts somewhat limply. A more stern test was 7. Nd2!, a critical move and typical for the 5. Bd3 variation, Nd2 exploits the fact that White didn’t commit the knight to c3. White aims to inconven - ience Black with Nc4.


15. ... 0-0 16. a4 b4 The move 16. c4 appeared to fit better with


White’s previous move. Since Black’s plan to trade dark square bishops, followed by placing pawns


www.uschess.org 21


7. ... Nc6 8. 0-0 Nf6 9. Nbd2 Ng4 Consistent with the plan to control dark squares.


10. h3 Nge5 11. Nc4 Nxc4 12. Bxc4 b5 13. Bd3 Bb7 14. Bd2 Bf4 15. Rfc1


A good plan, ready to probe Black on the queenside.


PHOTO CREDIT: BETHANY CARSON


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