Scholastics / Max Lu “I think there’s a lot of interesting games in
it,” Max said. “I also like the history of it.” Max owns about 20 chess books. He checks
out any number of others from the library. His favorite chess engine is stockfish.org
“because it’s free.” He also uses the tallchesscom app. But he doesn’t place an inordinate amount of trust in computers. “Sometimes computers are wrong, too,” Max
says. “Computers have limitations.” Max said GM Hikaru Nakamura is one of his
MAX IN GREECE Nico Chasin (FIDE 1513, USA) CM Max Lu (FIDE 1844, USA) FIDE World Youth - Cadets Chess Championships - open U10 (8), Porto Carras - Halkidiki, 11.02.2015
favorite contemporary players. “I like watching his rapid games,” Max said of Nakamura. “I like his game against Rybka with six bishops,”
Max says of the 2008 three-minute blitz game that Nakamura played against the chess engine and promoted to six bishops. Among historical figures, Max counts Fischer
and Kasparov among his favorites. “I like Fischer because I like his attacking style
play,” Max said. “And also Kasparov be cause he understood all parts of the game.”
When Max trekked to Greece this past fall to compete in the World Youth & Cadets Champi- onship, he used the opportunity for more than just chess. “I got to play pingpong and practice my Spanish
with members of the Spanish team,” Max recalled. Max is critical of the games he played in Greece. “Some of them were not the best games,” he said. “Most of them were boring.” Below, Max annotates his favorite effort from the World Youth Championship.
a couple reasons. Number one is that it fixes the weak ness on a4 forever. Now a4 has become a target for my bishop and one of the white pieces will be stuck babysitting it. Secondly, it opens up a6 for my bishop to attack d3. Thirdly, if White gets to play a4- a5 then a6 becomes a target to Nc5.
tant piece in the endgame. 25. ... Ke7 26. Ke2 Ne8
This may not be the best move, BLACK TO MOVE
7. ... Qb6 8. Rb1 Bd7 9. Be3 e6 10. 0-0 Bd6 11. h3 0-0 12. b4 Qc7 13. b5 Nb4 14. bxa6 bxa6 15. Qd2 Nxd3 16. cxd3
White unexpectedly compro -
mises his pawn structure, so he must want to open an extra file for his other rook.
16. ... Rab8 17. Rxb8 Rxb8 18. Rc1 Ba3 19. Bf4 Bxc1 20. Nxc1
Here 20. ... Bxc7 also came into consideration for White.
20. ... Qb6 21. Bxb8 Qxb8 22. Nb3 To try to get to c5 and attack a6.
22. ... Qb4 23. Nd1 Qxd2 24. Nxd2
This game demonstrates the
imbalances between the bishop and the knight.
24. ... Kf8 25. Kf1
(see diagram next column) We are both getting our kings
ready for the long struggle in the center as the king is a very impor-
34 March 2016 | Chess Life This check is very important for
but it's still an interesting move possibly wanting to play ... f7-f6 and ... e6-e5 or maybe trying to bring the knight to f5 or b5. I played this move because I think it’s flexible.
27. Nb3 Kd6 28. Kd2 Kc6 Wanting to go to b6 in case of
Nc5 and trading off knights with ... Nd6-b7.
29. Nc5 Executing his plan of going to
c5 to pressure a6 and making my bishop temporarily passive.
29. ... Bc8 30... Kc3 Nd6 31. a4 Stopping ... Nb5+.
31. ... f6 32. Ne3 Kb6 33. g4 Nb7 34. Nxb7 Bxb7 35. Kb4 a5+
36. Kb3 Kc6 Rushing to the center to play ...
e6-e5. 37. f4 Kd6 38. Kc3 Bc6
Keeping the king close to the a4-pawn.
39. Kb3 g6 Preventing Nf5(+) after ... e6-e5.
40. Ka3 e5 41. fxe5+ fxe5 42. Nc2 Bb7 43. Kb3 exd4 44. Nxd4 Ke5 45. Kc3 Kf4 46. Ne6+ Ke3 47. Nd4
Basically a repetition, but with
my king on e3. 47. ... h6 48. g5
This is desperation. Almost
anything else was better. (48. Nb3 Bc6 49. Nxa5 Bxa4 50. Kb4 Bc2 51. Kc5 d4 52. Nc4+ Kxd3 53. Nd6 Ba4 54. Kb4 Bd1).
48. ... hxg5 49. Ne6 Bc6 Now that the position has
opened up a bit, the bishop has gotten a lot better and is better than the knight.
50. Nxg5 Bxa4 Now Black is just up a pawn for
nothing. 51. Ne6 Bd7 52. Nc7 Bc6
I rejected 52. ... d4+ because I underestimated the power of the passed pawn. (52. ... d4+ 53. Kc4 Bxh3 54. Nd5+ Kd2 55. Kxd4 Bf5
56. Ne7 Bxd3 57. Nxg6 a4! 58. Ne5 a3 59. Nxd3 a2 60. Nc5 Kc2!).
53. Ne6 Bb5 54. d4 Kf3 55. Ng5+ Kf4 56. Ne6+ Kf5
The dance with the knight doesn’t stop my plans.
57. Nc7 Bc6 58. Na6 Kg5 Trying to gain some time.
59. Nc5 Kh4 60. Ne6 Another knight dance. I can’t
take h3 because of Nf4+ and the reduction of material on the board the harder it is to win.
60. ... g5 61. Kb2 Moving the king away from the
d4- and h3- pawns is certainly not right, but White is tied up anyway.
61. ... Bd7 62. Nc7 Bc6 63. Ne6 Kh5
Trying to trap the knight in
enemy territory and also protect d5 to leave my bishop free to target h3.
64. Nc7 Kg6 65. Kc3 Kf6 66. Kd3 Ke7
Mission accomplished. 67. Kc3 Kd6, White resigned.
Given his remarkable maturity, it only seemed fitting to ask Max the question that just about every kid gets asked from time to time—the one about what the child wants to “be” when he or she grows up. The answer he gave shows that—just as he did when he first started playing chess several years ago—he still has an affinity for animals. “Maybe I want to take care of
animals,” Max said. “I’m not sure.”
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