This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Cover Story

-+-+-+k+ zp-+-+-+- P+-+p+pzp +p+nzP-+- -+pzP-+-mK +-zP-zp-+- -+-+-+-+ +-+-tR-+-

After 46. Re1

46. ... Nxc3! Very well judged. Isaac has seen his queenside pawns will be unstoppable.

47. Rxe3 Nd5 48. Rg3 Kg7 49. Kg4 c3 50. Kf3 c2 51. Rg1 b4 52. Ke2 b3 53. Kd2 Nb4 54. Kc3 Na2+, White resigned.

A very strong game from Isaac, filled with interesting ideas.

2012 National High School Championship At A Glance

Date: April 13-15, 2012. Location: Hyatt Regency Minneapolis, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Top Team Finishers: K-12 Championship: 1st, 20: I.S. 318 (Justus Williams, Isaac Barayev, Matthew Kluska, James Black); 2nd, 20: Hunter College Campus School (Alec Getz, Aleksandr Ostrovskiy, Aaron Landesman, Lilia Poteat); K-12 Under 1600: 1st, 20: Miami Senior High (Orestes Ordonez, Raul Rodriguez, Jossie Calderon, Matthew Solis); 2nd, 191

⁄2 : I.S. 318

(Otto Schatz, Jack Wen, Vaughn Soso, Mariah McGreen); K-12 Under 1200: 1st, 21: Abington High School (Eric Goldsborough, Benjamin Kruger, Ryan Klasky, Andrew Wein- rich); 2nd, South Dade Senior High School (Daniel Cruz, Andersen Har- ril, Steven Rojo, Jonathan Armas); K-12 Under 800: 1st, 201

⁄2 ⁄2 : MS 118

(Mohinur Miah, Abdullah Ridwan, Darron McMorries, Kevin Singh); 2nd, 191

: St. Joseph Academy

(Benjamin Hart, Cecilia Tackett, Meggan Kaster, Jack Weil, Maximilian Schieber, Isaac Waters); K-12 Unrated: 1st, 191

⁄2 ⁄2 : Hinsdale

Central High School (Athar Qureshi, Naveen Balaji, Michael Ren, Alan Chen); 2nd, 181

High School (Josiah Biernat, Max Eusterbrock, Michael Diaz, Mohamed Mohamed). Chief Tournament Director: Francisco Guadalupe

: Minneapolis South MATTHEW

Going into the national championship, Justus, James, and Isaac were all consid- ered likely scorers. But three would not be enough: A team’s score at K-12 nation- als is determined by adding the totals of its four top scorers. The fourth score would be a player developed the tradi- tional 318 way: Years of chess instruction inside the school’s walls. Enter Matthew Kluska. In December of 2011, his rating stood at 1396. Then something happened. A previously casual chessplayer caught the bug, and became one of the program’s most studious, hardworking competitors. “The 318 openings are easy to remem-

ber, but I felt my endings needed improvement.” Matthew took out two endgame texts from the school library, working through them independently. He also benefited from an endgame class ses- sion with GM Sher, and started solving problems on his own. During our conver- sation about his study habits, he stopped, his thoughts interrupted by a recent game a friend played. “In Kenneth [Martin]’s last round game (at the junior high school nationals) there was a win in the ending: ... h5 and then you go ... Kh7-g6.” By April of 2012, Matthew’s rating was

1844. While gaining 400 points, he had developed a preference for complex, asym- metrical positions: His French repertoire features the ... Rxf3 Exchange sacrifice in the Tarrasch, and against 1. d4 he aims for Nimzo-Indian structures. His taste in the opening is not easy to satisfy; Matthew stubbornly avoids ... d5 in queen pawn positions, treasuring his flexibility in the center. Entering the high school nationals,

Matthew was rated 1884, a personal best. However, things did not start well: An early blunder and opening miscue placed him at 1

⁄2 out of 2. Aiming to reverse his

fortunes, he took a disciplined course: Getting extra sleep every night and care- fully blunder checking every move. He scored 31

⁄2 from the next 4, reaching 4/6

entering the last round. Though he was rated 1415 in December, Matthew Kluska would be playing for the high school national championship in the last round.


Heading into the last round, the top of the standings looked like this: I.S. 318: 161

⁄2 Hunter: 161 ⁄2

Thomas Jefferson: 16 Catalina Foothills: 16

Assistant Principal John Galvin’s sheet

was divided into sections, each one list- ing the pairings and expected results of a different team. The rules permit play-

24 Chess Life — July 2012

ers to consult their coaches if a draw is offered in the final round. The more com- plete the coach’s information, the greater the chance of making a correct decision. But with the top of the table so packed, the players received unambiguous pregame instructions from Galvin and Spiegel: Fight for the win. The top of 318’s scorecard looked like this:

Justus Williams: 41

James Black: 4 Isaac Barayev: 4 Matthew Kluska: 4 Kenneth Martin: 4

At times, Spiegel wonders how much

concept her students have of playing for the team: At the end of the day, chess is an individual sport, and the team score is calculated by adding four independent outcomes. But with the last round about to begin, there could be no doubt. None of the possible scorers took their instruc- tion to avoid a draw as an infringement on their agency, an undue imposition. They were there as a team, and would doggedly pursue the result the team required. Justus, James, and Isaac were all

paired down, thanks to their high rat- ings. They would likely be the top three scorers. The toughest assignments fell to the A players, Matthew and Kenneth: Each would face an expert in a situation where only a win would do. Without one of them getting to 5 points, first place would likely be out of reach. Kenneth received a nightmare pairing:

Black versus Danny Feng, a 318 alumnus who entered the school as a beginner and became an expert, making him one of the greatest ‘pure’ products in the program’s history. Spiegel excused herself from preparing for her former star, and Kenneth and I grimly sat down to prepare for a national championship game against his old teammate. On the way to the game, Mr. Galvin and Danny awkwardly crossed paths, drawing a question Danny knew the answer to: “Did you prepare for me?” It was in vain. Danny sat down and

played 1. a3, a move he uses as a trans- positional tool when worried about preparation. Kenneth dutifully fought for the win, going up a pawn and rejecting multiple continuations that appeared drawish. But Danny was too solid. He set up a queenside blockade, then used a tactical resource to win two pawns and the game. Kenneth’s hard work all tour- nament was rewarded with a gain in rating, but not the elusive fifth point his team needed. James returned early and distraught:

He had drawn his lower rated opponent. “Why is it that I can’t buy a win?” Four queens had appeared on the board in a wild encounter, and James had been unable to regain control. He had started ⁄2 /6

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76