Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Chess Column: Ulvestad

Albert Frank Headshot by Albert Frank

In an earlier chess column, I have tried to show that chess is an art form. The surrealistic final position of the game Levitzky - Marshall was a good example. Some readers were enthusiastic about it. So, in this column, I'll show another example of a game with several surrealistic moves, that I won against American Master Olaf Ulvestad.

Olaf Ulvestad
Olaf Ulvestad

Olaf Ulvestad was born in Seattle the 27th of October 1912. But although American by birth, his ancestors originated from Norway. His remarkable entry to the chess scene was at the legendary match, the Soviet Union - USA in Moscow in 1946, where he won one of his two games against David Bronstein (USSR Champion in 1948), winner in 1950 of the Candidates tournament to challenge the World Champion, and in 1951 playing to a tie with Botvinnik in the match for the title of World chess champion - Botvinnik remained champion because a challenger must defeat the champion in order to become champion).

Ulvestad was champion of the State of Washington in 1934, 1952 and 1956.

In the sixties, he went to live in Andorra (a small country between Spain and France), and played first board in the 1970 chess Olympiad in Siegen. As a pedagogue he invented a new method for teaching chess, subdividing the chessboard into several imbricated "sub chessboards". He is also famous for the Ulvestad variation of the Two knights defense: 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. Ng5 d5 5. exd5 b5

He died in 2000.

Here is the game. It is technically complicated and the comments will only concern the surrealistic moves. (The time control was 45 moves in two hours 15 minutes, thus, 20 moves per hour):

Olaf Ulvestad - Albert Frank, Berga 1971

Chess diagram 1
Diagram #1

Chess diagram 2
Diagram #2

Chess diagram 3
Diagram #3

Chess diagram 4
Diagram #4

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 c5 4.d5 ed d6 6.Nc3 g6 7.Nd2 a6 8.a4 b6 9.e4 Bg7 10.Nc4 0-0 11.Bg5 h6?! 12.Bh4 Ra7 13.Bd3 Rb7 14.Ne3 Re8 15.0-0 Qd7!! (See diagram #1.)
An incredible move: The knight on b8 has only the square d7 to go, the Bishop on c8 can only move on the diagonal c8 - h3, and the queen move blocks both!
16.Qe2 Ng4 17.Nxg4 Qxg4 18.Qxg4 Bxg4 19.Bg3 Bf8 20.f4 Bd7! (See diagram #2.)
Once more, the only available square for the Knight on b8 is occupied. 21.e5 b5 22. ab? Bxb5 23. Bxb5 ab 24. Ra8 f5 25. Re1 b4 26. Nb1 c4 27. Rc1 Rc8 28. Nd2 c3 29. bc bc 30. Nf3 c2 31. Nd2 de 32. fe (See diagram #3.)
I have given two connected passed central pawns to white, and white's position is now very difficult.
Bb4 33. Nf3 Bc5+ 34. Kf1 Be3 35. Raa1 Bxc1 36. Rxc1 Rb1 37. Bf4 g5 38. Bd2 Rc5 39. d6 g4 40. Ne1 Rxc1 41. Bxc1 Rxe5 42. Bxh6 Rc5 43. Bc1 Rd5 44. Ke2 Rd1 45. Nd3 Kf7 46. Bf4 Nc6. (See diagram #4.)
The knight from b8 comes finally into play.

Here Ulvestad resigned, saying "You develop the knight, so it's over", and we became big friends.

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