SANDS: How Texas Tech crashed the party

By David R. SandsThe Washington Times
6:37 a.m., Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The first one is always the hardest — and the sweetest. As we reported last week, Texas Tech is the new king of college chess, dethroning longtime powerhouses University of Texas-Dallas and the University of Maryland-Baltimore County in the college game’s Final Four earlier this month in Herndon.

Although the Tech squad lost only one game out of 12 in the round-robin final, the victory wasn’t easy. The champs knocked off UMBC 2 1/2-1 1/2 in the third and final round, while UT-D was held to a 2-2 draw by the University of Texas-Brownsville. Texas Tech’s captain, GM Davorin Kuljasevic, later revealed he wore an “I k Vegas” T-shirt under his black hoodie during the event – a reminder of the Sin City trip the team promised itself if it brought the President’s Cup home to Lubbock.

“We didn’t expect to win,” he admitted. “We just wanted to do our best.”

Tech top board GM Anatoly Bykhovsky got his team off to a good start with a match-clinching win in Round 1 over UT-Brownsville’s GMTimur Gareyev. (College chess is an international affair – the four four-man teams included players from 12 countries.) White declines Gareyev’s Benko Gambit and, after a lengthy positional battle, comes out ahead in the tactical flurry that decides the game.

Through 28. Bxa6 Rxb3 29. Red1, Black has been holding his own and would have had good prospects with 29…Bf7 30. Rbc1 Re8 31. Bc3 Bh6, with a lot of piece play. But tempted by the awkward lineup of White’s bishop and queen, he errs with 29…Bb7?! (see diagram) 30. Bc4+! Rxc4 (Kh8 31. Qxa8 Bxa8 32. Bxb3) 31. Rd8+ (the point – the Black rook was lured off the back rank to make this check possible) Qxd8 32. Qxd8+ Bf8 33. Qf6.

Though the computers say White is winning, there probably were some anxious moments for the Tech camp as Black’s bishops and rooks circle Bykhovsky’s king. But the checks peter out and White goes on the attack decisively on 41. Ba3! Rg2+ 42. Kh4 Bxa3 43. Qf6+ Ke8 44. Rb8+ Kd7 45. Qd8+ Kc6 46. Rb6+ Kc5 47. Qxd6+ Kc4 48. Qxa3; White’s king slips free after 48…g5+ 49. Kh5, so Black resigns

More here.

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