Matthew Fishbein vs. George Spahn

05.23.08 George Spahn, a fifth grader at Palermo Consolidated School, scored a perfect 4.0 points in four games to tie for first at the 2008 Scholastic Teams State Championship held in March at the University of Maine, Orono. One of Spahn's victories was a fine effort with the black pieces against Matthew Fishbein, a powerhouse player from Cape Elizabeth who has been ranked in the top 100 players in the nation for his age group. Here is the exciting game Fishbein - Spahn with annotations provided by Fritz 9.

George Spahn at the 2008 Scholastic Teams State Championship

Fishbein, Matthew (1421) - Spahn, George (817) [C44]
Scholastic Teams, 03.15.2008
[Fritz 9 (30s)]

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C44: Ponziani Opening and Scotch Gambit
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 White threatens to win material: Nf3xe5 2...Nc6 3.c3 Consolidates b4 3...d5 4.exd5 [4.Qa4 Bd7 5.exd5 Nd4+-] 4...Qxd5+= 5.d4 e4 Black threatens to win material: e4xf3 [5...Be6 6.Be2 exd4 7.cxd4=] 6.Nfd2= Nf6 7.Qc2 [7.f3 exf3 8.Bc4 f2+ 9.Kxf2 Qf5+ 10.Nf3 Ne4+ 11.Kg1 Be7=] 7...Bf5 White is behind in developement. White's piece can't move: c1 8.Bc4 White threatens to win material: Bc4xd5 8...Qd7 9.Nb3 Be7 White has a cramped position 10.Be3 Black has an active position 10...0-0 Black castles and improves king safety 11.0-0 White castles and improves king safety 11...Rfe8 Black has a very active position 12.N1d2 Bd6 White has a cramped position 13.Bb5 a6 14.Bxc6 [14.Be2!?=+ deserves consideration] 14...Qxc6-+ 15.c4 [15.Rfe1-+]

15...Bb4?? Black has a very active position. Gives the opponent new chances [15...Bxh2+ and Black can look forward to a comfortable game 16.Kxh2 Ng4+ 17.Kg1 Qd6-+] 16.d5=+ White threatens to win material: d5xc6 16...Qd6 17.a3 [17.Rfc1=+] 17...Bxd2 [17...Ng4!? 18.g3 Bxd2 (18...Nxe3?! 19.fxe3 Bxd2 20.Qxd2=+) 19.Nxd2 c6-+ (19...Nxe3 20.fxe3 Bh3 21.Rf4=+ (21.Nxe4 Qg6 22.Rf4 Re5-+) ) ] 18.Qxd2= Opposite coloured bishops appeared 18...b5 Black threatens to win material: b5xc4 [18...Ng4 19.Bf4 Ne5 20.Na5=] 19.Bf4+= White threatens to win material: Bf4xd6 19...Qd7

20.Bg5?? a transit from better to worse [20.Nc5!? is interesting 20...Qe7 21.Qd4+=] 20...Ng4 [20...bxc4 21.Bxf6 cxb3 22.Bg5-+] 21.h3 [21.Na5!?=] 21...Ne5-+ 22.c5? [22.cxb5 Bxh3 Demolition of pawn structure 23.f3 exf3 24.gxh3 Qxh3 25.Nd4 Qg4+ 26.Kh1 Qh5+ 27.Qh2 Qxg5 28.Nxf3 Nxf3 29.Rxf3 Qxd5 30.Qg2-+]

22...Nf3+?? throws away the game [22...Bxh3 would have given Black a clear advantage 23.f3 exf3 24.gxh3 Qxh3-+] 23.gxf3± Bxh3 24.Kh2?? hands over the advantage to the opponent [24.Rfd1!? Bg4 25.c6±] 24...exf3 Black has new doubled pawns: f3+f7. [24...Bxf1!? 25.Rxf1 Re5 26.fxe4 f6-+] 25.Rg1= Bg2 26.Rxg2 fxg2 Black has a new passed pawn: g2 27.Rg1 White threatens to win material: Rg1xg2 [27.d6 cxd6 28.cxd6=] 27...Qg4 White king safety dropped [27...Re5!? might be a viable alternative 28.d6 f6=+] 28.Rxg2 [28.Qf4 Qh5+ 29.Qh4= (29.Kxg2 h6 30.Bh4 g5 (30...Qxd5+?! 31.Qf3 Qxf3+ 32.Kxf3=) 31.Bxg5 hxg5-+ (31...Qxg5+?? 32.Kh2 Qxg1+ 33.Kxg1 Re1+ 34.Kh2+-) ) ] 28...Qh5+= 29.Kg1 Re5? [29...Re2 30.Qc3 Rae8 31.Be3=] 30.d6 [30.Bf6! Rae8 31.Bxe5 Rxe5+-] 30...Rae8

31.Be3?? White loses the upper hand [31.Be7 cxd6 32.cxd6 h6±] 31...Rd5 Black threatens to win material: Rd5xd2 [31...cxd6 and Black can hope to survive 32.cxd6 Rd5=+] 32.Bd4¬± cxd6 [32...f6!? 33.dxc7 Qf7+=] 33.Rxg7++- Kf8

34.cxd6?? throws away a nice position [34.Rg3!? f6 35.cxd6+-] 34...Rxd6?? letting the wind out of his own sails. . [34...Rxd4 Black would have gained the upper hand 35.Qxd4 Re1+ 36.Kg2 Qh1+ 37.Kg3 Rg1+ 38.Kf4 Qh6+ (38...Rxg7?? materialistic play, which will be punished 39.d7 Qh4+ 40.Ke3 Qxd4+ 41.Nxd4+- (41.Kxd4?? Ke7-+) ) 39.Ke4 Qxg7 40.Qxg7+ Rxg7-+] 35.Qb4± Qd1+? [35...Ree6 36.Rg3 f5±] 36.Kg2+- Ree6

37.Qc3?? ruins a clearly superior position [37.Rg5+- White had this great chance] 37...Rg6+-+38.Rxg6 Rxg6+ [38...Rxg6+ 39.Qg3 Qxb3-++] 0-1


A wonderfully instructive game of Matthew Fishbein vs. George Spahn. Well played by both players. I also liked the new format of having annotations with more pictures.

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