The 1999 BC Closed by Marcel Milat

The 1999 BC Closed was held at the Vancouver Bridge Center. In contrast to previous years the 99 edition was a 10-player round robin and FIDE rated making the tournament two rounds longer than previous years.

An average rating of 2286 made the 1999 tournament the strongest closed in recent memory. Former provincial champions included Jack Yoos, Dragolub Milicevic and the recently active Bob Zuk. Five time BC Champion Gary Basanta withdrew at the last minute due to illness.

I was lucky enough to win the closed after shooting out of the gate and starting the tournament 6/6. I then experienced a hick-up loosing to Jack Yoos in the 7th round before drawing my last two rounds to clinch the title with 7/9.

Pre-tournament favorite Jack Yoos and Alex Davies scored 6.5/9 to share second. Alex was the lowest rated player in the field but played wonderful chess and fully deserved his result.

Now on to the games...

(28) Milat,M (2245) - Martinovsky,I (2200) [B06]

99 BC Closed Vancouver, BC, 01.04.1999 [Marcel Milat]
1.e4 c6 2.d4 g6 3.Nc3 d6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Be3 Bg4 6.Qd2 Na6?! [6...Bxf3 7.gxf3 d5 8.0-0-0 Qa5 9.h4²] 7.Be2 Nc7 8.h3 Bd7 [8...Bxf3 9.Bxf3 White is clearly better with the bishop pair.] 9.0-0 d5 [9...Nf6 10.Bh6 Bxh6 11.Qxh6±] 10.Rae1 h5 11.Ne5 Nh6 12.Bf4! White has the threat of 13 Nd7 Qd7 14 Bc7 Qc7 15 ed5 winning a pawn. 12 Bf4 also prepares for blacks freeing move 12...de4 since after 13 Ne4 Nf5 14 c3 black cannot capture the bishop on e3. 12...dxe4 13.Nxe4 Bf5 [¹13...Nf5 14.c3±] 14.Nc5 f6? [¹14...Ne6] 15.Nxb7+- Qc8 16.Nxc6! [16.Nxg6; 16.Nc4] 16...Qxb7 17.Nxe7 Be4 [17...Kd8 18.Bf3+-; 17...Kd7 18.Bf3+-] 18.Nxg6 0-0-0 19.Nxh8 Bxg2 20.Qc3! Bxf1 21.Bxf1 Bxh8 22.Ba6 Rg8+ 23.Kh2 With mate in 8. 1-0

The tournament also produced a few games important to chess theory.

(34) Yoos,J (2310) - Milat,M (2245) [C02]

99 BC Closed Vancouver, BC (7), 04.04.1999 [Marcel Milat]
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Qb6 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.a3 Bd7 7.b4 cxd4 8.cxd4 Rc8 9.Be3 Nh6 10.Bd3 Ng4 11.0-0 Be7 12.Qe1!?N White plans to support a knight on c3 so that Na4,Nc5 is threatened. The knight on c3 will also guard against possible Bb5 plans by black. [12.Nbd2 This move is regarded best by theory. White would like to play Nb3, Nc5 with an edge. 12...Nxe3 13.fxe3 Nb8! If 14Nb3 Ba4! 14.Qe2= The position is considered equal but I prefer black slightly.] 12...Nxe3? This move seems natural but is actually premature as it reinforces the d4 square and allows the white queen access to g3 before the black forces can coordinate. [¹12...f5! A) 13.Nc3 Nxe3 14.fxe3 Nxb4!? (14...Nb8=) 15.axb4 Bxb4 16.Rc1 0-0 17.Rf2 Qa5÷ 18.Ra2 Qxa2 19.Nxa2 Bxe1; B) 13.Nbd2 Nxe3 (13...f4?! 14.Bxf4 Nxd4 15.h3 Rc3 16.Qb1 0-0 17.hxg4 Rxf4 18.Bxh7+ Kh8 19.Qg6 Ne2+ 20.Kh1 Rf8±) 14.fxe3 B1) 14...Nd8!? 15.Nb3 (¹15.Qe2÷) 15...Bb5 16.Bxb5+ Qxb5 17.Nc5 0-0 18.a4 Qe8³; B2) 14...Nb8 15.Nb3 Bb5 16.Bxb5+ Qxb5 17.Nc5; C) 13.exf6 13...Bxf6 14.Nc3 0-0 15.Rd1 (15.Na4 Qc7 16.g3 e5µ) C1) 15...Qc7 16.Nb5 Qb8 17.h3 Nxe3 18.fxe3 a6 19.Nc3 Na7 (19...g6 20.Rc1 Ne7) 20.e4; C2) 15...Nxe3 ] 13.fxe3 f5 14.exf6! Bxf6 15.Kh1 [¹15.Nc3] 15...0-0 16.Nc3 Ne7 17.Rc1 g6 18.Qg3 Qc7? Based upon an oversight. I did not see 22 Rc6 for white and thought the following combination was"Bad" for white. [18...Bg7= 19.Ne5] 19.Qxc7! [19.Nxd5 Qxc1 20.Nxf6+ Rxf6 21.Rxc1 Rxc1+ 22.Ng1÷] 19...Rxc7 20.Ne4 dxe4? Still not seeing whites 22nd. [20...Rcc8 21.Nxf6+ Rxf6 22.Rxc8+ Bxc8±] 21.Rxc7 exf3 [21...Bc6 Only now did I see 22 Rc6. Black is lost. 22.Rxc6 bxc6 23.Bxe4 Nd5 24.Bxd5 cxd5 25.Rc1+-] 22.Rxd7 fxg2+ 23.Kxg2 Nd5 24.Rf3+- 1-0

The following variation considered dubious by theory was tried 4 times at the BC Closed and was thus dubbed by Yoos The Broadway Variation ( The Bridge center is located on Broadway St.) The variation indeed seems short of equality but probably not for the reasons which theory give.

(30) Milat,M (2245) - Hallam,J (2200) [D15]

99 BC Closed Vancouver, BC (3), 02.04.1999 [Marcel Milat]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 Bf5 5.cxd5 cxd5 6.Qb3 [6.Ne5 e6 7.Bg5 (7.Qb3!?) 7...Qa5 8.e4! Bxe4 9.Bb5+ Nfd7 10.0-0÷ Niksic-Sokorinski Rd 1] 6...Qb6 7.Nxd5!? [7.Qxb6! axb6 8.Bf4! This reserves the b5 square for a latter timely Nb5 or Bb5. (8.Nb5 Na6 9.Bd2 Ne4 10.Rc1 Nxd2 11.Kxd2 f6 12.a3 Bd7 13.e3 e6= Black was able to solve his opening problems in Hallam-Sokorinski Rd.6 ) 8...Nc6 9.e3 e6 (9...Nb4 10.Bb5+±) 10.a3 Be7 11.Rc1 0-0 12.Nh4 Bg4 13.h3 Bh5 14.g4 Bg6 15.Nxg6 hxg6±] 7...Nxd5 8.Qxd5 e6 9.Qb3 Nc6 [9...Qxb3 10.axb3 Bc2 11.Bd2² I prefer whites position after 7 Qb6 to this position.] 10.Bd2 [10.e3? Nb4µ] 10...Bb4 [¹10...Qxb3 11.axb3] 11.e3 a5 12.a4! Be4 [12...0-0 13.Bb5 Be4 14.Bc3± (14.Bxb4) ] 13.Bxb4 Nxb4 14.Bb5+ Ke7 15.0-0± Rhc8 And white won in another 20 moves. 1-0