Facing a Fierce Battle in the Club Championship of 1989 was the Highlight of my Chess Season!

Through the past, many great games were played annually to determine entry into the coveted winners’ circle. Such was the following game between a fairly new arrival from the Soviet Union, IM Issay Golyak, who resides with his wife making their home in Rochester, New York.  He is a member, chess instructor, and regular at the Rochester Chess Center. His career? Nuclear physicist.

We had met in several games over the years where I etched out two wins and a draw in tournament play.  In skittles he usually whipped me 80 per cent of the time and in club events I had to often bow to his superior technique! I managed to win two club championship games, his first lost in the USA since coming here he told me after that game.  I had won a nice game with the black pieces.  And this win with the white pieces was the last time I was victorious.  We had drawn one game in a Marchand Open event.

White:  Donald P. Reithel    vs.  Black:  Issay Golyak   Opening:  Irregular Reti Opening

1. Nf3  Nf6  2. g3  b5

As I recall Spassky had essayed this idea in his world championship match with the boa-constrictor, Petrosian.

3. Bg2  Bb7  4. O-O  c5  5. b3  e6  6. c4  b4

My opponent’s plan is to insert a wedge and expand on the Q-side; I endeavor to achieve a central pawn action with a longterm strategy to essay f2-f4 at the right moment.

7. e3  a5  8. a3  Be7 9. Bb2  Qb6  10. d3  O-O  11. Nbd2  ba3:  12. Ra3:  Nc6  13. Qa1  Nb4  14. Ne1  Bg2:  15. Kg2:  Rfb8

Black’s play is becoming dangerous.  I had to decide where my own strength lay because I felt if I sat on the position without initiating my own counterplay visualized as a central thrust to offset his aggressive Q-side action, my position would deteriorate.  Again, my square count theory applied here covers both its attacking and defensive resources.

16. Ra4  d6  17. h3  Ne8  18. f4

This thrust into the central complex was the only chance I saw to complicate the play and give my own pieces scope in the coming action.

18. … Bf6  19. Kh2  Bb2:  20. Qb2:  d5  21. Qb1 Nd6  22. Nef3  dc4:  23. dc4:  Nf5  24. Re1 Rd8  25. Re2  Rab8 26. g4  Ne7  27. Ng5  Nd3

Black is bound and determined to carry out his attack sequence that follows hoping that I will lay down and die a crushing death.  In those days, my fighting spirit was still of a youth at heart.

28. Qa1 Qc7 29. Ra5: Nf4  30. Ra7  Qd6  31. Nde4  Qd3:  32. Rf2  Qe3: 33. Re7 h6  34. Rf7: Qd4  35. Qd4: cd4: 36. Rf2f4  hg5: 37. Ng5  e5  38. Re4 d3  39. Re5: d2  40. Ree7!

Shades of Nimsowitsch’s MY SYSTEM influence no doubt!

40. …Rb6  41. Rg7+: Kh8  42. Rh7+ Kg8  43. Reg7+  Kf8  44. Rh8+ Kg7  45. Rd8  Rb3 46. Rd2: Rc3: 47. c5 Kg6 48. Ne4 Re3 49. Nd6  Re3  50. Nb7 Resigns (1-0).

Your assignment is to study this opening system by Black and the Reti Opening. Try to assess the pro and con for both sides.  See if you can find games using similar ideas for comparison.  And most important–ENJOY! the continuing learning curve to mastering chess elements and strategies.


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