Monday, January 28, 2013

Cecil Rosner's Chess Column January 26, 2013 - Barry Rasmussen

Cecil asked me to post his column here with enhanced game notes. (I may put the game in a play through format in the next few days).

Chess Column for January 26, 2013
By Cecil Rosner

Ten years ago yesterday, Manitoba lost one of its strongest and steadiest master players.

Barry Rasmussen was just 47 when he died suddenly. He was one of the highest-rated players in Manitoba at the time, and his legacy in provincial chess circles endures.

Barry and I played in many junior tournaments in the early 1970s, and while we both pursued very different careers outside of chess, we maintained a lifelong interest in the game. In Barry’s case, that meant keeping current with modern chess developments and continuing to compete at the highest levels in Manitoba.

After earning his Master of Divinity degree in 1983, Barry worked as a pastor in Pass Lake, Ontario and Thompson before moving back to Winnipeg in 1990. Eventually he took a position in Teulon, becoming pastor of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Teulon and Gethsemane in Inwood. 

While working full-time, he managed to earn his PhD in Philosophy from the University of Manitoba. And in addition to chess, he avidly pursued golf, curling and hockey.

Barry was a fierce competitor, even in friendly encounters. During an annual get-together with chess friends, he was always full of good humour and spirits, but he never gave an inch in any of the friendly games we played.

Barry’s wife, Karen, has remarried and lives in Stony Mountain. Daughter Amy runs her own counseling business and has two young boys, while Michelle had her first child last year and is finishing her last year of nursing school. “Barry would be very proud of his girls and how they have moved on with their lives, and both in caring professions,” says Karen.

I asked one of Barry’s good friends, Fletcher Baragar, to annotate one of his games:

White: Barry Rasmussen; Black: Jack Yoos (Winnipeg Invitational, Winnipeg 1995). 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Be3 Bg7 5.Qd2 c6 6.Bh6 Bh6 7.Qh6 Qa5 8.Bd3 c5 9.d5 Nbd7 10.Nf3 b5 11.oo c4 12.Be2 b4 13.Nd1 Qc5  (13… Ne4 is met by 14.Bc4 followed by Re1 and White has the better game.)
 14.Ne3 c3 15.bc Qc3 16.Qh4! (An improvement suggested by English Grandmaster Michael Adams. In the game Adams- Van Wely, Debrecen 1992 White played 16.Ng5, but after 16…Ng8! Black had the advantage). 
16…Ne5? (A mistake, but Barry`s refutation was not easy to foresee.)
 17.Ne5 Qe5 18.Nc4!! (Excellent. The point is that Black cannot reply with 18…Qe4 due to 19.Nd6+!)
 18…Qc3 19.e5! (Strong play by White, opening up lines in the center in order to take advantage of White`s big lead in development. It turns out that Black’s failure to castle constitutes a serious liability.)
 19…de 20.d6 Qd4 (Seeking relief by exchanging queens.)
 21.Qg3 Be6 22.Rad1 (another piece enters the attack.)
 22…Qf4 23. Ne5 Qg3 24.fg (Queens are exchanged, but in exchange another line is opened and the second White rook joins the fray.) 
24…ed 25.Bb5+ Kf8 
(Other moves lose quickly. For example 25…Ke7 26. Nc6+ and 27.Rf6. Alternatively, 25…Nd7 26.Rd6 Rd8 27.Nd7 Bd7 28.Rd7 Rd7 29.Rd1 and White wins a piece.) 
26.Rd6 Kg7 27.Ra6 
 (Black has done well to get to this point. Material is equal and the Black king looks a bit more secure. However, the activity of the White pieces is simply too much for Black. Barry displays excellent technique in realising this advantage.)
 27… Rac8 28.Nc6! Nd5 29.Nd4 Rc7 (The bishop has no place to go. 29…Bg4 is met by the simple 30.h3.) 
30.Re6 fe 31.Ne6+ Kh6 32.Nc7 Nc7 33.Bc4 (The bishop dominates the knight. Even with the marked reduction in material, the superior activity of the White pieces is telling.)
 33…Rc8 34.Rf7 a5 35.g4! (Once again, the Black king is in danger.)
 35…Ne8 36.Be6 Rc2 37.h4 Rc7 38.Bd7! (The final point. 39.Be8 threatens to simply win the knight, and the king has to worry about 39.g5  Kh5 40.Rh7 Mate. Black is finished)
38…Nf6 39.g5+ Kh5 Kh4 41.Re7 Black Resigns.         

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