WGM Jennifer Yu’s ‘Combination’ versus FM Norman Rogers

WGM Jennifer Yu

https://www.diversityinc.com/17-year-old-jennifer-yu-first-teenager-to-win-u-s-womens-chess-championship-in-19-years/

had the white pieces versus FM Norman Rogers

https://www.thechessdrum.net/drummajors/N_Rogers.html

for the fifth round of the recently completed Philadelphia International Chess tournament. The former US Women’s Chess Champ had won two and lost two in the earlier rounds and her opponent result was the same. FM Rogers is eligible to play in the US Senior. Jennifer Yu will be eligible to play in the US Senior in 2052. Suffice it to say it was the match up was The Kid versus the Wiley Ol’ Veteran.

The action begins with the following position after FM Rogers played 21…Ra3:

Position after 21…Ra3

When watching the action I thought 22 Bg5 would be played, followed by 22…Qc7, when Jennifer could drop her Bishop back to f4, exerting much pressure on the black position via the pin (to win!) on the d6 pawn. Sure enough those moves were played bring us to this critical position:

Position after 22…Qc7

I knew, with certainty, the move Jennifer should play was 23 Bf4. I knew this because of a game played what seems now to be a lifetime ago in which a similar position was reached in a game played by yours truly, when just starting the long climb up the rating list. At the time my rating did have four digits, but just barely. Seeing the undefended Rook placed on a square that could be double attacked by ‘sacrificing’ a Knight in order to ‘win’ the Rook put an inward smile on my face as I excitedly played the Knight move to begin the combination. I was all full of myself while thinking progress was being made by seeing the combo as I played the moves. Just as in this game, I had traded both of my Knights for a Rook and a pawn. Unfortunately, I, too, lost the game. The game had been played while on the road with IM Branko Vujakovic, an exchange student from Yugoslavia residing in Atlanta. After showing Branko the game, and the ‘combo’ he said only, “You will miss those two Knights more than he will miss that Rook and pawn.” I was crestfallen, but from the outcome of the game Branko was right.

I was, quite frankly, shocked to see WGM Yu play 23 Ncb5, and now you know why.

WGM Jennifer Yu 2290 vs FM Norman Rogers 2138
15th Annual Philadelphia Open Round 5
E69 King’s Indian, fianchetto, classical main line

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. g3 O-O 5. Bg2 d6 6. Nf3 Nbd7 7. O-O e5 8. e4 c6 9. h3 a5 10. Be3 exd4 11. Nxd4 Re8 12. Qc2 Nc5 13. Rad1 Qe7 14. Rfe1 a4 15. b4 axb3 16. axb3 Na6 17. Qb1 Nd7 18. Re2 Nb4 19. Red2 Nc5 20. Kh2 h5 21. h4 Ra3 22. Bg5 Qc7 23. Ncb5 cxb5 24. Nxb5 Qa5 25. Nxa3 Qxa3 26. Rxd6 Nc6 27. Be3 Bg4 28. f3 Be6 29. Bxc5 Qxc5 30. R6d2 g5 31. hxg5 Qxg5 32. f4 Qg4 33. Qd3 h4 34. e5 Bh6 35. Qf3 hxg3+ 36. Kg1 Bxf4 37. Rd6 Bxe5 38. R6d3 Qh4 39. Qe4 Qh2+ 40. Kf1 Bh3 0-1
    https://live.followchess.com/#!15th-annual-philadelphia-2022/-520788147

WGM Jennifer Yu finished with three wins, three losses, and three draws, one half point out of the chump change money. Stormin’ Norman Rogers finished with four wins to go with five losses.

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