Michael Yen won the US Amateur East

Michael Yen, who just turned 15 the week before the tournament, won the US Amateur East going away, with a 5.5/6 score. The teen secured the win by defeating 70 year old Sam Sloan, who opened with 1.g4 in the last round.MichaelYen_2

Michael is a 9th grader at Churchill Junior High School. Three years ago, he won the under 13 championship at the 40th annual World Open. How did he get so good? Michael relates, “I used to spend a lot of time to play online. The computer was my coach. I got to this level due to years’ accumulation of ratings and experience. In this last year US Master Todd Lunna has been my coach.”

His last round game pitted two widely separated generations against each other, and it  turned into a wild Spike Opening. Sloan commented in an email after the game:
“All I had to do was win this game and I would have been US Amateur Champion East. His move 25.  … Bxa2 looked like a ridiculous move as it wins a worthless pawn and seems to open the a-file for attack but after that I was in serious trouble. I think I was lost after that although I could have lasted longer than I did. I definitely could not have played 26. b3 because then he plays 26. … Bxb3 27. cxb3 Qxb3 and my king position is wide open and I could not have survived for long.”

[Event “US Amateur Championship East”]
[Site “Morristown NJ USA”]
[Date “2015.05.25”]
[Round “06”]
[White “Sloan, Sam”]
[Black “Yen, Michael”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “A00”]
[WhiteElo “1900”]
[BlackElo “2197”]

1.g4 e5 2.Bg2 Nc6 3.d3 d6 4.h3 g6 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.e4 Be6 7.f4 Qh4+ 8.Kf1 exf4 9.Bxf4 Qf6 10.Qf3 Nd4 11.g5 Qe7 12.Qf2 h6 13.Be3 c5 14.h4 hxg5 15.hxg5 Rxh1 16.Bxh1 0–0–0 17.Nf3 Nxf3 18.Bxf3 f6 19.Ke2 f5 20.Kd2 Qf7 21.Re1? [21.exf5 Bxf5 22.Re1]

21…Ne7? [21…f4 22.Bxc5 dxc5 23.Qxc5+ Kb8 24.e5 Bf8]22.Qg2? (22.Bf4 fxe4 23.Rxe4) f4 23.Bf2 Nc6 24.Bg4 Kb8 25.Rf1 Bxa2 [25…Bxc3+! 26.bxc3 Bxg4 27.Qxg4 Ne5 28.Qe2 Qxa2]

26.Bg3 Be5 27.Nd5 Bxd5 28.exd5 Nb4 29.Be6 Qg7 30.Bxf4 Bxf4+ 31.Rxf4 Qxb2 32.Rc4 b5 33.Rc3 Na2 34.Rxc5 Qb4+ 35.Kd1 Qxc5 36.c4 Nc3+ 37.Kc2 b4 38.Qg3 Qd4 39.Bf7 a5 40.Bxg6 a4 41.Qh2 b3+ 42.Kc1 Na2+ 43.Kb1 Qc3 44.Qg1 Qc2+ 45.Ka1 b2+ 46.Kxa2 b1Q+ 47.Ka3 Qbb3#

 Michael also won an interesting battle against the Benko against a even younger up and coming player, Roshan Idnani:

Michael Yen (2086) – Roshan Idnani (1909)

Amateur East US (1), 0005

 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5 4.cxb5 a6 5.b6 Qxb6 6.Nc3 d6 7.Nf3 Nbd7 8.e4 g6 9.Be2 Bg7 10.0–0 0–0 11.Nd2 Bb7 [Black should play  11…Qc7 to anticipate Nc4 and be then able to respond with Nb6.; There is another possibility, since the pawn advance to a5 is so restricting in this game. Why not play a5? It gives the bishop the possibility of a6, prevents a5 and allows for lively play: 11…a5 12.Nc4 Qc7 13.Na3 Rb8 14.Nab5 Qb6 15.Bg5 h6 16.Be3 Ne5 17.h3 (17.f4 Neg4!) 17…g5 18.f4 Ng6 19.fxg5 hxg5 20.Bxg5 Nxe4 21.Nxe4 c4+ 22.Kh1 Qxb5]


12.a4 [White should play Nc4 here. Take the tempo.]


12…Rad8? [No short or long term purpose seems served here. Now the bishop is stuck at b7 and the rook misplaced at d8. The only possibility that can plausibly be seen here is that Black is planning e6 followed by enforcing, if dxe6, d5. It is somewhat optimistic.]


13.Nc4 Qc7 14.a5 Nb8? [This move should not even be a candidate move. Where does it go next? ]


[The best of a dismal group of chances here seems 14…Ne8 with Rb8 to put some pressure on the b-file, open up the king bishop and perhaps drop the bishop back to c8 to participate along the h3–c8 diagonal.]

 15.Bg5 e6 16.Bf3! [Nimzovich would be proud! Overprotection.]

16…exd5 [Takes with the piece to expose the backward d6 pawn on the semi-open file.]

17.Nxd5! Bxd5 18.exd5 [Black gives up his bishop to close the target on d6. A small price to pay, but still a cost.]

 18…Nbd7 19.Qd3!? [Interesting was  19.Qa4 with the threat of infiltration to c6 at some point.]

 19…h6 20.Bh4 [Equally effective would be 20.Bf4, renewing the pressure on the d6 pawn.]

20…Ne5?! [Black tries to ease the pressure by means of exchanges, but the better way to do it was to occupy the e-file with the rooks, exchange both pairs of rooks off, whereupon queen and minor piece endings are more difficult to win than rook endings if you exchange off the minor pieces and queens first.]

 21.Nxe5 dxe5!? 22.Bxf6 [An embarrassment of riches. This works quite well; however, the more precise 22.Qxa6, with the rook already behind the passed pawn would be a bit tougher to deal with as Bxf6 allows the bishop to participate in the defense. With no exchange on f6, Black will effectively be a piece down for the defense and will have to waste tempi to remedy that.]

22…Bxf6 23.Qxa6 Rd6 24.Qc4 Rb8 25.a6 Qa7 26.Ra2 Rb4 [Black gets credit for spirited defense here. White has to work to win this.]

27.Qe2 c4? [A very Benko gambit move, but not so hot here. Better would be getting the king off the back rank, a useful move in the long term and you get to see the first move of White’s coming plan.]

28.Qe3! [White alertly picks up the flaw in the c-pawn advance. Now, there is no defense.]

28…Rbb6 [28…Rd7 29.Bg4 Rb3 30.Qxa7 Rxa7 31.Be2 Rb6 32.Bxc4 is an easy White win.; 28…Qxe3 29.fxe3 Rb8 30.a7 Ra8 31.Rfa1 Kf8 32.Ra6 is just a matter of time.]

29.Qc5 [Another precise move. The c-pawn is doomed.]

29…Qa8 [There is nothing left to do. That nasty light squared bishop as opposed to the useless dark squared bishop makes it much easier for White. Of course, the two supported passed pawns are decisive anyhow.]

30.Qxc4 Rxa6 31.Rfa1 Rxa2 32.Rxa2 Qb7 33.b4 Rb6 34.Ra4 Qb8 35.Be2 Be7 36.b5 Rb7 37.Ra6 Qd8 38.Rc6 Kg7 39.Rc8 Qd6 40.Qc6 Qxc6 41.dxc6  1–0