Photo: Copyright 2004 Roman Pelts.
FIDE Master Roman Pelts of Thornhill, Ontario, is a professional chess teacher at the Chess Academy of Canada, which he founded. In 1959, Roman founded a chess school in his hometown of Odessa, Ukraine. He has long been recognized as one of the world's best chess teachers of both students and instructors. The chess course which he created, wrote and published set the standard for the world. In 2009, Roman is celebrating 50 years of teaching chess professionally.
Seven of Roman Pelts' students became grandmasters: Lev Alburt, Sam Palatnik, Vladimir Tukmakov, Valery Beim, Konstantin Lerner, Leonid Yurtaev and Boris Kantsler.
Roman Pelts' most important game was on Board 1 for the Gold Medal winning USSR at the 1964 Student Team Championship against Grandmaster William Lombardy of their political rival, the USA. In trying to find this game, I first consulted the chess column in the Montreal Gazette. Here, Dudley LeDain gave only a victory in another game by Lombardy. In reporting the names of the winning team members, he listed 'Pelch'. Again, in the British magazine Chess, Board 1 was 'Pelch'. It turns out that Pelts' name was originally spelled in English as 'Pelc'; an accent on the letter 'c' translates as 'ts'. However, the English spreaking press of the day incorrectly translated it as 'ch'.
The game was first reported in North America by Roman himself in an article he wrote for the Quebec magazine Échecs+. From memory, he gave the first 12 moves.
Roman Pelts - William Lombardy
USSR - USA, Board 1, World Student Team Championship, Krakow, Poland, Round 10, 1964.08.01
1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 O-O 5. O-O d6 6. c4 Nbd7 7. Qc2 e5 8. Rd1 Re8 9. Nc3 e4
Novelty - setting the trap. A different knight move was normal, rather than the retreat.
10... e3 11. Bxe3 Rxe3 12. fxe3 Ng4
Pelts then gave a variation that showed why Lombardy had made an incorrect sacrifice:
13. Qd3 Bh6 14. Nc2
By ignoring Pelts' specific move (10. Ne1), Lombardy had overlooked that White could bring up an extra defender for P/e3. This variation then went into databases around the world - but it's not what actually happened!
13. Qe4 Nb6
Lombardy realized his mistake and the game continued, very much in Pelts' favour.
14. h3 Nf6 15. Qd3 Qe7 16. Nc2 Be6 17. b3 c6 18. e4 Nh5 19. Kh2 c5 20. e3 Qg5 21. Ne2 Rc8 22. Rf1 Nd7 23. Rf3 b5 24. Nf4 bxc4 25. bxc4 Nb6 26. Nxe6 fxe6 27. h4 Qe7 28. Bh3 Rf8 29. Rxf8+ Bxf8 30. Rf1 Ng7 31. Ne1 Qe8 32. d5 e5 33. Qb3 Be7 34. Nf3 h6 35. a4 Qxa4 36. Qxa4 Nxa4 37. Ra1 Nb2 38. Rxa7 Kf7 39. Bf1 Nd1
A very nice combination!
40... dxe5 41. d6 Nxe3 42. Rxe7+
White can take the N/g7 with impunity: if Black recaptures, the king will be outside the square and the P/d6 will stroll in for a promotion. Meanwhile, the Black N/e3 can collect a free piece with check, but then could never return home in time to help.
Thanks to Roman Pelts (photo, biography, game choice), Adam Umiastowski (game) and Bob Armstrong.
Sources: Scarborough Community of Toronto Chess News & Views, Volume 5, No. 19, 2004.06.01; Chess Academy of Canada web site; Montreal Gazette; Chess; Échecs+; Polbase.