Canadian Chess Newsletter - Games - Canadian - Issue #88

Published and copyright 2011 by David Cohen.
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Games - Canadian

Povilas Vaitonis
Written, presented and copyright 2011 by David Cohen
Lecture at the Annex Chess Club, Toronto
May 2, 2011

The Canadian Chess Hall of Fame inductee for 2011 is Povilas Vaitonis (1911-83). Join us for our 2011 induction ceremony and plaque presentation to the family of Povilas Vaitonis at the 48th Canadian Open Chess Championship, 11:00am, Saturday, July 9, 2011, Yonge Room, Westin Harbour Castle, Toronto, Ontario. Grandmaster Eduardas Rozentalis of Lithuania will give the Hall of Fame Lecture on Lithuanian-Canadian International Master Povilas Vaitonis. The ceremony and lecture are open to the public.

Povilas Vaitonis was born in Užpaliai, Lithuania. In his youth, he was 3 times Lithuania pole vault champion. Like many Lithuanians, he also enjoyed playing basketball. Vaitonis represented Lithuania at the chess Olympiads of 1933, 1935, 1937 and 1939. Vaitonis was Lithuania Chess Champion in 1934, 1937, 1938, 1942 and 1944.

Vaitonis left Lithuania, meeting his wife and emigrating to Canada in 1948. He settled in Hamilton, Ontario, raising his family and enjoying his hobby of fishing. In 1951, Vaitonis won the Canadian Chess Championship. In 1952, he represented Canada at the World Championship Interzonal, and was awarded the International Master title. From 1953-55, he wrote a weekly chess column in the Hamilton Spectator. In 1954, Vaitonis represented Canada at the Olympiads. In 1957, he again won the Canadian Championship, and in 1958 he again represented Canada at the Olympiads.

The third unofficial chess Olympiad was held immediately after the 1936 Summer Olympic Games in Munich, Germany. There were 21 countries, each with teams of 8 players and 2 reserves. Lithuania finished in 11th place, with Vaitonis scoring +12 =2 -6 on Board 3. In the final round, Vaitonis introduced into major competitions the move order for the Benko Gambit.

Einar Thorvaldsson - Povilas Vaitonis
Iceland - Lithuania, 3rd unofficial Olympiad, Munich, Germany, 1936.09.01, Round 21

Benko Gambit (A57)

The game is a classic example of White ignoring piece development in favour of chasing after material advantage. Black happily sacrifices pawns to activate his pieces, then attacks before White can consolidate his position.

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 b5

The idea to offer a pawn to deflect the P/c4 from its influence on the centre was not new. However, it had only been played in previous games at a later stage, after Black was castled and further developed.

4. cxb5 e6

Immediately attacking the weakened centre.

5. Nc3

Renewing support for the P/d5.

5... exd5 6. Nxd5 Bb7 7. Nc3

(White could offer to return the pawn by 7. e4 Nxe4, but instead chooses to go on the defensive, trying to hang on to the extra pawn.)

7... d5

Black attacks, driving off the defender of P/b5.

8. e3 d4 9. Nb1 Bd6 10. Nf3

(Black offers up a second pawn on 10. exd4 cxd4 11. Qxd4, but White doesn't initially bite.)

10... Bxf3 11. Qxf3 Nbd7 12. exd4

White changes his mind and grabs the second pawn.

12... O-O

The king is safe, and Black is ready to attack White's king on the open e-file.

13. dxc5 Bxc5 14. Qd1?

(But now was the time to consolidate the gains by 14. Be2 developing and castling the king to safety.)

14... Qe7+?

(Only because 14... Ne4! aiming for f2 would create too many threats for White to handle.)

15. Be2 Ne5?

(Again 15... Ne4 was the way to punish White.)

16. O-O

Safe at last. Now to complete the development of the pieces.

16... Rad8

Black harasses White, not giving him time to develop, meanwhile developing his own piece.

17. Qb3?

(17. Qc2 or block the attack by developing a piece to the d-file; anything but this! Now all of Black's pieces are ready to attack, and Black makes no more mistakes.)

17... Neg4 18. Bxg4 Nxg4 19. Bd2 Qe2 20. Qf3

Diagram 1

20... Qxf1+

Black wins the exchange. According to one source, the game ended here.

21. Kxf1 Nxh2+ 22. Ke2 Nxf3 23. Kxf3 Rfe8 24. Bc3 Rd3+

With Black's pieces all active and White's pieces undeveloped, White is in a mating net.