Steve Stoyko Lecture

Introduction | Puzzles | Game One | Game Two | Game Three | Game Four

Kenilworth Chess Club Champion and FIDE Master Steve Stoyko lectured in the club's skittles room on Thursday, April 21, 2005. He played over and discussed some of his games published in Dr. Orest Popovych's book featuring games by former champions of the Ukrainian Sports Federation of the USA and Canada (USCAK) -- which Steve has won several times.

Instead of the standard demo board, Steve played his moves on a regular board and they were shown on the widescreen television monitor using the Fritz interface. Each move thus had both human and computer analysis. In some ways, the lecture became a commentary on the limitations of computer thinking, since Fritz found many of Steve's deepest combinations and ideas unfathomable given its relatively limited horizon.

You can play through the games and commentary below using the Palmede Java viewer, or go first to the four quiz positions from these games. You can also download the PGN file of all games and annotations using the links at the bottom of the page.

FM Steve Stoyko lectures with Fritz running in the background.

Four "Double-Exclam" Puzzlers


Position after 24.Qd1.

Black to move and win. Black actually has two strong ways to break through on the queenside and win material.


Position after 23.Qg2.

Black to move and win. Steve has been targetting the pawn at e4 and White has brought his pieces to its defense. How can Black apply more pressure to win it?


Position after 24...Nd6.

White to move and win. How can White most quickly bring his pieces to the kingside for attack?


Position after 34.Nxd6

How can Black continue the attack on the White king and at least win material?


King's IndianE70
Accelerated Averbakh System 

Arthur Bisguier (2350)
Steve Stoyko (2330)

Somerset, NJ, 1990

Steve prefaced his remarks by praising our current "Dean of American Chess" as a great endgame player. He then pointed out that he has a plus record against the Biscuit because he never lets the game get to an endgame.

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Bg5 c5 6. d5 Qa5 7. Qd2 h6 8. Bh4 Nh5!N Steve had developed this novelty years before this game and was glad to have a chance to play it. As far as he knows, this one is still not in the books though the position is familiar. 9. Nge2 White might need to bail out into an ending, suggests Massey, though Black's dark-squared Bishop is powerful after 9. Nb5!? Qxd2+ 10. Kxd2 Na6 11. Kc2 g5 12. Bg3 Kd8=/+ 9... g5 10. Bg3 Nd7! 11. f3 Ne5 12. b3 a6 13. Bf2 b5 14. cxb5 axb5 Computers sometimes do see things better. Fritz suggests the immediate 14... Nf4! 15. Nxf4 (15. Kd1 Ned3) 15... Nxf3+ 16. gxf3 Bxc3-+ 15. Rc1 Bd7 16. Rc2 b4 17. Nd1 Bb5 18. Ng3 Nf4 19. Nf5 Ned3+ Fritz prefers 19... Bxf1 20. Nxg7+ Kf8 21. Kxf1 Qb5+ 22. Kg1 Nh3+ 23. gxh3 Nxf3+ 20. Bxd3 Nxd3+ 21. Kf1 Nf4+ 22. Kg1 Bc3 22... Ne2+ 23. Kf1 Nd4+-+ 23. Nxc3 bxc3 24. Qd1 Bd3 This wins the exchange and removes the defender of the a-pawn, allowing for the final invasion. Fritz points out that the immediate 24... Qxa2! would actually win as well because Black's position is so completelyoverwhelmin g (with the seventh rank and the passed c-pawn on the sixth) that he can even sacrifice his Queen. 25. h4 25. Rc1? Ne2+-+ 25... Bxc2 26. Qxc2 Qxa2-+ 27. Qxc3?(+) Ne2+ 0-1



Hedgehog Variation 

Walter Morris (2380)
Steve Stoyko (2330)

Virginia Open (6)
Fredericksburg, VA, 1996

This game was played in the last and decisive round of the Virginia Open. In winning the game, Steve took the title.

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nb5 d6 6. c4 Nf6 7. N1c3 a6 8. Na3 Be7 9. Be2 O-O 10. O-O Qc7 11. Be3 b6 The Hedgehog formation is tough to crack and very latently dynamic. 12. Rc1 Ne5 13. f4 Too loosening. White should prefer f3 at some point to support e4. 13... Ned7 14. Bf3 Bb7 15. g4 Rfd8 16. g5 Ne8 17. Bg2 g6 18. h4 Ng7 19. Qe1 Rac8 20. Qf2 Qb8 21. Bf3 21. Bxb6? Nxb6 22. Qxb6 d5!-> 21... Nc5 22. Rfd1 Qa8! Completely targetting e4. 23. Qg2 f5!! "A Kasparov move!" exclaimed Massey. 24. gxf6 Bxf6 25. h5 Bxc3! Destroying the guard. 26. Rxc3 Bxe4 27. Bxe4 Nxe4-/+ Black now remains at least a pawn ahead and has two very strong knights. 28. Rb3 Nxh5 29. Rxb6 Rf8! 30. Rd4 Nhg3 31. c5 e5! 32. Ra4 exf4 33. Raxa6 Qd5 34. Rxd6 Qh5 Black's attack on the White King is unstoppable. 0-1



King's Indian Attack 
French Variation 

Steve Stoyko (2330)
Edward Formanek (2300)

U.S. Amateur Team Championship
Somerset, NJ, 1997

1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 c5 3. Bg2 Nc6 4. O-O e5 Steve thought it was a mistake for his opponent to play essentially the White side of a King's Indian a move down. 5. d3 Nge7 6. e4 d4 7. c3 Ng6 8. cxd4 cxd4 According to Steve, the opening of the c-file in this type of pawn structure favors White here. 9. a3 Be7 Massey suggested 9... a5 to keep White's ambitions in check. Steve said that in the same position, as it occurs in the King's Indian Defense (with colors reversed from in the present game), the strategy that Black pursues of allowing the expansion in order to attack and undermine the pawns is considered good. 10. b4 O-O 11. Ne1 b5!? Fixing White's pawns in order to attack them. But White now shifts his focus to the kingside. 12. f4! a5 13. bxa5 Rxa5 14. f5! Nh8 Though it appears ugly, this is a standard retreat square for the Knight in these type of positions. 15. Nd2 Bd7 16. Rb1 Qa8 17. Nc2 f6 18. Rf2! A standard set-up in the King's Indian classical lines. The Rook prepares to support a pawn advance on the kingside with g4 and h4. 18... Rc8? This Rook will be needed on the kingside. Black has targetted the pawn at a3 and now wins it. But he does not have time to turn the corner with his forces and create a winning attack before White crashes through on the kingside directly upon the Black king. >= 18... Nf7 19. Bf1 Nf7 20. h4 Rc7 21. Nf3 Na7 22. g4 Nc8 23. g5 Nb6 24. g6! Nd6 25. Nxe5!! Computer programs never see this coming and have trouble grasping it even several moves later. 25... fxe5 26. Qh5 Bf6 26... h6 27. Bxh6 and only now does Fritz see that this is bad for Black. 27. Qxh7+ Kf8 28. Bg5! Ne8 29. Bxf6 >= 29. Qh8+! Ke7 30. Bxf6+ gxf6 31. g7 appears faster. 29... Nxf6 30. Qh8+ Ng8 31. f6! Be8 32. f7 Bxf7 33. gxf7 Rxf7 34. Rxf7+ Kxf7 35. Qh5+ Ke6 36. Bh3+ Kd6 37. Qg6+ Nf6 38. Nxd4! exd4 39. e5+ Kc7 39... Kxe5 40. Qg3+ Kd5 41. Bg2+ 40. exf6 gxf6 41. Qg3+ Kd8 42. Qd6+ Ke8 43. Re1+ Kf7 44. Re7+ Kg6 45. Qg3+ Kh6 46. Qg7+ Kh5 47. Qh7# 1-0



King's IndianE97
Aronin-Taimanov 9.Nd2 

Vladimir Rubenchik (2300)
Stephen Stoyko (2300)


1. Nf3 g6 2. c4 Bg7 3. d4 d6 4. Nc3 Nf6 5. e4 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. O-O Nc6 8. d5 Ne7 9. Nd2 a5 10. Rb1 Nd7 11. a3 f5 12. b4 Nf6 13. c5 Kh8 14. f3 axb4 15. axb4 f4 16. Nc4 Ne8 17. b5 b6 18. cxb6 cxb6 19. Na4 Rb8 20. Bd2 Bd7 21. Qe1 Nc8 22. Qf2 Bf6 23. Kh1 Bh4 24. g3!! Steve praised this move highly, since it shows Rubenchik had likely seen the deep consequences of the more natural Queen retreat: 24. Qg1? Bg3 25. Naxb6 Nxb6 26. Ba5 Ra8 27. Bxb6 Qh4 28. Na5 g5 29. Nc6 Rf6|^ e.g.: 30. Bf2 Ra2 31. Bxg3 fxg3 32. Rfe1 Rf4!! 33. b6 Qh5 34. b7 Rh4 and Black forces mate. This is the type of attack that computers cannot fathom. 24... fxg3 25. hxg3 Bg5 26. Bc3 Ng7 27. Qh2 Qe8 28. f4 exf4 29. Bd3 f3 30. Qb2 Qe7 31. e5 Bh3 32. exd6 Bg2+ 33. Kh2 Nxd6 34. Nxd6 Qd7!! 35. Bxg7+ Kg8 36. Bf5 gxf5 37. Bxf8? Fritz favors this move too. 37. Qe5?! Qxg7 38. Qxg7+ Kxg7 39. Rfe1 Rf6-/+ >= 37. Rfe1 f4! 38. Re6[] fxg3+ 39. Kxg3 Qxg7 40. Qxg7+ Kxg7-/+ 37... Rxf8 38. Qe5 Rf6 39. Nxb6 39. Nc4 Qc8!! (39... Rh6+ 40. Kg1 Qxb5 41. Qe6+ Rxe6 42. Rxb5 Re4 43. Naxb6 Bf6) (39... f4 40. Qxg5+ Rg6 41. Qh5 fxg3+ 42. Kg1 Bxf1 43. Rxf1 f2+ (43... Qxb5) 44. Kg2 Qxb5 45. Naxb6) 40. Rfe1 Qxc4 41. Qe8+ Rf8 42. Qe6+ Kg7-/+ 39. Ne8 Rg6 40. Rfc1 (40. Rfe1 f4->) 40... f4! 41. Kg1 Qh3-> 39... Rh6+ 40. Kg1 Qxd6 41. Qe8+ Kg7 42. Nd7 Bxf1 43. Rxf1 Qxg3# 0-1


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