Position No. 6135: White to play and win. From the game Larry M. Evans-Pal Benko, Lone Pine 1975.

Solution to Position No. 6134: White wins a piece by 1 Nd5 (threatening 2 Nxf6+ and 2 Nxe7+) Qxd1 2 Nxe7+.

Grandmaster Larry M. Evans died Nov. 21 in Reno at age 78. He was one of the greatest American players, winning five U.S. Championships from 1951 to 1980.

Evans was the consummate counterpuncher. Although he literally wrote the book on openings (his 10th edition of “Modern Chess Openings” was billed as “the chess player’s bible”), his forte was not preparation but opportunism, particularly in poor positions. He contended that the opponent would always give you a chance to save the game, and he defended with unmatched tenacity.

A New Yorker by birth and temperament, Evans moved west with a dream of becoming a screenwriter. He settled in Nevada, where he earned a living playing blackjack until he was barred from casinos for card counting. In recent decades, he was best known for his chess books and his syndicated chess column.

I worked with Evans in a masters’ organization he founded in the late 1970s. At first, I was a bit put off by his tough-guy persona, but I soon learned to appreciate his blunt honesty and dedication to the plight of professional players. I was glad he was on my side.

Blitz championship

Two days after the conclusion of the Tal Memorial in Moscow, eight of the participants and a dozen other grandmasters competed in the World Blitz Championship. Former world champion Mikhail Tal, a speed chess legend, would have approved.

The time limit was three minutes per player plus two seconds per move, roughly equivalent to the old standard of five minutes per game.

Levon Aronian of Armenia, now the world’s second-ranked grandmaster, won the three-day tournament with a score of 241/2-131/2. Next were Teimour Radjabov (Azerbaijan) at 24-14 and Magnus Carlsen (Norway) at 231/2-141/2. Carlsen, ranked first in the world, shared the lead with Aronian after the first day but fell 11/2 points behind on the second day.

U.S. champion Hikaru Nakamura, widely considered the best one-minute player, started poorly with three losses but gradually moved up in the standings. He tied for fourth place at 211/2-161/2 with Boris Gelfand of Israel.

Local news

State champion IM Enrico Sevillano won his last five games to score 71/2-11/2 and claim first prize in the first international tournament at Metropolitan Chess in Los Angeles. Early leader IM Zhanibek Amanov of Kazakhstan finished second at 7-2 after losing to Sevillano in last Sunday’s final round.

Other scores: Joel Banawa and Garush Manukyan, each 5-4; Roman Yankovsky (Russia), 41/2-41/2; IM Tim Taylor, 4-5; Tatev Abrahamyan and Ankit Gupta, each 31/2-51/2; and Konstantin Kavutskiy and former state champion Alexandre Kretchetov, each 21/2-61/2.

The club plans tournaments for amateurs and masters in 2011. See metrochessla.com for the schedule.

The Santa Monica Bay Chess Club plans 30-minute tournaments on Dec. 6 and Dec. 13. The club meets at 7 p.m. Mondays in St. Andrew’s Church, 11555 National Blvd. in Los Angeles. Call Pete Savino at (310) 827-2789 for information.

Games of the week

GM Larry M. Evans-IM Bernard Zuckerman, U.S. Championship, New York 1966: 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 g6 The Sicilian Dragon, a very popular variation in the 1960s. 6 Be3 Nc6 7 f3 Bg7 8 Qd2 0-0 9 0-0-0 A common choice today, but considered inferior to 9 Bc4 then. Nxd4 10 Bxd4 Be6 11 Kb1 Discouraging 11…Qa5 because of 12 Nd5. Qc7 12 h4 Rfc8 13 h5 Nxh5?? Evans did not offer pawns lightly! Three years later, Zuckerman revealed the improvement 13…Qa5 14 hxg6 hxg6 15 a3 Rab8 and drew after 16 g4 b5 17 Nd5 Qxd2. 14 Bxg7 Kxg7 Similar is 14…Nxg7 15 Qh6 Nh5 16 g4. 15 g4 Nf6 16 Qh6+ Kg8 17 e5! To open the b1-h7 diagonal. Suddenly Black is lost. dxe5 18 g5 Nh5 Also hopeless is 18…Qa5 19 gxf6 exf6 20 a3 Rxc3 21 Qxh7+ Kf8 22 Qh8+ Ke7 23 Qxa8. 19 Bd3 e4 20 Rxh5! gxh5 21 Nxe4 Qf4 If Black guards h7 by 21…Bf5, White aims at g7 by 22 Nf6+ exf6 23 gxf6. Then 23…Qg3 permits 24 Bxf5 Rd8 25 Bxh7+ Kh8 26 Bg6+ Kg8 27 Qg7 mate. 22 Nf6+! exf6 23 Bxh7+ Kh8 24 Bf5+ Kg8 25 Qh7+ Kf8 26 Qh8+, Black Resigns.

GM Alexey Shirov (Spain)-GM Pavel Eljanov (Ukraine), Tal Memorial, Moscow 2010: 1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 e5 The Advance variation, White’s sharpest answer to the Caro-Kann Defense. Bf5 4 Nf3 e6 5 Be2 c5 6 Be3 Nd7 7 0-0 Ne7 8 c4 White wants to open lines and exploit his quicker development. dxc4 9 Na3 c3 10 Nb5 Nd5 11 Nxc3 Nxc3 Kamsky won as Black with 11…Nxe3 12 fxe3 Be7 13 Qb3 0-0, but 13 d5 seems more promising for White. 12 bxc3 Be7 13 dxc5 Most aggressive. Either 13 Bd3 or 13 d5 would keep a small advantage. Bxc5?! Eljanov must have missed White’s 15th move. After the correct 13…0-0 14 Nd4, Black can obtain a satisfactory position with 14…Nxc5 15 Nxf5 exf5 16 Qc2 Qd7 17 Rfd1 Qe6 or 14…Bxc5 15 Bb5!? Bxd4! 16 cxd4 Nb6. 14 Qa4 Bxe3 15 Rad1! By threatening 16 Rxd7 Qxd7 17 Bb5, White makes Black’s King linger in the center. a6 16 fxe3 b5 17 Qf4 Qc7 Also uncomfortable for Black is 17…0-0 18 Rd6 Qc7 19 Nd4 Bg6 20 Bf3. 18 g4 Bg6 19 h4 h5 Loosening, but 19…h6 20 h5 Bh7 21 g5 would leave f7 vulnerable. 20 Rd6 The direct 20 gxh5 Bxh5 21 Ng5 lets Black hang on with 21…Qxe5! (not 21…Nxe5?? 22 Bxh5 Rxh5 23 Nxe6!) 22 Bxh5 Qxf4 23 Bxf7+ Qxf7 24 Rxf7 Rxh4! 25 Rdxd7 Rg4+ 26 Kf2 Rxg5. hxg4 21 Nd4 Nc5 Maybe 21…0-0 improves. 22 Qxg4 Qe7? Mistakenly trying to use the h-file. This was Black’s last opportunity to castle, although 22…0-0 23 h5 Be4 24 h6 would expose his King. 23 Bf3! Rxh4?! 24 Bc6+ Kf8 25 Qxg6, Black Resigns.