Grandmaster Peter Biyiasas was a most interesting character. He was blunt and to the point with everyone. If you didn’t know him, he’d probably say something to you if you watched his game, not necessarily in a friendly manner. In the late 1970’s he settled down in the San Francisco area, and played semi-seriously while pursuing a career in computer programming. Peter was a regular in the California tournament circuit, as I was. Until this game, I had never beaten him. We became friends after awhile as I got to know him better.

Black equalized early against White’s home-made opening, the typical Biyiasas opening with White. White refuses to castle, and gradually gets into trouble after the powerful 13. … c4! and 16. … e5 moves. White mistakenly hangs onto the piece with 25.Bf2? and his rook is locked out of the action after 25. ... d3!

Biyiasas’ one bad habit was he’d often talk during games, sometimes to his opponents! What he said to me was almost as interesting as the game. In rated tournaments, talking to your opponents is strictly prohibited.


GM Peter Biyiasas (2516) — Craig Mar (2386)

January, 1984, San Francisco

1.d4 Normally, Biyiasas played 1.e4 and against my Sicilian, would play the closed variations.

1. ... Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.Bf4!?

Typical of Biyiasas’ openings with White. He’d be more interested in surprising you than going into a heavily analyzed main line. Peter refused to study the most popular theory at the time, preferring openings he knew, which were sound but rarely played.

3. ... d5 Solid, but 3. ... c5 is better, opening up play on the dark squares.

4.e3 Be7 A solid way to develop. 4. ... Bd6 is also good.

5.h3 A prophylactic move, providing the B a retreat square should it be attacked. We are now out of the book, but Black has no big problems.

5. ... b6 6.Bb5+!? A finesse, more as an annoyance than a try for an advantage. White hopes for 6. ... Nbd7? 7.Bc6 and Black has a few problems.

6. ... c6 7.Bd3 Bb7

Although Black appears to have a bad Bishop, it is this Bishop which eventually wins the game!

8.Nbd2 0-0 9.c3 c5 10.Ne5 Nc6 11.Qc2 Rc8

White's play is clueless, and Black has already equalized.



12.Nxc6? Bxc6 13.Nf3 c4!

I couldn't really say why I knew this was a good move, but my chess intuition told me so! Black gains space and a Queen-size initiative.

14.Be2 Ne4 15.h4? f6 16.Nd2?!

White backpedals without a plan. I was somewhat startled by this move, and shot a quick glance at Biyiasas. "What else am I supposed to do?" Peter said to me. The tournament director then announced there would be a brilliancy prize in this tournament.

16. ... e5 The first blow to the White position.

17.dxe5?! White doesn't sense the danger.



17. ...Nxf2!!! What a surprise for Biyiasas! I remember hearing a strange guttural sound coming from Peter when I made this move. It sounded like a cough and a yelp.

18.0-0! It's Black's turn to be surprised. The situations where a N is on f2 and you or your opponent castles is very rare. In 20 years of tournament play, it's the only time it has occurred!

18. ... fxe5 19.Bxe5?! 19.Bg3! was probably better.

19. ... Bxh4 This is what Biyiasas overlooked.

20.g3? White wins a piece, but faces a terrific attack. Panic has set in.

20. ... Qe7 I used up at least a half hour on this move. Other good alternatives were 20. ... Bxg3!? and 20. ... Qg5

21.Rxf2 Anxious to simplify and beat back the attack, White grabs the annoying Knight. But I had a long combination planned against this.

21. ...Rxf2 22.Kxf2 Qxe5 23.gxh4 Rf8+!

I played this quickly, as White's next is forced.

24.Kg2! The alternatives lose quickly. If 24.Nf3 or 24.Bf3 Qh2+ followed by 25.Rxf3 wins, since the Queen is pinned. Peter spoke again, "Do to me what you must."



24...d4+! This move is obviously strong, but the best defense is counter-intuitive.

25.Bf3? The obvious move, but 2nd best, and losing quickly.  25.e4! giving back the piece still holds! Believe it or not, Black now has 2 ways to win. One is 25. ... dxe3! 26.Re1 exd! 27.Re5 Bf3+ followed by Queening. The other leads to a unique middlegame zugzwang. White will have no moves.

25. ... d3! 26.Qd1 Qxe3! Black's position is so easy to play, that I only spent few minutes on them. But White can't move a thing!

27.b3 What else? If 27.Bxc6? Rf2+ 28.Kh1 Qh3+ mates.

27. ... Rf6 28.h5 Rf5! The Rook joins the attack, and it's murder. White can't get his Rook into play.

29.Kg3 This surprised me, but still loses.

29. ... Rg5+ This took me but 40 seconds to play.

30.Kh3 I now had 25 minutes to reach the time control, but I took a solid 8 minutes here to think about how to finish White off.

30. ... Bd7+ Obvious, but I knew I had him, and spent time enjoying the position, but by now a crowd had gathered. Biyiasas muttered, "He's a genius." I just couldn't believe this. Here we are in Northern California championship with masters only, and this guy's violating the rules by talking to me.

31.Kh2 Qf2+ Black's moves are easy, but I took time to soak up the spectator's delight, as they had now surrounded the board, like vultures. They love to see upsets.

32.Bg2 Qg3+ 33.Kg1 Qxg2 mate.

Biyiasas stood up, shaking, as we signed score sheets. This loss knocked Peter out of 1st place, and he'd never recover in this tournament, while I took 3rd.