A Friendly Rivalry: Eric Schiller VS Emory Tate

Relaxed and highly personable, Schiller bantered amiably with the audience while presenting three of his games against Emory Tate.


There’s an ancient Hebrew proverb that goes something like, “The Rivalry of scholars advances wisdom.” And such was the case of the rivalry between Eric Schiller and Emory Tate. So it was a very special occasion at the Fremont Summer Chess Camp when when Eric Schiller did a two-hour lesson on his three games against Emory Tate while Tate was in the room to interject his opinions. To this day, I still receive “thank you’s” from the young chess players in the room who greatly benefited from the wisdom of these two masters.


Emory Tate inspiring the next generation at the Fremont Summer Chess Camp.

Below is part 2 of the trilogy of chess battles between Eric Schiller (March 20, 1955 – November 3, 2018) and Emory Tate (December 27, 1958 – October 17, 2015) with notes by Schiller.

[Event "Western States Open"]
[Site "Reno, Nevada (USA)"]
[Date "2004.10.16"]
[Result "1-0"]
[White "Emory Tate"]
[Black "Eric Schiller"]

1.e4 {Notes by Eric Schiller.} 
1... e5 
2.Nf3 Nc6 
3.Bb5 Nge7 
4.O-O a6 
5.Ba4 b5 
6.Bb3 Ng6 
7.c3 Be7 
8.d4 O-O 
9.a4 {A new move in this rarely explored opening. It caught me off-guard and I did
not react properly.} Bb7 {?! 9...b4 was surely the correct
plan. 9...Rb8 looks dubious because of 10.axb5 axb5 11.d5 +- }

Position after 9. a4
10.d5 Nb8 { This retreat is not justified. I simply was afraid
of the plan of maneuvering my knight to c4, because I feared
that after a capture by the bishop, and recapture with my
d-pawn, that the pawn at c4 would then be a serious
weakness. 10...Na5 11.Ba2 c5 12.b4 Nc4 13.Bxc4 bxc4 14.bxc5
Bxc5 15.Na3 +0.27 would not be so bad for Black. } 

Position after 10… Nb8
11.Qe2 bxa4 { I was thinking along the lines of my game with Nicholas
Yap. that's what happens when you win a nice game, it carries
over and the next time you use the opening you tend to play
the same way, whether or not it is appropriate.} 

Position after 11… Bxa4
12.Rxa4 d6

13.Be3 {+/= No doubt about it, White has a small advantage
here. Nevertheless, Black can whip up some serious counter

Position after 13. Be3
13... Bc8 {?! This bishop is destined to stagger drunkenly
all over the board, without having any serious effect on
White's position. 13...Nd7 would've been a much better plan
and in that case White's advantage would not have been so
significant. } 

Position after 13… Bc8
14.Nbd2 Bd7 

15.Ra3 f5 {At this point there
really isn't any other source of counterplay.} 

Position after 15… f5

16.exf5 Bxf5
17.Bc4 Bg4 
18.h3 Bc8 
19.Ne4 h6 
20.b4 {! +/- White has a dominating position and Black is suffering under the weight of
a large number weaknesses.} 

Position after 20. b4

20... Qe8 
21.Nc5 {! A powerful move! The sacrifice cannot be accepted.} 

Position after 21. Nc5

21... Bd8 { 21...dxc5 ? 22.d6+ Kh8 23.dxe7 Nxe7 24.Bxc5 is a miserable 
for Black. } 

Position after 21… Bd8
22.Ne6 Rf6

23.Nd2 Bxe6 {!? Of course that this is not the best move,
objectively. I made the capture simply because it allowed me
to develop a plan to win White's new weakling at e6, and
possibly get some counter play going by advancing central
pawns. Other moves would have left me with a miserable
position with no real chances to establish any sort of counter

Position after 23… Bxe6
24.dxe6 Ne7 { All I have to do is somehow advance my
pawn from d6 to d5 and everything will be fine. Unfortunately
my opponent doesn't allow me to do that..}

Position after 24… Ne7

25.Ne4 {!} Rf8

26.Ba2 {By the way, did I underestimate this move. At the very
end of the game you will see the point.} 

Position after 26. Ba2
26... Qg6 

27.Bc1 Kh8 

28.b5 a5 

29.f4 {!} d5 { Finally! At this point, however, the move
doesn't have much of an impact and allows the knight to take
up an even better post at c5.} 

Position after 29… d5
30.Nc5 c6 

31.Qxe5 Bb6 

32.Be3 Nf5 {? Right square, wrong piece. I could have kept the game
close by moving my rook to the square. 32...Rf5 ! 33.Qd4 Bxc5
34.Qxc5 Qxe6 35.bxc6 Nbxc6 +/= } 

Position after 32… Nf5
33.Bf2 {? A serious error which allows me to get back into the game, 
but both of us mis-analyzed the position and missed the finesse at the
end. 33.Bd4 ! Nxd4 34.cxd4 cxb5 35.Bxd5 Bxc5 36.dxc5 Ra7 37.f5
was the correct plan. White's passed pawns and dominating
bishop provide a winning advantage. } 

Position after 33. Bf2
33... Re8 {? 33...Nh4 ! was the saving plan. I spotted the move, of course, 
but simply didn't date indeed enough into the position. Both players 
saw the same continuation [34.Bxd5 ! cxd5 35.Qxd5 Ra7 ! 36.Bxh4 (but here 
we both failed to spot Rf5 !) 37.Qe4 Bxc5+ 38.Bf2 Qf6 
[38...Bxa3 39.Bxa7 ] 39.Bxc5 Rxc5 40.Rxa5 Rxa5 41.e7 Rc8
42.e8=Q+ Rxe8 43.Qxe8+ Kh7 44.Qxb8 Qxc3 with a difficult but
not hopeless position for Black. } 

Position after 33… Re8
34.Bb1 {! +- The bishop slips onto the long diagonal and finishes 
off the game.} 

Position after 34. Bb1
34... Bxc5

35.Bxc5 Nd7 {I allow Emory Tate to finish the game with a
flashy tactic. Why not? He played very well.} 

Position after 35… Nd7
36.exd7 Rxe5

37.fxe5 {I resigned. My opponent at long last got his revenge
for my upset victory in the 1997 United States Masters.} 1-0

Position after 37. fxe5


Eric Schiller VS Emory Tate Game 1


Published by chessmusings

Chris Torres is a nationally renowned scholastic chess coach working in the San Francisco Bay Area. His classes have attracted players of strengths ranging from rank beginners to world champions. A chess professional since 1998, Chris is widely recognized as one of the main driving forces behind the explosion in popularity and sudden rise in quality of scholastic chess in California. Chris Torres served as the President of the Torres Chess and Music Academy from 2005-2020 and currently is recognized as a correspondence chess master with the United States Chess Federation. Since 1998 Chris Torres has taught 6 individual national champions as well as led multiple school teams to win national championship titles. In addition, Chris Torres has directed and taught at 10 different schools which have been California State Champions at chess. In 2011 and 2012, several former and current students of Chris Torres have been selected to represent the United States at the World Youth Chess Championships. Mr. Torres’ hobbies include playing classical guitar and getting his students to appear on the national top 100 chess rating lists.

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