Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Capablanca-Marshall, New York 1918

Marshall launches a fierce counterattack by means of a subtle opening novelty (now known as the Marshall Gambit), but Capa’s chess instinct enables him to thread his way through the pitfalls.

Capablanca - Marshall
New York, 1918

C89 RUY LOPEZ, Marshall Gambit

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. 0-0 Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 0-0 8. c3 d5

Marshall’s innovation, sacrificing a pawn for development and a strong attack.

9. exd5 Nxd5 10. Nxe5 Nxe5 11. Rxe5 Nf6 12. Re1 Bd6 13. h3 Ng4 14. Qf3 Qh4 15. d4 Nxf2


16. Re2

An example of the dangers in the position — for both sides — may be seen in the variation 16. Qxf2? Bh2+ (but not 16. … Bg3? 17. Qxf7+! Rxf7 18. Re8+) 17. Kf1 Bg3 18. Qe2 (now 18. Qxf7+ Rxf7 is a check) Bxh3 19. gxh3 Rae8 with a decisive advantage.

16. Bd2 (Euwe) is also not bad, but if you’re interested in the theory of this line, consult a book on the subject. In many lines, the analysis now extends past move 30!

16. … Bg4 17. hxg4 Bh2+ 18. Kf1 Bg3 19. Rxf2 Qh1+ 20. Ke2 Bxf2 21. Bd2 Bh4 22. Qh3 Rae8+ 23. Kd3 Qf1+ 24. Kc2 Bf2 25. Qf3 Qg1 26. Bd5 c5 27. dxc5 Bxc5 28. b4 Bd6

Or 28. … Be3 29. Bxe3 Rxe3 30. Nd2 Qxa1 31. Qxe3, and White is winning on material.

29. a4 a5 30. axb5 axb4 31. Ra6 bxc3 32. Nxc3 Bb4 33. b6 Bxc3 34. b7 Re3 35. Bxf7+, Black resigns

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Spielmann-Flamberg, Mannheim 1914

Rudolph Spielmann was in many ways a man out of his proper time. Dubbed “the last Knight of the King’s Gambit,” he sought a return to the swashbuckling style on Anderssen and Morphy.

Spielmann - Flamberg
Mannheim, 1914

1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. f4 d5 4. fxe5 Nxe4 5. Nf3 Bg4 6. Qe2 Nc5 7. d4 Bxf3 8. Qxf3 Qh4+ 9. g3 Qxd4 10. Be3 Qxe5 11. 0-0-0 c6
(diagram) 12. Nxd5 cxd5 13. Rxd5 Qe6

No better was 13. … Qe4 14. Bb5+ Nc6 15. Bxc5 Qf3 16. Re1+.

14. Bc4 Qe4 15. Bxc5, Black resigns

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Nimzovich-Tarrasch, St. Petersburg 1914

Perhaps the long and bitter rivalry between Nimzovich and Tarrasch -- the former never missed an opportunity to vilify what he called "the Pseudo-Classical School" -- stemmed from this early game, in which Tarrasch gioves another example of the double-Bishop sacrifice. (See also Lasker-Bauer.)

Nimzovich - Tarrasch
St. Petersburg, 1914


1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 c5 3. c4 e6 4. e3 Nf6 5. Bd3 Nc6 6. 0-0 Bd6 7. b3 0-0 8. Bb2 b6 9. Nbd2 Bb7 10. Rc1 Qe7 11. cxd5 exd5 12. Nh4

Provoking a weakness in the Black King's field, but the cost -- loss of time, opening of thje e-file -- is too high.

12. … g6 13. Nhf3 Rad8 14. dxc5

Opening the a1-h8 diagonal and hoping to exploit the static weakness of the "hanging pawns," but Tarrasch demonstrates their dynamic strength first.

14. … bxc5 15. Bb5 Ne4 16. Bxc6 Bxc6 17. Qc2 Nxd2 18. Nxd2


18. ... d4 19. exd4 Bxh2+ 20. Kxh2 Qh4+ 21. Kg1 Bxg2 22. f3

If 22. Kxg2 Qg4+ 23. Kh2 Rd5 and 24. … Rh5+.

22. … Rfe8 23. Ne4 Qh1+ 24. Kf2 Bxf1 25. d5

The White Queen is lost on 25. Rxf1 Qh2+, and 25. Nf6+ Kf8 26. Nxe8 Qg2+ 27. Ke3 Rxe8+ 28. Kf4 g5+ 29. Kf5 Qc2+ 30. Rxc2 Bd3+ leaves Black with an extra Rook.

25. … f5 26. Qc3 Qg2+ 27. Ke3 Rxe4+ 28. fxe4 f4+ 29. Kxf4 Rf8+ 30. Ke5 Qh2+ 31. Ke6 Re8+ 32. Kd7 Bb5# 0-1

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Cleaning the streets

Fugitive criminal chess master Robert Snyder, recently featured on America's Most Wanted, has been apprehended in Belize.

One prominent chess figure who shall not be named reacted to this with "Good for the children of Belize, but we (the USCF) will be getting some more negative publicity." I'm afraid I have to rank the interests of society as a whole above those of the USCF.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Neverending Story

The USCF has issued a call for nominations for a special EB election to fill the positions formerly held by Susan Polgar and Paul Truong. Personally I think five is already too many Board members, but perhaps the EB wanted to close off any chance of P&T making a comeback (dig a hole, fill it up). So far the only announced candidate is Gary Walters of Ohio. He's an active Class A player (well, he took off from 1994 to 2007, but never mind) and correspondence player. He's also a lawyer, whose USCF Forum posts on the Polgar litigation were unusual in that venue for showing good sense. Whether I will vote for him depends on who else is running. Very likely Sam Sloan will slither from under his rock and run again; whether I will vote for him will not depend on who else is running.

The announcement from the USCF web page:

Special Election For Two USCF Executive Board Seats
Due to the revocation of the memberships of Susan Polgar and Paul Truong which took place at the USCF delegates’ meeting this past August, there will be a special election in June to elect two board members to one-year terms. Deadline for receipt of nominating petitions is midnight, January 11, 2010 and they should be sent to Cheryle Bruce at the USCF office, P.O. Box 3967, Crossville, TN 38557. Petitions must include 30 USCF-voting-member signatures, and the filing fee is $250.

Any current USCF member who is not a current USCF employee or designated contractor (see the USCF bylaws for these definitions) can be nominated as a candidate for election to the USCF executive board.

The nomination petitions must contain the dated signatures, printed names and USCF IDs of each voting member, and should contain the following text: We, the undersigned, being voting members of the U.S. Chess Federation, nominate __(candidate name goes here)__ as a candidate for election to the USCF executive board in the 2010 election. We also consent to having our names and USCF IDs published as having signed this petition. A sample nomination form will be made available on the USCF website.

Candidates must consent to be on the ballot, either by signing their own nominating petition or by a separate notice to the USCF.

Any USCF Member who is 16 years old by June 30th of an election year is a Voting Member, providing that person was a current member on May 5th for the entire day, Central Time.

1) Gary Walters has a blog at Looks like good stuff, check it out.

2) While I haven't seen this confirmed, I'm told that Mike Nietman of Wisconsin plans to run again. I rated him as acceptable last time, and see no reason to change that now, though he was a somewhat torpid campaigner.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Capablanca-Molina, Buenos Aires 1911

Capablanca’s opponent was not of the world elite, but he was one of the strongest players at the Buenos Aires Chess Club. This exhibition game is a good example of what happens when a competent master meets a future World Champion.

Capablanca - Molina
Buenos Aires, 1911

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Nbd7 5. e3 c6 6. Nf3 Be7 7. cxd5 Nxd5

More usual (and probably better) is 7. ... exd5, but it’s really a matter of taste.

8. Bxe7 Nxe7 9. Bd3 c5 10. 0–0 0–0 11. dxc5 Nxc5

As Capa points out (In “My Chess Career”), it is surprising for such a combination to arise without some error from the opponent. It works here because of Black’s backward development; his Queenside is hard to untangle, and White can quickly swing two more pieces over to the Kingside.

12. Bxh7+ Kxh7 13. Ng5+ Kg6

Forced, as 13. ... Kh6 14. Nxf7+ and 13. ... Kg8 14. Qh5 lose immediately.

14. Qg4 f5

Capablanca saw that the plausible 14. ... e5? Loses horribly to 15. Ne6+! Kf6 16. f4 e4 (16. ... Bxe6 17. Qg5#; 16. ... Nxe6 17. Ne4#) 17. Qg5+ Kxe6 18. Qe5+ Kd7 19. Rfd1+ Nd3 20. Nxe4 Kc6 21. Rxd3 Qxd3 22. Rc1+ Kb6 23. Qc7+.

15. Qg3 Kh6 16. Qh4+ Kg6 17. Qh7+

Now the seemingly undefended Knight leads a charmed life.


17. ... Kf6

Mate soon follows after 17. ... Kxg5 18. Qxg7+ Kh5 19. f4 Ng8 20. Rf3.

18. e4 Ng6 19. exf5

Capa later preferred 19. f4, with the idea of 19. … fxe4 20. Rad1 Qb6 21. Rd6.

19. ... exf5 20. Rad1 Nd3

Black still can’t get his pieces out, as 20. ... Bd7 fails to 21. Nd5+ Ke5 (21. ... Kxg5 22. f4+ Nxf4 23. h4+) 22. Qxg6.

21. Qh3 Ndf4 22. Qg3 Qc7 23. Rfe1 Ne2+

Loses quickly, but thre isn’t a good alternative -- 23. ... Be6 24. Rxe6+ Nxe6 25. Nd5# or 23. ... Bd7 24. Nd5+ Nxd5 25. Nh7+ Kf7 26. Qxc7 Nxc7 27. Rxd7+ Kg8 28. Nxf8.

24. Rxe2 Qxg3 25. Nh7+ Kf7 26. hxg3 Rh8 27. Ng5+ Kf6 28. f4 1–0

There is nothing to be done about the threat of Rd6.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Westwood Fall Open final

Top-rated GM Melikset Khachiyan swept the field with 5-0 at the Westwoed Fall Open, held at the Los Angeles Chess Club November 8. Next at 3.5 were Alexandre Kretchetov, Garush Manukyan, Garnik Baghdasaryan (all Khachiyan's victims) and Ryan Porter. In the Reserve (U1800) section, three players tied for first with 4-1: Al Pena, Mitchell Jayson, and top U1600 Karl Tolentino. Click here for complete standings.

Prize Winners
1st: GM Melikset Khachiyan, 5-0; 2nd-3rd: Alexandre Kretchetov, Garush Manukyan, Ryan Porter, Garnik Baghdasaryan, 3½-1½; U2200: Robert Akopian, 3½-1½; U2000: Jeff Cohen, 2½-2½.

1st-2nd: Al Pena Jr, Michell Jayson, 4-1; U1600: Karl Tolentino, 4-1; U1400/Unrated: Andrew Wang, Andy Caen; 3-2; U1200: Blake Isara, 2-3.

Alexandre Kretchetov (2439) – GM Melikset Khachiyan (2607)

Westwood Fall Open, Los Angeles 2009


1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Bc4 c5 8.Ne2 Nc6 9.Be3 0–0 10.0–0 Qc7 11.dxc5 Ne5 12.Bb3 Ng4 13.Bf4 Qxc5 14.Qc2 Be5 15.Rad1 Bxf4 16.Nxf4 Qe5 17.g3 Nf6 18.Rfe1 Bg4 19.Rc1 Bf3 20.Re3 Bxe4 21.Qe2 Qf5 22.f3 Bc6 23.Rxe7 Rae8 24.Kg2 Rxe7 25.Qxe7 g5 26.Bc2 Qg4 27.Bd1 gxf4 28.Qxf6 fxg3 29.hxg3 Qh5 30.Be2 Re8 31.Bc4 Qg6 32.Qd4 Qf5 33.Rf1 Qe5 34.Qxa7 Qxc3 35.Bb3 Re2+ 36.Kg1 Qe5 0–1

Westwood Fall Open

This 1-day event at the LA Chess Club drew 44, not quite a record but still a good turnout. Early favorites are top-rated GM Melikset Khachiyan, Alexandre Kretchetov, and IM Tim Taylor. Standings are posted, and will be updated throughout the day.

GM Melikset Khachiyan (2607) – Show Kitagami (2146)

Westwood Fall Open, Los Angeles 2009

[C13] French Defense, Alekhine-Chatard Attack

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e5 Nfd7 6.h4 a6 7.Qg4 Kf8 8.0–0–0 c5 9.dxc5 Nxc5 10.Bxe7+ Qxe7 11.Nxd5 Qd8 12.Qb4 Nbd7 13.Nb6 Qe7 14.Rd6 Nxb6 15.Qxc5 Nd7 16.Qc7 h5 17.Nf3 Rh6 18.Be2 Kg8 19.Rhd1 Qe8 20.Ng5 b5 21.Bf3 1–0

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Los Angeles Open final

IM Andranik Matikozyan took clear first in the 2009 LAO with 4.5. out of 5, defeating IMs Tim Taylor and Enrico Sevillano, and drawing in the final round with GM Melikset Khachiyan. Tied for 2nd a half-point behind were Khachiyan, IM Jack Peters, and master Alexandre Kretchetov. Both of the lower sections also saw clear winners, as Gautam Nipanakar score 5-0 in the Premier, and Ishan Bose-Pyne notched 4.5 in the Amateur. In the Hexes, Henry Castro, Ray Wong, and Vincent Nguyen tied for first with 2.5.

Complete standings for all sections are posted here. Also available are games in PGN format or in Java viewer.

Prize Winners


1st: IM Andranik Matikozyan, 4½-½; 2nd-4th: GM Melikset Khachiyan, IM Jack Peters, Alexandre Kretechtov, 4-1; 5th/1st U2400: Tim Taylor, Garnik Baghdasaryan, 3-1; 2nd U2400: Gregg Small, Ryan Porter, Eugene Yanayt, Christian Tanaka, 3-2; 1st U2200: Vadim Kudryavtsev, 3-1; 2nd-3rd U2200: David Adelberg, Robert Akopian, John Funderburg, Konstantin Kavutskiy, 3-2.


1st: Gautam Nipanikar, 5-0; 2nd-3rd: Willis Kim, Yusheng Xia, 4-1; 1st U1800: Nathan Ogata, 4-1; 2nd-3rd U2400: Bill Conrad, Babken Krbashian, Richard Varela, 3½-1½; 1st U1600: Annie Wang, 3½-1½; 2nd-3rd U1600: Numan Abdul-Majeeb, Joshua Sheng, Scott Xue, 2½-2½.


1st: Ishan Bose-Pyne, 4½-½; 2nd: John Gardner, 3½-1½; 3rd: Chantelle Field, Beverley Woolsey, 3-2; U1200: Jouaquin Perkins, Michael Tornabane, 2½-2½; Unrated: Joshua Miler, 3-2.

Scholastic Open: Stephanie Shao, 5-0. Scholastic Reserve: Alice Salvaryan, 5-0. Hexes: Henry Castro. Ray Wong, Vincent Nguyen, 2½-½.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Los Angeles Open, day 2

As the last round began, IM Andranik Matikozyan held the lead with 4-1, and faced GM Melikset Khachiyan with 3.5. The two drew after a brief struggle, leaving Vadim Kudryavtsev the only one with a chance to catch Matikozyan. That won't be easy, as he faces Alexandre Kretchetov with Black.

The one-day LAO Scholastics proved a good day for the ladies, as Stephanie Shao scored 5-0 in the Open, and Alice Salvaryan swept the Reserve. Forty-four competed. Full standings are posted here, and will be updated as sections finish.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Los Angeles Open, day 1

After the merge, five players are tied for he lead with 2-0: GM Melikset Khachiyan, IMs Andranik Matikozyan, Jack Peters and Tim Taylor, and Senior Master Alexandre Kretchetov. IM Enrico Sevillano is half a point behind after a draw with young star Eric Zhang. Standings are posted here and will be updated throughout the weekend. Pairings will be posted as time permits. (Photos: Kretchetov faces Khachiyan, while Taylor battles Matikzyan.)

Michael Brown – IM Tim Taylor
Los Angeles Open, Los Angeles 2009
1.d4 e6 2.c4 f5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bf4 Bb4 5.e3 b6 6.Bd3 Bb7 7.f3 Nh5 8.Nge2 Nxf4 9.Nxf4 Bxc3+ 10.bxc3 0–0 11.0–0 Qg5 12.Qb3 Nc6 13.c5 Kh8 14.Rae1 Rfb8 15.d5 Na5 16.Qa4 e5 17.Nh3 Qe7 18.cxb6 axb6 19.Bxf5 Bxd5 20.Qxd7 Qxd7 21.Bxd7 Rd8 22.Bf5 Bxa2 23.Rf2 Bg8 24.f4 Nc4 25.Rf3 Ra3 26.Rc1 g6 27.Bb1 Nd2 28.fxe5 Ra1 29.Ng5 Nxf3+ 30.gxf3 h6 31.Ne4 Ba2 32.Nf6 Kg7 33.Kg2 Rxb1 34.Rxb1 Bxb1 35.f4 c5 0–1

Elena Popova – GM Melikset Khachiyan
Los Angeles Open, Los Angeles 2009

[B73] SICILIAN DEFENSE, Dragon Variation

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.Be2 0–0 8.0–0 Nc6 9.Kh1 d5 10.exd5 Nb4 11.d6 Qxd6 12.Ncb5 Qb8 13.c4 Bd7 14.f4 Rd8 15.Qe1 Nc6 16.Rd1 Ng4 17.Bg1 Nxd4 18.Nxd4 e5 19.h3 exd4 20.hxg4 Re8 21.Qf2 Bc6 22.Bd3 b6 23.f5 Re3 24.Qh4 Qg3 25.Qxg3 Rxg3 26.Rfe1 Rxg4 27.Re2 Bh6 28.Bh2 Be3 29.Rf1 Re8 30.fxg6 hxg6 31.Rf6 Re6 32.Rf1 Kg7 33.b4 Re8 34.b5 Bb7 35.c5 bxc5 0–1

Friday, October 9, 2009

Los Angeles Open, day 0

AS the 3-day schedule begins, we have 82 players, including one GM and four IMs. More are expected tomorrow for the 2-day schedule. Standings will be posted here throughout the weekend, and pairings will be posted as time permits.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Kotrc-Weigl, Vidni 1912

Not every great game has a great name. This little gem deserves to be better known.

Kotrc - Weigl
Vidni, 1912


1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d4 exd4 5. 0–0 Bc5 6. e5 d5

The Max Lange Attack leads to exciting play, but it has two drawbacks -- it's been analyzed to death, and it can't arise unless both players agree to it.

7. exf6 dxc4 8. Re1+ Kf8

A rare sideline, seeking to avoid the long variations arising after 8. ... Be6.

9. Bg5 gxf6 10. Bh6+ Kg8 11. Nc3

The back-rank weakness allows the Knight to enter play quickly. If 11. ... dxc3 12. Qxd8+ Nxd8+ 13. Re8+ Bf8 14. Rxf8 mate.

11. ... Bg4 12. h3 Bh5 13. Ne4 Bb6


14. Nxd4!

The fun begins. White initially gets only one minor piece for his Queen, but his superior development, plus the useless Rook at h8, put him on top.

14. ... Bxd1

The alternative
14. ... Nxd4 15. Qxh5 f5 16. Bg5 would avoid the brilliancy but wouldn't save the game.

15. Nxc6 bxc6 16. Raxd1 Qe7 17. Ng3 Qc5 18. Re3 f5

Hoping to weasel out with 19. Rde1 f6, but ...

19. Ne4 1–0

Too many threats! If 19. ... fxe4 20 Rg3+ and mate next, or 19. ... Qe5 20. Rg3+ Qxg3 21. Nf3 mate.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Mote, beam

Today on her blog, Susan Polgar wrote:

"I first learned about the world of blogging on May 23, 2005 from my friend Amy. Today, the 19,000th post was made.

How things started and my vision:

Chess news used to be monopolized by a few major chess media sources. It was appalling for me to see news about chess tournaments and events published sometimes weeks and months later or not at all. To make matters worse, some tournaments, organizers, and players were blackballed because of dirty chess politics or other petty reasons.

This is why I decided to take on the “establishments” and started this blog over 4 years ago. I want to give the “little guys” a voice. If organizers want to promote his / her events, just send me the announcements, updates, or reports, and I will publish them.

I am happy to see countless chess blogs and websites popping up in the last few years. If players unite and do the right things for chess, we will succeed in making our wonderful game a lot more visible globally.

The “typical” approach to chess in the past few decades is not working. It is time to “rock the boat” and push through new and refreshing ideas to make our game more appealing for the media, the public, and young people, especially girls.

People often tell me that chess is not attractive or exciting enough for the media or the general public. Wrong! Just come to Lubbock, Texas and you can see how chess has exploded in this city in just 2 years. Look at St. Louis, MO, Fresno, CA, and Bellevue, WA. Look at what the AF4C or Chess in the Schools have done. Those are just a few of many chess success stories.

Many of the long time and stagnant chess establishments are now “irrelevant”. We can succeed if we move ahead in the right direction instead of just sitting still and procrastinate. It is time for action. A special thank you to all of you for your continued support!"

Sigh. Susan has done a terrific job with her blog, and I highly recommend it. She’s also done a lot of good things with SPICE and Texas Tech. Why can’t she be content with highlighting her very real achievements, rather than searching for enemies? This sort of paranoid approach – “There are those who …”, conveniently unnamed but tagged with plenty of negative adjectives – only makes her look small. “It is not enough to succeed; all others must be seen to fail.” Polgar and Truong are not the only ones in the chess world with that attitude, but they are among the minority who could have succeeded on their own merits. It’s a shame.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Lewitzky - Marshall, Breslau 1912

Though not quite the equal of Lasker or Capablanca, Frank Marshall was for many years one of the top half-dozen players in the world, and a formidable tournament competitor. His aggressive attitude, combinational flair, and imagination produced a great number of brilliant games like this one. It is said that after the spectacular conclusion, the spectators showered the board with gold coins. Another version, though, is that wealthy Russian emigres had bet on their compatriot Lewitzky, and were paying off their losses ...

Lewitzky - Marshall
Breslau, 1912

FRENCH DEFENSE, Marshall Variation

1. d4 e6 2. e4 d5 3. Nc3 c5

A double-edged system which Marshall played with success, for he did not hesitate to accept a positional weakness in exchange for tactical chances.
4. Nf3 Nc6 5. exd5 exd5 6. Be2 Nf6 7. 0-0 Be7 8. Bg5 0-0 9. dxc5 Be6 10. Nd4 Bxc5 11. Nxe6
A dubious idea; Black obtains strong central pawns and an open f-file, and White will never have time to exploit the potentially weak pawn at e6.
11. ... fxe6 12. Bg4 Qd6 13. Bh3 Rae8 14. Qd2?!
Now Black obtains a clear advantage. The defensive 14. a3 was correct.
14. ... Bb4 15. Bxf6 Rxf6 16. Rad1
White had to meet the threats of both ... Nf6-e4 and ... d5-d4, but now Black’s Rooks become very active.
16. ... Qc5 17. Qe2
Embarking on what he believes to be an exchanging combination, but Marshall has calculated more deeply. Better was 17. a3 Bxc3 18. Qxc3 Qxc3 19. bxc3, though Black stands clearly better in the endgame.
17. ... Bxc3 18. bxc3 Qxc3 19. Rxd5 Nd4 20. Qh5
White had seen this far -- on 20. Qe5? Nf3+! 21. gxf3 Rg6+ wins. Correct, however, was 20. Qe4, and if 20. … Rf4 21. Qe5 the position remains unclear. Now if 20. ... g6 21. Qe5 is playable, but ...
20. ... Ref8 21. Re5
Perhaps White had planned 21. Rc5, overlooking 21. ... Rxf2! (22. Rxf2 Qe1+, or 22. g3 Ne2+ 23. Kh1 Rxf1+).
21. ... Rh6 22. Qg5
On 22. Qg4, 22. ... Nf3+, discovering on the undefended Rook at e5, would win routinely.
22. ... Rxh3 23. Rc5


Not 23. gxh3? Nf3+. Now White hopes for something like 23. ... Qb4 24. Rc7 g6 25. Qe5, but Black has other plans.
23. ... Qg3!, White resigns
The Queen is en prise three ways but cannot be captured -- 24. fxg3 Ne2+ 25. Kh1 Rxf1 mate, 24. hxg3 Ne2 mate, or 24. Qxg3 Ne2+ 25. Kh1 Nxg3+ 26. Kg1 Nxf1, with an extra piece.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Southern Cal Open final

GMs Melikset Khachiyan and Alejandro Ramirez shared first place with master Evgeny Shver, all on 5-1. Khachiyan takes the state championship title on tiebreak. They reached the winner's circle by different routes: Ramirez, in clear first, had committed to a last-round bye. Shver upset GM Jesse Kraai, in a game that went the full six hours. And Khachiyan, on board 1, defeated 11-year-old sensation Kayden Troff, who had previously upset an IM and two masters.

Other section winners included Esteban Escobedo (Premier), Reneray Valdez (Amateur), Sven Myrin (Reserve), and Leonard De Leon (Booster).

Full standings are posted here.

Prize Winners


1st-3rd: GM Melikset Khachiyan, GM Alejandro Ramirez, Evgeny Shver, 5-1; 4th-7th: IM Enrico Sevillano, IM Dionisio Aldama, Joel Banawa, Alexandre Kretchetov, 4½-1½; U2300: 1st: Vadim Kudryavtsev, 4½-1½; 2nd: Ryan Porter, Avram Zaydenberg, 4-2; U2200: 1st-2nd: John Funderburg, Kayden Troff, 4-2; 3rd-4th: Robert Akopian, Konstantin Kavutskiy, Show Kitagami, Michael Brown, Raoul Crisologo, Leo Raterman, Jared Tan, 3½-2½.


1st: Esteban Escobedo, 5-1; 2nd: Jesse Orlowski, 4½-1½; 3rd-4th: John Badger, Luke Neyndorf, Madhaven Vajepeyam, Christian Glawe, 4-2.


1st: Reneray Valdez, 5-1; 2nd: Mike Bynum, 4½-1½; 3rd-4th: Marcos Ferrer, Ronaldo Salenga, 4-2.


1st: Sven Myrin, 5-1; 2nd: Craig Hilby, 4½-1½; 3rd-4th: Timothy Jao, Steven Dahl, Thomas Glazier, 4-2.


1st: Leonard De Leon, 5-1; 2nd: Willie Roy, 4½-1½; 3rd-4th: Ramon Umadhay, Jennifer Lu, 4-2; U1200: 1st: Claire Negus, 4-2; 2nd: Kenneth Xu, Shelley Anthopoulos, 3½-1½.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Southern California Open, day 3

As we begin the final round, no fewer than eight players remain in contention for first place. GM Alejandro Ramirez, who led with 4.5 out of five, was committed to a last-round bye and finishes with 5-1. Battling it out with 4-1 are GMs Melikset Khachiyan and Jesse Kraai, masters Joel Banawa, Alexandre Kretchetov and Evgeny Shver, and youthful Expert Kayden Troff from Salt Lake City. Troff, rated only 2100, faces Khachiyan on Board 1 after upsetting IM Ed Formanek and masters Gregg Small and Giovanni Caretto. Complete standings are posted here, and will be updated as sections finish.

Alexandre Kretchetov (2403) – GM Jesse Kraai (2584) [D00]

Southern California Open, San Diego 2009

1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 d5 3.Bxf6 exf6 4.e3 Bd6 5.Bd3 Nd7 6.Qf3 Nb6 7.Nd2 Be6 8.Ne2 Qd7 9.h3 0–0 10.c3 c5 11.dxc5 Bxc5 12.Nb3 Bd6 13.Nbd4 Rad8 14.Nf4 g6 15.Nh5 gxh5 16.Qxh5 Rfe8 17.Qh6 Qc7 18.Bxh7+ Kh8 19.Bg6+ Kg8 20.Bh7+ Kh8 ½–½

GM Melikset Khachiyan (2610) – IM Dionisio Aldama (2489) [B85]

Southern California Open, San Diego 2009

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.Be2 Nf6 7.0–0 Nc6 8.Be3 d6 9.a4 Be7 10.Nb3 b6 11.f4 0–0 12.Bf3 Bb7 13.Qe2 Rfe8 14.Rad1 Bf8 15.Bf2 Rab8 16.Bg3 Ne7 17.e5 dxe5 18.fxe5 Nd7 19.Ne4 Nf5 20.Nd6 Nxg3 21.hxg3 Bxf3 22.Rxf3 Bxd6 23.exd6 Qc6 24.Rd4 b5 25.Rc3 Qb6 26.a5 Qa7 27.Qf2 Rbc8 28.Rdd3 Qxf2+ 29.Kxf2 e5 30.Rc7 Rcd8 31.Nc5 Nxc5 32.Rxc5 Kf8 33.Rc6 e4 34.Rd5 e3+ 35.Ke2 Re6 36.Rxa6 Rg6 37.Kxe3 Re8+ 38.Kf4 Rf6+ 39.Rf5 Rfe6 40.Ra7 Re4+ 41.Kf3 Re3+ 42.Kg4 f6 43.Rxb5 Re1 44.Re7 R8xe7 45.dxe7+ Kxe7 46.b4 Rf1 47.Rb7+ Ke6 48.Rxg7 h6 49.a6 1–0

(Photos: GM Jesse Kraai in a blue mood; Kayden Troff faces GM Melikset Khachiyan on Board 1.)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Southern California Open, day 2

After three rounds, three players are tied for the lead: GM Jesse Kraai, IM Enrico Sevillano, and Alexandre Kretchetov with 3-0. Half a point behind is a large group on 2.5, including GMs Melikset Khachiyan and Alejandro Ramirez and IM Dionisio Aldama. Click here for updated standings of all sections.

In the election for the SCCF Executive Board, winners were: John Hillery and Randy Hough (27), Elliot Landaw (21), Jerry Yee (20), and Chuck Ensey and Mick Bighamian (19). Steve Morford was subsequently elecetd to full the unexpired term of Ulric Aeria, who is relocating to Guam.

GM Melikset Khachiyan (2610) – Avram Zaydenberg (2204) [C68]

Southern California Open, San Diego 2009

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.0–0 Bg4 6.h3 Bxf3 7.Qxf3 Nf6 8.d3 h6 9.Nd2 Bd6 10.Nc4 Nd7 11.Qg3 g5 12.b4 Nf8 13.a4 Ng6 14.Qg4 0–0 15.Ne3 Nf4 16.Nf5 Qf6 17.g3 h5 18.Qd1 Nxh3+ 19.Kg2 g4 20.f3 Qg6 21.fxg4 hxg4 22.Nh6+ Kg7 23.Qxg4 Nf4+ 24.gxf4 exf4 25.Nf5+ Kg8 26.Kf3 Qxg4+ 27.Kxg4 f6 28.Rh1 Kf7 29.Rh7+ Ke8 30.Nxd6+ cxd6 31.Bxf4 1–0

GM Jesse Kraai (2584) – Konstantin Kavutskiy (2157) [E01]

Southern California Open, San Diego 2009

1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 e6 3.g3 c5 4.Bg2 Nc6 5.0–0 Nf6 6.c4 Be7 7.dxc5 Bxc5 8.a3 0–0 9.b4 Be7 10.Nbd2 b6 11.Bb2 Bb7 12.Rc1 Rc8 13.Qa4 a5 14.cxd5 Nxd5 15.b5 Nb8 16.Rxc8 Qxc8 17.Rc1 Qd8 18.Ne5 Ne3 19.Bxb7 Qxd2 20.Qd4 Qxe2 21.Nc6 Bf6 22.Ne7+ Kh8 23.Qxf6 Qxb2 24.Qxb2 1–0

Kayden Troff (2100) – IM Ed Formanek (2266) [A80]

Southern California Open, San Diego 2009

1.d4 f5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Bf4 d6 4.e3 Nh5 5.Bg5 g6 6.Bc4 Bg7 7.0–0 Nd7 8.Nbd2 Ndf6 9.Re1 h6 10.Bxf6 Nxf6 11.Nh4 d5 12.Bb3 g5 13.Ng6 Rh7 14.c4 e6 15.cxd5 exd5 16.Bc2 Be6 17.Nb3 b6 18.Bd3 Qd6 19.Qc2 Ng4 20.g3 Qd7 21.f3 Nf6 22.Ne5 Qc8 23.Qc6+ Kf8 24.Ba6 Qe8 25.Qxc7 h5 26.Qd6+ Kg8 27.Bb5 Nd7 28.Bxd7 1–0

(Photos: 1) Short & the long of it? Kayden Troff faces master Gregg Small. 2) Alexandre Kretchetov vs. GM Melikset Khachiyan. 3) GM Jesse Kraai vs. IM Enrico Sevillano.)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Southern California Open, day 1

The 2009 Southern Cal Open, held at the luxurious (though somewhat spread-out) Crowne Plaza Hotel in San Diego, has begun with a field of 130. The top section included three GMs (Khachiyan, Ramirez and Kraai) and three IMs (Sevillano, Aldama and Formanek). Standings will be posted throughout the weekend at this link.

John Gurczak (2098) – GM Melikset Khachiyan (2610)
Southern California Open San Diego 2009
[D86] GRUENFELD DEFENSE, Exchange Variation

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Bc4 0–0 8.Be3 Nc6 9.Ne2 e5 10.0–0 Qe7 11.Qd2 exd4 12.Nxd4 Qxe4 13.f3 Qe8 14.Nb5 Ne5 15.Be2 Qe7 16.Nxa7 Rd8 17.Nxc8 Raxc8 18.Qc2 Ng4 19.fxg4 Qxe3+ 20.Kh1 Rd2 0–1

IM Ed Formanek (2266) – Jamison Pryor (2027)
Southern California Open San Diego
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 d5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 c5 7.Bd3 Qa5 8.Bd2 dxc4 9.Bxc4 cxd4 10.cxd4 Qg5 11.Nf3 Qxg2 12.Rg1 Qh3 13.Rxg7 Nc6 14.Rb1 Ne4 15.Ke2 Bd7 16.Rxb7 Nd6 17.Rxd7 Kxd7 18.Qa4 Nxc4 19.Rxf7+ Ke8 20.Rc7 1–0

Pairings for Round 3 are now available. Note that all pairings are subject to change until ten minutes before round time.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

U.S. Open final: Six is the point

Six players tied for first in the 110th Annual U.S. Open, held at the Indianapolis Marriott East August 1-9. Scoring 7.5 out of 9 were GMs Alex Yermolinsky, Sergey Kudrin, Dmitry Gurevich and Jesse Kraai, and IMs Alex Lenderman and Jacek Stopa. Since Stopa is from Poland, the other five players take all five U.S. Championship qualification spots. Congratulations to the winners!

U.S. Open 3

Going into the final round, GM Sergey Kudrin and IM Alex Lenderman are tied for the lead with 7-1. Next at 6.5 are no les than 14 players. Three of them (GM Alexandra Kosteniuk, IM Ben Finegold, and IM Daniel Fernandez) are taking byes in the last round, and so will finish with 7. For the rest, the last-round pairings are:

GM Sergey Kudrin - IM Alex Lenderman
GM Gergely Antal - GM Julio Becerra
GM Alex Yermolinsky - IM Salvijus Bercys
IM Jacek Stopa - Daniel Rensch
GM Jesse Kraai - IM Justin Sarkar
GM Dmitry Gurevich - IM Ron Burnett
IM Blas Lugo - GM Alexander Shabalov (6)

USCF Delegates Meeting, day 2

9 a.m.: Call to order. The chair announced that committee reports would be deferred to the end (which probably means never) unless they have motions included.

9:05: Budget adopted, no debate. CL editor Dan Lucas is now speaking. Printing contract stuff, important but not glamorous. (E.g., unit cost of CL reduced from ~$.46 to $.37.) No US Open program book this year because they were too busy. Lucas seems to think it's unimportant. I disagree, but that's just me.

9:15: Harold Winston reporting on the Chess Trust. Give till it hurts -- there's a $4900 matching grant. The Hall of Fame is probably going to have to move because of Excalibur's financial troubles, possibly to St. Louis.

9:20: Don Schultz presents a FIDE report. Nothing significant.

9:22: Reappointment of Delegate-selected committees. No controversies. Donna Alarie and John Hillery added to Bylaws. Heh.

9:25: Committee reports: PPHBF proposes guidelines for those seeking support. The text is shown on a big screen, but some of the Dels can't see it and John McCrary has to read it. Passed without debate. Rules has several proposals, confusingly worded and poorly presented. I suspect we'll find we've voted something we didn't mean. Motion to adopt the FIDE rule that anyone whose cell phone rings loses the game. Failed. A confusing motion which looks to me like it's pretty much the same as the current rule is next. An amendment to make penalties harsher fails. Main motion passed. Next, a motion which would make it illegal to speak to anyone on a telephone during the game, even outside the playing hall. I think it's impractical and grossly punitive. Oh, and David Kuhns just mentioned in passing that the Workshop opposed this 1-20. The Delegates agreed. Failed. Lastly, a redundant motion saying that you can't get advice from an electronic device. Failed 26-28. We're up to 9:50 now.

9:55: Old business. Motion requiring voter registration. Starting to drag, as everybody wants to debate minutiae. Kicked back to committee.

10:00: Post minutes on the web site, charge for hard copy. Common sense. Passed. Transfer "secretary" function to someone other than the Secretary. Passed.

10:05: Arcane motions about recognition of income. Referred back to committee. Boilerplate authorizing promotional memberships. Passed.

10:10: Recall motions against Truong and Polgar. Argument about whether it's moot. My opinion: always go with suspenders and belt. Tabled until the lawyer is present.

10:25: Motion to make it possible to go after 501(c)(3) status. Lots of "Whereases." Everyone wants to speak to this, God knows why. Referred to Bylaws.

10:37: Raise non-magazine Adult membership from $29 to $34. Some really dumb arguments about what the new number should be. The floor of the Delegates Meeting is not the place to argue about this, no matter how smart the debater thinks he is. Passed.

10:45: Decrease the number of Delegates. Alarie's original proposal was dropping from 125 to 100, now changed to 120. This isn't going anywhere. (Will the proposers of such motions volunteer to be downsized?) Failed.

10:55: Anti-nepotism amendment. (Anti-Polgar amendment?) Some pointless nit-picking about whether you could have three siblings but not two. Now they're arguing about whether a "legal relationship" is required rather than simple cohabitation. (Is the USCF encouraging living in sin?) Bill is being a little too tolerant of people who want to keep talking. Postponed for language cleanup.

11:02: Another major Bylaws revision, changing EB terms to three years. Passed. Because, you know, making major changes without much thought has worked so well in the past.

11:05: ... And reconsidered, to add a change in the term limit from eight years to nine. Now we're debating this thing again. Randy Bauer is complaining that he might not be able to run for a third term. What a waste of time. Passed, again.

11:15: Anti-nepotism redux. Passed.

11:20: Motion by Frank Camaratta to have the Bylaws Committee prepare proposal for getting rid of OMOV. At least they didn't try to do it on the floor.

11:30: Proposal to reduce affiliate commissions from $3 to $2. Failed.

11:35: Request for indemnification of Polgar and Alexander for being sued by USCF. Answer: no.

11:58: Motion to create a Blitz rating system. Failed. Instead we passed a motion saying that Blitz can be rated under the Quick rating system, which everyone except David Kuhns thinks we were doing already.

12:14: Motion to abolish 14H. Heated debate. Failed. A small change was adopted, making the insertion of a delay clock the preferred option. Probably a good idea, as it helps to get TDs out of the business of adjudication.

12:40: A lot of time-wasting and posturing. We're now arguing whether P&L reports for individual tournaments should be supplied to the Dels. Referred.

1:02: Presentation of certificates to outgoing EB members. Installation of new EB members.

1:05: Adjournment. Finally. Oh, yeah, we never got around to the Polgar/Truong recall motions. Either because they couldn't find the attorney or because everyone forgot about it.

We cam na here to view your warks,
In hopes to be mair wise,
But only, lest we gang to hell,
It may be nae surprise.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

U.S. Open 2

With two rounds remaining, seven players are tied for the lead with 6-1: GMs Sergey Kudrin, Alex Yermolinsky and Alexndra Kosteniuk, IMs Alex Lenderman, Michael Mulyar and Ron Burnett, and Jonathan Hilton (rated 2298!). With Kosteniuk taking a bye, pairings for round 8 are Lenderman-Hilton, Mulyar-Kudrin, and Burnett-Yermolinsky

USCF Delegates Meeting

9:35: Initial call of the roll. 72 present (well above a quorum), later increased to 75. After some trivialities like approval of the minutes, the first item of business is a motion from the Bylaws committee to suspend the rules for a number of amendments. And the chair announced that we'd go into closed session at 2 p.m. to consider the appeal by Polgar and Truong to their membership suspension. This is taking longer than it should. I'm afraid Bill G does not run a very taut meeting.

9:45: Finally we get to the Bylaws amendments. Boiled down, we have: 1) Prohibition against an EB member suing the USCF, with compulsory arbitration; 2) Get rid of SOMOV. Delegates to be appointed to 1-year terms by the State Chapters. 3) Ratification of every vote since 1998, just in case. Harold Winston is now speaking.

9:55: Ratification passed. Litigation ban approved. Also, anyone suing the USCF must disclose it in CL when running. (This seems pretty unlikely to arise.)

10:15: Currently debating a sleeper clause, which would allow states to appoint Delegates from other states. I think it's a lousy idea, but it proved popular and was passed easily. It turns out that the Bylaws Committee proposal will continue to allow door appointments (with 1-year terms, the absent Delegates can simply be declared to have resigned). This, of course, would continue to allow a small group to pack the meeting. Here comes the new boss ...

10:35: To the heart of the matter: Go back to having State Chapters select Delegates for 1 (calendar) year terms. This would start in 2011, after the current Delegate terms expire. Much of the debate seems to be from people who don't like whoever is running their State Chapter. My nose bleeds for them. Passed.

10:45: Last Bylaws items: 1) A "severability" boilerplate clause. Passed. 2) Allowing the membership meeting to appoint up to five "extra" Delegates for that meeting. The backstory is that a few states have active feuds which froze out the losing side. Also, there are a few old-timers who always come to the Delegates Meeting but are not real popular in their own states. (The closer they are ...) Some trivial debate, but everybody knows they're going to pass this. Can't we just do it?

10:50: OK, passed. Done with Bylaws. Now we get to listen to committee reports for a while.

11:20: Reports from the President and ED. Heartwarming stuff, but it's kinda dragging. I doubt we'll get to anything substantive before lunch, and then we'll only have an hour until we have to deal with the Polgar/Truong mess.

11:45: An annoying person not familiar to me moved to reconsider the ratification motion, on the grounds that not everyone has read the entire info package. Looks like it will pass, and we'll have to do all this again in a couple of hours. Seems idiotic to me, since the info package is about the size of Crime and Punishment. No one is going to read it in the next two hours. Of course, most of it is a waste of paper -- complete copies of all legal filings, complete transcripts (not minutes) of EB meetings, and such piffle. If the Delegates haven't made up their minds yet, they're not going to change now.

11:58: Reconsideration passed. Idiots. (Oh, did I say that out loud?) Now we get to vote on it again at 2. Probably no blogging for a while after that, since we'll be in executive session for the Polgar/Truong appeal.

2:10: Still waiting for the President to show up so we can start. When we finally do, we'll have to deal with the "ratification" business again, followed by the Polgar/Truong appeal in executive session.

2:15: Back in session. Ratification passed again, near-unanimous with one abstention.

5:25: After an extended debate, which I'm not allowed to talk about (Question from the floor: "How long does confidentiality last?" Answer from the chair: "In microseconds?"), the revocation of Paul Truong's membership was upheld by a vote of 58-16, and Susan Polgar's by 55-21.

(Click here for day 2.)

Friday, August 7, 2009

U.S. Open 1

* After the merge, total attendance is 455. Not impressive by the standards of the 70s and 80s, but pretty good for the current decade. The dog-and-pony show of 9-, 6-, and 4-day schedules has produced some oddities, like young master Jonathan Hilton facing GM Alex Yermolinsky on Board 2, but at least there will be three rounds for everyone to compete together. The Indianapolis Marriott East is a very nice playing site, but it's easy to see why it sold out early -- aside from the function space, it's a pretty small hotel. Complete standings may be found through the USCF web page, but they apparently cannot be linked to because of some some very annoying web design choices.

* Abby Marshall of Virginia took first place in the Denker Touranment of High School Champions with 5.5 out of 6. I think this is a first, though I haven't had a chance to check. Tied for second with 5-1 were Jeffrey Haskel of Florida and Michael Yang of Minnesota.

* Rumor is that the Bylaws Committee wants to deal with whinng complaints about the legality of the Delegate selection process by repealing the changes made by the "Blue Ribbon Commission" back in 1998 -- returning to appointment of Delegates by the State Chapters to one-year terms. We won't know for sure until the Delegates Meeting tomorrow. Which will also have the inestimable pleasure of ruling on whether it's OK to revoke the memberships of Polgar and Truong. It's going to be a long weekend.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Capablanca-Bernstein, San Sebastian 1911

The young Capablanca gained entry to this event, intended for those who had taken at least two third prizes in international tournaments, only at the insistence of Frank Marshall, who had lost to Capa in a match two years before. The Cuban won the event convincingly, losing only one game (to Rubinstein). Ossip Bernstein had been one of the most vocal opponents of Capablanca’s admission, and it befell that they met in the first round.

Capablanca - Bernstein
San Sebastian, 1911

C65 RUY LOPEZ, Steinitz Defense

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. 0-0 Be7 5. Nc3 d6 6. Bxc6+ bxc6 7. d4 exd4 8. Nxd4 Bd7

Black has adopted the Steinitz Deense to the Ruy Lopez, in which he obtains a cramped but solid position. The doubled c-pawns deny White the use of the d5 square, and Black may hope for counterplay on the b-file. Overall, White stands slightly better.

9. Bg5 0-0 10. Re1 h6 11. Bh4 Nh7 12. Bxe7 Qxe7

In a cramped position, it is usually wise to exchange a few pieces for greater freedom of movement.

13. Qd3 Rab8 14. b3 Ng5

In the days when this defense was popular, it was more common for Black to regroup with ... Rfe8 and Nh7-f8-g6.

15. Rad1 Qe5 16. Qe3 Ne6 17. Nce2 Qa5 18. Nf5 Nc5

The threat against the a2-pawn proves illusory, for after 18. ... Qxa2 19. Qc3 (threatening to trap the Queen with 20. Ra1) Qa6, White would obtain a strong attack with 20. Nf4 f6 21. Qg3 g5 22. Ng6 Rf7 23. Nxh6+ Kg7 24. Nxf7 Kxg6 25. Nxd6 cxd6 26. Rxd6 Rb7 27. e5.

19. Ned4 Kh7

To meet the threat of 20. Nxc6 Bxc6 21. Ne7+ and 22. Nxc8. The a2 pawn still cannot be captured, in view of 19. ... Qxa2 20. Ra1 Qb7 21. Reb1.

20. g4 Rbe8 21. f3 Ne6 22. Ne2 Qxa2

Seeing no direct threat, Black thinks that it is time to capture the a-pawn, but 22. ... Qb6 would have minimized White’s advantage.
23. Neg3 Qxc2?


The only chance of defense was 23. ... f6, to defend the g7 pawn with ... Rf7.

24. Rc1 Qb2 25. Nh5 Rh8

Other moves are no better. Two variations given by Capablanca are 25. ... g5 26. e5 f6 27. Qd3, and 25. ... g6 26. Qxh6+ Kg8 27. e5 gxh5 28. gxh5, and there is no answer to the threat of Re1-e2-g2+.

26. Re2 Qe5 27. f4 Qb5 28. Nfxg7 Nc5

Losing quickly. Capablanca expected 28. ... Nxh7, though White is still winning after 29. Nf6+ Kg6 30. Nxd7 f6 31. e5 Kf7 32. Nxf6 Re7 33. Ne4.

29. Nxe8 Bxe8 30. Qc3 f6 31. Nxf6+ Kg6 32. Nh5 Rg8 33. f5+ Kg5 34. Qe3+ Kh4 35. Qg3+ Kg5 36. h4 mate

Monday, July 27, 2009

Westwood final

Top-rated GM Melikset Khachiyan dominated the Westwood Summer Open, winning four straight before making a quick last-round draw with master Joel Banawa. Tied for second wre Banawa and another of Khachiyan's victims, master Ryan Porter. In the Reserve (U1800) section, unrated Michael Jaglom scored 4.5 to prove that you can start playing tournament chess at any age. (Hint: He's not a little kid.) John Hillery directed for Western Chess. Complete standings are psoted here.

1st: GM Melikset Khachiyan, 4.5-.5; 2nd-3rd: Joel Banawa, Ryan Porter, 4-1; U2200: Jeremy Stein, 3.5-1.5; U2000: Willis Kim, Zoran Djoric, Matthew Hernandez, Cheston Gunawan, 3-2.
1st: Michael Jaglom, 4.5-.5 (technically 1st U1400/unrated, however); 2nd-3rd: Saul Priever, Numan Abdul-Mujeeb, 4-1; U1600: David Steinhart, Sanjay Siddhanti, Bryan Shapiro, 3-2; U1200: Yechiel Goldberger, 3-1.

GM Melikset Khachiyan (2596) – Ryan Porter (2293)

Westwood Summer Open, Los Angeles 2009


1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.Nf3 a6 5.a4 b6 6.Bc4 e6 7.0–0 Ne7 8.Re1 0–0 9.Bf4 h6 10.h4 Bb7 11.Qd2 Kh7 12.Rad1 Nd7 13.Bg3 Qb8 14.Qe2 Qa7 15.h5 g5 16.e5 Bxf3 17.gxf3 d5 18.Bd3+ Kh8 19.f4 gxf4 20.Bxf4 c5 21.Qd2 cxd4 22.Ne2 Nc6 23.Bxh6 Rg8 24.Bxg7+ Rxg7+ 25.Kh1 Ndxe5 26.Qh6+ Kg8 27.Rg1 f5 28.Qxe6+ Qf7 29.Rxg7+ Kxg7 30.Rg1+ Kf8 31.Qh6+ Ke8 32.f4 1–0

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Westwood Summer Open

A rush of door entries resutled in a good turnout of 43, one of the best for these one-day events at the L.A. Chess Club. Leaidng the field are GM Melikset Kahchiyan, IM Tim Tatylor, and U.S. Junior participant Joel Banawa. Standings are posted here, and will be updated throughout the day.

Nelson Farber (2012) – GM Melikset Khachiyan (2596)

Westwood Summer Open, Los Angeles 2009

B24 SICILIAN DEFENSE, Closed Variation

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.d3 Rb8 6.Be3 b5 7.Rb1 b4 8.Nce2 Qa5 9.b3 d6 10.Nf3 Qxa2 11.d4 cxd4 12.Ra1 Qb2 13.Rb1 dxe3 14.Rxb2 exf2+ 15.Kxf2 Bxb2 16.e5 Nxe5 17.Nxe5 Bxe5 18.Nd4 Bd7 19.Nc6 Bxc6 20.Bxc6+ Kf8 21.g4 Kg7 22.g5 e6 23.Be4 Ne7 24.h4 h6 25.gxh6+ Rxh6 26.h5 f5 27.Bf3 g5 28.Re1 Kf6 29.Rxe5 dxe5 30.Qd6 Rhh8 31.Be2 Rhd8 32.Qa6 Rd2 33.Qxa7 Rc8 34.h6 Rcxc2 35.Qa8 Rxe2+ 36.Kf1 Rc8 37.Qb7 Rh2 0–1

Thursday, July 23, 2009

USCF election final

Final totals for the USCF Executive Board election:

Jim Berry: 3030
Bill Goichberg: 3014
Ruth Haring: 2952
Michael Atkins: 2672
Michael Korenman: 822
Mike Nietman: 732
Eric Hecht: 717
Blas Lugo: 657
Sam Sloan: 588
Brian Lafferty: 576
Brian Mottershead: 435

There were also 123 Write-in ballots. A total of 4379 ballots were received.

No significant changes from yesterday. A breakdown of votes by USCF Region may be found here.

Comments: Brian Lafferty did surprisingly well for someone who dropped out in May. Perhaps he was seen as a "safe" choice for a protest vote. Brian Mottershead was unable to make traction out of inciting the USCF's current legal problems with the eponymous "Mottershead Report." Sam Sloan's support continues ot decline, but, well, every nut has a hard kernel. Numbers for the "Goichberg group" are comparable to the vote totals he and his endorsees received in 2005 (a bit lower, but not by a lot), but the "Polgar group" got clobbered. Seems like the voters looked at the facts rather than the spin.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

USCF election, day 1

Mike Nolan has posted the results of the first day's counting on the USCF Forum. He writes:

They're a bit over half way through the states after the first day of counting.

So far the states that have been counted are:

CT, ME, NY, PA, DE, DC , SC, GA, IN, OH, MI, MN, IL, MO, AL, AR, TN, LA, KS, CO, OK, AZ, CA, AK, WA, MT and foreign.

The vote tallies so far are:

Jim Berry 1829
Bill Goichberg 1826
Ruth Haring 1802
Mike Atkins 1569
Mikhael Korenman 483
Eric Hecht 420
Mike Nietman 400
Sam Sloan 360
Blas Lugo 358
Brian Lafferty 348
Brian Mottershead 252

Various Write-ins 75

I think they'll be complete some time Thursday afternoon, at which time detailed totals by region will be released.

A total of 4379 ballots were received.

Could be better, could be a lot worse.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Pacific Southwest Open final

IM Enrico Sevillano took first place in the 49th Annual Pacific Southwest Open defeating Senior Master John Daniel Bryant in the last round to finish with 5.5-.5. Next at 5-1 were GM Melikset Khachiyan and Joel Banawa. In the Amateur (U1800) section, Brian Glover topped the field with 5.5-.5, a half point ahead of Carla Naylor and John Ballow. See below for a complete list of prize winners, or click here for complete standings.

Prize Winners


1st: IM Enrico Sevillano, 5.5-.5; 2nd-3rd: GM Melikset Khachiyan, Joel Banawa, 5-1; 4th-5th: IM Jack Peters, Tatev Abrahamyan, Julian Landaw, 4.5-1.5; U2200: 1st: Konstantin Kavutskiy, 4.5-1.5; 2nd-3rd: Takashi Kurosaki, Show Kitagami, Larry Stevens, Michael Brown, Randy Hough, Bobby Hall, 4-2; U2000: 1st-3rd: Darren Wu, Larry Young, Hubert Jung, 3.5-2.5.


1st: Brian Glover, 5.5-.5; 2nd/1st U1600: Carla Naylor, John Ballow, 5-1; 3rd: Winston Zeng, Gerson Miro, 4.5-1.5; 2nd U1600: Alexander Xie, 4.5-1.5; 3rd U1600: Jonathan Homidan, 4-2; U1400: 1st: Agata Bykovtsev, 3.5-2.5; 2nd: Annie Wang, Ezekiel Liu, 3-3; U1200: Michael Rose, 2.5-3.5.

Pacific Southwest Open, day 3

Going into the final round, IM Enrico Sevillano holds the lead with 4.5, but no fewer than eight players are only half a point behind. In the Amateur, top-rated Brian Glover and number 22 Alexandr Xie are tied with 4.5, and both are playing down. Complete standings are posted, and will be updated as the sections are completed.

(Photo: John Daniel Bryant and IM Enrico Sevillano face off in the last round.)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Pacific Southwest Open, day 2.5

After four rounds, IM Enrico Sevillano is alone in first place with 4-0. In round 5, he will face GM Melikset Khachiyan, who trails by half a point. In the Amateur section, four players share the lead with 3.5 -- Brian Glover, David Minasyan, Gerson Miro, and Alexander Xie. Click here for standings.

Pacific Southwest Open, day 2

After the merge, we have a total of 121 players, the best turnout since 2004. Tied for the lead with 3-0 are IMs Enrico Sevillano, Jack Peters, and John Donaldson, followed at 2.5 by a large group including GM Melikset Khachiyan.

The 1-day Scholastic saw a decent turnout of 38. In the Open, Sean Manross with 4-1 took first on tiebreak over Hovanes Salvaryan. The Reserve saw a clear winner, as Joaquin Perkins scored a perfect 5-0. Complete standings of all sections are posted at

IM Jack Peters – Konatantin Kavutskiy [C05]

Pacific Southwest Open, Los Angeles 2009

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.Ndf3 Nc6 7.c3 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Nc5 9.Ngf3 f5 10.exf6 Qxf6 11.g3 Bd6 12.Be3 a6 13.Bg2 0–0 14.0–0 Bd7 15.c4 Ne7 16.Ne5 Rfd8 17.b4 Ne4 18.Nxd7 Rxd7 19.Bh3 Nf5 20.Nxf5 exf5 21.Qxd5+ Kh8 22.Qxf5 Re7 23.Qxf6 Nxf6 24.c5 Bc7 25.Bd4 Rd8 26.Rad1 Nd5 27.Rfe1 Kg8 28.Be6+ Kf8 29.Bxd5 Rxe1+ 30.Rxe1 Rxd5 31.Bxg7+ 1–0

Bobby Hall – Robert Akopian [B07]

Pacific Southwest Open G/60, Los Angeles 2009

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Be3 a6 5.Qd2 b5 6.f3 Nbd7 7.Nge2 Bg7 8.Bh6 0–0 9.Ng3 b4 10.Nce2 c5 11.h4 Bxh6 12.Qxh6 cxd4 13.Nxd4 Ne5 14.h5 Qb6 15.hxg6 fxg6 16.0–0–0 Rf7 17.Qd2 Kf8 18.Be2 a5 19.Nf1 a4 20.Kb1 b3 21.cxb3 axb3 22.a3 Ba6 23.Bxa6 Rxa6 24.Rc1 Ra8 25.Ne3 Kg8 26.Rc3 Rff8 27.Rhc1 Qb7 28.Rc7 Nxe4 29.fxe4 Qxe4+ 30.Ka1 Nd3 31.R1c3 Nc5 32.Nxb3 Na4 33.R3c4 Qe6 34.Nd4 Qf7 35.Nc6 Nc5 36.Rxc5 dxc5 37.Nxe7+ Kh8 38.N7d5 Qf2 39.Qc3+ 1–0

IM John Donaldson - Chapa,E [A34]

Pacific Southwest Open, Los Angeles 2009

1.c4 c5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.g3 Nc6 6.Bg2 Nc7 7.Qa4 Qd7 8.0–0 e5 9.a3 f6 10.e3 Be7 11.Rd1 Qd3 12.b4 cxb4 13.axb4 Bd7 14.b5 Nd8 15.Ba3 Nxb5 16.Bxe7 Kxe7 17.Nxb5 Qxb5 18.Qa3+ Ke8 19.d4 e4 20.Nd2 f5 21.Rdc1 Nf7 22.Bf1 Qd5 23.Bc4 1–0