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

Friday, July 3, 2009

Pacific Southwest Open, day 1

The 49th Annual Pacific Southwest Open is off to a good start. With 110 entries already, plus a few more expected tomorrow for the 2-day schedule, this should be the most successful PSW in several years. Maybe chess really is contrarian ...

Most of the higher-rated players won in the first round, including IMs Jack Peters and John Donaldson, but top-ranked GM Melikset Khachiyan was nicked for a draw (by one of his students!). Standings will be posted throughout the weekend, and possibly pairings as well if time allows.

Carl Bolm – GM Melikset Khachiyan [B07]

Pacific Southwest Open, Los Angeles 2009
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5 4.dxe5 dxe5 5.Qxd8+ Kxd8 6.Nf3 Bd6 7.Bg5 Be6 8.0–0–0 Nbd7 9.Nb5 Ke7 10.Nxd6 cxd6 11.Bb5 Nc5 12.Rhe1 a6 13.Bd3 Rac8 14.Kb1 Rc6 15.Nd2 Rhc8 16.f3 b5 17.Nf1 h6 18.Bxf6+ Kxf6 19.Ne3 Nd7 20.Rd2 Nb6 21.Bf1 Ke7 22.g3 f6 23.f4 Rc5 24.Red1 Rd8 25.b3 a5 26.Kb2 b4 27.a3 bxa3+ 28.Kxa3 a4 29.c4 axb3 30.Kxb3 Rb8 31.Kc3 Ra5 32.Rc2 Na4+ 33.Kd2 Nc5 34.Bg2 Ra3 35.Nf5+ Bxf5 36.exf5 Nb3+ 37.Ke1 Nd4 38.Rxd4 exd4 39.Rd2 d3 40.Be4 d5 41.cxd5 Kd6 42.Bxd3 Kxd5 43.Kf2 Kd4 44.Be2+ Ke4 45.Bg4 Rab3 46.Bd1 Kxf5 47.Bxb3 Rxb3 48.Kg2 Ke4 49.Kh3 Kf3 50.Kh4 g6 51.Ra2 Rd3 52.Ra6 Rd2 53.Kh3 Rd5 54.Ra3+ Ke4 55.Ra4+ Rd4 56.Ra6 Kf5 57.g4+ Kxf4 58.Rxf6+ Kg5 59.Rb6 Rc4 60.Ra6 Re4 ½–½

Randy Higa – IM Jack Peters [E80]
Pacific Southwest Open, Los Angeles 2009
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 c6 6.Be3 a6 7.a4 a5 8.Qd2 0–0 9.Rd1 Na6 10.Bd3 e5 11.Nge2 Nd7 12.0–0 f5 13.exf5 gxf5 14.Kh1 Nf6 15.c5 exd4 16.Nxd4 f4 17.Bf2 Nxc5 18.Bc4+ d5 19.Nxc6 bxc6 20.Bxc5 Rf7 21.Rfe1 Rb8 22.Re2 Bf8 23.Bxf8 Qxf8 24.Qxf4 Nd7 25.Qg5+ Rg7 26.Bxd5+ cxd5 27.Qxd5+ Kh8 28.Ne4 Bb7 29.Qd6 Qg8 0-1