- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Congratulations to New Jersey high schooler David Hua, who outran of a pack of pursuers to win this weekend’s 44th Atlantic Open premier section.

The 2325-rated Hua, a rising sophomore at Princeton High School, drew GM John Fedorowicz and then beat IM Justin Sarkar in the final two rounds to finish at 4½-½, a half-point clear of Marylanders GM Larry Kaufman, NM Alex Barnett, expert Kenneth McDonald and Pennsylvania master Kevin Mo.

McDonald, whose only loss in the event was to the tournament winner, took home the Top Expert prize as well.

We’ll have some action and results from all seven sections of the Atlantic here next week.

It got a bit lost in the shuffle, but young California FM John Bryant put in what might be a breakthrough performance with his tie for first in the 113th U.S. Open, held earlier this month in Vancouver, Wash. The 20-year-old Bryant bested a number of top grandmasters to finish in a three-way tie for first with Mexican GM Manuel Leon Hoyos and veteran U.S. GM Dmitry Gurevich, only losing out on the title in an “Armageddon” playoff game against Leon Hoyos.

Unlike wrestling, chess awards no points for “reversals,” but Bryant may have earned one anyway in his last-round escape against experienced NM Yaacov Norowitz, the win that got the Californian into the playoff.

Things don’t begin promisingly for Black in this Schmid Benoni, and after 8. Bg5 Kd8?! (a panicky-looking move when the simpler 8. … 0-0 9. e4 d6 was available) 9. Rc1 Nc6 10. d5 Nb4 11. d6! e6 (exd6? 12. a3 Nc6 13. Nd5 is winning) 12. a3 Nbd5 13. Nxd5 exd5, Bryant’s position is downright ugly and will take many moves to sort out.

But Norowitz fails to capitalize on his early edge — more forcing was 15. Bxf6 Bxf6 16. f4 b6 17. g3 Bb7 18. Rc7 Bc6 19. Bh3, maintaining the bind — and Black slowly works his way back into the game. Black’s king, surrounded by White’s pawns and pieces in the center of the board, is oddly effective, while the once-pathetic Black d-pawn becomes a tower of strength on 25. Bxe4 fxe4 26. Ne5 d4!.

Black sacrifices the exchange to open the position for his bishops, and White, understandably dejected by the unpleasant turn of events, fails to put up the toughest defense: 32. Kd2 Rc5! 33. Rf1 Rxe5 34. fxe5 Bxe5 35. Kc1? (White can fight on after 35. Bd8! a4 36. Ba5 Bxb2 37. Bb4 c3+ 38. Bxc3 Bxa3 39. Rf6+ Kd5, though Black remains in charge) d2+! 36. Kxd2 Bxb2 37. Bd8 c3+ 38. Ke1 c2 39. Kd2 a4, and there’s no stopping the swarm of Black pawns.

In the final position, after 50. Ra8 d5, Norowitz has had enough, and Fritz even sees a mate in 16 for Black beginning with the line 51. Ra3+ Bb3 52. Ra5 d4 53. exd4 e3 54. Rc5+ Kb4 55. Kb2 e2, and a pawn must queen.

“The Stress of Chess … and Its Infinite Finesse” (New In Chess, 463 pages, $34.95) is the cool title of the fine new game collection/autobiography by Australian-born American grandmaster Walter Browne.

The six-time American champion, one of the best players in the world in the 1970s, was an attacking demon and a time-trouble addict in his heyday, making for some spectacular and spectacularly uneven contests among the 101 densely annotated games presented here. The selection, along with photos and many anecdotes, features games against the likes of Fischer, Spassky, Tal, Larsen and every major American player of note in the second half of the 20th century.

One of the most remarkable games from Browne’s prime was his win over veteran U.S. GM Arthur Bisguier in the 1974 U.S. Championship in Chicago, where White finds two jaw-dropping ideas in the space of four moves in a Petroff Defense line long thought to be drained of any drama. The game later would be voted the second best of the year by Informator magazine.

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