SANDS: Young Hua schools his elders on way to chess victory

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He’s an excellent student, has played a piano recital at Carnegie Hall and just scored an unexpected triumph in one of Washington’s signature chess tournaments.

It will be interesting to see what David Hua will achieve when he’s old enough to drive.

As detailed here last week, the 15-year-old rising sophomore at Princeton (N.J.) High School finished alone in first at the 44th annual Atlantic Open last month, scoring 41/2-1/2 and crossing the 2400 ratings mark for the first time. He is believed to be the youngest player ever to win the event.

“I had no real expectations,” Hua told Chess Life Online’s Jamaal Abdul-Alim, but he handled the late-round pressure superbly with a draw against top-seeded GM John Fedorowicz and a convincing win over strong IM Justin Sarkar. In Hua’s game against Sarkar, it is the older, more experienced player who makes the first lapse, one that Hua immediately pounces on and then never gives his opponent a chance to get back into the game.

It would be interesting to know just what Sarkar overlooked on 14. Bxf6 Nxf6 15. 0-0 Rb8? (see diagram; 15…Qc7 16. d5 exd5 17. Nxd5 Nxd5 18. Bxd5 Bd7 19. Rfc1 Bc6 is very playable for Black) 19. Bxa6! (of course) Ra8 17. Bxb7!, when White is on top after both 17…Bxb7 18. Qxb7 Rxa5 19. Rxa5 Qxa5 20. Ne5 and 17…Rb8 18. a6 Bxb7 19. axb7 Qd7 20. Ra7 Ne8 21. Qb5. After 17…Rxa5 18. Bxc8 Rxa1 19. Rxa1 Qxc8 20. Ra7, White is a clear pawn to the good and the only remaining drama is whether he can cash in.

After 27. d5! h5 (exd5 28. Qxg4) 28. dxe6 Qxe6 29. Qa5 Qf6? (Qc8 was the last chance to put up a fight) 30. Ne4!, Hua not only consolidates but also sets up some nasty threats against the Black king. On 33. Qg5+ Qg6 34. Qxg6+ (good enough, but 34. Qc5! Qh6 35. Nh4 Rc1 36. Qe7 Rc2 37. Nh5 was annihilating) fxg6 35. Nfg5 Re1 36. f3 Ne5 37. Ne6 Nd7 38. Rb7. Sarkar gives up in the face of 38…Rd1 39. Rxd7! Rxd7+ 40. Nf6+ Kf7 41. Nxd7 Kxe6 42. Nxf8+ and wins.

Local players also performed well in the class tournaments at the Atlantic. Here’s a full list of the winners: Under 2100 — David Steinberg of Maryland and Dmitry Redkin of Pennsylvania, 41/2-1/2; Under 1900 — Eric Indiongco of Virginia and Dennis Burke of Maryland, 41/2-1/2; Under 1700 — Jorge Garcia of Maryland, alone in first at 41/2-1/2, ahead of Andrew Tracer, Alex Yaskolko, Kevin Walters and David Paden all at 4-1; Under 1500 — Bryan Zhao and Alex Jiang, both of Virginia, 41/2-1/2; Under 1300 — Gang Chen of Virginia, 41/2-1/2; and Under 1000 — Michael Asplet of the District, scoring the weekend’s only perfect score at 5-0. Congratulations to all.

The U.S. Chess Center has a new home. Long located at the corner of 15th and M streets Northwest, the Center now shares digs with the Basis Washington Charter School at 410 Eighth St. NW., conveniently located near the Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro stop. The center continues its youth outreach work with its “Chess Kids Saturday Mornings” and Sunday “Chess for Teens” programs, and hosts a Monday night ladder and numerous tournaments and chess-related events.

The phone number remains 202-857-4922, and you can get information on future events, operating hours and directions on the website at www.chessctr.org.

The 40th biennial Chess Olympiad is well under way in Istanbul with the rookie on the U.S. squad, which has an outside shot at the gold medal, getting off to a flying start. GM Roy Robson, the 17-year-old Floridian playing alongside veteran American Olympiad stalwarts such as Hikaru Nakamura, Gata Kamsky and Alex Onischuk, won his first three games out of the chute on fourth board, including an impressive wipeout of Venezuelan IM Julio Ostos in the U.S. team’s 31/2-1/2 Round 3 victory over Venezuela.

Robson as White “sacrifices” a pawn right off the bat against Black’s French Defense, though Robson later acknowledged he didn’t realize at the time he was a pawn down.

Still, after 11. Qe2 a6 (Qxb2?! 12. Rab1 Qa3 13. Bb5+ Nd7 14. Ne5 Be7 15. Nxd7 Bxd7 16. Bxd7+ Kxd7 17. Rxb7+ is winning for White) 12. Rad1 Bc5 13. Rfe1, all of White’s pieces are in play and Black’s king has no good place to hide. Black’s attempts to cover up only lead to grief as White’s pieces flood the zone.

Thus: 15. Qf3 Bxc4 (Be7 16. Bxf6 gxf6 [Bxf6 17. Nxf7! Kxf7 18. Rxe6 Qc7 19. Rc6+ and wins] 17. Nxf7! Kxf7 18. Rxe6 Qc5 19. Bd5 Kf8 20. Rde1 Bc6 21. Rxf6+ and White wins) 16. Bxf6 Bd5 17. Qh5, when 17…g6 loses to 18. Nxg6! fxg6 [Rg8 19. Nf4] 19. Qxg6+ Kd7 20. Bxh8 Rxh8 21. Qg7+, picking off the rook.

Robson gets the quick knockout anyway on 17…Qc7 18. Nxf7! Kf8? (going down without a fight, though White should still win in the long run on 18…Qxf7 19. Qxd5 0-0 20. Qxc5 Qxf6 21. Qxd4, with a clear pawn to the good and the better position) 19. Nxh8 gxf6 20. Rd3!, a rook lift that leaves Black with no good answer to the threat of 21. Ng6+ Kg7 (Ke8 22. Qxd5) 22. Rg3! Kh7 23. Nf4 Rg8 24. Nxd5 exd5 25. Qf5+ Kh8 26. Qxf6+ and wins.

Hua-Sarkar, Atlantic Open, August 2012

1. e4 c6 2. c4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. cxd5 Nf6 5. Qa4+ Nbd7 6. Nc3 g6 7. Nf3 Bg7 8. Qb3 a6 9. a4 Nb6 10. d4 O-O 11. a5 Nbxd5 12. Bc4 e6 13. Bg5 h6 14. Bxf6 Nxf6 15. O-O Rb8 16. Bxa6 Ra8 17. Bxb7 Rxa5 18. Bxc8 Rxa1 19. Rxa1 Qxc8 20. Ra7 Qb8 21. Rb7 Qf4 22. Qd1 Rd8 23. g3 Qd6 24. Qa4 g5 25. h3 g4 26. hxg4 Nxg4 27. d5 h5 28. dxe6 Qxe6 29. Qa5 Qf6 30. Ne4 Rd1+ 31. Kg2 Qc6 32. Rb8+ Bf8 33. Qg5+ Qg6 34. Qxg6+ fxg6 35. Nfg5 Re1 36. f3 Ne5 37. Ne6 Nd7 38. Rb7  1-0.

Robson-Ostos, 40th Chess Olympiad, Istanbul, August 2012

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nd7 5. Nf3 Ngf6 6. Bg5 h6 7. Nxf6+ Nxf6 8. Bh4 c5 9. Bc4 cxd4 10. O-O Qb6 11. Qe2 a6 12. Rad1 Bc5 13. Rfe1 Bd7 14. Ne5 Bb5 15. Qf3 Bxc4 16. Bxf6 Bd5 17. Qh5 Qc7 18. Nxf7 Kf8 19. Nxh8 gxf6 20. Rd3  1-0.

David R. Sands can be reached at 202/636-3178 or by e-mail at dsands@washingtontimes.com.

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About the Author
David R. Sands

David R. Sands

Raised in Northern Virginia, David R. Sands received an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He worked as a reporter for several Washington-area business publications before joining The Washington Times.

At The Times, Mr. Sands has covered numerous beats, including international trade, banking, politics ...

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