- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Congratulations to IM Daniel Ludwig, who took clear first Sunday night in the 2012 Eastern Open downtown at the Westin Washington Hotel with an undefeated 61/2-11/2 score, a full point ahead of a quartet of challengers. The 22-year-old Texas Christian University student defeated local GM Lawrence Kaufman and master Andrew Samuelson in the sixth and seventh rounds to break clear of the field, securing a quick draw with FM Ralph Zimmer in the eighth and final round to lock down first place.

Kaufman still managed a tie for second with IMs Emir Husyenov and Bryan Smith and FM Thomas Bartell. We will have full details on all the Eastern sectional winners and some action from the board in next week’s column.

Congratulations to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, which finished in a first-place tie with a 5-1 team score at the Pan American Intercollegiate Chess Championship on Sunday, earning yet another berth for the Retrievers in the Collegiate Chess Final Four this spring in Herndon.

Also qualifying were top-seeded Webster University (boasting a lineup for its “A” squad of just under 2700), 2011 winner University of Texas-Dallas and the University of Illinois.

Corrales-Feldberg after 20. Rd3.
Corrales-Feldberg after 20. Rd3. more >

The UMBC team included GMs Giorgi Margvelashvili and Niclas Huschenbeth, WGMs Sabina Foisor and Nazi Paikidze, IM Sasha Kaplan and NM Adithya Balasubramanian.

There is a sharp division in talent in the college chess game, with a few elite schools, including UMBC and Webster, boasting multiple grandmasters and some schools whose top board barely breaks the 2000 rating mark. So it’s nice to see a real upset now and again, as when the University of Washington master Victor Feldberg took a well-deserved point from Webster GM Fidel Corrales Jimenez in the event’s second round.

Feldberg’s Petroff Defense is a good choice against the higher-rated Corrales, as White must take more chances than usual against a solid defense in order to gin up interesting play. White chooses a rarely seen side variation, and with the kings castled on opposite wings, slowly prepares a kingside pawn push.

But it is Black that lands the first punch on the queenside, and the shock seems to unnerve the grandmaster for the rest of the game: 16. Qf2 (g4?! Bg5 17. Rd3 Bxe3 18. Rxe3 Rxe3 19. Qxe3 Re8 is pleasant for Black) Ne5 17. Bc1 Bf6 18. Rhg1 c5 19. Ne2 Nc4 20. Rd3?! (see diagram; White is finally set to embark on kingside operations, but Feldberg has a surprise in store) Na3+! 21. bxa3? (losing, but White has to at least concede the draw after 21. Ka1 Nxc2+ 22. Kb1 Na3+ 23. bxa3 Qb5+ 24. Kc2 Qa4+, as trying to flee loses quickly after 25. Kd2?? Bg5+ 26. Ke1 Bxc1) Qb5+ 22. Bb2 Rxe2! — the point of the combination as the key defender of c3 is removed and White’s rook on d3 is suddenly pinned.

Black obtains a strong advantage after 23. Qf4 (Qxe2 Bxc3 24. Rxc3 [Kc1 Qxb2+ 25. Kd1 Qb1 mate] Qxe2) Rae8, as White’s queenside pawns are a disaster and his pieces poorly coordinated. A second rook deflection on e2 — 32. g5 Re2! 33. a4 (Qxe2 Bxc3 and mate next) Rxd2 34. axb5 Be5 35. bxa6 bxa6 simplifies down to a clearly superior ending for Black, with White’s bishop badly outclassed by his Black counterpart.

Feldberg’s passed kingside pawns decide the matter in the end: 45. Rc6 h4 46. Rxa6 h3 47. Rh6 (Rg6+ Kh7 48. Rxg5 Rxg5 49. Bxg5 h2) h2 48. Kb2 g4 and White’s game is hopeless; Corrales resigned.

One big upset is nice, but score a few in a row and they will make you take off your clothes.

That was what happened to 25-year-old Bulgarian player Borislav Ivanov at last month’s Zadar Open in Croatia, according to local press reports picked up by the website Chessvibes.com. The unheralded, untitled Ivanov, rated just 2227, stunned the field with a 6-3 final score, a 2697 performance rating, and upsets of no fewer than four grandmasters during the tournament.

Instead of laurel wreaths and rose petals, Ivanov was showered with deep suspicions from tournament organizers in the wake of a string of incidents in which players were found to be surreptitiously using computer devices during tournaments.

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