- 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.

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.

“After the eighth round, there were suspicions that Ivanov had some electronic tools to help him and in my capacity of arbiter I decided to make a move in line with FIDE rules,” Stanislav Maroja of the Zadar County Chess Federation told local reporters.

Ivanov, a computer programmer, voluntarily removed his shirt, emptied his pockets and handed over his pen for inspection, and nothing incriminating was found. He went on to finish in a tie for third, a half-point out of first.

Here is Ivanov’s win over longtime Croatian star GM Zdenko Kozul, a former European individual champ, from Zadar, for you Hercule Poirot wannabes out there.

Black defeated two GMs before this game, and it’s not all that surprising that Kozul makes the first impatient move with 14. Qc2 0-0 15. b4?!, creating an opening for some enterprising queenside play from Black: 19. Rbb1 Nc3! 20. Nxc3 dxc3 (the Black c-pawn looks weak, but will prove highly indigestible for White) 21. e3 Ra3 22. Rb3 Rfa8, when Black is better on 23. Rxa3 Rxa3 24. Nd4 Bxd4 25. exd4 Bxg2 26. Kxg2 b5 27. cxb5 Qb7+ 28. Kg1 Qxb5.

Kozul finally removes the bothersome pawn, but just as he crawls back to equality, he commits another oversight that Ivanov exploits with, ahem, machinelike efficiency: 30. Nc1?! (e4 Qb5 31. Nc1 Qd7 32. Nb3 is equal) b5 31. Nd3 Bd6 32. Nc5? (missing Black’s next — 32. Nf4 Bxf4 33. gxf4 Qh5 34. Qd1 Qxh4 35. Rxb5 Ra2 36. Qf1 keeps White in the contest) Bxg3!! 33. fxg3? (giving up, as White can fight on after 33. Qxe4 Qxe4 34. Nxe4 Bxh4 35. Rxb5, with some drawing chances) Rxe3 34. Kh2 Qf3, as White resigns facing 35. Qg2 Re2 36. Rg1 Rxg2+ 37. Rxg2 Qd1 38. g4 Qxd4, with an easy endgame win.

Corrales-Feldberg, Pan American Championships, December 2012

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. Nc3 Nxc3 6. dxc3 Be7 7. Be3 Nc6 8. Qd2 O-O 9. O-O-O Be6 10. Kb1 Ne5 11. Nd4 Bc4 12. Be2 Qd7 13. f4 Bxe2 14. Qxe2 Nc6 15. f5 Rfe8 16. Qf2 Ne5 17. Bc1 Bf6 18. Rhg1 c5 19. Ne2 Nc4 20. Rd3 Na3+ 21. bxa3 Qb5+ 22. Bb2 Rxe2 23. Qf4 Rae8 24. a4 Re1+ 25. Rd1 Rxg1 26. Rxg1 Qb6 27. Qc4 Qc6 28. Qb5 a6 29. Qd3 c4 30. Qd2 Qxa4 31. g4 Qb5 32. g5 Re2 33. a4 Rxd2 34. axb5 Be5 35. bxa6 bxa6 36. Rg4 d5 37. Rg1 f6 38. h4 Rf2 39. Rd1 Rxf5 40. Rxd5 fxg5 41. hxg5 Rxg5 42. Bc1 Rf5 43. Rc5 h5 44. Rxc4 g5 45. Rc6 h4 46. Rxa6 h3 47. Rh6 h2 48. Kb2 g4 White resigns.

Kozul-Ivanov, Zadar Open, December 2012

1. c4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 g6 4. g3 Bg7 5. Bg2 e6 6. d3 Nge7 7. h4 h6 8. Bd2 d5 9. Qc1 b6 10. O-O Bb7 11. Rb1 d4 12. Na4 Qc7 13. a3 a5 14. Qc2 O-O 15. b4 axb4 16. axb4 Nxb4 17. Bxb4 cxb4 18. Rxb4 Nd5 19. Rbb1 Nc3 20. Nxc3 dxc3 21. e3 Ra3 22. Rb3 Rfa8 23. d4 Qxc4 24. Nd2 Qc7 25. Bxb7 Rxb3 26. Nxb3 Qxb7 27. Qxc3 Qd5 28. Qc2 Ra3 29. Rb1 Bf8 30. Nc1 b5 31. Nd3 Bd6 32. Nc5 Bxg3 33. fxg3 Rxe3 34. Kh2 Qf3 White resigns.

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