- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 4, 2003

In a wide-open Eastern Open, the mid-Atlantic's premier holiday season tournament, top seed IM Larry Kaufman, FM Miles Ardaman and NM Steven Winer finished in a three-way tie for first at 6-2 in the Open section.
No grandmasters were in the field for the 29th annual running of the Eastern, the first time in years that has happened. Perhaps they were lured to the concurrent National Open in Las Vegas and the conclusion of the Pan-Am intercollegiate team tournament in Miami. Still, a total of 230 players including a large crop of juniors competed in the Eastern's five class tournaments.
Kaufman, a regular winner in local events, enjoyed the best tie-breaks of the three winners, but Ardaman may rate as the moral victor by defeating Kaufman in their Round 7 individual encounter. Winer was the only player to avoid a loss in the Open section, drawing with both Kaufman and Ardaman.
Kaufman, who set the early pace with four opening wins and a draw, had to defeat Class A player Ervin Matthew in the final round to claim a share of first. Matthew was one of the surprises of the tournament, finishing with a very respectable 5-3.
In the 43-player Under 2200 event, Frederick Kleist dominated with an undefeated 7-1 score, half a point ahead of Zhi-Ya Hua. Chris Sevilla defeated front-runner Kebadu Belachew in the final round to leave the two tied atop the 65-player Under 1900 competition, both at 6-1. Frank Huber also went undefeated at 7-1 to take the Under 1600 title ahead of 47 other entrants, and Lamont Rogers also posted a 7-1 result in taking the 23-player Under 1300 event.
Ardaman-Kaufman lived up to its billing, an intricate tactical affair in which it is hard to make ultimate judgments. Black comes under immense pressure, but it's not clear that White found the cleanest way to victory.
Ardaman certainly wins points for aggressiveness on 14. h5 Ng7 15. g4 Ne6 16. g5!? a5 17. a4, offering up a pawn for open king-side lines. Black declines, so White ups the ante with an exchange sacrifice: 22. Ng4 Nxh5 23. Nf6 Rd6!? (Black could counterpunch here with 23Nxf6 24. gxf6 Qd6 25. Bh6 Kg8! [Rg8 26. Qh1! Qxf6 27. Be3 h5 28. Bxc5] 26. Bxf8 Qd2+ 27. Kf1 Bxf8, with an unbalanced game) 24. Rxh5! gxh5 25. Bd2! (preparing to castle before launching the attack; 25. Qf5?! Rxf6 26. gxf6 Qe6 25. Qf3 Rg8!, threatening check on g1, is much weaker for White).
On 26. 0-0-0 Qf8 27. Qf5, giving back the exchange with 27Rxf6 28. gxf6 (Qxf6+ Kg8 29. Qxe5 is also attractive) Qd6 is problematic in light of 29. Qxh5 Qxf6 (b5 30. Qxf7 Qf8 31. Qxf8+ Rxf8 32. Bh6 is also better for White) 30. Rh1 Qg6 31. Qxe5+.
But the Black e-pawn also falls on the game's 27Qg7 28. Nxh5 Qg6 29. Qxe5+ Kg8 (f6 30. gxf6 Bb6 31. f7+ wins) 30. Nf4 (Black must lose material) f6 31. Qxc5 Qxg5.
Now the straightest road to victory might have been the simplifying 32. Ne6! Qxc5 33. Nxc5 Re8 34. Nxb7 Rd7 35. Nc5, with two pieces and a pawn for the rook. Ardaman's 32. Nd5?! is clever, but the equally tricky 32Qe5! leaves things murky all over again: e.g. 33. Rg1+ (Nxf6+ Qxf6 34. Rg1+ Kh8 35. Bg5 [e5 Qf5 36. Rg5 Rd5! 37. Rxf5 Rxc5] is strong but not conclusive) Kf7 34. Bf4 Rxd5 35. Qe3 Rd3! 36. Bxe5 Rxe3 37. Bxf6 Kxf6 38. fxe3, with a long endgame slog in sight.
But Black's 32Rxd5? 33. exd5 Rxd5 34. Bxg5 Rxc5 35. Bxf6 just leaves him a piece down without compensation. When the players reached the 40-move time control, Kaufman resigned.
Master Matthew Hoekstra pulled off one of the tournament's finer combinations in his game against fellow master Norman Rogers. In the true spirit of this Modern Defense, Black patiently awaits his opportunity to counterattack, exploiting in the end the offside position of the White rook and knight.
Having probed persistently on the queen-side, Black shifts flanks with the deceptively modest 29. Nc1 h6!, preparing what will soon be a lethal king-side attack. Hoekstra uses a few tactical flourishes to ignore White's demonstration on the abandoned queen-side: 32. hxg5 Qd8! (eyeing the king-side invasion) 33. Nc6 Qxg5! 34. Nxf4 (Nxb8? Nxd5+ wins the queen) exf4 35. Qf3 Re8, bringing the rook into the attack.
Black's queen and two bishops require an open center to be effective, and Hoekstra supplies it with a powerful rook sacrifice: 40. Qf1 Qg3 41. Be2 (see diagram) Rxe4!! 42. fxe4 Qc3+ 43. Kd1 f3! (Qxb3+ 44. Rc2 f3 also was good enough, but Black's choice is quicker) 44. Bc4 Bg5 (mate is inevitable) 45. Ne7+ Kh7!, ignoring the material in pressing the mate.
Now 46. Rc2 Qa1+ 47. Rc1 Qxc1 is mate, so Rogers resigned.

Some of the top area players who missed the Eastern had an excused absence: They were helping the University of Maryland Baltimore County chess juggernaut to another triumph.
Led by Maryland GM Alex Sherzer, the UMBC B team scored a major upset, besting the school's higher-rated A team, anchored by GMs Alex Onischuk and Alex Wojtkiewicz in the 30-school event. The UMBC A squad wound up in a second-place tie with longtime rival University of Texas at Dallas. Joining Sherzer on the winning team were IM Eugene Perelsteyn, FM William Morrison and masters John Rouleau and Battsetseg Tsagaan.

29th annual Eastern Open, Washington
December 2002

1. g3d519. c3Ng7
2. d3Nf620. Bh3Bxh3
3. Bg2c621. Rxh3Rad8
4. Nd2e522. Ng4Nxh5
5. e4Bc523. Nf6Rd6
6. Ngf3dxe424. Rxh5gxh5
7. dxe4Nbd725. Bd2Rfd8
8. Nh40-026. 0-0-0Qf8
9. Nb3Bb627. Qf5Qg7
10. Nf5Ne828. Nxh5Qg6
11. Qf3Kh829. Qxe5+Kg8
12. h4g630. Nf4f6
13. Nh6Qe731. Qxc5Qxg5
14. h5Ng732. Nd5Rxd5
15. g4Ne633. exd5Rxd5
16. g5a534. Bxg5Rxc5
17. a4Ndc535. Bxf6
18. Nxc5Bxc5and White won

29th annual Eastern Open, Washington
December 2002

1. e4g624. Bc4Qc7
2. d4Bg725. Ra3Raa8
3. Nc3c626. Rb3Rcb8
4. Bc4d627. Kd2Rb4
5. Qf3e628. Ra1Rab8
6. Nge2Nd729. Nc1h6
7. a4Ngf630. Nd3Rxb3
8. Bb30-031. cxb3hxg5
9. Bg5Qa532. hxg5Qd8
10. Bd2Qc733. Nc6Qxg5
11. g4e534. Nxf4exf4
12. g5Nh535. Qf3Re8
13. d5c536. Bxa6Bxb2
14. Nb5Qb837. Ra2Bg4
15. a5a638. Qd3Bf6
16. Na3b539. f3Bh5
17. axb6Nxb640. Qf1Qg3
18. Ba5Bd741. Be2Rxe4
19. h4Rc842. fxe4Qc3+
20. Bxb6Qxb643. Kd1f3
21. Nc4Qb844. Bc4Bg5
22. Na5Ra745. Ne7+Kh7
23. Qc3Nf4White resigns
David R. Sands can be reached at 202/636-3178 or by e-mail at [email protected].

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