- The Washington Times - Friday, May 9, 2003

Four players shared top honors at the second annual George Mason Open, held April 26 and 27 at the university’s Arlington campus.

IM Walter Morris and expert Ray Kaufman agreed to a quick draw in the final round after winning their first four games. Master John Meyer and expert Alex Passov had to work a little harder, defeating expert Daniel Pomerleano and FM Floyd Boudreaux, respectively, in the final round to reach the 4- score.

Thomas Rehle took the Class A honors with a last-round win over 11-year-old Aryan Khojandi, who still manages to snare the Class D prize with a fine 3-2 effort. Sanda Costescu was the Class B winner, while Victor L. Smith and Alec Hollingsworth shared Class C honors. Daniel Clancy was the top Under-1200 finisher, with a 2-3 result.

Tournament organizer Mike Atkins reports that 75 players competed, down 20 from last year but still a strong turnout for the well-run event.

We have two miniatures from the event, both cautionary tales in their way about the importance of keeping your guard up from the very first move. Passov’s critical win over Boudreaux featured a cute trap that lured White down a fatal path.

The White d-pawn is often the critical piece in this variation, as Black piles up the pressure and White seeks to hold on to his advanced center. Capturing the pawn is often problematic for Black, as he exposed himself to all kinds of discovered attacks, but this time, the tactics backfire on Boudreaux.

Things quickly reach a head on 11. 0-0 Bd6 12. a3?! (Nc3 is more solid, as 12…Nxd4 13. Nxd4 Qxd4?? runs into 14. Bb5+) Bd7 13. Nc3 Nxd4! 14. Nxd4 Qxd4! (see diagram).

Black can get away with this pawn grab even with best play from both sides: 15. Nb5! Qe5 (Bxh2+ 16. Kxh2 Qh4+ 17. Kg1 0-0, with some compensation for the piece) 16. Nxd6+ Qxd6 17. Bd2 e5 18. Bb4 Qb6 19. Rc1, and White’s two bishops and active position give him something to play for.

But the hasty 15. Bg6+??, gunning for the queen, goes badly awry: 15…hxg6 16. Qxd4 Bxh2+, and White now sees that 17. Kh1 Be5+ will cost him his own queen and leave him a piece and two pawns in the hole. Boudreaux gave up.

Class A player Jon Evans’ opening experiment against expert Tim Rogalski meets an even more drastic fate. Black’s gambit gets him the sharp game he apparently wanted, but all the subsequent tactics add up to a quick White mate.

The pin on the e-file proves instantly troublesome for Black: 7. f3 Bh5 (Nxd5 8. Nxd5 [fxg4? Qxh4+ 9. g3 Nxc3 10. dxc3 Qe7 and Black escapes trouble] Be6 9. Qb5+ c6 10. Qxb7 Bxd5 11. Qxa8 Qxh4+ 12. g3 is winning for White) 8. Nxe4 Kd7 (already desperate, but 8…Nxe4 9. Qxe4+ Qe7 10. d3 Nd7 11. Nf5 Qxe4+ 12. dxe4 and Black has no compensation for his material deficit) 9. g3!.

Rogalski clears a path for his light-squared bishop, setting his sights on the vulnerable Black king. Things wrap up expeditiously on 9…Nxe4 (marginally tougher was 9…Kc8 10. Nxf6 gxf6 [Qxf6 11. Qe8+ Qd8 12. Bh3+ Nd7 13. Bxd7+ Kb8 14. Qxd8 mate], but White dominates on 11. Bh3+ Nd7 12. Nf5) 10. Bh3+ Kd6 11. Nf5+ Kc5 12. a4 c6 13. Qe3+.

Mate is inevitable on 13…Kb4 (Kxd5 14. Qd4+ Ke6 15. Nxg7+ Ke7 16. Qe5 mate; 13…Kc4 14. Qd4 mate) 14. a5 Qxd5 15. Qa3+ Kb5 16. Bf1+ Qc4 17. Bxc4+ Kxc4 18. Qb3+ Kc5 19. d4 mate. Evans gave up.

Those two short battles give us a little space to squeeze in a third game this week, taken from a strong Swiss tournament last month played in the French town of Metz. Belgian GM Mikhail Gurevich and unheralded Iranian master Amir Bagheri shared first in the 138-player event.

Yugoslav GM Bozidar Ivanovic finished a point out of the winner’s circle but played one of the prettier attacking games of the year against German IM Gennadi Ginsburg. In a Najdorf Sicilian, Black seeks simplifying exchanges in the face of White pressure but only opens the door to an unexpected sacrificial onslaught.

With the kings castled on opposite wings, Ginsburg tees up for a queen-side attack but pauses for what he evidently thought would be some trades on the king-side to ease the pressure there: 20. e5 dxe5 21. dxe5 Nd5, offering to part with two minor pieces.

But Ivanovic crosses him up with the shot 22. Bh6! gxh6 23. Nh5, when blocking the threatened mate with 24…Rg8 falls to 25. Rxc8!. Black is only too happy to return the piece with the forced 23…Bg5 24. hxg5 Rg8 25. Nf4, hoping with 25…Qe3 to trade down some more and resume his own attack.

But White has another stunning surprise in store: 26. Rxh6! Qxf4 27. Rxh7+! Kxh7 28. Qh3+, and the Black king suddenly is flushed out into the open. With no cover from an avalanche of checks, the Black king is quickly buried.

Thus: 28…Kg6 29. Qh6+ Kf5 30. Re1! Qxg5 (loses, but so does the alternative 30…Qc4 31. g4+ Kf4 32. g6+ Kg3 [32…Kxf3 33. Nd2+] 33. Rg1+ Kf2 34. Qh2+ Ke3 35. Re1+ Kxf3 36. Nd2+ Kxg4 37. Rg1+ Kf5 38. Qh5+ Kf4 39. Qg5 mate) 31. g4+ Kf4 32. Qh2+ Kxf3 33. Nd4+, and Ginburg resigns in the face of the inevitable 33…Kxg4 34. Rg1 mate.

2nd George Mason Open,

Arlington, April 2003


1. e4e69. Nf3f6

2. d4d510. exf6Nxf6

3. Nd2Nf611. 0-0Bd6

4. e5Nfd712. a3Bd7

5. Bd3c513. Nc3Nxd4

6. c3Nc614. Nxd4Qxd4

7. Ne2cxd415. Bg6+hxg6

8. cxd4Qb616. Qxd4Bxh2+

White resigns

2nd George Mason Open,

Arlington, April 2003


1. e4e58. Nxe4Kd7

2. Nf3d59. g3Nxe4

3. exd5e410. Bh3+Kd6

4. Qe2Nf611. Nf5+Kc5

5. Nc3Bf512. a4c6

6. Nh4Bg413. Qe3+Black

7. f3Bh5resigns

21st Metz Open, Metz, France,

April 2003


1. e4c518. h4a5

2. Nf3d619. Rc1Qa7

3. d4cxd420. e5dxe5

4. Nxd4Nf621. dxe5Nd5

5. Nc3a622. Bh6gxh6

6. Bg5e623. Nh5Bg5

7. Qf3Nbd724. hxg5Rg8

8. 0-0-0Qc725. Nf4Qe3

9. Kb1Be726. Rxh6Qxf4

10. Qg3b527. Rxh7+Kxh7

11. Bd3b428. Qh3+Kg6

12. Nce2Nc529. Qh6+Kf5

13. f3Rb830. Re1Qxg5

14. Nb3Nxd331. g4+Kf4

15. cxd30-032. Qh2+Kxf3

16. Nf4Kh833. Nd4+Black

17. d4Rb5resigns

David R. Sands can be reached at 202/636-3178 or by e-mail at [email protected]washingtontimes.com.

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