- The Washington Times - Friday, May 7, 2004

W’ith both gladiators just needing a draw to achieve their goals, it was anticlimax at last weekend’s Maryland Open, played at the University of Maryland in College Park.

Pennsylvania master Stanislas Kriventsov and Maryland master William Morrison agreed to a quick split point in the final round of the state’s biggest open event, allowing Kriventsov to claim sole first place with a 41/2-1/2 score. Morrison’s 4-1 and his strong tiebreaks were good enough to claim the state-champion title as the highest-scoring Maryland resident in the field.

Two-time defending champion GM Alex Wojtkiewicz did not compete this year, opening up the field.

In the amateur section, new Maryland Chess Association President Harry Cohen justified his top seeding by taking sole first with a 41/2-1/2 score. Cohen defeated fellow Class A player Htay Kyawe in the final round to edge past five players, all at 4-1. Unrated Ben Beder took the Under-1600 Reserve section, also with a 41/2-1/2 score, giving up only a final-round draw to Kyle Askine. Some 125 players competed overall.

Maryland senior champion Denis Strenzwilk tied for the open section’s under-2300 prize and was kind enough to send along several games from the event. For his pains, we present here Strenzwilk’s only loss from the tournament, his Round 4 game against Kriventsov that left the tournament winner at 4-0. In a Sicilian, Black seems to do well out of the opening, removing one dangerous White bishop and getting in the freeing shot 12…d5. But one tactical jab leaves Black woozy, and a second puts him on the canvas.

Kriventsov obtains a bind with 21. Qb3 0-0 22. d6!, when 22…Bxd6 23. Nde2 Qf2 24. Rxd6 loses a piece. With the White d-pawn causing constant problems for Black, the game reaches its critical moment.

Thus: 22…Bd8 23. Bg2 Rb8 24. Rhe1 (Strenzwilk and his computer give White the advantage as well with the sharper 24. Nge2!? Qf2 25. Be4 Ng4 26. Nc6 Rb7 27. Ned4 Qf4 28. Nxd8 Rxd8 29. Nc6 Rxd6 [Rdd7 30. Ne7+ Kh8 31. Bxb7 Bxb7 32. Rhf1] 30. Qf3 Qxf3 31. Bxf3 Rbd7 [Rxd1+ 32. Rxd1 f5 33. Rd8+] 32. Ne7+! Kf8 33. Rxd6 Rxd6 34. Nxc8 Rd8 35. Bxg4 Rxc8 36. Bf3) Bb6? (see diagram; Black has to blockade the pawn with moves like 24…Bd7 25. Re4 Qf2 26. Rxe5 Qxg2 27. h5, although White still holds the edge) 25. Rxe5!, putting Black on a combinational roller coaster that eventually costs him a piece.

Now 25…Qxe5 26. Nc6 is a nasty fork, but the game’s 25…Bxd4 26. Re4! Qf2 27. Rexd4 Qxg2 28. d7 costs Black his bishop.

Black plays on to time control, but, facing a hopeless endgame, decides to pack it in.

Two experts — Zhi-Ya Hu and Andrew Samuelson — turned in terrific performances in the Open section, tying with Morrison for second at 4-1. Hu was undefeated with three wins and two draws, while Samuelson reeled off four wins (including two against masters) after an opening-round loss to Kriventsov.

• • •

Sometimes the play on the field develops just like it was drawn up on the locker-room chalkboard. That was the case in Samuelson’s ultra-smooth win over Class A player Daniel Clancy, today’s second game.

Clancy as White makes no egregious oversights and actually heads off some of Black’s more potent tactical threats. But the overall game is a triumph for Black’s Benoni Defense, as he cashes every positional check the opening has to offer, stifles all White counterplay and finishes things off smartly with a deadly attack.

If one White move is to be faulted, it’s probably the premature 13. 0-0 Nf6 14. f5?!, saddling Clancy with a backward e-pawn and creating a hole at e5 that the Black pieces will use as a staging depot for the rest of the game.

By 19. Nxe5 Nxe5 20. Be2 (a5, with the vague idea of some queenside play, is indicated here) Nbd7 15. Kh1 Ng4, Black has all the play. The half-open f-file proves no asset for White, and even the elimination of the Benoni fianchettoed bishop with 25. Bf6 Bxf6 26. Rxf6 Kg7 27. Rf1 Re5! provides no relief.

Black takes over with 28. Nd1 Qd4! 29. Nc3 (this craven do-over is at least better than 29. Nf2 f5! 30. exf5 Qxd5+ 31. Kg1 Rexf5 32. g4 Nf4 33. Re7+ Kg8 34. Qe4 Nh3+ 35. Kg2 Rxf2+ 36. Rxf2 Qxe4+ 37. Rxe4 Nxf2) Rfe8 30. Rd2 b5 (the break with 30…f5! is a strong alternative, but Samuelson understandably prefers to keep a clamp on the position) 31. axb5 axb5 32. Nxb5 Qxe4+ 33. Kg1 (Rg2 Rf5 34. Rhg1 Rh8 35. Qe2 Nf2+! 36. Qxf2 Rxh2+! 37. Kxh2 Rh5 mate) Qxd5, destroying the proud White center and opening the e-file for Black’s rooks.

The elegant, efficient finish: 34. Na3 Qc5+ 35. Kh1 Re1!, leaving White with no good defense. Since 36. Rxe1 (Rd1 Rxd1 37. Qxd1 Nf2+ is also crushing) Rxe1+ 37. Kg2 Qd5+ 38. Kh3 Qf5+ 39. g4 (Kg2 Qf1 mate; 39. Kh4 Qh5 mate) Re3+ 40. Kg2 Qxg4+ 41. Kh1 Re1 is mate, White resigned.

2004 Maryland Open, College Park, May 2004

Kriventsov Strenzwilk

1. e4 c5 21. Qb3 0-0

2. Nf3 Nc6 22. d6 Bd8

3. d4 cxd4 23. Bg2 Rb8

4. Nxd4 Nf6 24. Rhe1 Bb6

5. Nc3 d6 25. Rxe5 Bxd4

6. f3 e6 26. Re4 Qf2

7. Be3 a6 27. Rexd4 Qxg2

8. Qd2 Be7 28. d7 Bxd7

9. g4 Ne5 29. Rxd7 a5

10. 0-0-0 Qc7 30. Qe3 a4

11. g5 Nfd7 31. Qe5 Rbc8

12. h4 b5 32. R7d2 Qf3

13. Qf2 b4 33. Rf1 Qc6

14. Nce2 Nc4 34. Nh5 f6

15. Ng3 Nxe3 35. gxf6 Rc7

16. Qxe3 Ne5 36. Qd6 Qxd6

17. f4 Nc4 37. Rxd6 g6

18. Qd3 d5 38. Ng3 Rc4

19. exd5 Qxf4+ 39. Rxe6 Rxh4

20. Kb1 Ne5 40. Ne4 Black

resigns

2004 Maryland Open, College Park, May 2004

Clancy Samuelson

1. d4 Nf6 19. Nxe5 Nxe5

2. c4 c5 20. Be2 Bh3

3. d5 e6 21. Rf2 c4

4. Nc3 exd5 22. Bf1 Bxf1

5. cxd5 d6 23. Raxf1 Nd3

6. e4 g6 24. Re2 Rae8

7. f4 Bg7 25. Bf6 Bxf6

8. Bb5+ Nfd7 26. Rxf6 Kg7

9. a4 a6 27. Rf1 Re5

10. Bd3 Qh4+ 28. Nd1 Qd4

11. g3 Qd8 29. Nc3 Rfe8

12. Nf3 0-0 30. Rd2 b5

13. 0-0 Nf6 31. axb5 axb5

14. f5 Nbd7 32. Nxb5 Qxe4+

15. Kh1 Ng4 33. Kg1 Qxd5

16. Bg5 Qb6 34. Na3 Qc5+

17. fxg6 hxg6 35. Kh1 Re1

18. Qc2 Nde5 White resigns

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

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