- The Washington Times - Friday, September 3, 2004

Rank did not receive its customary privileges at the upset-filled 35th Atlantic Open, held last weekend at the Wyndham Washington Hotel downtown.

GM Ildar Ibragimov gave up only a second-round draw, with veteran master Ed Formanek, en route to a 41/2-1/2 first-place finish. Ibragimov clinched the title with a last-round win over fellow GM Jaan Ehlvest, the event’s top seed with a gaudy 2712 rating.

The tournament’s most startling upset, however, came in the first round, when 11-year-old New York expert Marc Arnold dusted GM Alexander Onischuk, the highest-rated U.S. player on the international ratings list. Traumatized by the loss (or perhaps calculating that he had no chance for serious prize money), Onischuk instantly withdrew from the tournament.

Six players tied for second in the 62-player open section, all at 4-1: GMs Alexander Shabalov and Dmitry Gurevich and masters Tegshsuren Enkhbat, Stephen Muhammad, Emory Tate and Peter Gilruth. There was a tie for first in the Under 2200 section, with Vladimir Polyakin and Ilya Krasik both at 41/2-1/2.

Other class winners: Under 2000 — Jim Kinsman 5-0, a half-point ahead of Alfred Hurd; Under 1800 — Michael Johnson 5-0, edging Philip Krause again by a half-point; Under 1600 — Michael Jordan, Peter Nasuti and Aaron Bobb, all at 41/2-1/2; Under 1400 — Robert Landolfi and Danyi Wu 41/2-1/2; and Under 1200 — Douglas Stanley and John Maryak 41/2-1/2.

Expert Michael Thaler got in on the fun with three wins over masters on his way to an excellent 31/2-11/2 finish. Against Northern Virginia master Steven Greanias in the final round, Thaler had to endure some uncomfortable moments on the Black side of a King’s Indian before turning the tables in a sparkling bishop ending.

Black’s 15. Rfe1 Be6?! (c6 was a solid alternative) leaves him open to a shot that gives White a clear positional edge: 16. e5! dxe5 16. Nxe6 Nxe6 18. Bxb7 Rad8 19. Nd5 Nxd5 20. cxd5 Ng5 (Nf8 21. Bc6 Nd7 22. Qa4 ties Black up) 21. Bxg5 hxg5 22. Re4 Qd6 23. Rc4, with strong pressure on Black’s weak queen-side pawns.

But the White pieces get bollixed up on the queen-side, and Black’s dormant fianchettoed bishop comes to life after 26. Qa7 Qd8 27. Qa6? (the point of this move is not clear; stopping the Black e-pawn with something like 27. f3 seems more to the point) Qd7 28. g4 e4!, and suddenly it’s White who has to play defense.

Thaler picks up a pawn after 29. Rc2? (b3 Ree8 30. Rcc1 is equal) Qd6! 30. Qxd6 cxd6 31. Bc6 Rxb2 32. Rxb2 Bxb2, and White puts his faith in the bishops of opposite color to hold the pawn-down ending. But now the Black king can waltz up the board on the dark squares, free from harassment. After 40. a4 Ke5 41. Kg1 Kf4 42. Be8 (see diagram; the same sacrificial motif is seen on 42. Bb5 Bxf2+! 43. Kxf2 e3+ 44. Ke1 Kg3 45. Bf1 e2 46. Bxe2 fxe2 47. Kxe2 Kxh3 48. Kf3 Kh4 49. Ke4 Kxg4, winning), Black administers the kill.

Thus: 42…Bxf2+!! (e3? 43. fxe3+ Bxe3+ 44. Kf1 Kg3 45. Bxg6 Kxh3 46. Bf5 and it’s doubtful Black can break through) 43. Kxf2 e3+ 44. Ke1 Kg3 45. Bxg6 (Bb5 Kg2 46. Bf1+ Kg1 47. Bc4 f2+ wins) f2+ 46. Kf1 e2+! 47. Kxe2 Kg2, and the White king blocks his own bishop from helping out. White resigned.

Tate, one of the country’s most imaginative attacking players, has been so strong for so long that his last-round win over Maryland GM Alex Wojtkiewicz barely qualifies as an upset. On the Black side of a Catalan, Tate shows he also can defend, accepting a sacrificed pawn and never letting his higher-ranked opponent get any real compensation.

Ibragimov after the game praised Black’s novelty 10. Nbd2 Ra6! (Ba6 had previously been played in this position), a funny-looking move that shores up the c-pawn and frees Black’s other pieces for action.

White immediately gambits a pawn with 11. e4!? Nxe4 12. Nxe4 dxe4 13. Qxe4 Nxc5 (exploiting the pin along the d-file) 14. Qg4?! (the White queen accomplishes nothing on the king-side, so 14. Qc2 Nd7 15. Ne5 Nxe5 16. dxe5 Qc7 17. Bf4 is indicated) f5 15. Qh5 Ne4.

The computer program Fritz suggested 20. Nc5 Bxc5 21. dxc5 Qc4 22. Qxc4 bxc4 23. Bxe4 fxe4 24. Rd6, with chances to exploit Black’s wonky pawn formation. On the game’s 20. a4?! bxa4 21. Nc5 Bxc5 22. dxc5 Qb3!, Black targets loose squares deep in the White position and forces Wojtkiewicz to work even harder to make up a two-pawn deficit.

A nice tactical idea simplifies down to a winning ending for Black: 23. Bd4 Rd5 24. f3 (Bxe4 fxe4 25. Qxe4 e5 26. Rd3 Qc4 and the bishop is doubly pinned and lost) Nxc5 25. Bxc5 Rxc5 26. Rd7 (Ra3 Ba6! 27. Qe1 Re5! 28. Rxb3 [Qxe5 Qxd1+ mates] Rxe1+ 29. Rxe1 axb3 30. Rxe6 Bb5) Bc8 27. Rd3 Ba6 28. Rxb3 Bxe2 29. Re3 (Rxa4 Rc1+ 30. Kf2 Bd1 snares the exchange) Rc2 30. Rxe6 Bb5, and Black preserves his material edge.

After 41. Bg2 (Rxg7 Rxh3 42. f6 Rf3 43. f7 Rxf4) a3 42. Rxg7 a2, the Black pawn must queen. White gave up.

35th Atlantic Open, Washington D.C., August 2004

GreaniasThaler

1. c4Nf625. Qc5Rb8

2. Nf3g626. Qa7Qd8

3. g3Bg727. Qa6Qd7

4. Bg2 0-0 28. g4e4

5. 0-0d629. Rc2Qd6

6. d4Nbd730. Qxd6cxd6

7. Nc3e531. Bc6Rxb2

8. e4exd432. Rxb2Bxb2

9. Nxd4a533. Kf1f5

10. h3Nc534. Rb1Bd4

11. Be3h635. Rb7Rxb7

12. Qd2Kh736. Bxb7f4

13. Rad1Qe737. Bc6Kg7

14. Qc2Re838. Ke2f3+

15. Rfe1Be639. Kf1Kf6

16. e5dxe540. a4Ke5

17. Nxe6Nxe641. Kg1Kf4

18. Bxb7Rad842. Be8Bxf2+

19. Nd5Nxd543. Kxf2e3+

20. cxd5Ng544. Ke1Kg3

21. Bxg5hxg545. Bxg6f2+

22. Re4Qd646. Kf1e2+

23. Rc4Re747. Kxe2Kg2

24. Rc6Qd7White resigns

35th Atlantic Open, Washington D.C., August 2004

WojtkiewiczTate

1. Nf3Nf622. dxc5Qb3

2. c4e623. Bd4Rd5

3. g3d524. f3Nxc5

4. d4c625. Bxc5Rxc5

5. Bg2Nbd726. Rd7Bc8

6. Qc2Be727. Rd3Ba6

7. 0-00-028. Rxb3Bxe2

8. Rd1b529. Re3Rc2

9. c5a530. Rxe6Bb5

10. Nbd2Ra631. f4Rf6

11. e4Nxe432. Re8+Rf8

12. Nxe4dxe433. Re6h6

13. Qxe4Nxc534. Rd1Rf6

14. Qg4f535. Re8+Rf8

15. Qh5Ne436. Rb8Kg6

16. Ne5Qd537. Rb7Re6

17. Be3Bb738. Bh3Rxb2

18. Qe2Raa839. g4Re3

19. Nd3Rad840. gxf5+Kh5

20. a4bxa441. Bg2a3

21. Nc5Bxc542. Rxg7a2

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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