- The Washington Times - Friday, April 15, 2005

Baltimore GM Alek Wojtkiewicz has claimed another Maryland state championship, winning the 45th Maryland Open in College Park earlier this month with a dominating performance.

The Polish-born Wojtkiewicz shot out of the gate with four wins before agreeing to a quick draw with fellow GM Jaan Ehlvest in the fifth and final round. Pennsylvania FM Bryan G. Smith, who held Ehlvest to a draw in their Round 4 game, matched Wojtkiewicz’s 41/2-1/2 score but could not match Wojtkiewicz’s superior tiebreaks in the 59-player Open section.

Virginia master Andrew Samuelson, winner of the most recent D.C. and Virginia opens, fell just short of an unusual triple crown, losing only to Ehlvest on his way to a three-way tie for third at 4-1. Frank Gomez won the Open section top expert prize, and Vincent Waters Sr. was the top A-class finisher, both at 31/2-11/2.

There was more drama in the Under-1800 Amateur section, in which Sathish Nath and Allon Vishkin tied for first at 41/2-1/2. Josh Zwagil was 4-0 going into the final round but lost to Nath, his former chess teacher, and finished a half-point out of the winner’s circle.

Nath took the state amateur title on the basis of his better tiebreaks. Gill Guo, Victor Smith and Erik Shumaker shared the top C honors in the 71-player section; Tavin Carter was the top D player; and Stephen Wheeler won top E honors. Mukiri Gilruth and Joseph Russell shared the prize for best score by an unrated player.

Open co-winner Smith’s last-round victory over fellow master Peter Gilruth was one of those grinding games that so often decide a Swiss event. A win would give either player a share of first, and a single wrong strategic turn by White decided both the game and the tournament.

Much of the early shadowboxing in this Symmetrical English surrounds the open queen-side files and play against the players’ respective b-pawns. Tournament director Mike Atkins, who supplied us with some notes on the game, seems right in pinpointing 29. Nb3 Qd6 30. Bf1?! (an odd choice, as 31. Nc5 looks logical, good and consistent with Gilruth’s previous play) as the source of White’s woes, as on 30…Na3 31. Rc1 Qxb4 32. Nc5 Bc6 33. Bh3 Qb2!, Black has won a pawn and has strong pressure on White’s base camp to boot.

With 35. Bxg4 Rh8!, Black even sets up some nasty threats using a long-distance queen-and-rook battery, forcing White to weaken his game even further.

With 44. Nc5 (Nd6+ Kf6 45. Nxc4 Qxf2+ 46. Kxf2 dxc4 47. Rxc4 Rxh4 keeps Black’s edge) Rxh4! 45. Qxe3 Nxe3, Black snares another pawn. White’s desperate bid for counterplay only leaves him more vulnerable. After 49….Rh1 50. Bg2? (a mistake, but 50. Kf2 Rh2+ 51. Ke1 Bxe2 52. Bxe2 Nc6 53. Rb6 Nxd4 54. Rxd6 Nxe2 is no better in the long run) Re1, White must lose a piece. Gilruth resigned.

• • •

Going to the other end of the tactical spectrum, we have a short, satisfyingly violent clash taken from the recent Dos Hermanas International tournament in Spain.

Bulgarian GM Ivan Cheparinov finished second in the Category 10 Group B event, behind Spanish master Enrique Rodriguez Guerrero. But it was Cheparinov who applied the classic Ruy Lopez “Spanish torture” in a scintillating win over Argentine GM Daniel Campora.

Black walks a defensive tightrope in many Ruy lines, and one inaccuracy can prove fatal. After 17. Ng5 Be6 18. Qf3, the pressure on f6 is already uncomfortable, but immediate countermeasures such as 18…Nd7 19. Bxe7 Nxe7 20. Red1 Nc5 should keep Black in the game.

But Campora takes another path, to his deep regret: 18…Kg7? (see diagram) 19. Nhf5+!, a startling piece sacrifice that completely disrupts Black’s defense.

Taking with the pawn leads to grief on 19…gxf5? 20. Bxf6+ Bxf6 (Kxf6 21. Nh5+ Kg6 [Kg5 22. Qg3+ Kxh5 23. Qg7! f4 24. Bd1+ f3 25. Bxf3+ Kh4 26. Qh6 mate] 22. exf5+ Kh6 23. fxe6 fxe6 24. Qf7 Rf8 25. Qg7+ Kxh5 26. g4+ Kh4 27. Qh6 mate) 21. Nh5+ Kg6 (Kf8 22. Nxf6 f4 Nxe8 is winning, too) 22. exf5+ Kh6 23. Nxf6, and White’s attack quickly breaks through.

Campora opts for 19…Bxf5 20. exf5 Nd7 but blunders a second and last time on 21. fxg6 fxg6? (21. Bxg5? 22. Qxf7+ Kh6 23. Qxh7 mate is also out, but 21…hxg6 22. Be3 gives Black a difficult but playable game) 22.Nh5+!!.

Black’s hasty resignation here may be justifiable, but it cheats us of some very pretty lines. After 22…Kg8 (Kh8 23. Qf7 Rg8 24. Bh6 Bf8 25. Nf6 Bg7 26. Nxg8 Rxg8 27. Bb3 Qd8 28. Qxg8+ wins material), White has 23. Qf7+!! Kxf7 24. Bb3+ d5 25. Bxd5+ Kf8 26. Bh6 mate!. And taking the knight loses quickly to 22…gxh5 23. Qxh5 Bxg5 24. Qxh7+ Kf6 (Kf8 25. Bg6 Nd8 26. Qh8+ Ke7 27. Qxe8+ Kf6 28. Bh5 Kg7 29. Qg6+ and wins) 25. Qg6+ Ke7 26. Qxg5+ Kf8 Kf8 27. Re3 e4 28. Rg3, and Black will not survive long.

45th Maryland Open, College Park, April 2005


1. Nf3g627. Qe1Ra8

2. c4Bg728. Rxa8Rxa8

3. Nc3c529. Nb3Qd6

4. g3Nc630. Bf1Na3

5. Bg2e631. Rc1Qxb4

6. 0-0Nge732. Nc5Bc6

7. d30-033. Bh3Qb2

8. Bd2a634. g4hxg4

9. Rb1Rb835. Bxg4Rh8

10. a3b536. h4b4

11. cxb5axb537. Ne2f5

12. b4cxb438. Bh3Bb5

13. axb4d539. Bf1Kf7

14. Qc1Qd640. Nb7Nc4

15. Bh6Bxh641. Rb1Qa3

16. Qxh6f642. Rxb4Qxe3+

17. Qd2Bd743. Qf2Bc6

18. Rb2e544. Nc5Rxh4

19. Rfb1Kg745. Qxe3Nxe3

20. d4e446. Rb6Nc4

21. Ne1Nf547. Rb8Nd6

22. Nc2Nce748. Kf2Bb5

23. f4Qb649. Ke3Rh1

24. e3h550. Bg2Re1

25. Na1Nd6White resigns

26. Ra2Nc4

XIII Dos Hermanas International, Group B, Dos Hermanas, Spain, April 2005

Cheparinov Campora

1. e4e512. Nbd2c6

2. Nf3Nc613. dxc6Nxc6

3. Bb5a614. Nf1Qc7

4. Ba4Nf615. Ng3Rfe8

5. 0-0Be716. Nh4g6

6. Re1d617. Bg5Be6

7. c30-018. Qf3Kg7

8. d4b519. Nhf5+Bxf5

9. Bc2Bg420. exf5Nd7

10. d5Na521. fxg6fxg6

11. h3Bd722. Nh5+Black


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

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