- The Washington Times - Friday, August 26, 2005

Veteran GM Jaan Ehlvest came through with a last-round win over New York master Igor Sorkin to win the premier section of the 37th annual Atlantic Open, held last weekend at the Wyndham Hotel downtown. Some 337 players competed in the seven-section event, the biggest summer draw on the area chess calendar.

Maryland GM Alex Wojtkiewicz, who drew Ehlvest and shared the lead at 31/2-1/2 going into Sunday evening’s final round, took a poisoned pawn in his game against Swiss GM Vadim Milov and never found the antidote to fall out of the running. Milov, fresh off his U.S. Open win in Phoenix the week before, had to settle for a five-way tie for second at 4-1 after being upset by New York FM Igor Schneider in Round 3.

Schneider also was among the quintet at 4-1 in the 49-player Open section, along with FMs Ilye Figler of New York and Bryan Smith of Pennsylvania and rising Maryland master Raymond Kaufman.

The Atlantic featured an unusually high number of outright section winners, including Virginia A player William Barrow (41/2-1/2 in the Under-2000 section); D.C.’s Michael Jordan (a clean 5-0 in the Under-1800 section); and Maryland C player Tim Murphy (also a perfect 5-0 atop the Under 1600 section).

Four players shared the honors at 4-1 in the Under-2200 section: Zhi-Ya Hu and Jeremy Hummer of Maryland; Thomas D. Murphy of the District; and Virginia’s Doug Photiadis, who had the best tie breaks.

Christopher Ju of New Jersey and Maryland’s Conner Lines and Leo Keats all finished 41/2-1/2 in the Under-1400 section. New York Class E players Hector Maquiera and John Delgado also had a profitable weekend in Washington, sharing the Under-1200 prize at 41/2-1/2.

My old D.C. Chess League teammate Paul Yavari finished just out of the money in the Atlantic’s Under-2200 section, but he pulled off a nice miniature against fellow expert Richard Lunenfeld of Pennsylvania along the way. Black’s sense of danger deserts him in this Winawer French, and the result is disaster.

After 7. Nf4 c5 8. Bd3, the sirens should have been keening for Black — his knight has been evicted from f6 and his queen-side is badly underdeveloped. Useful now would have been a move like 8…Qb6, shoring up e6, when Black has little to fear from 9. Na4 Qc6 10. Nxc5 Bxc5 11. dxc5 Nxe5 12. b4 Nxd3+, or from the more provocative 9. Nfxd5!? exd5 10. Nxd5 Qd8 11. Qh5 Nb6 12. Nxb6 Qxb6 13. Bc4 g6 14. Qf3 Qc7.

Instead, the pawn capture 8…cxd4?? badly misses the point: 9. Nxe6! (just like that, Black is lost) Qb6 (or 9…fxe6 10. Qh5+ Ke7 11. Bg5+ Nf6 12. exf6+ gxf6 13. Bxf6+! Kxf6 14. Qh4+, picking off the queen) 10. Nxd5!, when 10…Qxe6 walks into the knight fork 11. Nc7+.

It’s over anyway on 10…Qa5+ 11. b4 Bxb4+ 12. axb4 Qxa1 13. Ncd7+ Ke7 14. Bg5+, with a discovered attack on Black’s queen. Lunenfeld resigned.

Today’s diagram is a disaster waiting to happen.

As we noted last week, popular GM Larry Christiansen bolted out of the gate at the U.S. Open earlier this month with seven wins and a draw, needing only a half-point in the final round to ensure at least a tie for first.

Playing Black against Milov, Christiansen had nicely defended the Black side of a QGD Tarrasch, reaching the fateful position of today’s diagram after White had just played 47. Kf3-f4. With his bishop blocked and Milov holding a potential outside passer, Christiansen went with 47…Rxe2 48. a5 bxa5! (a brave decision, but it should hold the draw) 49. Nxc5 Rxf2+ 50. Ke5 h4 51. Rd6+ (gxh4 g3 52. Rxd4 g2 53. Rg4 a4 54. Nxa4 Kh5 55. Rg8 Kxh4 56. Nc3 Kh3 57. Rh8+ Kg3 58. Ne4+ Kf3 59. Rf8+ Ke3 60. Rg8 Ke2 61. Nxf2 Kxf2 62. Ke4 g1=Q is also a draw) Kh5 52. Ne4.

Black’s rook is en prise and his king in a bit of a box, but Black only has to avoid troublesome knight forks to stay in the game; e.g. 52…Rf3 53. Nf6+ Kg5 54. gxh4+ Kxh4 55. Rxd4 Re3+ 56. Kf5 Rf3+ 57. Kg6 Rg3 holds.

Instead, Christiansen loses the game and the tournament with 52…Rf8?? 53. Nf6+, when White now wins on 53…Kg5 54. Nh7+ Kh5 55. Nxf8 hxg3 56. Kf4 g2 57. Rd7 g1=Q 58. Rh7 mate. The game concluded 53…Rxf6 54. Kxf6, and Black gave up as 54…hxg3 55. Rd8 g2 56. Rh8 is again checkmate.

New Jersey GM Joel Benjamin, who shared first prize with Milov, had no such hiccups in his penultimate round win over Mongolian GM Dashzeveg Sharavdorj. In an Advanced French, Black unnecessarily weakens his own king’s position with 14…h6?! and 19…g6? (here 19…Be8 20. Re1 b5 21. Bxf4 Bxf4 22. Rc3 Qb6 looks much more solid), and spends the rest of the game on defense.

White snatches a pawn with 24. Bxf4 Rxf4 25. Qe3 (with the threat of 26. Ne2 Bxe5 27. dxe5 Rh4 28. g3 Rh5 29. Nf4 Rg5 30. Nxe6) Kh7 26. Ne2 Rf6 27. Ng4 Rf7 28. Qxe6, and, more important, loses none of his attacking steam.

White wraps things up wittily with 31. Re1 Bf7 32. Qd7 Rxd4? (missing the point, but 32…Kg7 Ne3 Kh8 [Rxd4 34. Ngf5+! gxf5 35. Nxf5+] 34. Rc1 Be8 35. Qd8 is bleak in the long run, too) 33. Nf6+! (far stronger than 33. Re8 Qg7 34. Qxd6 Rxg4 35. Re7) Kh8 34. Re8!, when 34…Bxe8 clears the seventh rank for 35. Qh7 mate. Sharavdorj resigned.

37th Atlantic Open, Washington, August 2005


1. e4e68. Bd3cxd4

2. d4d59. Nxe6Qb6

3. Nc3Bb410. Nxd5Qa5+

4. Nge2Nf611. b4Bxb4+

5. e5Nfd712. axb4Qxa1

6. a3Bf813. Ndc7+Ke7

7. Nf4c514. Bg5+Black


U.S. Open, Phoenix, August 2005


1. e4e618. Ne2Nf4

2. d4d519. Ng3g6

3. e5c520. Rc3Qf8

4. c3Nc621. Qc2Ne7

5. Nf3Bd722. Ne5Rxc3

6. Be2Nge723. Qxc3Be8

7. 0-0Ng624. Bxf4Rxf4

8. Be3cxd425. Qe3Kh7

9. cxd4Be726. Ne2Rf6

10. Nc30-027. Ng4Rf7

11. Rc1f628. Qxe6Nf5

12. exf6Rxf629. Bxf5Rxf5

13. Na4b630. Ng3Rf4

14. Nc3h631. Re1Bf7

15. Bd3Bd632. Qd7Rxd4

16. a3Rc833. Nf6+Kh8

17. Bb1a634. Re8Black


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

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