- The Washington Times - Friday, February 11, 2005

Andrew Samuelson is two-thirds of the way to the local Triple Crown. The rapidly improv-

ing Virginia expert, who won the D.C. Open in October, added the Virginia Open to his resume with a 5-0 score over the weekend of Jan. 28-30 in Springfield. He could make it a trifecta when the Maryland Open is held in early April.

Samuelson cut through the 48-player Open section in impressive fashion, defeating former Virginia state champ Macon Shibut, former Maryland champ Stan Fink and IM Oladapo Adu on his way to the title. Fink and Adu finished in a five-way tie for second with FM Ilye Figler, master Raymond Kaufman and Class A player Larry Larkins, all at 4-1.

William J. Barrow, Ted Udelson and James Cope tied for first in the Under-1900 Amateur section, all at 4-, with Udelson taking the trophy on tie-breaks. A total of 88 players competed, and the two sections together drew an impressive 136 players.

Samuelson played a number of sharp, attractive games on his way to the title, including his Round 2 win over Shibut.

White’s early strategic retreats and back-rank shuffling call to mind the style of the late Soviet world champion Tigran Petrosian. But just as Shibut seems teed up for a king-side break, he puts the driver back in the bag and shifts abruptly to another fairway on 18. Qf1 Qd7 19. Na4?! (consistent at least would have been 19. g3!? Bh3 20. Qe1 hxg3 21. Rxg3) b6 20. Qa1 Rfd8 21. Rc1.

While White reloads, Samuelson grabs the initiative: 23…c5! 24. Ncb1 (more retreating; sharper is 24. Nxd5 Nxd5 25. cxd5 cxd4 26. Rxc8 Rxc8 27. Rc1 Rxc1 28. Qxc1 d3 29. Bxg7 Kxg7 30. Bd1 Qd6, though Black still looks better) cxd4 25. Bxd4 Ne6 26. Bb2 d4, and the Black position is really starting to gel.

The jumbled White pieces get in each other’s way, leaving Black securely on top after 32. Ng3 Be6! 33. Nxe4 Qf4 34. Nec3 b5 (also strong was 34…Nxb3!; e.g. 35. Nd5 [Kxb3? Bxc4+ 36. Kc2 (Bxc4 Qxc4+ 37. Kc2 Qa4 mate, while 36. Ka4 Bxe2+ 37. Kb3 Qc4+ 38. Kc2 Qa4 is mate once again) Bd3+!! 37. Bxd3 Qa4 mate] Nxc1+ 36. Rxc1 Bxd5 37. Bxg7 Nxg7 38. Qc3 Ne6 and Black is winning) 35. Rfc1 Qb8, when 36. Rc1 (to stop 36…Nc2) runs into 36…Nxb3! 37. Kxb3 bxc4+ 38. Ka4 Bd7+ 39. Ka5 Qb6 mate.

White’s fortress collapses on the game’s 36. Bc1 Nxe2 37. Bxe3 bxc4 38. b4 Rd3, and the only blot on the finale is that Samuelson chose to capture the queen with 39…Bxa1 rather than mate on the spot with 39…c3. It didn’t matter — White resigned.

Larkins had a superb tournament, upsetting two masters and an expert, but today’s diagram picks up the critical moment from his only loss — to Kaufman in Round 3. Zugzwang — death by chess paralysis — is amusing to everyone but the player on the receiving end, and Kaufman here comes up with a slick variation on an ancient theme.

White, already dominating the board, has just played 31. Nf3-g5, after which followed 31…Bg8 (forced) 32. Rxf8 Rxf8 33. Rxf8 Qxf8 34. Qf4! Qf5 (Qe7 35. Qf6+ Qxf6 36. exf6 c4 37. f7 wins, while 34…Qxf4 would closely track the game) 35. Qxf5 gxf5 36. Kf2!.

Black’s king is entombed on h8, and his bishop’s only legal escape square, f7, is watched by the White knight. After 36…c4 37. Ke1 c5 38. Kf2, Larkins is about to run out of pawn moves and must commit material suicide. He resigned instead.

• • •

Still on the local scene, we inadvertently traded and promoted Sy Samet in our column last week. He was never captain of the D.C. Chess League’s Arlington Rooks, being a longtime mover and shaker on the Arlington Passed Pawns. We remain in Sy’s debt for alerting us to the fine Hamilton-De Castro game that ran here last Saturday.

• • •

Israeli GM Emil Sutovsky finished in a five-way tie for first at a strong open tournament late last month in Gibraltar. Sutovsky also picked up a $950 bonus for the event’s best-game prize with his combinational win over English GM Danny Gormally.

In a Sicilian, we cut right to the chase as a rather unexceptional opening suddenly becomes very sharp on 30. Bxb4 dxe4!? 31. c4?! (it isn’t clear what Black had in mind on the straightforward 31. Bxf8; the compensation seems iffy on 31…Nh5 32. Qc7 exf3 33. Bc5 fxg2+ 34. Kg1) Qf5 32. Bxf8 Nh5.

Now 33. Qb8 Ng3+! is very strong; e.g. 34. hxg3 Qh5+ 35. Kg1 Bd4+ 36. Kf1 Qh1+ 37. Ke2 Qxg2+ and Black soon mates; or 34. Qxg3 exf3, and again there is no defense.

White tries 33. Qg4, but Black finishes stylishly with 33…exf3!! 34. Qxf5 fxg2+ 35. Kg1 Bd4+! (and not 35…exf5?? 36. Rxb2 Nf4 37. Rxg2! Nxg2 38. Bd6, and White wins) 36. Qf2 Nf4!, leaving Gormally helpless. Now 37. h4 (Qxd4 Nh3 mate; 37. h3 Ne2+ 38. Kh2 Be5+ 39. Qg3 Bxg3 mate) Ne2+ 38. Kh2 Bxf2 39. Bd6 g1=Q+ 40. Rxg1 Bxg1+ 41. Kh3 Nd4 leaves Black two pawns to the good. White resigned.

37th annual Virginia Open, Springfield, January 2005

Shibut Samuelson

1. Nf3 Nf6 21. Rc1 Rac8

2. b3 g6 22. Nc3 Qe7

3. Bb2 Bg7 23. Rc2 c5

4. c4 d6 24. Ncb1 cxd4

5. e3 e5 25. Bxd4 Ne6

6. d4 e4 26. Bb2 d4

7. Nfd2 c6 27. Rcc1 Ne8

8. Nc3 Qe7 28. Nf1 Qg5

9. Qc2 Bf5 29. g4 hxg3

10. Be2 h5 30. fxg3 dxe3

11. h3 Na6 31. g4 Nd4

12. a3 Nc7 32. Ng3 Be6

13. 0-0-0 d5 33. Nxe4 Qf4

14. Kb1 h4 34. Nec3 b5

15. Ka2 0-0 35. Rcf1 Qb8

16. Rdg1 Ne6 36. Bc1 Nxe2

17. Qd1 Ng5 37. Bxe3 bxc4

18. Qf1 Qd7 38. b4 Rd3

19. Na4 b6 39. Nxe2 Bxa1

20. Qa1 Rfd8 White resigns

Gibtele.com Masters, Caleta, Gibraltar, January 2005

Gormally Sutovsky

1. e4 c5 19. Bf4 Nf6

2. Nf3 d6 20. Bh6 Ne8

3. d4 cxd4 21. Bf4 b4

4. Nxd4 Nf6 22. Na2 Nf6

5. Nc3 a6 23. Bh6 Nh5

6. Bc4 e6 24. Qg4 Qb5

7. Bb3 b5 25. f3 Bf6

8. 0-0 Be7 26. Rb1 Bd4+

9. Qf3 Qc7 27. Kh1 Bxb2

10. Qg3 Nc6 28. Bd2 Nf6

11. Nxc6 Qxc6 29. Qg3 d5

12. Re1 Bb7 30. Bxb4 dxe4

13. a3 Rd8 31. c4 Qf5

14. a4 0-0 32. Bxf8 Nh5

15. axb5 axb5 33. Qg4 exf3

16. Bh6 Ne8 34. Qxf5 fxg2+

17. Ra7 Ra8 35. Kg1 Bd4+

18. Rxa8 Bxa8 36. Qf2 Nf4

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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