- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 5, 2008

Massachusetts GM Alexander Ivanov last week extended his remarkable run in the Eastern Open, winning the 34th running of the D.C. event outright with a 7-1 score.

Ivanov, who by our count has won or tied for first at least eight times since the Eastern was revived in the late 1980s, won six and gave up just two draws to fellow GM Sergey Kudrin and IM Bryan Smith. The key game of the tournament was Ivanov’s 21-move win over U.S. Open co-champ NM Anton Del Mundo in the penultimate round.

Other section winners: Under-2200 — Erik Santarius, 6½-1½; Under-1900 — Nikita Panasenko, Hubert Neumaier, Anatoly Treger, Youri Loboda and Sherwin Rugless, all at 6-2; Under-1600 — Adonis Turner, 6½-1½; and Under-1300 — Ramanaj Sreenivasan, with the event’s only perfect 8-0 score. Congratulations to all.

We’ll have a full recap and action from the tournament in next week’s column.

•••

Dallas proved tougher on the chessboard than on the gridiron last week.

The Redskins may have waxed the Cowboys, but the University of Maryland, Baltimore County chess team once again couldn’t get past archrival University of Texas-Dallas at the Pan-Am/Intercollegiate Championships that ended Sunday in Miami.

UT-D’s “A” team won the critical Round 5 matchup against UMBC’s top squad 2½-1½ to clinch the title. The two teams were both 4-0 at the time, and UMBC had just defeated the Texas school’s “B” team — with a none-too-shabby average rating of 2446 — a round earlier.

UMBC’s own “B” team scored a very creditable 4-2, landing in a tie for fifth in the 28-school event. Expert Andrew Hubbard of the “B” squad tied for the best individual result of the event, with an undefeated 5-1 score.

In the match of the top seeds, UMBC GM Sergey Erenburg took a full point from UT-D’s GM Alejandro Ramirez. But the Texans scored two wins on lower boards, including Indian GM Magesh Panchanathan’s clinching victory over GM Pawel Blehm.

In a Sicilian Richter-Rauzer, Black’s 19. Bd3 Bc5 20. g5 hxg5?! will prove a fateful decision, allowing White to invade via the h-file. Keeping things closed with 20…Qb6 21. Qf2 (gxh6 Bxd4 22. Bxd4 Qxd4 23. hxg7 Rg8 24. Rhg1 f5 25. h5 also poses problems for Black) h5 22. g6 f6 23. exf6 Nxf6 might have been the better option.

White uses a pair of sacrifices to break through before Black can generate counterplay: 23. Qf2 g6 24. Rh8+ Ke7? (Nf8 25. Rh6 Rc7 26. f5 exf5 27. Nxf5 Bxe3 was tougher) 25. Rh7 Rg8 (see diagram) 26. Bxg6! Rxg6 27. f5!, and the open lines on the kingside prove decisive.

Blehm tries 27…exf5 (Rg8 28. fxe6 Nxe5 29. Qf6+ Kf8 30. Nc6! Qxc6 31. Qd8+ Qe8 32. Bxc5 mate) 28. Qxf5 Kd8 29. Rxf7 Nf8, but is rudely dismissed after 30. Rxf8+! (the cleanest of the many ways to victory) Bxf8 31. Qxf8+ Kc7 32. e6! (opening the way for the bishop check at f4) Rxe6 (Qe6 33. Bf4) 33. Qxf7+ Kb8 34. Qxe6, and Black resigns as he has no compensation for the lost piece.

•••

Like the famous Hastings tournament in southern England, the Groningen Chess Festival has long been an annual holiday fixture for the northern Dutch city. Georgian IM Davit Lobzhanidze finished in a five-way tie for first in the annual open tournament held there last week, a result that included a fine mating attack against local expert Marijn Otte.

Black gets caught with too many pieces on the wrong side of the board in this Scheveningen Sicilian, while the Black pawn on e5 after 16. Bxe5 dxe5 hinders communication between Otte’s two flanks. Still, it is hard to see that Black is virtually lost just as the opening phase is concluded.

Thus: 17. Bh5 (threatening 18. fxg7 Bxg7 19. Bxf7+ and forcing Black’s reply) g6 18. Bxg6! hxg6 (fxg6 19. f7+) 19. Qh4, with the standard motif of Rf3-h3 and mate along the h-file looming.

Otte’s best now was the unsatisfactory 19…Be7 20. Rf3 Bxf6 21. Qxf6 Qe7, but White has an easy endgame win after 22. Qxe5 b5 23. Raf1 f5 (Rf8 24. Nd5! is crushing) 24. Rh3 Qg7 25. Rxf5! b4 (gxf5 26. Rg3) 26. Nd5! Qxe5 27. Rxe5 Rd8 28. Ne3.

Black instead opts for a quicker quietus on 19…Qd8?! 20. Rad1 Bd7 21. Rd3 Bg7 (exploiting the pin on the f-pawn, but it’s already too late to save the game) 22. Rh3 Bxf6 23. Rxf6 Kg7 24. Rxg6+!!, and the Black defense crumbles.

White mops up with 24…fxg6 (Kxg6 25. Qh6 mate; 24…Kf8 25. Rg8+! Kxg8 26. Qh8 mate) 25. Qh7+ Kf6 (Kf8 26. Rf3+) 26. Rf3+ Kg5 27. Rg3+ Kf6 28. Rxg6 mate.

2007 Pan-Am/Intercollegiate Championships, Miami, December

PanchanathanBlehm

1. e4c518. f4Qc7

2. Nf3Nc619. Bd3Bc5

3. d4cxd420. g5hxg5

4. Nxd4Nf621. hxg5Rxh1

5. Nc3d622. Rxh1Qb6

6. Bg5e623. Qf2g6

7. Qd2a624. Rh8+Ke7

8. 0-0-0h625. Rh7Rg8

9. Be3Bd726. Bxg6Rxg6

10. f3Rc827. f5exf5

11. Kb1Be728. Qxf5Kd8

12. g4b529. Rxf7Nf8

13. h4b430. Rxf8+Bxf8

14. Nce2d531. Qxf8+Kc7

15. Nxc6Bxc632. e6Rxe6

16. Nd4Bb733. Qf7+Kb8

17. e5Nd734. Qxe6Black

resigns

Harmonie Open A, Groningen, Netherlands, December 2007

LobzhanidzeOtte

1. e4c515. f6Bf8

2. Nf3d616. Bxe5dxe5

3. d4cxd417. Bh5g6

4. Nxd4Nf618. Bxg6hxg6

5. Nc3a619. Qh4Qd8

6. Be3e620. Rad1Bd7

7. Be2Be721. Rd3Bg7

8. f4Qc722. Rh3Bxf6

9. 0-0Nc623. Rxf6Kg7

10. Kh10-024. Rxg6+fxg6

11. Qe1Re825. Qh7+Kf6

12. Qg3Nd726. Rf3+Kg5

13. f5Nxd427. Rg3+Kf6

14. Bxd4Ne528. Rxg6 mate

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

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