Perelshteyn and Dean-Kawamura Win Marchand Open
By IM Bryan Smith   
February 28, 2010
The Rochester Open, 2010
The 32nd Marchand Open took place this year in Rochester in a lull between huge winter storms which have buffeted the East Coast. But the storms on the board continued, with hard-fought and decisive games throughout. In the end, GM Eugene Perelshteyn and Ben Dean-Kawamura tied for first with 4.5 points out of 5. Tied for 3rd-5th place were GM Magesh Panchanathan, as-yet-untitled but 2500-rated Siddharth Ravichandran, and myself.

The winners of the tournament took rather different paths to first place. Perelshteyn won his first four games (including defeating Panchanathan in the fourth round) and drew in the last round against Ravichandran.  In fact, with a draw guaranteeing at least a tie for first, many people would be looking to draw with black against a strong player like Ravichandran. But in fact Eugene was pressing throughout and was a little disappointed he could not manage to win.

Siddharth,Ravichandran - Perelshteyn,E [A48]

Marchand Open Rochester, NY (5), 21.02.2010

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bf4 Bg7 4.e3 0-0 5.h3 c5 6.c3 cxd4 I was interested to see Eugene's simple approach here, since I had played against Ravichandran's London in the previous round! 7.exd4 d6 8.Bc4 Eugene did not like this move very much and I told him that it was because of me that this move was played! In the previous round I had played 6...d6 7.Nbd2 Be6!?. Siddharth maybe wanted to prevent that plan?! 8...Nc6 9.0-0 a6 10.Nbd2 I would think 10.a4 would be indicated. After this Black gains space and gets a very pleasant game. 10...b5 11.Bb3 Na5 12.Re1 Maintaining the bishop also has its downsides. 12...Nxb3 13.axb3 Bb7 14.c4 Re8 15.Bg5 h6 16.Bh4 Qd7 17.Bxf6 Bxf6 18.Qe2 Bg7 Black's two excellent bishops make White's game quite hard to play. 19.Ne4 e6 20.Rad1 Rac8 21.c5 Bxe4 22.Qxe4 dxc5 23.dxc5

23...Qc7 The players indicated this move as Black's error, after which White gets compensation. Black has excellent winning chances after 23...Qc6, e.g. 24.Qxc6 Rxc6 25.b4 Bxb2 (planning ...a5) 26.Ne5 Rc7!. Black has an extra pawn (and will undermine with ...a5 shortly) and the bishop is stronger than the knight here. 24.b4 Bxb2 25.Re2 Bg7 26.Red2 Re7 26...a5!? 27.Rd7 Qc6 28.Qf4 Rf8 looks risky but playable. After Black's move, White prevents ...a5 in time. 27.Ra2 Qc6 28.Qe3 Ra8 29.Rd6 Qc8 30.Qd3 Rea7 31.Ra5 Bf8 32.Rd4 Bg7 33.Rd6 Bf8 34.Rd4 Bg7 35.Rd6 White has about full compensation for the pawn so it would not make sense for Eugene to risk here. ½-½

Dean-Kawamura drew in round two against 2000-rated Aaron Jones and consequently did not play any of the top seeds. But he fully deserved his first place tie, defeating Kanwal Bhatia in the decisive last round in a King's Gambit! He also defeated Isay Golyak in a sharp and time pressure filled fourth round game:

A critical position occurred at move 23, with Black to play:

Ben said "I played 23... Bf4 with only a minute or two on my clock. I had seen 23...
Rxg3 24. Rf8+ Rxf8 25. Qxe5+ Rf6! would lead to a draw, but I decided I wanted something more at that point. I got quite lucky because if Isay had seen 25. Qe5+! I would have been lost. However, he was also in caught up in time pressure and missed his chance to win."

Another player who had a great tournament was Siddharth Ravichandran. Although untitled, his FIDE rating is around 2450. In addition to the above draw with Perelshteyn, he also defeated GM Alexander Ivanov. Despite tough pairings he tied for 3rd through 5th. Additionally, GM Magesh Panchanathan defeated Ivanov in the last round to tie for the same prize.

My tournament was mediocre. In round two I drew with the much lower-rated WFM Anna Levina. I was very disappointed with myself because I felt like I had a bad attitude of assuming I would win this game.  Occasionally I don't take lower-rated players seriously or expect mistakes, but this is not the right way. On the contrary, she defended accurately and despite having some advantage I threw it away.

In round four I was the highest-rated player with 2.5/3 and was consequently paired to Ravichandran, who had three points. In order to have a chance for first prize it was clear that I would have to win this game, which would have set up another must-win game in the last-round against Eugene. A tough assignment to beat two strong players in one day! Unfortunately when Ravichandran gave me a chance I failed to grasp it:

Ravichandran-Smith, after 15...Qb2-a3

Rather than forcing a draw with 16.Ra1 Qb2 17.Rb1 etc, Siddharth boldly-but incorrectly-tried to play for a win with 16.Qc2. The game continued 16...Nxe5 17.Nxe5 Nd5! which he overlooked. 18.exd5 Bxe5 19.Rc1 followed, although maybe 19.dxe6 is better. White has chances to hold after 19...Bxc3 20.0-0 Bxd2 21.Qxd2 Qxa4 22.Rb7.

Ravichandran-Smith, After 19.Rc1

Now I quickly played 19...exd5?, totally overlooking 20.Nb1 Qa1 21.Nd2 Qa3 22.Nb1, forcing a draw. After the game, it quickly became clear that instead 19...Rab8! would have been very good for Black. For example, if 20.Nc4 there is 20...Qxc3+!, which I missed. After 20.dxe6 Black has a nice win: 20...Rb2 21.Qd3 Rxd2! 22.Kxd2 Bf4+ 23.Kc2 Qxa4+ followed by 24...Rb8+. And if simply 20.0-0 then 20...exd5 seemed at the time to be winning. Now it turns out that 21.Qd3 regains the pawn, but Black is still much better after e.g. 21...Rfd8 22.Qxa6 Bf6.

I was disappointed to miss this chance, but I managed to win in the last round against NM Matthew Parry, when I caught him in the opening and won in 18 moves. Thus I also tied for 3rd-5th with Panchanathan and Ravichandran, although clearly they had tougher pairings.

The Marchand Open has been a fixture in Rochester chess for 32 years. Originally organized by the Community Chess Club of Rochester, it was later run by Ron Lohrman, who helped the prize fund to grow every year. Crosstables and photos can be found at You can access the MSA rating crosstable here. I definitely enjoy playing in the Marchand Open, since the organizers and local players are very friendly and welcoming.