Lenderman on Playing for a Win at the National Open
By Jennifer Shahade   
June 19, 2012
Lenderman_008.jpgGM Aleksander Lenderman won clear first at the National Open in Las Vegas with 5.5/6, earning $6400. In the penultimate round against GM Alexander Bykhovsky, Lenderman was up a pawn but his opponent's strong knight seemed to give him full compensation. "He could have just repeated moves after Kd4 with Nc5", Lenderman said, "but he wanted to play for a win."



This time, it didn't work out for Bykhovsky but Lenderman shares the fighting spirit. "I've improved since the US Chess Championships on playing for a win. That's the only way to get better. For instance, if you look at the top rated player in the country, Hikaru Nakamura and the World #1, Magnus Carlsen, they are always looking for winning chances." Lenderman cited Carlsen's win over Radjabov as a perfect example of the fighting spirit he is trying to emulate. "Look at how Carlsen outplayed him from an equal position."



Lenderman said, "In this tournament I tried to play ambitiously, but my games were not as clean as I'd want them to be and I was very fortunate in general." In his interesting battle against IM Steven Zierk, he found a nice combination but pointed out that he did not see Zierk's best defense and the winning respond, 21.Rd3! originally.

 

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Up next for Lenderman is the World Open in Philadelphia. In addition to a hundred dollars for each square of the chessboard, Lenderman left Las Vegas with a new estimated FIDE peak rating of 2614. 

Aleksander's last words on playing for a win: "It's all in your head. It's like I have the soccer system (3 points for a win, 1 for a draw) in my head, even in tournaments where it doesn't apply. In most games, humans will give you a chance to win at some point."

See the official site for results , newsletters and more on the National Open. Also find the USCF rated results on MSA. Also look for GM Ben Finegold's upcoming story in Chess Life Magazine