|Lenderman on Playing for a Win at the National Open|
|By Jennifer Shahade|
|June 19, 2012|
GM 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.
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.