Liou & Sevian Top 20th Metropolitan Invitational
By Ankit Gupta   
July 22, 2012
Samuel Sevian
Metropolitan Chess, Inc. hosted an International Master norm round robin tournament from July 11th to July 15th, 2012. The tournament was sponsored by California Market Center, Fashion Business, Inc,, MonRoi, LawyerFy, the Law Offices of Steinfl & Bruno, EventForte Inc, and Betty Bottom Showroom.

This tournament was the 20th in its series and was held in Suite C855 of the California Market Center on 110 East 9th Street, Los Angeles 90079. The tournament was organized by Ankit Gupta, FA, IO. The participants included: IM Zhanibek Amanov (KAZ), IM Larry Remlinger (USA), IM Andranik Matikozyan (ARM), FM Yian Liou (USA), FM Mark Duckworth (USA), WGM Tatev Abrahamyan (USA), NM Garush Manukyan (ARM), NM Samuel Sevian (USA), Ignacio Sainz Aguirre (MEX) and Kesav Viswanadha (USA).

Yian Liou
The tournament was a 10 player round-robin (all play all), with rounds scheduled as follows – 11th: 7:00 PM, 12th: 11:00 AM & 5:00 PM, 13th: 11:00 AM & 5:00 PM, 14th: 11:00 AM & 5:00 PM, 15th: 10:00 AM & 4:00 PM.

The tournament had two IM norms achieved by FM Yian Liou and NM Samuel Sevian -- both also equal tied for first. This completes Sevian's 2nd IM norm, and Liou's 1st.

Find one of Liou's key wins below, annotated by Yian himself:


Going into this game I was rather jittery. I spoiled a winning position the night before, but I knew I was playing decent so far. I had played him once before, in the previous norm tournament. I had lost that game in a must win situation. I had a feeling before the game that he did not want to go into a theoretical battle and just play.
1.    e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qa5 4. d4 Nf6 5. Nf3 Bf5 6. Bc4 e6 7. Bd2 c6

Mark has only played this once in the database, against Amanov. However, it wasn't a surprise for me.
8. Nd5

8. Qe2 is the most common move, however I was skeptical if I could prove an advantage in the
main line.8…Bb4 9. a3 Nbd7 10. O-O-O Bxc3 11. Bxc3 Qc7 12. Ne5 Nxe5 13. dxe5 Nd5 14. Bd2 O-O-O 15. g4 Bg6 16. f4 h5 17. h3
8... Qd8 9. Nxf6+ Qxf6
9...gxf6 Is another option.
10. c3
A rather simple move. White just wants to protect the d4 pawn.
10...Nd7 11. O-O Bg4 12. Be2
White doesn't want doubled pawns. I thought that this position must be slightly better for white
but black should be able to equalize with accurate play.
Black is releasing the tension too soon. It was better to wait for white to do something with the g4 bishop 12... Bd6 13. Qb3 Rb8 14. h3 Bf5 15. c4 with a little space advantage for white.
13. Bxf3 Bd6 14. g3
This prevents him from exchanging bishops on f4, as well as giving my bishop on f3 a safe spot
on g2.
14…O-O 15. Bg2

A rather simple middlegame: White has a slight advantage due to the bishop pair. White's plan is to improve his rooks, queen and his bishop on d2 while black waits for the opportunity to strike with e5
with equality.
15… e5

Black immediately seeks activity, but this may be premature.
16. Be3
Keeping the tension, and improving the bishop.
Making some of his pawns vulnerable.16... exd4 17. Bxd4 Be5 18. Be3 Bd6 is slightly better for White.
17. Qb3

Attacking the b7 pawn. It's an unpleasant choice as a pawn falls in most variations, or black is forced into passivity.

The active solution yet loses a pawn in the resulting complications. All other
choices aren't pleasant either. [17... Rab8? 18. dxe5 Nxe5 19. Bxa7] [17... Nb6 18. Rad1 Improving my position. The pawn can be grabbed anytime by taking on b6] [17... Rdb8 18. Rad1 also can't be good for black. He may not lose material, but his pieces are so poorly placed]
18. Bxd4 Be5 19. Qxb7
19. Bxe5 Nxe5 20. Qxb7 Rdb8 21. Qc7 Rxb2 is certainly not the right path to an advantage for white.
 19... Bxd4 20. cxd4 Rab8 21. Qxa7

I was faced with an interesting decision. I thought that taking the c6 pawn wouldn't be as good. (
21. Qxc6 Rxb2 22. Qxf6 Nxf6 is very difficult to win for white if not impossible due to black's activity and blockade on the d-pawn.
21... Rxb2 22.Rac1
The endgame with an extra "a" pawn is what I thought was most favorable for White in the ending.
22…Nf8 23. Rxc6 Qxd4 24. Qxd4 Rxd4
This endgame has me pressing for a win. However, a few factors make this conversion unpleasant.
First and foremost are the active rooks he has. He can target my a-pawn rather easily and double on the second rank. White has to find a way around that.
25. Ra1? Rdd2= is not the way to go as black is too active.
Creating room for his king
26. Ra5
Looks weird. But my plan is to put my bishop on d5, attacking his pawn on f7 so I could go on the offensive myself and protecting my a-pawn.
26…Rbd2 27. Ra1
Black has prevented my bishop from going to d5, but now I can support my pawn as he can't double rooks on the second rank immediately.
27… Nd7 28. a4 Nb6 29. Bf1
Preventing his knight from going to c4.
29…Kg7 30. Ra6 Rb2 31. a5 Nd7 32. Rc6

Now White's winning. I calculated that his counterplay isn't enough and my a-pawn will carry the day.
32…Ne5 33. Rc3 Rdd2 34. a6 Ra2
34... Rxf2 35. a7 wins in both variations. Nf3+(35... Ra2 36. a8=Q) 36. Rxf3
35. Ra3
Rxa2 is winning too without much trouble, but this is much quicker.
35. Rxa2 Rxa2 36. Rc7 Kf6 37. a7 g5 38. h3 Ra1 39. f4 gxf4 40. gxf4 Nf3+ 41. Kf2 Nd4 42. Bc4 Ne6 43. Rd7 Ra4 44. Bd5 with a winning game.
35... Nf3+ 36. Kh1
36. Kg2?? Rxf2+ 37. Kh3 Ng1+ when the tables turn around for black!
36... Rxa3 37. Rxa3 Rxf2 38. Bg2 Ne1 39. a7 1-0

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