Three Lead in Reno
By Michael Aigner   
March 23, 2008
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FM Alexander Kretchetov and GM Melik Khachiyan. Photos Michael Aigner
Howdy all!  Except for two games still in progress downstairs, four rounds of the Far West Open have now been completed.  Unfortunately, since it is past midnight and the next round is scheduled for the unholy hour of 9:30am on Easter morning, I will have to keep this update brief.  Without further ado, here are the standings at the top of the Open section (players rated 2000 and up).

Far West Open

Standings after four rounds
3.5: GM Melik Khachiyan, IM Enrico Sevillano and FM Alexandre Kretchetov
3.0: GM Sergey Kudrin, GM Alex Yermolinsky, FM Michael Langer, NM John Bryant, FM Nick Raptis, FM Daniel Naroditsky and NM Michael Aigner
2.5: IM Vladimir Mezentsev, FM Vladimir Strugatsky, WIM Batchimeg Tuvshintugs, NM Sam Shankland, etc

The critical game in round 4 was a showdown between Sevillano (who had 3-0) and Yermolinsky (at 2.5).  The popular IM from Southern California was able to easily hold a draw with the black pieces, even maintaining an initiative for the latter stages of the five hour contest.  This draw allowed Khachiyan (who beat Tuvshintugs) and Kretchetov (who beat Shankland) to catch up to the lead. 

Khachiyan is well known as a player with superb endgame technique, as I can attest to first hand after several defeats.  In round 2, the peanut gallery had gone to bed expecting a drawn result, but watch how the veteran Grandmaster always keeps his opponent under intense pressure.  At the end, the endgame of rook and bishop versus rook is known to be a theoretical draw, but extremely difficult to execute in practice.
 
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Khachiyan-Ossipov. White to Move


 41.Rf2 axb3 42.axb3 Ra8 43.Bd3 Rac8 44.Ke3+ Kg5 45.Rg2+ Kf6 46.c4 Rb8 47.Rb2 Rb4 48.Rb1 Rdb8 49.Bc2 Ke7 50.Kd2 Kf8 51.Kc3 Kg8 52.Rbh1 R4b7 53.b4 Rxb4 54.Rh8+ Kg7 55.R1h7+ Kf6 56.Rxe8 Rxc4+ 57.Kxc4 Rxe8 58.Be4 Rc8+ 59.Kb5 Rc1 60.Bc6 Ke7 61.Be4 Kf6 62.Rh2 Re1 63.Bc2 Ke7 64.Kc5 Ra1 65.Bd3 Rc1+ 66.Bc4 Rg1 67.Re2 Kf6 68.Kd6 Rd1 69.Rf2+ Kg7 70.Ke7 Rxd4 71.Rxf7+ Kh6 72.Bxe6 Kg5 73.Rf1 Rf4 74.Rg1+ Kh6 75.Bf7 g5 76.Re1 Kg7 77.Be8 Rb4 78.Re6 g4 79.Rg6+ Kh7 80.Kf8 Re4 81.Rg5 Re6 82.Bf7

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Khachiyan-Ossipov, position after 82.Bf7


With his next move, Ossipov blunders into a forced checkmate; better was any other rook move along the 6th rank, e.g. Ra6. 

82...Rh6 83.Rg7+ Kh8 84.Bg6 1–0


Like many strong swiss tournament players, Sevillano prefers to play solidly, always maintaining some tension in the position and waiting for the opponent to make an error.  In the following game, White has a reasonable position after the entire first time control.  However, 41.Rd3 and 42.Qc1 combine to lose a pawn.  For example, the natural response 43.Rc5 allows Black to penetrate the kingside with Qf5 (threatening both the d3 rook and Ne4+) 44.Ke2 Qh3.  Ouch!  How often do you see a game where a player barely makes the time control, only to lose in the next few moves?

 

To close, I would like to thank Ernie Hong of the Reno Chess Club for inputting games from the tournament that I can present to Chess Life Online.  Ernie is playing in the Open section and enters games after he gets home at night.  A games bulletin with about 100 Open section games, many lightly annotated with diagrams for key moments, is available at the TD desk for the low price of $7.

Errata:  In my first blog entry, I had incorrectly reported the name of the only player who drew GM Sergey Kudrin in the 15-board simul on Thursday night.  Congratulations to Nathaniel Garingo for this special achievement!