The U.S. Open (August 5-13) kicks off with an exciting line-up of events. Five Grandmasters (Kaidanov, Izoria, Benjamin, Kacheishvili and Gurevich) are playing in the traditional schedule. State high school champions congregate for the Denker and Polgar championships.
Click here for Round 1 results.
Close but no draw
Round 1 pairings are traditionally lopsided, with rating differentials between the higher and lower rated player of up to 900 and at least 400 points. Jamie Sypulski, rated 1700 almost scored the first GM upset against Dmitry Gurevich .
Chicago resident GM Dmitry Gurevich's first round opponent put up a tough fight.
Jamie achieved an even endgame against Gurevich, but was unable to bring the half point home. Jamie's fatal error was in not realizing the danger of defending his position passively, with 47.Re3. The rook is the only piece that could have annoyed Dmitry, but with it sleeping behind the e5 pawn, Gurevich simply marched his king to f5, transferred his rook to f3, and won the game. Jamie should have tried to attack the g4 pawn before Dmitry's king reached f5. So 46.Rc3? was the real mistake, because the black pawn on b5 stops Rc4 and after 46...Kf7!, there is no time to transfer the Rook to the 4th rank via d3 or e3. 46. Rd4 instead would give White good chances to draw.
A Benoni Knightmare
CLO columnist GM Joel Benjamin won handily on the White side of the Benoni after his opponent failed to recognize his unkind intentions for the d6 pawn. 13...Re8 was the first mistake, as it takes access from the Knight to e8, where it could defend d6. After 15.Nc4, 15...Ne5 or Bf8 are black's two sad choices to defend the d6 pawn. I would have preferred 15...Bf8, because after 15...Ne5 16.Bxe5 dxe5, Joel's knights and menacing protected passed pawn on d5 rule the day. This goes to show: If you're going to play the Benoni, come prepared.
Bet on Hawaii!
The Denker and Polgar high school state champion tournaments began with an impressive opening ceremony on the morning of Aug 5. The room was packed with kids, parents, fans, chess organizers and politicians. State champions arrived from as far as Hawaii and Alaska.
When ICC Vice-president and co-owner Marty Grund gave six month free ICC memberships to all participants of the Polgar and Denker, the announcement was greeted with much applause. GM Marcel Sisniega announced the dates (Oct. 24- Nov.12, 2007) of the 2007 World Championships in Mexico City, encouraging everyone to plan in advance to see the greatest chess and beaches in the World.
USCF President Bill Goichberg got lots of laughs for his "stolen rook" story from one of his early adventures as a scholastic chess director. In the foreground are two participants from the Susan Polgar Invitational. Background: ICC VP Marty Grund, GM Marcel Sisniega, and FM Paul Truong.
This is only the third year of the Susan Polgar National Invitational for Girls, and you can already see a major difference in female attendance at Open tournaments. It makes the U.S. Open high school invitationals more fun for both girls and boys. As a former Denker, pre-Polgar Invitational participant complained to me: "It's not fair! There were never so many girls when I played."
Susan Polgar welcomes participants.
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