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Chirila and Quesada Perez Top Philly Open Print E-mail
By Jamaal Abdul-Alim   
April 6, 2015
Philadelphia — GM Cristian Chirila got off to a rough start during the first five rounds at the Philadelphia Open over the Easter weekend.

“My performance up to that point was quite bad,” Chirila explained to CLO. “I drew three games against lower-rated players and definitely didn’t like the way my play way going.”

Even during Round 6 against WGM Atousa Pourkashiyan, Chirila felt he didn’t get a very good opening.


“In the first time trouble, the position was fairly equal,” Chirila said. “We continued a little bit, and I found a resource that puts the position into a different type of game.

“I pretty much just changed the structure,” he said of 42. c4. “It allowed her to have a strong square on d4 but she wasn’t able to capitalize on it.”

The two reached what Chirila called an equal Rook-Bishop end game until Chirila sacrificed his rook with 76. Rxf7.

“We were both very low on time,” Chirila said. “But I just sacrificed my rook, my exchange for a few pawns and managed to push my pawns.”

Chirila would go on to win every game thereafter, scoring 6.5 out of 9 points and tying for first with GM Yuniesky Quesada Perez, of Cuba.

Chirila agreed to a quick draw against Perez in the final round, in which Perez played the Ruy Lopez.

Asked why he didn’t fight for clear first, Chirila cited the fact that he had the Black pieces against a player rated about 100 points higher.

“Why not, playing a very strong opponent as Black?” Chirila said. “The difference in prizes is not that big but if I would have lost, I wouldn’t have gotten that much.”

Chirila counted his other critical game as his Round 8 game against IM Jeffrey Xiong, 15, who Chirila describes as a “young and talented player” who he lost to in the past.


“I felt he got a good opening, but at some point he got overconfident probably because I was spending a lot of time,” Chirila said. “He got a bit overconfident and ventured into my camp with his Queen a bit too much.

“In the end he had to exchange it and my pair of bishops kind of dominated the whole board.”

Chirila, a 2014 graduate of the University of Texas Dallas who now teaches chess on a private basis in San Francisco, said he didn’t do any special chess preparation for the Philadelphia Open.

He said the only preparation he did was play a lot of basketball to build stamina for the tournament. He said it paid off. “I wasn’t tired,” he said.

Chirila and Perez (first place bonus on tiebreak) earned $5500 and $5700 respectively in the tournament that drew 556 players and paid out the full prize amounts in seven sections.

Fifteen-year-old Akshat Chandra took one step closer on his “Quest to Grandmaster”
earned his second GM norm. "It's my second GM norm," Chandra said. "I missed out on my norm by the slightest of margins a few times last year, so this feels great!"

Meanwile, while FM Eric Rosen, Clark University student Qibiao Wang, 11-year-old Awonder Liang and Igor Sorkin earned IM norms.

Rosen, a University of Illinois student who has taken a break from school, counted his Round 8 game against IM Michael Mulyar as the most critical game of the tournament.


“I needed to win to clinch IM norms,” Rosen said.

Rosen got off to a 20-minute late start because he mistook the start time for 10:30 a.m. instead of 10 a.m.

Still, he benefitted because he was busy preparing.

The preparation made up for lost time, he said, because he only used two minutes for the first ten moves while Mulyar took about a half hour.

“I kind of played a tricky opening,” Rosen said. “It was a weird opening. I combined the Benoni and the Dutch. So I played c5 but I also played f5. I think it caught him off guard. I had a relatively interesting position with a lot of rich ideas.”

Rosen said he purposefully tried to take the game out of theory quickly because

“Mulyar is very knowledgeable about lots of theoretical lines,” Rosen said. So I wanted to get him out (of theory) as quickly as possible.”

Rosen then gave up a Rook for a Knight and a pawn and then got a majority of pawns Queenside that he just “rolled down the board.”

“I got my pawns far enough,” Rosen said. “He was about to promote but I was going to promote a move sooner,” he said, explaining that he was able to stop Mulyar’s planned promotion at just the right time. “So it’s like a one-tempo difference,” he said.

Eric Rosen will be writing a full report on CLO about his final IM norm. According to the official site, 

See full standings and more information at http://philadelphiaopen.net/

Jamaal Abdul-Alim is the 2013 Chess Journalist of the Year.

April - Chess Life Online 2015

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