Home Page arrow Chess Life Online arrow 2010 arrow August arrow Toby Boas, GMs Becerra & Paragua Share First at the Southern Open
Toby Boas, GMs Becerra & Paragua Share First at the Southern Open Print E-mail
By Harvey Lerman   
August 4, 2010
It's rare to have a tournament in Orlando in which Florida Champion GM Julio Becerra is not the top rated entrant, but at this year's Southern Open, GM Lars Hansen took that honor. Hansen has just moved from Denmark to Florida with his wife WIM Evgenia Hansen and son Martin Hansen, as Lars is now working at the University of Central Florida. All three of them entered the Open section of the Southern Open. Another family that comes for this event is Illias van Der Lende and his daughter, Nathalie from the Netherlands.

Lars, Evegenia and Martin Hansen

GM Julio Becerra
Hansen (2660) and Becerra (2628) would be challenged by GM Renier Gonzalez (2540) and GM Mark Paragua (2529) from NY, as well as by IM Daniel Fernandez (2447), who grew up in Florida and now lives in Texas, IM Blas Lugo (2384) and Eric Rodriguez (2382). While Floridians Gonzalez and Lugo have been fairly inactive in competitive chess lately, concentrating on improving the strength of their students, Rodriguez has been on a winning streak in Florida events.

Going into the 4th round Paragua was the only player with a perfect score, as Hansen had been held to a draw against Cory Acor (2251) and Becerra had a fighting half-point result against Lugo. Paragua had to play Hansen, who had beaten Rodriguez, and that game was drawn. Meanwhile Toby Boas (2190), who had beaten Gonzalez in the first round and Fernandez in the second drew his next two games. So going into the final round only Becerra and Paragua had 3½ points.

GM Mark Paragua, Photo Betsy Dynako 2008
The Continental Chess Association (CCA) provides a bonus award of $100 to go to a clear first prize winner besides the advertised $2000 prize, so one might think that would be enough to tempt at least one of these two players to try for the win, but by the time the Tournament Director was able to return to the playing room and walk to board #1, all that remained was a scoresheet with an 11-move draw indicated. As this gave each of them 4 points, all that was need was at least one win from any of the players with 3 points to catch them and dilute their winnings. But Hansen was held to a draw against Fernandez and Lugo had a ½-point bye; so it was up to Rodriguez to save the pot for his fellow Miamian, Becerra, from the onrushing Boas.

Toby Boas put on a furious attack, forcing Rodriguez to resign just after time control. The game is annotated below by the victor. This allowed Boas to tie with Paragua and Becerra as they all split the first two prizes, with the Under 2300 prize money thrown into the mix. See the MSA rated results and crosstables here-- Boas gained over 65 rating points!

Toby Boas

This 18th annual Southern Open was held July 30 - Aug 1st at the Wyndham Orlando Resort with Steve Immitt being Chief Tournament Director as Harvey Lerman "manned" the floor. Just under 200 players played in the event which consisted of 6 sections including 44 in the bottom, Under 1200, section. Many of these players will be back in Orlando over Labor Day weekend for the Florida State Championship to be held at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort.


Going into this game I noticed the top board took a quick draw, so all I needed to do was win in order to tie for first place.
1. c4 e5
I had never played the English prior to this game, but I knew Eric is a very well prepared player and I wanted to avoid theory as much as possible.
2. Nc3  d6
3. g3 Nc6
4. Bg2  Be6
5. d3  Qd7
6. Bd2 Nge7
7. Rc1  f6
8. a3 


Black intends c6 and d5 to take the center. 8... d5 immediately was also possible and would have led to a reversed Dragon position.
9. e4 c6
With 9. e4 I was trying to prevent d5 as much as possible in order to keep the black pieces in their currently cramped positions.
10. Nge2 Bh3
I intended to meet 10...d5 from Black with 11. cxd5 cxd5 12. d4, activating my pieces.
11. 0-0 h5
12. Bxh3  Qxh3
13. f3 g6

If 13... h4 14. g4 would trap the black queen.
14. d4 Nf7
15. Qb3 Qc8

Although it looks somewhat dangerous, 15...0-0-0 may have been better in order to move the king out of the center.  This becomes a problem for Black later in the game.
16. c5 dxc5
17. dxc5 h4?!

This looks like the wrong plan for Black, as he doesn't really get much out of the pawn being at h3.  It seems as though he should find a way to get his king out of the center.
18. g4 h3
19. Nd1 Qd7?!

White aims to put his knight at e3 and then c4.  19...Qd7 initially looks quite good, but White has a good response.
20. Rc2! Rd8
With the idea of playing Qd3
21. Nf2! Rb8
White now has the simple plan of dominating the d-file.
22. Rd1 Qc8
23. Qa4 a6
24. Rc3 Ng8!?

This is a good freeing attempt from Black.  If he doesn't play this he runs the risk of steamrolled along the d-file.
25. Qc4 Be7
26. Rd3 f5
27. Bc3 Nf6
28. g5!  fxe4
29. fxe4 Ng4??

This is the losing move, after 29...Nh7 the position remains complicated, although White still has an edge.
30. Rd7! Nxf2
31. Qe6  0-0
32. Qxg6  Kh8
33. Qh5 Kg7

After 33...Kg8 White still has a crushing attack with 34. Ng3, although it is hard to say if I would have seen this with only about 3 minutes left to make time control.
34. Rxe7? 
After simplifying the position, White is still winning, but there were multiple ways to win without allowing a trade of queens.  Time pressure was greatly influencing my decisions.
35. Qxg4 Nxg4
36. Nf4 Kg8
37. Ne6 Rfe8
38. Rdd7  Rxe7
39. Rxe7 Nxg5??

Black is lost even without this oversight as he simply has no moves, but this hastens the end.
40. Nxg5 Rd8
41. Nxh3 Black resigns


August - Chess Life Online 2010

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