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Three Lead in Vegas after Three Rounds Print E-mail
By Randy Hough   
December 28, 2009
GM Varuzhan Akobian, More photos on official site
The turnout for the North American Open (December 26-29) at Bally’s in Las Vegas has reached approximately 621 players plus 21 re-entries. In the four-day schedule, GMs Varuzhan Akobian (the top seed) and Alex Yermolinsky (who beat the upset hero of the first two rounds, Expert Vincent Huang) are joined by 14-year-old FM Daniel Naroditsky of Northern California.

Akobian downed FM Robby Adamson in a tactical time scramble.


1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nf3 e6 4.a3 d6 5.Nc3 g6 6.e4 Bg7 7.d5 exd5 8.cxd5 Ne5 9.Nxe5 dxe5
The “Black Knights Tango” has become sort of a King’s Indian position. White’s spatial advantage gives him the edge.
10.Be2 0–0 11.Bg5 h6 12.Bh4 Qd6 13.0–0 Bd7 14.Rc1 a5 15.Qc2 Qb6 16.Kh1 a4 17.f3 Rfc8 18.Bf2 Qa5 19.Qd2 Nh5 20.Be3 Kh7 21.Rc2 Bf8

Position after 21...Bf8

Now White's positional advantage is translated into tactics.
22.f4! Nxf4 23.Bxf4
23.g3 is a good alternative, either capturing on f7 with check or winning two pieces for a rook after 23...Bh3.
23...exf4 24.Rxf4 Kg8 25.Bc4 Bd6 26.Rf3 Re8 27.Qxh6 Re7 28.Rcf2 Qc5 29.Bd3 Qd4

Position after 29...Qd4

Time to open a key square for the attack. The next ten moves were played in time pressure by both players (Black more so) and without a time delay on the clock.
30.e5! Qxe5 31.Ne4 Qg7 32.Nf6+ Kf8 33.Qg5 Bc8 34.h3 Be5 35.d6!

And another key square becomes available.
35...cxd6 36.Nd5 Re6 37.Qd8+ Re8 38.Rxf7+ Qxf7 39.Rxf7+ Kxf7 40.Bxg6+ Kxg6 41.Qxe8+ Kg7 42.Qe7+ Kg6 43.Nb6 Ra5 1–0

Naroditsky, as White, swindled GM Sundarajan Kidambi of India at time control.
Position after 40.Rf1

With Black’s queen just having moved away from g3, White was free to play 40.Rf1. Now 40…Kg5 wins for Black, but the GM wrongly figured it was time to remove White’s advanced pawn. 40…Qxd7?? 41.Rxf5+! Qxf5 42.g4+ Kh4 43.gxf5 Kxh3 and suddenly Black has a real threat, but 44.Qg6 ends resistance as White’s queen will soon be replaced by a new one.


Seven players trail with 2 ½ points in the 73-player section. And in the three-day schedule, GM Dmitry Gurevich, FMs Kazim Gulamali and Istvan Somogyi, and NM David Zimbeck have perfect scores of 2-0. This schedule will play two more G/75 rounds before the “great merge” Monday night. Stay tuned!

See Hough's report after one round here. Follow live games from Vegas, and check the official site for standings, photos and more.