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Ivanov Wins Bermuda Open Print E-mail
By IA Carol Jarecki   
February 14, 2008

The 24th Bermuda International Open (February 8-10) got off to the usual wonderful start with a cocktail party at Larry and Morag Ebbin’s house.  Besides a generous spread of hor d’oerves and sandwiches, Larry offered homemade Bermuda Fish Chowder and gallons of his famous Rum Swizzles.  The guests, both local and international, enjoyed the camaraderie as well as the balmy evening on the hilltop terrace with beautiful views of the island and surrounding ocean.

Later the players went back to the Fairmont Southampton Resort for the evening Blitz tournament, a 5-round double Swiss, for which the sponsors actually double the amount collected in entry fees to supply the prize fund.   After some pretty exciting games it ended in a three-way tie for first place between IM Dean Ippolito, GM Alexander Ivanov and IM Lawrence Cooper.  Under 2000 was shared by Andrei Moffat and local player Moses Mufandaedza.  Under 1800 was won by Bermudian Kumi Bradshaw and Alexander Reis.

The main event, a 5-round Swiss ended in a 2-way tie for first between Alexanader Ivanov and defending champion Nick de Firmian tied for first in the main event, a 5-round Swiss.  There was a playoff at the Somerset Country Squire Restaurant and Pub, where the closing reception (full buffet dinner and drinks) is held for all the players and their significant other's. Two blitz (G5+2 seconds) ended in draws so the final tiebreakers was Armaggedon.  Alexander won the toss and chose black.  He held the draw so will have his name engraved on the resident silver bowl.  This is the third time for him. 
This year's champion, Alexander Ivanov with his wife WIM Esther Epstein and Nigel Freeman. 

Clear third, with 4, was Bermudian Moses Mufandaedza.
Bermudan players Ayo Johnson, Nyasha Dhitima and Moses Mufandaedza at the closing ceremony

This is the first time a local player has placed so high in the final rankings.  GM Nick DeFirmian annotates one of Moses' best games:


Vienna Game
1 e4 e5 2 Nc3 Nf6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 f4
4.f4!? has been championed by Adams  ( Weaver, not Mickey ), Miles  ( Dan, not Tony ), and Fischer  ( yes, Bobby ).The famous game Faulks  ( yes, Nick ) - Croes, Bled Olympiad 2002, inexplicably continued 4...Nxe4?  5. Bxf7+?  and White went on to win brilliantly.
 Bxg1 5 Rxg1 exf4 6 e5 0-0?!
This a move in true Bermuda style - that is entertaining chess but not necessarilly sound chess. Black offers a knight sacrifice which gets in return a couple of pawns and maybe some troubling checks. It's not exactly sound though, so White should simply play 7 exf6 with clear advantage.
7 d4 d6 8 Bxf4
(again, 8 exf6 is good)
8...Bg4 9 Be2 Nh5
Now Black saves his piece.
10 Be3 Bxe2 11 Qxe2 g6 12 0-0-0 Nc6 13 g4 Ng7 14 Ne4
White has managed anyway to get some good attacking chances against the black king due to the weakened dark squares. Moses plays actively in the center to generate counterplay.
14...dxe5 15 Bg5?!
 Simpler is 15 dxe5. White is now expecting 15...f6 16 dxe5 with great advantage.
Counter-attacking the queen changes the course of the game and confuses White. Ho could still play the calm 16 Qf2 and maintain some edge, but the unexpected move makes him go all out for the attack.
16 Rxd4? Qxd4 17 Nf6+ Kh8 18 Qg2 Rad8!
Ho was hoping to move all his pieces in for the mating attack, but the central counterplay holds
him on the defense.
19 Rf1 Ne6 20 Bh6 Nf4 21 Bxf4 exf4 22 g5 Rd6 23 a3 Rfd8

The black rooks are a stronger attacking force than the white knight on f6. 23...Qd1+ is threatened.
24 Kb1 Qc4 25 Rc1 Rd1 26 Qh3 h5 27 b3 Qd4
White now played 28 Qf3, but then White resigned as 28...Rxc1 29 Kxc1 Qa1 is mate.

IMs Dean Ippolito and Lawrence Cooper and FM Paul Mac Intyre finished with 3 1/2.   Here is Paul's game with Dean.

Dean Ippolito

 Paul was the only one to nick a draw in the main event from GM Nick DeFirmian:

Denis Strenzwilk, who has played in every Open since they began 24 years ago, won the U2200 with 3 1/2.  Esther Epstein and Conrad Ho were second/third with 3.
The weather was a bit windy for golf but warm and sunny and the beachtime was perfect.

Photo Gallery

Valentines at the South Hampton Zoo

Nick de Firmian of the U.S.A and Nick Faulks of Bermuda

Chowder and Swizzle master, Larry Ebbin

A beautiful setting for a chess tournament

Local star of the tournament, Moses Mufandaedza