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Kudrin Alone at the Top of the 2012 NE Open Print E-mail
By AL Lawrence   
June 18, 2012
Kudrin at the Northeast Open, Photo Al Lawrence

GM Sergey Kudrin (Conn.) out-steadied five other grandmasters--two rated over 2700--, as well as two IMs, to take the Northeast Open's $1,000 first prize in Stamford, Connecticut. Kudrin scored 4.5, posting four wins against non-international players, and then drawing with GM Tamaz Gelashvili (N.Y.) in the final round Sunday night.

Three players put together four points to divide the second-, third-, and fourth-place prizes of $1,000. To join that group, Serbian GM Milos Perunovic won his last-round match-up with three-time U.S. Champ Joel Benjamin, who had been scoring with creative and challenging ideas (see game below). Perunovic tied with Gelashvili, and FM Nelson Castaneda (Conn.) 

GM Milos Perunovi, Photo Al Lawrence
The Open section also offered $900 in prizes to those under 2250. Scott Zimmerman (Md.), entering with a 1944 USCF rating, took the under-2250 first prize of $600 with 3.5. Mahiro Abe (N.Y.) and Experts Sam Barsky (N.Y.) and Andres Castaneda (Conn.) scored 3.0 and pocketed $100 each. The Open section drew a total of 45 players.

The separate under-2050 section attracted 59 players. Eight scored 4.0 in the event's separate under-2050 section: the father-son pair of Michael and Daniel Pascetta (Conn., see game below),  Raffaello Piccoli (Conn.), Ralph Gergorz (Ontario), Jan V. Paragua (N.Y.), David Steinberg (Md.),  Kubera Naganathan, and Jonathan Baccay (N.Y., see game below). The first seven each won $243, their share of the $1,700 in the top four place prizes. Baccay, rated 1766, was awarded the $500 under-1850 prize. Derrick G. Xiong (N.Y.), coming into the tournament rated only 1594, scored 3.5 (goodbye, class "C"!), winning $250 for second place under 1850.

The top seeds came through in the tournament's two bottom sections. Forty-four played in the separate under-1650 section. Dana Jackson (N.Y.) won clear first with 4.5, winning $700. Vern Rand, Jr. (Conn.), and Robert Chen (N.Y.) posted 4.0 scores to win $325 each. Brandon Jacobson (N.J.) and Danny Field (Conn.), each with 3.5, tied for the under-1450 prize, taking home $300. Adam J. Gilmore (N.Y.), Vitaliy Rovenskiy (N.J.), Donald McCormick (Conn.), Bernard Rosenthal (N.Y.), Kevin Zimmerman (Conn.), and Robert Ayers (Conn.) also scored 3.5, dividing the fourth-place prize of $150.

In the 16-player under-1250 section, Stanislav Kugel (Md.) finished at the top with 4.5, capturing the $300 first prize. Nate Ash (N.J.) was clear second with 4.0, going home with $150 in prize money. Kenneth Young (Conn.) was third with 3.5; he won $100. Maximillian Lu (Conn.) won the top under-1000 trophy. Harrison Rubin (N.Y.) won the top-under 800 trophy with 2.5 points. James Prusko was top unrated.

Most of the contestants played in the same spacious Davenport room at the Stamford Hotel, always a perfect chess host to the event, with restaurant food and Starbucks drinks a short walk from the boards. Players could park for free in the adjoining garage. This CCA event was again run impeccably by no less than three National Tournament Directors: Chief TD Steve Immitt and Assistant TD Harold Stenzel--assisted by the youngest-ever U.S. NTD, Jabari McGreen. This crew permits no bungles.

One-and-a-half points out of one
Stenzel showed that extensive experience can come in handy as he avoided a last-round misunderstanding between two B-players that could have resulted in an unreportable game. The opponents had shaken hands silently, or perhaps with only a misunderstood murmur. Ironically, the player who had a king, rook, and bishop felt that his opponent--who had king, rook, and two pawns--was resigning, chalked up the result and left, while the owner of the potential queens thought he was agreeing to a draw! Stenzel learned of the misunderstanding when the posted results for the game added up to 1.5. He immediately ran to the parking garage, where he put himself in the way of the exiting auto, flagging down the rook-and-two-pawn absentee.
Harold Stenzel

Stenzel sent the opponents back to the tournament room, where the game was resumed.  "Had he not done that, we might be waiting until next year's tournament to finally submit the results of this year's!" Immitt said. Pawns were dropped, and the Pollyannaish outcome assumed by the owner of the rook and bishop was "justified." The moral: Make sure your opponent knows what he's agreeing to when you shake his hand! And study endings.

In Saturday's round three, second-seeded GM Ivan Ivanisevic, 2716, had White against three-time U.S. Champion Joel Benjamin on board one. What ensued was a head-spinning middlegame melee that boiled down to a problem-like ending during which Benjamin kept six seconds on his clock (using the five-second delay).  Despite the pressure, he made it a perfect 3-0 day.

GM Ivan Ivanisevic-- GM Joel Benjamin [D03]


1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 d5 3.e3 Nbd7 4.Nf3 c6 5.Bd3 Qa5+ 6.c3 Ne4 7.Bh4 Ndf6 8.0-0 Bf5 9.Qc2 Bg6 10.Ne5 e6 11.b4
11...Qc7 12.b5 Bd6 13.bxc6 bxc6 14.f4 Rb8 15.c4 Bxe5 16.fxe5 Ng4 17.Qc1  [17.Qe2]  17...Ng3! 18.Rf3 Bxd3 19.Rxg3 Nh6 20.cxd5 Nf5 21.d6
21.dxe6 Nxg3 22.exf7+ Qxf7 23.Bxg3 Qc4 leads to a hard-to-evaluate position.
21...Qb6 22.Nc3 Nxh4 23.Na4
23.Qd1 Bg6 24.Na4 Qa5 25.Rh3 Nf5 26.g4 Nxd6 27.exd6 Qd5 28.Qc1 Qxd6 29.Qc5 Qxc5 30.Nxc5 h5 31.Rf1 Ke7 32.gxh5 Rxh5 is better for Black.
No wonder Benjamin got into time pressure. The variations are strenuous, i.e.: 23...Qb1 24.e4 Qxc1+ 25.Rxc1 Bxe4 26.Rg4 Bxg2 27.Rxh4 Bd5 28.Nc3 Kd7 29.Na4 Kd8 30.Rf1 Ke8 31.Nc5 Rb2--with another position tough to call.
24.Nc5 Nf5
24...Bc4 25.Rxg7 Qb2 26.Qxb2 Rxb2 27.e4 Ng6 28.Rc1 Be2 29.d5 is yet another maze to enter.
25.d7+ Kd8 26.Rf3  h5
26...Be2 is better. Benjamin's move allows 27. e4!--for example, 27.e4 Bc4 28.Qg5+ Ne7 29.Rxf7, winning. But White chooses a different path.
27.a4 Qc4 28.Qd2 Bc2
29.Qa5+ Ke7 30.Rxf5 exf5 31.Qc7 mates quickly.
29...Ke7 30.Qxc2 Qxc2 31.Rxc2 Rb1+ 32.Kf2 Rhb8 33.Ke2 Rg1 34.Kd3 Rd1+ 35.Kc3 a5 36.g3 g5 37.Rb2 Rc1+ 38.Kd2 Rxb2+ 39.Kxc1 Rb8 40.e4 Nxd4 41.Rd3 Rb4 42.Kd2 Rc4 43.Nb7 Kxd7 44.Nxa5 Rb4 45.Ra3 [45.Ke3]
45...c5 46.Kd3 Rb2 47.Kc4 Rc2+ 48.Rc3 Rxc3+ 49.Kxc3 Nf3 50.Kc4
If there isn't a better 50th move for White, he had drifted into a losing endgame. Perhaps 50. h3 puts up stiffer resistance.
50...Nxh2 51.Kxc5 h4 52.gxh4 gxh4 53.Nc4 Ng4 54.a5 h3 55.a6 Kc7 56.Nd6 Nxe5 57.a7 Nd7+ 58.Kb5 Nb6 59.Ka6 Na8 60.Nb5+ Kd7 61.Kb7 h2 62.Kxa8 h1Q 63.Kb8 Qb1 0-1

A brain-draining fight for both sides.

In the fourth round in the under-2050 section, Daniel Pascetta took on Alanna Katz (NY). Comments are by proud father Michael Pascetta.

Daniel Pascetta (2007) - Alanna Katz (1941) [C00]


1.e4 e6 2.Nf3 d5 3.e5 c5 4.b4

My son's response to the solid French Defense-the wing gambit!
4...b6 5.bxc5 bxc5 6.c4 d4 7.Bd3 Bb7 8.Qe2 Nd7 9.Be4
In the French, it's not often that White seeks to exchange light-squared bishops, but in this position, it's arguably Black's best piece.
9...Bxe4 10.Qxe4 Ne7 11.d3 Ng6 12.h4 Qb8
Targeting White's e-pawn, which can't be defended.
Focusing on quick development to compensate him for the pawn.
13...Ngxe5 14.Nxe5 Nxe5 15.Bf4 f6 16.Bxe5 fxe5
If 16... Qxe5, there goes the rook on a8!
17.f4 Kd7?
Succumbing to the pressure and also afraid of the White queen coming to c6. 17... Be7 was probably the best try to resist White's attack.
18.fxe5 Be7 19.Na3! a6
If 19... Qb2 20 Rab1 Qxa3 21 Rb7+ leads to mate!
20.Rab1 Qc8 21.Rf7 Rb8 22.Rxg7 Rxb1+ 23.Nxb1 Qb8 24.Nd2 h6 25.Nb3 Qb6 26.Qb7+!
White finds a nice way to get the queens off the board with a winning advantage.
26...Qxb7 27.Nxc5+ Kc6 28.Nxb7 Bxh4 29.Na5+ Kb6 30.Nb3 Bg5 31.Rg6 Re8 32.Kf1 Be3 33.Ke2 Kc6 34.Kf3 Rf8+ 35.Rf6 Re8 36.Ke4 Kd7 37.Nc5+ Kc8 38.Nxe6 Rg8 39.Rf8+ Rxf8 40.Nxf8 1-0

Johnaton Bacccay (1766) - Hanon Russell (2008) [C00]

Jonathon Baccay turned in this last-round combination against former Amateur Champion and well-known publisher Hanon Russell (Conn.), who graciously called my attention to the game, volunteering his own score sheet to make sure his young opponent's play was appreciated.
24.Nxf4! exf4  (24. ... Kg8 keeps Black in the game.) 25.Qc3+ Kg8 26.Rxf4 Na4 27.Qd4 c5 28.Rxf7 Rxf7 29.Qe3 Rcf8 30.Be2 Nb6 31.b3 Bc8 32.Nd3 Nd7 33.f4 c4 34.bxc4 bxc4 35.Nb2 Rxf4 36.Nxc4 Ne5 37.Nxd6 Bd7 38.Qd4 1-0.

Find full standings for the Northeast Open.