Home Page arrow Chess Life Online arrow 2010 arrow June arrow Team OC Wins Amateur Team Playoffs
Team OC Wins Amateur Team Playoffs Print E-mail
By FM Takashi Iwamoto   
March 29, 2010
Team OC shortly after victory, L to R: FM Alexandre Kretchetov, Takashi Iwamoto, Ilia Serpik, front Leo Kamgar
The US Amateur Team Playoffs were held on Saturday, March 27th. The matches were contested on the Internet Chess Club, with Carol Jarecki serving as the chief TD. Each team met at a central location with a local TD. The Championship contenders were PINOY OF CHICAGO from the North, THE CAMBRIDGE SPRINGERS from the East,  BEASTS FROM THE SOUTHEAST from the South and Team OC from the West. Team OC and BEASTS FROM THE SOUTHEAST prevailed in the semifinals and contested a tight final that went down to tiebreak. Team OC's captain Takashi Iwamoto gives his perspective on the match.

Before I wrap up Saturday's action, I want to tell you about Team OC's members.

Board 1, FM Alexandre Kretchetov is the highest rated active tournament player in Orange County (2444). Though I always kid with him that he doesn't do well at the US Amateur Teams,  I respect his game a lot. I have learned many new ideas from Alexandre and I'll always be grateful to him for that. He is a computer programmer and has a lovely wife and daughter.

I played board two (FM Takashi Iwamoto.) I teach, play and have fun with the royal game everyday. I work for a non-profit chess organization Academic Chess, which teaches elementary school children chess in after school programs.  I've been working there for ten years now. Seeing my students develop their skills and using them in real life gives me great satisfaction.

NM Ilia Serpik, our board three is the pessimist on our team! I know he doesn't mean any of it! (I hope.) Seriously, he is a good friend and chess player. He likes to play sharp openings, though sometimes unsound ones like the (Budapest Gambit?!)  He is a lawyer and has a nice wife and a beautiful one-year old baby daughter.

Our board four Leo Kamgar was the 2005 National Kindergarten Champion and the 2005 Western States Single Grade Champion!  He has loads of natural talent and a great memory. After a three-year break from chess, he came back in 2009. His latest victory was at the Western Class in Agoura Hills where he took 1st place in Class B. $1200 is not a bad takehome for a 9-year-old! Leo's coach GM Melikset Khachiyan has worked with him the past year and GM Melik is definitely developing a monster. 

Round 1: West vs. the North
Leo lost first against Rene Ancheta but I evened the score against Camilo Pangan.

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 0-0 5.d4 d6 6.Be2 e5 7.Be3 exd4 8.Nxd4 Re8 9.f3 c6 10.Bf2 d5 11.exd5 cxd5 12.0-0 Nc6 13.c5 Be6
A rare move. 13...Nh5 is the main move.
A new move [14...Qc7Llanes Hurtado,M (2418)-San Martin,R (2135)/ESP Universities-ch 2005 (2)/½-½]
Ne5 16.Be2 g5?! 17.Qd2
17...g4 18.Bh4 Ng6?!
19.Bg5 Re5 20.fxg4! h6 21.Bxh6 Nxg4 22.Bxg7 Kxg7 23.Bxg4 Bxg4 24.Nf3 Bxf3 25.Rxf3 d4 26.Raf1 Nh8 27.Rh3 Rg5 28.Ne4 Rg6 29.Nd6 Rxd6 30.cxd6 Qxd6 31.Rf4
31...Rd8 32.Rg4+ Ng6 33.Qh6+ Kf6 34.Re4 Kf5 35.Re1 Nf4 36.g4+ Kxg4 37.Rg3+ Black resigns 1-0

Alexandre didn't play his best game and lost to IM Angelo Young. Instead of 13...e3, Black could have just played 13...a5.


Ilia won but just barely, due to time trouble issues from Florentino Inumerable.


The match was now tied 2-2 so we had to go to tiebreak, 15 minute games with a two second increment.
Leo won this time over Rene Ancheta while Ilia won on time against Florentino Inumerable. Alexandre lost again to IM Angelo Young so it was up to me to clinch the match.


1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.d3
What's funny about this position is that Alex and I studied this position on March 20th at our team meeting. I guess it paid off a bit.
7...Qd6 8.Nbd2 Be6 9.b3 0-0 10.d4?! Nd7 11.dxe5 Nxe5 12.Bb2 Nxf3+
12...Bf6!?; 12...Ng6!?
13.Nxf3 Rad8 14.Qe2 Qc5 15.h3 Qh5 16.Rad1 Qg6 17.Kh1 Qh5 18.Qe3 c5 19.c4 h6 20.Be5 c6 21.Bc7 Rxd1 22.Rxd1 Bg4?!
23.Kg1 Be6 24.e5 Qg6 25.Kf1 b5 26.cxb5 cxb5 27.Bd6 Bxd6 28.exd6 c4 29.bxc4 Bxc4+ 30.Kg1 Be6 31.Nd4
31...Bd5 32.f3
32...Rd8 33.Qe5 Qg5
33...Bxa2 looks crazy to play
The rest of the game was really a quick bullet game and thus both sides couldn't play their best. I felt relieved that we had already won two game and lost one and that a draw would clinch victory.
34...Be6 35.Ne7+ Kf8 36.f4 Qg3
36...Qxe5 37.fxe5 Ke8
37.Nc6 Rd7 38.Qd4 Bxh3 39.Rd2 Qe1+ 40.Kh2 Be6 41.g3 Qf1 42.Qf2 Qh3+ 43.Kg1 Qf5 44.Ne5 Rd8 45.Qb6 Qf6 46.Qc7 Kg8 47.Qe7 Kh7 48.a3 h5 49.Qc7 h4 50.Qe7 hxg3 51.Qxf6 gxf6 52.Nc6 Rd7 53.Nb8 Rd8 54.Nc6 Rd7 55.Nb8 Rd8 56.Nc6 Rd7 Game drawn by repetition ½-½
I got a draw by repetition with only 12 seconds left and thus we advanced to the finals.

Our opponents in the finals were the BEASTS FROM THE SOUTHEAST from the South, who defeated the East 3-1 in the semis.

The Finals

I was happy to win quickly against Toby Boas.


1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.cxd5 cxd5 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bf4 Nh5
This move seems to be more and more popular, though I have my doubts.
7.Bd2 e6 8.e3 f5 9.Rc1
I have studied this line before with the idea of Nb5 hitting the Bishop that comes to d6 and with Ne5
9...Bd6 10.Nb5 Bb8 11.Ne5 Bxe5?
12.dxe5 g6 13.Nd6+ Kf8
Was deciding between Be2 and f4???
14.f4? Ng7

Whew! 14...Qh4+ Would of made things complicated 15.g3 (15.Ke2 ugly) 15...Nxg3 16.hxg3 Qxh1 17.Qb3.
15.Qb3 Qd7 16.Qa3 Kg8 17.b4 Ne8 18.b5 Ne7 19.Bb4 b6??
 20.Nxe8 Black resigns 1-0

Then Leo Kamgar found himself in a winning position but on move 59, he played Re2?? a terrible mouseslip. Leo immediately said it was a slip as he intended to move the Rook to either d2 or c2. He started crying and I felt really sad for him.
Leo Kamgar-Adam Miller, after 58...Rd7

59.Re2+?? Nxe2 White resigns.

Though Leo resigned the game could of still been played out. Another reason never to give up. Our TD Jim Bullock pointed after the game that Leo could of played Kf1! 60.Kf1 Kf3 [60...Rxd6 61.a7 Rd8 62.a8Q Rxa8 63.Bxa8 Nxg3+ 64.hxg3 Kf3=; 60...Rf7+ 61.Kg2 Rg7=] 61.Ke1= 0-1

Leo was comforted by GM Khachiyan and his mom. Then he played with the neighborhood cat, which was a big mistake as we didn't know he was allergic. He was not in a good state at all.

Alex and Ilia drew their games and Leo, who was recovering, announced he would get his justice in the playoffs.

Tiebreak for all the Marbles

Leo's words turned into reality as he avenged his loss and won his game first!


Alex and I also won our games, while Ilya made a draw.


The final tally was 3.5-0.5 and the West Won!
In conclusion, I'd like to thank Carol Jarecki for organizing this tournament. It was a privilege for us to play again. (Last time we played was in 2007.) Also thanks to the USCF for providing expense stipends, to ICC for hosting and to the tournament director Jim Bullock and to Moira Kamgar for providing food and moral support. Finally thanks to GM Melikset Khachiyan for coaching in between rounds and positive moral support.

June - Chess Life Online 2010

Bryan Smith Wins Philly International as World Open Kicks Off Karpov's Big Think Searching for Food at the World Open L.A. Vibe Prepares to Join US Chess League IM Bryan Smith Leading Philadelphia International 2010 US Junior Open Set for Houston, July 23-25Juniors Storm Philadelphia International Chess Adventures in VietnamFields set for 2010 U.S. Women's and Junior Closed Champs New York International: Ehlvest and Harikrishna TieHBO Real Sports to Feature Brownsville Chess Success Story The US Championship in Black and White Copper "Norm" State Recap Norm-Hunters Charge New York International A Chess Dad's Philadelphia StoryNew York International Set for Marshall Chess Club June 18-22USCF Promotes National Chess Day, October 9Fun & Chess in Las VegasGareev Wins National Open Akobian Surges Ahead in Las Vegas Akobian, Lenderman and Kekelidze Perfect as National Open Merges Fridman Tops G/10 as Las Vegas Chess Festival BeginsMolner Leads Norm-Bonanza at Copper State Searching for Diane Savereide Moving up the Ladder: A Class Player on Gaining 200 Rating PointsA Three-Way Tie at the Capablanca Memorial in Santa Clara Norm-Hunters Emerge at Copper State International Copper State International Begins! An Interesting Chess Sacrifice Curtis Winter's Junior Grand Prix Odyssey A Parent's Perspective on the Chicago Open The June Check is in the Mail Van Wely Wins in Chicago as Norm Season Begins The Road to GM Continues US Champion Kamsky Video Interview