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GM Irina Krush on a Walk Through the Elementary Nationals Print E-mail
By GM Irina Krush   
May 9, 2015
Jeremy Zheng (1595) versus Christopher Shen (2148) on board 1 in the K-5 Championship section

The 2015 Elementary Nationals have gathered over 2,000 players, the most since 2003. There are 3 Championship sections, K-3, K-5 and K-6. K-3 seems to be the one with the smallest gap between the highest rated player and the rest of the field, while K-6 has a clear favorite, Californian Andrew Hong (2255).

My simul on Friday morning produced a number of hard fought games. In the most memorable episode, one of my opponents burst into tears at the end of our game. I could understand his sadness, because he actually played a great game against me, tricked me a couple of times, and really deserved a better result.

The only thing is that in chess there is no such as 'deserving' anything. You should expect your opponents to put up maximum resistance. When I play simuls, I often have games where my opponents play well and I feel like they 'deserve' a draw. But still I try to win, because chess is not an easy game, and they should learn that lesson as early as possible!
Irina Simul Game 1



I'd definitely misplayed the game to get to this position; Black has super active pieces. Here my opponent had a strong move ...Qa6, but instead went for a forcing sequence with:
1...Nf3+!? 2.Rxf3 Bxe2 3.Qxe2 Bxd4+ 4.Kh1 Rc1+ 5.Rf1


Can you find a strong move for Black here?

Show Solution

5...Rxf1+  6.Qxf1
and the opposite colored bishops allowed Black to draw without many problems, the only draw in the simul! 

Irina Simul Game 2


This looks like a standard Queen's Gambit Declined. I had just played h3, attacking the Ng4. Black found an unexpected counterblow:
1...Rxd4!! 2.Nxd4 Qxd4+ 3.Kh1 N4e5

Looks like White may lose the Bd3.
4.Rd1 Rd8 5.Ne2 Qxd3 6.Qc1!


6...Qxe2 7.Rxd8+ Nf8


An unusual material balance, three pieces for two rooks. I thought Black's position was preferable, but White's not without chances either.
immediate tactics don't work because the Rf1 will be hanging....still, they're lurking in the air. 8.Rxf8+ Kxf8 9.Qc5+ Kg8 10.Qxe5 Qxf1+


Was Black trying to give perpetual with this sacrifice? Unfortunately, he hasn't checked all the "checks, captures, and attacks" that White can make in this position. 8...b6!? controlling the c5 square, was logical.
9.Rxf8+! Kxf8 10.Qc5+ Ke8 11.Qxe5+ Be6

Material is fine for Black, but there are some problems with the king.
12.Qb8+ Ke7 13.Qd8#

A pleasing finish to a game that definitely had me worried after ...Rxd4!

Irina Simul Game 3

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.cxd5 cxd5 4.Bf4 Nf6 5.e3 Nc6 6.Nc3 Bf5 7.Qb3 Qd7 8.Nf3 e6 9.Ne5 Qc8 10.Bb5 a6 11.Bxc6+ bxc6 12.Qa4 Rb8 13.Nxc6 Rxb2 14.0-0 Rb6 15.Ne5+ Nd7 16.Rac1 Qd8


Here I paused to look for a win, sensing there was something pretty to be found. 
17.Nxd7 Qxd7 18.Nxd5!


18...exd5 19.Rc8+ Ke7 20.Rc7 wins the queen
19.Rc8+ Kd7 20.Nxb6+
White regains the queen by force and stays up a rook. 20...Ke7 21.Nxa4+-

During round two, I walked around the tournament hall, taking pictures of the players and the positions that caught my eye. Enjoy!
The fans (parents) waiting to greet the players when they exit the playing hall

Among the last of games going in round 2: A fascinating position on the board, with a material imbalance.

an interesting pawn endgame, Black's king is very active!

Akira Nakada (K-6 Championship), a student of our Grandmaster School, moved to 2/2

Jack Levine (K-3 Championship) got to promote with mate (last move was a8Q)

K-3 Championship section, Peter Boris (1856) during round 2

Ingrid Guo on the left in the K-6 Championship

Nastassja Matus in the K-6 Championship section, winning her second game

One of my opponents from the simul! (winning his game)

Follow the Elementary Nationals pairings and results here and look for a full update from GM Irina Krush upon the event's conclusion.