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GM Krush Visits Dayton Chess Club for Wright Brothers Open Print E-mail
By GM Irina Krush   
October 8, 2014
Irina250.gifA couple of weeks ago, my friend Alex Lenderman brought to my attention a weekend tournament in Dayton, Ohio (October 3-5th).  I'm usually not that keen on small weekend events that require me to pack yet another suitcase, but two factors made the Wright Brothers Open a tempting idea: getting warmed up for the Millionaire Open and the guaranteed prize fund. Four prizes were guaranteed in the Open section: $2000, $1400, $1000, and $600 (there were two class prizes for u-2000 as well). $2000 first place for a short 5 round event is not bad at all!

I wound up traveling to Dayton with my coach Giorgi, who also wanted to get some practice before the Millionaire Open. Since coming to the U.S. six years ago, Giorgi's split his time between playing and teaching, playing all the big tournaments while focusing on teaching in the intervals, but in the last two years as his student base has grown he's really transitioned to teaching. Unfortunately, chess is not very forgiving and when you come back to the board after a long time off you discover there are cobwebs in your brain where your chess muscles used to be. It takes some time to brush them off and regain your calculating skills.

Giorgi and I weren't the only ones to have noticed the Wright Brothers Open. GM's Mitkov, Georgiev, and Kudrin were there to fight for the top places as well. The first three rounds saw the GM's outplay their weaker opponents (I had a closer pairing in round three against IM Alexander Reprintsev, whose USCF was slightly higher than mine), emerging with perfect scores and setting up all-GM pairings in round 4. 

This was a nice way for the tournament to develop. Sometimes you have one GM playing another, while on the board next to him a colleague gets a 'lucky' pairing to someone much lower rated, and it doesn't quite feel fair. In Dayton though, round 4 saw Kacheishvili-Mitkov and Georgiev-Kudrin, while I got paired down to IM Ron Burnett, who had half a point less. So no one was getting easy pairings, and there was also no point in making short draws as they really wouldn't help anyone.
Giorgi followed the recent game Aronian-Anand from Bilbao but after a good reaction by Mitkov (improving on Anand's play) got less than nothing from the opening. After a big miscalculation, he reached a completely losing position:

Kacheishvili,G - Mitkov,N [D38]

Dayton (4), 05.10.2014

Let's start here. White's queen is trapped, among other problems. 
This is the only try. We are past the time control now (which was made at move 30). Can you find the most decisive continuation for Black? 
31...Qxb4! either mating or winning the queen. It takes a quick look to determine that White's checks with the knights don't lead to anything. 32.Nxh6+ (32.Ne7+ Kh7) 32...Kh7
32.Nxe7+ Kf7? 
32...Kf8! 33.Nc8 Rc3

The discovered attack on the rook wins a piece as Nd6 is not a check now!! 
Black is still hugely better here, but not as overwhelmingly as before.  
33...fxe3 34.fxe3 Rd2 would have been a better move order. 
34.Re1! fxe3 35.f3 Bf5 36.Nxa7 Bd7 37.b5 Rd3 38.Kf1 Rc3 39.Nc6 Ke6 40.Rd1 Bxc6 41.bxc6 Rxc6 42.Ke2 b5 43.Kxe3 Rb6 44.Rd4 b4 45.Re4+ Kd5 46.Kd2 b3 47.Kc1 Rg6 48.g3 Re6 49.Rg4 ½-½

As Giorgi explained afterwards, move after move Mitkov kept making moves that let him inch closer to a draw, which he achieved without too much difficulty.

Meanwhile, on the other board, miracles were happening as well. Vladimir Georgiev had a clear edge against Sergey Kudrin. It was quite a depressing position to defend to my eyes. Imagine my surprise when I learned that the following position:

Georgiev - Kudrin
had transformed into this:

Black's counterplay is looking dangerous. It was time for White to offer a queen trade with Qe1. But he counts on his passed pawn.. 
2.a6 gxf3 3.a7 Ng4! 
Now White, who still had plenty of time compared to Black's time pressure, does not sense the danger and plays 
The only move was 4.a8Q Nf2+ 5.Kg1 Qe3 6.Qa7! and Black has nothing more than perpetual 6...Nh3+ 7.Kh1 Nf2+ 8.Kg1
4...fxg2+ 5.Bxg2 Qg3 


An extremely surprising turn of events! 

I drew Ron Burnett, so Kudrin moved into the lead with the only perfect score. 

As the highest rated in the chasing pack, Giorgi got paired up to Sergey, while I played Mitkov for a chance to get to 4.5. This was another perfect pairing, where no one would be happy with a draw (except Kudrin). Somehow, it all fell into place for Giorgi as Kudrin seemed to blunder something in the opening and was put on the defensive early. In a seemingly innocuous double rook + bishops of opposite color endgame, Giorgi meticulously exploited the structural advantages of Black's position to reel in the much needed point, finishing as the tournament hall was nearly empty.

Kudrin,S - Kacheishvili,G [B63]
Dayton (5), 05.10.2014

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bg5 e6 7.Qd2 Be7 8.Be2 0-0 9.0-0-0 Nxd4 10.Qxd4 

With the bishop on e2, this typical tactic works well for Black. This was clearly something White had blundered as he spent a lot of time here, and found an interesting way to proceed. 
11.Bxe7 Nxc3 12.Qh4! Nxe2+ 13.Kb1 
It was Giorgi's turn for a long think.  
Giorgi showed me the problem with 13...Qb6: 14.Rxd6! Nc3+ 15.Kc1! Nxa2+ (15...Qb4
16.Rd8!! and again Black has only a repetition with ...Nxa2. 16...Nxa2+ 17.Kb1 Nc3+ 18.Kc1=) 16.Kb1 Nc3+ is only a repetition, which definitely wasn't suitable for the occasion.
14.bxc3 Qb6+ 15.Qb4 Re8 16.Qxb6 axb6 17.Bxd6

At first glance this doesn't seem to be such a big edge for Black. But Black has a long term plan for improving his position, while White doesn't. 
17...Bd7 18.f3 b5 19.Rhe1 Bc6 20.a3 f6 21.Kb2 Kf7 22.Bb4 Red8! 
Trading one pair of rooks is desirable for Black, so that White won't have too much counterplay when the position opens up. 
23.Kc1 g5! 24.Rxd8 Rxd8 25.Rd1 Rg8! 
No second rook trade, which would be tantamount to a draw. 
26.h3 h5 27.Kd2 g4 28.hxg4 hxg4 29.Ke3 gxf3 30.gxf3 Rg3 31.Rf1 e5 32.Ke2 Rh3 
32...Bd5! 33.f4 Bc4+ 34.Kf2 Rg4! 
33.f4 e4 (33...Bd5 34.Kd2) 
33...Bd5 34.Rf2 Ke6 35.Be3 Kf5 36.Bc5 Rh4 37.Ke3 Rh3 38.Ke2 Bf7 39.Kd2 Bg6 40.Be3 Rh4 41.Bc5 Bh5 42.Bd6 Rc4!
Controlling the c5 square and threatening to invade with ...Kf4. White will soon lose the f3 pawn. 
43.f4 Rxf4 44.Rxf4+ Kxf4 45.Be7 f5 46.Bd6 Ke4 47.Bc7 f4 48.Bb8 Bf7 49.Ke2 Kf5 50.Kf2 e4 51.Ba7 Bh5 52.Bb6 Bd1 53.Bc5 Bxc2 54.Bb6 e3+ 55.Bxe3 fxe3+ 56.Kxe3 Ke5 57.Kd2 Ba4 58.Kd3 Kd5 0-1

This finish reminded me of the 2010 North American Open, where he made a narrow escape against Ilya Smirin and won his last round against Josh Friedel to share first in the tournament.

Meanwhile, although Mitkov and I would have loved to join him at 4.5, our game ended in a draw, landing us in a big tie for second place (along with Georgiev, Kudrin, Carl Boor, and Ron Burnett). 


We enjoyed our time in Dayton and the warm reception we received from Dayton's chess community, from the president of the Dayton Chess Club,  Shawn Irish, who met us at the airport on Friday night, to the owner of the building where the club is housed, Riley Driver, and his wife Sharon, to the local chess players.

In his passion for chess, Mr. Driver reminded me of Rex Sinquefield.  About fourteen years ago, he and his wife bought a building in downtown Dayton that had previously accommodated a thrift store (and a furniture store before that) and moved the Chess Club into it. Yes, indeed, an entire building! That is why the Dayton Chess Club looks a little different from your usual club. The downstairs level, which required a lot of renovation to reach its current condition, comfortably contained the nearly one hundred assembled players. In its capacity, it resembles a hotel ballroom more than a room in a chess club. On the ground level, there is a space for lectures, a space for skittles games, and a large area replete with couches for parents to relax in as they wait for their children. As you enter the club, the first thing you notice is the height of the space you've walked into: seventeen feet from floor to ceiling.

Another unique feature of the club is how it's adorned with chess posters of all kinds, old and new. Examining these posters is like taking a walk through chess history. Of course, it's quite normal for chess clubs to have chess posters, but the sheer number and breadth of them forced me to inquire about their origin. Turns out they are on loan from a man who has the world's largest collection of chess posters, and they are regularly rotated! That definitely lends an exhibit-like feel to the club.

This was my favorite one, advertising the 1957 semi-final of the USSR Championship! Among the names that may sound familiar: Ragozin, Spassky, Taimanov, Tolush, Antoshin, my former trainer Krogius, Suetin, Shamkovich, etc...

So if you are looking for a nice weekend event in a good atmosphere, I would definitely recommend the Dayton Chess Club and I hope to visit again soon!