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GMs Chirila and IM Gorovets Win U.S. Class Championship Print E-mail
By Al Lawrence   
October 9, 2013
goro.jpgIt must be a great feeling to win the co-championship of the first USCF National tournament you enter.  Just three weeks before the start of the U.S. Class Championship in Houston, IM Andrei Gorovets (left) had come to the U.S. for the first time from Minsk, Belarus, to enroll in a master's program at Texas Tech University and play on its chess team. 

His co-champion, who took home the trophy on tiebreaks, was another Texas college team player, GM  Ioan Chirila of the University of Texas-Dallas. Both teams have been national collegiate champions.

Gorovets annotated two games for CLO:


1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5

The Grunfeld Defence is a very popular opening nowadays--and one of the most complex. At the board, I thought--"Okay, I am not good with theory here. I am just trying to use common sense." The wonderful book Common Sense in Chess, written by second world champion Emanuel Lasker will help you to feel comfortable even in unfamiliar openings.
4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 c5 7.Bc4 Bg7 8.Ne2 Nc6 9.Be3
So far all I've done is strengthen my center and develop my pieces. But what could be better?
9...0-0 10.0-0 Bg4 11.f3 Bd7
This line is fashionable nowadays. The old line is 11...Na5 12.Bxf7+ Rxf7 13.fxg4 Rxf1+ 14.Kxf1, a famous "starting position" in so many games between Karpov and Kasparov.

Following common sense, I just grabbed the c5-pawn. It's like the young Victor Korchnoi used to do--let your opponents prove his compensation. I knew that this pawn sacrifice is a very common trick in the Gruenfeld Defense. The main line here is 12.Rb1.
12...Qc7 13.Qc2 Rfd8 14.Nd4 Na5 15.Be2

15...Qxc5? is bad because of 16.Nf5 Qxc3 17.Nxe7+ Kf8 18.Qxc3 Bxc3 19.Rac1+/=, when White has an edge in this endgame because the Black pieces are not harmoniously placed.

16.Nb3 e5=
16...Qxc5 17.Qc1 Qc8 18.Nb5 Nc6?!

18...a6! is much better (weakening the b6-square is not so important in my opinion) 19.Nd4 (19.Na7? doesn't work here: 19...Qc7 20.Rb1 e5 21.Bb6 Bc5+-+) 19...e5 20.Nb3 Qc7 21.Qc3=/+, and Black is better because White has very weak dark squares and a weak pawn on c4.
19.Rb1 Bg7 20.Rd1 Be6 21.Qa3!? Rd7 22.Rxd7 Bxd7 23.Rd1 Be8 24.f4!
Trying to block the g7-bishop with the move e4-e5.
24...a6 25.Nc3 Qe6 26.e5
If 26.Nd5!? Qxe4 27.Bf3 Qc2 28.Nxe7+ Nxe7 29.Qxe7 Qxc4 30.Qxb7 Rc8.
A bold move in a time pressure.
27.g3? gxf4 28.gxf4 f6!, when White's position appears in ruins.
27...Qxe5 28.Nd5 Rd8 29.Bf3 e6 30.Bf4 Qb2 31.Qxb2 Bxb2 32.Nf6+ Bxf6 33.gxf6 Rxd1+ 34.Bxd1
I got my favorite--a pair of bishops. Now black is fighting only to survive.
34...Nb4 35.Bd2 Nd3 36.Bc2 Ne5 37.Bb3 Bc6 38.Bc3 Nd7 39.Bc2 e5 40.Bf5 Nxf6 41.Bxe5 Ne4 42.Bf4
43.g4 f6 44.h4 Nc5 45.Be3 Nd7 46.g5 Ne5 47.Kf2 Nxc4 48.Bd4 Ne5 49.Kg3?
In a time trouble, I made an awful move. The right way: 49.gxf6+ Kxf6 50.Bc8!! (50.Bxh7±) 50...Be4 51.Ke3 Bf5 52.Bxb7 Ke6 53.Bxa6+-
49...Nd7 50.Kf4 h6 51.a3 hxg5+ 52.hxg5 Kf7 53.Bxd7 fxg5+ 54.Kxg5 Bxd7 ½-½

GM Sadorra vs. IM Gorovets


1.d4 f5

I like the Dutch ...
... and I like sidelines in the Dutch very much!
In such sidelines, I used to choose moves that were not the best. Maybe because of that, Julio decided to play Bg5 one more time against me [2...c6?!; I love this game-- 2...h6 3.Bh4 g5 4.Bg3 Nf6 5.e3 d6 6.Bd3 Nc6 7.h4 g4 8.Ne2 Nh5 9.e4 e6 10.c3 Qf6 11.Qd2 e5 12.dxe5 Nxe5 13.Bc2 Bg7 14.Na3 0-0 15.exf5 Bxf5 16.0-0 Rae8 17.Nb5 Bxc2 18.Qxc2 Rf7 19.Rae1 a6 20.Nbd4 c5 21.Nb3 Rfe7 22.Rd1 Re6 23.Nec1 Ng6 24.Na5 Nxh4 25.Nxb7 Nf5 26.Bh2 g3 27.fxg3 Ne3 28.Rxf6 Nxf6 29.Qd2 Nxd1 30.Kh1 Ne4 31.Qd5 Nef2+ 32.Kg1 Kh8 33.Nd3 Re1+ 0-1 (33) Ilandzis,S (2173)-Gorovets,A (2382) Pardubice 2009].
3.Nc3 Bg7

3...d5!? leads to very interesting play, despite the weak dark squares. Here the main idea is that White has a misplaced knight on c3.
4.e4 fxe4 5.Nxe4 d5!
The only move in this position.
White has another option: 6.Ng3 c5!; 6.Nc5 b6! 7.Nb3 (7.Nd3!?is an interesting gambit) 7...Nh6, and Black is ok.
This is a typical maneuver for this variation and for the whole Dutch.
It seems that White doesn't care about his central pawn. If 7.Bxh6!?, then ... Bxh6 8.h4 leads to very unclear play.
7...Nc6 8.Nf3 0-0 9.h4?

White goes straight for an attack, but why should it be successful?--I don't understand. All of Black's moves look good: developing pieces, controlling the center, etc. So I don't believe in White's attack. White had to start defending his central pawn. In all these variations, Black has an advantage, thanks to his pair of bishops: 9.0-0 Nf5 10.Bxf5 Bxf5 11.h3=/+; 9.Bxh6 Bxh6 10.Be2 Bf5=/+.
9...Bg4 10.Qd2 Bxf3 11.Bxh6 Bxg2 12.Rg1 Nxd4 13.0-0-0 Nf3 14.Qe3 Nxg1 15.Rxg1
These moves were all forced.
15...Be4 16.Bxg7 Kxg7 17.Nxe4 dxe4 18.Qxe4 Qd6-/+, when White has some tiny practical chances to escape, but Black is close to winning. The secret is to play on the dark squares so the White bishop is out of a game.
16.Qe6+ Kh8 17.Bxg7+ Kxg7 18.Qe5+ Rf6 19.Nb5 Qd5 20.Qg3 Qxa2?

Miscalculation. It's a bad mistake, but it was the third game in a day, so Julio and I were exhausted and didn't show our best chess. [20...c6! 21.Nc7 Qxa2 22.Rxg2 (22.Nxa8 Qa1+ 23.Kd2 Qxg1-+) 22...Qa1+ 23.Kd2 Qa5+ 24.Kd1 Rc8 when the knight is trapped.]
21.Rxg2 Qa1+ 22.Kd2 Qa5+

White commits hara-kiri. I was very glad to see this move. After the game, my opponent said that he tried to go for a win with this move. Of course not 23.Kc1?? Qe1#; but 23.Kd1! c6 24.Nxd4 Rd8 25.Qe3 e5 26.Ne2 Qa1+ 27.Kd2 Qxb2 28.h5 is a sharp position in which Black is better. But after having an almost clear winning position, it is not a great pleasure to play such double-edged chess.
23...Re6+ 24.Kf3 c6

The rest requires no comments.
25.b4 Qxb4 26.Nc7 Rf8+ 27.Kg4 Ref6 28.h5 Qd6 29.hxg6 hxg6 30.Kh3 Rh8+ 31.Kg4 Qd7+ 32.Kg5 Rh5 checkmate

Four GMs, three IMs, a WGM, a WIM, a WFM, three FMs, and seven NMs were among the strong field of 32 in the master section, which was dominated by university-team players.

Chirila and Gorovets scored 4.5 out of five and took home $1,000 apiece. GMs Conrad Holt and Giorgi Margvelashvili, both also on the UTD's team, tied for third and fourth with 4.0, each winning $200.

WGM Katerina Nemcova, who plays on the University of Texas-Brownsville's team; FM Steven Breckenridge, another Texas Tech player; and NM Jeffrey De Jesus finished in a three-way tie for the under-2400 prize with 3.5 points, each taking home $400. De Jesus was the only prize winner in the masters' section not on a university chess team.
Holt vs. Breckenridge

Breckenridge annotated his draw against GM Holt:


(Comments by Breckenridge)
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.b3 Bb4+

I normally play 5. ... d5 6. Bg2 dxc4, following a Kasparov game I enjoyed.
6.Bd2 Be7 7.Bg2 c6 8.0-0 0-0 9.Qc2 d5 10.Rd1 Nbd7 11.a4
11.Bf4 is the main line.
11...c5 is a little stronger 12.Na3 Bb7; 11...Rc8 12.a5 c5 (12...b5 13.c5±) 13.axb6 Qxb6 14.Qa2 Bb7=
12.Na3 Bd6(?)
I was planning ... e5 next move, but White's b4 comes too fast.
13.b4 c5 14.bxc5 bxc5 15.Nb5 Bxb5 16.axb5 a6! 17.cxd5 exd5 18.Rxa6 Rxa6 19.bxa6 Qxa6 20.dxc5 Bxc5= 21.Be1 Rc8 22.Qd3 Qe6 23.Kf1 Re8 24.e3 Rb8 25.Nd4 Qe8 26.Nc6 Rc8 27.Nb4 Ne5 28.Qe2 [28.Qd2] 28...Bxb4 29.Bxb4 Qa4 30.Be1 Rc2 31.Ra1 Qxa1 32.Qxc2 h6 33.h3 Qa6+ 34.Kg1 Qa1 35.Qc8+ Kh7 36.Qc2+

"To repeat or not to repeat?"
36...Ne4! 37.Kf1
37.Bxe4+? dxe4 38.Qxe4+ f5! 39.Qxf5+ (39.Qb4? Nd3-+) 39...g6! 40.Qf6 Qxe1+ 41.Kg2 Qc3 42.Qe7+ Kg8 43.Qe8+ Kg7 44.Qe7+ Nf7, and Black will press on.
37...Qa6+ 1/2 -1/2
Draw agreed. After 37. Qe2, Conrad suggested ... Nd3. I was thinking about ... Qa4. I think it is a little hard to play with the two bishops against the two knights, and a draw is the correct result.

But there was a lot more action-the 2013 U.S. Class Championship attracted 452 players in 13 different sections to the Marriott Houston South at Hobby Airport, September 27-29.

In the Experts' section, Akshay Malhortra, Chris Hobart, Daniel Ng, and Arthur Mitchell, all of Texas, tied for first with 4.0.

All 10 of the other sections of the U.S. Class produced clear winners! Michael Ingram, Texas, took clear first in the Class A-section with 4.5. Jie Liu, Texas, swept the B-section 5.0. Karthikeyan L, Texas, did likewise in the C-section. Cecilia Tisserand, La., won the D-section with 4.5. Albert Yau, Texas, won the E-section with 4.5. Antonio Alvarado-Rivera III, Texas, scored 4.5 to win the Unrated section.

In the scholastic sections, Matthew Ortiz, Texas, won the K-12 division with 4.5. Oliver Wang, Texas, won the K-9 section with 4.5. Nathaniel Fernandes, Texas, won the K-6 with a perfect 5 points. Joseph Xia, La., won the K-3 with 5 points.

Chief TD Francisco Guadalupe, along with Assistant Chief Luis Salinas, made sure the national championship tournament ran smoothly. The event was organized by the U.S. Chess Federation. Find the full crosstable of the event on MSA.