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Labor Day Madness Part II: From North Carolina to Illinois Print E-mail
September 11, 2012
US Masters champion, GM Giorgi Margvelashvili
2012 US Masters in North Carolina
by Todd Andrews

All major USCF events have their own persona and appeal, but very few offer the opportunities to American players that the U.S. Masters creates. The U.S. Open is where any player can mingle with and compete against the best in the country. The National Open is a giant festival in a city built on fun. The U.S. Championship is a classy affair where we can learn from strictly the best. The National Elementary, National Jr. High and High School Championships show us who the best kids and schools are. The U.S. Masters event is struggling to find an identity. It struggles each year to find a home. In 2010, it only had 27 players!

Last year, and many since its inception in 1996, it has not been organized at all. A couple of guys in North Carolina want to change that.

Gary Newsom and Walter High, formerly of the North Carolina Chess Association, have stepped down from their public posts in NC Chess and decided to take organizing major chess events more seriously. They strive to create a "player friendly" and "customer service industry" type of chess events according to Mr. Newsom. It was clear from the top with the accommodations they offered foreign, titled players to create norm chances; all the way down to the hospitality suite they provided for players and friends during the U.S. Masters. They wanted the hobby and aspiring players from the Southeast to have the chance to sit in the room among America's best, so they organized the NC Open and the NC Open Scholastics events side-by-side with the Masters. In the end, nearly 300 chess players from all corners of the planet were competing amongst one another.

Now let me tell you about a couple of Georgians. GM Giorgi Margvelashvili is a young guy who seems to enjoy ice hockey and rock n' roll if his selection of jerseys and t-shirts say anything about him. He was undefeated with 5 wins, 4 draws and no losses to be the lone man with 7.0 points out of a possible 9.0. On boards 2 and 3, four GMs battled hard to get into that winner's circle with Giorgi. However, these hard fought battles still ended in peace and he was left all alone to collect the $5,000 payday. Giorgi had a lot further to travel than it sounds like though, he hails from the country of Georgia, which is thousands of miles of away. 


NM Richard Francisco was only a few hundred miles from his home in the state of Georgia. Richard is working to achieve his PHD, but had to take the time away from his education to compete against the real masters. In the final round, only two Southeastern masters were in the running for some cash. I lost. Richard played this gem and made his drive home a lot shorter.

1. c4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. g3 d5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. Bg2 O-O 7. O-O Nc6 8.Nc3 Nb6 9. e3 Re8 10. Re1 a5 11. Qe2 Be6 12. Rd1 Bc4 13. Qc2 Nb4 14. Qb1 e5
Black's position is just easier to play. White has wasted some time and completely cramped himself in. Richard now comes up with a brilliant queen sack to turn the e-pawn into a passed beast.
15. b3 exd4!16. bxc4 dxc3! 17. Rxd8 Raxd8
The black pieces are perfect.
18. Qb3 c5 ?!
18... c2 19. Nd4 Rxd4 20. exd4 Re1+ 21. Bf1 Bxd4 22. a3 Bxa1 23. Bh6 Bg7 24. axb4 Bxh6 25. Qxc2 axb4 is the computer analysis where black still has an edge, but some work is required to finish it.
19. a4??
19. Bf1 seems to be the only defense. a4 20. Qa3 Nc2 (20... c2 21. Bb2 Bxb2 22. Qxb2 Rd1 23. Ne1 a3 24. Qc3 Na4 25. Qb3 Rxa1 26. Nxc2 Nxc2 27. Qxa4 Rd8 28. Qxc2 Rdd1 29. Qe2 Re1 {is the computer analysis that seems to lead to a draw.) 21. Qxc5 and white survives.
19...c2 20. Ra2 Rd1+
...and here white resigned. It could have concluded... 21.Bf1 Rxc1 22. Kg2 Rb1 23. Qxc2 Nxc2 24. Rxc2...and black would be up a full rook! 0-1

High Point University, located in the city of High Point, North Carolina, proudly sponsored this event. They want to get their name out there that they are striving to become a more international program that is actively seeking out these bright, young minds playing chess. You can learn more about them at http://www2.highpoint.edu/

fullstaff.jpgHopefully with their continued support, the U.S. Masters can reconvene in North Carolina next year. The organizers do not plan on competing with the various State Championships next year over Labor Day weekend. They also believe they can get many more GMs and foreign players in 2013, when the Olympiad will not be drawing so many strong players away. I hope to be back next year with all of you and I will leave you with a tactic from one of my own games.

Ulrich, T--Andrews, T

Can you find the best continuation for black?

Show Solution


You can view more games and news about this event at ncchess.org and USCF rated results of the US Masters on MSA and the North Carolina Open here. Thanks to International Arbiter Thad Rogers for directing.

A US Open Preview in Wisconsin 
by Alex Betaneli 

The Wisconsin State Championship was held over Labor Day weekend in Madison, Wisconsin. This was a "pilot study" as Madison will stage the 2013 US Open. Mike Nietman, the organizer of  both tournaments, wanted to see the host hotel in action and results were good. Wisconsinites invite you to visit Madison next summer!

The Open section was strong with several past champions participating. The story of the tournament was undoubtedly the young Derek Sachs. Derek
lost the first round but stormed back with five victories to claim clear second place in the end. Last two rounds were particularly special. First, Derek defeated the defending champion David Jin in this tense game:


Photo by Mike Nietman. Defending champion David Jin (left) against Kelly Borman (right) in round four.

Shortly afterwards Derek beat the top seeded three-time state champion Erik Santarius. Thus, the final standings were: 1.Alex Betaneli 5.5/6 2.Derek Sachs 5/6 3.Erik Santarius 4.5/6

The U1800 section saw Daniel Kaczmarek taking the top honors with 5.5/6 while gaining almost two hundred ratings points. Second place went to Robin Grochowski (5/6) and the bronze was taken by Sahil Soni (4/6). There was also a very popular scholastic section that produced a four way tie for first (4/5 each): Xavier Loomer, Sabrina Huang, Daniel Jing, and Albert Lu were the happy winners.

This article was added to this report on 9/12/2012. Find USCF rated results on MSA.  

2012 Oregon Open
By Rusty Miller
The 2012 Oregon Open held Labor Day Weekend at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham Oregon ended in a 6 way tie in the Open Section at 4.5-1.5 score. All six won $175.00 each and they were Nick Raptis of Portland, Roland Feng of Seattle, Michael Macgregor of Tacoma, Matthen Sellers of Michigan, Nathan Lee of Issaquah, WA and Paul Bartron of Tacoma. 42 players were in the Open Section.

47 players played in the Reserve Section and that ended in a two way tie at 5-1 between David Yoshinaga, Oregon Chess Federation President of Tigard and Takuma Saio-Duncan of Oregon. They won $295.00 each. This was the 61st time the event was held.

Gregoria Alpernas of Lake Oswego was the chief tournament director. The USCF Crosstable can be found on MSA and also find the crosstable provided by the sponsoring Portland Chess Club.
New York State Championship  

by Steve Immitt 

GM Aleksandr Stripunsky won clear first at the New York State Championship. As a New Jersey resident (like GM Joel Benjamin previously) he had to settle for the $2,000 first prize. Raven Sturt, who tied for 2nd-3rd with IM Bryan Smith ($750 each) gets his name on the State Championship trophy (along with a  $100 NY State Champion bonus prize), because, although he goes to college in Canada, he is still a New York City kid.

Below, Bill Townsend recounts some excitement Saturday night in Round 2 when GM Alexander Ivanov faced WGM Firuza Velikhanli. 

Under FIDE Rules, the TD would have probably given Ivanov the win on time on Move 38; under USCF Rules, Alex had to resume the game from move 42 (only to emerge victorious at the end of the next time scramble):

In this position, Ivanov called WGM Velikhanli's flag, which had been down since move 38, but he was too late as a subsequent reconstruction proved. The reconstructed game up to move 66 is courtesy of Dean Howard.  It took at least 20 more moves but Ivanov won with 10 seconds left on his clock. 


Bill will also be writing an article on the event in Empire Chess magazine and for his regular chess column in the Schenectady Gazette.

2012 Illinois Open
Bill Brock

144 players gathered in Oak Brook to compete for the 2012 Illinois Open title this past Labor Day weekend; Grandmasters Nikola Mitkov and Dmitry Gurevich each scored 5½-½ to share the title.  Mitkov's victims included NM Jonathan Kogen, NM Pete Karagianis, and NM Sam Schmakel; Gurevich beat nine-year-old FM Awonder Liang, NM Alexander Velikanov, and Tam Nguyen.  (This is the second time Tam was one game away from the state title: in 2000, he lost to GM Alexander Goldin in the last round: no mean feat for an expert!)  NM Tenzing Shaw took clear third with an undefeated 5-1 score.

Timothy Zhou won the Reserve Section with a 5½-½ score, and Jacob Zhou's 5-1 took clear first in the Booster Section.  

In Round 4, the hydraulic thermostat in the Open Section's tournament room began hissing loudly, and the TD staff quickly moved noise-sensitive players to another room. The hotel's building engineer repaired the leak quickly, making small talk with the remaining players as he did so: "I'm glad I'm not playing, I'm not very good at chess."  This breach of decorum aside, the Ilinois Chess Association extends its thanks to the speedy engineer, and its unreserved thanks to Wayne Clark, his staff, and the North American Chess Association for a smooth event.

Dmitry Gurevich had already won two tournaments in the past month: a share of the U.S. Open title and clear first in Indianapolis.  Facing his 12-year-old student Zhaozhi (George) Li in round 2, Dmitry wasn't afraid to take risks in order to win a third event:


1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 a6 3.Nf3 c5 4.d5 b5 5.a4 b4 6.Nbd2 g6 7.e4 d6 8.a5 Bg7 9.Bd3 0-0 10.0-0 e6 11.Re1 Ra7 12.Ra2 Re7 13.b3 Rfe8 14.h3 Nbd7 15.Bb2 Nh5 16.Bxg7 Kxg7 17.Qa1+ e5 18.Nf1 Nf4 19.Bc2 Nf6 20.Ne3
Gurevich writes, "Here I got too excited after seeing some beautiful checkmating variations."

After the game, Dmitry suggested 20...Rg8 with the idea of a slow but sure kingside breakthrough.
21.gxh3 Qc8 22.Nh2
In retrospect, Dmitry though that 22...Nxh3+, with more than sufficient compensation, would have been more prudent.

George avoids Dmitry's fantasy mates. 23.Kh1?? Ng4 and White can only choose which square to be mated on; or 23.f3? N6h5! 24.Qd1 and now 24...Qg2+! leads to a beautiful smothered mate.
23...h5 24.Qf3 Qc8 25.Qg3 h4 26.Qf3 Rh8 27.Kh1 Rh5 28.Rg1 Kf8 29.Bd1 Re8 30.Ng2! Kg7 31.Nxf4 exf4 32.Re2 Rhe5 33.Bc2 Nh5 34.Ng4 Rg5 35.Nh2 Rge5 36.Rg4!

George is not satisfied with a draw.
36...Qd8 37.Re1 Rh8 38.Qg2 Ng3+ 39.Kg1 Qf6 40.Nf3 Reh5 41.e5 dxe5 42.fxg3 hxg3 43.Be4 R8h6 44.Re2 Qd8
45.Bxg6! fxg6 46.Nxe5?
46.Rxe5! would have put Black on the ropes.
46...Qf6! 47.Qe4 Rh1+ 48.Qxh1 Rxh1+ 49.Kxh1 f3! 50.Re1 g2+ 0-1

On the adjoining board, I received a painful endgame lesson from a grandmaster.

GM Nikola Mitkov (2588) - William Brock (2097) [C24]

2012 Illinois Open
Position after 38...bxc6

I assumed that Black was slightly better based on king position. But rook activity and the a-pawn matter more!
39.Rb4! Rd8 40.Rb7+ Rd7 41.a6!

Surprisingly, Black is tied up. The modest king on h1 comes into play very quickly, and most pawn endings are won for White.
41...Kd6 42.Kg2
42.g4!? is another serious try for White.
42...c5 is the fastest way to untangle, but 43.g4 Kc6 44.Kf3 would then give White excellent winning chances.
43.Kf3 c5 44.Ke3 c4?

44...Kc6 was necessary.
45.f4! exf4+
45...Rd8 46.Rxa7 Rg8 47.fxe5+ Kxe5 48.Kf3 wins, as does 45...e4 46.Rxd7+ Kxd7 47.Kd4.
46.Kxf4 Rxb7 47.axb7 Kc7 48.Kxf5 c3 49.bxc3 1-0

Saint Louis District Champs
by Mike Kummer
New faces filled out the 64-player field at the Saint Louis District Championship over a wet Labor Day Weekend. With the addition of two new collegiate chess programs in the Saint Louis area, 12 local college students showed up looking to earn a paycheck. In all, there were 30 players of Class A strength or higher including IMs Priyadharshan Kannappan and Levan Bregadze of Lindenwood, and Cuban GM Fidel Corrales Jimenez of Webster University.

Corrales Jimenez held off the tag team efforts of Lindenwood University's top two boards to claim the district title on tiebreaks.

Find the full story on the STL Chess Club website.

Also see our first installment of Labor Day wrap-ups including the Southern California Open by Randy Hough and the Okie Chess Festival by Tom Braunlich.