Chipkin and Ding are U.S. Amateur East Champs
By Al Lawrence   
June 1, 2011
Ding250.jpgAmateur champions, like grandmasters, come in all shapes and ages. The three-day 67th Annual Amateur East Championship just held in Somerset, New Jersey, reaffirmed that, as Leonard Chipkin, a 50-year-old attorney, tied for first with Kimberly Ding, an 11-year-old sixth-grader. And winners come with egos of all sizes. Chipkin reaffirmed that when he won on tie-breaks but showed himself to be a real champ off the board as well. He could have swaggered away with the sole championship laurels. Instead, he made a donation to the New Jersey State Chess Federation to pay for a matching trophy naming Ding equal co-champ.

"I'm proud to have tied with Kimberly Ding for first place," Chipkin said. "I am also glad that we've been declared co-champions, because it shows that both a 50-year-old and an 11-year-old can play competitively and enjoy the game. We drew a tough last round game with each other." Chipkin pressed Ding with the White pieces for most of the final game, but in the end agreed to a draw.

Chipkin200.jpgChipkin, formerly with the Nassau county D.A.'s office and now an attorney in private practice, had missed a winning continuation in his second-round game against Stephen Jablon and had to settle for a draw, while Ding, of Princeton, New Jersey, had taken a half-point bye in the same round.

Ding, a young player clearly on the way up, is sure to go on to other titles. It's the veteran Chipkin, a USCF member since 1973 and a member of the Nassau CC in Mineola, N.Y., for 25 years, who scored his breakthrough national title after a number of near-misses. "This is my third U.S. Amateur East," Chipkin said. "My first was 19 years ago, I think, when I was 4-0 going into the fifth round and lost to (now IM) Dean Ippolito." Last year Chipkin played but didn't place-and this year he nearly didn't play at all. "I took my first long vacation in many years, in California. I came back the weekend before the tourney ... I felt rusty. I'm very surprised I was able to play well."

"In the past I played on teams that finished third at the U.S. Amateur Team East," Chipkin said. He's twice gone 6-0 at that event, in which he hasn't lost a game in three years. And he's won three highly competitive expert prizes in the NYS Championship, plus two FIDE futurities. He also maintains a master rating in the International Correspondence Chess Federation.

Ding has been playing for only six years, but that is, after all, half of her life. Ding commuted to the U.S. Amateur East from her home in Princeton, N.J., every day. "I want to thank my parents for driving me what seemed like a thousand miles to compete in tournaments," she said. The multitalented Ding, who celebrated her 12th birthday the Wednesday after the event, is also very interested in mathematics and the violin. She's earned a spot to compete in the World Youth Chess Championships in Brazil in October.

Her score of 5.0 was good enough to give her brother Andrew clear first in the same championship last year, and it's a fairly safe bet that a brother and sister have never before scored back-to-back U.S. Amateur Championship titles. "My brother and I don't play games against each other any more," Kimberly said.

The USAE-the mother of all the regional Amateur Championships contested this Memorial Day weekend-was held in three major sections and offered three separate K-8 scholastic sections as well, attracting, in all, more than 130 players.

Rounding out the top five in the forty-seven-player Championship (under-2200) section were Joel Pena (N.J.), Michael Pappaceno (N.Y.), and Alice Dong (N.J.).  George Maxfield (N.J.) captured the senior title, while Doran Race (N.J.) took the under-2000 trophy, Phil Hepler won best under-1900 and Matthew Lim was top under-1850. Eve Zhurbinskiy (NJ) won best under age 16. Naren Prasanna (N.J.) had the best score for players under 13.

Donnally Miller (N.J.) won clear first in the 36-player Reserve (under-1800) section with a score of 5-1. Michael O'Connor (N.J.) and Joseph Criscuolo (N.J.), both with 4.5, finished second and third. (Criscuolo entered the event with a rating of only 1388!) Heiang Cheung and Christoper Moravek, both of Pennsylvania, placed fourth and fifth, each with four points.

Charles Kirck (NJ) won the 16-player Booster (under-1400) section with five points, followed by Wesley Wang (N.Y.), Ernest Wang (N.Y.), and Alexander Xue (N.J.) at four points and Ellexis Cook (N.J.) with 3.5.

A complete list of winners, all of whom took home trophies, follows, as well as games from the event.

The national championship was sponsored by the New Jersey Chess Federation and organized by Ken Thomas. Aaron Kiedes, and Noreen and Richard Davisson directed. "They honored me with the title of Chief Organizer," Thomas said, "but they really did all the work." But Thomas told me that after 11 p.m. on Monday, while he was doing follow-up paperwork. The hotel, the Holiday Inn Somerset, is a new and upgraded site for NJSCF, with comfortable rooms, free wifi, two restaurant choices (and others nearby), and an accommodating staff.

Co-champ Chipkin summed it up this way: "I could go on and on about the perfect demeanor and behavior of all the juniors in the tournament. They should all be commended on their exemplary behavior in the tournament room. The directing staff was also top notch. Every round started on time; there were no disputes that I saw. It was a perfect event!"



Round 4
In this game, co-champion Chipkin meets one of his chief rivals, who plays a provocative opening, ignoring classical advice to develop and castle quickly. Chipkin keeps a cool head, developing and organizing his own army before launching an attack. The position after move 19 shows the success of his restraint. He then goes on to dissect Black's position.
1. d4 Nf6 2. e3 e6 3. Bd3 b6 4. f4 Bb7 5. Nf3 c5 6. c3 d6 7. Qe2 Nbd7 8. e4 cxd4
8. ... Be7 9. 0-0 (9. e5 Nd5 10. 0-0 0-0) 9. ... 0-0 looks approximately equal.
9. cxd4 Rc8 10. Nc3 Be7 11. 0-0 Nf8.
This move gives White a big, early plus. Instead, ... 0-0, playing for ... e5, keeps White's advantage from gaining too much steam too quickly.
12. Kh1
White wants, very reasonably, to eliminate the chance of an inconveniently timed check on the a7-g1 diagonal. Another way is 12. f5, to try to pry open lines immediately, while Black's king is stuck in a clog in the center.
12. ... N6d7
Black's two-knight tango approaches a rope-a-dope strategy. His best is probably simply to undo his previous move, despite the loss of tempo. After the text move, many White players would bang away with 13. d5 or 13. f5, playing to open up lines for the attack before Black can assemble a reasonable deployment. A more wait-and-see approach is to develop White's dark-square bishop. Chipkin chooses this path.
13. Be3 Bf6?
Again, Black seems better off with 13. ... Nf6. His game move puts the bishop on a worse square, where it can be easily attacked by White with further gain of tempo.
14. e5
Certainly a tempting move, and one that keeps a winning advantage. But we have to wonder how Black would have tried to deal with 14. Nb5!. The d6-pawn has to be protected, and the a7-pawn will disappear.
14. ... dxe5 15. fxe5
Recapturing with 15. dxe5 and following up with 16. Rad1 is strong and natural. The text move is winning as well.
15. ... Be7 16. Ne4
White's choice maintains a winning game, so it's a good move. But 16. Nb5! remains beguiling.
For example: 16. ... a6 (16. ... h6 17. Nxa7; 16. ... Ng6 17. Ng5 Bxg5 18. Nd6+ Kf8 19. Nxf7) 17. Ng5 Bxg5 (17. ... h6 18. Nxf7 is crushing). 18. Nd6+ Ke7 19. Rxf7#.
16. ... Bxe4 17. Bxe4 Ng6 18. Rac1 Rxc1 19. Rxc1 0-0
So Black gets to castle and material is even. But the game isn't. White has the bishop pair, much more space, a grip on e5, ownership of the c-file, and all of his pieces are active. It's difficult to find moves for Black as the game goes on. 
20. Qc4 a5 21. Qb5 Re8 22. Bb7 Ngf8 23. Rc8 Qxc8 24. Bxc8 Rxc8 25. h3
Another prophylactic move, like 12. Kh1-this time preventing all threats of back-rank mate. 
25. ... h6 26. Bd2 Rc7
If  26. ... Rc2 27. Bc3 cuts off Black's most powerful piece from the rest of his army.
27. b4 axb4 28. Bxb4 Bxb4 29. Qxb4 Ra7 30. a4 Rc7 31. Kh2 Rc2 32. Nd2 Rc8 33. Nc4! Rb8 34. Qe7!
White has the chess equivalent of MMA's rear naked choke. An upcoming Nd6 will threaten f6. Black's knights are awkwardly ineffective. That's often the case when they are "defending" each other. 
34. ... f6 35. Nd6 fxe5 36. dxe5
The quickest kill is 36. Qf7+! Kh8 37. d5!! Ra8 (37. ... exd5 38. Nf5) 38. dxe6.
36. ... Nxe5 37. Ne8
37. Nf5! prevents the defense noted below.
The white knight attacks g7 from f5, where, paradoxically, White's horseman is attacked by the pawn but doesn't require protection from the queen: 37. ... Nf7 38. Qa7 Rd8 39. Ne7+ Kh8 40. Nc6 Rc8 (40. ... Rd7 41. Qxb6) 41. Qxf7.
37. ... Rxe8?
37. ... Nf7 offers stiffer resistance.
38. Qxe8 Ned7 39. Qd8 Kf7 40. Kg3 e5 41. Qc7 Ke6 42. Qc6+ Ke7 43. Kf3 g6 44. Ke4 Ne6 45. g3 h5 46. Kd5 Nef8 47. Qd6+ Ke8 48. Kc6 Kd8 49. h4 Ke8 50. Kc7 Kf7
Black reaches time control and resigns. White intends 51. Kd8, when Black's defense collapses. A self-controlled and accurate game from the co-champ!


Round 5

In a complex, exciting and fighting game, chances swing back and forth, depending at times on some very hard-to-calculate shots. But when given a chance in the ending to force the win, co-champion Ding puts it away.
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 Be7 8. Qf3 Qc7 9. Be2 Nbd7 10. f5 e5 11. Nb3 b5 12. a3 Bb7 13. Be3 Nb6 14. Nd2 Rc8 15. g4 h6 16. h4
White's position is aggressive, but Black's position is sturdy. He has a theoretical plus. The game is, however, wild.
16. ... d5
Black makes the textbook response to an attack on the wing-a counter in the center.
17. Bxb6 Qxb6 18. exd5 Qc5
This hands White back an approximately even game. A gutsy but thematic 18. ... Rxc3! would give Black a winning but still complex position, and the line is certainly hard to calculate over the board. 
Here are a few of Rybka's "thoughts":  19. Qxc3 (19. bxc3 Nxd5 20. Ne4 0-0 21. g5 Nxc3 22. f6 Bxe4 23. Qxc3 Bc5) 19. ... Nxd5 20. Qb3 Ne3 21. Bf3 Nxc2+ 22. Qxc2 Qe3+ 23. Kf1 Bxf3 24. Re1 Qf4 25. Nxf3 Qxf3+ 26. Kg1 Qxg4+ 27. Qg2 Bc5+ 28. Kh2 Qxh4+.
It would also take a steady nerve and faith in your defensive technique to play the second-best move: 18. ... 0-0 19. 0-0-0 Rfd8 20. Nce4 Nxe4 21. Nxe4 Bxd5.
19. Nb3 Bxd5 20. Nxc5 Bxf3 21. Bxf3 Rxc5
21. ... Bxc5 seems more natural.
22. 0-0-0 0-0
22. ... Rc7 or 22. ... Nd7 holds White to a smaller advantage.
23. g5! Ne8 24. Ne4! Rc7 25. Rh3 a5 26. Rg1
26. Rd5!
26. ... Kh7 27. Nc3 b4 28. Nd5 Ra7 29. Nxe7! Rxe7 30. axb4 axb4 31. Be4
31. Rg4 seems the way to keep an advantage; for example:  31. ... b3 32. Bd5 bxc2 33.Bxf7.
31. ... Ra7 32. Kd2 Nd6
Black looks no worse at this stage.
33. g6+ Kh8 34.Bd5 Nxf5 35. Bxf7 Nd6 36. Bb3 Rd7 37. Ke3 Rf4 38. Ke2 Nf5 39. h5?
This intuitive move to bolster the g-pawn allows Black the strong variation given in the note below. 39. Ra1, threatening mate, was best.
39. ... Nd4+
39. ... Re4! looks to be winning:
40. Kf3 (40. Kf2 Rd2+ 41. Kf1 Rd1+ 42. Kf2 Rf4+ 43. Rf3 Rxf3+ 44. Kxf3 Rxg1) 40.  ... Re3+ 41. Kg4 Rd4+ 42. Kxf5 Rxh3 43. Kxe5 Rd8
40. Ke3 Nxb3 41. cxb3 Kg8 42. Rc1 Kf8 43. Rc4 Ke7 44. Rxf4 exf4+ 45. Kxf4 Rd2 46. Re3+ Kf6 47. Re4 Rf2+
47. ... Rh2!
48. Kg4
48. Kg3
48. ... Rg2+ 49. Kh3 Rxb2 50. Rxb4 Rd2?
50. ... Kg5!
51. Kg4!
Now White closes down the show.
51. ... Rg2+ 52. Kf4 Rf2+ 53. Kg3 Rd2 54. Rb6+ Kg5 55. Rb5+ Kf6 56. Kf4 Rf2+ 57. Ke4 Re2+ 58. Kd5 Kg5 59. Kd6+ Kg4 60. b4 Re4 61. Kd5 Re1 62. Kc6 Re6+ 63. Kb7 Kh4 64. Rc5 Re4 65. b5 Re7+ 66. Ka6


U2200 Section

1-2. Chipkin, Leonard
1-2. Ding, Kimberly (tied)

3. Pena, Joel
4. Pappaceno, Michael
5. Dong, Alice
Maxfield, George
U2000. Race, Doran
U1900. Hepler, Phil
1850. Lim, Matthew
Age 16. Zhurbinskiy, Eve
Age 13. Prasanna, Naren

U1800 Section

1. Miller, Donnally

2. O'connor, Michael
3. Criscuolo, Joseph
4. Goldsmith, Josh
5. Moravek, Christopher
Senior. Sturniolo, Louis
U1600. Muth, John
U1500. Rouse, Tevin
Age 16. Riddell, Connor
Age 13. Umapathy, Yuvik

U1400 Section

1. Kirck, Charles

2. Wang, Ernest
3. Xue, Alexander
4. Wang, Wesley
5. Cook, Ellexis
Senior. Danko, Steven
Xue, Christopher
Cook, John
Zhang, Samuel
U900.  Chaplin, David
Age 16.
Alla, Anoop
Age 13.
Ravishankar, Rakshasa 

K-8, U1200

Tse, Jacqueline

K-8, U900

Iyer, Tanishq
Vejju, Revanth

K-8, U600

Kini, Nimai
Puskuri, Jay

Look for Al Lawrence's Chess Life Magazine article on the May 24th Bobby Fischer Against the World Screening, which was just covered on CLO by the US Chess Scoop. Coming soon to CLO: A wrap-up of the US Amateur West.