Notes from Reno
By Josh Friedel   
October 8, 2006
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Hey everyone, Josh Friedel here blogging from the Western States Open in Reno, Nevada. This year I’m told it is somewhat smaller than usual, with only 56 total in the open section, including 12 GMs and 7 IMs. What most amazed me, however, is that I hardly heard of any of them. Does anyone know GMs EyeBraggamov, Meekaileevskye, or Kakachan? How about IMs Prowss, Frydel, Dayguz…

Anyhow, before I get more into the tournament, allow me to share a few things about what it took to get here. Going to Reno was a last minute decision, but I somehow managed to book a hotel (albeit 3 miles from the site), and find a ride in the form of Eugene “bandit” Yanayt. On his way to get me, he actually managed to rack up two speeding tickets within 40 minutes. (Cop: You got a ticket earlier today? Eugene: Yes Cop: So you decided to go faster?) Then on our way here, after taking a wrong exit, we found out that three lefts don’t make a right. In fact, it took about 16. However, after all this, I arrived at my hotel just after 1 am.

So the first round was scheduled for noon, and managed to only start about half an hour late. In the open section, there were actually no upsets, not even one measly draw. My own game lasted about half an hour, with my opponent castling into a crushing Bxh7 sac.


Instead of 12...0-0, allowing 13.Bxh7!,12...b4 13.Ne2 b3 14.0-0 Nb4 is normal. If 13...Kxh7 14.Ng5+ Kg6 (14...Kg8 15.Qh4 forces Qxg5 to prevent mate.))15.Qh4 threatens Qh7 mate, which is devastating. If 14...g6 instead off 14...f6, 15.Qh4 Kg7 16.Bxg6 Rh8 17.Bh5 wins easily, though it was the only way for Black to avoid mate.

The second round was a bit more eventful, though the only major upset was a crushing victory of Tate over Ivanov. Right now the third round is just finishing up. Enrico Sevillano (or is it Sayvilleeno?) is the only perfect score, thanks to a nice win against Aleks Stripunsky (Stripepunsky). There are several people half a point back, including myself after a complex draw as black against Ftacnik (you don’t even want to know).

Before I left, the only top game still going was Krachekov-Perelshteyn. Eugene has been the grinder of the tournament. He won the first round in a long queen ending, then couldn’t quite break down Danny Rensch in a pawn up queen and opposite bishop ending. Today, he’s at it again, grinding away in yet another queen ending. Last time I saw he had extra b and f pawns with nothing else, so I suspect he won’t have too much trouble winning this one.

Anyway, it should be interesting to see who tops the field, who will get the two qualifying spots, and how many more names will get horribly mispronounced. When any and all of these things happen, I’ll be the first to let you know.

The tournament website doesn't have game scores or results yet, but CLO will update you on that as soon as we can.