National Open Begins
By J.Shahade/B.Dynako   
June 7, 2008
Gata Kamsky in round two. Photo Betsy Dynako

The second round of the National Open featured a series of junior vs. top GM match-ups and a brief blackout. At 7 PM, the lights went off for ten minutes, forcing an intermission of sorts as most players stopped their clocks. On board one, Canadian teenager Eric Hansen faced off against Gata Kamsky. Gata chose the Kan defense and scored a positional victory. After the game, Hansen said that he felt he was happy with the way he played, because he had made no major mistakes. However, he and Gata and agreed after the game that allowing the trade of the light squared-bishop led to easy play for Black. Hansen could also have avoided losing a queen for a rook and a piece with Qd2, but then Black plays Nb4.


Hikaru Nakamura. Photo Betsy Dynako

Hikaru Nakamura played on board two, back to back with Gata: an image of the top of American chess. Hikaru won his game in an opposite style from Gata, blitzing through James Schyuler with a brutal attack. Watch how easy the victory is for Nakamura after he gains the kingside majority with 13.Bxf6, 14. b3 and 15. e4.


The first game to finish on the top boards, 16-year-old Samuel Shankland admited that he got crushed by GM Tigran Petrosian. This was a new opening choice for Samuel and he was confused by Tigran's unusual move order (7.O-O instead of 7.Bb3.)


Olympic gold medalist Daniel Naroditsky drew against Sergey Erenburg of Israel. Erenburg is now attending University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Daniel Naroditsky and GM Sergey Erenburg. Photo Betsy Dynako

 Incoming Stanford freshman Elliot Liu lost to IM Ben Finegold. Finegold said that Liu "played better than me" but was in severe time pressure between moves 30 and 40, and eventually fell apart.


IM Ben Finegold at the National Open Chess Camp. Photo Betsy Dynako

It is too early to say much about the overall standings, as 13 players are undefeated with 2-0. Check out the full standings on the official website , which also includes the results of the Under sections and the Susan Polgar World Open for Boys and Girls.

Tournament director and Fide Arbiter Walter Brown was honored by co-organizer Al Losoff for his years of work at the National Open.

Walter Brown receives a plaque from Al Losoff. Photo Betsy Dynako

Betsy Dynako captured some of the action from the first two rounds on video: