Labor Day Roundup Part II: GM Melik Annotates; Antal Tops Southwest
September 10, 2009
The second installment of CLO's labor day round-up includes reports from the Southern California Open (featuring annotations by "GM Melik"), the Southwest Open in Dallas, the Florida State Championships, the Illinois Open and more! Enjoy and also check out our first round-up with analysis by IM Dean Ippolito and FM Alec Getz.

Southern California Open

The 31st Annual Southern California Open, held at the Crowne Place Hotel in San Diego September 5-7, saw a slightly disappointing turnout of 131, but the strength of the top section, with three GMs and three IMs, made up for it. 

GM Jesse Kraai

Tying for first were GM Melisket Khachiyan, GM Alejandro Ramirez, and master Evgeny Shver, with Khachiyan taking the State Championship title of tiebreak. All three scored 5-1, but their paths to the top were quite different. Ramirez, in clear first, was committed to a last round bye.


Shver scored a startling upset of GM Jesse Kraai, in a game that went the full six hours.


And Khachiyan, on first board, was almost overshadowed by his victim, 11-year-old Kayden Troff. Troff, rated only 2100, had previously upset an IM and two masters, losing only to Khachiyan and Ramirez. A future master? Sure looks like it! Khachiyan told CLO, " I am impressed by Kayden Troff. He is obviously very talented. He is a good tactician and has a bright future."  Khachiyan said that he had a hard time in the start of the event, and was in trouble against Elliott Liu. However, he was happy with the quality of his final two games, which he annotates below. For more about Melik go to his official website.

Other section winners included Esteban Escobedo (Premier), Reneray Valdez (Amateur), Sven Myrin (Reserve), and Leonard De Leon (Booster). John Hillery directed for the sponsoring San Diego Chess Club- John Hillery

Tournament co-winner GM Melikset Khachiyan and 11-year-old Kayden Troff faced off in the final round.

annotations by Melikset Khachiyan

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bg5 Bg7 4.Nbd2 0–0 5.e3 d5 6.Bd3 c5 7.c3 Qb6 8.Rb1 Nc6 9.0–0 e5

An old line. Believe it or not, but I analyzed this position in the early 1980s,when I I was about the same age as my opponent who just turned 11? Wow! The point of Black's system is to pressure the d4 pawn and force White to give up control of it.
10.Bxf6 Bxf6 11.e4 Be6 12.exd5 Bxd5 13.Be4 Rfd8 14.Bxd5 Rxd5 15.Ne4 Be7 16.c4 Rdd8 17.d5 f5 It's just a possible line. I had faced 10.Bxf6 a couple times, but I don't think Black has any problems there.
10...Nxe5 11.dxe5 Ng4 12.Nf3 Nxe5 13.Nxe5 Bxe5 14.Bc2
 I think much better was for White to strike right away with 14.f4 followed by f5. White is playing a kind of safe chess.
The only move which gives Black an opportunity for an edge.
I think it's better to send the bishop to f3, for instance 15.Qd2 with the idea of Bd1-f3. This way (with 15. Qf3) is too passive.
15...Be6 16.Bb3 c4 17.Bc2 Qa5!
By using tactical ideas Black forces White's pieces into bad positions.
18.a3 d4!
18...Rfe8 19.Bb4 Qc7

Otherwise White could face a trouble after a5 and b5.
 20.a4 a5 21.Ba3 Rad8 22.h3?
 White is absolutely ignoring Black's threats. He should play 22.Rfd1 to keep some pressure on d5 pawn,  not allowing Black to relocate his bishop.
22...Bd7! 23.Ra1 Bc6

Decisive maneuver. Now all Black's pieces are doing great, and I don't think White has a chance to survive.
24.Qg4 b6 25.Rfe1 f5 26.Qd1 Qb7 27.g3 Re6
 There is no hurry. Black simply improves his position by increasing pressure on the d-file, waiting for the right moment to play d4.
28.Kh2 Rde8 29.Qd2 Bf6
The idea is to attack the h4 square. I wanted to play Qc7 and then h5. And also I prepared a hidden trap, which White missed.
30.b4 Qg7!
The game is over.
31.Bxf5 gxf5 32.Rec1 Be5 33.Ra2 Rh6 34.f4 Rxh3+ 0–1

annotations by Melikset Khachiyan

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.Be2 Nf6 7.0–0 Nc6 8.Be3 d6 9.a4 Be7 10.Nb3 b6 11.f4 Bb7 12.Bf3 0–0 13.Qe2 Rfe8
13...Rab8 14.g4 Rfe8 15.g5 Nd7 16.Bg2 Bf8 17.Rf3 Na5 18.Rh3 g6 19.Rf1 Bg7 20.Qf2 Rbc8 21.Nd2 is the official theory. Obviously I knew the line with g4,but I had very difficult time at the tournament, and had already decided to play more secure. After 13...Rfe8,14.g4 is also possible, transposing to the game in the previous line, but as I mentioned before, I wasn't willing to play that way.
14.Rad1 Bf8 15.Bf2
This is one of the forgotten ideas in this type of position. White is trying to support the e5 move, by moving a bishop from e3 to g3. e4-e5 is one of the most important ideas for White in these positions.
I would prefer here Nd7 with the idea to move a knight to c5.
16.Bg3 Ne7 17.e5 dxe5 18.fxe5 Nd7 19.Ne4 Nf5 20.Nd6 Nxg3 21.hxg3 Bxf3 22.Rxf3 Bxd6 23.exd6

After a series of forced moves, White gets a very strong pawn on d6,which will give him a little edge.
I believe Qa7 was stronger with the idea to strike with b5.
24.Rd4 b5 25.Rc3 Qb6 26.a5 Qa7 27.Qf2!
After some thought, I figured out how to get an advantage: I just need to trade a few pieces, especially a queen, and knight. And it all comes from controlling the c5 square, and that's why I started the trading operation.
Another dubious move. I preferred 27...Rec8 with idea to meet 28.Rdd3 with 28...Qxf2 and 29... Ne5. Black had chances to fight for equality.
28.Rdd3 Qxf2+ 29.Kxf2 e5?

Black's last chance was 29...Kf8.Now Black simply cannot hold the position.
30.Rc7 Rcd8 31.Nc5
The simplest way. I knew 31.Ra6 probably stronger, but 31.Nc5 is simpler.
 31...Nxc5 32.Rxc5 Kf8 33.Rc6 e4 34.Rd5 e3+ 35.Ke2 Re6 36.Rxa6
The game is over.
36...Rg6 37.Kxe3 Re8+ 38.Kf4 Rf6+ 39.Rf5 Rfe6 40.Ra7 Re4+ 41.Kf3 Re3+ 42.Kg4 f6 43.Rxb5 Re1 44.Re7 R8xe7 45.dxe7+ Kxe7 46.b4 Rf1 47.Rb7+ Ke6 48.Rxg7 h6 49.a6 1–0

Southwest Open in Dallas

Southwest Open Champ, IM Gergely Antal, Photo Julie Merriam
The 75th Annual Southwest Open, held at the DFW Marriott Airport South, Fort Worth, Texas, had 160 players in attendance and the strongest field in many years, if not ever, with two GMs and six IMs leading the way. 

In the Open Division, IM Gergely Antal continued his hot streak and took home the $1,500 first prize as the outright winner!  Just last month in Indianapolis, Gergely finished in a tie for seventh place at the US Open and also won the Tournament of College Champions.  The fifth seeded Antal must have felt like he was back in Indianapolis at the Collegiate event, as the top 11 seeds were players from the “big three” Texas college chess programs:  UT-Dallas, UT-Brownsville and Texas Tech.  This event, however, was much stronger than the Collegiate Championship in Indianapolis.  It would have had even more collegiate players but several of the UTB players went to a chess tournament in Mexico while some of the UTD students played in Oklahoma.

Although there were a few quick draws among the top players, the last round was highly contested.  On Board One, the game between IM Davorin Kuljasevic from Tech and GM Timur Gareev from UTB did end in a draw, but it was a hard-fought game.


A Bishop-Rook-Pawn ending for both sides forced the outcome.  That allowed Davorin to take home the $800 second place prize while Timur had to settle for only one-tenth of that for his tie for third. 

IM Davorin Kuljasevic vs. GM Timur Gareev, Photo Julie Merriam

Antal, also from Texas Tech, took advantage of the draw on the top board, and defeated John Bryant from UTD on Board two. 


On Board Three, however, UTD reversed the tables on Tech as IM Julio Sadorra defeated the second-seeded IM Gabor Papp.  This year’s Texas State Champion IM Daniel Fernandez from UTB must have been a little bit surprised as he sat across 9-year old Expert Tommy He on Board Four!

  Jarod Pamatmat and Tommy He, Photo Luis Salinas

Tommy, the top 9-year old in the country, had a great event and raised his rating by 45 points to 2110. 


Daniel, however, quickly overcame his shock and went on to beat his young opponent to tie for third with Gareev, Sadorra, GM Amon Simutowe and IM Daniel Ludwig, the last two also from UTD.   Amon and Daniel had to do some college work, so they took last round byes.
GM Amon Simutowe vs. GM Timur Gareev, Julie Merriam

In the Reserve Division (U2000), Phung Nguyen finished with a perfect 7-0 and pocketed the $1,000 first place prize. 


Phung Nguyen had a perfect score in the reserve section, Julie Merriam
Leo Bonnell and Ruifeng Li, the top 7-year old in the Nation, tied for second place with 5.5 points.  Leo was awarded the $500 second prize while Ruifeng earned $600 as the top Class B while raising his rating to 1861!  In the Novice Division (U1400), we had a three-way tie between Adam Drake, Anthony Nguyen and Frank Rilling, each with 5.5 points and each earning $433.     

The organizers also held a one-day scholastic side event that drew 81 players in two divisions.  We had a three-way tie in the K-12 Championship between Kevin Li, Elizabeth Ukoli and Venkat Tejah Kotta.  David Howe won the K-12 U750.

The event was sponsored by the Texas Chess Association and organized by Luis Salinas and Barbara Swafford from the Dallas Chess Club.  Lori Balkum and Binny Nanavati directed the scholastic tournament and Lori assisted me in the main event. 

For rated results, see the USCF MSA.

-Francisco Guadalupe

Illinois Open

IM Florin Felecan & GM Mesgen Amanov tied for first (5-1) at the 2009 Illinois Open, held September 5-7 in Oak Brook. The co-champions drew with each other & with GM Dmitry Gurevich. Gurevich also gave up a draw to IM Angelo Young and finished equal third (4.5-1.5) with Gopal Menon.

The event was smoothly organized & directed by Tim Just & Wayne Clark. See the USCF MSA here.

Here's a game from each of the winners:

Megsen Amanov defeated U.S. Junior Open champ and U.S. Open hero, Eric Rosen:


Bill Brock gave his thoughts on his loss against IM Florin Felecan.


Felecan thought that 10.g4 was more critical. After 10.Be3, he avoided 10…Nh5, which he felt was objectively best, because he felt it would lead to a blocked position after 10.Nd2 Nf4 11.Bf1 followed by eviction with 12.g3.  He said that 15.Nd2 was a bit passive and that 17.Bd3 was where I began to lose the thread.  23…Nd7! was the cruncher and the exchange sack was an efficient finish.

The Illinois Chess Bulletin will include analysis of the following nice Dmitry Gurevich win over Michael Auger.


North American Chess Association founder Sevan Muradian got a chance to take off his organizer's cap and play! Here is one of his games:


Florida State Championships

Surprising nobody, top seed Julio Becerra took clear first at the Florida State Championship in Miami with an impressive 7.5/9 score. But it was hardly a foregone conclusion: Local GM Renier Gonzalez and a slew of strong young players gave chase until the very end.
Early on, NM Ernesto Alvarez raced to a share of first with some impressive upsets.



Alas, Ernesto was halted in round four by the eventual tournament winner. In the meantime, GM Renier Gonzalez made a late appearance at the Hyatt, choosing to play in the 3-day section. By the last round, Gonzalez had 6/8, just half a point behind Becerra (6.5/8). The two Cuban-American GMs were paired with strong young IMs in the decisive final round.

This time, the established order held firm. First, Sam Shankland was unlucky to fall into an opening trap against Renier’s Delayed Exchange Ruy Lopez.


This temporarily pushed Renier into clear first, as he finished the tournament with 7/9. In the meantime Becerra, with 6.5/8 going into the last round, went straight into a mainline Najdorf against  Mackenzie Molner. Julio prevailed with a sacrificial attack, retaining the title of state champion he won last year.

As usual, Blas Lugo did an excellent job as organizer. Jesus Suarez and Jorge Luis Diaz were also instrumental in making things run smoothly. See the final crosstable here, and note that IM Marc Arnold passes 2500 USCF for the first time with his solid 6.5/9 finish.
- Matan Prilleltensky

Clutch Game From the New York States

The New York States was covered in our first Labor Day round up, but we recently received the last round game between GMs Giorgi Kacheishvili and Joel Benjamin, in which Giorgi successfully held a draw to claim the title on tiebreak.


Labor Day Chess Festival in San Francisco

The annual Labor Day Festival drew 154 players, including 8 masters, to the Holiday Inn in San Francisco on Van Ness.  Considering the economy and the closure of the Bay Bridge, this was quite respectable.  IM Ricardo DeGuzman dominated the field with six straight wins, including convincing games over FM Steven Zierk plus NMs Mike Pearson and Andy Lee.  Zierk took second place at 4.5/6 while Lee tied for third with NM Jimmy Heiserman, both at 4.0.  Incidentally, DeGuzman did not earn the official title of state champion, as CalChess moved the championship to Thanksgiving weekend. See the MSA here. - Michael "f-pawn" Aigner
Maryland Quick, Blitz, and Action Championships

One of the most anticipated events of the year for Maryland chessplayers was the Maryland Quick, Blitz, and Action Championships where one can play a total of 24 games over two days!  The Quick event was won in impressive fashion by IM Enkhbat Tegshuren, who was the lone competitor to suffer no losses, while FM Shinsaku Uesugi, FM Boris Zisman, and experts Jared Defibaugh and Kevin Wang tied for 2nd overall.  The Blitz event fielded 14 competitors and experts Jared Defibaugh and Andrew Tichenor battled it out in the final round for the blitz title with Defibaugh winning the event with a spectacular 9/10 while Tichenor finished clear second with 8/10. 

Poor weather did not deter 36 players from competing in the Action event on Monday and FM Ralph Zimmer won the event by defeating GM Sergey Erenburg along the way.  GM Erenberg finished in clear second while fellow Baltimore Kingfishers IM Tegshuren, Harris and Defibaugh were near the top of the crosstables.  The event was directed by the always-reliable duo of Wilbert Brown and Sathish Nath and the event was enjoyed by all- Andy Tichenor


88 players participated in the Ohio Chess Congress at the Dayton Chess Club. Tied for first with 5/6 where Kristopher Meekins and Matthew Marsh. See crosstable here.


At the 63rd Annual Tennessee Open, held in USCF headquarters in Crossville, Ron Burnett, Patrick John Tae and David Alan Justice tied for first with 4/5. See the full crosstable here.

Virginia Closed Championships

Andrew Samuelson won the State title at the Virginia Closed Championships. Samuelson told CLO that his best game was this win over Daniel Miller:


Meanwhile, Ernie Schlich went 6-0 to win Amateur Title. Ernie's favorite game was against Jerome Mueller:

"Unfortunately, many of the kids were all off to school or something so the open section was not quite as strong as in previous years. Abby Marshall, & Adithya Balasubramanian were some of the notable juniors were missing", Ernie told CLO, "I can understand the desire of some adults to avoid the kids, as you never know what type of game they will show up with. Personally, I think it's fun to play the up and coming chess players. If I win, not only do I feel a sense of accomplishment, I also have the opportunity to say I beat so and so without saying when. I keep teasing GM Josh Friedel about his loss to me many years ago. Fortunately for me, young kids sometime tend toward a weakness in the endgame."

So to all the kids going back to school after a weekend of Labor Day chess madness, stuff an endgame manual in your bookbag. We'll see you at 2010's Labor Day chess events, when you'll probably all be 100-200 points higher rated!

Click here for the first installment of CLO's Labor Day Roundup, which included annotations by IM Ippolito and FM Getz.