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UTD GM Invitational won by GM Parimarjan Negi

4/2/2013 – USA’s collegiate chess is on the rise. GMs are flocking to America to study and improve their chess skills, at the forefront is the University of Texas at Dallas, recently hosting the strong UTD Spring Invitational. The 40 player swiss attracted prospective students from India, Spain and Azerbaijan to measure their chess skills against UTD's team. Full standings and pictures inside.
 

University of Texas at Dallas Invitational attracts young GMs from Around the Globe

Continuing their tradition of providing their players with the best sparring possible, as well as aggressively recruiting stronger players every year, the University of Texas at Dallas in conjunction with sponsors Turner Construction Company organized the UTD GM Spring Invitational from March 8th-13th.

UTD has become one of the leading research universities not only in the state of Texas, but in all of the United States.  It is currently in the path of becoming a Tier One research university, and it boasts four members of the National Academies and a Nobel laureate as part of their faculty members.  In recent years, UTD has strongly boosted many of its academic schools; the Naveen Jindal School of Management’s Master’s in Business Administration programs have climbed to the top 20 in many well-known rankings.  The Arts and Technology department will be opening a new building later this year, the cost of it being well over $60 million.  UTD was one of only four Texas universities to be in the top 200 world-wide, according to Times Higher Education, a UK based publication.

Alumn Dmitri Schneider was a guest of honor, and explained how he managed his jump to Wall Street from the UTD Chess Team

Chess has also improved tremendously not only in UTD, that is soon to be expanding and improving their chess-based scholarships, but in all of the United States.  Highly prized tournaments are becoming more and more popular, while the competition grows increasingly fierce; this is largely because of the generous opportunities provided by institutions such as UTD, since young and promising players can come to America to pursue both chess and academia.

This year’s event was hosted in preparation for the upcoming Final Four of Collegiate Chess, one of the two most important collegiate tournaments in the United States.  The other one, the Pan-American Collegiate Chess Championship, was won by UTD ahead of rivals Webster University, Texas Tech, Harvard, Princeton and many others.  The player’s started with a nice warm-up at the newest jewel of Dallas culture: the Perot Museum of Natural Science.  This beautiful location hosted a 5-round blitz tournament.


One of the permanent exhibitions of the museum, probably interested in Negi's blitz moves

At the end of the day it was yours truly that won the blitz tournament, but the festivities had just started.

Still winning a game here and there, author GM Ramirez receiving the first place blitz trophy from Glenn Anderson, executive director at Turner Construction - the tournament's sponsor.

The main event was the nine-round Swiss held at the Embassy Suites in Dallas.  The top players included GM Negi, fresh from tying for first in the extremely strong Cappelle-la-Grande open in France, rival GM Zherebukh who now attends Texas Tech University (maybe in as a spy to learn UTD tricks?!) and GM Macieja, current coach of UTD’s sister university, UT-Brownsville. 

The tournament also had, of course, the UTD A and B team: mainly GMs Chirila, Yotov, Sadorra, Holt and IM Pavlovic: the team that won the Pan-American in December.  The ‘low’ rated players were specially invited because of their young age and extraordinary talent, and included 2013 US Championship participants Sarah Chiang, Samuel Sevian, Kayden Troff (the last two who are the current World Champions in their age categories) and also young Jeffrey Xiong, who at his twelve years of age already has two IM norms.

Here are two very impressive highlights of the fighting chess exhibited at the tournament:

[Event "UTD Turner GM Invitational 2013"] [Site "Richardson USA"] [Date "2013.03.11"] [Round "6"] [White "Sadorra, J."] [Black "Berczes, D."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D30"] [BlackElo "2526"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "2q2r1k/7p/2pR1ppP/p1n1p3/1bB5/4PQB1/1P3PP1/6K1 b - - 0 27"] [PlyCount "10"] [EventDate "2013.03.09"] 27... Ne4 {A strange position has arisen. White could retreat his rook to d1, but it is unlikely that he will have enough compensation for the sacrificed pawn.} 28. Re6 $1 {The start of a brilliant concept.} Ng5 (28... Nxg3 29. Qxg3 Qc7 30. Qf3 $14 {is very unpleasant, as White recovers his pawn and retains an attack.}) 29. Qxf6+ $1 {The point!} Rxf6 30. Rxf6 {A wonderful position. Black is not in check, and is up a full queen against a rook. However, he is against the ropes as the weak king allows White's pair of bishops to create threats that are almost impossible to parry. Black has a study like defense can you find it? Berczes was not up to the task with his clock ticking the few remaining seconds left that he had.} Qe8 $2 31. Rxc6 $1 {The rook is taboo, because of Bxe5 and checkmate. It is also threatening to sacrifice itself on c8!} Bf8 32. Rc8 {A spectacular game but tournament co-winner Sadorra.} 1-0
[Event "UTD Turner GM Invitational 2013"] [Site "Richardson USA"] [Date "2013.03.11"] [Round "6"] [White "Zherebukh, Y."] [Black "Troff, Kayden W"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B90"] [WhiteElo "2623"] [BlackElo "2407"] [PlyCount "64"] [EventDate "2013.03.09"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. f3 Be7 9. Qd2 O-O 10. O-O-O Nbd7 11. g4 b5 {The World u-14 Champion is not afraid to enter an extremely sharp game against renouned GM Zherebukh, who is also quite young. This quickly pays off handsomely!} 12. g5 b4 13. Ne2 Ne8 14. f4 a5 15. f5 Bxb3 16. cxb3 a4 17. Ng3 {A new move, and one that you will not see repeated many times. The main line is bxa4.} axb3 18. axb3 d5 $1 {Very powerful play! Black blasts open the center to activate his pieces. The e8 knight wants to go to d6, where it hits the c4 square - the only thing preventing White from being checkmated quickly is the interference of a bishop in that key square.} 19. f6 $1 {Posing as many problems as possible, White counterattacks.} Bc5 20. fxg7 Nxg7 21. exd5 Qb6 {Black is down a pawn, but the initiative is on his side. Despite the fact that White could start an attack of his own very quickly, he will not be allowed to as Black beings to make threat by threat until the end of the game.} 22. Bxc5 Nxc5 23. Qe3 Ra2 24. Re1 (24. Bc4 Rxb2 $1 {was the point of Ra2.}) 24... Rc8 25. Kb1 Qg6+ $1 {The rook is taboo.} 26. Ne4 Nf5 27. Nf6+ (27. Qxc5 Rxc5 28. Nxc5 Ra5 {was absolutely hopeless, so Zherebukh tries some tricks.}) 27... Kh8 28. Bd3 Nxd3 29. Qxd3 Rca8 30. Rxe5 Ra1+ 31. Kc2 Rc8+ 32. Kd2 Qxg5+ {Troff's attack was swift and devastating. A wonderful game by the youngster!} 0-1

 

IM Bercys, a Master level student and UTD Chess Captain, missed a GM norm by a very narrow margin.  He had this crazy game against GM Moradiabadi, who, like Zherebukh, is from Texas Tech. 

[Event "UTD Turner GM Invitational 2013"] [Site "Richardson USA"] [Date "2013.03.10"] [Round "3"] [White "Moradiabadi, E."] [Black "Bercys, S."] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A40"] [WhiteElo "2565"] [BlackElo "2427"] [PlyCount "68"] [EventDate "2013.03.09"] 1. d4 g6 2. Nf3 Bg7 3. c4 d6 4. Nc3 e5 {An interesting line. 5. dxe5 is considered by many to be strategically wrong.} 5. Bg5 f6 6. Bh4 g5 7. Bg3 f5 { Extreme aggression! Bercys is trying to trap that bishop on g3 and does not care about his development, for now. He believes in the power of his structure to keep him alive.} 8. h3 f4 9. Bh2 exd4 10. Nxd4 Nc6 11. Nxc6 bxc6 12. e3 {Natural and strong, the queen will decisively check on h5... or is it so decisive?} Rb8 $1 {Black only has two developed pieces, but they are incredibl strong as the pressure on b2 is not easy to deal with.} 13. Bd3 Rxb2 14. Qc1 Qf6 15. Ne4 Qe7 16. O-O f3 $1 {Logical. Black not only closes the center, making his king safer, but also rips apart the White pawn shelter on the kingside.} 17. Rb1 fxg2 18. Rd1 Rxb1 19. Qxb1 Nh6 20. Qb8 O-O 21. Qxa7 Nf5 22. Qa4 Nh4 23. Qxc6 Bd7 24. Qb7 g4 25. Be2 gxh3 26. Qxc7 Qxe4 {Black has played a fantastic game. Every move has been powerful and aggressive and now White's king is a world of danger. However, Sal Bercys, the player who is in permanent time trouble, had only a few minutes left by this point.} 27. Qxd7 Nf5 $4 {Allowing White back in the game, he had two cute finishes to choose from.} (27... Nf3+ 28. Bxf3 Qxf3 29. Rd2 Qxe3 $1 $19) (27... Qf3 $3 {The glamorous move. White cannot defend f2 and e2 simultaneously, so the game is over.}) 28. Bf4 Be5 29. Qe6+ Kh8 30. Bxe5+ dxe5 31. Qd5 $2 {Returning the favor.} (31. Kh2 {was forced, but Black is still ahead.}) 31... h2+ $1 {Very powerful. White's best defenders are the passed pawns, so Sal gives them away! } 32. Kxh2 Qh4+ 33. Kxg2 Nxe3+ 34. Kg1 (34. fxe3 Rf2+ {is kaput.}) 34... Nxd5 { A wild game - this type of chess was not unusual in this event.} 0-1

Here are some more action pictures from the tournament:

GM Christian Ioan Chirila, former World Youth Champion and currently smiling at his victory
Mexican WIM Daniela de la Parra brought some much needed beauty to the tournament
A high profile game: GM Macieja faces newly crowned GM Guijarro
GM Parimarjan Negi checking the blitz standings: definitely not his tournament
GM Yotov looks quite happy before facing off against youngster FM Samuel Sevian
Mandatory shaking hands picture

The tournament was hard fought to the very end, as the previous games should give you an indication of.  At the end of the day it was Indian GM and top seed Negi who edged out UTD GM Sadorra on tiebreaks to take the cup.  

Chess Program Director Jim Stallings congratulates Negi on his win

Also worthy of mention are the following three:

Three norms! WIM for Sarah Chiang, IM for Jeffrey Xiong and GM for David Anton Guijarro

Sarah Chiang had an extremely strong tournament, playing 3 GMs in a row and then 3 IMs!  Her score was sufficient for a WIM norm.  Jeffrey Xiong continues to be on a tear in US Chess, as he has now scored two IM norms back to back.  Last but not least, IM Guijarro from Spain has now become GM Guijarro with this last norm, and hopes to join the ranks of UTD in the Spring.

Final Standings:

Rank Name Score Fed. Rating TPR
1 GM Negi, Parimarjan 6.5 IND 2639 2655
2 GM Sadorra, Julio Catalino 6.5 PHI 2565 2623
3 IM Anton Guijarro, David 6.0 ESP 2546 2617
4 GM Abasov, Nijat 6.0 AZE 2465 2577
5 GM Chirila, Ioan-Cristian 6.0 ROU 2518 2546
6 GM Ramirez, Alejandro 6.0 USA 2535 2527
7 GM Holt, Conrad 6.0 USA 2504 2537
8 IM Bercys, Salvijus 5.5 USA 2427 2565
9 GM Berczes, David 5.5 HUN 2526 2517
10 GM Zherebukh, Yaroslav 5.5 UKR 2623 2538

The tournament was certainly a huge success.  The players got their practice, the foreigners got to experience some of the best cultural aspects of Dallas and visit the university, and the ambiance was overall very pleasant and friendly.  We will soon see how well this training paid off for UTD as the Final Four will be starting in a few days.  Make sure to add US Collegiate Chess to your watch list in the chess world!

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