2013 National Chess Congress

by ChessBase
12/4/2013 – Niclas Hushenbeth first made a name for himself when still an international master, he won the German Championship at age 18. He is now studying in the United States and took the time off to play in the National Chess Congress during the Thanksgiving holiday, where despite a lack of play managed to come in third. He brings here his personal account with video analysis.

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2013 National Chess Congress

By Niclas Huschenbeth

I know, it is a slightly odd name but that was the tournament I played over the last weekend at Philadelphia. I actually played it last year, too, but it did not go that well, so I was not feeling very inspired to write about it. This year things were different.

The author, GM Niclas Huschenbeth, at a chess board: it's been a while!

From last Thursday on, it was Thanksgiving holidays here in the U.S., something we don't really celebrate in Germany. That gave me the chance, after a long time, to compete in a tournament again. Pretty much the entire UMBC chess team went up to Philly on Friday morning and the days from Friday to Sunday can be very easily summarized as: eat, play chess, sleep.

The tournament did not start well for me, and I drew with black against a talented young player. Then, I was paired against, what I thought was another youngster, but when I actually looked him up after the game, it turned out that he is one year older than me! Anyway, I managed to win this game. The next day I played a complicated game with the black pieces:

Mabe - Huschenbeth; Black to move

I am an exchange up, but things are not that simple, because of the two strong white pawns on c4 and d5. Even so, I could have won here immediately, but missed it. Can you spot, what I couldn't? Solution at the end of the article.

I won the game later in mutual time trouble. In the next round I played an IM and even though I was a pawn up in an endgame, I could not really get anywhere and we drew. Now in round five I played with black against another strong talent. I sacrificed a pawn for active play, but I did not really have more than sufficient compensation. Then, the critical moment of the game:

Chandra - Huschenbeth; White to move

The position looks quite scary for White, but everything is still okay. I was expecting 39.g5 and had planned g6, but after 40.fxg6+ Kxg6 41.h4 White is fine. But my opponent played 39.Kf1 and suddenly it is lost: 39...Rxe2 40.Qxe2 (40.Rxe2 Re3 does not look good for White either) Qf4+ 41.Qf2 (if the king moves, then Rd2) Rxe1+ 42.Kxe1 (see next diagram)

42...Qc1+ This is the point. Now all the White pawns are falling prey to the queen. 43.Ke2 Qxc2+ 44.Kf1 Qxb3. I won shortly after.

At this point I had 4.0/5, shared with several other players and ony one player stood ahead with 4.5/5. It was absolutely clear that only a win would lead me somewhere. I played against GM Mikheil Kekelidze and it was a pretty exciting game:


GM Niclas Huschenbeth analyzes his game against GM Mikheil Kekelidze

As it turned out, my teammate Levan Bregadze also won, because his opponent wanted to win so desperately that he pushed too much in a dead drawn position. GM Magesh Panchanathan, the player who had stood at 4.5/5 before the round drew against Sergej Erenburg, so now the three of us shared first place at 5.0/6, with Levan enjoying the the best tiebreak.

The winners in order: Top right, Levan Bregadze, Magesh Panchanathan, Niclas
Huschenbeth, and next to me is my teammate Sabina Foisor

I was not completely satisfied with my play in the tournament, and my goal is always to play against stronger opponents, which did not happen in this competition. However, I am obviously satisfied with my overall result. It is kind of funny that I shared first place without ever playing at either of the top two boards. The reason is the tournament is simply too short. Consider for example, Erenburg who won the tournament last year, and played on the top boards the entire time, but ended up in fourth place. Food for thought.

Pictures by Niclas Huschenbeth

Solution to Mabe - Huschenbeth: 23...Re8 24.Bxd4 Rxe2+! (I missed this move, shame on me) 25.Qxe2 (Kxe2 Qf3+ followed by Re8+) Qxc1+ 26.Kf2 Be4 and Black is clearly winning.

Complete standings of National Chess Congress

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