Centennial chess on the 'strip'

6/27/2005 – The 2005 National Open Chess Championship, part of the Las Vegas International Chess Festival, started with a triplex simul by the Polgar sisters and ended with a victory for GM Dmitry Gurevich in a blitz playoff against De Firmian, Finegold and Sharavdorj. We bring you pictures and a selection of games.

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The 2005 National Open Chess Championship Report

By Leopold Lacrimosa

The 2005 National Open Chess Championship concluded on the weekend of June 10-12, as part of the Las Vegas International Chess Festival (June 9-18).

Organized by Alan Losoff and Fred Gruenberg the tournament took place at the Riviera Hotel & Casino, which is celebrating its 50th year on the “Strip” in a town which is celebrating the centennial mark of its founding.

The Festival began with the Susan Polgar International Chess Camp on Thursday morning. The afternoon brought the Intergalactic Bughouse Championship while that evening was the Polgar Sisters Triplex Simul where Susan, Sofia and Judith played in tandem followed by the National Open Blitz Championship. The score of the Polgar Sister’s simul +64 –6 =11


The Polgar Sisters Simul. We will bring you a separate illustrated report soon.

Friday morning began with Breakfast with the Polgar Sisters before the start of round one of the National Open Chess Championship at 11am. The Championship began on time but not without several players who missed the start of the tournament due to a taxi strike on Friday, which refused to pick up travelers from the local airport, creating a large bottleneck of people trying to find alterative transportation to their hotels in Las Vegas.


The author with GM Susan Polgar

In attendance at the tournament were GM’s Ildar Ibragimov 2683, Varuzhan Akobian 2646, Aleks Wojtkiewicz 2630, Nick De Firmian 2619, Dmitry Gurevich 2582, Emil Anka 2515 and Walter S Browne 2511. IM’s included Benjamin Finegold 2613, Enrico Sevillano 2590, Andranik Matikozyan 2585, Eugene Perelshteyn 2576, Renier Gonzalez 2513, Dmitry Schneider 2480, Stanislav Kriventsov 2474, W John Donaldson 2445, Garush Manukyan 2409, Mark Ginsburg 2389, David E Vigorito 2372, Anthony F Saidy 2335 and WIM Xiaosha Sara Lu 2303 from China along with 8 FIDE masters. All total, there were 106 participants in the Open section with a total of over 700 in the tournament.

One of the highlights of the tournament was the awarding of the Grandmaster’s title before the start of the first round to Igor Ivanov, who also participated in the event. GM Ivanov, who is going through chemo treatments as he battles life-threatening cancer, was in good spirits as he played in five of the six rounds, scoring +2 –1 =2.


GM Igor Ivanov

For those who have never met Igor Ivanov, you do not know one of the great chess characters of this generation. Along with gardening, and playing the piano (beautifully, I might add), Igor has lead a life of chess. In 1979 he received $100 from Viktor “the Terrible” Korchnoi for beating then World Champion Anatoly Karpov during the Soviet Team Championships. In 1980 after playing in Cuba as part of the Soviet team, he made his wild dash to freedom from the KGB in Canada during a refueling stop in Gander. Since then he has lived in Arizona and now resides in Utah. His record includes: nine times US Grand Prix Champion; five times Canadian Champion; coached Shelby School to two US Elementary Championships; and the winner of many prestigious tournaments, e.g. the American Open, National Open, World Open, etc. Those who would like to send their well wishes to Igor may do so at the following e-mail; ivanoviv (at) charter (dot) net (replace the brackets with @ and .)

After six rounds of grueling chess play, the 2005 National Open Chess Title and a replica of the Edmondson Cup was awarded to GM Dmitry Gurevich of Illinois, who in a five minutes blitz playoff beat out GM De Firmian, IM Benjamin Finegold, and Dashzeveg Sharavdorj, all whom finished the tournament with a tie of five points.

Dmitry also was the winner along with GM Akobian of the Blitz Championship, both whom tied with 12.5/14. Complete results can be found on the official website (link below).

Here are a few of the games from rounds 1–4;

Gurevich,Dmitry (2582) - Slupik,Christopher (2126) [E61]
National Open (1), 10.06.2005
1.d4 d6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Nf6 4.Nc3 Bf5 5.Nh4 Bd7 6.e4 e5 7.Nf3 exd4 8.Nxd4 Bg7 9.Be2 0-0 10.Be3 Re8 11.0-0 Nc6 12.f3 Nh5 13.Qd2 Nf4 14.Rad1 Nxe2+ 15.Ndxe2 Ne5 16.b3 a6 17.h3 Bc6 18.Qc1 Qc8 19.Bh6 Bh8 20.Ng3 b5 21.Nd5 bxc4 22.bxc4 Rb8 23.Kh2 Rb2 24.Rd2 Rxd2 25.Bxd2 Qb7 26.Qc2 Rb8 27.f4 Bxd5 28.cxd5 Nd7 29.Bc3 Bxc3 30.Qxc3 Nc5 31.f5 Qb2 32.Qf3 g5 33.f6 Qe5 34.Qe3 h6 35.Rf5 Qb2 36.e5 Nd7

37.Rxg5+!! hxg5 38.Qxg5+ Kf8 39.Qg7+ Ke8 40.Qh8+ Nf8 41.e6! Diagram # 41...fxe6 42.Qg7 Kd8 43.Qxf8+ Kd7 44.Qe7+ Kc8 45.f7 Kb7 46.dxe6 Qg7 47.Qe8 Qf8 48.Qxf8 1-0.

Ivanov,I (2549) - Tanner,R (2100) [A30]
National Open (1), 10.06.2005
1.c4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.g3 b6 4.Bg2 Bb7 5.0–0 e6 6.Nc3 Nf6 7.e4 d6 8.d4 e5 9.dxe5 dxe5 10.Qa4 Bd6 11.Nd5 h6 12.Nh4 0–0 13.Nf5 Nd4 14.Nxd4 cxd4 15.Bd2 Nxd5 16.cxd5 Qe8 17.Qxe8 Rfxe8 18.Rac1 Rac8 19.Bh3 Rxc1 20.Rxc1 Re7 21.Bc8 Kh7 22.a4 Bxc8 23.Rxc8 Rc7 24.Rxc7 Bxc7 25.Bb4 f6 26.Be7 1–0.


GM Nick De Firmian

De Firmian,N (2619) - Schill,W (2289) [B57]
National Open (2), 10.06.2005
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bc4 Qb6 7.Ndb5 a6 8.Be3 Qa5 9.Nd4 e6 10.0–0 Be7 11.Bb3 Qh5 12.f3 Na5 13.Qd2 Nxb3 14.axb3 Bd7 15.g4 Qg6 16.Kh1 h6 17.Rg1 Rc8 18.Nde2 Bc6 19.Rg2 Nd7 20.Nd4 Bf6 21.Rd1 Be7 22.Nce2 Qh7 23.c4 g5 24.Ng3 Nf6 25.Nxc6 Rxc6 26.Bd4 0–0 27.Qb4 b5 28.cxb5 axb5 29.Qxb5 Rfc8 30.Rgd2 Qg6 31.Qe2 e5?

32.Bc3 h5 33.Nf5 Bf8 34.h3 [34.Rxd6! Bxd6 35.Rxd6 Rxd6 36.Ne7+] 34...Ne8 35.b4 Nc7 36.b5 Rxc3 37.bxc3 Ne6 38.Qe3 hxg4 39.hxg4 Nf4 40.b6 1–0.


IM Benjamin Finegold

Finegold,B (2613) - Rensch,D (2418) [E39]
National Open (3), 11.06.2005
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 c5 5.dxc5 0–0 6.a3 Bxc5 7.Nf3 b6 8.Bf4 Bb7 9.e3 Nh5 10.Bg3 Bxf3 11.gxf3 f5 12.f4 Nc6 13.Rd1 a6 14.Bg2 Rc8 15.0–0 Nxg3 16.hxg3 Qc7 17.Rc1 Nb8 18.Na4 Qa7 19.Qd3 Rc7 20.Rc2 Rfc8 21.e4 g6 22.Nxc5 bxc5 23.Rd1 Qb6 24.Rcd2 Rf8 25.Qc3 Nc6 26.exf5 Nd4 27.fxg6 hxg6 28.b4 d6 29.Rxd4!? cxd4 30.Rxd4 Kf7 31.Qd3 Ke7 32.Re4 Rf6 33.Bh3 Kf7

What was Finegold's killer move in this position? Hint: study the murderous look in his eyes in the picture above. Solution in the replay section below.

Sharavdorj,D (2526) - Pader,D (2240) [E91]
National Open (3)
1.d4 d6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.e4 Nf6 5.Nc3 0–0 6.Be2 Bg4 7.Be3 Nfd7 8.d5 c5 9.0–0 Bxf3 10.Bxf3 Na6 11.Be2 Nc7 12.Qd2 Re8 13.Kh1 a6 14.a4 Qb8 15.f4 e6 16.e5 exd5 17.cxd5 dxe5 18.f5 Ra7 19.d6 Na8 20.fxg6 hxg6

21.Rxf7! b5 [21...Kxf7 22.Bc4+] 22.Raf1 Nab6 23.a5 Nc8 24.Qd5 1–0.

Gimsburg,M (2389) - Ibragimov,I (2683) [A25]
National Open (4), 11.06.2005
1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 f5 4.Bg2 Nf6 5.e3 d5 6.Nxd5 Nxd5 7.cxd5 Nb4 8.d3 Nxd5 9.Nf3 Bd6 10.0–0 Nf6 11.b4 Qe7 12.Bb2 0–0 13.b5 Kh8 14.a4 e4 15.dxe4 fxe4 16.Nd2 Bf5 17.Qc2 Rae8 18.Nc4 Qe6 19.Nxd6 cxd6 20.Bd4 Ng4 21.Rad1 Rf7 22.h3 Nh6 23.Kh2 Bg4 24.Rd2 Bf3 25.Bxa7 Rf5 26.Bxf3 exf3 27.g4??

This dreadful pawn push allows Black to mate. Can you work it out? Solution in the replay section below.

The International Chess Festival continued on Monday with the US Game/10 Championship (June 13), the US Senior Open Championship (June 13-17) and the US Under 50 Championship (June 13-18).

Other notables of the tournament were the game analysis and lectures done by GMs Susan Polgar, Roman Dzindzichashvili and Arthur Bisguier between the rounds.


GM Roman Dzindzichashvili

In one room off the main tournament hall sits GM Dzindzi (twice US Champion 1983 and 1989), whose chess videos have put me to sleep. He is totally different live. As he looms over a vinyl chess board with his thick black lion’s mane of hair outlining his rugged face, topped with heavy eyebrows, he tells stories and jokes about the positions on the board as he moves around the plastic pieces teaching the correct path of chess to the onlookers who crowd around the board and soak in his every word.


GM Arthur Bisguier commenting

Meanwhile GM Arthur Bisguier, who was recently awarded the title of “Dean of American Chess”, had players play over their games on a large demo board in another room as he looks on commenting on them with such colorful phrases as “You really need to learn your openings. Buy a book.” And “What were you thinking when you made that move? Put the piece back so I can look at it for a moment.”


Wile E. US Chess Coyote

Another notable feature was the large Coyote in a blue tournament director’s shirt at the scoring tables. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen him here at the National Open and had to find out the story behind him. I was told I had to talk with Chief Tournament Director Carol Jarecki about it. She told me that when her son was young, he had won the Coyote playing the carnival games over at Circus Circus Hotel and Casino across the street from the Riviera. He then became Carol’s co-pilot in her small plane which she flew across the country, going from tournament to tournament. He appeared with her at the National Open in a TD shirt some time before 1991 (she wasn’t sure of year), and has come every year since. The kids love him and many have photos of themselves with the Coyote when they were younger and smaller.


Arbiter Carol Jarecki, Alan and Janell Losoft

One last note, my own results were not at all impressive +1 –5 =0 (my one win being a 14 move Blackmar-Diemer Gambit crush against a higher rated player), one of my scholastic students, Jimmie Dixie (I had six students playing in this year’s event), won both his section U400 and best upset prize (a complete set, 7 books, of Lev Alburt’s Comprehensive Chess series).


Junior Jimmie Dixie

About the Author:

45-year-old Leopold Lacrimosa is a scholastic chess coach in Scottsdale Arizona, where he lives with his wife Joyce and step-daughter Courtney. He has an A.S. degree in Oceanographic Technology from FIT and has worked as an Italian Sous-Chef for 13 years. He has been in the martial arts for over 30 years, achieving the title of Chief Instructor in the US. He has an OTB rating of 1800 and a Correspondence rating of over 2100. He has since made his living as chess coach for the past six years, teaching chess to over 200 kids in ten schools each week. He has coached several Top Ten State and National champions. He can be reached at chessguy (at) qwest (dot) net or through his web site.


Links

Las Vegas International Chess Festival


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