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Round 1 By Tom Braunlich PDF Print E-mail
Tue, May 13 2008 (19:21)

The first round featured many interesting games, but perhaps the least interesting one was also one of the most important, as defending champion Alex Shabalov made a terrible one-move blunder on move 18 and resigned immediately in view of Yermo's killer move 19. Nxd5. It is an easy shot to overlook, allowed by the previous move unprotecting the queen. In the post-mortem the players looked at (instead of 18…Ne7?) 18…Qc719. Nb5, Qb8 20. c4 with the idea of f4-f5 among other things.

Chess Player
FM Daniel Ludwig in a talented 17-years old Master from Florida.

A theme in several of the matchups this round featured a veteran playing black using a provocative opening to create winning chances against less experienced players.In Pruess – Becerra black chose a double-fianchetto line. When Pruess didn’t over-react to it, Becerra found a way to sac a pawn for pressure on the queen side files as in a Volga Gambit. But it proved sufficient only for a draw. In Ludwig-Perelshteyn, a double-king pawn game evolved into a King’s Indian type formation — except that the light-squared bishops had been exchanged. IM Alan Stein in the commentary room explained how this difference is favorable for white, as this light bishop is important in many ways including attacking chances on the king side. Eugene may have been hoping to outplay the youngster, but Daniel decided he needed to advance right away on the queen side, which led to exchanges and an eventual repetition.


On board 1 Alex Onischuk emerged from the opening with an edge against Kraai but in time trouble the position became messy and an odd series of check repetitions led to a draw.


Ivanov – Vigorito was a complex maneuvering game in a blocked formation. At one point black missed a breakthrough shot but defended nicely to eventually reach an exchange down ending that apparently could have been drawn. But after black’s pawn went to f4 white was winning.


In the women’s event, Krush grabbed a pawn gambited by Abrahamyan that led to a hedgehog=type position in which white was missing herb-pawn but was advancing fast for a king side attack. However, Irina’s …d5thrust in the center was enough to counter it and led to a winning edge.


Zatonskih played a nice line to reach a positional bind against Zenyuk that was overwhelming.


Epstein – Tuvshingtugs looked straight out of the 19thcentury! Chimi reacted to a Ponziani opening with a piece sacrifice which gave her an initiative that continued well into the ending. Eventually Esther had to return the piece to reach material equality, only to find her king mated in the end game.


IM Alan Stein is doing annotations of the games and answering questions online. See the previous story in this blog. For the complete results of the round, click on “Results” and click on “Pairings” for the round 2 matchups.


— Tom Braunlich

Chess Quotes

And for the chess-player the success which crowns his work, the great dispeller of sorrows, is named "combination."

-Emanuel Lasker (1868-1941)

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