After Robert’s two stories about his American experience, it is my term to share impressions. From 15-19 January I took part in the Golden State open in Concord, California which is part of the CCA (Continental Chess Association) events. Bill Goichberg is the man in charge here, and the series include the major chess opens in USA, such as the Philadelphia, Chicago World and North American open, those where the big money are. Goichberg’s tournaments have their own rules. There are no conditions for anyone (GMs do not pay entry fee, but the amount is deducted from their prices), and everyone is obliged to carry his own chess set and clock. There are various sections and those rated under 2200, 1600 or even 1300 can win a reasonable amount of money (for example, the under 1600 rating section’s first price is 2000 $, which is not as bad considering the fact that the first price in the open section is 3000 $). Therefore, these events attract huge mass of players.
This year the open section started with a major upset straight from the first round. The nine-year-old Samuel Sevian knocked down the rating favourite Mauricio Flores:
Sevian,S (2157) - Flores,M (2653) [B47]
Concord (1), 14.01.2011
28.e6!! 0–0 [28...dxe6 29.Qb5+ Ke7 30.Bxc3; 28...fxe6 29.Qe5 both win at least a rook for White.] 29.e7 [29.exf7+ Kxf7 30.Re1 would have been even easier, as the rook is not going anywhere- 30...Ra3 31.Rxd8 Rxd8 32.Qe7+] 29...Bxe7 30.Qxe7 Rxh3+ 31.gxh3 Rxb8 32.Qe5 d6 33.Qd4 Qa6 34.Re1 Qc6+ 35.Kg1 Rc8
This allows another firework, but Black is losing anyway. 36.Bc3! f6 37.Qxf6 Qxc3 38.Re8+! 1–0
Mauricio told me that after the game his young opponent showed no excitement at all (even though this was his first win over a GM ever), and took it as normal. Samuel continued his great performance and managed to overcome the 2200 USCF rating mark, thus gaining the title of a national master. He is the youngest ever American who had achieved that and obviously, his main successes are still to come. In the meanwhile, after suffering from a poor start I managed to score 3.5/5 before the final 2 rounds. As usual, there is always a story with me when winning a tournament, and this was no an exception. It started with taking a train in the wrong direction before the sixth round that fortunately costed me only 45 minutes on the clock. (Thanks for not forfeiting for a minute late on the American tournaments!) I won that game though against E. Tate, and one more black after that against IM E. Sevillano, also as Black (I should add that Enrico is a great man and took the loss like a real gentleman), thus sharing the first with the American John Bryant (who in fact had the better tiebreak, and won some extra cash for that.)
On the next day I was already travelling to L.A. for the first since six years GM norm tournament on the South West Coast (19-23 January). It is a shame that such an enourmous city like Los Angelis with its’ seventeen million people is meager on chess events. This is however a subject to a change, as the local tournament organizer Ankit Gupta and tournament director Michael Belcher are working hard in promoting our sport. After organizing an IM norm event in December, they now succeeded in a GM brother, and there are still more to come, including a strong open in August.
The event was dedicated in memory of Jimmy Quon, who taught more than a thousand children in his life, and organized numerious events in L.A.
The contest for the first place did not really take place, as GM Mark Paragua started with 6/6 to claim the title in style. Second is the local hero GM Melik Khachiyan, third is IM Mackenzie Molner.
I did not play well here (fatigue was taking its toll) but there was a curious moment in one of my games that would definitely bring joy to Mr. Afek:
Molner,M - Bojkov,D
L.A. Invitational (8), 23.01.2011
Here I went for a correct idea, but in a wrong way: 1...Be4? The idea is to chase the king into a smaller cage with Be4-f3+, Bf3-g3+ followed by Rg2-b2-b1 mate. However, the correct way to this was to make it with checks: [1...Bc2+ 2.Ke1 Bg3+ 3.Kf1 Rd2 Already, threatening mate, for example: 4.f6+ The point is that the defense: (4.Be5 is not working due to: 4...Bd3+ 5.Kg1 Bf2+ as the rook on c5 is hanging.) 4...Kf7 5.Ra5 Bd3+ 6.Kg1 Bh2+ 7.Kh1 Be4#] 2.Ke1 Bf3 However here Molner had enough time to destroy my plans: 3.f6+! Ke6 [3...Kf7 4.Rf5] 4.f7 Bd6 There is not time for mating net: [4...Bg3+ 5.Kf1 Rb2 6.Re5+! Kd7 7.Re1] 5.Re5+! Kxf7 6.Rf5+ ½
In conclusion I would like to present you the wonderful video that Christian Glawe made from the event!