Ildar Ibragimov won the Atlantic Open, played Aug. 27-29 at the Wyndham Washington hotel. The Connecticut grandmaster scored 41/2 points in five games and finished a half point ahead of six players: current U.S. champion Alexander Shabalov, GM Dmitry Gurevich, Tegshuren Enkbat, Stephen Muhammad, Emory Tate and Peter Gilruth. The event attracted 305 players, 62 in the Open group.
Tournament director Michael Atkins also provided winners in other sections. Under 2200 section: Vladimir Polyakin, Ilya Krasik, 41/2 points; under 2000 section: Jim Kinsman, 5 points; under 1800 section: Michael Johnson, 5 points; under 1600/unrated section: Michael Jordan, Peter Nasuti, Aaron Bobb, 41/2 points; under 1400 section: Robert Landolfi, Danyi Wu, 41/2 points; under 1200 section: Douglas Stanley, John Maryak, 41/2 points.
Sudden King Hunt
In the Open, Maryland master Gilruth surprised Igor Schneider with a daring pawn sacrifice in the Meran variation. The New York junior made just one mistake, allowing white to chase the black monarch in the middle of the board.
1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 e6 3.c4 c6 4.e3 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Bd3 Bb7 (The Wade variation of the Meran, popularized by the legendary Dane Bent Larsen.) 9.Qe2 (Too slow. The central challenge 9.e4 is preferable.) 9...b4 10.Na4 c5!? 11.0-0 (After 11.Nxc5 Nxc5 12.dxc5 Bxc5 13.Bb5+ Ke7, black controls the center.)
11...cxd4 12.exd4 Bd6 13.Nc5!? (A bold attempt to keep the black king in the middle. It should not be worth a full pawn.) 13...Nxc5 14.dxc5 Bxc5 15.Bb5+ Ke7 (15...Kf8 jams the back rank.) 16.Bg5 Qb6?! (Taking the queen away from the action, but defending is not easy. For example the simplifying 16...Bxf3 17.Qxf3 Qd5 18.Qxd5 exd5 19.Rfe1+ Kf8 20.Rad1 leaves white in command.) 17.Ne5! Rhd8? (A careless move, leading to a lost position. Black should have challenged the knight with 17...Bd6.)
18.Qh5! (A decisive piece sacrifice, leading to a fascinating king hunt.) 18...Qxb5 (Black does not have much choice. After 18...Rf8 19.Qxh7 Qxb5 20.Qxg7 his kingside collapses.) 19.Qxf7+ Kd6 20.Bf4 (A tempting move, but it was possible to play simply 20.Qxg7, for example 20...Nd7 21.Bf4 Rf8 22.Bg3, and the calm retreat decides; or 20...Kxe5 21.Bxf6+ Kd6 22.Be5+ Kd5 23.Rad1+ and white wins.)
20...Bd4 21.Rfd1 Kd5 22.Nf3 Ke4 23.Bg3 (Good enough, but after the forcing 23.Rxd4+! the game can end up like a fairy tale: 23...Rxd4 24.Re1+! Kd5 [24...Kxf4 25.Qc7+! wins] 25.Qxe6+ Kc5 26.Re5+ Bd5 27.Rxd5+! Rxd5 28.Be3+ Kc4 29.Ne5 mate.) 23...e5 24.Re1+ (Tightening up the mating net with 24.Qe6! is more thematic, e.g. 24...h6 25.Rxd4+! Rxd4 26.Re1+ Kd3 27.Qb3 mate.) 24...Kf5 25.Nh4+ (After 25...Kg5 26.Qxg7+ Kh5 27.Nh5 Qd5 28.Qh6+ Kg4 29.Nh4, threatens 30.h3 mate.) Black resigned.
Two New York juniors, barely in their teens, scored big upsets at the Atlantic Open. Top-rated American grandmaster Alexander Onischuk lost in the first round to Marc Arnold, 11, and withdrew from the event. Michael Thaler, 12, defeated Virginia master Steve Mayer with reckless sacrifices in the Paulsen Sicilian.
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.g3 Nf6 7.Bg2 Bb4 8.Bd2 Be7 9.0-0 0-0 10.Kh1 Nc6 11.Be3 d6 12.f4 h6?! (The opening play could have been improved for both sides, but black's last move weakens the kingside. The solid 12...Bd7 was called for, since white can't play 13.g4? because of 13...Nxd4 14.Bxd4 e5!) 13.e5?! (White most likely planned his exchange sacrifice with this advance.) 13...dxe5 14.Nxc6 bxc6 15.fxe5 Qxe5 16.Bd4 Qc7 (16...Qd6 is safer.) 17.Bxf6 Bxf6 (What now?)
18.Rxf6?! (A little bluffing. The sacrifice, at best, can give white only drawing chances.) 18...gxf6 19.Qg4+ Kh7 20.Ne4 Qe7?! (White is rewarded for his boldness. After 20...Qe5!, for example 21.Qh4 f5!, black beats the attack.) 21.Qh4 (White can force a draw now.) 21...Kg7 22.Rf1 (Trying for more. After 22.Qg4+ Kh7 23.Qh4, it is a draw.)
22...Rh8 (After 22...e5 white can choose between an interesting draw, 23.Rxf6 Rh8 24.Rg6+ Kf8 25.Rg8+ Rxg8 26.Qxh6+ Ke8 27.Qxc6+ Kd8 28.Qb6+ Qc7 29.Qf6+ Qe7 30.Qb6+ etc; or can try 23.Nxf6.) 23.Nxf6 Kf8 24.Rd1 Kg7? (Loses. Black had to play 24...Ra7.) 25.Nh5+ (After 25...Kf8 26.Rd8+ wins.) Black resigned.
New Book for Kids
After explaining the mating and tactical patterns in his two previous excellent books for children, grandmaster Murray Chandler sat down with Helen Milligan and wrote "Chess for Children," a basic introduction to the game. Illustrated by Cindy McCluskey, the book is well thought out and can be enjoyed by kids as young as 5. It was recently issued by Gambit Publications.
The U.S. Chess Center (1501 M St. NW) organizes tournaments and lectures for children in the D.C. area. For more information, call David Mehler at 202-857-4922 or visit www.chessctr.org. Solution to today's two-mover by A.S. van Ommeren (White: Kf4,Qd3,P:d7,f7,h7; Black: Ke6): 1.f8B! Kf7 (or 1...Kf6) 2.Qf5 mate.