“Three of a Kind” – A Busy Weekend for CCA

The Continental Chess Association had a busy weekend July 19th-21st, running three events in Chicago, IL, Manhattan, NY, and Orlando, FL. Together the tournaments drew 949 players and offered $73,000 in guaranteed prizes. This was enough to attract a total of seven GMs and 48 masters, but surprises were in store at all three playing sites. Two events saw a clear winner that was not a GM! CHICAGO CLASS The largest event by prize fund was the Chicago Class with a guaranteed prize fund of $30,000 which drew a total of 332 players but only one GM! Due to five first round draws in the master secton, by round two some of the strongest players were facing each other and there were a number of draws and a few upsets. The upset of round two was NM Jonathan Kogen defeating IM George Li, while top seed GM Vladimir Georgiev surrendered a draw to FM Alexander Velikanov. This left only four perfect scores after two rounds: FMs Ben Li & Matthew Stevens, and NMs Hanxiang Li and Jonathan Kogen. The round three game between Stevens and Li ended in a draw, leaving just one perfect score as third seeded FM Ben Li defeated NM Jonathan Kogen. On Sunday morning, Li was paired with GM Georgiev who had 2.5 points. Li defeated GM Georgiev to maintain the only perfect score. NM Guadalupe defeated FM Stevens to get to 3.5, but Menon and Li drew. Li annotates his win over GM Georgiev.

[Event "Chicago Class "]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2019.07.21"]
[Round "4.1"]
[White "Georgiev, Vladimir"]
[Black "Li, Ben"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A07"]
[WhiteElo "2555"]
[BlackElo "2465"]
[Annotator "Ben Li"]
[PlyCount "62"]
[EventDate "2019.??.??"]

{I have played GM Georgiev four times before this tournament, all with the
white pieces. This was the first time I had the black pieces against him. I
was expecting him to play a sideline, as the one time he played the main line
against me, he lost.} 1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 c5 3. d3 Nc6 4. Bf4 $5 (4. Bg2 {is the
main line, transposing to a reversed King's Indian}) 4... f6 $5 {My intial
reaction to 4. Bf4, since f6 and e5 will give me a strong center with
possibilities of an attack in the future.} 5. e4 e5 6. exd5 Qxd5 7. Nc3 Qd8 8.
Be3 Be6 9. a4 $6 {A move I do not like. It wastes time and helps black to
consolidate the center and queenside by pretty much forcing 9...b6, which I
was going to play anyways.} b6 10. Bg2 Rc8 {gets the rook out of the h1-a8
diagonal and protects the knight} 11. O-O Bd6 12. Nb5 {prepares c3 then d4} Bb8
13. c3 a6 {I like this move, as it removes a supporter of the d4 push and
kicks his knight to a bad square} 14. Na3 Nge7 15. Qe2 O-O 16. d4 e4 17. Nd2
cxd4 18. cxd4 $2 {Somehow played automatically by my opponent. I'm not sure he
had seriously considered Bxd4, which equalizes.} (18. Bxd4 {was the move I was
expecting, and leads to a roughly equal endgame.} Nxd4 19. Qxe4 Be5 20. cxd4
Qxd4 21. Qxd4 Bxd4 $11) 18... f5 19. Qxa6 {Probably the intented idea of 18.
cxd4, but the extra pawn for white is almost meaningless once you factor in
black's strong center, better minor piece placement, more space, weak d4 pawn,
and thus a Kingside attack with ...f4.} Nd5 20. Qe2 f4 21. Nxe4 $1 {A good
piece sacrifice to save his king. Trying to save the bishop does not work.} (
21. Bxf4 Nxf4 22. gxf4 Nxd4 23. Qxe4 Rxf4 24. Qe3 Qh4 $19 {Black's attack is
too strong, and white's army is all over the board}) (21. gxf4 Nxf4 22. Bxf4
Nxd4 {ends up being the above line}) 21... fxe3 22. fxe3 Qe7 {The pawns cannot
move, as there are too many pieces to attack them.} 23. Nb5 Rxf1+ 24. Rxf1 Ncb4
25. Nbc3 {trying to move the e4 knight out of the way of the pawns doens't
work:} (25. Nec3 $2 Nxc3 26. bxc3 Bc4 $1) (25. Nf2 $6 Qg5 $1 26. e4 $2 Ne3 $1)
25... Bf7 {a good move that prepares the plan of ...Re8, ...Bg6, and ...Nxc3.}
26. Kh1 Re8 27. Qf3 h6 28. Qf2 Bg6 29. Nxd5 Nxd5 30. Nc3 Nxe3 {Now that the
most important pawn has fallen, black is winning} 31. Re1 Ng4 0-1

Heading into the last round there was only one 4-0, Ben Li, and only one 3.5, Francisco Guadalupe. Li had white and only needed a draw to secure clear first place. A quick draw ensued, giving FM Li clear first place and $3100. Guadalupe, for his part, secured at least a share of second place. Board two FM Velikanov drew with Menon, and FM Jason Wang drew with Hanxiang Li on board three, so Guadalupe finished in clear second and won $1500. Velikanov, Wang, Menon, and Li were joined in third place by IM George Li and FM Stevens who won their last round games. Each of the players in the third place tie received $516.67. NTD Steve Immitt directed for Continental Chess assisted by Jeff Wiewel, Bill Buklis, Maret Thorpe, Jeff Smith, and Steve Plotnick. Full tournament details, including the names of winners in the ‘under sections,’ can be found at www.chicagoclass.net. MANHATTAN OPEN    The second event was the largest event by number of participants as 426 players attended the Manhattan Open. At the top of the wallcharts were three GMs – Giorgi Kacheishvili, Irina Krush, and Michael Rohde –  along with Robert Perez and WGM Nino Khomeriki. In round one, there were four draws and three upsets, but the top players all won their games. However, in round two there were far more upsets and draws on the top boards. Second seed SM Robert Perez gave up a draw to SM Leif Pressman while WGM Khomeriki lost to NM Davis Zhong. The three GMs were all at 2-0, along with IM Jay Bonin and NMs Joseph Zeltsin, Noah Thomforde-toates, Max Li & Davis Zhong. Of the four boards with perfect scores in round three, there was only one decisive game: Zeltsin defeated top seeded GM Giorgi Kacheishvili. Zeltsin would be the only perfect score going into Sunday’s “money games.” The other three games ended as draws as Krush – Thomforde-toates, Rohde – Li, and Bonin – Zhong all split the point. Zeltsin had black against Robert Perez in Sunday morning’s fourth round. The game ended in a draw so Zeltsin was still in first place at 3.5 points, but he was joined by two other players as GM Krush defeated IM Bonin and FM Chen defeated NM Max Li to get to 3.5 points. In the last round, Zeltsin had white versus Krush while Chen was paired “down” to Robert Perez. Zeltsin defeated Krush to finish in clear first place with 4.5 points and take home $2600. Chen and Perez drew which gave Chen a part of second place. Chen was joined by SM Leif Pressman who defeated NM Marat Prilleltensky and NM Daniel Vasserman who defeated GM Rohde. The three players at 4-1 all won $966.67. Since Vasserman was below 2400, he took the first class prize and the 4th prize as well as 2nd Under 2400 was split between GM Irina Krush, SM Robert Perez, NM Davis Zhong and Winson Ni. Each won $225. NTD Harold Stenzel directed for Continental Chess assisted by Jabari McGreen, Harold Scott, Hector Rodriguez III, and Ernesto Rivera. Full tournament details, including the names of winners in the ‘under sections,’ can be found at www.manhattanopen.com. SOUTHERN OPEN The Southern Open was the smallest event by prize fund and players, but still drew three GMs: Olexander Bortnyk, Mark Paragua, and Julio Becerra. The overall attendance was disappointing as only 191 players showed up to compete for the $18,000 prize fund. Perhaps the upcoming US Open in Orlando in three weeks forced players to choose between the events? While the top section was small at only 20 players, there were 11 masters in the field. Because the tournament was relatively small, the chances to win a prize were very good. Of the 14 players who completed their schedule, 8 won money! In round one, there was only one upset: SM Daniel Cremisi blundered in time pressure and allowed his opponent a nice tactic. Can you spot the winning move?
Solution: 40. Rf1 1-0 All the GMs won in round two, so the only perfect scores at the merge were GMs Bortnyk, Paragua, and Becerra. Paragua and Bortnyk played a 20 move draw, but Becerra defeated Acor to lead the crosstable alone at 3-0.

[Event "Southern Open"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2019.07.20"]
[Round "3.2"]
[White "Acor, Corey"]
[Black "Becerra, Julio"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E61"]
[WhiteElo "2334"]
[BlackElo "2588"]
[PlyCount "102"]
[EventDate "2019.??.??"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. c4 Bg7 4. Nc3 d6 5. e3 O-O 6. Bd3 Re8 7. O-O e5 8. dxe5
dxe5 9. e4 Bg4 10. h3 Bxf3 11. Qxf3 Nc6 12. Rd1 Nd4 13. Qg3 c6 14. Be3 Qe7 15.
f3 Nh5 16. Qf2 Nf4 17. Bf1 Rad8 18. Rd2 Rd7 19. Rad1 Red8 20. g3 Nfe6 21. f4
Bh6 22. Bg2 Qc5 23. Kh1 Qxc4 24. f5 Bxe3 25. Qxe3 Nf8 26. h4 f6 27. Bh3 Nc2 28.
Qf2 Rxd2 29. Rxd2 Rxd2 30. Qxd2 Nd4 31. Kg2 b5 32. b3 Qc5 33. Bg4 Kg7 34. Kh3
Qd6 35. fxg6 hxg6 36. Nd1 Nfe6 37. Nf2 Nd8 38. Bc8 Nf7 39. Qc3 Qa3 40. Qd2 a5
41. Bd7 Qd6 42. Bg4 Qc7 43. Nd3 c5 44. Qc3 c4 45. a4 Qc6 46. axb5 Qxe4 47. Nf2
Qb1 48. Qxc4 Qg1 49. b6 Qxf2 50. b7 Nf3 51. Bxf3 Qxf3 0-1

Becerra had White versus Bortnyk in round four. He offered an early draw which Bortnyk declined, but the game was eventually drawn on move 37. GM Paragua could have joined Becerra at 3.5, but he was only able to draw with NM Ragvav Venkat. This ensured that Becerra was still alone at first place going into the last round. Becerra faced Paragua in the last round and since Bortnyk had already played Slade, those two players were paired down to players with 2.5 points. Becerra and Paragua played a relative quick draw which gave Becerra a share of first place. He was joined by Bortnyk, who defeated Cremisi,  and Slade, who won against Acor.

[Event "Southern Open"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2019.07.21"]
[Round "5.2"]
[White "Bortnyk, Olexandr"]
[Black "Cremisi, Daniel"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B13"]
[WhiteElo "2652"]
[BlackElo "2415"]
[PlyCount "75"]
[EventDate "2019.??.??"]

1. d4 d5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Bf4 c5 4. e3 cxd4 5. exd4 a6 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. h3 e6 8. a3
Bd6 9. Bg5 h6 10. Be3 e5 11. dxe5 Nxe5 12. Nxe5 Bxe5 13. Bd4 Bxd4 14. Qxd4 O-O
15. O-O-O Be6 16. Bd3 Qc7 17. f4 Rac8 18. g4 Qc5 19. Qxc5 Rxc5 20. Ne2 Re8 21.
Nd4 Bd7 22. c3 Rcc8 23. Bc2 Ne4 24. Rh2 Rcd8 25. Nf3 Bc6 26. Ne5 f6 27. Nf3 Nc5
28. Nd4 Kf7 29. h4 Ne6 30. Bg6+ Kxg6 31. f5+ Kh7 32. fxe6 Rg8 33. g5 fxg5 34.
hxg5 Be8 35. e7 Rd7 36. Re1 Bg6 37. gxh6 gxh6 38. Ne6 1-0


[Event "Southern Open"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2019.07.21"]
[Round "5.3"]
[White "Acor, Corey"]
[Black "Slade, Theo"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C65"]
[WhiteElo "2334"]
[BlackElo "2225"]
[PlyCount "90"]
[EventDate "2019.??.??"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. c3 O-O 6. O-O d6 7. Re1 Ne7 8. d4
exd4 9. cxd4 Bb6 10. Bg5 Ng6 11. Nc3 Bg4 12. Be2 h6 13. Be3 d5 14. e5 Ne4 15.
Nd2 Bxe2 16. Rxe2 Nxd2 17. Qxd2 c6 18. f4 Qd7 19. Na4 f6 20. g3 Rad8 21. Rf1
fxe5 22. fxe5 Rxf1+ 23. Kxf1 Rf8+ 24. Rf2 Rxf2+ 25. Bxf2 Qf5 26. b4 Qb1+ 27.
Ke2 Qe4+ 28. Be3 Ne7 29. Nc3 Qg2+ 30. Kd3 Qf1+ 31. Qe2 Qf5+ 32. Kd2 Ng6 33. Qd3
Qg4 34. h3 Qxg3 35. Ne2 Qg2 36. Qf5 Nh4 37. Qc8+ Kh7 38. e6 Qe4 39. Ng1 Bxd4
40. Bxd4 Qxd4+ 41. Ke2 Qxg1 42. e7 Qg2+ 43. Kd1 Qf3+ 44. Kd2 Qf4+ 45. Kd1 Qd4+

Bortnyk, Becerra and Slade tied for first place, each winning $1266.67 and Bortnyk taking an extra $100 for having the best tiebreaks. Paragua finished in clear fourth with 3.5 points and won $600. NMs Raghav Venkat, Martin Hansen, & Makaio Krienke and Ryan Hamley all scored 3-2 and won $200 for sharing the fourth prize as well as the second Under 2400 prize. NTD David Hater directed for Continental Chess assisted by Charles Hatherill, Harvey Lerman, Krista Alton & Arthur Alton. Full tournament details, including the names of winners in the ‘under sections,’ can be found at www.southernopen.com. Previous Continental Chess tournaments can be found at the Continental Chess website at http://www.chesstour.com/cross.html.

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