A Winner's Tale: GM Chirila on Millionaire Chess 2016

maurice-profile GM Maurice Ashley, Photo David Llada
Millionaire Chess, the open tournament that tried to defy the rules most chess opens stand by, has closed its gates, possibly for the last time, on October 10. It was a bittersweet moment, entertained by Maurice Ashley’s tireless entrepreneurial spirit and stage persona. He talked about his dream, his partner in crime Amy Lee, as well as his almost never-ending organizational struggles. He was visibly shaken, concerned, but also full of hope and optimism that he will find the support to extend this great tradition that Millionaire Chess has become. My name is Cristian Chirila, I am the winner of the U2550 section and I would like to take you, the reader, through the last stand of my millionaire journey. Here we go! Preparation My focus in 2016 has been almost exclusively on developing as a coach. As a result of this shift, my play has lacked consistency. Despite the fact that I have studied chess in a much more analytical and organized form, my play was missing the depth necessary to perform at the highest levels. I was not able to match my previous year’s results and win at least one important event, not until Millionaire Chess came along! After a summer full of chess camps and private students, I decided to take a short vacation in my home country Romania. While there, a good friend of mine contacted me and asked me to help him during the Olympiad. I accepted and immediately started working on his repertoire. The theoretical disagreement between the two of us couldn’t be more obvious, I am a 1.d4 player – he is almost solely a 1.e4 player. I had to get out of my comfort zone, dig into lines that I have not studied in at least half a decade, and try to battle seasoned theoreticians on their home ground. I also worked on practical positions and finding the right plan, I believe this type of training to be the best when trying to dust off your chess. This was my technical preparation.
White to move. Assess the position & find the right plan        Show Solution
[pgn] [Event "?"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "????.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Training Position 1"]
[Black "?"]
[Result "*"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "r1r3k1/p4pp1/6b1/4P2p/5B2/P2p1PP1/1P3RP1/R5K1 w - - 0 1"]
[PlyCount "59"]
[EventDate "2013.02.28"]

{White is of course better. He has won a pawn and has no great problems beyond
the doubled pawns on the g-file, which can hardly be called weak. However, his
position is not entirely stable. Black is about to play Rc2 and Rac8, creating
counterplay against the b2-pawn and on the second rank. It is
important for White to first minimize this counterplay, before trying to convert his advantage.} 1. Bd2 $1 {And this is the way to do it. Once
the bishop is on c3, it will achieve the double whammy of blocking the c-file
and stabilizing the position.} Rc2 2. Bc3 $16 Kf8 3. Rd2 Rc8 4. Rad1 Ke7 5. Kf2
Rc4 6. Ke3 {White has made it through the first stage; the position is
completely stabilized. He can now look for ways to convert his advantage.} Bf5
7. Rh1 g6 {In opposite-colored bishop endings it is common for the player
without ambitions to put his pawns on the same-colored squares as his bishop,
as this makes them easy to defend,though impossible to advance. For the player
wanting to win , the opposite is usually the case. He will try to challenge
the opponent's bishop and seek to advance his pawns, so he has to fight for
the squares that his own bishop does not control.} 8. Rh4 {White offers an
exchange of rooks, which is attractive to Black, but also unravels White's
doubled pawns.} Rxh4 9. gxh4 a6 (9... Kd7 10. Kf4 Rc1 11. g4 hxg4 12. fxg4 Rf1+
13. Ke3 (13. Kg5 $5 Rg1 14. Kf6 Rxg4 15. h5 Rh4 16. hxg6 Bxg6 17. e6+ Ke8 18.
exf7+ Bxf7 19. Rxd3 Rh6+ $14) 13... Bxg4 14. Rxd3+ $16) 10. Kd4 (10. Kf4 Rc1
$132) 10... Kd7 11. Kc5 Kc7 12. a4 $22 {Black is almost in zugzwang. He could
exchange rooks on d2, but probably felt that his chances to draw this ending
would be slim. White can aim to obtain a passed pawn on b6. Then he will put
his king on g5 or f6 and play g2-g4 . This will either create a weakness on h5, or it will force Black to play hxg4, when after fxg4, White is ready to
advance the h-pawn to create a second passed pawn and claim the bishop for it.
From a practical point of view, this ending did not attract Shirov, but maybe
it was the best chance.} Rc1 (12... Kb7 13. Kd6 Kb6 14. Ke7 Rxd2 15. Bxd2 {The
B-endgame is very difficult for Black as White easily make two passed pawns
and counterplay of Black connected with pawn d3 comes too late.} Be6 16. b4 Kc6
17. g4 Kd5 18. gxh5 gxh5 19. Kf6 $16) ({Black should have played} 12... Rxd2
13. Bxd2 Bd7 $1 {making it very difficult for White to advance his b-pawn .
Remember, if White plays 38.a5? Black can always defend his queenside with the
bishop on the b5-fl diagonal, and the king can rush to the kingside and
prevent any concessions there.} 14. Kb4 Kb6 15. Be3+ Kc6 16. Ka5 Kd5 17. b3 Bc8
{the game is sharper than White would want it to be. Although it is obvious
that it is White who is trying to win here, I think Black should draw. This
does not necessarily mean that White has done anything wrong up to this point,
or that the initial evaluation needs to be revised. To be better simply means
that if you make a small mistake, or if the opponent defends perfectly, the
game is likely to revert to equilibrium. And to be worse simply means that you
have to defend well nor to lose, that the margin for error is limited. In
this game Shirov did not defend perfectly. I believe that this move was the
critical mistake, but these endings are very difficult to understand, so I
shall not feign certainty.}) 13. g4 hxg4 14. fxg4 Bxg4 15. Rxd3 {In this
position White pieces are very active and the factor of opposite color
bishops doesn't work here.} Rh1 16. Ba5+ $1 Kb7 17. Rb3+ Kc8 18. Rb4 $1 Rxh4
19. Rd4 $1 $18 {By this move White force transposition in the winning
R-endgame.} g5 20. Be1 Rh1 21. Rxg4 Rxe1 22. Rxg5 Kd7 23. Rf5 Ke7 (23... Ke6
24. Rf6+ Kxe5 25. Rxf7 Ra1 26. b3 $18) 24. b4 Ra1 25. a5 Rc1+ 26. Kb6 Rc4 27.
b5 axb5 28. a6 Ke6 (28... Ra4 29. a7 b4 30. e6 $1 Kxe6 31. Ra5 $18) 29. Rf6+
Kxe5 30. Rxf7 {1-0 Leko,P-Shirov,A/Linares 2004/ CBM 100/[Huzman]} (30. Rxf7
Ra4 31. Kxb5 Ra1 32. a7 Kd6 33. Kb6 Rb1+ 34. Ka6 Ra1+ 35. Kb7 Rb1+ 36. Kc8 Ra1
37. Kb8 Rb1+ 38. Rb7 $18) * [/pgn]
Black to move. Find the accurate defense Show Solution
[pgn] [Event "?"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "????.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Training Position 2"]
[Black "?"]
[Result "*"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "r1br4/ppk2pp1/3bp2p/8/5PP1/3R2B1/PPP3B1/2KR4 b - - 0 1"]
[PlyCount "28"]
[EventDate "2013.02.28"]

{Black is under pressure and needs to find a way to deal with it. If he does
so successfully, then White will have to force a draw quickly before his
initiative evaporates and he finds himself in an ending a pawn down.} 1... f6
$2 (1... f5 $1 {The difference to the game is that White does not get full
control over the d5-square and the freedom to swing the bishop around. Another
structural point is that the f4-pawn is fixed as a weakness. This might sound
irrelevant when we are in a defensive position, but it is not so. We should
always aim to create weaknesses in our opponent's position; even for defensive
purposes.} 2. gxf5 exf5 {White should already think about repeating the
position with} 3. Rc3+ Kb8 4. Rcd3) 2. f5 e5 3. Be1 $1 {The bishop pops upon
another diagonal, creating great problems for Black.} a5 4. Rd5 $16 {Black is
already in big trouble. White will take on a5, and all the black pieces are
poorly placed, running and diving to avoid capture.} e4 5. Kb1 e3 6. Bf1 Re8 7.
Rxd6 e2 8. Bxe2 Rxe2 9. Bg3 Rg2 10. Bf4 Rxg4 11. Rd7+ Kc6 12. R1d6+ Kb5 13. a4+
Kxa4 14. Rb6 Rxf4 15. Ka2 {1-0 Gashimov,V-Giri,A/Monte Carlo 2011/CBM 142} *[/pgn]
I find myself to be truly motivated only when I am surrounded by professional players, fortunately there’s no shortage of those in the Olympiad. The atmosphere, the important games my friends and peers were playing, and a burning desire to get that playing adrenaline back pushed me to return to the US and get back to work in preparation for Millionaire Chess. This was my mental preparation.
chirila GMs Maurice Ashley and Cristian Chirila
My physical preparation has always been one of the aspects of my life that I take great pride in. Lifting weights and playing basketball throughout college have been some of my favorite extracurricular activities. After graduating I tried to find a hobby that will challenge me on a one vs one basis (similar to chess) and I quickly found Mixed Martial Arts.
mma GM Cristian Chirila (right) training
I immediately fell in love with it and for the past two years I have been practicing tirelessly. There is quite a paralyzing fear when entering a cage in which the man opposing you wants to slap your head off your shoulders, facing those fears have helped me greatly with my chess and I would encourage any youngster that wishes to challenge himself to embrace an individual, contact sport. Just be warry that too many punches to the head might not necessarily compliment the enhanced tactical senses needed for peak chess performance. 1st Stage Rounds 1-7 One of the key ingredients of this tournament is its format. All the sections will play the first 7 rounds in a swiss format, after which the top four contenders from each section will advance into Millionaire Monday, the playoff stage which every player dreams of reaching at the beginning of the tournament.
blanoc Carolina Blanco, seasoned Millionaire participant, Photo David Llada
adhiban-2 GM Adhiban was one of the tournament’s favorites, unfortunately he didn’t pace himself and finished below par, Photo David Llada
 I started off quite poorly, drawing against a much lower opponent (who managed to score his first IM norm) after failing to convert a solid advantage in the middle game. I managed to keep my composure and realized that my objective assessment of the game and my practical choice to offer a draw in a worse position with less time on the clock was an important signal that my form for the tournament might not be as bad as I thought. Rounds two and three were quite easy as I steam rolled through my opponents without much effort. The first real test came in round 4 as I was facing one of the tournament’s favorites, GM Iturrizaga.
iturrizaga GM Iturrizaga, Photo David Llada
With little time to prepare, he surprised me as soon as move 5. Once again my danger sense worked well as I chose a sideline which leveled the playground in terms of opening preparation. The whole game I felt as I was playing poker, we both threw pawn storms at each other and hoped for the best! Let’s see how that went:
[pgn]

[Event "Millionaire Chess Open 2016"]
[Site "Atlantic City, NJ"]
[Date "2016.10.07"]
[Round "4.6"]
[White "Chirila, Ioan-Cristian"]
[Black "Iturrizaga Bonelli, Eduardo"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "E15"]
[WhiteElo "2526"]
[BlackElo "2658"]
[PlyCount "97"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:14:27"]
[BlackClock "0:24:25"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Bb7 5. Bg2 c5 {The first surprise} 6. d5 (6.
O-O cxd4 7. Nxd4 Bxg2 8. Kxg2 d5) 6... exd5 7. Ng5 {A very interesting try.
White is rerouting his N to f4, this does allow black a forced sequence of
moves that will win a pawn, but White's compensation
will be obvious} (7. Nh4 {is by far the main line, also surely something
my opponent had worked extensively on.} g6 8. Nc3 Bg7 9. O-O d6 10. cxd5 O-O
11. Nf3 Na6 12. Nd2 $14) 7... h6 8. Nh3 Qc7 {forcing me to take on d5 with the
pawn, nevertheless the arising Benoni type structure should allow white to
have a dominant center} (8... b5 {Probably the critical continuation}
9. Nc3 bxc4 10. Nf4 Na6 11. Ncxd5 Nxd5 12. Nxd5 Nb4 13. O-O $14 Be7 14. Bf4
Nxd5 15. Bxd5 Bxd5 16. Qxd5) 9. cxd5 (9. Nf4 dxc4) 9... d6 10. Nc3 Nbd7 11. O-O
a6 12. a4 g6 13. f4 Bg7 14. Nf2 c4 15. e4 O-O 16. Re1 Rfe8 17. Be3 Nc5 18. Qc2
$6 {a very natural move which gifts a full tempo to black, much better would
have been} (18. Qe2 $1 Nb3 19. Rad1 Rab8 20. Qf1 $1 Nd7 (20... Ba8 21. e5 $1
dxe5 22. fxe5 $16) 21. e5 dxe5 22. Ng4 $40) 18... Rab8 19. Qe2 Nb3 20. Rad1 Nd7
(20... Ba8 21. e5 dxe5 22. fxe5 Rxe5 23. Bf4 Rxe2 24. Bxc7 Rxe1+ 25. Rxe1 Rc8
26. d6 Bxg2 27. Kxg2 Nc5 28. Bxb6) 21. h4 $1 {The consequences of black's last
move is that it leaves the whole kingside unprotected, it's time to launch my
pawn storm} Ba8 22. h5 b5 23. hxg6 fxg6 24. axb5 axb5 25. e5 $1 {White needs
to move fast, otherwise black's pawnstorm on the queenside might prove decisive
} (25. Qg4 b4 26. Nb1 Nf8 27. e5 c3) 25... b4 (25... dxe5 26. d6 Qc8 27. Nd5
Bxd5 28. Bxd5+ Kh7 29. Ne4 $16) 26. exd6 (26. Nce4 $5 dxe5 27. Qg4 $16 (27. d6
Qc8 28. Qg4 exf4 29. Bxf4 g5 30. Nxg5 hxg5 31. Re7 $18)) 26... Qxd6 (26... Qc8
27. Nce4 c3 28. bxc3 bxc3 29. Qc2 Na5 30. Bd4 Rb2 31. Nf6+ $18) 27. Nb5 {A
very tempting little tactic, but as it usually is the case, not the best
continuation} (27. Nce4 Qa6 28. Qg4 (28. Bh3 Nf8 29. Qc2) 28... Nf8 29. f5 gxf5
30. Qxf5 c3 31. Ng4 Nh7 32. d6 c2 33. Rd5 $18) 27... Rxb5 28. Qxc4 Ra5 29. Qxb3
Nf6 30. Bd2 Rb8 31. f5 $2 (31. Qd3 $1 Nxd5 32. Ra1 $3 {this was the move I
missed} Rxa1 33. Rxa1 Bc6 34. Ra6 $18) 31... Bxd5 32. Bxd5+ (32. Qd3 g5 33. Re6
Qd7 34. Re5 Rbb5 $11) 32... Qxd5 33. Qxd5+ Nxd5 34. Nd3 gxf5 35. Rf1 Bd4+ 36.
Kh1 Ne3 37. Bxe3 Bxe3 38. Rde1 Bg5 39. Re5 Rxe5 40. Nxe5 Rb5 41. Rxf5 b3 42. g4
Rd5 43. Nc4 Rd1+ 44. Kg2 Rd4 45. Na5 Rxg4+ 46. Kf3 Rb4 47. Rd5 Bf6 48. Rd3 Bxb2
49. Rxb3 1/2-1/2[/pgn]
Round 5 was a fairly easy affair as my opponent didn’t understand certain opening nuances and quickly got lost through the Grunfeld maze.
chirila-pensive GM Chirila, Photo David Llada
Round 6 came quickly, and with it my first and only loss of the tournament. I played white against GM Gawain Jones, an ultra-dynamic Brit that loves to play the sharp positions that ensue in the KID or the Sicilian Dragon. With only a few minutes to prepare, I spotted one of his games in the database in which his preparation was not optimal. I decided, with minimal hope in my heart, to repeat and see whether he improved on his opening fiasco. Without even flinching he played the correct improvement and immediately equalized. After a tame affair in the middlegame & endgame, Jones managed to complicate matters and push for an advantage. Despite the fact that I was under pressure, I didn’t lose my head and found some important defensive resources to push the game into a forced repetition…and that is when the unthinkable happened! My objective senses completely failed me, and with only a minute left on the clock I decided to get out of repetition and try to play for a win. Jones beautifully handed me the hanging rope, and I took it wholeheartedly. Needless to say I flagged a few moves later in a completely equal position.
56.a3! would immediately draw as it forces black to give perpetual with Rd4-e4. Instead I played 56.Rxg4 and flagged soon after A heartbreaking affair, but the truth is I wasn’t all that mad about it. I quickly realized that despite my loss, with a win in the last round I would still make the tiebreak for Millionaire Monday. I was in a favorable position and I had to fight for it! The tables turned the next day and I managed to win against GM Mitkov after he decided to push for a win in a complicated variation, instead of obtaining a minimal advantage with low chances for success. I made it to Millionaire Monday! Stage II Tiebreaks I want to share with you my biggest surprise of the event, the fact that Jeffery Xiong didn’t make Millionaire Monday!
xiog World Junior Champ Xiong, Photo David Llada
After completely outplaying his seasoned opponent in round 7 (last before the split), GM Emilio Cordova, he allowed the slippery Peruvian to escape with an unlikely draw.
[pgn]

[Event "Millionaire Chess Open 2016"]
[Site "Atlantic City, NJ"]
[Date "2016.10.09"]
[Round "7.3"]
[White "Cordova, Emilio"]
[Black "Xiong, Jeffery"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A04"]
[WhiteElo "2637"]
[BlackElo "2647"]
[PlyCount "95"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:20:43"]
[BlackClock "0:14:29"]

1. Nf3 c5 2. b3 Nf6 3. Bb2 g6 4. c4 Bg7 5. g3 b6 6. Bg2 Bb7 7. O-O O-O 8. Nc3
d6 9. d4 cxd4 10. Qxd4 Nbd7 11. Rfd1 a6 12. Qh4 Rc8 13. Rac1 Rc5 14. b4 Rc7 15.
Ne1 Qc8 16. Bxb7 Qxb7 17. Nd5 Nxd5 18. Bxg7 Kxg7 19. cxd5 Nf6 20. Rxc7 Qxc7 21.
Qd4 Rc8 22. e4 Qc4 23. f3 Qxa2 24. Ra1 Qb3 25. Qxb6 Rc4 26. Qxa6 Qxb4 27. Kf1
g5 28. Qa7 Rc3 29. h3 {Jeffery has skillfuly outplayed his experienced
opponent but now fails to keep his composure and goes for unnecesary
complications} Nxe4 (29... h5 $1 {would have been almost curtains for white.
Black will slowly weaken the pawn structure on the kingside and deliver the
mating attack at the right moment} 30. Qf2 (30. Qa4 Qb6 31. Qa5 Qb2 32. Qa2
Qxa2 33. Rxa2 g4 {or enter this winning endgame}) 30... g4 $1 31. hxg4 hxg4 32.
Qd2 Qc4+ 33. Kg1 Kg6 $19) 30. fxe4 Qxe4 (30... Rxg3 $1 {was needed to preserve
the advantage} 31. Ra2 Qxe4 $17) 31. Ra3 Qh1+ 32. Ke2 Rc1 33. Qd4+ f6 34. Qb4
Qh2+ 35. Kf1 Qh1+ 36. Ke2 Qxd5 37. Re3 Kf7 38. Kf2 Qf5+ 39. Kg2 Qd5+ 40. Kf2 h5
41. Qb2 Rd1 42. Nf3 Rd3 43. Qc2 Rxe3 44. Qh7+ Ke8 45. Qxh5+ Kd7 46. Kxe3 Qb3+
47. Ke2 Qc4+ 48. Ke3 1/2-1/2[/pgn]
The disappointment surely played into his games later that night while he was competing for a spot in Millionaire Monday, and after a series of inconceivable blunders he failed to secure a spot in the last four of the Open section. Here is an example of a very unlikely blunder by GM Xiong
Jeffery played 20…Be4?? gifting White a full rook Jeffery has a long career ahead of him and I doubt that this small setback will slow him down one bit. A major factor that’s playing in my bold prediction is his insane obsession with chess. A love for the game that one only sees among the greatest. One particular situation that impressed and motivated me was when the players were waiting for the tiebreak pairings to be finalized and the games to start. While most of the players were chatting away their anxiousness with friends and supporters, Jeffery was sitting alone at a board in the corner of the playing hall simulating a game situation. He was playing against himself, and you could see the ardor with which he was trying to defeat himself! Whether he was replaying the games of Petrosian, playing a game, or simply just trying to remember his preparation before the match, the sight of him sitting alone in the corner of the room and replaying random games will stick with me for a long time. Truly impressive! amanI qualified directly to Millionaire Monday alongside GM Barbosa and the young talent IM Awonder. My roommate Aman Hambleton, had to attempt to qualify through the tiebreaks but failed short after drawing both his games and allowing IM Akshat Chandra to emerge victorious.  Here are his impressions of the tournament Overall, I would say that I'm very pleased with my performance this tournament. I certainly did not expect to finish so strongly after beginning the tournament with a forfeit win (which greatly reduced my norm-chances), and starting with 1/3. From this moment on, I did not lose a game until the end of the tournament and I finished the last 3 games with 2.5/3 against strong GMs. I think that maintaining my composure after 2 losses in a row near the start of the event was definitely the defining moment. I often start tournaments very slowly and usually I play worse and worse after consecutive losses. I was very conscious not to let that happen again- IM Aman Hambleton. Chessbrah Stage III Millionaire Monday Back to work on Monday morning, it was this moment that I have been waiting for the past three years when competing in this tournament. I was calm and ready for war, and my first dance partner was going to be the young winner of the previous night’s tiebreak playoff, IM Akshat Chandra. I took an important decision before the game to try and avoid a theoretical battle at all costs, since I believed that the opening is the one stage of the game in which he might outscore me, especially with little to no time for preparation. My strategy worked and I got a winning position quite quickly playing the white side of a reversed Grunfeld. Despite a shaky conversion, I managed to score and place my opponent in a must win situation. The second game saw me overcome the most difficult challenge I faced that day. Let’s give it a look!
[pgn]

[Event "Millionaire Monday"]
[Site "Atlantic City, NJ"]
[Date "2016.10.10"]
[Round "2.3"]
[White "Chandra, Akshat"]
[Black "Chirila, Ioan-Cristian"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C93"]
[PlyCount "82"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:02:37"]
[BlackClock "0:02:25"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. a4
Bd7 9. c3 O-O 10. d4 h6 11. h3 Re8 12. Bc2 Bf8 13. Nbd2 exd4 14. cxd4 Nb4 15.
Bb1 c5 {I equalized quite comfortably out of the opening but now the nerves
start getting to me} 16. e5 dxe5 17.
dxe5 Nfd5 18. Ne4 Be6 (18... bxa4 $1 {taking a pawn is almost always the
healthy decision} 19. Ng3 Bb5 $17 {when white has tremendeous difficulties
creating an attack on the kingside}) 19. Nh2 c4 20. Qf3 Nd3 $2 {this is
already a mistake, my desire to simplify the position and steer the game
towards a draw clowded my judgement} (20... Nc6 $1 21. Qg3 Nd4 22. Ng4 Bxg4 23.
Qxg4 Nb3 24. Bxh6 Rxe5 $17) 21. Bxd3 cxd3 22. axb5 Nb4 $2 {a serious mistake,
overlooking white's next move} (22... Qb6 23. Qxd3 axb5 24. Rxa8 Rxa8 $44 {
white is a pawn up but black should have enough compensation for equality due
to his active bishop pair}) 23. Bxh6 $16 Bd5 (23... f5 24. exf6 gxh6 25. f7+
Bxf7 26. Nf6+ Kg7 27. Nxe8+ Bxe8 28. Re4 $18) 24. Qg3 Re6 25. Nf6+ Rxf6 26.
exf6 Qxf6 27. Bg5 $2 {a lazy move, much better would have been} (27. Bf4 $1 Nc2
28. Re5 Nxa1 29. Rxd5 axb5 30. Ng4 Qg6 31. Rg5 $18 {white's attack is
irresistible}) 27... Qg6 28. Red1 Bd6 29. Qg4 f5 30. Qh4 Be7 $1 31. f4 {
locking his bishop on g5 and weakening the king} Bc5+ 32. Kh1 axb5 (32... Re8
$1 33. Rac1 Qb6 34. Nf3 Bf2 35. Qh5 Bf7 36. Bd8 Bxh5 37. Bxb6 Bxb6 $17) 33.
Rxa8+ Bxa8 34. Qe1 Nc2 35. Qe5 (35. Qc3 Ne3 36. Rxd3 Bxg2+ 37. Kg1 Qc6 $11)
35... Ne3 36. Qxc5 $2 {the last mistake, sealing the fate of the game and the
match} (36. Rxd3 Bxg2+ 37. Kg1 Qc6 38. Rxe3 Bxh3 39. Kf2 Qg2+ 40. Ke1 Bb4+ 41.
Rc3 Bxc3+ 42. bxc3 Qg1+ 43. Kd2 Qxh2+ $11) 36... Nxd1 37. Qc8+ Kh7 38. Nf1 Be4
39. Qc1 Qh5 40. Kg1 Qe2 41. Qd2 Bxg2 0-1[/pgn]
Barbosa took care of business in his match against Awonder, and just like that we were set to clash for the top honors at 5 PM that evening. Given that the morning strategy worked, I decided to adopt a similar approach and went for an “aggressive” Reti inspired by a game of Kramnik vs Adhiban from the Olympiad. Once again my opponent changed a few nuances in his opening approach and I was on my own. My opponent quickly grabbed a poisonous pawn and soon found himself in a position he couldn’t remediate. The second game was a nerve wracking one after I fell under very dangerous prep in an anti Grunfeld line. Despite the fact that I thought for a moment my position is lost at move 10, my resilient side once against kicked in and allowed me to escape unscathed.
[pgn]

[Event "Millionaire Monday"]
[Site "Atlantic City, NJ"]
[Date "2016.10.10"]
[Round "9.3"]
[White "Barbosa, Oliver"]
[Black "Chirila, Ioan-Cristian"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A15"]
[PlyCount "145"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:00:11"]
[BlackClock "0:00:21"]

1. c4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. Qb3 Nb6 6. d4 Bg7 7. e4 Bg4 8.
Bb5+ c6 9. Ng5 O-O 10. Be2 Bc8 11. O-O Qxd4 12. Be3 Qd8 13. Rfd1 N8d7 14. a4 a5
15. f4 e5 16. f5 Qe7 17. Rf1 Qb4 18. Qa2 Nf6 19. fxg6 hxg6 20. h3 Bd7 21. Rf3
Rae8 22. Raf1 Be6 23. Nxe6 Rxe6 24. g4 Kh8 25. g5 Nxe4 26. Rxf7 Rxf7 27. Rxf7
Nd5 28. Qc4 Qxc4 29. Bxc4 Nd6 30. Nxd5 Nxf7 31. Nb6 Re7 32. Bc5 Rc7 33. h4 e4
34. Be6 Bxb2 35. Na8 Nd8 36. Nxc7 Be5 37. Kf2 Bxc7 38. Bd4+ Kh7 39. Bc4 b5 40.
axb5 cxb5 41. Bxb5 Ne6 42. Bc3 Bf4 43. Bf6 Ng7 44. Bc6 Nf5 45. h5 e3+ 46. Kg2
gxh5 47. Bd8 Nh4+ 48. Kf1 Ng6 49. Ke2 h4 50. Bd7 Kg7 51. Bf6+ Kf7 52. Bc3 Bxg5
53. Bxa5 Nf4+ 54. Kxe3 Ne6+ 55. Kf3 Bf6 56. Kg4 Nc5 57. Bb5 Ke6 58. Bc4+ Kd6
59. Bd2 Be7 60. Kf5 Kc6 61. Bf1 Kd5 62. Be3 Bd6 63. Bg5 Bg3 64. Bf6 Kd6 65. Bb2
Kd5 66. Bg2+ Kc4 67. Bf6 Nb3 68. Bf1+ Kd5 69. Bg2+ Kc4 70. Ke4 Nc5+ 71. Ke3 Ne6
72. Bf3 Nf4 73. Bxh4 {Kd5 Kd4+} 1/2-1/2[/pgn]
14600863_10154431472096675_3351313695076719417_n Cristian Chirila, Photo David Llada
  In the open section my good friend Dariusz Swiercz took care of business in style and defeated Gawain Jones in a tense match. swiercz-big-check Here is what his coach, Alejandro Ramirez, had to say about it: “I must say I feel incredibly proud to have Dariusz as a student at Saint Louis University. Even when I met him months ago as I was trying to recruit him for the program, it was clear that Dariusz, or Daro as he goes by to make it easier for us to pronounce his name, is a serious and very responsible student and chess player. His talent, strength and dedication made him an obvious choice for the Saint Louis University team. It might have come as a surprise to some that Daro won the tournament, but I had a good feeling going into the event for him; he had just come back from the Olympiad and was motivated to recover some of the ground he lost in that event. Personally Daro and I train together in individual sessions at Saint Louis University as well as group trainings with the rest of the team, however since he has only been here only recently, it is hard to say that I had any real impact more than moral support and paying for his meals at Bill's. I look forward to many of his future victories, as I'm sure he will soon take the U.S. Chess scene by storm. “ GM Alejandro Ramirez. SLU Coach
ramirez GM Ramirez, Photo David Llada
I believe that whenever a player is in good shape he needs to realize it immediately and take full advantage of it during that tournament. The three signals that I always see in myself when I’m in good shape are: Objectivity, Resilience, Recovery. Look for your good form signals if you want your next tournament to be as successful as mine was. I want to end this journey by thanking Maurice Ashely and Amy Lee for their continuous support for chess in the United States, and for raising the bar for organizers, sponsors, and players. I hope that despite the concerning rumors, this tradition will continue and the Millionaire Chess family will reunite in October 2017 in an undisclosed, exotic location! Find full details on the tournament at the Millionaire Chess tournament site, and watch our"> video report from the event here. 
maurice-profile In my opinion, this should be the logo of Millionaire Chess, Photo David Llada

Comments

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

WHAT A WONDERFUL ARTICLE AND SERIOUS NOTES almost unheard of on the us chess website ...it is tragic that at this late date The US chess federation is long abandoned by world class players for world chess information and real uncensored coverage by professional players..the quality of this stunning article is once a year not monthly. As for the multi million dollar loss of this three tourney epic effort..the initial tourney inability to accept $1,ooo checks from all walk in AMATUER players around the world .. let them play in amateur class cash events...without an insane, absurd 50 rated games requirement cost these people millions..You roll the dice, have every single player sign a statement that Maurice is the boss without appeal and can move them to a higher section or remove them entirely if deceit is involved. Or simply pay Mr.Goichberg $100,000 A YEAR to SIT AT HIS HOME AND YEA OR NEA EVERY ENTRY WITH A ROLL THE DICE RESEARCH OF ALL UNKNOWN PLAYERS. Jude Acers/ New Orleans

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Great article. I can't believe Millionaire chess is going away. Great event, great idea, can't believe it couldn't get sponsors.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I appreciate what Amy and Maurice have done for chess with MC! Chess is a journey. As organizers and as players we must always be diligent to review our game and make adjustments to attain long term success. Onwards with the journey! Thank you all for your support of chess! Keep pushing wood, fellow chess fans!

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

This is really a great article!(probably should get the USCF best article of 2016 award) Last year FM Karagianis wrote an excellent article (which he won the best article of 2015), very similar to this..... Emotions, weaknesses, strengths and human factors, this is what we want to see... chess is not only a game of moves...Human factor is what makes it interesting.. just outstanding.. USCF articles have been getting better and better! Great job by USCF also!

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

[…] This site will feature reports from Chess Life Magazine Editor Dan Lucas toward the start of the match, and later on, from GM Cristian Chirila. […]

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

[…] #3 article in Best of US Chess 2016 is A Winner’s Tale: GM Chirila on Millionaire Chess 2016 by Cristian Chirila. Judges praised Cristian’s ability to blend his personal experiences on […]

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

[…] – A Winner’s Tale: GM Chirila on Millionaire Chess 2016 by Cristian Chirila (Judging […]

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[…] A Winner’s Tale: GM Chirila on Millionaire Chess 2016 22 October 2016 (uschess.org) […]

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

[…] the 2007 World Under 16 Championship and the Under 2550 prize in the 2016 Millionaire tournament, which he chronicled for readers on Chess Life Online. Ioan obtained a degree in political economy from UT Brownsville, spent some time coaching and […]

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