Fishbein, Park, Liang, and Xie win at Tournaments of State Champions

The eventful second weekend of the National Tournaments of Champions was held online on August 1-2. With the Denker and Haring having taken place on July 25-26, the schedule for August 1-2 consisted of the Dewain Barber National Tournament of Middle School State Champions, the John D. Rockefeller III National Tournament of Elementary School State Champions, and the conclusion of the National Tournament of Senior State Champions. With the Denker and the Haring in the books, the state-by-state race for the combined team prize was well underway, with Denker champ Nicolas Checa of New York, and Haring champ Annie Wang, of Southern California, having already set the pace the previous weekend.

But let’s take a step back and look at the massive organizational effort that went into organizing these national championships. Each state nominated its representatives for the various events, usually going with highest rated in the respective categories as having qualifying events would have been another hurdle. US Chess prepared for the event by having all players check-in a couple of weeks before it started to make sure that they had a setup that involved not only live video conferencing, but also a side camera to view the player and the playing screen. While the events were held on, pairings were done manually. And a number of additional measures were taken to try to ensure the overall sanctity of the events.

At the halfway mark of the Senior, going into the August 1-2 weekend, I was tied for the lead at 3-0 with GMs Alexander Fishbein and Alonso Zapata. Zapata’s route to that score included a nice round 3 win against IM Elliot Winslow. Notably, GM Enrico Sevillano vs. GM Sergey Kudrin in round 3 was a draw so they both got nicked for a half point there.

When the TOCs resumed on August 1, the Senior was in mid-tournament, and the Barber and the Rockefeller were just starting. GM Daniel Naroditsky was spearheading the Twitch coverage, and a huge phalanx of US Chess hand-picked directors were monitoring the action in separate zoom calls for the Senior, the Barber and the Rockefeller. And somewhat echoing events from 2 years ago in this event, a critical game was my round 4 game against Fishbein (shown in last week’s summary report on this event). Although it was interesting for a while, the overall impression afterwards was that I got crushed. Meanwhile, Zapata kept pace with an impressive win against Sevillano.

[pgn][Event "2020 Senior State Champions"] [Site ""] [Date "2020.08.01"] [Round "4"] [White "Zapata, Alonso"] [Black "Sevillano, Enrico"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C06"] [WhiteElo "2518"] [BlackElo "2542"] [Annotator "Rohde"] [PlyCount "83"] [EventDate "2020.07.25"] [EventType "swiss"] [EventRounds "6"] {[%evp 0,83,16,16,46,48,36,2,7,2,13,-5,10,20,-12,1,3,-4,0,-3,15,7,21,24,38,14, 2,2,56,4,9,8,35,23,30,27,40,37,61,49,37,77,81,78,78,89,150,88,96,39,173,144, 138,137,200,90,104,92,91,134,132,124,154,161,258,257,258,262,262,258,322,332, 334,403,450,438,475,472,472,494,469,511,519,518,539,541]} 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. c3 c5 6. Ndf3 Nc6 7. Bd3 cxd4 8. cxd4 f6 9. exf6 Nxf6 10. Ne2 Bd6 11. O-O Qc7 (11... O-O {is more flexible; then} 12. Bg5 Qb6 {may provide more support for ideas with ... Nf6-e4.}) 12. Bg5 O-O 13. Rc1 Nh5 ( 13... Ne4 14. Bh4 {creates Qd1-c2 as a threat.}) 14. Ng3 Nf4 15. Bb1 {While nothing has been resolved, the economy of White's setup is impressive.} Qf7 16. Rc3 Bd7 17. a3 Rfe8 (17... h6 18. Bxf4 {with Qd1-d3 on the way is too much.}) 18. Re1 h6 19. Bxf4 Bxf4 20. Ne5 Bxe5 21. dxe5 {White has a clear advantage based on the kingside attacking chances.} Kh8 22. Nh5 Re7 23. Rg3 Rf8 24. f4 Qe8 25. Qg4 Rg8 26. Qh4 {With an overwhelming threat of Nh5-f6.} Qd8 27. Nxg7 Rgxg7 28. Qxh6+ Rh7 29. Qf6+ Reg7 30. Bxh7 Qxf6 31. exf6 Rxg3 32. f7 {White stays up the Exchange.} Rxg2+ 33. Kxg2 Kg7 34. f5 e5 35. Bg6 Kf8 36. Re3 Nd8 37. Rxe5 Nxf7 38. Bxf7 Kxf7 39. Kg3 Bc6 40. Kf4 d4 41. h4 d3 42. Re6 1-0 [/pgn]

Fishbein took a commanding lead in the Senior by defeating Zapata in round 5 (shown in last week’s summary report on this event). While Alex had obtained a winning endgame, at the very end Zapata had just enough counterplay to draw, but he fell on time. I stayed somewhat in the hunt with this win against FM Doug Eckert.

[pgn][Event "2020 Senior State Champions"] [Site ""] [Date "2020.08.01"] [Round "5"] [White "Rohde, Michael"] [Black "Eckert, Doug"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A09"] [WhiteElo "2478"] [BlackElo "2279"] [Annotator "Rohde"] [PlyCount "101"] [EventDate "2020.07.25"] [EventType "swiss"] [EventRounds "6"] {[%evp 0,101,31,34,34,6,15,-24,4,4,2,5,12,37,37,43,62,49,81,75,69,79,79,70,56, 51,27,21,31,16,15,22,21,14,23,11,23,23,20,11,16,8,0,-142,26,11,36,15,50,53,86, 80,95,101,116,93,79,68,68,64,66,54,81,59,68,66,65,61,87,101,105,97,163,102,145, 142,189,201,185,203,180,201,169,212,210,188,211,204,208,208,208,208,208,208, 208,208,208,208,267,264,468,371,412,483]} 1. Nf3 d5 2. c4 d4 3. a3 a5 4. e3 Nc6 {This system is not a bad reaction at all to White's somewhat unusual 3rd move. } 5. exd4 Nxd4 6. Nxd4 Qxd4 7. Nc3 c6 {This is not necessary yet, so Black has a wide choice of moves.} 8. d3 Bg4 9. Qb3 Qd7 10. h3 Bf5 11. Na4 Qc7 12. Be3 Nf6 13. g4 Bg6 14. Qb6 {After pressing with various threats against b6, etc., it turns out that White does not have that much. So I thought it best to trade queens because there are some holes in my position.} Qxb6 15. Nxb6 Rd8 16. O-O-O e6 17. f4 Bd6 (17... Nd7 {is just fine for Black because the idea is to play ... Bf8-c5.}) 18. Be2 O-O 19. Rhf1 Bc7 20. b3 Rfe8 21. Kb2 Nd7 22. Na4 f6 23. Bf3 Nb8 24. d4 {Finally White is building a real advantage.} Na6 25. Rfe1 Rb8 26. Nc3 Bf7 27. g5 {Definitely not right. Meant as a generalized advance, all this does is create weaknesses.} (27. d5 {was indicated, and Black is not comfortable.}) 27... fxg5 28. fxg5 Bg6 29. h4 Rf8 30. Bg4 Bf5 31. Bxf5 exf5 ( 31... Rxf5 {is more active and should be fine.}) 32. Bf2 Rfe8 33. d5 {Finally!} cxd5 34. Nxd5 Be5+ 35. Kc2 b5 36. c5 b4 37. axb4 Nxb4+ 38. Nxb4 axb4 (38... Rxb4 {with the idea of swinging over to e4 may be the last chance.}) 39. Rd5 Bc3 40. Rxe8+ Rxe8 41. Rxf5 g6 42. Rf3 Rf8 43. Rxf8+ Kxf8 44. Kd3 Ke7 45. Kc4 Ke6 46. Kb5 Kd7 47. Kb6 Kc8 48. Kc6 Bd2 49. Kd6 h6 50. gxh6 Bxh6 51. Ke6 1-0 [/pgn]

After 5 rounds, Fishbein led with a perfect 5/5, Kudrin, Zapata and I had 4/5, and IM Ron Burnett, Yury Barnakov, GM Larry Kaufman, Enrico Sevillano, William Marcelino, and Wilson Gibbins stood at 3.5.

At around 1:15 EDT on August 2, our host server,, went down. This was an hour and fifteen minutes into Round 6 of the Senior, and 2 hours and fifteen minutes into round 4 of the Barber and the Rockefeller. As it took a few hours for the server to get back to functionality, a number of games in the Senior were relatively short games which transformed into agreed draws, although that might have occurred to some extent anyway.  (There was no such effect in the Barber and Rockefeller events, as their games had started an hour earlier and were played at a slightly faster time control.) Fishbein won the event with 5.5/6, and tying for 2nd at 4.5 were Kudrin, me, Zapata, Ron Burnett and Larry Kaufman.

The Barber Tournament of Champions evolved into a fantastically competitive event. 2500-plus-rated IM Christopher Yoo was the favorite, and his presence was a large factor in pushing Northern California into a 3-way race with New York and Southern California for the best team prize. Yoo jumped out to a nice start with 3.5 points in the first 4 rounds, but then stumbled against Bach Ngo in round 5.


[pgn][Event "2020 Barber MS State Champions"] [Site ""] [Date "2020.08.02"] [Round "5"] [White "Ngo, Bach"] [Black "Yoo, Christopher"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D00"] [WhiteElo "2222"] [BlackElo "2540"] [Annotator "Rohde"] [PlyCount "103"] [EventDate "2020.08.01"] [EventType "swiss"] [EventRounds "6"] {[%evp 0,103,5,27,27,27,57,45,41,40,34,26,28,26,42,11,15,25,7,18,14,-12,67,64, 53,53,79,57,67,45,68,89,37,67,44,48,78,71,73,64,82,40,53,63,60,74,77,57,78,78, 89,78,80,83,88,48,60,66,70,64,85,67,83,81,81,82,77,77,77,109,106,90,103,123, 145,144,151,110,149,117,141,84,110,90,149,149,149,177,256,237,289,256,304,346, 364,346,442,386,417,440,448,470,619,481,540,352]} 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. Nc3 { This "delayed Veresov" can be dangerous against 2 ... g6.} d5 4. Bf4 Bg7 5. e3 O-O 6. Be2 Bg4 (6... c5 {is also interesting here.}) 7. Ne5 Bxe2 8. Qxe2 { White is happy to get the queen comfortably off the first rank, so that castling queenside becomes an option.} c6 9. h4 Nbd7 10. g4 c5 11. O-O-O { Being quicker to the attack, White has the better practical chances.} cxd4 12. exd4 Rc8 13. Rh3 {A nice permanent defense of the third rank.} e6 14. h5 Nxe5 15. Bxe5 Nd7 16. f4 Nxe5 17. dxe5 Qc7 18. h6 Bh8 19. g5 {The encasing of the Black bishop gives White a permanent positional advantage which should be winning; Black will also have back-rank problems.} a6 20. Nb1 Qd7 21. Rd4 Qc7 22. Rc3 Qb6 23. Rd1 Rxc3 24. Nxc3 Rc8 25. Qd2 Rc4 26. b3 Rc8 27. Na4 Qc7 28. Kb1 b5 29. Nb2 Qb7 30. Qb4 Qc7 31. Rc1 Qb6 32. a4 Qc6 33. Qd4 Rb8 34. a5 Qc7 35. Qb4 Ra8 36. Nd3 Qd8 37. Nc5 Qc7 38. Nd3 Qd8 39. Rd1 Qc7 40. Rd2 Rd8 41. Nc5 Qa7 42. Rd3 Qa8 43. Rc3 Qa7 44. Nd3 Qb7 45. Qc5 d4 46. Qc6 Qa7 47. Rc5 Rf8 48. Qc7 Qa8 49. Rc6 Re8 50. Nc5 b4 51. Nb7 Rf8 52. Rd6 1-0 [/pgn]

Another key round 5 matchup was IM Arthur Guo vs. FM Jason Wang, which ended in a 79-move draw.

[pgn][Event "2020 Barber MS State Champions"] [Site ""] [Date "2020.08.02"] [Round "5"] [White "Guo, Arthur"] [Black "Wang, Jason"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B42"] [WhiteElo "2446"] [BlackElo "2422"] [Annotator "Rohde"] [PlyCount "157"] [EventDate "2020.08.01"] [EventType "swiss"] [EventRounds "6"] {[%evp 0,157,19,38,40,41,41,32,28,27,78,64,34,11,46,35,47,58,65,50,38,34,37,33, 57,55,50,42,59,37,32,14,25,15,29,28,29,26,28,-20,-8,-28,-106,-143,-157,-161, -199,-205,-77,-86,-110,-78,-75,-97,-86,-92,-92,-75,-28,-33,-45,-41,-36,-77,-84, -63,-71,-66,-49,-102,-74,-49,-49,-28,3,65,108,140,142,127,168,0,0,19,13,25,26, 25,17,9,0,0,0,0,38,47,89,-63,-19,-18,-1,0,7,12,0,0,1,0,0,0,0,-3,0,0,0,0,0,0,0, 0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,2,2,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,-9,19,0,0, 0,0,0]} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Bd3 Nf6 6. Qe2 d6 7. c4 Qc7 8. O-O g6 {It is very ambitious to fianchetto in the Kan System. I always worry about a quick f2-f4-f5 in these positions.} 9. Nc3 Bg7 10. Be3 O-O 11. Rac1 (11. f4 {is a very challenging alternative.}) 11... Nbd7 12. f4 b6 13. b4 {Abandoning thoughts of f4-f5, as White can't do everything.} Re8 14. Nb3 Bb7 15. Kh1 Rac8 16. a3 Qb8 {Both sides settle into Hedgehog maneuvering.} 17. Bg1 Qa8 {This looks too ambitious. Black should stay non-commital and keep b6 overly defended.} 18. Nd2 Nh5 19. Be3 f5 20. Na4 {Creative; Better was 20 Bg1 with a sharp position.} fxe4 21. Bb1 b5 {A neat resource that takes advantage of 20 Na4.} 22. cxb5 axb5 23. Qxb5 Bc6 24. Rxc6 Rxc6 25. Bxe4 d5 26. Bd3 Rb8 27. Qa5 {White has a pawn for the Exchange, a strong unopposed light-squared bishop and annoying passed pawns, but is it enough? Not sure, but it is all very annoying!} Qxa5 28. bxa5 Bc3 {To get access to b3.} (28... d4 29. Bg1 Nc5 30. Rc1 Nxd3 31. Rxc6 {seems good for White because the a-pawn is tough to track down.}) (28... Nhf6 {is also possible.}) 29. a6 Bxd2 30. Bxd2 Rb3 31. a7 Rc8 32. Bc2 Rxa3 33. Bc3 Ra8 34. Bd4 {and unfathomable endgame complications continued.} Ra2 35. Bb3 Rd2 36. Bg1 Kf7 37. Rc1 Nhf6 38. Rc7 Kg8 39. Rb7 Rd3 40. Nc5 Rxa7 41. Rxd7 Nxd7 42. Nxd3 Ra3 43. Nc1 Ra1 44. Ne2 Re1 45. Nd4 Nc5 46. Bc2 Ne4 47. g3 Nc3 48. Kg2 Ne2 49. Nf3 Rc1 50. Bd3 Nxg1 51. Nxg1 Rc3 52. Be2 Kf7 53. Nf3 Kf6 54. Kf2 h6 55. Ne5 g5 56. Ng4+ Kg7 57. Ne5 Kf6 58. Bd3 gxf4 59. gxf4 Ra3 60. Ke3 Ra4 61. Nd7+ Ke7 62. Ne5 Kf6 63. h4 Ra1 64. h5 Rh1 65. Bg6 Rg1 66. Nd7+ Ke7 67. Ne5 Kf6 68. Kd4 Rg3 69. Nd3 Rg1 70. Kc5 Rf1 71. Kd6 Rf3 72. Kd7 Rf1 73. Ke8 Ra1 74. Kd7 Rf1 75. Ke8 Ra1 76. Nc5 Rf1 77. Nd7+ Kg7 78. Nc5 Kf6 79. Nd3 1/2-1/2 [/pgn]

And another key round 5 matchup was Michael Zheng against FM Jason Liang, after which Liang suddenly emerged with the only perfect score in the event.

[pgn][Event "2020 Barber MS State Champions"] [Site ""] [Date "2020.08.02"] [Round "5"] [White "Zheng, Michael"] [Black "Liang, Jason"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B12"] [WhiteElo "2178"] [BlackElo "2403"] [Annotator "Rohde"] [PlyCount "140"] [EventDate "2020.08.01"] [EventType "swiss"] [EventRounds "6"] {[%evp 0,140,61,25,67,67,59,61,75,56,56,35,48,32,61,43,25,18,1,-2,7,-6,-9,-47, -4,-48,-30,-30,-58,-67,-74,-60,-44,-51,25,-45,5,-25,-11,4,5,33,33,-13,40,-28, -27,-41,-32,-43,-42,-39,-40,-33,-39,-39,-34,-36,-33,-40,-36,-42,-34,-41,-24, -44,-30,-39,4,-32,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0, -38,0,0,0,-35,-32,-31,-27,-19,-19,-11,-34,-25,-27,-18,-21,-27,-98,9,-108,-108, -121,-246,-294,-376,-449,-517,-121,-342,-566,-566,-692,-692,-735,-1155,-1259, -1403,-1924,-1934,-28416,-29969,-29970,-29971,-29964]} 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Nf3 e6 5. Be2 Ne7 6. O-O c5 (6... Nd7 {is more usual here.}) 7. c4 (7. Be3 {is typically a strong reaction to ... c6-c5 in the Advance Caro, because White is trying to push Black into a trade on d4.}) 7... Nbc6 8. dxc5 d4 { A strong move to get clean play against e5 and c5.} 9. Bd3 Bxd3 10. Qxd3 Ng6 11. Re1 Bxc5 12. a3 a5 13. Nbd2 O-O 14. Nf1 (14. Ne4 Be7 {leaves White's e-pawn in the lurch.}) 14... Qc7 15. Qe4 a4 16. h4 Rfd8 17. Bg5 Be7 18. Bxe7 Qxe7 19. h5 Nf8 20. Rad1 Ra5 21. Ng3 h6 22. Qf4 Nd7 23. Nxd4 Ndxe5 { Crystallizing into a better formation for Black.} 24. Nxc6 Nxc6 25. Rd2 Rxd2 26. Qxd2 Ra8 27. Rd1 Qc5 28. Qf4 Qe5 {White has unstable pawns on both sides of the board.} 29. Qc1 Na5 (29... f5 30. Re1 {would be ok for White.}) 30. Qc2 Nb3 31. Qe2 Qxe2 32. Nxe2 Rc8 33. Nc3 {With this move, White has mostly recovered.} Nc5 (33... Rxc4 34. Rd8+ Kh7 35. Rd7 {is at least fine for White.}) 34. g4 Kf8 35. Kg2 Ke7 36. Kg3 Rc6 37. f3 Rd6 38. Rxd6 Kxd6 39. f4 e5 40. f5 Kc6 41. Kf3 Kd6 42. Ke3 f6 43. Nb5+ Kc6 44. Nc3 Kb6 45. Nd5+ Kc6 46. Nc3 Kd7 47. Nd5 Kd6 48. Nc3 Kc6 49. Nd5 Nd7 50. Nc3 Nc5 51. Nd5 {It is mind-boggling that there has been no 3-time occurrence!} b5 52. Nb4+ Kb6 53. Nd5+ Kc6 54. Nb4+ Kb7 55. cxb5 Kb6 56. Nd5+ Kxb5 {Brilliant maneuvering by Black in using the inherent advantage of a protected passed pawn (on e5) to effect a break in the position.} 57. Nc7+ Kc6 58. Ne8 Kd7 59. Nxg7 Ke7 60. Ne6 Nxe6 61. fxe6 Kxe6 62. Kd3 Kd5 63. b4 axb3 64. Kc3 e4 65. Kxb3 Kd4 66. a4 Kd3 67. a5 e3 68. a6 e2 69. a7 e1=Q 70. a8=Q Qb1+ 0-1 [/pgn]

After 5 rounds, Liang stood at 5-0, and Guo, Evan Park, and Ngo had 4.5. In round 6, Park defeated Ngo, utilizing a nice Exchange sac, while Liang held on against Guo, so Evan Park and Jason Liang finished as co-champions.

[pgn][Event "2020 Barber MS State Champions"] [Site ""] [Date "2020.08.02"] [Round "6"] [White "Park, Evan"] [Black "Ngo, Bach"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C91"] [WhiteElo "2305"] [BlackElo "2222"] [Annotator "Rohde"] [PlyCount "119"] [EventDate "2020.08.01"] [EventType "swiss"] [EventRounds "6"] {[%evp 0,119,31,31,31,17,17,25,17,3,7,9,16,-24,0,13,11,-29,-21,-28,0,12,56,60, 54,51,51,25,20,44,43,43,29,20,21,-28,-1,17,22,-17,-19,-14,0,5,11,15,10,19,29, 11,129,123,139,125,125,125,153,150,195,122,122,126,138,132,135,143,143,166,165, 99,190,186,226,222,275,218,247,233,333,181,181,197,181,259,367,398,416,287,268, 295,320,363,368,308,308,293,282,292,336,344,343,310,342,342,329,365,380,408, 403,404,545,291,307,311,311,306,311,311,1179,1250,1398,1422]} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. d4 { This move has not been that popular lately, but it is quite a reasonable line.} (9. h3 {is the main line here, to prepare d2-d4 while disallowing the pin.}) 9... Bg4 10. Be3 a5 (10... exd4 11. cxd4 Na5 12. Bc2 Nc4 {is a typical means of getting counterplay in this line.}) 11. a4 {A good move to try to keep the light-squared bishop certified on its current diagonal.} (11. h3 {would also be a good interpolation, as Black would gain nothing here by trading on f3.}) 11... b4 12. h3 Bh5 13. Nbd2 (13. d5 Nb8 14. Nbd2 {is a better way and gives a nice queenside initiative to White.}) 13... bxc3 14. bxc3 exd4 15. cxd4 d5 { Now Black has a lot of activity.} 16. e5 (16. exd5 Nxd5 17. Rc1 {with a rough equality was probably the best that White had here.}) 16... Ne4 17. Bc2 Bg6 ( 17... Nxd2 {was strong;} 18. Qxd2 Bb4 19. Qd3 Bg6) 18. Bf4 Bb4 (18... Nxd2 { was still an active position for Black.}) 19. Nxe4 {White bails out with a pretty good Exchange sac.} Bxe1 20. Qxe1 dxe4 21. Bxe4 Bxe4 22. Qxe4 Ne7 23. Ng5 Ng6 24. Be3 h6 (24... Qd7 {was ok;}) (24... Qe8 {was also something to think about.}) 25. Nxf7 Rxf7 26. Qxg6 {Now White has the better chances.} Rb8 27. Qc6 Rd7 28. Rc1 Qe7 29. Qc5 Qxc5 30. Rxc5 {White's pawns are too strong here.} Rbd8 31. f4 Rxd4 32. Bxd4 Rxd4 33. f5 Rxa4 34. Rxc7 Rf4 35. g4 Re4 36. e6 a4 37. Kf2 Kf8 38. Kf3 Re1 39. Ra7 Ra1 40. Ra8+ Ke7 41. Rg8 a3 42. Rxg7+ Kf6 43. Ra7 a2 44. Kg2 Kg5 45. e7 Re1 46. Rxa2 Rxe7 47. Ra6 h5 48. Kf3 Rb7 49. Rg6+ Kh4 50. g5 Rb3+ 51. Kf4 Rb4+ 52. Ke5 Rb5+ 53. Ke6 Kxh3 54. f6 Kg4 55. Rg8 Rb6+ 56. Ke5 Rb5+ 57. Kd6 Rb6+ 58. Kc5 Rb7 59. g6 Kg5 60. f7 1-0 [/pgn]

[pgn][Event "2020 Barber MS State Champions"] [Site ""] [Date "2020.08.02"] [Round "6"] [White "Liang, Jason"] [Black "Guo, Arthur"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A13"] [WhiteElo "2403"] [BlackElo "2446"] [Annotator "Rohde"] [PlyCount "124"] [EventDate "2020.08.01"] [EventType "swiss"] [EventRounds "6"] {[%evp 0,124,31,28,28,-12,6,4,6,7,20,5,-4,8,7,14,21,-1,28,23,15,15,14,2,2,-2, -3,-10,9,4,-6,-11,-16,-22,-4,-14,6,-2,6,18,40,10,5,18,12,13,-10,0,-13,-13,-21, -16,-11,-6,-10,-14,0,-22,-9,-7,-42,-51,-4,-2,-7,21,13,0,91,-61,-60,-49,-56,-58, -58,-58,-53,-66,-63,-44,-57,-61,-81,-77,-75,-86,0,0,135,78,87,58,60,0,152,202, 167,167,193,193,215,223,237,217,223,220,220,230,230,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0, 0,0,0,0,0]} 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 d5 4. e3 {A quiet move, somewhat typical of the situation in which Liang is a half-point up going into the last round.} Be7 5. b3 O-O 6. Bb2 b6 7. cxd5 {When to play a move like this is always quite interesting. Here, with White's bishops not that actively placed, I would rather keep the bigger center and not make this trade.} exd5 8. Rc1 Re8 9. Be2 Bb7 10. O-O Nbd7 11. d4 c6 {A good, patient move. Black is beginning to get the better of it because he can do more with the half-open e-file than White can on the queenside.} 12. Qc2 Bd6 13. Rfd1 Rc8 14. Bf1 Qe7 15. g3 g6 ( 15... Nf8 {with ... Nf8-e6 on the way seems more constructive and is anyway a better method of patrolling the f4 square.}) 16. Bg2 Nh5 17. Ne2 Rc7 18. Nf4 Nxf4 19. exf4 {Suddenly, White's grip on e5 and kingside pawn preponderance is very annoying.} f6 20. h4 Nf8 21. f5 Bc8 {Black rushes his minor pieces to the kingside to help out.} 22. fxg6 hxg6 23. Re1 Qf7 24. Rxe8 Qxe8 25. Re1 Qf7 26. Qd2 a5 27. Nh2 Re7 28. Nf1 (28. Rxe7 Qxe7 29. Qd1 {is preferable, trying to get the knight to g4.}) 28... Qe8 29. Ne3 f5 30. Nc2 {An amusing 4th move in a row with the knight.} Nh7 31. Rxe7 Qxe7 32. Ne1 f4 {Suddenly, Black takes a strong initiative, with the passivity of White's bishop on b2 being a major factor.} 33. gxf4 Qxh4 34. Nd3 Nf6 35. Ne5 Bf5 (35... Ng4 36. Nxg4 Qxg4 37. Bc1 {would leave Black better, but without a clear plan.}) 36. Qe3 Ne4 37. Bc1 c5 38. Bb2 {Artful play. Now the bishop has a function on b2.} Kh7 39. Nd3 Qg4 40. dxc5 bxc5 41. Be5 Qd1+ (41... Bf8 {is also unclear.}) 42. Qe1 Qxd3 43. Bxd6 Qc2 {An agonizing decision. Guo must have not liked} (43... c4 44. Qxa5) 44. Be5 { Now 45 f3 is a threat.} Nd2 45. Bxd5 Qd3 46. Bb2 Be4 47. Bxe4 Nxe4 {Black's queen and knight are strong enough to hold the balance.} 48. Kg2 Kg8 49. Qxa5 Qe2 50. Qd8+ Kf7 51. Qd7+ Kf8 52. Qg7+ Ke8 53. Qxg6+ Kd7 54. Qf5+ Kc6 55. Qe6+ Kb7 56. Qd7+ Ka6 57. Qc6+ {Both sides are locked into the draw here.} Ka7 58. Qc7+ Ka6 59. Qc8+ Ka7 60. Qd7+ Ka6 61. Qc6+ Ka7 62. Qd7+ Ka6 1/2-1/2 [/pgn]

In the Rockefeller, after 4 rounds, Alex Zhang had a perfect score, Bryan Xie had 3.5/4, having taken a half-point bye in round 4, and many players stood at 3 points out of 4. Among the 3-pointers were pre-tournament favorite Brewington Hardaway, who had lost to Jacob Chiang; Chiang, who had lost to Kevin Su; and Su, who had lost to Xie.

The two players who would eventually tie for 2nd place engaged in a fierce battle in round 4:

[pgn][Event "2020 Rockefeller ES State Champions"] [Site ""] [Date "2020.08.02"] [Round "4"] [White "Su, Kevin"] [Black "Chiang, Jacob"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B91"] [WhiteElo "1967"] [BlackElo "1991"] [Annotator "Rohde"] [PlyCount "111"] [EventDate "2020.08.01"] [EventType "swiss"] [EventRounds "6"] {[%evp 0,111,23,16,76,33,37,40,56,12,51,34,45,-9,-7,-6,-9,-10,16,7,33,5,45,21, 3,-9,2,-75,-34,-31,-10,-10,-5,-29,-11,-8,-15,-3,-2,0,14,-24,30,44,39,53,58,61, 74,28,61,25,97,54,87,76,165,172,223,238,230,230,237,236,369,329,370,713,814, 869,869,907,931,991,999,1013,1013,895,1004,1102,1311,1354,1516,1475,1548,1551, 1551,1448,1486,1509,1531,1545,1642,1712,28853,29988,29991,29992,29993,29990, 29991,29992,29993,29992,29997,29992,29993,29994,29995,29996,29997,29998,29999, -30000]} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 d6 6. g3 {This seems a little more uncommon here than against the Najdorf.} e5 (6... g6 { is a good option, as the fianchetto against the Dragon is not that dangerous.}) 7. Nde2 Be7 8. Bg2 O-O 9. O-O a6 (9... Be6 10. Nd5 {is typically a little unpleasant for Black.}) (9... h6 10. h3 Bd7 {is a thought.}) 10. a4 Qc7 11. Bg5 (11. h3 {with Bc1-e3 leaves Black awkwardly placed.}) 11... Be6 {Good now that the retort Nc3-d5 no longer works due to the White bishop on g5 being left in limbo.} 12. b3 Rac8 13. f4 {Trying to secure the d5 square, but Black has good counter-measures.} Nd4 14. f5 Nxe2+ 15. Nxe2 Bd7 16. Bxf6 Bxf6 17. c4 {Black should be slightly better here due to solid dark squares and satisfactory bishop mobility.} Qc5+ 18. Kh1 Bc6 19. Qd3 Rfd8 20. Rfb1 b5 {Mistimed as White suddenly gets a protected passed a-pawn.} 21. cxb5 axb5 22. b4 Qb6 23. a5 Qa6 24. Ra2 Rd7 25. Rc2 Rcd8 26. Rbc1 Ba8 27. Nc3 d5 28. Nxd5 Bxd5 29. exd5 Bg5 30. Rc6 Qa8 31. R1c2 Rb8 32. d6 Qa7 33. Rc7 Qd4 34. Qxd4 exd4 35. Rxd7 d3 36. Rcc7 d2 37. Bf3 Re8 38. Re7 Bxe7 39. dxe7 f6 40. Rd7 g6 41. Rd8 Kf7 42. Rxe8 Kxe8 43. a6 Kxe7 44. a7 gxf5 45. a8=Q d1=Q+ 46. Bxd1 f4 47. gxf4 f5 48. Qd5 Kf6 49. Qxb5 h5 50. Qe5+ Kg6 51. b5 Kh6 52. b6 Kh7 53. b7 Kg6 54. b8=Q Kh7 55. Qbh8+ Kg6 56. Qhg7# 1-0 [/pgn]

In round 5, Xie moved into sole possession of 1st place by defeating Zhang.

[pgn][Event "2020 Rockefeller ES State Champions"] [Site ""] [Date "2020.08.02"] [Round "5"] [White "Xie, Bryan"] [Black "Zhang, Alex"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B19"] [WhiteElo "2203"] [BlackElo "2010"] [Annotator "Rohde"] [PlyCount "75"] [EventDate "2020.08.01"] [EventType "swiss"] [EventRounds "6"] {[%evp 0,75,27,28,76,67,67,36,36,47,41,56,40,40,32,20,16,28,31,33,31,31,31,31, 31,14,10,21,20,16,15,15,6,7,12,20,22,13,31,31,31,32,63,53,54,22,27,26,25,21,9, 11,20,20,31,35,41,46,87,118,153,172,169,174,158,141,232,220,249,270,288,302, 519,541,588,505,1044,1472]} 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bf5 5. Ng3 Bg6 6. h4 h6 7. Nf3 Nd7 8. h5 Bh7 9. Bd3 Bxd3 10. Qxd3 e6 11. Bf4 Qa5+ 12. Bd2 Qc7 13. O-O-O Ngf6 14. Ne4 Nxe4 (14... O-O-O 15. g3 Nc5 16. Nxc5 Bxc5 {is a more modern treatment.}) 15. Qxe4 Nf6 {The difficulty in this line is that the Black knight is no longer in touch with the lever / outpost square e5 or the lever square c5.} 16. Qe2 O-O-O 17. Kb1 Kb8 18. g3 (18. c4 {is another good plan here, intending to follow up with Bd2-c3 and Nf3-e5.}) 18... Bd6 19. Ne5 Bxe5 20. dxe5 Nd7 21. f4 Nb6 22. Ba5 {Simplifying, although it is not clear that White's kingside edge will be enough for the win.} (22. g4 {keeps up the strategic bind on the kingside.}) 22... Rd5 23. Rxd5 cxd5 24. Qg4 Rg8 25. Bxb6 Qxb6 26. f5 exf5 27. Qxf5 Qe6 28. Qh7 Re8 (28... f6 29. exf6 Re8 30. a3 Qxf6 { would have been ok.}) 29. Qxg7 Qxe5 30. Qxh6 {Now the advanced, passed h-pawn gives White a winning method.} Qxg3 31. Qc1 Rh8 32. h6 Qd6 33. Qg5 f6 34. Qg6 Qf8 35. h7 f5 36. Rg1 Kc7 37. Qg8 Qf6 38. Rg7+ 1-0 [/pgn]

Then in round 6, Xie came back from an inferior ending to defeat Hardaway and win the tournament with 5.5/6. Both Jacob Chiang and Kevin Su won their last two rounds, and they tied for second at 5/6.

In the team combined-score competition, New York held on for the win with a combined score among the 5 TOCs with 24. Both Southern California and Northern California scored 22.5.

Quick Links:

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2020 Online Invitationals: Overview, Schedule, & Prizes

2020 Online Invitational: Rules 

Pairings:  Denker, Barber, HaringRockefeller, Seniors

Standings: Denker, Barber, Haring, Rockefeller, SeniorsWeeramantry (2200+)Weeramantry (1600-2199)Weeramantry (U1600)


US Chess thanks the following individuals, organizations, and businesses for their support of the 2020 Online National Invitational Events (in alphabetical order):

Dewain Barber

Dwight Barber

Ralph Bowman and Staff

Ursula Foster Scholarships

             Clifford Lester

             Rick Lester

Internet Chess Club (ICC)

National State Invitationals Committee

             Jon Haskel, Chair

             Dewain Barber

             David Grimaud

             Maureen Grimaud

             Al Lawrence

             John D. Rockefeller V

             Sunil Weeramantry

             Harold J. Winston

John D. Rockefeller V

Richard and Barbara Schiffrin

Tournament Directors

             Chief TD Jon Haskel

             John D. Rockefeller V

             Danny Rohde

             Christina Schweiss

             Judit Sztaray

             Eric Vigil

             Joe Yun

             Brian Yang

Charles D. Unruh

US Chess Executive Board

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