GM Lenderman Wins George Washington Open

Lenderman YuGM Aleksandr Lenderman won the George Washington Open held at the Dulles Airport Hyatt Hotel from February 26th to 28th.  Lenderman scored 4 ½ out of 5 against a very strong field.  Lenderman played the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th seeded players (GM and two IMs) en route to a 2758 performance rating.  His only draw was to IM Igor Khmelnitsky and that was a fighting draw.  Igor offered a draw after the opening and it was declined.  Alex offered a draw about move 40 that was also refused,  but they drew a short while later.  Alex commented that Igor is a very strong player and he played very solidly with white, so it is very difficult to win a game like that.  In round four Alex was ½ point back of second seeded GM Sergey Erenburg.  Their game was a sharp affair with Alex coming out on top. Here Alex shares some of his thoughts on the critical game.

[Event "George Washington Open"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.02.28"]
[White "Lenderman, Alex"]
[Black "Erenburg, Sergey"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2707"]
[BlackElo "2680"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "3rb1k1/1pr1bp2/pqn1p1p1/8/1P1PN3/P2BPN2/2R1Q1P1/2R3K1 w - - 0 25"]
[PlyCount "43"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]

25. Nc5 $6 {Up to this point we had a shart struggle where I had
the isolated pawn on d4 and then Sergey traded his knight on d5 for my bishop
on e3, thus this structure. So far I've played a good game and I couldn't
finished this game in style with 25)g4! with a mating attack. Instead I start
nimbling and went astray and the game starts from the beginning.} (25. g4 $1 {
Surprisingly this quiet move practically ends matters since black doesn't even
have an adequate defence against the simple but deadly plan of qh2-h3, and rh2
followed by mate on the h-file. The fact that the computer suggests nxd4 as
the best move, simply giving up a piece for a pawn to try to confuse matters
shows just how desparate black's position is.} e5 {Was a move that I was
afraid of but it turns out white can just ignore that.} (25... f5 26. gxf5 exf5
27. Bc4+ Kg7 28. Nc5 $18 {Is also decisive}) (25... a5 26. b5 Bxa3 27. bxc6
Bxc1 28. Rxc1 Rxc6 29. Rf1 {Material roughly equal but white's attack is too
strong.}) (25... Nxd4 {Is the computer says this is the best move, you know
something is wrong with black's position :)} 26. exd4 Rxc2 27. Rxc2 Bc6 28. Qf2
{Should be an easy technical win.} (28. Qh2 Bxe4 29. Bxe4 Rxd4 {Was black's
vague point.})) 26. Qh2 $1 (26. dxe5 $2 Bd7 $1 {Would be a very unclear
position with all three results possible.}) 26... exd4 27. Qh3 $1 dxe3 28. Rh2
$18 {And black has to give up the whole house to avoid getting mated.}) 25...
Bf6 26. Be4 $6 {Another unnecessary move.} (26. Qf2 e5 27. Qg3 $16 {Would also
be quite good since now exd4 loses to na4.}) 26... Ne7 27. Qe1 {I finally come
up with the right idea.} Bc6 28. Bxc6 (28. g4 $6 {Allow some additional
options such as} Bd5 (28... Rdc8 29. Bxc6 Qxc6)) 28... Rxc6 29. Ne4 Bg7 30.
Rxc6 bxc6 $1 {In time pressure Sergey finds the right move. nxc6 looks more
desirable pawn structure wise but would leave the king unprotected.} (30...
Nxc6 $2 31. Qh4 $40 {And the attack is unstoppable.}) 31. g4 $6 {Now this was
the critical moment. This move g4 looked very strong to me, especially in
Sergey's time pressure since it seemed to me that if white's not just
obviously better, at the very least, it's much easier for me to play, and I
didn't want to give black easy choice in time pressure.} (31. Qh4 {Me and
Sergey analyzed this move after the game and it didn't seem totally convicing
to me. While I win the pawn, it didn't seem sufficient enough for me, as I was
overestimating my position quite a lot.} Nf5 32. Rxc6 {This was the point. But
even after I win the pawn it's not so easy.} Qb8 $1 33. Qh2 (33. Qf2 $6 Qb7 {
Is already better for black.}) (33. Qf4 Bxd4 $1 {Is also close to equal.})
33... Qb5 34. Rc3 Qe2 35. Qc7 Rf8 36. Qc4 Qxc4 37. Rxc4 Nxe3 {White is at best
slightly better.}) (31. Nc5 {I turns out maybe I should've considered playing
by more positional means now that black's pawn structure is weakened.} Qb5 (
31... Qc7 32. Nd3 $14 {The good thing about the knight on d3 is that I'm
stopping black's counterplay with e5.}) 32. Qh4) 31... Nd5 $1 {The only move
but the best.} 32. Qf2 $6 {Right here I thought I had a really dangerous
attack but in fact black was already doing close to fine here. Me
overestimating my position almost cost me dearly this game. I was starting to
think a long time here, looking for a decisive continuation and couldn't find
one. As it turned out, there might be nothing here, even the positional way
might be too late now.} (32. Ned2 $5 {Would be a very mature move to play} Qb5
33. Nc4 {With a seemingly solid positional advantage, although even here block
has a shocking resource of a5!} a5 34. Nxa5 Qd3 $132) 32... Qc7 $1 {Again
Sergey is up to the task. Very strong move, fortifying his kingside and
looking a bit at my king. I missed this move when I looked at qf2.} 33. Rf1 {
Bringing the last resource to the attack.} (33. Nfg5 $2 Nxe3 {Is clearly good
for black.}) (33. Neg5 Nxe3 {I was afraid of this move since I couldn't quite
figure it out but looks like white is better after all here.} (33... Re8 {But
even here black can play re8.}) 34. Qxe3 Qg3+ 35. Kf1 $1 (35. Kh1 Bf6 $132 {
Was what I was afraid of.}) 35... Bxd4 36. Qe1 Qxg4 37. Rc4 $16) (33. Kg2 e5 {
And already black is doing very well.}) 33... Nf6 $2 {The decisive mistake. I
was happy that I have foreseen this a move in advantage and my 34th move also.
However, I got very fortunate because Sergey was choosing between two moves,
33)re8! and this move and he had low time and he happened to choose the wrong
one. Sometimes in chess you get a little bit lucky.} (33... Re8 $1 {But after
this strong move, just one more solidifying move, Sergey's position would be
very sound and in fact all 3 results are possible here and already black has a
psychological advantage here since I'm still in the mode of overestimating my
piece and if I don't see anything very good I'd have a good chance of doing
something rash. As it turned out at this point I would've had to shift gears
and make sure I have at least equality. which would be hard to do. And he saw
this move, which is why I really feel lucky this game.} 34. Nc5 (34. Ned2 e5
35. dxe5 (35. Nxe5 Bxe5 36. dxe5 Rxe5 37. e4 $11) 35... Qd7) (34. Nfg5 f6 35.
Nf3 {Was what we looked at in analysis but here it's clear black is at the
very least out of danger.} f5 36. Neg5 Bh6 {And I'd probably already take
black. White's king is weaker suddenly while the pawn structure is also double
edged. Both sides have their weaknesses.}) 34... Nxe3 $1 35. Qxe3 Qg3+ 36. Kh1
Qh3+ $11 {Is an immediate draw.}) 34. Neg5 $1 {This move, my opponent missed.
He thought Nxf6 Bxf6 would lead to an easy equality.
That's why I had to foresee this move before going Rf1, allowing Nf6.} Nxg4 $6
{Loses right away but the alternatives weren't rosy at this point.} (34... Rd5
35. Ne5 Rxe5 36. Qh2 $1 Bh6 37. Qxe5 Qxe5 38. dxe5 Nxg4 39. Nxf7 $16 {With a
technical win.}) (34... Bh6 35. Qh4 Kg7 36. Ne5 Bxg5 37. Qxg5 Ne4 38. Rxf7+
Qxf7 39. Nxf7 Nxg5 40. Nxd8 $18) 35. Qh4 Nxe3 {Allows a nice finish but it was
hopeless anyway.} (35... Nf6 36. Ne5 Nh5 (36... Re8 37. Rxf6 Bxf6 38. Qh7+ Kf8
39. Nxg6+ fxg6 40. Qxc7 Bxg5 41. Qg3 $18) (36... Qe7 37. Nxc6) 37. Rxf7) (35...
Nh6 36. Ne5 $1 Rf8 (36... Re8 37. Rxf7 $1 $18 Nxf7 (37... Qxf7 38. Nexf7 Nxf7
39. Nxf7 Kxf7 40. Qf4+ $18) 38. Qh7+ Kf8 39. Nxg6#) 37. Rxf7 Rxf7 38. Nexf7
Nxf7 39. Qh7+ Kf8 40. Nxe6+) 36. Qh7+ Kf8 37. Nxe6+ $1 fxe6 38. Ng5+ Nxf1 39.
Nxe6+ Kf7 40. Qxg7+ Kxe6 41. Qxc7 {The rest is a mop up.} Rf8 42. Qxc6+ Ke7 43.
Qc7+ {The simplest. I can also win by trading queen for rook, winning the
knight, and pushing my passed pawns, and the b and d pawns 2 files apart
protect each other. But then I thought, why not also grab the g6 pawn by force
before doing that/} Ke8 44. Qe5+ Kd8 45. Qd6+ Ke8 46. Qxg6+ {
And Sergey resigned because at the very least I will trade queen for rook and
knight and win up two pawns endgame. A back and forth battle which was one of
the key games to helping me win George Washington Open.} 1-0[/pgn]
This set up an interesting last round pairing. The two leaders were Lenderman and Virginia State Champion , WFM Jennifer Yu who was coming off a 4th round win over GM Akshayraj Kore.  Jennifer had two whites in a row so was a “forced” black.  This gave Lenderman his second white in a row. In the end Jennifer could not upset two GMs in a row and Lenderman came out ahead.  Lenderman won the $1500 first prize and the $100 bonus for finishing in clear first.  Still, Jennifer cannot be too disappointed.  She tied for the Under 2300 prize winning $300 and took home a GM scalp!

[Event "George Washington Open"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.02.28"]
[White "Yu, Jennifer"]
[Black "Kore, Akshayraj"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A10"]
[WhiteElo "2284"]
[BlackElo "2564"]
[PlyCount "61"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]

1. c4 b6 2. Nc3 Bb7 3. e4 e6 4. g3 g6 5. Bg2 Bg7 6. Nge2 Ne7 7. O-O O-O 8. d4
d6 9. Be3 a6 10. f4 c5 11. Qd2 Qc7 12. Rac1 Nbc6 13. d5 Na5 14. b3 Rad8 15. g4
Bc8 16. f5 exf5 17. gxf5 gxf5 18. Bh6 fxe4 19. Nxe4 f6 20. N2g3 Ng6 21. Bxg7
Qxg7 22. Nh5 Qe7 23. Nexf6+ Kh8 24. Qh6 Ne5 25. Nxh7 Rxf1+ 26. Rxf1 Ng4 27.
Nf8+ Nxh6 28. Ng6+ Kh7 29. Nxe7 Bg4 30. Be4+ Kh8 31. Rf6 1-0[/pgn]
Second place in the open section was won by Erenburg and NM Aravind Kumar each with 4 points.  Kumar played the Swiss gambit to perfection.  He started with a half point bye.  He was then paired down the remaining four rounds, but scored 3 ½ out of 4 to finish in the second pace tie.  Erenburg’s only loss was to Lenderman.  In the last round he defeats IM Tegshuren Enkhbat to secure his portion of second place. There was a six way tie for 4th to 9th with IM Khmelnitsky, FM Shelby Getz, and NM Maggie Feng taking the place prizes and WFM Yu and NMs Daniel Lowinger & Srdjan Damanovic taking the more valuable Under 2300 prizes. I am always a fan of fighting chess and flashy tactics.  The next game comes from the lower end of the open section.  White thematically sacs a piece in the late opening /early middlegame.  Fritz evaluates the position as equal after the sacrifice is accepted.  For those who like dynamic equality, enjoy the next game!

[Event "George Washington Open"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.02.27"]
[White "Kobla, Vishal"]
[Black "Menon, Visha"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B99"]
[WhiteElo "2116"]
[BlackElo "1949"]
[PlyCount "71"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 Be7 8. Qf3
Qc7 9. O-O-O Nbd7 10. Bd3 b5 11. Rhe1 Bb7 12. Qg3 b4 13. Nd5 exd5 14. exd5 Kd8
15. Nc6+ Bxc6 16. dxc6 Nc5 17. Bh4 Rg8 18. Bxh7 Rh8 19. Qxg7 Rxh7 20. Qxf6 Rxh4
21. Qxf7 Rh8 22. Re5 Na4 23. Re3 Nc5 24. Rde1 Ra7 25. Qg7 Re8 26. f5 Qxc6 27.
f6 Rc7 28. R1e2 Qa4 29. f7 Nd3+ 30. Rxd3 Rf8 31. Kb1 Qc6 32. h4 a5 33. b3 d5
34. Rde3 Qf6 35. Qxf6 Bxf6 36. Re8+ 1-0[/pgn]
In the same vein, players in the class sections also enjoy tactics.  Can you find the winning move? Mcneil – Knudson
White to Play and Mate in 3 Show Solution
1.Rxg6 hxg6 2.Qxg6+ Kh8 3.Qh7#
This tournament marked a resurrection of the George Washington Open.  The event was previously held by the Virginia Chess Federation intermittently from 2000 to 2009.  There were seven George Washington Opens held during those years.  Interestingly, the 6th George Washington Open was the seventh tournament and the 5th George Washington Open was the sixth tournament.  Given that history, I am not going to try to number this year’s event, I will only say that it is good to be back on the schedule again! This year there were a number of perfect scores.  Frequent CCA tournament competitor Jones Murphy won the Under 2100 section with a 5-0 score.  He also partnered with Stepanie Ballom to win the first mixed doubles prize.  Stepanie  herself won the Under 1900 prize.  Murphy’s two prizes added up to a total of $1500 for his weekend’s work matching Lenderman’s first prize (but without the bonus). The Under 1800 section was also won with a 5-0 score.  Mark Hyland started as the 21st seed!  He was paired up 5 straight times.  He played the first seed in round 1 and when the weekend was over it was Mark who was in clear first place.  He won $1200 to go along with the 128 rating points he picked up. The Under 1500 section also saw a 5-0 score emerge from the bottom half of the wallchart.  Jason Zipfel also started at seed #20 and also started by playing the section’s highest rated player.  His 5-0 score was worth $600 (the U1500 section has a lower entry fee) and he picked up nearly 200 rating points! The Under 1200 section did not have a 5-0 score but it did have a player win all his games.  Aashray Manchanda started with a half point bye and won all 4 games enroute to a first place tie and $225.  Because of the bye, the other player in the tie, Cameron Voss won the first place trophy on tiebreak and also got $225. The blitz championship was won by Richard Brown with a score of 7 ½ - ½.  He finished 1 ½ points ahead of second place!  He won $100 and added 100 points to his blitz rating! National Tournament Director (NTD) TD David Hater directed for Continental Chess Association assisted by NTD Brian Yang and Senior TD Andrew Rea. Full details on the tournament, including many games, can be found at   Archives of most CCA tournaments are at

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