Gorovets Wins the Manhattan Open

IM Andrey Gorovets at the 2015 National Chess Congress

IM Andrey Gorovets won the Manhattan Open with a score of 4 ½ – 1/2, taking the $2000 first prize and $100 clear first bonus.  His path to victory was slightly unusual, but was very dominant.  Two of Gorovets’ opponents tied for second with 4-1 scores, losing only to Gorovets. Gorovets also defeated the tournament’s top seeded player GM Yaroslav Zherebukh.

What makes Gorovets’ path slightly unusual is that he played in the two-day schedule and opted for a half point bye in round 3. Thus, he scored 4-0 in played games.  There were a total of seven GMs ad 5 IMs in the tournament, but with the exception of Zherebukh, Gorovets didn’t face any of them because he was facing the junior players who were tearing up the field!

After a routine win against a “mere” master, Gorovets faced FM Brandon Jacobson who is the highest rated 13-year-old in the country. Gorovets had white, and he did win that game, but he admits to being in some trouble in that game.

In round three, Gorovets opted for the half point bye. I suspected that there might be some tournament strategy in that decision and I was right, but that only tells half the story.  The tournament strategy was that Gorovets wanted to avoid playing Zherebukh with black.  There is more to the story: Gorovets said he did not sleep well the previous night and was very tired.  Regardless of his motivations, it must have worked out.  However, the next morning Gorovets played the black pieces against GM Zherebukh. Gorovets must have been well rested because he won that game!

Even though Gorovets may have been well rested, he had some help from his opponent.  Zherebukh was better most of the game and did turn down a draw offer.  Zherebukh did correctly sacrifice an exchange and was winning, but right before time control the tables turned.  Zherebukh could have played 37. a6, and his a pawn will be decisive.  However, he let Gorovets rooks get too active, and, even though he could queen the a pawn, he would get checkmated.

In the last round, Gorovets was on board one in a must win situation for first place.  There was one 4-0:  Robert Perez.  Perez was the only perfect score in the tournament, having defeated GM Niclas Huschenbeth, IM Kaiqi Yang and GM Sergey Kudrin in rounds 2, 3, and 4.  Gorovets did win that game and guaranteed himself at least a tie for first.

One player had the opportunity to catch Gorovets.  GM Mark Paragua started the round at 3 1/2 and could catch Gorovets if he could beat GM Huschenbeth with the black pieces.  The game was the last one to end in the open section, going to a complicated rook and pawn ending.  Huschenbeth, though, had all the winning chances and did bring home the full point, and, thus, was in the tie for second at 4-1.  Perez also finished at 4-1, as did Jacobson.  T

he final player to tie for second was GM Niaz Murshed.  Murshed finished with 3 wins and 2 draws.  He gave up draws to IM Yang and NM Brandon Nydick when he had the black pieces.  He won all three games with white against Jason Liu, FM Kyron Griffith and FM Levy Rozman.  Here is his last round win over FM Rozman.

All the players who tied for second won $500.  Two up and coming juniors won the top U2400 prize: 15-year-old Brandon Nydick and 13-year-old Wesley Wang each scored 3 ½ to win $450.

IM Aleksandr Ostrovskiy at the 2016 U.S. Junior Championship. Photo: Austin Fuller

A puzzle/combination from the tournament comes from round one when IM Aleksandr Ostrovskiy defeated NM Juan Sena.  Ostrovskiy has sacrificed a pawn and built a very active position.  Can you find the finishing combination?

Aleksandr Ostrovskiy vs. Juan Sena

White to move.

The last game of the tournament had a highly unusual finish.  Igor Kovalchuk underpromoted to a knight to deliver checkmate and tie for first in the Under 2200 section.  He finished at 4 ½ and won $1000.  In the final position, if white queens, it will be a draw, and any move other than a pawn promotion loses, but the underpromotion checkmates!

Igor Kovalchuk vs. Vladimir Polyakin

White to move.

Another unusual occurrence comes to us from the Under 1000 section.  Zenchi Sun was paired against his father Anthony Sun in round four. Neither player brought the pairing to the attention of the TD.  We probably would have changed it if they had brought it to our attention in time, but in the penultimate round the pairing software won’t look as hard to change such pairings.  They welcomed the opportunity to play.  Zenchi called a TD to complain that his father committed a touch move violation!  I guess rather than wait until they got home to deal with it, the lower rated father just checkmated his higher rated son! Both finished the tournament with a plus score.

More fun from the Under 1000 section. Three unrateds won money.  They are limited to $100. Two of the three won less than $100, so there is no issue.  However, Avtandil Chanadiri was playing in his first event and scored 5-0.  He could only win $100, even though first place is $500.  For those that want to know where the other $400 goes checkout “How do you pay this prize fund” in “Running Chess Tournaments” on the US Chess Forums.  (That was a shameless plug for US Chess Forums as well as an attempt not to bore readers who may not be interested in esoteric topics).   😊

The section winners were:

Under 2200

Igor Kovalchuk & Jeremy Berman, 4 ½ – ½, $1000

Under 2000

Tristan Dalhouse, 5-0, $1300

Under 1800

John Ciardi, 5-0. $1300

Under 1600

Jean Chavannes & David Colon, 4 ½ – ½, $750

Under 1400

Liam Murphy, 5-0, $1000

Under 1200

John Incantalupo, 5-0, $500

Under 1000

Avtandil Chanadiri, $100 (prize limited due to being unrated)

Frank Randazzo & Linyue Ren, 4 ½ – ½. $375.

Mixed Doubles

Charlie Reeder & William Chen and Aliana Fausto & Shawn Martinez, $500 each team

Blitz Tournament

IM Ahuja Rohan, 7-1, $80

            NTD Steve Immitt directed for CCA assisted by David Hater, Harold Stenzel, Harold Scott, Sophia Rohde, and Danny Rohde.

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