IMs Keaton Kiewra and Joshua Sheng Top the Los Angeles Open

The PRO Chess League's San Diego Surfers (left to right): Melik Khachiyan, Keaton Kiewra, Joshua Sheng, Craig Hilby, and Tatev Abrahamyan. Photo courtesy of Keaton Kiewra
The Los Angeles Open was held on November 3-5 in the LA suburb of Van Nuys.  Four IMs, two FMs, two WGMs, and one WIM were the titled players in the 43 player open section. After four rounds, IMs Keaton Kiewra and Joshua Sheng were the only players at 4-0.  They played a quick last round draw to secure first place.  Each won $1100 with Kiewra earning an additional $100 for the better tiebreaks. The first round went pretty much according to plan for the top players.  The majority of the top players won their games.  There were a few upsets and the most notable one was FM Danial Asaria losing to Gabriel Eidelman.  Asaria grabbed a poison pawn, and Eidelman is able to sac a piece and go on a king hunt.
[pgn][Event "Los Angeles Open"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2017.11.03"]
[Round "1.3"]
[White "Eidelman, Gabriel"]
[Black "Asaria, Danial"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B87"]
[WhiteElo "2133"]
[BlackElo "2324"]
[PlyCount "47"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bc4 e6 7. O-O Be7 8. f4
b5 9. Bb3 b4 10. Na4 Nxe4 11. f5 d5 12. fxe6 fxe6 13. Nxe6 Bxe6 14. Qh5+ Kd7
15. Bxd5 Nf6 16. Bxe6+ Kxe6 17. Re1+ Kd7 18. Rd1+ Bd6 19. Qf7+ Kc8 20. Bf4 Nbd7
21. Rxd6 Qa5 22. Nb6+ Nxb6 23. Rc6+ Kd8 24. Bc7+ 1-0[/pgn]
Asaria though would rebound winning the next four games and tying for third.  Eidelman was paired up all five rounds and scored an impressive three points He picked up almost 30 rating points and tied for the second place Under 2250 prize. The only other full point upset was NM Robert Shlakhtenko surrendering the full point to Bobby Hall.  Hall was paired up all five rounds, and he also scored 3 points to finish in the tie for second U2250.  Not too bad for a player originally seeded 30th in the 43 player field!
[pgn][Event "Los Angeles Open"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2017.11.03"]
[Round "1.5"]
[White "Hall, Bobby"]
[Black "Shlyakhtenko, Robert"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C03"]
[WhiteElo "2098"]
[BlackElo "2207"]
[PlyCount "101"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 Be7 4. Bd3 c5 5. c3 cxd4 6. cxd4 dxe4 7. Nxe4 Nf6 8.
Nf3 O-O 9. O-O Nxe4 10. Bxe4 Nd7 11. Bc2 Nf6 12. Ne5 Bd7 13. Qd3 Rc8 14. Bg5 g6
15. Rac1 Bc6 16. Rfe1 Bd5 17. Bh6 Re8 18. Ba4 Qb6 19. Bxe8 Rxe8 20. b3 Rd8 21.
Bg5 Qd6 22. Qc2 Ne8 23. Bxe7 Qxe7 24. Re3 Nd6 25. Qd2 Qg5 26. f3 f6 27. Nc4
Nxc4 28. bxc4 Bxf3 29. Rd3 Qxd2 30. Rxd2 Be4 31. Kf2 Kf7 32. Ke3 f5 33. Rc3 Rc8
34. g3 Ke7 35. g4 b5 36. gxf5 exf5 37. c5 Ke6 38. Ra3 Rc7 39. Ra6+ Kd5 40. Rd1
Rc6 41. Rxc6 Kxc6 42. Kf4 a5 43. Ke5 Bd5 44. a3 b4 45. axb4 axb4 46. Ra1 Bc4
47. Ra8 b3 48. Rb8 h5 49. Rb6+ Kc7 50. Rxg6 b2 51. Rb6 1-0[/pgn]
There were a few draws, the most notable being IM Andranik Matikozyan giving up half a point to Jeffrey Chou. In round two, the top seeds starting to play each other.  The top players were definitely tested early, but most of them prevailed.  At the merge, there were nine perfect scores remaining.  On board one, WGM Tatev Abrahamyan faced IM John Bryant.  Abrahamyan built up a winning position and finished the game with a nice tactic.  Can you spot the winning tactic?

Tatev Abrahamyan vs. John Bryant

[fen]6rk/5R1p/1p1p4/p2P1N2/1n2PP2/1nq1B3/1b3Q1P/1B5K w - - 0 36[/fen]
White to move.
Show Solution
[pgn][Event "Los Angeles Open"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2017.11.04"]
[Round "3.1"]
[White "Abrahamyan, Tatev"]
[Black "Bryant, John"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C66"]
[WhiteElo "2445"]
[BlackElo "2569"]
[Annotator "Hater,David"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "6rk/5R1p/1p1p4/p2P1N2/1n2PP2/1nq1B3/1b3Q1P/1B5K w - - 0 36"]
[PlyCount "9"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]36. Rxh7+ $1 Kxh7 37. Qh4+ Kg6 38. Qh6+ Kf7 39. Qe6+ Kf8 40. Qe7# 1-0[/pgn]
On board two, Kiewra defeated NM Lokesh Palani while, on board four, IM Sheng defeated NM Noam Feinberg.  Since board three ended in a draw between WGM Atousa Pourkashiyan and Anthony Ge, there would be three perfect scores entering the last day. Round four would be a critical round.  On board one IM Kiewra faced WGM Abrahamyan.  Kiewra came out ahead.  Here, he annotates critical parts of the game.
[pgn][Event "Los Angeles Open"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2017.11.05"]
[Round "4.1"]
[White "Kiewra, Keaton"]
[Black "Abrahamyan, Tatev"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2487"]
[BlackElo "2445"]
[Annotator "Kiewra, Keaton"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "1n3rk1/1r2qp1p/1pp3p1/p2p4/P2P4/1R1N2P1/1PQ1PP1P/2R3K1 w - - 0 21"]
[PlyCount "51"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]21. Ne5 {White enjoys a small plus in this position because of more active
pieces and healthier pawns. Still, to create something tangible from this
against such a strong player is no easy task.} Rc8 {Not falling into the trap
of trying to break out too early with} (21... c5 $6 22. Re3 $1 cxd4 23. Nxg6
Qd8 24. Nxf8 dxe3 {where white can win this sharp position beautifully with}
25. Qxh7+ Kxf8 26. Qh8+ Ke7 27. Qe5+ Kf8 28. Rc8 $3 Qxc8 29. Qh8+ $18) 22. Rf3
f6 23. Nd3 Na6 $1 {Black's Knight had been stuck on its starting square for so
long that I forgot it could now get into the game and target this b4 square
that I weakened.} 24. Qd2 Qd6 25. Rc3 Re7 26. Rb3 c5 $1 {Tatev has patiently
defended a worse position for most of the game. Now she siezes the correct
moment to seek active counterplay.} 27. dxc5 Nxc5 28. Nxc5 Rxc5 29. Rf4 Qc6 {
Another very accurate move introducing d4, Rc2 and Rc1 ideas all at once!} 30.
h4 {And I calmly ignore every one of them! The position is objectively equal
now, but if I want to try for a win I have to create threats on the Kingside.}
Rc1+ 31. Kg2 {The discovered check isn't dangerous since Rbf3 is anyway on
White's to do list.} Rc4 32. Rbf3 Rxf4 33. Rxf4 d4+ $5 {Facing enormous time
pressure, Tatev stays true to her aggressive nature. After 33...Re4 it would
be hard for either player to extract much from this lifeless position.} 34. Kh2
Qxa4 $6 {34...Re4 with the same dry intentions as the move before was more
accurate, but the text is far more consistent with Black's 33rd move.} 35. Rxf6
Qb4 36. Qf4 Rxe2 37. h5 $1 {Attaking the Kingside with everything I have left!}
Qc5 38. hxg6 Qh5+ 39. Kg2 Qd5+ 40. Kf1 Re8 {A well spotted defense with only
seconds on the clock.} 41. gxh7+ $4 {Overlooking a beautiful winning
continuation.} (41. Qh6 $1 {Stopping the mate threat on h1 while
simultaneously attacking h7. The point of leaving my pawn on g6 is that I can
meet 7th rank Queen moves with Rf7!} Qc4+ 42. Kg1 $1 {not} (42. Kg2 $2 Qc7 43.
Rf7 Qc6+ 44. Kh2 Qxg6 {Allowing Black to escape.}) 42... Re1+ 43. Kh2 $18)
41... Kh8 42. Qh6 d3 $1 {The only try} 43. Rg6 Qd7 $6 (43... Qe5 $1 {Would
have made White's technical task difficult. Black's King is miraculously safe
after 44.Rg5 Qxb2! White still stands better after 44.Qd2 (which I most likely
would not have played) but the fight continues.}) 44. Qh4 $1 {Bringing lethal
diagonal checks into play.} Rf8 (44... Re1+ 45. Kxe1 Qe8+ 46. Kd2 $1 Qxg6 (
46... Qe2+ 47. Kc3 Qc2+ 48. Kd4 {escapes}) 47. Qd8+ Kxh7 48. Qxd3 $18) 45. Qg5
{This move is playable since Qh3+ is no longer a threat. The White King can
hide on g1 without the Black Rook coming to e1.} Qe8 46. Rg8+ {Tatev resigned
here since White is winning the pawn ending.} 1-0[/pgn]
IM Sheng faced IM Matikozyan on board two.  Since Matikozyan had given up a draw in round one, he was the highest rated player at 2 ½ out of 3.  Sheng defeated Matikozyan to emerge as the second perfect score. In round four, there was an instructive tactical exchange on board three of the Under 1850 section.

Gary Isley vs. Samuel Katagi

Black has offered a pawn sacrifice.  How should white respond? [fen]r3k2r/pp1bqppp/2pb2n1/3p4/4n3/1P1BPN1P/PBPN1PP1/R2QR1K1 w kq - 0 13[/fen]
White to move.
Show Solution
[pgn][Event "Los Angeles Open"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2017.11.05"]
[Round "4.43"]
[White "Isley, Gary"]
[Black "Katagi, Samuel"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D02"]
[WhiteElo "1632"]
[BlackElo "1774"]
[Annotator "Hater,David"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "r3k2r/pp1bqppp/2pb2n1/3p4/4n3/1P1BPN1P/PBPN1PP1/R2QR1K1 w kq - 0 13"]
[PlyCount "12"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]13. Bxg7 {White can get away with this, but it is dangerous and, even if white
plays correctly, he will not emerge with an advantage. However, white has a
simple move that guarantees an advantage.} ({White should just take twice on
e4 and will be up a pawn and have a clear advantage. The black queen on e7
is overworked: i.e.} 13. Nxe4 dxe4 14. Bxe4 Qxe4 15. Qxd6 {and White is
winning. Instead, in the game, White does exactly what Black wanted him to do
with 13. Bxg7.}) 13... Rg8 14. Bb2 {This bishop retreat loses in spectacular
fashion.} ({White can still have equality, but he must play carefully.} 14.
Bxe4 Rxg7 15. Bxg6 Rxg6 {maintains the balance.}) 14... Nh4 15. Nxh4 (15. g4
Nxf3+ {and Black will continue the attack with either f5 or h5 depending on
how White proceeds.}) 15... Qxh4 16. Nxe4 Rxg2+ 17. Kf1 dxe4 18. Qd2 Bxh3 0-1[/pgn]
The first result of round five was the quick draw played by Sheng and Kiewra.  Alexander Costello had a chance to join the first place tie.  All he had to do was beat IM Bryant with Bryant having the white pieces!  Costello wasn’t able to do so, and he had to settle for clear first Under 2250 and $600. The section winners were:
Under 2050

Aaron Yu-heng Sun, 4 ½ - ½. $1200

Under 1850

Daniel Wolfe, 4 ½ - ½, $1200

Under 1650

Aaron Simo & Ronald Cusi, 4 ½ - ½. $750

Under 1450

Andrew Deedon, 4 ½ - ½, $1000

Under 1200

Seth Castro, Martin Lusinyan, Logesh Suthanthiarajan, Vansh Parekh, 4-1, $350

Jacob Chamie 4-1, $100 (limited to $100 due to being unrated)

Mixed Doubles

WIM Annie Wang & Kele Perkins, 7 ½ - 2 ½, $300 each

Blitz Tournament

NM Ilia Serpik, 7-1, $120

NTD David Hater directed for CCA assisted by Randy Hough and Dylan Quercia. Full tournament details can be found at Previous Continental Chess tournaments can be found at the Continental Chess website at  

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