Matamoros Tops Reno Over National Chess Weekend

GM Carlos Matamoros
If it’s mid-October in Reno, it’s not only National Chess Day, but time for the Western States Open at the Sands Regency Hotel. This year marked the 35th WSO, with 208 players (the most since 2013) turning out. The clear winner of the Open section was GM Carlos Matamoros of Ecuador with a 5-1 score, earning $2000. Leading the field by a full point, he needed only a draw, and secured it in an interesting fashion.
[pgn]

[Event "Western States Open, Reno"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2017.10.15"]
[White "Moradiabadi, Elshan"]
[Black "Matamoros, Carlos"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "E94"]
[PlyCount "28"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. O-O exd4 8. Nxd4
Re8 9. f3 Nc6 10. Be3 Nh5 11. Nxc6 bxc6 12. Qd2 c5 13. Rad1 Be5 14. Rf2 Bxh2+
1/2-1/2

[/pgn]
This unusual King’s Indian variation is double-edged, not something that a tournament leader would choose in every case! White erred on the 14th move (14.f4 should be good for an advantage) and immediately realized that he had allowed perpetual check. The players agreed to a draw in view of a forced line:
[pgn]
[White "Moradiabadi, Elshan"]
[Black "Matamoros, Carlos"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "E94"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "r1bqr1k1/p1p2p1p/3p2p1/2p4n/2P1P3/2N1BP2/PP1QBRPb/3R2K1 w - - 0 15"]
[PlyCount "8"]

15. Kxh2 Qh4+ 16. Kg1 Ng3 17. Rff1 Qh1+ 18. Kf2 Qh4 1/2-1/2

[/pgn]
Matamoros v Kolev
Matamoros, 50, has been in the US for the last five years, recently moving from Arizona to Northern California where his wife, WIM Paloma Gutierrez, teaches at US Davis. (Paloma was unable to play because of her work, but she was present for the last several rounds, rooting Carlos home.) He drew top seed GM Atanas Kolev in Round 3, but the game that put him in the driver’s seat was his fifth round crush of third-seeded IM John Daniel Bryant.
[pgn][Event "Western States Open, Reno"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2017.10.15"]
[White "Matamoros, Carlos"]
[Black "Bryant, John Daniel"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D46"]
[PlyCount "47"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 d5 4. e3 c6 5. b3 Bd6 6. Bb2 Nbd7 7. Qc2 a6 8. d4
O-O 9. Bd3 Re8 10. O-O e5 11. cxd5 cxd5 12. e4 exd4 13. Nxd5 Nxd5 14. exd5 h6
15. Bxd4 Nb6 16. Rfe1 Rxe1+ 17. Rxe1 Nxd5 18. Qe2 Be6 19. Qe4 g6 20. Bb2 Qb6
21. Bc4 Nf4 22. Ne5 Qa5 23. Bxe6 Nxe6 24. Nxf7 1-0 [/pgn]
Bryant adopted a “triangle” formation in a Slav, and played very sharply, losing a pawn. 15…Nf6 looks like the best defense against White’s threatening bishops; in the game continuation he regained the pawn at the cost of allowing a powerful queen/bishop battery…followed by a threat to place the queen in front of the other bishop! 18…Nf6 19.Bxf6 Qxf6 20.Qe8+ Bf8 21.Ne5 wouldn’t have been any better, and the White pieces crashed through. Kolev tied for second at 4½ with GM Enrico Sevillano. Kolev, 50, plays for Bulgaria but is living in Las Vegas with his wife. Draws with Matamoros, Sevillano, and IM Omar Cartagena took him out of the running for first, but he outplayed FM Eugene Yanayt to get into the second place tie.
[pgn]

[Event "Western States Open, Reno"]
[Site "?"]
[White "Kolev, Atanas"]
[Black "Yanayt, Eugene"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A48"]
[PlyCount "63"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. Bg5 Bg7 4. Nbd2 O-O 5. c3 d6 6. e4 c5 7. dxc5 dxc5 8.
Bc4 Nc6 9. Qe2 Qc7 10. e5 Ng4 11. e6 f5 12. O-O h6 13. h3 Nf6 14. Bxf6 Rxf6 15.
Nb3 b6 16. Rad1 Kh7 17. Rfe1 a6 18. Bd5 Ra7 19. Rd3 a5 20. Nbd2 Ba6 21. Bc4 b5
22. Rd7 Qb6 23. Bd5 Rxd7 24. exd7 Rd6 25. c4 b4 26. Qe3 e5 27. h4 Qc7 28. h5
Qxd7 29. hxg6+ Rxg6 30. Nh4 Rf6 31. Qxc5 Ne7 32. Rxe5 1-0

[/pgn]
In something of a King’s Indian/Trompvsky hybrid, Kolev played sharply – but not too much so. (In a game M. Rodriguez – Hebden, 2005, White lost after 12.0-0-0 b5.) The White pawn on e6 meant that Rd7 was always in the air, and eventually Black cracked under the pressure. At 49, Sevillano was the “young guy” among the top three. He started off with a draw against veteran FM Steve Greanias, but came back to draw with Kolev and Moradiabadi. In something of a break, he was paired with young Alex Kolay (the 29th seed, he had beaten number 12 and drawn with 11) in the finale.
[pgn]

[Event "Western States Open, Reno"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2017.10.15"]
[White "Kolay, Alex"]
[Black "Sevillano, Enrico"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D35"]
[PlyCount "80"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bg5 c6 6. e3 Be7 7. Bd3 Be6 8. Qc2
Nbd7 9. Nge2 Nh5 10. Bxe7 Qxe7 11. O-O g6 12. f3 O-O 13. e4 dxe4 14. fxe4 c5
15. d5 Bg4 16. Qd2 Ne5 17. Nf4 Qg5 18. Be2 Nxf4 19. Qxf4 Qxf4 20. Rxf4 Bxe2 21.
Nxe2 b5 22. Rff1 Rfe8 23. a4 b4 24. b3 Rac8 25. Rad1 Nd7 26. Ng3 c4 27. Rd4
cxb3 28. Rxb4 Rb8 29. Rc4 b2 30. Rb1 Ne5 31. Rc7 Rb4 32. a5 Reb8 33. d6 Kg7 34.
d7 Rd8 35. Rc2 Nc4 36. Rxc4 Rxc4 37. Rxb2 Rxd7 38. Rb5 Rc2 39. Rd5 Rxd5 40.
exd5 Rd2 0-1 [/pgn]
Black’s treatment of a QGD Exchange variation encourages White aggression (hanging center pawns), and then Enrico steers into an ending in which his queenside majority prevails over White’s protected passed d-pawn. Note that 19.Rxf4 would lose to 19…Bxe2, and how 25…Nd7 forces White to place his knight away from the action. Moradiabadi, a recent immigrant from Iran who lives in North Carolina, had an interesting draw with Bryant in the fifth round. Out of a quiet Catalan, Black redeployed his bishop to the kingside, after which he computer prefers 20.dxe5 Nxe5 21.Bb2 with advantage. Nor does the silicon beast care for 22…exd4, but the provocative 23…Ng4 elicited a mistake by White.  24.b4 or 24.Nf3 appear far preferable to 24.h3?, which allows Bryant to carry out his imaginative plan. After White stubbornly takes the Nc5 (26.Bf1 appears better), White’s king finds itself in a bishops crossfire. 32.Kd1 looks like another defensive error; 32.Be5 Rxe5+ 33.Nxe5 Qxe5+ 34.Kd1 seems preferable. 38…Qf2 improves (both players were presumably in time pressure). And Black’s 39th is a case of right piece, wrong square (39…Re8 leaves good winning chances). With the wandering monarch finally safe on the fourth rank, a draw was agreed.
[pgn]

[Event "Western States Open"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2017.10.14"]
[White "Moradiabadi, Elshan"]
[Black "Bryant, John Daniel"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "E08"]
[PlyCount "88"]
[EventDate "2017.10.14"]
[EventType "swiss"]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 e6 4. O-O Be7 5. d4 O-O 6. c4 c6 7. Qc2 b6 8. Rd1
Nbd7 9. Nc3 Bb7 10. Bf4 Nh5 11. Bc1 Nhf6 12. b3 Ba6 13. Nd2 b5 14. e3 Qc8 15.
c5 b4 16. Na4 e5 17. a3 bxa3 18. Rxa3 Be2 19. Re1 Bh5 20. Nc3 Re8 21. Bb2 Bg6
22. Qc1 exd4 23. exd4 Ng4 24. h3 Nxf2 25. Kxf2 Nxc5 26. dxc5 Bxc5+ 27. Kf1 Bd3+
28. Ne2 Qf5+ 29. Nf3 Rxe2 30. Rxe2 Bxe2+ 31. Kxe2 Re8+ 32. Kd1 Bxa3 33. Bxa3
Qd3+ 34. Nd2 Qe2+ 35. Kc2 Qxg2 36. Bd6 Re2 37. Kd3 h6 38. h4 d4 39. Bf4 Re6 40.
Qc5 Qe2+ 41. Kxd4 Qa6 42. Kc3 Re1 43. Nc4 Qa1+ 44. Kb4 Re6 1/2-1/2 [/pgn]
Despite the ultimate dominance of age and experience at the top, two Northern California youngsters made their presence known with early upsets of veteran IMs. Fourteen-year-old FM Josiah Stearman took down Vince McCambridge with an attack that attracted a crowd of spectators. My thanks to Vince for graciously providing comments.
[pgn] [Event "Western States Open, Reno"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2017.10.14"]
[White "McCambridge, Vincent"]
[Black "Stearman, Josiah"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A25"]
[PlyCount "48"]

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. g3 Bc5 4. Bg2 a6 5. e3 d6 6. Nge2 h5 7. d4 Ba7 8. h4
Nge7 9. O-O Nf5 10. Bxc6+ bxc6 11. dxe5 Nxh4 12. gxh4 Qxh4 13. Nf4 Rh6 14. Ng2
Rg6 15. Ne2 Qg5 16. Nef4 Bg4 17. f3 Bh3 18. Rf2 Qxf4 19. exf4 Rxg2+ 20. Kh1
Rxf2 21. Qa4 Bg2+ 22. Kh2 Bf1+ 23. Kg1 Rxf3+ 24. Kh2 Rh3# 0-1 [/pgn]
 In an unusual variation of the English (though Anand recently also played 6…h5), White trades off his fianchettoed bishop in search of a favorable ending after 11…dxe5 12.Qxd8+. Stearman is having none of it, and sacs a knight to expose the enemy king, though White should be able to defend and keep some advantage. 13.Ng3 improves, when 13…Qg5 is met with the counterattack 14.Qf3. And 13…Bg4 looks like a better bet than the immediate rook lift. In the game, 14.Qf3 would improve. McCambridge admits to having underestimated 17…Bg4, when after 18.f3 the bishop lurking on a7 will spring to life. 18.Qc2 would have been White’s last chance, when 18…Qxf4 is met by 19.Qxg6, and after 18…Bxg2 comes 19.Nxg2 dxe5 20.b4 Rb8 21.a3 h4 22.Kh1 Qg3 23.c5 Qh3+ 24.Kg1 with a likely draw. Of 18…Qxf4!! McCambridge notes, “I did not see this. Brilliant play reminiscent of Morphy!”  23.Kg1 expedited the inevitable execution. In the same round IM Tim Taylor brought out the venerable Colle System but fell victim to 13-year-old Anaiy Somolwar.
[pgn] [Event "Western States Open, Reno"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2017.10.14"]
[White "Taylor, Timothy"]
[Black "Somalwar, Anaiy"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D05"]
[PlyCount "64"]

1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. e3 e6 4. Bd3 c5 5. c3 Bd6 6. O-O Nc6 7. Nbd2 O-O 8. dxc5
Bxc5 9. e4 e5 10. b4 Bb6 11. exd5 Nxd5 12. Ne4 Bc7 13. Bg5 f6 14. Bc4 Nce7 15.
Bh4 Kh8 16. a4 Bg4 17. h3 Bf5 18. Qe1 Qe8 19. Nc5 Qh5 20. Bg3 Bxh3 21. Bxd5
Nxd5 22. Qe4 Nxc3 23. Qc4 e4 24. Qxc3 exf3 25. gxh3 Be5 26. Qb3 Bxa1 27. Rxa1
f5 28. Ne6 f4 29. Nxf8 Rxf8 30. Kh2 fxg3+ 31. fxg3 Qe5 32. Qd1 Qb2+ 0-1 [/pgn]
In an approximately even position, 18. Qe1 allows Black to draw a bead on the White king’s position (18…Qc8 would have done this also). Black pulls the trigger prematurely, though (20…Bb6 or 20…b6 are fine), but White fails to grab the opportunity: 21.gxf3 Qxf3 22.Qd1. In the game continuation,  24.Nd4 Bxg3 25.fxg3 should be played. Of course 25.Bxe5 Qxh3 loses. White’s last chance for resistance was 26.Qe3. Returning to the prize winners in the Open, IM Cartagena and FM Alex Kretchetov split Under 2400 honors with 4 points, while the same score earned Ganesh Murugappan (only 2169) the Under 2300 prize. He beat IM Ed Formanek and drew IM Vladimir Mezentsev.  There were four GMs and six IMs in the Open. Michael Walder, 61, was the Expert section winner with 5½ points, and he has an inspiring story to tell. Diagnosed with inoperable stage 4 adenocarcinoma cancer in 2011, he was given less than a year to live. But after enduring debilitating treatment for three years, he was still alive and ready to return to tournament chess after an absence of 19 years. And another three years later, he’s playing a lot and in as good condition as one could hope for (cancer still in remission). Mike plays regularly at the storied Mechanics Institute chess room in San Francisco, and lives with three other chessplayers.
Top expert Michael Walder and Samantha
Mike was accompanied by his bichon poodle Samantha, and the plan was for her to stay in the hotel room while he was playing. Alas, the hotel had changed its policy and unaccompanied pets were no longer allowed in rooms. Mike played with Samantha (who is better behaved than most players) in his lap for two rounds, but then a prominent player complained that he was fearful that Samantha would suddenly bark (never mind her complete silence the first day, while cell phone ring tones were occasionally heard). Of course, parallels were drawn to Nimzovich’s legendary complaint about Lasker’s unlit cigar. With volunteer dog sitters and one game played in another room, Samantha muddled through and proudly joined Mike in his victory picture. Class A marked a rare victory for youth. Jaisuraj Kaleeswaran, 13, of Fremont in Northern California, went in as the 32nd seed but emerged on top with 5-1. He was a member of the Mission San Jose Elementary School team that won the K-6 Open section at the 2016 national scholastics. Jaisuraj expresses gratitude to his inspirational coach Joe Lonsdale. James Bennett, 65, from Sunnyvale in Northern California, won the overall Senior prize and tied for first B with Cailen Melville, 27, of San Francisco. Class C represented a case of clear senior dominance, as Alan Howe of San Jose tallied 5½ to take the laurels. And Class D winner Kauschik Ghosh, also from the South Bay, isn’t too much of a veteran (just four years of tournament play), but is old enough that his son was also playing in the tournament. Unrated honors went to Seth Garcia. East Bay Chess won the best club prize with 39 points after years of Mechanics Institute and Seattle Club dominance. The latter two trailed with 36½. IM Mezentsev topped the Blitz.
Reconstruct this!
A warning to those who play in a higher section for the experience. That’s a worthy objective, but enthusiasm should be tempered by the fact that you have a strong chance to get an unplayed round. Young Alan Hung, rated 1811, played up two sections. He got a bye in the first round (odd number, a 50% chance), and because of an abundance of draws in Round 1, found himself up against GM Matamoros, the middle player in the one point group! After losing that game and a couple more, he then got a forfeit from a player (2162) who took ill at the last minute, and then lost the final round. As always, Jerry and Fran Weikel and their helpers put on a great tournament, with the extras (coffee and morning snack, John Donaldson’s lectures, simuls by Donaldson and Moradiabadi, and readily visible demo boards) that Reno regulars expect. (We did miss GM Sergey Kudrin, a longtime regular participant who had to deal with a family health issue.) The prize fund totaled $19,700. Reno (which called itself “the biggest little city in the world” with a population of 32,000 when I visited with my family in the fifties, still has that sobriquet despite having grown about sevenfold) offers the beautiful Truckee River, good food and shows, some Western history, and yes, for those so inclined, gambling. The Larry Evans Memorial, in a similar format, will take place March 30 – April 1, 2018. Finally, since this writer’s oft-made plea to the class players for games or anecdotes elicited a reply this time, we close with a “find the move” position. Black, Class A player Charles Brunton, is down material but has a surprise for his opponent.
Show Solution
[pgn]

[Event "Western States Class A, Reno"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2017.10.13"]
[White " Maser, Thomas"]
[Black "Brunton, Charles"]
[Result "0-1"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "5r1k/8/p6p/1p2nn2/1P1R4/2PqP2Q/P2B2PP/5RK1 b - - 0 1"]
[PlyCount "3"]

{[#]} 1... Qxf1+ 2. Kxf1 Ng3+ 0-1 [/pgn]
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 
Randy Hough has been a US Chess member since 1962 and is a former US Chess Master. He has written scores of articles for Chess Life Magazine and Chess Life Online, beginning in 1980.  Hough is a two-time winner of humor awards from Chess Journalists of America.  A National Tournament Director and International Arbiter, he worked in our office for three years, served six years on Executive Board, and is currently a member of Ethics, Bylaws, and Awards committees. He has received the Distinguished Service Award.

Comments

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Amazing report, congrats Randy for the article!

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Really good summary of the games!

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

So proud of Berkeley Chess School alumnus, Josiah Stearman! Keep up the good work. Also congratulations to Berkeley Chess Club player Mike Walder. Thanks Thanks Randy for the great write up.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Thank you Randy, a great article about the tournament. We are proud as the parent of Jaisuraj Kaleeswaran's win in Reno.

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