GMs Avrukh & Corrales-Jiminez Tie for First in Midwest Class

img_8694 Photo Ian Battaglia
Grandmasters Boris Avrukh (IL) and Fidel Corrales-Jiminez tied for top honors at the 2016 Midwest Class tournament held October 7-9 in Wheeling, Illinois. The pair both finished with 4.5/5, topping a Premier section that included five grandmasters and several International Masters. The second score-group finished a full point behind, on 3.5/5. The tournament, which coincided with National Chess Day, featured 297 players across 7 sections and also included a blitz tournament which, thankfully to all involved, ended well before 3am local time (see my Chicago Open report for past CCA blitz tournament experiences). The match that decided the tournament took place during the fifth and final round on the top board between two 2600+ (USCF rating) Grandmasters, Avrukh and Priyadarshan Kannappan.

[Event "Midwest Class"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.10.10"]
[White "Kannappan, Priyadharshan"]
[Black "Avrukh, Boris"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C48"]
[WhiteElo "2628"]
[BlackElo "2684"]
[Annotator "Karagianis,Pete"]
[PlyCount "96"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]

{The critical encounter of the tournament occurred, as it should, in the final
round on board one between veteran GM Boris Avrukh and newly-minted
Grandmaster Priadarshan Kannappan. The game, which I watched from three boards
down, certainly featured its fair share of excitement, and I knew, watching it
live, that it would be an excellent choice for later review.} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3
Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bb5 Nd4 5. Ba4 c6 6. Nxe5 d5 7. d3 Bd6 8. f4 O-O 9. O-O b5
10. Bb3 b4 {My database shows this position has been reached 5 times, with Na4
scoring best for white. Here, Kannappan uncorks an interesting (and likely
unexpected) sacrifice.} 11. Nxc6 Nxc6 12. Nxd5 {Clearly a practical choice,
though objectively not a correct sacrifice. White has two (center) pawns for
the piece - one of them - the d- passed.} Bc5+ {An important first step -
escaping the e5 fork with tempo while also, and perhaps more importantly,
fighting for control of the d4 square. If white is allowed p-d4, the center
pawn roll would be potentially quite dangerous.} 13. Kh1 Be6 14. Be3 {If white
needed this move, it should have been played on the previous turn.} Bxe3 15.
Nxe3 Qd4 16. Qc1 Rac8 {Perhaps not the most accurate, but very concrete-
lining up the rook with the enemy queen.} (16... Rfd8 17. e5 Ng4 18. Nxg4 Bxg4
{It is difficult to see an obvious way forward for white.}) 17. e5 Nd7 18. c3
Qb6 19. Bxe6 (19. Bc2 {Is the engine's preference and makes sense in general
terms - white should avoid trades in order to make the central pawn advances
more dangerous-- the more black pieces exist with limited squares, the better
for white.} g6 {to slow down f5, for example, might be met by:} 20. d4 {
And you'll note the presence of the e6 bishop gives black some immediate
problems to solve.} Ne7 21. Be4 {White seems to be doing alright. Again,
compare the e4 piece to its counterpart on e6.}) 19... fxe6 20. Nc4 Qa6 21. Nd6
{On the other hand, white did achieve something with the trade on e6 - the
knight on d6 is now quite strong, and the e6 pawn is, of course, isolated.} Rc7
22. Qe3 bxc3 23. bxc3 Ne7 24. c4 Nf5 25. Nxf5 Rxf5 26. Rf2 Qb6 {Black
correctly judges that wholesale trades benefit him. After the queens are
removed, black can get to work against the white pawns with his extra piece.}
27. Re1 Qxe3 28. Rxe3 g5 {Aiming to create a target on f4.} 29. g3 gxf4 30.
gxf4 Nf8 31. Kg2 Rd7 32. a4 {Losing f4.} Ng6 33. Kf1 (33. Kg3 Rg7 {is the
point. so f4 is untenable, and as it falls, so does the game.}) 33... Nxf4 34.
c5 Nd5 35. Rg3+ Kf8 36. Rxf5+ exf5 37. Rf3 Ke7 38. Ke2 Ke6 39. d4 Rb7 40. Rg3
Rb2+ 41. Kd3 Rb3+ 42. Kc4 Rb4+ (42... Rxg3 43. hxg3 f4 44. g4 Nb4 {Kinda cute,
but unnecessarily complex.}) 43. Kd3 Rxa4 44. Rg7 Ra3+ 45. Kd2 Nb4 46. Rxh7
Rd3+ 47. Ke2 Rxd4 48. Rxa7 Kxe5 0-1[/pgn]
GM Fidel Corrales-Jiminez’s only blemish came in round 3, against local scholastic talent Jacob Furfine.

[Event "Midwest Class"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.10.08"]
[White "Corrales Jiminez, Fidel"]
[Black "Furfine, Jacob"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B53"]
[WhiteElo "2628"]
[BlackElo "2282"]
[Annotator "Karagianis,Pete"]
[PlyCount "171"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]

{Co-Champion Fidel Corrales-Jiminez ran into his only blemish in round 3,
against local NM Jacob Furfine.} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Qxd4 Nf6 5.
c4 Nc6 6. Qe3 {I analyzed a similar line played by Fidel in this year's US
Open.} g6 7. h3 Bg7 8. Be2 O-O 9. O-O Bd7 10. Nc3 Rc8 11. Rb1 Qa5 {Played only
twice - both resulting in a white win.} 12. a3 Qc5 {Seems logical enough -
black seeks to neutralize white's space advantage by swapping queens.} 13. Qf4
{ white promptly refuses.} e5 14. Qh4 Nd4 15. b3 Bc6 {keeping an eye on
the massive hole on d5.} 16. Re1 b5 17. Nxd4 (17. Bg5 {presents some small
problems to solve - namely, what to do with f6.} Nxe2+ 18. Rxe2 Nh5 19. Rd2 ({
the direct:} 19. g4 {isn't all that great. simply-} Nf4) 19... f6 20. Be3 Qxa3
21. Nxb5 Bxb5 22. cxb5 {A highly unclear position has arisen: the d6 pawn is
exposed, but white's b-pawns are not exacly stellar. Meanwhile, the black
minor pieces are not effectively placed.}) 17... exd4 18. b4 Qe5 19. Bf4 Qe6
20. Nxb5 Bxb5 21. cxb5 Rc3 (21... Nxe4 {This is a scary pawn to take, but
seems to work tactically - for example, if white immediately goes after the
pin...} 22. Bd3 d5 23. f3 Rc3 24. Rbd1 Bf6 {!! saving the bacon.}) 22. Bg4 Nxg4
23. Qxg4 Qxg4 24. hxg4 Rxa3 25. Bxd6 (25. Ra1 {might be a small improvement -}
Rxa1 26. Rxa1 d3 27. Rxa7 Bc3 28. Rd7) 25... Rd8 26. Bc7 Rd7 27. b6 axb6 28.
Bxb6 d3 {Objectively, white's b-pawn is no more dangerous at this stage than
the black d-pawn, and the 4v3 on the kingside is not easy to win.} 29. Kf1 d2
30. Red1 Bc3 31. Be3 Ra4 32. Bc5 Rb7 33. Ke2 Rb5 34. Bd6 Rb6 35. e5 f6 36. Kd3
Bxb4 {Well calculated by black! Certainly, Furfine must have seen the end of
the complications before capturing this pawn. Careful, concrete calculation at
the proper moment secures the draw.} 37. Rxd2 Rxd6+ 38. exd6 Bxd2 39. d7 Ba5
40. Rb5 Bd8 41. Rb8 Kf7 42. Rxd8 Ke7 43. Rh8 Kxd7 44. Rxh7+ Ke6 45. f3 Ra2 46.
g3 Ra3+ {It is impossible to win these positions without an error from black.
Furfine avoids such a mistake.} 47. Ke4 Ra4+ 48. Ke3 Ra3+ 49. Kf2 Ra2+ 50. Kf1
Ra1+ 51. Kg2 Ra2+ 52. Kh3 Ra1 53. Rb7 Rh1+ 54. Kg2 Ra1 {Always wise to stretch
out the rook.} 55. f4 Ra4 56. Kh3 g5 57. f5+ Ke5 58. Rb6 Ke4 {More solid
calculation. Of course, it was necessary to answer the threat Re6.} 59. Rxf6
Kf3 60. Rb6 Ra8 61. Rb3+ Kf2 62. Rb2+ Kf3 63. Kh2 Rh8+ 64. Kg1 Kxg4 65. f6 Rf8
66. Kg2 Rxf6 {Welcome, officially, to drawville.} 67. Rb4+ Kf5 68. Kf3 Ra6 69.
g4+ Kf6 70. Ke4 Re6+ 71. Kd5 Ra6 72. Rc4 Ra5+ 73. Ke4 Ra6 74. Rd4 Re6+ 75. Kd5
Ra6 76. Rc4 Ra5+ 77. Ke4 Ra6 78. Rb4 Re6+ 79. Kd5 Ra6 80. Rb5 Ra4 81. Rb6+ Kg7
82. Ke5 Rxg4 83. Kf5 Rg1 84. Rg6+ Kf7 85. Rxg5 Rxg5+ 86. Kxg5 1/2-1/2[/pgn]
My own experience was quite unique. I took a first round bye and was then paired with my student, Jason Daniels in the second round. It is often said that chess mirrors life in many ways, and this weekend, I suppose, I learned a bit about avarice on the chess board. First, my greed paid off:

[Event "Midwest Class"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.10.08"]
[White "Karagianis, Petros"]
[Black "Daniels, Jason"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2302"]
[BlackElo "2064"]
[Annotator "Karagianis,Pete"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "2r2rk1/1p2q1bp/4b1p1/pQ3p2/2P1p3/4B1P1/PP3PBP/2RR2K1 w - - 0 1"]
[PlyCount "9"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]

{In the second round, I was paired with my own student, expert Jason Daniels,
who finished with a very respectable even score - 2.5/5, to continue his
approach to 2100. In the following position, a little greed paid off:} 1. b3
Rfd8 {After the game I showed Jason the way to fight on:} (1... Qb4 2. Qxb4
axb4 3. Rd6 (3. Bd2)) 2. Qxa5 Rxd1+ 3. Rxd1 Rc6 {A serious mistake.} 4. Qd8+
Qxd8 5. Rxd8+ {And up a pawn with better structure and activity, I was able to
convert.} 1-0[/pgn]
Later, however, my pawn-grabbing ways were swiftly punished. Zhaozhi Li got the better of me in the final round after I made a serious miscalculation:

[Event "Midwest Class"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.10.08"]
[White "Li, Zhaozhi"]
[Black "Karagianis, Petros"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2374"]
[BlackElo "2302"]
[Annotator "Karagianis,Pete"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "r5k1/6q1/2p1nbp1/1pPp1p2/1P1P4/3Q2P1/2N1NPK1/4R3 w - - 0 1"]
[PlyCount "9"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]

1. Ng1 {I failed to analyze the position correctly, instead allowing greed to
get the better of me.} Nxd4 {?} (1... Ng5 {and black is absolutely fine.}) 2.
Nxd4 Bxd4 3. Re6 {In my calculations I overlooked a simple tactic:} Rc8 4. Nf3
Bf6 5. Rxc6 {Oops.} 1-0[/pgn]
img_8744 Photo Ian Battaglia
Unlike your average CCA event, the tournament also saw a full-fledged film crew record the activities from Saturday morning through Sunday afternoon. Local DePaul students lead by Sydney O’Haire filmed the event as part of a documentary about the life of NM Gopal Menon, my good friend and frequent partner-in-crime. The photos provided for the report are courtesy of the film crew, who seemed to enjoy the unique atmosphere of a chess tournament and some of the peculiarities of chess culture. Find full Midwest Class standings here. Find reports on Millionaire Chess, the Washington Chess Congress, the IOM Chess International and our ongoing coverage of other events over National Chess Day weekend.


In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

In Zhaozhi - Karagianis did you just give up after Rxc6 or did you play some more and eventually lose? (It says 1-0 right after 5. Rxc6.) I'm confused if you just gave up after Rxc6 because you're only losing a pawn and might still have counterplay with the passed d-pawn (like maybe 5... Rd8 for example.)

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

The resignation appears slightly premature but whites pass pawns are far quicker on the Queen side

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

[…] Find more on events held over National Chess day in our reports on Millionaire Chess, the Isle of Man International, the Washington Chess Congress and the Midwest Class. […]

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