Nyzhnyk Wins Both the National Game 30 and Game 60 Championships

DSCN3008GM Illia Nyzhnuk. Photo: Jim Doyle

National Game 30 Championship

Bay Area Chess attracted 144 chess players on September 24, 2016 at San Mateo Convention Center for 2016 US National Game 30 Championship. The championship event drew 98 players, and the side scholastic event drew 46 players on a perfect California autumn day. Forty-one players in the Open section for fast time controls was more than anyone would have expected. Three Grandmasters, three International masters, one FIDE Master, and six National Masters. Overall, it was a strong showing for titled players in a G/30 event. Advait Budaraju, a local eleven year old, also played in the Open section, and stole the hearts of many players and spectators. Budaraju spent the last six months getting treated for severe burns. He played through discomfort and gained 11 rating points. NM Faik Aleskerov and GM Illia Nyzhnyk were the only two players who went into fourth round with perfect scores. GM Nyzhnyk emerged victorious and went into the last round with GM Zviad Izoria from New York, IM Keaton Kiewra, and IM John Bryant, all half point behind him.

IM John Bryant. Photo: Irina Nizmutdinova IM John Bryant. Photo: Irina Nizmutdinova

In the last round, GM Nyzhnyk held GM Izoria to a draw while IM Bryant won his game to tie for the first place with 4.5/5 and split $1,320 between them. GM Izoria, GM Cristian Chirila, and NM Arun Sharma tied for third place to split $240. GM Illia Nyzhnyk was born twenty years ago in Vinnytsia, Ukraine. He earned his final GM norm in 2010 to become one of the youngest Grandmasters in history, at the age of 14 years and 3 months. He is a SPICE student at Webster University. IM Bryant is GM Enrico Sevillano’s stepson, and both are regulars in National chess events. In the u1900 section, Aaron Thompson won clear first and $600 with 4.5/5. Shawna Shivakumar came in second with 4/5 and took home $240 and Nikhil Chatterjee came in third with 4/5 and took home $120. In Section u1600, Hubert Liu won $600 with 4.5 and clear first position. Allan Zhang and Nolan Yeo Zhou tied for second place to split $360. In Section u1300, Jason Fu won $600 with a perfect score and clear first position. Shreyas Rangan, Frederick Zhang, and Vijay Sridharan tied for third place to split $420. scholasticchampionshipThe scholastic section for players rated under 1000 attracted children from various schools and clubs. Srichara Guddanti and Eshaan Rawat (Section F), Pranav Aiyer (Section G), Ananya Pradhan and Saanvi Bhargava (Section H), Derek Chen, Prayag Nambiar, Ishaan Aradhye, and Maahi Vidyarthi (Section I), and Anish Mathan (Section J) earned the first place their sections. The blitz side event saw Illia Nyzhnyk earning first place with a perfect 7/7. Alexandre Birguer won second place with 6.0/7. Jacob Came Sevall and Yuri Granik in third with 4.5/7. Alan Hung won the top u1900 award with 2.0/3.

National Game 60 Championship

The next day, the National Game 60 Championship drew 187 players total, including 164 entries for the main event and 23 entries for the scholastic side event (for youth rated under 1000). The first round started on schedule on a cool autumn morning, but the weather evolved into a warm sunny California day. The Open section contained 29 players, including two Grandmasters, three International Masters, one FIDE Master, and three National Masters. This is more than usual number of titled players in the Open section at a national tournament with short time controls. After the first two rounds, seven players had a perfect 2 points, causing some concern about more than player finishing with a perfect score. However, GM Christian Chirila, IM Keaton Kiewra, IM John Daniel Bryant, FM Cameron Wheeler, NM Arun Sharma, and NM Siddharth Banik drew their games leaving GM Illia Nyzhnyk with the only perfect score.

GM Christian Chirila at Millionaire ChessGM Christian Chirila at Millionaire Chess. Photo: David Llada

GM Chirila battled GM Nyzhnyk on board 1 in the last round but lost, giving GM Nyzhnyk the only perfect score and clear first for $720 prize money. Here is their game, annotated by the tournament winner, GM Nyzhnyk:

[pgn][Event "National Chess Championship G60"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.09.25"] [Round "4"] [White "Chirila, Ioan-Cristian"] [Black "Nyzhnyk, Illia"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D20"] [WhiteElo "2595"] [BlackElo "2690"] [Annotator "Nyzhnyk, I"] [PlyCount "38"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"]{This was the last round of the National Chess Championship G60. Unfortunately, Cristian had a very hard penultimate game which ended in a draw. What is more, he only had ~5 minutes to prepare for the final game against me. On the contrary, I had a lot of free time to prepare after a rather quick and convincing victory against a strong IM John Bryant. In my opinion, this game is a perfect example on how the combination of the aforementioned factors affects the psychological part of the game.} 1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. e4 {My next move came as a huge surprise for Cristian. In all of my previous games I responded either 3...e5 or 3...Nf6 with a pretty complicated play in both lines } b5 $5 {This line was prepared by me and my friends from the Webster Chess Team as a "surprise" weapon.} 4. a4 c6 5. b3 $6 ({This is one of the best examples on how dangerous the main variation can be for both colors:} 5. Nc3 $5 a6 6. axb5 cxb5 7. Nxb5 axb5 8. Rxa8 Bb7 9. Ra1 e6 10. Ne2 $146 Bxe4 11. b3 Nc6 12. Nc3 $6 Bb4 13. Bd2 Bxc3 14. Bxc3 b4 15. d5 $2 bxc3 16. dxc6 Qxd1+ 17. Kxd1 cxb3 18. c7 Kd7 $2 19. Ra3 b2 20. c8=Q+ Kxc8 21. Rxc3+ Kd7 22. Bd3 b1=Q+ 23. Bxb1 Bxb1 24. Rb3 $1 Be4 25. Rb8 g5 $2 26. Ke2 Ke7 27. h4 $2 gxh4 28. Rxh4 Bc6 $1 29. Rc4 Be8 30. Rc7+ Kd6 31. Ra7 Ne7 $1 32. Rd8+ Ke5 33. Rb7 Kf6 34. Rdb8 Ng6 35. Rb6 h5 36. f3 Ba4 $19 37. Rxh8 Nxh8 38. Ke3 Ng6 39. Ra6 Bb3 40. Ra5 Bd5 41. Ra7 e5 42. Ra5 Be6 43. Rb5 h4 44. Rb1 Kg5 45. Rb5 f6 46. Rb7 Nf4 47. Kf2 Nh5 48. Rb6 Bf5 49. Rb8 Bg6 50. Rb4 Nf4 51. Ra4 Bf7 52. Ra7 Kg6 53. Ra1 Bd5 54. Rd1 Kg5 55. Rd2 f5 {0-1 (55) Adhiban,B (2630)-Nakamura,H (2776) Caleta 2015}) 5... e5 $1 {The most accurate response. I immediately respond with a counterattack in center against the attack on the queenside.} 6. axb5 cxb5 7. d5 $6 {Looks like Cristian has mixed up the move order. Here white usually plays 7. bxc4 or 7. Nf3 with a complicated but, as many games indicate, rather a comfortable play for black.} Nf6 8. bxc4 $2 {First serious mistake by my opponent. I believe Cristian has missed that after 8...Ne4 9. cb - Bb4 10. Nd2 he is going to lose the d5 pawn. The only way to save the pawn would be to move the King to e2 in the final position, but no grandmaster would willingly lose the ability to castle in the middle game. For these reasons, Cristian decides to let the pawn go, and use this time to develop some of his pieces.} Nxe4 9. Nf3 Bc5 $6 {Objectively speaking, this is not the best move. However, since my opponent was starting to experience a time pressure, I decided to create as many problems for him as I can, even if it will cost me my extra pawn.} 10. Be3 Qb6 11. Bxc5 Nxc5 12. cxb5 e4 {Now it appears that the most natural move 13. Nd4 does not work because of 13...Nd3! -+} 13. Nfd2 (13. Nd4 $4 Nd3+ $1 14. Bxd3 Qxd4 $19) 13... O-O 14. Bc4 Qg6 $1 {Very important trick that does not allow white to castle. Now, white would lose an exchange in case of castling:} 15. Kf1 {This was the idea behind 9... Bc5. Now, white is forced to play a very uncomfortable position while being in a time pressure.} (15. O-O $2 Bh3 $1 $17) 15... Nbd7 16. Nc3 Re8 17. Rc1 $2 {Both time pressure and the disappointment after the opening have played their role, and Cristian makes the most natural move which unfortunately appears to be a final mistake.} (17. Qe2 Nb6 18. Qe3 {Could have prolonged the game for a little bit longer.}) 17... Ne5 $1 18. Qe2 Ned3 19. Ndxe4 Rxe4 (19... Bh3 $5 $19 {A very nice and effective recommendation by Stockfish 7. I would have started to respect myself if I would found this over the board :)}) 0-1[/pgn]
FM Wheeler and NM Banik won their last round to tie for second place and taking home $540 between them. In Section A, Brendyn Estolas and Henry Wang tied for first place with 3.5 points each and split $840 between them. Ashik Uzzaman and Dmitri Dobryn tied for the third place to split $180. In Section B, Aria Lakhmaniand Kunal Shrivastav tied for first place to split $840. Anthony Liu, Aghila Nachiappan, and Kevin Roberts tied for third place to split $180. In Section C, Shaaket Sivakumar won $600 with a clear first position. Allan Zhang and Ishan Aiyer tied for second place to split $360. In Section D, Min Zhou and Advait Namburi tied for first position and split $720. Allan Zhang and Ishan Aiyer tied for second place to split $360. Nicklaus Lo was the clear first in Section E to win $420. The scholastic section for players rated under 1000 attracted children from various schools and clubs. Srichara Guddanti (Section F), Connor Lee (Section G), Ryan Wang (Section H), and Nirmal Shiju (Section IJ) were clear first in their section. The championships were organized by Dr. Judit Sztaray and directed by NTD Tom Langland and NTD John McCumiskey. For more information, check out the full results, rating report, and photographs from the events.  The next national tournament in the Northern California area is the 2016 U.S. Class Championship on November 11-13.  

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