Petrosian Wins World Open: "Forget About the Draw"

 
IM Zhansaya AbduMalik and GM Tigran L. Petrosian  Photo Dr. Francine Silver
Philadelphia — GM Tigran L. Petrosian knew if he drew in the final round of the World Open he might have to split first place with half a dozen or so other players. And Petrosian is not the kind of guy who likes to share — at least not when it comes to big money prizes at chess tournaments thousands of miles away from home. “I don’t like this idea,” Petrosian, of Armenia, said of splitting the $20,000 prize for clear first with several other players. “I said, ‘OK, forget about draw and go and try to win.” Even though he only had a few minutes to consult ChessBase to analyze the openings of his final-round opponent — GM Oliver Barbosa, of New York — Petrosian said he reviewed enough of Barbosa’s openings to feel comfortable going forth. “Of course it’s hard for professionals but this time I did it,” Petrosian said of the quick analysis. Petrosian’s analysis and decision to go for a win paid off. His Round 9 game proceeded as follows:
[pgn]

[Event "45th World Open"]
[Site "Philadelphia"]
[Date "2017.07.04"]
[White "Petrosian, Tigran"]
[Black "Barbosa, Oliver"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A11"]
[WhiteElo "2595"]
[BlackElo "2511"]
[PlyCount "93"]
[EventDate "2017.07.??"]
[EventType "swiss"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "USA"]
[WhiteClock "0:08:34"]
[BlackClock "0:26:47"]

1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 c6 4. c4 Bg4 5. Ne5 Be6 6. O-O Nbd7 7. cxd5 Bxd5 8.
Nf3 c5 9. Nc3 Bc6 10. Re1 a6 11. e4 e5 12. d3 Be7 13. a4 b5 14. Nh4 g6 15. Bh6
b4 16. Nd5 Bf8 17. Qd2 Ng4 18. Bxf8 Nxf8 19. d4 cxd4 20. Rac1 Bxd5 21. exd5 Nd7
22. Qxd4 h5 23. Qxb4 Rb8 24. Qa3 Qe7 25. Qxe7+ Kxe7 26. f4 Rb3 27. Nf3 f6 28.
Nh4 Kf7 29. d6 Rb6 30. h3 Nh6 31. Be4 Rxd6 32. Bxg6+ Ke7 33. Bxh5 Rg8 34. g4
Rd3 35. Ng6+ Kd8 36. fxe5 fxe5 37. Rcd1 Rxh3 38. Nxe5 Rxh5 39. Rxd7+ Ke8 40.
Rd2 Rh3 41. Nf3+ Kf7 42. Kg2 Rh5 43. Rd7+ Kf6 44. g5+ Rhxg5+ 45. Nxg5 Rxg5+ 46.
Kf1 Nf7 47. Re2 1-0[/pgn]
Petrosian says winning first place in the World Open wasn’t always so clear. He related that his Round 6 loss to GM Jeffery Xiong forced him to regroup. “When I lost in Round 6 I didn’t think that I have a chance for clear first,” Petrosian said.
[pgn]

[Event "45th World Open"]
[Site "Philadelphia"]
[Date "2017.07.03"]
[White "Xiong, Jeffrey"]
[Black "Petrosian, Tigran"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E69"]
[WhiteElo "2658"]
[BlackElo "2595"]
[PlyCount "103"]
[EventDate "2017.07.??"]
[EventType "swiss"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "USA"]
[WhiteClock "0:37:02"]
[BlackClock "0:00:10"]

1. d4 d6 2. Nf3 g6 3. c4 Bg7 4. g3 Nf6 5. Bg2 O-O 6. Nc3 c6 7. O-O Nbd7 8. e4
e5 9. h3 a6 10. Be3 Re8 11. d5 c5 12. a4 a5 13. Ne1 Nb8 14. Nc2 Na6 15. Na3 b6
16. Kh2 h5 17. Kh1 Nh7 18. Nab5 Nc7 19. Nxc7 Qxc7 20. f4 exf4 21. Nb5 Qd8 22.
gxf4 Ba6 23. Qb3 Bxb5 24. Qxb5 Nf6 25. e5 dxe5 26. f5 Qd6 27. Qc6 Red8 28. fxg6
fxg6 29. h4 Rac8 30. Qxd6 Rxd6 31. Bh3 Ng4 32. Rg1 Rf8 33. Bxg4 hxg4 34. Rxg4
Rf3 35. Re4 Rdf6 36. Kg2 Bf8 37. Ra3 R3f5 38. Rb3 Kh7 39. Bg5 Rf2+ 40. Kg3 Rf7
41. Rxb6 R2f3+ 42. Kg4 Rf1 43. Be3 Re1 44. Rxe5 Bh6 45. Rbe6 Bxe3 46. Rxe3 Rg1+
47. Kh3 Rf2 48. b3 Rgg2 49. Rg3 Rh2+ 50. Kg4 Kg7 51. d6 Rd2 52. Kg5 1-0[/pgn]
“Then I thought OK, let’s win the rest of the games and let’s try to do it and we’ll see what place I take,” Petrosian said. Petrosian said the most critical point of the tournament came during his Round 8 game when he found himself playing as Black against GM Jianchao Zhou of China. “I thought, OK, I’m Black but I have to try to do something,” Petrosian said. “Usually it’s very hard against a strong player to play with Black for a win. I tried and we had some interesting positions and somehow I outplayed him and I won a technical winning end game.”
[pgn]

[Event "45th World Open"]
[Site "Philadelphia"]
[Date "2017.07.04"]
[White "Zhou, Jianchao"]
[Black "Petrosian, Tigran"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A85"]
[WhiteElo "2595"]
[BlackElo "2595"]
[PlyCount "152"]
[EventDate "2017.07.??"]
[EventType "swiss"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "USA"]
[WhiteClock "0:00:04"]
[BlackClock "0:00:06"]

1. d4 d6 2. Nf3 g6 3. c4 f5 4. Nc3 Nf6 5. e3 Bg7 6. b4 O-O 7. Bb2 Kh8 8. Be2
Be6 9. d5 Bg8 10. O-O c6 11. dxc6 bxc6 12. Qc2 e5 13. Na4 Na6 14. a3 c5 15.
bxc5 e4 16. Rfd1 exf3 17. Bxf3 Rb8 18. Rxd6 Rxb2 19. Qxb2 Qc7 20. Qb5 Ne4 21.
Rd7 Bxc4 22. Qxc4 Qxd7 23. Rd1 Nd2 24. Kh1 Nxc4 25. Rxd7 Rb8 26. g3 Ne5 27.
Rxa7 Nxc5 28. Nxc5 Nxf3 29. Kg2 Ne1+ 30. Kf1 Nf3 31. Kg2 Ne5 32. a4 Bf8 33. Nd7
Nxd7 34. Rxd7 Rb2 35. h4 Ra2 36. Ra7 Bb4 37. Kf1 Kg8 38. Ra8+ Kg7 39. Ra6 Bc3
40. Rc6 Ba5 41. Rc4 Kf6 42. Rc6+ Kf7 43. Rc4 h6 44. Rd4 Ke6 45. Rc4 Kd5 46.
Rd4+ Ke5 47. Rc4 Kd5 48. Rd4+ Ke6 49. Rc4 h5 50. Rc6+ Kf7 51. Rc4 Bd8 52. Rb4
Be7 53. Rc4 Bd6 54. Rc6 Ke6 55. Ra6 Ke5 56. Ra8 Ke4 57. Kg2 Bb4 58. Re8+ Kd5
59. Rb8 Bc3 60. Rd8+ Ke6 61. Rd3 Be1 62. Rd1 Bxf2 63. Kf3 g5 64. hxg5 h4 65. g4
fxg4+ 66. Kxg4 Rxa4+ 67. Kf3 Bg3 68. Rd4 Ra3 69. g6 Kf6 70. Rg4 Kg7 71. Ke2
Ra2+ 72. Kf1 h3 73. Rxg3 Ra1+ 74. Kf2 h2 75. Rh3 h1=Q 76. Rxh1 Rxh1 0-1[/pgn]
For Petrosian, the World Open victory is a fitting capstone for a short American tour of sorts in which he also won clear first the National Open in Las Vegas last month, as well as a couple of blitz events in Las Vegas. “I think it’s enough for this streak,” Petrosian said. Although Petrosian didn’t want to share first place with too many other players, there’s one particular player that he — and a lot of other spectators — were rooting for to win first place. Her name is Zhansaya Abdumalik, a 17-year-old IM from Kazakhstan who found herself on Board 1 in the final round, playing against young American chess phenom GM Jeffery Xiong, who is 16. “I wanted that she would win the last game and maybe we will share (first place) and play on tiebreaks,” Petrosian said of Abdumalik. The two describe themselves as friends.
Tournament director Steve Immitt and World Open Champion GM Petrosian
“She’s young and very talented,” Petrosian said. “I believe she will have a very big future.” Indeed, many spectators were struck by the sight of the young female player with a long ponytail playing on Board 1 in the final round. She was one of four players to enter the final round with 6.5 points.
GM Yaro Zherebukh and IM Zhansaya Abdumalik, Photo Dr. Francine Silver
Some spectators did double takes, speculated about her age (some thought she was as young as 12), tried to glean hints about her from the pairings and wallboards, and wondered why they had never heard of her before. “This is amazing,” one spectator said of Abdumalik being technically poised to win clear first in the final round at the World Open. The general sentiment among many spectators was that they wanted the “underdog” to win. AbduMalik seemed to fit the bill in so many ways. For instance, she is an IM who beat several GMs to secure her place on Board 1. She is also a young girl in a sport — and a particular tournament — that has historically been dominated by men.
[pgn]

[Event "45th World Open"]
[Site "Philadelphia"]
[Date "2017.07.04"]
[White "Zherebukh, Yaroslav"]
[Black "Abdumalik, Zhansaya"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A48"]
[WhiteElo "2642"]
[BlackElo "2397"]
[PlyCount "74"]
[EventDate "2017.07.??"]
[EventType "swiss"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "USA"]
[WhiteClock "0:04:03"]
[BlackClock "0:03:41"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. Bg5 Bg7 4. e3 d6 5. Be2 O-O 6. c4 Ne4 7. Bh4 c5 8. O-O
Nc6 9. Nc3 Nxc3 10. bxc3 Qc7 11. d5 Na5 12. Qc2 e5 13. dxe6 Bxe6 14. Nd2 f5 15.
Rad1 Rae8 16. Rfe1 Kh8 17. Bf1 b6 18. Qd3 Qc6 19. Qc2 Qc7 20. f4 Qf7 21. Qd3 d5
22. cxd5 Bxd5 23. c4 Be4 24. Nxe4 Rxe4 25. Qd7 Bc3 26. Re2 Bf6 27. Qxf7 Rxf7
28. Bxf6+ Rxf6 29. Red2 Rxe3 30. Rd7 Nc6 31. g3 a6 32. Rb7 Nd4 33. Rb1 Ra3 34.
Rb2 Re6 35. Kg2 h6 36. Kh3 g5 37. Bg2 Ne2 0-1[/pgn]
Speaking in an exclusive interview after her final round game, Abdumalik told US Chess she was invited to the US by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis and came to play chess in the US for a couple of months. She played three tournaments — namely, the Chicago Open and the 2017 Spring Classic in St. Louis in May, and the National Open in Las Vegas in June (which Tigran also won!) — but says she didn’t really find her “style” until the World Open. Asked to describe her style, AbduMalik called it a “little bit men’s style.” Asked to elaborate on what exactly is “men’s style,” she said laughingly: “It’s stronger than women’s style” — a statement that will perhaps serve to stir one of the most spirited debates in chess. “It’s a little bit harder,” AbduMalik said of her style, explaining that — for her — it involves getting good positions in which you then just “push it.” AbduMalik confirmed that she trains under a GM but declined to reveal his identity or where he is from. Petrosian denied being AbduMalik’s trainer despite their friendship. Asked if she was thinking about attending college in the US, AbduMalik said she is currently considering Saint Louis University because of its proximity to the Saint Louis Chess Club.
AbduMalik and Xiong, Photo Jamaal Abdul-Alim
Here is AbduMalik’s Round 9 game against Jeffery Xiong, which ended in a draw and resulted in both players tying for second place along with several other players.
[pgn]

[Event "45th World Open"]
[Site "Philadelphia"]
[Date "2017.07.04"]
[White "Abdumalik, Zhansaya"]
[Black "Xiong, Jeffrey"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B90"]
[WhiteElo "2397"]
[BlackElo "2658"]
[PlyCount "72"]
[EventDate "2017.07.??"]
[EventType "swiss"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "USA"]
[WhiteClock "0:12:17"]
[BlackClock "0:13:21"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 Nf6 4. Nc3 cxd4 5. Nxd4 a6 6. h3 e5 7. Nde2 h5 8. g3
Be6 9. Bg2 b5 10. Bg5 Nbd7 11. a4 b4 12. Nd5 Bxd5 13. exd5 Be7 14. O-O O-O 15.
Qd2 a5 16. Be3 Qb8 17. f4 Bd8 18. fxe5 dxe5 19. c3 Bb6 20. Kh1 Bxe3 21. Qxe3
Rc8 22. Rfd1 Ra6 23. Rac1 Rb6 24. c4 Qd6 25. b3 Nc5 26. Rf1 Nfd7 27. h4 Qh6 28.
Qxh6 Rxh6 29. Bh3 Rd8 30. Bxd7 Rxd7 31. Rf3 Rg6 32. Rd1 Rg4 33. Kg2 Rd6 34. Re3
Re4 35. Rxe4 Nxe4 36. Nc1 Nc5 1/2-1/2[/pgn]
The significance of two youths playing for first place on Board 1 at a signature event like the World Open was not lost on Xiong. “It’s very special,” Xiong said. “It shows that in the US the young players improve very rapidly. US chess has a lot of promise.” Jamaal Abdul-Alim can be reached at dcwriter360@yahoo.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @dcwriter360.

Comments

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Fun report! Great selection of games too. I look forward to meeting GM Petrosian at the camp hosted by IM Armen Ambartsoumian in Los Angeles next week. Petrosian is definitely playing out of this world!

In reply to by Jay Stallings (not verified)

Thanks, Jay. Sounds like it will be a great event.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I was there Jamaal and you captured the excitement perfectly. Great article. (Were you the gentleman who interviewed me about mixed doubles?)

In reply to by Steve West (not verified)

Yes, I was. Thanks for sharing your story.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Steve Immitt should keep a copy of his photo, in his natural environment.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Great!

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

intresting games.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Great story - great event - (it's) great that we have such young chess talent in the US - great result GM Petrosian, congrats!

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

[…]  Jennifer Yu of Virginia earned a bronze medal and an IM norm at the World Junior Girls (Under 20) Championship in Tarvisio, Italy (Nov 12-26).  Yu went into the final round just a half point behind first, and facing IM Zhansaya Abdumalik, a player that US readers may remember from Jamaal Abdul-Alim’s report on the 2017 World Open, where Abdumalik had an outstanding performance. […]

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

[…] #10 article in Best of US Chess 2017 is Jamaal Abdul Alim’s piece “Petrosian Wins World Open: ‘Forget About the Draw’“. Abdul-Alim interviewed GM Petrosian as well as 17-year-old IM/WGM Zhansaya Abdumalik, who had a […]

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

[…] 10. Petrosian Wins World Open: ‘Forget About the Draw’  by Jamaal Abdul Alim  Judging article  […]

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

[…] 10. Petrosian Wins World Open: ‘Forget About the Draw’  by Jamaal Abdul Alim  Judging article  […]

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

[…] 10. Petrosian Wins World Open: ‘Forget About the Draw’  by Jamaal Abdul Alim  Judging article  […]

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

[…] 10. Petrosian Wins World Open: ‘Forget About the Draw’  by Jamaal Abdul Alim  Judging article  […]

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