Stoyko and Ginsburg are US Senior Co-Champs

In the heart of the night In the cool southern rain There’s a full moon in sight Shining down on the Pontchartrain Poco’s song about New Orleans was most apt for the 2016 US Senior Open: sporadic rain and an almost full moon shining down on Lake Pontchartrain -- and New Orleans and the suburb Kenner to its south. GM Alexander Ivanov came into the tournament at the Airport Hilton as the favorite, having at least tied for first in three of the last four Seniors, and outrating his nearest competitor by 217 points. Yet it was FM Stephen Stoyko and IM Mark Ginsburg who emerged on top with 5½ of 6 and became the Senior Open co-champions.

stoyko (1) Stephen Stoyko, Photo Brian Yang
ginsburg (2) IM Mark Ginsburg, Photo Brian Yang

Ivanov and Stoyko were the only players to begin with 3-0 (Ginsburg took a first round bye).

[pgn] [Event "US Senior Open, New Orleans"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.06.18"] [White "Stoyko, Stephen"] [Black "Ivanov, Alexander"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A21"] [PlyCount "132"] 1. d4 d6 2. c4 e5 3. Nf3 e4 4. Nfd2 f5 5. e3 Nf6 6. Nc3 c6 7. b4 Be7 8. Be2 O-O 9. h4 Be6 10. a4 d5 11. c5 h6 12. h5 Nbd7 13. Rb1 Ng4 14. Bxg4 fxg4 15. Ne2 Bg5 16. Nf1 b6 17. Nf4 Bf5 18. Rb2 bxc5 19. bxc5 Nf6 20. Ng3 Bc8 21. Ng6 Re8 22. Ne5 Qc7 23. O-O Ba6 24. Re1 Qc8 25. Qd2 Bh4 26. Qd1 Bxg3 27. fxg3 Nxh5 28. Qxg4 Qxg4 29. Nxg4 Nxg3 30. Ne5 Re6 31. Bd2 Rf8 32. Ba5 h5 33. Bc7 h4 34. Bd6 Rf1+ 35. Rxf1 Nxf1 36. Rb8+ Kh7 37. Nf7 Kg6 38. Ne5+ Kf5 39. Kf2 g5 40. Rf8+ Rf6 41. Rxf6+ Kxf6 42. Nxc6 Ke6 43. Nxa7 Bc4 44. Nb5 g4 45. Bf4 g3+ 46. Kg1 Nd2 47. Bg5 h3 48. gxh3 Nf3+ 49. Kg2 Nxg5 50. Kxg3 Nh7 51. Kg4 Nf6+ 52. Kg5 Nh7+ 53. Kg6 Nf8+ 54. Kg7 Ke7 55. h4 Ne6+ 56. Kg6 Bxb5 57. axb5 Nxd4 58. b6 Kd7 59. h5 Ne6 60. Kf5 Ng7+ 61. Ke5 Nxh5 62. Kxd5 Nf6+ 63. Ke5 Ng4+ 64. Kxe4 Kc6 65. Kd4 Nf6 66. b7 Kxb7 1/2-1/2 [/pgn]
The grandmaster got some advantage out of the opening, but Stoyko equalized and took the advantage after Black’s erroneous rook trade on move 34. Then it was White’s turn to blunder, with 47.Bg5?? Ivanov saw the tactical idea against the undefended piece, but could have won with 47…Nf3+ when the connected advanced pawns immunize it. Instead, he gave up one of his pawns to win the bishop, and White was back on top. In the ensuing time scramble (control was Game/2 hours with a 30 second increment), 55.Nc3 was the cleanest win; Ivanov then sprung a second tactic with 57…Nxd4, when the knight is again immune. A swift advance of the h-pawn would have been White’s best remedy; and the win disappeared when he decided to go after Black’s pawns with 60.Kf5. Quite an ending! Ginsburg caught up with the leaders with this round 4 victory:
[pgn] [Event "US Senior Open, New Orleans"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.06.18"] [White "Ginsburg, Mark"] [Black "Schmuggerrow, Kevin"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A96"] [PlyCount "83"] 1. c4 e6 2. g3 f5 3. Bg2 Nf6 4. Nf3 Be7 5. O-O O-O 6. d4 d6 7. Nc3 a6 8. Qc2 Nc6 9. d5 exd5 10. cxd5 Ne5 11. Nd4 g6 12. Bh6 Re8 13. Rad1 Rb8 14. Bc1 Bf8 15. b3 Bg7 16. h3 Nf7 17. Kh2 Bd7 18. e4 Qc8 19. exf5 gxf5 20. Nce2 c5 21. dxc6 bxc6 22. Nf4 Ne5 23. Nf3 Nf7 24. Bb2 Rb5 25. Qb1 a5 26. Qa1 Qd8 27. Rfe1 Rxe1 28. Rxe1 a4 29. Ne6 Bxe6 30. Rxe6 axb3 31. axb3 Nh5 32. Nd4 Bxd4 33. Bxd4 Qc8 34. Re7 Qf8 35. Qa7 Nd8 36. Bf1 Rb4 37. Bc4+ d5 38. Bc5 dxc4 39. Bxb4 cxb3 40. Qd7 Nf6 41. Qxf5 Nd5 42. Qxh7# 1-0[/pgn]
Black’s play left some weaknesses, and after missing 18…fxe4 his position became increasingly passive. Stoyko returned to his winning ways in Round 5, taking the initiative after FM Dehmelt’s decentralizing 19.Nh2.
[pgn] [Event "US Senior Open, New Orleans"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.06.18"] [White "Dehmelt, Karl"] [Black "Stoyko, Stephen"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B27"] [PlyCount "94"] 1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nf3 c5 4. dxc5 Qa5+ 5. Nbd2 Qxc5 6. Bd3 d6 7. O-O Nf6 8. Re1 Nbd7 9. Nb3 Qc7 10. Bg5 O-O 11. Qd2 Re8 12. h3 b6 13. Nbd4 a6 14. Bh6 Bh8 15. a4 Bb7 16. b4 d5 17. exd5 Nxd5 18. c4 N5f6 19. Nh2 Rad8 20. Qe3 e5 21. Nb3 e4 22. Bf1 Ne5 23. Bg5 Nd3 24. Bxf6 Bxf6 25. Ng4 Bg7 26. Bxd3 h5 27. Rad1 exd3 28. Qxe8+ Rxe8 29. Rxe8+ Kh7 30. Ne3 Qd7 31. Rb8 Be5 32. Rxb7 Qxb7 33. Rxd3 Qe4 34. Rd1 Bf4 35. Nd2 Qe7 36. Ndf1 Bxe3 37. Nxe3 Qxb4 38. Rd7 Qe1+ 39. Nf1 Kg7 40. Rb7 Qe6 41. Ne3 Qc6 42. Rb8 f5 43. Nd5 Qxc4 44. Rb7+ Kh6 45. Ne7 h4 46. Rxb6 Qc1+ 47. Kh2 Qc7+ 0-1[/pgn]
Ivanov downed FM Leonid Bondar in Round 5, and Ginsburg took care of Dave Rupel with a nice combination after a good deal of “horsing around.”
[pgn] [Event "US Senior Open, New Orleans"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.06.18"] [White "Rupel, David"] [Black "Ginsburg, Mark"] [Result "0-1"] [PlyCount "72"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 O-O 5. O-O d6 6. b3 a5 7. a4 Na6 8. Bb2 c6 9. Na3 Bf5 10. Nc4 d5 11. Ne3 Be4 12. Ne5 Bxg2 13. Kxg2 Ne4 14. f3 Nd6 15. Nd3 e6 16. Rb1 Re8 17. Nc5 Nc7 18. Nd3 h5 19. Nf2 e5 20. Re1 exd4 21. Bxd4 Bxd4 22. Qxd4 Ne6 23. Qd2 Qb6 24. Nf1 Rad8 25. Nh3 Nf5 26. b4 axb4 27. Rxb4 Qa6 28. Nf4 c5 29. Nxe6 Rxe6 30. Rf4 Rde8 31. e4 dxe4 32. fxe4 Nd6 33. Qd5 Qxa4 34. e5 Qxc2+ 35. Kg1 Qc3 36. Re3 Rxe5 0-1[/pgn]
Thus the three leaders remained on top. In the last round Stoyko had an easy time against WFM Sokolovskaya, who found herself playing an inferior version of a typical King’s Indian classical variation.
[pgn] [Event "US Senior Open, New Orleans"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.06.19"] [White "Sokolovskya, Serafima"] [Black "Stoyko, Stephen"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B06"] [PlyCount "70"] 1. d4 g6 2. e4 Bg7 3. c3 d6 4. Bd3 e5 5. Ne2 Nc6 6. d5 Nce7 7. Be3 f5 8. f3 Nf6 9. Nd2 O-O 10. O-O f4 11. Bf2 g5 12. c4 Ng6 13. c5 Rf7 14. cxd6 cxd6 15. Rc1 g4 16. Nc3 g3 17. hxg3 fxg3 18. Bxg3 Nh5 19. Qe1 Nxg3 20. Qxg3 Bh6 21. f4 Bxf4 22. Rxf4 exf4 23. Qf2 Ne5 24. Be2 Bg4 25. Bf1 f3 26. g3 Rc8 27. Rd1 a6 28. a4 Bd7 29. Nb3 Rg7 30. Nd4 Qh4 31. Qh2 Rxg3+ 32. Kh1 Bh3 33. Nf5 Bg2+ 34. Bxg2 fxg2+ 35. Kg1 Nf3+ 0-1[/pgn]
And it was Ginsburg’s turn to play Ivanov. White got the better of an unusual opening, though it appears that 19.d5 would have improved. The piece sac on d5 paid dividends after Black missed 23…Bd6! White was soon winning with rook and four pawns against two knights, but gave himself chances to go wrong by inviting Black’s king into his position. And in another time scramble in a tricky ending (with even more spectators this time), White went wrong with 44.Ka1, when Black should have had an advantage with  44…Kb3, and then chances after 44…Bc1 45.Rg4 Kb3. With little left on his clock besides the increment, Ivanov missed the opportunities and White’s pawns decided the issue.
[pgn] [Event "US Senior Open, New Orleans"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.06.19"] [Round "6"] [White "Ginsburg, Mark"] [Black "Ivanov, Alexander"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A53"] [PlyCount "95"] 1. d4 d6 2. Nf3 Bg4 3. c4 Nd7 4. Nc3 e5 5. e3 Ngf6 6. h3 Bh5 7. g4 Bg6 8. Nh4 Be4 9. Rg1 h6 10. Nf5 Bxf5 11. gxf5 c6 12. Qb3 Qc7 13. Bd2 O-O-O 14. O-O-O Kb8 15. Kb1 Re8 16. f3 Rg8 17. Bd3 Be7 18. Rc1 Nh5 19. c5 d5 20. Nxd5 cxd5 21. Qxd5 exd4 22. exd4 Ndf6 23. Qxf7 Nf4 24. Bb5 N4d5 25. Bxe8 Rxe8 26. Qxg7 h5 27. Qg3 Qxg3 28. Rxg3 Bd8 29. Re1 Rf8 30. Bh6 Rf7 31. Re6 Kc8 32. Rg7 Rxg7 33. Bxg7 h4 34. a3 Nh5 35. Be5 Nhf4 36. Rh6 Bg5 37. Rh8+ Kd7 38. Rh7+ Kc6 39. b4 Kb5 40. Rxb7+ Kc4 41. Rg7 Bh6 42. Rg4 Ne2 43. Rxh4 Nec3+ 44. Ka1 Bc1 45. Rg4 Nd1 46. Rg2 Kb3 47. c6 N5e3 48. d5 1-0 [/pgn]

chessisthebestformofentertainment Chess is the best form of entertainment Photo Brian Yang

Thus Stoyko and Ginsburg became co-champions, with Stoyko getting the top plaque on tiebreaks (and also the plaque for best performance by a 65-69 year old). A retired programmer and math teacher from New Jersey now living in Florida, he also teaches chess, and his students have won the last two Amateur East championships. He had a memorable three-month stay in Ukraine in 1991 when it was o the verge of independence, hobnobbing with the likes of Ivanchuk and Romanishin while American stars of soccer and other sports also built cross-cultural ties. Ginsburg, 57, of course also earned two plaques. Another transplanted Northeasterner, he’s lived in Tucson for the last 15 years, writing computer scripts and doing some chess teaching. He recounts with mixed pride and regret that his camps had two students who are now financial plutocrats rather than chessplayers. Dehmelt, who tied with Ivanov for third at 4½, played a notable rook sac in round four.

[pgn] [Event "US Senior Open, New Orleans"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.06.18"] [Round "4"] [White "Dehmelt, Karl"] [Black "Corvin, Carl"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D42"] [PlyCount "71"] 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. c4 e6 5. Nc3 Nf6 6. Nf3 Be7 7. cxd5 Nxd5 8. Bd3 O-O 9. O-O Nc6 10. a3 Bf6 11. Re1 b6 12. Nxd5 Qxd5 13. Be4 Qd6 14. Bg5 Bb7 15. Bxf6 gxf6 16. Bxh7+ Kxh7 17. Ng5+ Kg6 18. Ne4 Qf4 19. Re3 Nxd4 20. Qxd4 Bxe4 21. Rxe4 Qf5 22. Qe3 Qg5 23. Qe2 f5 24. Re3 Kf6 25. Re1 Rfe8 26. Qc4 Rac8 27. Qd4+ Ke7 28. f4 Qh4 29. Rxe6+ fxe6 30. Qg7+ Kd6 31. Rd1+ Kc5 32. Qd4+ Kb5 33. Qd3+ Ka5 34. b4+ Ka4 35. Rb1 a5 36. b5 1-0[/pgn]
And Dave Rupel, who won the prize for coming the greatest distance (Olympia, Washington) had a notable game with a somewhat suspect move in the Advance Caro-Kann. White grabs a pawn and both players display imagination in arguing over its fate. 11…d4 looks like an error, but when White chooses to trade queens on move 22 and then eschews 24.Rf4, the pendulum swings in Black’s favor and he wins a nice ending.
[pgn] [Event "US Senior Open,. New Orleans"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.06.19"] [White "Bondar, Leonid"] [Black "Rupel, David"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B12"] [PlyCount "120"] 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. dxc5 Nc6 5. Bb5 e6 6. b4 Nge7 7. Nf3 Bd7 8. Bxc6 Nxc6 9. c3 a5 10. Bd2 Qc7 11. Qe2 d4 12. cxd4 Nxb4 13. Na3 Qc6 14. O-O Qa4 15. Qe3 b6 16. Rfc1 bxc5 17. dxc5 Rc8 18. Rc4 Bb5 19. Nxb5 Qxb5 20. Qb3 Rxc5 21. Rac1 Rxc4 22. Qxc4 Qxc4 23. Rxc4 Kd7 24. Nd4 Be7 25. a3 Nd5 26. Nb5 Ra8 27. Kf1 a4 28. Bc1 Rb8 29. Nc3 Nxc3 30. Rxc3 Rb5 31. f4 Rc5 32. Rxc5 Bxc5 33. Ke2 Kc6 34. Kd3 Kd5 35. h3 Bd4 36. Bd2 g5 37. g3 Bf2 38. Kc3 Kc5 39. g4 gxf4 40. Bxf4 Bd4+ 41. Kc2 Kd5 42. Bc1 Bxe5 43. Kd3 Bd6 44. Bb2 e5 45. Ke3 Bc5+ 46. Kf3 Bf8 47. g5 Bg7 48. Kg4 Ke4 49. h4 Bf8 50. Bc1 Bd6 51. Kh5 Bf8 52. Kg4 Bg7 53. Kh5 Kf5 54. Bb2 Bf8 55. Bc1 e4 56. Be3 Bxa3 57. Kh6 Bb2 58. Bc5 a3 59. Bxa3 Bxa3 60. Kxh7 e3 0-1[/pgn]
Finally, with some trepidation, we present a game from the first round. Pure open tournaments tend to lack first round upsets, and this one was sensational, both because of the 343-point rating difference and its brevity. But the jaundiced eye of the silicon chip removes some of the luster…
[pgn] [Event "US Senior Open, New Orleans"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.06.16"] [White "Beloungie, Lance"] [Black "Doubleday, William"] [Result "1-0"] [Annotator "Hough,Randall"] [PlyCount "42"] 1. d4 d5 2. Bf4 c5 3. e3 Nc6 4. Nf3 Qb6 {?} 5. Nc3 {!} e6 {? (5...Qa5 seems to be the best of a bad lot. In the twilight of his career, former world champ Smyslov actually drew a game after 5...cxd4 -- but his opponent missed the same deadly move that now occurs in this game.)} 6. Nb5 {(With two deadly threats on c7.)} e5 {? (And this doesn't help either. But giving up the Ra8 with 6...cxd4 leaves White with a four point or so winning advantage, per the silicon beast.)} 7. Nxe5 Nd8 {? (When it rains it pours. 7...c4 and 7...g5 both leaves White's edge at about five points.)} 8. Nxf7 {? (Giving up most of the advantage. 8.Nc4 is cleanest, when the Black queen is a goner.)} Kxf7 9. Qh5+ g6 10. Qxd5+ Be6 11. Qf3 Nf6 12. Nc7 {?? (And this should lose -- badly. Be5 and e4, in either order, keep the advantage.)} Rc8 {?? (Perhaps shell shocked, Black fails to heed the loud knock of opportunity. 12...Qb4+ 13. c3 Qxb2 or the immediate12...Qxb2 both should win easily.)} 13. Nxe6 Nxe6 14. Bc4 {?? (14.Be5 is the correct pin, minimizing Black's edge.)} Qxb2 {?? (Loose piece alert: 14...Qb4+ simply wins. But instead, Black finally decides to take the b-pawn.)} 15. O-O Qb6 {?? (Amazing. Black squanders a critical tempo and walks into a mating net. 15...Be7 or 15...Qxc2 are the simplest wins.)} 16. Rfb1 {(The hammer drops. The b7 pawn will fall with check.)} Qd8 17. Rxb7+ Be7 18. Be5 Ke8 19. Bxe6 Rf8 20. Bxc8 Qxc8 21. Rb8 Rf7 1-0[/pgn]
Looking at the other major prizewinners, the aforementioned Rupel and Doubleday (nice recovery!) scored 4½ to split Under 2300 money. Four points earned Under 2000 honors for Jace Etienne and Gregory Bailey, and Under 1800 for Finn Erik Overlie. Brock Poynter scored 2½ to take Under 1500 laurels. And Dehmelt won the Blitz. Senior tournaments are good opportunities for reunions. In 1978, Mitchell Costanza taught Rene Phillips to play. They had met only twice in rated play since then, and the teacher, though now the lower rated, won this time. And good opportunities for, well, senior moments. One player studied the position on move seven for 25 minutes and then exclaimed, “Oh, it’s my move!” 20160616_160042

Thanks to Jean Troendle of Cajun Chess for organizing the Senior and welcoming the players with “goody bags,” and to Corey Kormick, Eddie Rios, and Bob Ballard for keeping things running smoothly. MSA Cajun

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