Three Tournament Circuit

There were three recent Continental Chess Association tournaments held on three consecutive weekends in three different states and three enterprising players from three different cities joined forces and attended them all.  The Manhattan Open was held at the Hotel Pennsylvania across from Madison Square Gardens from July 29-31st.  The following week at the Stamford, Connecticut  Sheraton the Northeast Open was held from August 5-7th.  Finally, the Cleveland Open was at the Cleveland Airport Marriott Hotel from August 12th-14th.  At a distance of just over 500 miles apart, you wouldn’t expect too many players to hit all these stops. The first player in the trio is not all that surprising.  IM Jay Bonin is a professional player and hits multiple stops on the CCA circuit.  He also gave lectures at two of the three tournaments.  Jay cashed at two of the three tournaments.  Jay lives in New York City area so the Manhattan Open was a home game for him, but after the Northeast Open went on the road. I was the second attendee at the three tournaments, though obviously I did not play in any.  I was the Chief TD at the Northeast Open and Cleveland Open and the Chief Assistant at the Manhattan Open.  I live in Atlanta and drove to New York, Connecticut, Ohio and then back to Georgia for this trip. The third player may be a bit lesser known but has now become a regular attendee at CCA events.  Harold Scott of Jamestown, NY has recently retired and now travels the chess circuit, sometimes joining forces with his fiancée Erika McLean and forming a solid mixed doubles team.  While Harold, did not cash at any of the three tournaments, he played the following nice game at the Northeast Open.

[pgn][Event "22nd Annual Northeast Open"] [Site "Stamford, CT"] [Date "2016.08.07"] [Round "4.23"] [White "Scott, Harold"] [Black "Rogozinski, Andrew"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A48"] [WhiteElo "2052"] [BlackElo "1847"] [Annotator "Scott,Harold"] [PlyCount "65"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [SourceDate "2015.08.22"]1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. Bf4 Bg7 4. c3 d6 5. h3 O-O 6. e3 Nfd7 {Other options for Black here include 6...c5, 6...Nbd7, 6...Nc6, and 6...b6.} 7. Be2 e5 8. Bh2 Nc6 9. O-O Re8 10. a4 {Playing on the queenside is one of the main goals for White in the London System. So the advance a2-a4 is typical.} a6 11. a5 {The idea behind a4-a5 is to try and fix Black's queenside pawns and make them targets.} e4 {While this move does gain space it has the drawback of increasing the scope of my bishop on h2. One reason that I hesitated to play Nbd2, a typical London move, is to keep d2 free for the f3-knight and the b1-knight can go to c4 via a3.} 12. Nfd2 f5 13. b4 {Trying to playing actively on the queenside with b2-b4 followed by Qb3 and preparing a pawn break. Gata Kamsky, the world's strongest London System adherent shared this idea with me when analyzing a game of mine the previous week at the Manhattan Open in a similar line.} Qf6 {Black begins mobilising his forces on the kingside in hopes of obtaining counterplay.} 14. Qb3+ Kh8 15. Na3 Ne7 $6 {Moving the knight away allows White to play the b4-b5 pawn break unhindered.} 16. b5 g5 $2 {An agressive move but not really good as Black's pieces are not actively placed to mount a kingside offensive.} 17. f3 $1 {An excellent time for this break. This pawn-break was also mentioned to me by Gata and here it is particularly effective as the pin on the f-file and pressure on the e4-square guarantee Black exchanging on f3 and bringing White's light-squared bishop to the h1-a8 diagonal exert more pressure on Black's queenside.} exf3 18. Bxf3 c6 19. bxc6 ({Even stronger was} 19. Ne4 $1 fxe4 20. Bh5) 19... bxc6 20. Nac4 d5 21. Nd6 Rg8 $2 {I understand the idea behind this move. Black is hoping to get play along the g-file with ...g5-g4. However, it has the downside of putting his king in a precarious spot if White should deliver Nf7 with mate.} 22. e4 $1 {Taking on e4 with either pawn is not possible.} f4 (22... fxe4 23. Bxe4 $18) ( 22... dxe4 23. Nf7+ $18) 23. e5 {Solidifying the knight's position on d6 while hitting the queen with tempo.} Qg6 24. Bg4 {Threatenng to win material with Nxc8 leaving the knight on d7 en prise.} h5 $2 25. Nxc8 Raxc8 26. Bxd7 Rc7 27. e6 g4 {The win is at hand. Just need to take my time and be sure of my calculations to not allow any shenanigans around my king.} 28. hxg4 Bh6 29. Qd1 hxg4 30. Bxf4 g3 31. Be5+ $1 (31. Bxc7 $4 {would be a very horrible blunder!} Be3+ 32. Rf2 gxf2+ 33. Kf1 Qxg2+ 34. Ke2 f1=Q+ 35. Kxe3 {and Black has three ways to mate. Pick your poison!} Qgf2# (35... Nf5#) (35... Qgg1#)) 31... Rg7 32. Rf8+ Ng8 33. Nf1 {A very safe conclusion! Stopping Be3+ and any hopes of mate. One final note to this game is that I shared this one with Gata as well and he had high praise for it by saying that it was a perfect execution of all London ideas. Needless to say, this made me feel very good!} 1-0[/pgn]
Between the Northeast Open and Cleveland Open, Harold and Erika hosted Jay and myself at their home in Jamestown, New York for a few days.  Jamestown is in Northwest, New York about 1 hour east of Buffalo.  On one of our free days we took in a tour of Niagara Falls. Niagara fallsJamestown is also the childhood home of Lucille Ball.  Her gravesite is only a couple minutes from Harold’s house, so we had to take in that local tourist attraction.

HaterDavid Hater
Jay Bonin at the gravesite of Lucille Ball.Jay Bonin

The main attraction though has to be the three tournaments.  First up is the Manhattan Open.  Since it was held in NYC, it was the largest and strongest of the three tournaments.  The $20,000 prize fund was enough to attract 461 players in four sections including nine GMs in the Open section.  When all was send and done the 9 GMs placed in the top 9 spots!  GM Julio Sadorra was the top winner. He scored 4 ½ and took clear first and $2100.  He defeated IM Alexander Ostovskiy in round 3, GM Tamaz Gelashvili in round 4 and drew GM Zviad Izoria in the final round.  In the last round, Sadorra was ½ point ahead of the field.  Board 2 drew quickly and all Sadorra had to do was draw for clear first place.  Izoria had other plans in mind and the game was a hard fought draw.  Sadorra was actually better in the final position and could have tried to win, but since the draw secured clear first, he did not press.

[pgn][Event "Manhattan Open"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.07.31"] [Round "5.1"] [White "Izoria, Zviad"] [Black "Sadorra, Julio"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C00"] [WhiteElo "2679"] [BlackElo "2655"] [PlyCount "71"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"]1. e4 e6 2. Nf3 d5 3. e5 c5 4. b4 cxb4 5. d4 Nc6 6. a3 bxa3 7. c3 Bd7 8. Bd3 h6 9. Nxa3 a6 10. O-O Nge7 11. Nh4 g6 12. Nc2 Na7 13. Ne3 Bb5 14. Ng4 Bg7 15. Re1 Bxd3 16. Qxd3 Nf5 17. Nxf5 gxf5 18. Ne3 Nb5 19. Rb1 O-O 20. g3 Qc7 21. Bd2 Na3 22. Ra1 Nc4 23. Ng2 Rfc8 24. Bc1 Nb6 25. Bd2 Nc4 26. Bc1 Nb6 27. Ra3 Nc4 28. Ra2 b5 29. Nf4 Nb6 30. Ra3 Nc4 31. Ra1 Nb6 32. Bd2 Nc4 33. Rac1 Nxd2 34. Qxd2 Qd7 35. h4 Rc4 36. Nd3 1/2-1/2[/pgn]
Seven GMs tied for 2nd to 8th.  GMs Izoria, Alexander Strupinsky, Robert Hess, Sergey Kudrin, Niaz Murshed, and Michael Rohde all finished at 4-1.  Because of the large number of players in the tie, each won only $285.71.  Murshed finished with 4 wins and 1 loss while all the others finished with 3 wins and two draws.  GM Tamaz Gelashvili was the only GM to finish out of the money, but he started out 3-0.  On Sunday, he lost to GM Murshed in round 4 and played a quick draw in the last round. His 3 ½ point tied for 9th-10th with Joseph Zeltsen, an expert who played up and clear first Under 2400 taking home $600.  Here is Zeltsan’s last round win over NM Jonathan Subveri.
[pgn][Event "Manhattan Open"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.07.31"] [Round "5.9"] [White "Subervi, Jonathan"] [Black "Zeltsan, Joseph"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B50"] [WhiteElo "2343"] [BlackElo "2151"] [PlyCount "71"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"]1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. c3 Nf6 4. Bd3 Nc6 5. Bc2 e5 6. O-O Be7 7. h3 d5 8. exd5 Qxd5 9. d3 Bf5 10. Nh4 Be6 11. Bb3 Qd7 12. Bxe6 Qxe6 13. Qf3 g6 14. Qe2 O-O-O 15. Nf3 Qd5 16. Rd1 e4 17. Ne1 Rhe8 18. Be3 Bd6 19. d4 Bc7 20. Na3 Qd6 21. g3 Qe6 22. Kh2 cxd4 23. cxd4 Nd5 24. Nb5 Bb8 25. Nc3 f5 26. Nxd5 Rxd5 27. Ng2 Red8 28. Rac1 Bc7 29. Rc4 h6 30. h4 g5 31. hxg5 hxg5 32. Bxg5 Rh8+ 33. Kg1 f4 34. Rxc6 Qxc6 35. Bxf4 Rdh5 36. Qg4+ 0-1[/pgn]
The 3 point score group had a number of interesting developments.  Those that were Under 2400 split the second Under 2400 prize.  Bonin was among that group losing only to GMs Robert Hess and Michael Rohde. FM Nicolas Checa scored 3-2 and did not win a prize, but he played 3 GMs and gained valuable experience which paid off handsomely the following week. FM Alisa Melekhina also scored 3 points.  She had a very interesting position in round 3 against Nicholas Vettesse who was also in this tie.   Melekhina has had a decisive advantage for much of the game.  She is winning here.  What is the best move?

Alisa Melekhina vs. Nicholas Vettese

White to move.

Show Solution

[pgn][Event "Manhattan Open"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.07.30"] [Round "?"] [White "Melekhina, Alisa"] [Black "Vettese, Nicholas"] [Result "*"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "1r6/5PP1/5K2/8/3k4/8/1p6/1Qr5 w - - 0 71"] [PlyCount "9"] [SourceDate "2015.11.12"]71. g8=Q ({Instead Melekhina plays} 71. Qxb2+ {which draws. Regardless of which pawn White promotes, Black can draw. The game ended with:} Rxb2 72. g8=Q ({No better is} 72. f8=Q Rb6+ 73. Kf7 Rb7+ 74. Kg8 Rcc7 75. Qf4+ {and White can't make any progress.}) 72... Rf1+ 73. Ke7 Rb7+ 74. Ke6 Rbxf7 75. Qxf7 Rxf7 76. Kxf7 {Draw.}) 71... Rxb1 72. Qxb8 Rf1+ 73. Ke6 b1=Q 74. Qxb1 Rxb1 75. f8=Q *[/pgn]


Here is a nice tactic also from the open section.  White attacks black’s queen.  What is the decisive move?

Sophie Morris-Suzuki vs. Dylan James

Black to move. 

Show Solution

[pgn][Event "Manhattan Open"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.07.30"] [Round "2.7"] [White "Morris-Suzuki, Sophie"] [Black "James, Dylan"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A42"] [WhiteElo "2018"] [BlackElo "2119"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "1rb2k2/p1p3bp/2pp2p1/2n5/2P1P3/2N1q3/PPQ1BBPP/R3K3 b Q - 0 19"] [PlyCount "23"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"]19... Rxb2 $1 20. Bxe3 Rxc2 21. Kd1 Bxc3 22. Rb1 Rb2 {The game finished with:} 23. Rxb2 Bxb2 24. Kc2 Be5 25. Bxc5 dxc5 26. h3 Ke7 27. Kd3 Bd4 28. Bd1 Kd6 29. Bg4 Bxg4 30. hxg4 Ke5 0-1[/pgn]


The section winners were:

Under 2200

Vincent Umayan & Jorge Ruiz-Montes, 4 ½ - ½  $1150

Under 1900

Carlos Garcia & Aaron Gindi 5-0   $1150

Under 1600

Samuel De Jesus & Nura Baalla  5-0 $900

Under 1300

Long Hua 5-0  $800

Under 1000

Eddie Zeltsan & Kevin Wu  5-0  $375

Mixed Doubles

Sarah Yan & Erick Yan 9-1  $400 each

Blitz Tournament

Joshua Colas 8-0 $170

            The next tournament was the 21st Northeast Open.  The tournament drew 193 players in 4 sections including two GMs, two IMs, and three FMs.  There was a clear winner also with 4 ½ points, but it was not one of the GMs or even one of the IMs.  FM Nicolas Checa scored 4 ½ - ½ and won clear first place of $1200.  Checa played both GMs beating Kudrin and drawing Murshed in the last round.  Checa’s win against Kudrin is especially instructive as he demonstrates fine technique in a problem like ending.

[pgn][Event "Northeast Open"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "3.1"] [White "Checa, Nicolas"] [Black "Kudrin, Sergey"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D98"] [WhiteElo "2500"] [BlackElo "2567"] [PlyCount "188"] [Source "MonRoi"]1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Qb3 dxc4 6. Qxc4 O-O 7. e4 Bg4 8. Be3 Nfd7 9. Rd1 Nc6 10. Be2 Nb6 11. Qc5 e6 12. Ne5 Nxe5 13. dxe5 Qh4 14. Bxg4 Qxg4 15. O-O c6 16. a4 Rfe8 17. a5 Bf8 18. Qd4 Nc8 19. Qd7 Ne7 20. Qxb7 Qh5 21. Bxa7 Qxe5 22. Bb6 g5 23. Qd7 Rec8 24. Ra1 Ng6 25. g3 c5 26. Qd1 Bg7 27. Qf3 Qb8 28. Qe2 Qe5 29. Na4 Qd4 30. Rfc1 Qb4 31. Ra3 Bd4 32. Rc4 Qb5 33. Rc2 Qxe2 34. Rxe2 Ne5 35. Rc2 Nd7 36. Ra2 e5 37. b3 Rab8 38. Rc4 Kg7 39. Kg2 Kf6 40. Rac2 Re8 41. Bxc5 Nxc5 42. Nxc5 Bxc5 43. Rxc5 Rxb3 44. Ra2 Ra8 45. a6 Ra7 46. Rc6+ Kg7 47. Ra5 h6 48. g4 Rb2 49. Rd5 Rb4 50. f3 Rb2+ 51. Kg3 f6 52. Rdd6 Rf7 53. h4 gxh4+ 54. Kxh4 Ra2 55. Rb6 Kg6 56. Rd8 Rh2+ 57. Kg3 Ra2 58. Rg8+ Kh7 59. Re8 Kg7 60. Ree6 Ra3 61. Rbc6 Ra2 62. Rcd6 Ra3 63. Kf2 Ra2+ 64. Ke3 Rc7 65. Rc6 Rxc6 66. Rxc6 Ra3+ 67. Ke2 Kg6 68. Rd6 Kg5 69. Re6 Kg6 70. Rb6 Kg5 71. Rc6 Kg6 72. Kd2 Rxf3 73. Kc2 Ra3 74. Kb2 Ra5 75. Kb3 Kg5 76. Kb4 Ra1 77. Kb5 Kxg4 78. Rc4 f5 79. Ra4 Rb1+ 80. Kc6 Rb8 81. exf5+ Kxf5 82. a7 Ra8 83. Kb7 Re8 84. a8=Q Rxa8 85. Rxa8 h5 86. Kc6 h4 87. Kd5 h3 88. Rh8 Kg4 89. Ke4 Kg3 90. Ke3 Kg2 91. Ke2 h2 92. Rg8+ Kh3 93. Kf2 h1=N+ 94. Kf3 Kh2 1-0[/pgn]
Since I am featuring games of the other two players in the Odyssey, I should feature a TD story or two from my weekend.  The Northeast Open nearly had a forfeit free weekend.  In a major tournament this is incredibly difficult as it is easy for the TD to make a mistake and miss a withdraw or a half point bye and then there is of course players giving late (or no notice) and not showing up.  I did my part this weekend and had no forfeits going into the last round.  Unfortunately, a player overslept after taking a nap and missed round 5 and was the only forfeit of the tournament!  My other humorous event was a dead drawn game in the under 2100 section.  The players are not keeping score.  I started counting and got to about 45 and then of course there was a pawn move.  I started counting again.  I got to move 72 and was getting ready to apply the 75 move rule when on move 72 another pawn is moved!  I started counting again and got to move 30 when the players FINALLY agreed to a draw.  All in a weekend’s work! Tying for second-third in the tournament was GM Murshed and IM Igor Khmelnitsky both at 4-1.  They drew each other and each also each drew the last round – Murshed against Checa and Khmelnitsky vs NM Ian Harris.  Here is Murshed’s round 3 victory over NM Lev Paciorkowski.
[pgn][Event "Northeast Open"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.08.06"] [Round "3.2"] [White "Paciorkowski, Lev"] [Black "Murshed, Niaz"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D04"] [WhiteElo "2269"] [BlackElo "2541"] [PlyCount "50"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"]1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. e3 c5 4. b3 cxd4 5. exd4 Nc6 6. Bd3 Bg4 7. Bb2 e6 8. O-O Bd6 9. h3 Bh5 10. Nbd2 O-O 11. c4 Bf4 12. Re1 Bxd2 13. Qxd2 Bxf3 14. gxf3 Nh5 15. cxd5 exd5 16. Ba3 Re8 17. Rxe8+ Qxe8 18. Qg5 Nf6 19. Kh1 Qe6 20. Bf5 Qe2 21. Rg1 Qxf3+ 22. Kh2 g6 23. Qxf6 Qxf2+ 24. Rg2 Qf4+ 25. Rg3 Re8 0-1[/pgn]
The section winners were:

Under 2050

Bryan Weicz & Thomas Messineo, 4 ½ - ½  $600

Under 1650

Ralph Behlok 4 ½ - ½ $700

Under 1250

Erin Strauts, 5-0  $400

Mixed Doubles

Erin Strauts & Joshua That 9-1  $200 each

Blitz Tournament

Joshua Colas 7-1 $105

            The last tournament in the series was the Cleveland Open.  There were 202 players in four sections.  The $15,000 prize fund was enough to attract one GM and three IMs.  This time the GM won everything in sight.  GM Fidel Corrales Jimenez went 5-0 in the open section to take the $2000 first prize and the $100 first place bonus.  This result was somewhat surprising because Fidel was on board 1 the last round with black against IM Ron Burnett and they were both one point ahead of the field.  I expected a quick draw.   Fidel had other plans though.  Here is his last round victory over Burnett.

[pgn][Event "Cleveland Open"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.08.14"] [Round "5"] [White "Burnett, Ronald Wa"] [Black "Corrales Jimenez, Fidel"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E04"] [WhiteElo "2414"] [BlackElo "2608"] [Annotator "Corrales Jimenez,Fidel"] [PlyCount "104"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [SourceDate "2006.10.04"]1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. g3 c5 4. Bg2 Nc6 5. O-O d5 6. c4 dxc4 7. dxc5 Qa5 8. Bd2 (8. Na3 c3 9. bxc3 (9. Nc4 Qxc5 10. b3)) 8... Qxc5 9. Na3 Bd7 10. Be3 Qb4 11. Bd2 Qxb2 12. Nxc4 Qb5 13. Qc2 Rc8 14. Rfc1 Be7 15. Qb3 Qxb3 16. axb3 Nd5 17. e4 Ndb4 18. Nfe5 Nxe5 19. Nxe5 Rxc1+ 20. Bxc1 a6 21. Nxd7 Kxd7 22. Bb2 Rg8 23. Rd1+ Kc8 24. Bd4 Nc6 25. Bc3 Bf6 26. Be1 Rd8 27. Rc1 Rd3 28. b4 Kd7 29. e5 Bxe5 30. Be4 Ra3 31. Rd1+ Ke8 32. Bxh7 g6 33. h4 Kf8 34. h5 gxh5 35. Bd3 Kg7 36. Be2 Kg6 37. b5 Nd4 38. Bd3+ f5 39. bxa6 bxa6 40. Bb4 Ra4 41. Bc5 a5 42. Ba6 h4 43. gxh4 Nf3+ 44. Kf1 Rxh4 45. Rd3 Ng5 46. Ra3 a4 47. Bb5 Ne4 48. Bb6 Nd2+ 49. Ke1 Nc4 50. Be8+ Kg7 51. Rxa4 Rh1+ 52. Ke2 Nxb6 0-1[/pgn]
Not content to just win the main event, Jimenez also entered the blitz tournament.  He lamented the fact that his slow play was hampering his blitz game and causing him to lose on time!  Still, he scored 6 ½ which although is a low score was good enough to tie for first with Joshua Posthuma and win $93.75.    Finally, Jimenez 5 points coupled with his partner’s two points was enough to tie for first in the mixed doubles category and add another $300 to his winnings.  All in all, a nice weekend for the GM! As mentioned, Bonin tied for second.  He finished 4-1 and tied for 2nd with IM Ron Burnett and NMs  John Hughes and Rithwik Mathur.   Here is Bonin’s last round win versus NM David Allen.
[pgn][Event "Cleveland Open"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.08.14"] [Round "5"] [White "Bonin, Jay"] [Black "Allen, David"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E16"] [WhiteElo "2392"] [BlackElo "2200"] [Annotator "Hater,David"] [PlyCount "43"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"]1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. c4 Bb4+ 4. Bd2 a5 5. g3 b6 6. Bg2 Bb7 7. O-O Bxd2 8. Nbxd2 d6 9. Qc2 Nbd7 10. e4 e5 11. Rfe1 O-O 12. Rad1 Qe7 13. Nb1 Rfe8 14. Nc3 Ba6 15. Nd5 Qd8 16. dxe5 Nxe5 17. Nxe5 Nxd5 18. exd5 Rxe5 19. Rxe5 dxe5 20. d6 Rb8 21. d7 c5 22. Qd3 1-0[/pgn]
The section winners were:

Under 2100

Joanathan Clinton 4 ½ - ½ $1500

Under 1710

Joseph Crump 4 ½ - ½ $1200

Under 1300

George Gorgis, 5-0, $800

Mixed Doubles

Joey Qiao & GM Fidel Corrales Jimenez 7-3 $300 each

Maggie Feng & Stanley Cao 7-3 $300 each

Blitz Tournament

GM Fidel Corrales Jimenez and NM Joshua Posthuma 6 ½ - 1 ½ $93.75 each

Full details for each tournament, including many games, can be seen at, and . Previous Continental Chess tournaments can be found at the Continental Chess website at