IM Arthur Guo Wins National Open!

Congratulations to the future Grandmaster Arthur Guo for his magnificent performance in winning the National Open out in Lost Wages, Nevada! Arthur, “You Da Man!”

In the first round of the recently completed 2021 National Open 15 year old IM Arthur Guo,

from Georgia, the state, not the country, bested the 2211 (1983 FIDE) USCF rated master Alex Wang of California. In the second round he scored his second point by beating Sridhar Seshadri, a class B player from the state of Washington, who had received a full point bye in the first round.

This brings us to the extremely well played third round game. Knowing nothing other than the title and rating of the players most would have thought the Grandmaster had been the player in charge of the white army. The Russian GM, Vladimir Belous,

Vladimir Belous (photo David Hater)

who finished with six points, winning chump change ($179), let go of the rope with his 31st move but the outcome was not in doubt as young Arthur had put the Grandmasterly squeeze on the Grandmaster.

IM Arthur Guo (2359/2447) vs GM Vladimir Belous (2502/2614)

Las Vegas National Open 2021 round 03

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 g6 5. c4 Nf6 6. Nc3 Nxd4 7. Qxd4 d6 8. Be3 Bg7 9. f3 O-O 10. Qd2 Be6 11. Rc1 Qa5 12. Be2 Rfc8 13. b3 a6 14. Na4 Qxd2+ 15. Kxd2 Nd7 16. g4 Rcb8 17. Nc3 Kf8 18. h4 b5 19. Nd5 Bxd5 20. cxd5 b4 21. Rc7 Ke8 22. f4 a5 23. Ba7 Rc8 24. Rxc8+ Rxc8 25. Bb5 Rc7 26. Be3 e6 27. Rc1 Rxc1 28. Kxc1 exd5 29. exd5 Ke7 30. Bxd7 Kxd7 31. Bb6 a4 32. bxa4 h5 33. gxh5 gxh5 34. a5 Bc3 35. a6 Kc8 36. Bf2 1-0

In a new article dated 6/22/21 at Chessbase (, André Schulz writes, “…the former FIDE Vice World Champion Vladimir Akopian, who lost here in Las Vegas in 1999 to Alexander Khalifman in the final of the FIDE Knockout World Championship…” I had forgotten about that abomination hosted by FIDE, which only resulted in even more egg on the face of the face of world Chess which is FIDE. The less said about that sordid time in the history of Chess the better.
GM Akopian

also finished with six points, with chump change also going into his pocket.

According to the Stockfish program at Arthur’s 10th move, Rc8, was not best. His opponent followed with a move regular readers know I am loathe to admit was weak, 11 Qe2?! The exclam is because, well, you know, the Queen went to e2! Nevertheless, Vlad the Vice had returned the favor, reaching this position:

After 11 Qe2

Much later a critical and instructive position was reached in the endgame:

Black to make his 53rd move

Vladimir Akopian (2638/2734) vs Arthur Guo (2359/2447)

Las Vegas National Open 2021 round 04

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nf3 Be7 8. Bc4 Be6 9. Bb3 Nbd7 10. O-O Rc8 11. Qe2 Nc5 12. Bg5 Nxb3 13. axb3 O-O 14. Rfd1 Ng4 15. Bxe7 Qxe7 16. Nd5 Bxd5 17. Rxd5 Nf6 18. Rd3 Qc7 19. c4 b5 20. Nd2 Qb6 21. Qe3 Qxe3 22. Rxe3 Rc6 23. Rc3 b4 24. Re3 Nd7 25. Nf3 Nc5 26. Ne1 Rb6 27. g3 g6 28. Kf1 Kg7 29. Ke2 f5 30. exf5 gxf5 31. f4 exf4 32. gxf4 Rbb8 33. Nd3 Rfe8 34. Nxc5 dxc5 35. Rxa6 Rxe3+ 36. Kxe3 Re8+ 37. Kd3 Rd8+ 38. Kc2 Rd4 39. Rc6 Rxf4 40. Rxc5 Rf2+ 41. Kd3 Rxb2 42. Rxf5 Rxb3+ 43. Kd4 Rb2 44. h3 Rd2+ 45. Kc5 b3 46. Rf3 b2 47. Rb3 Rc2 48. Kd5 Rc3 49. Rxb2 Rxh3 50. c5 Rc3 51. c6 h5 52. Kd6 Kf6 53. Rb5 Rd3+ 54. Kc7 h4 55. Kb8 h3 56. c7 h2 57. c8=Q h1=Q 58. Rf5+ Ke7 59. Re5+ 1-0

IM Zurabi Javakhadze,

IM Zurabi Javakhadze Wins State Championship

originally from the country of Georgia, won the Texas state championship in 2017, tied for first in 2018, and again won in 2020. The IM played what appeared to be a natural move, preventing encroachment at d7, but it was not a move of which Charley Hertan would approve!

Zurabi should have played 37…Bb6, which is the most forcing move on the board. It was all down hill from there…

Arthur Guo (2359/2447) vs IM Zurabi Javakhadze (2462/2555)

Las Vegas National Open 2021 round 05

  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. d3 b5 6. Bb3 Be7 7. O-O d6 8. Bd2 O-O 9. h3 Bb7 10. a3 Nb8 11. Nc3 Nbd7 12. Re1 c6 13. Ne2 Re8 14. Ng3 Bf8 15. Ba2 d5 16. d4 c5 17. dxe5 dxe4 18. Bxf7+ Kxf7 19. Ng5+ Kg8 20. exf6 Nxf6 21. Bc3 Qb6 22. Bxf6 Qxf6 23. Qg4 e3 24. Rxe3 Rxe3 25. fxe3 Re8 26. Qh5 Qg6 27. Qxg6 hxg6 28. Kf2 Be7 29. Nf3 Bf6 30. c3 Kf7 31. Rd1 Ke6 32. e4 Bd8 33. e5 Bc7 34. Ng5+ Ke7 35. N3e4 Rf8+ 36. Kg1 Rf5 37. Nxc5 Bc6 38. Nge6 Bxe5 39. Nd8 Ba8 40. Rd7+ Ke8 41. Nde6 Bc6 42. Rxg7 Bd6 43. Nxa6 Be7 44. Nd4 Rf6 45. Nc7+ Kf8 46. Nce6+ 1-0

The sixth round was a turning point for young Mr. Guo when he met “Planet Timur.” I had an encounter with the man from “off-world” some years ago and wrote a blog post, GM Timur Gareyev Lost In Space, about the encounter. (

The game was innocuous until things started to get interesting after Arthur made his questionable 16th move, Qxd3, in lieu of the more normal, and better, 16 exf6. Timur went off planet with his response; off world with his 18th move; before completely letting go of the rope and began drifting hopelessly, Lost in Space…

Timur Gareyev saltó desde los cielos con un tablero de ajedrez. Foto: Captura de Pantalla
Ajedrez al extremo: GM Timur Gareyev en los cielos (

IM Arthur Guo (2359/2447) vs GM Timur Gareyev (2602/2692)

Las Vegas National Open 2021 round 06

  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. d3 d6 6. c3 g6 7. O-O Bg7 8. Re1 O-O 9. Nbd2 Rb8 10. Nf1 b5 11. Bc2 h6 12. Ng3 Re8 13. h3 d5 14. d4 exd4 15. e5 d3 16. Qxd3 Ne4 17. Nxe4 Bf5 18. Qf1 Nxe5 19. Nxe5 Bxe5 20. Rd1 Bg7 21. f3 b4 22. c4 c6 23. cxd5 cxd5 24. Bb3 Qb6+ 25. Nf2 Rbd8 26. Kh1 Bd7 27. Ng4 Bb5 28. Qg1 Qxg1+ 29. Kxg1 h5 30. Nf2 Re2 31. Bg5 Rde8 32. Bxd5 Rxb2 33. Ne4 Kf8 34. Rac1 Ba4 35. Re1 Bd4+ 36. Kh1 Bc2 37. Nf6 Rxe1+ 38. Rxe1 Kg7 39. Re7 Rb1+ 40. Kh2 Bg1+ 41. Kg3 h4+ 42. Kxh4 Bf2+ 43. g3 1-0

Arthur’s opponent in the next round was GM Hans Niemann,

who was awarded the Grandmaster title by FIDE on January 22, 2021. He turned eighteen years of age during the tournament on June 20, 2021. He also finished with a huge pack of players with six points and, you guessed it, won chump change for his effort.

There was a turning point at move 18. GM Niemann aggressively thrust his e-pawn into his opponents territory, but it was a bad move. Arthur could have gained a winning advantage by simply moving the attacked knight, but instead traded Queens, and the game was back to even. Then on move 24 after Guo had played 23…Bxf2+, Hans moved his King into the corner in lieu of taking the offending Bishop, and that was all she wrote…The chat at the ChessBomb says it all:
evantheterrible: Bxf2 is a killer
evantheterrible: Hans getting wiped off the board by a 2300
evantheterrible: with white!
evantheterrible: Does Hans have any hope here of salvaging this? Super exposed king, down a pawn
evantheterrible: The only thing he has going for him is that bishop on b2, which now has to move
evantheterrible: this is ovah
evantheterrible: this just loses a piece…
evantheterrible: beating a grandmaster in 30 moves with black
Pirrip: Arthur is having a great tournament.
Pirrip: Probably top 3 after this… ouch for Hans

GM Hans Niemann (2567/2620) vs IM Arthur Guo (2359/2447)

Las Vegas National Open 2021 round 07

d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3 Be7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O c6 7. Nc3 Nbd7 8. Nd2 b6 9. e4 dxc4 10. Nxc4 Ba6 11. b3 b5 12. Ne3 b4 13. Ne2 e5 14. Bb2 exd4 15. Bxd4 Nc5 16. Nf5 Ne6 17. Bb2 Bc5 18. e5 Qxd1 19. Rfxd1 Ng4 20. Ned4 Nxe5 21. Nxc6 Nxc6 22. Bxc6 Rac8 23. Bd5 Bxf2+ 24. Kh1 Rc2 25. Be5 Bc5 26. Rac1 Rxc1 27. Rxc1 Rd8 28. Bg2 f6 29. Bf4 Bd3 30. Ne3 g5 0-1

After seven rounds the young boy from my home state of Georgia was sitting atop of the leader board, one half point in front of the field. The AW was grinning until beginning to think of the High Planes Drifter, NM David Vest, who when beginning to teach Arthur told everyone the kid was “special.” The the grin turned into a smile.

GM Aram Hakobyan

is from Armenia. This was an extremely well played game excepting one major hiccup at move 18-19. One thing I have noticed from all the spectating is the proliferation of double blunders, as if each player has momentary double vision. One of the most famous examples would be the “double vision” of Magnus Carlsen and Vishy Anand in game six of the 2014 World Championship match:

Magnus Carlsen vs Vishy Anand 2014: Game 6

After Arthur played 18…Rfd8 the game was Hakobyan’s to win. Instead, he returned the favor with the insipid 19 Rc2 and the game returned to the slight advantage with which the player in charfe of the white army has to begin the game. From there the better chances were with the Armenian GM, but the young boy IM battled ferociously and held firm, earning a much needed draw with the black army!

GM Aram Hakobyan (2598/2683) – Arthur Guo (2359/2447)

Las Vegas National Open 2021 round 08

1.c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. d4 dxc4 5. e4 b5 6. e5 Nd5 7. Nxb5 Nb6 8. Be2 Nc6 9. O-O Be7 10. Be3 O-O 11. Nc3 Bb7 12. Na4 Rc8 13. Rc1 Na5 14. Nc5 Bxc5 15. dxc5 Qxd1 16. Rfxd1 Na4 17. Bd2 Nc6 18. Re1 Rfd8 19. Rc2 Nxc5 20. Bxc4 Nd3 21. Bxd3 Rxd3 22. Rec1 Rcd8 23. Be1 Nd4 24. Nxd4 R3xd4 25. Rxc7 Rd1 26. Rxd1 Rxd1 27. f3 Rxe1+ 28. Kf2 Rb1 29. Rxb7 g5 30. Ke3 Re1+ 31. Kf2 Rb1 32. Kg3 a6 33. Rb6 a5 34. Rb5 a4 35. Rb4 Kg7 36. Kf2 h5 37. a3 Kg6 38. g4 h4 39. h3 Rh1 40. Kg2 Rb1 41. Kf2 Rh1 42. Rxa4 Rh2+ 43. Ke3 Rxb2 44. Rb4 Ra2 45. Rb3 Rh2 46. a4 Ra2 47. Rb4 Ra3+ 48. Ke4 Kg7 49. Rd4 Kg6 50. Rc4 Kg7 51. Rb4 Kg6 52. Rc4 Kg7 ½-½

GM Emilio Cordova Daza,

from Peru, is twenty five and he became a Grandmaster in 2008. If you read this blog you know how much I decry the “buddy-buddy” draw. There was only one comment left at the ChessBomb: mrlondon: “This game is a travesty.” Ordinarily I would agree, but consider the circumstances. IM Arthur Guo is only fifteen years old. In the Great State of Georgia one can obtain a “learner’s permit” to drive an automobile, but can only drive that vehicle if a licensed adult is in the car. He must wait until turning sixteen to apply for a driver’s license, and then must pass the test. Who knows how the decision was reached to offer his opponent a draw? For example, as a child, he would have to do as ordered by a parent. (Please hold off on the nasty emails. I am not saying that is what happened. This is being written for the sake of argument.) In addition, Arthur’s young body is on east coast time, meaning it’s got dark early while he was still blinded by the light out in the left coast desert. Young Mr. Guo had just spent four days battling adults, some of whom were grizzled veterans. At what other game can a young teen battle an adult on equal terms? Most, if not all, fifteen year old children do not have the stamina of an adult. If young IM Guo played like a Grandmaster why should he not be able to act like one? If anyone is to be criticized for the draw it would be the dazed Dasa, who is a decade older than Arthur Guo. There was an expression heard often while playing sports at a Boys Club while growing into manhood: “No guts, no glory.” Evidently the dazed Daza had seen enough of the play of the future Grandmaster over the course of the past four days and wanted no part of the boy, so he accepted the draw when it was offered. Maybe Bobby Fischer, under the same circumstances, would have seen the early offer of a draw as premature, and a sign of weakness, but GM Emilio Cordova Daza of Peru is obviously no Bobby Fischer,

World Chess Champion Bobby Fischer

as he preferred to take the money and run.

IM Arthur Guo (2359/2447) vs GM Emilio Cordova Daza (2590/2655)

Las Vegas National Open 2021 round 09

e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 d6 6. Bg5 ½-½

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