took first place in the just completed Spring 2022 GM/IM Norm Invitational extravaganza held at the Charlotte Chess Center by winning both the penultimate, and last rounds today while scoring six points, one half point ahead of GM Kamil Dragun and IM Raja Panjwani, who was the opponent of the young IM Guo, winner of the 2021 National Open, which was his first GM norm. (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2021/06/22/im-arthur-guo-wins-national-open/) Even though Arthur won the tournament he will not earn a norm because he had to garner 6 1/2 points for a norm. This makes no sense. The player wins by finishing alone in first place and he earns no norm? Go figure…that’s FIDE.
The move 21…Nxe5? was enough to lose the game but just to make sure the young boy next fired off a “Howler” when playing 22…Nf4?? A move like that when played by an older player would cause one to wonder if there had been some kind of brain infarction. Do children have brain infarction?
In the last round Arthur had the White pieces against IM Raja Panjwani, who was leading the field heading into the ultimate round.
The players traded inaccuracies around move twenty but when Raja played the weak move 31…h6? his tenuous position was teetering on the abyss. With his next move IM Panjwani let go of the rope completely…
A remarkable thing happened in St. Louis the past couple of weeks during the playing of the 2022 Spring Classic at the St. Louis Chess Club.
There were two different Chess tournaments, the “A” and the “B”. In the top section there were twenty three (23) decisive games played out of the forty five (45) total games contested, which is over 50%. There were even more decisive games, twenty eight (28) in the “B” tournament! That means 62% of the games ended in a victory for one player! This is unheard of in todaze Chess world what with the plethora of drawn games dominating play. The “A” section saw white score twelve (12) wins, with the general of the black army winning eleven (11) games! In round three there were three (3) black wins to go with two draws. Round five (5) saw three (3) black wins with only one (1) win for the player of the white pieces. In the “second section” there were nineteen (19) victories scored by players of the white pieces, with nine (9) games won by the player in command of the black pieces. These two tournaments were truly “fighting” tournaments. This should not be Big News but is because of the unbelievably large number of drawn games in most tournaments these daze, such as tournaments held at the Charlotte Chess Club, where players go to draw. There is a reason for the great disparity between the two Chess havens. Simply put, if a player comes to St. Louis with a case of “shakeitus” he is not again invited. In Charlotte they “Follow the rules.” In St. Louis they make their own rules, which happen to engender fighting Chess. If a player comes to St. Louis with his hand extended, ready to accept a draw at any time, that player deservedly suffers opprobrium from the community.
The time spent watching the games from St. Louis was time well spent. What with the Russian monster killing machine laying waste to Ukraine time was needed for escapism, and nothing is a better escape outlet than the Royal Game, especially when the players come to the board with their knives unsheathed.
The first featured game involves one of my favorite players, GM Titas Stremavicius.
He must be the only Grandmaster who plays with the f-pawn, both f-pawns. Certainly Titas is the leading exponent of the Bird’s opening (1 f4), and after 1 d4 Sid Vicious, as I think of him, plays 1…f5 with regularity. Sid is an imaginative and interesting player who usually plays to win. Until this tournament Sid, given the chance, usually played the Leningrad Dutch. For some reason Titas decided to play differently in his round six game with GM Robert Hungaski.
After, 1. d4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2, Stremavicius played the move 3…e6?! in lieu of 3…d6. Why, Sid, why? Sid tripped and fell all over his blade. Sid must have “booked up” on 3…e6 in order to surprise his opponents in this tournament because he played the same move against GM Elshan Moradiabadi
in round eight. Unfortunately, the vicious one was the player surprised. Sid came out of the opening with a decent position, but in the transition to the middle game Sid Vicious first put one foot in it before putting the other foot in it before falling face first into the slime pit. Those two losses with black were sandwiched between a loss with white to GM Arman Mikaelyan,
making it three losses in a row heading into the last round. Keep this in mind as you read on…
The following game was contested in the last round. GM Christopher Repka
started the tournament with four (4) straight wins, and after a couple of draws defeated Christopher Woojin Woo
won four (4) games in a row after a second round loss with black versus GM Cemil Can Ali Marandi.
After a draw in the antepenultimate round with GM Elshan Moradiabadi the two players, Mishra and Repka, were tied for first place and were to meet in the penultimate round. It was the game of the event as Mishra, in charge of the black army, handed Repka his first loss. In the last round Stremavicius, who had lost three games in a row, had white versus Repka, who now desperately needed a win…
Titas Stremavicius (2520) vs Christopher Repka (2508) Saint Louis Spring Classic “B” A21 English, Kramnik-Shirov counterattack
Stockfish 14 @depth 47 will take the Knight with 4…Bc3. The only other game with the same move order follows, which makes 5 g3 a Theoretical Novelty. There were several turning points and I suggest you surf on over to Lichess.com (https://lichess.org/broadcast/2022-spring-chess-classic/round-9/TYTT0kRI) and reply the game. The following position captured my attention:
I was expecting 17…Qg4 because there is no way I would trade Queens when my opponent had an ‘open air’ King!
9…b6 was a weak move for many reasons, foremost in that it blocked the Queen. 9…Qb6 was best. Mishra hald an advantage even after playing the weak 11 a3. At Lichess the move is given as 11 a3?!, with “Inaccuracy. Ne1 was best.” Then a few moves later Mishra played 13 Ne1? “Mistake. a4 was best.” after that move the game was even…until Yoo took the pawn with 14…gxf4. Stockfish preferred 14…g4. (https://lichess.org/broadcast/2022-spring-chess-classic/round-9/TYTT0kRI) The game was lost after Yoo played 17…f6? What would Ben Finegold say?
In the top section, “A”, GM Samuel Sevian and GM Illya Nyzhnyk tied for first place with each scoring six (6) points. Unfortunately, they were forced to play some kind of quick game that is inherently unfair to decide which player “won” the tournament. It is sad, really, when one thinks about it… Show the players some RESPECT!
GM Ray Robson (2676)
vs GM Illya Nyzhnyk
Saint Louis Spring Classic “A” C43 Petrov, modern attack, Symmetrical variation
The quote, “Snatching victory from the jaws of defeat” has been attributed to US Representative James Seddon (1815-1880) of the State of Virginia, in describing the heroic actions of a military regiment during the Mexican – American War (1846-1848), relating how its heroic actions in battle had gained a victory, where defeat had been almost certain. It is to suddenly win a contest in which its loss is a foregone conclusion; a success gained through skill, effort and good judgement.
Playing with a win at all cost mindset young Abhimanyu Mishra
sat down to play the penultimate round against the fourteen year old Grandmaster, Leon Luke Mendonca,
knowing that only a win with the black pieces would gain the coveted Grandmaster title. Sometimes fortune favors the brave because Mendonca fell into time trouble. After 47 moves had been made Mishra was busted. Fortunately for him, Mendonca played what looked to be a natural move, but the move chosen allowed a check, and the game was even. Leon Luke could, and should have simply moved his King, but unfortunately for him, and fortunately for his opponent, he took the poisoned knight and it was all over but the shouting.