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Chess Notes

Weekly chess column

A branch of prominent tournaments in Europe has brought forth some surprising results in the recent international chess experience. One of them was the performance of Soviet-born American grandmaster Gata Kamsky. He placed fifth in the Zug, Switzerland, Grand Prix and within days entered the US Championship, managed to tie for first, and then to draw tiebreak games and triumph in an Armageddon game.

But this was not enough for Kamsky, for he immediately took off for Thessaloniki, Greece, for yet another Grand Prix event. He was leading until the last round, at which point he lost to Fabriano Caruana to place second. His score: 7.5-3.5. And he again entered the top 10 of the world’s rated masters.

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Still not interested in a rest, Kamsky traveled to Khanty-Mansiysk, an oil boomtown in Siberia, to pursue some of the $400,000 in prizes offered in the World Rapids and Blitz tournament. Kamsky has been known as “The Grinder” but now he deserves the additional appellation of “Iron Man of Chess.”

Norway Chess 2013 was a tournament held in the country’s Stavanger region designed to honor its great player, Magnus Carlsen. Unfortunately, Carlsen was unable to win for the home viewers, placing second in a tie with American Hikaru Nakamura. Sergei Karjakin, playing for Russia, who maintained a lead during most of the tournament, held on to first place with a last-round draw against former world champion Veselin Topalov.

The Thessaloniki Grand Prix followed Norway 2013 in Europe. The winner was a dark horse, Leinier Dominguez of Cuba, rated last in a glamorous field of 12 grandmasters. He won clear first, due partly to a terrible blunder by Vassily Ivanchuk in the third round and a stubborn, victorious defense against Topalov in the last. He also successfully promoted a pawn to defeat Caruana in the fourth round. Nakamura had a very disappointing tournament. He did turn in a memorable draw against Alexander Morozevich in the fourth round, and he defeated Peter Svidler in the last round, but he finished seventh and saw his FIDE rating drop.

The victory by Dominguez against Topalov was a triumph of resistance in a very difficult position for him. In the endgame, Topalov had a fine pawn attack against the Dominguez king as well as a knight strongly lodged in the center of the Dominguez domain, but Dominguez managed exchanges and emerged with a tiny passed outside pawn against a majority on the opposite wing. Dominguez nursed the pawn forward while Topalov was unable to free his pawns on the opposite wing. Excellent endgame technique won the match and the tournament, elevating Dominguez to No. 11 in the world.

Brevity: A. Kotov v. V. Chekhover (1935) 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Ne7 7.Qg4 cxd4 8.Qxg7 Rg8 9.Qxh7 Nbc6 10.Nf3 Qc7 11.Bb5 Bd7 12.Bxc6 Qxc6 13.0–0 0–0–0 14.Bg5 Qxc3 15.Qxf7 Rdf8 16.Qxe7 Rxf3 17.gxf3 Qxf3 18.h4 Bb5 19.Qxe6+ Kc7 20.Qxg8; 1–0

Winners: Newburyport May Chess: 1st: John Elmore, 4-1, 2d-4th: Geoff Collins, Gerald Potorski, Arthur King: 3.5-1.5; Boylston Spring Championship Open: 1st, E. Godin, 3.5-.5, 2d-5th: C. Chase, Elliot Strassman, Arthur Tang, Nithin Kavi all 3-1.

Coming Events: Wachusett CC Blitz Championship, June 19, at McKay Campus School, Room C159, Fitchburg State University, 67 Rindge Road, Fitchburg, mirling@aol.com; 19th Northeast Open, June 21-23, Continental Chess, Sheraton Hotel, 700 East Main St., Stamford, Conn. www.chesstour.com/neo13.htm.

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