Ex-Hungarian shows her mettle in Las Vegas
The annual National Open, held once again at the Imperial Palace Hotel in Las Vegas, Nev., March 14-16, broke all existing attendance records for a three-day event, with 726 players attending the tournament. When the smoke of battle had cleared, Grandmaster (GM) Dmitry Gurevich of Brooklyn, N.Y., won the championship section on tie-breaks. GM Walter Browne of Berkeley, Calif., GM Sergey Kudrin of Stamford, Conn., and Joseph Bradford of Bullard, Texas (one of the strong masters who lacks international experience), all equaled Gurevich's score of 5 points out of six games. Each of the four earned $1,775, and Gurevich was awarded a replica of the Edmondson Cup. The tournament, co-sponsored by US Chess, the Imperial Palace Hotel, and RAE Products and Chemical Corporation of Chicago, awarded a total of $17,000 in prize money. Until the final round, the talk of the tourney was the success of woman Grandmaster Maria Ivanka, formerly of Hungary, who now lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and three children. She upset two famous grandmasters, Yehuda Gruenfeld of Israel and Leonid Shamkovich of Brooklyn, N.Y., and drew with GM Walter Browne. In the final round she was paired with Joe Bradford and the bubble burst. She succumbed, but not without a fight, as you can see from today's featured game. English Opening Bradford Ivanka Bradford Ivanka 1. N-KB3 N-KB3 2. P-B4 P-B4 3. N-B3 P-QN3 4. P-K4 P-Q3 5. P-Q4 PxP 6. NxP B-N2 7. Q-K2 (a) QN-Q2 8. P-KN3 P-K3 9. B-N2 B-K2 10. O-O O-O 11. R-Q1 Q-N1 12. P-B4 P-QR3 (b) 13. P-KN4 P-N3 14. P-N5 N-R4 15. B-R3 P-Q4 (c) 16. BPxP (d) NxP 17. Q-N4 (e) BxNP 18. B-B1 (f) B-R3 19. Q-R4 K-N2 20. PxP N-B3 21. PxP N/3-R4 (g) 22. N/3-K2 B-B1 (h) 23. NxN BxN 24. B-B4 (i) B-Q2 25. B-K6 B-B1 26. BxQB BxB 27. N-K6 ch KxP 28. QRxB RxB 29. R-Q7 ch K-N1 30. RxR ch QxR 31. R-Q8 ch Resigns
A. An interesting departure from the more usual 7. B-Q3 or 7. P-B3. White intends to fianchetto his king bishop to defend his king, should he advance his kingside pawns after castling on that wing.
B. Sounder for Black would be first 12. . . . R-K1, then 13. P-KN4, N-B1; 14. P-N5, N/3-Q2, with a cramped but resilient position. Here 14. P-K5, PxP; 15. N-B6 is possible for White, but Black has enough resources with 15. . . . B-B4 ch and 16. . . . Q-B2.
C. This attempt at counterplay falls short by a whisker. In any event, Black was bad off, since White threatened 16. NxKP, PxN; 17. BxP ch and 18. BxN, winning a couple of pawns.
D. Unclear here was 17. NxKP, PxN; 18. BxP ch, K-R1; 19. BxN, NxP, with good counterplay for Black.
E. An attractive winning move. The pin of KP against the hapless Black knight at Q2 destroys Black. She squirms but never gets off the hook.
F. Another splendid move, which may have been overlooked by Ivanka. Now both of her knights are precariously placed. Of course no reader of this column would play 18. QxB, NxB ch and lose his queen to the fork.
G. All Black's moves have been forced. White threatened the capture at KB4, followed by N-K6 ch, and 21 . . . P-KN4 loses to 22. N-B5 ch.
H. Black still tries to defend her vulnerable K3, as once again White threatened the exchange at KB4 and the check at K6.
I. With the protection of the pawn at KB7, the White position is totally won. Black is still haunted by the vulnerability of her K3, but she plays on, hoping for the miracle which, this time, was not forthcoming.
International Grandmaster Arthur Bisguier is a former US champion.