Shakmaty Bereolos - The Official Chess Site of Peter Bereolos

3/31/02 - R+NP+BP vs. R cont.

In the previous example we saw how the stronger side could win by activating the rook when the defending rook was on a poor square. Another example of this, which also illustrates a trap, is from Hickl-Solomon 1988 Olympiad in Salonika.

Black activated his rook with 63... Rb3? 63... Rb2 was winning. After 64. Rg8+ Kf6 it was White's turn to blunder with 65. Rf8+? 65. Rg6+! would draw since the 65... Kxg6 is stalemate. Black returned the favor with 65... Kg6? 65...Kg7 hitting the rook, followed by 66...Rg3+ wins. I'll speculate that this was the end of the time control and turned out to be the end of the game when White resigned [0:1]? He again had the draw within his grasp with 66. Rg8+ Kf6 67. Rg6+!

Generally, the defensive rook will be better placed so that attempts by the stronger side to activate his rook will be met by checks that will drive the king off of the g-pawn. In those cases, the winning method involves first activating the king, so that it can help escort the f-pawn home. An example of this technique is shown in the game Vlcek-Dueckstein Austria 1999 after 64...Rc1

65. Kb5 Rc2 66. Rc4 Ra2 67. Kb4 Ra6 68. Kc5 Ra1 69. Rd4 Ra8 70. Kc6 Rf8 71. Kd7 Rf7+ 72. Ke8 Ra7 73. Rd7 Ra8+ 74. Kf7 Ra4 75. f6 with a winning ending, but White still has to demonstrate a little technique 75... Rxg4 76. Rd5+ Kh6 77. Kf8 Ra4 78. f7 Kh7 79. Rd6? giving Black a chance to rescue the half point, which he jumps on 79. Rf5 would soon make a new queen. 79... Ra8+ 80. Ke7 Kg7 81. Rd7 Rf8 82. Ke6 Ra8 83. Rb7 Ra6+ 84. Ke7 Ra8 [½:½]

In the previous example, the defender opted to defend with his rook from the side. Perhaps a tougher defense (although still losing) is to try and keep the attacking king cut off along files. This try was successful in the game Hansen-Miladinovic Malme 1988 after 67. Kc5

67...Rd8 68. Kc6 better is 68. Rd4 68...Rd1 69. Re7? Too impatient. He had to squeeze his king a bit closer first 69. Kc5 Rd8 70. Rd4 Re8 71. Kc6 Re1 72. Kd5 Re8 73. Rc4 getting the rook out of the way so the king can advance (73. Re4 Rd8+ and White isn't making progress since moves to the e-file are answered by 74...Re8+) 73...Re7 (73... Kf6 74. Rc6+; 73... Re1 74. Re4) 74. Kd6 Re1 75. Rc8 only now that the king is a bit closer 75...Kf6 (75...Kxg4 76. f6 +-) 76. Rg8 69... Kxg4 70. f6 Rd8 71. f7 Rf8 72. Kd6 Kf5 [½:½]

I think these examples show how tricky this ending can be in practice. In all 3 cases, the two pawns should have won, but only in the example where White resigned in a drawn position did the attacking side actually gather the full point.

3/29/02 - R+NP+BP vs. R

In the final round, I had a tremendous struggle with IM-elect Dimitry Schneider. I'll be posting that game in full soon, but I have been asked to give a talk at the Knoxville Chess Club and have decided to speak on that game. After the talk, next Wednesday, I'll post the complete notes. For now, I want to concentrate on one position near the end, which occurred after his 55...Ke3

During the game, I thought that an ending with 2 blockaded connected pawns was perhaps a theoretical draw. I could see that it would be difficult for Black, but I wasn't prepared to go into that ending if I didn't have to. Here, I believe I played a very precise move 56. Rg1! Not allowing the Black king to approach the pawn. If instead 56. Rh3+? Kf4 (not 56... Kf2? 57. Rc3 and Black's king is cut off along the rank) 57. Rh1 Kg3 and White is in zugzwang. Abandoning the h-pawn will lead to positions I'm going to discuss in more detail, as does 58. Kc3 Rxh4 59. Rg1+ Kf4. That only leaves 58. Ka5!? trying to stay on the b pawn, but 58...Rxh4 59. Rg1+ Kf2 60. Rg5 (60. Rc1 Rh5) 60... c3 is winning for black. 56... Rxh4 White was threatening Rg5 and would answer 56...Kf4 with 57. Rg2 keeping the king cut off. 57. Rg5 Rh1 this leads to an immediately draw. Black could try 57... Kd2!? when he would win with 58...c3(+) if White takes the b-pawn, but 58. Rg2+! keeps the balance. 58. Rxb5 reaching a drawn ending because the White king is on the short side of the pawn.

What about the R+b+c vs. R positions that could have resulted in the note to White's 56th? I looked in various endgame books and got about the same answer in all of them. Something along the lines of if connected passed pawns are blockaded, then the win might be difficult for the stronger side and may even be a draw. Some would illustrate with examples (generally with RP+NP for some reason) showing various wins and draws. My examination of these positions explained why they are covered in such general terms, it is very hard to systematically state which positions are won and which are drawn.

It seems that for the pawn structure that could have occurred in my game, it is a draw if the stronger side's rook is behind the pawns. If his rook is defending the pawns from the side (as in the present game) then it should be a win unless the king cannot cross the 4th rank. I'm going to look at various themes in this ending over several posts. I'll start with the typical drawn positions.

The first example is from the game Ljubojevic-Fridgood Caorle 1972. White has just captured Black's last pawn with 51. Rxa4 and a draw was agreed.

after 51... Rb2 White's only way to make progress is to build a bridge with his rook, but then the rook ends up behind the pawns. 52. Kf1 Rc2 53. Re4 Ra2 54. Re2 Ra3 55. Rg2 Ra1+ 56. Kf2 Ra3 57. Rg3 Ra2+ 58. Kg1 Rb2 59. Rg2 Rb1+ 60. Kh2 Rb3 61. Rg3 Rb2+ 62. Kh3 and now Black ties both White pieces to the g-pawn with 62...Rb4 when the only try looks like 63. Rf3 Rxg4 64. f6 but Black gets his rook back to defense with 64... Rh4+ 65. Kg3 Rh8 66. f7 Rf8 with a draw.

If the king is one rank further up, it doesn't make a difference, although White still managed to win in Cherednichenko-Popovic 1994 European Girls under 10 Championship after 49. hxg4

49...Rd6Activating the rook, but I would have preferred 49... Ra6 to maximize checking distance 50. Rc4 Rd3+ 51. Kf2 Rd2+?! Allowing the White king to come off of the second rank, simpler was 51...Rb3 52. Re4 (52. Rc8 Kxg4 =; 52. Kg2 Ra3 53. Rc8 Kxg4 54. f6 Ra7 =) 52... Ra3 53. Re3 Ra4 54. Rg3 Ra2+ 55. Kf3 Ra3+ 56. Kg2 Ra2+ 57. Kh3 Ra4 with a position similar to the the one examined above. 52. Ke3 now things become delicate for Black because this is a tempo gainer, which would not have been possible after 49..Rd6 52...Rd7 53. Rd4 Re7+? this drives the White king to a favorable square and puts the Black rook on a poor one. It seems like it was still not too late to hold a draw with 53...Ra7 54. Re4 Rd7 (54... Ra3+? 55. Kd4 Ra4+ 56. Kd5 heading towards f7) 55. Ke2 Rd6 56. Ke3 Rd7 and I don't see how White makes progress 54. Kf3 54. Kd3 is similar to the last note after 54...Rc7 54...Re1 it was also too late for 54... Ra7 55. Rd8 (55. Ke4? Kxg4=; 55. Rd6? Ra3+ 56. Ke4 Kxg4 57. f6 Ra4+ 58. Ke5 Kg5 59. f7 Rf4 =) 55... Ra3+ (55... Rg7 56. Kg3) 56. Ke4 Kxg4 57. f6 Ra4+ 58. Ke5 Kg5 59. f7 and wins 55. Rd6 Rf1+ the only check to get the White king away from the g pawn, but 56. Ke2 hits the rook gaining the tempo needed to bring the rook to g6. 56...Rf4 57. Rg6+ with an easy win since the rook and pawns can shuffle up the board without help from the king 57... Kh4 58. Ke3 Ra4 59. f6 Ra6 60. g5 Kh5 [1:0]

3/22/02 - Rowland-Bereolos 2002 US Masters

I got back in the plus column with Black against Todd Rowland. I had known Todd since my days at MIT, but this was the first time we had met in a tournament game. 1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Nf3 g5 4. h4 g4 5. Ne5 Bg7 Paulsen's move. This was the first time I had tried it. On previous occasions, I've had success with the Berlin defense (5...Nf6), for example Smith-Bereolos Kings Island 1999. The high-level game Federov-Ivanchuk Wijk aan Zee 2000 was also favorable for Black in the Berlin Defense. However, the Paulsen variation has a good reputation, and some of the lines I looked at looked OK for Black (although there seems to be a scarcity of 20th century games), so I decided to give it a try. There are many other moves that have been tried here, too. Shirov has been successful with the move 5...d6, scoring 2.5/3 in games versus Short and Federov 6. d4 d6 7. Nxg4 Bxg4 8. Qxg4 Bxd4 9. Nc3 The modern treatment, looking for development. All the old books give 9. c3, which should also be fine for Black 10...Nf6 10...Bxc3 11. bxc3 should be fine for White despite his busted pawn structure, he has the two bishops vs. two knights and plenty of open lines. 10. Qxf4 Rg8 11. Bd2 Be5 12. Qf5 I guess this is a new move. I found one game that had continued 12. Qf3, but Todd's move seems just as good since the White queen might be able to grab h7 in some lines 12... Bg3+ 13. Kd1 Be5!? 13... c6, keeping the knight out of d5 may be a bit better. 14. Nd5 Nbd7 15. Bg5 c6 16. Nxf6+ Bxf6 17. Qxh7 Rg6 17...Rf8 is also possible, but is much more passive. Not 17...Rh8? 18. Qxh8+ 18. Bc4 Qe7 The move Black would like to play 18... Ne5? is refuted by 19. Bxf7+ 19. Rf1 d5 19... Nf8 also came into consideration, but I decided not to play the knight backwards until I had to. One variation that could follow is 20. Qh5 d5 21. Rxf6!? Rxf6 22. exd5 O-O-O 20. exd5 O-O-O

I like Black's position very much here. He has made a small material investment, but his pieces are very active and his king is safer. The White queen on h7 and especially rook on a1 are really out of play. 21. Bd3 Nf8 22. Qh5 22. Qxg6!? Nxg6 23. Bxf6 Qb4 Black should still be better because of the MIA Ra1. 22... Rxd5 23. Bxf6 Rxf6 24. Qg4+ Ne6 25. Kd2 Rg6 26. Qe4 Rd4 27. Qf3 Qb4+ 27... Qxh4 would restore material equality, but then White gets his rook back into play with 28. Rae1; I also gave serious consideration to 27... Nf4 28. Rae1 Rxg2+ 29. Kc1 Qb4, which is probably still a bit better for Black for example 30. Be4!? Qd2+ 31. Kb1 Re2, but eventually decided the consistent way was to keep the rook on a1 locked out. 28. Kc1 Rf4 29. a3 Qd4 30. Qe2 Rxf1+ 31. Qxf1 Rf6 32. Qe1 Nc5 33. Qc3? A blunder in time pressure, but White's position is difficult. White is still playing without Ra1 and moves like Nxd3 and Rf2 are in the air. Black's king runs to safety after 33. Qe8+ Kc7 34. Qe7+ Kb6 33... Nxd3+ He missed the move order. White would escape after 33...Qxc3? 34. bxc3 Nxd3+ 35. cxd3 Rf1+ 36. Kb2 34. cxd3 Rf1+ [0:1] This was my best game of the tournament.

3/18/02 - Bereolos-Bartholomew 2002 US Masters

I pulled off an endgame save in Round 5 with White against John Bartholomew. Over the previous half dozen moves or so, I had started to lose the thread, and felt the game slipping in the wrong direction after 31... Bc3

Surrendering the b4 pawn for nothing looked like a very difficult defense, so I decided to take the bull by the horns 32. Qxc3!? Qxb1 33. Qe3 f5?! Trying to prevent Nxg5 tactically, but Black should just ignore this and collect the White b-pawns with 33... Qxb4 34. Nxg5 Qxb5 34. bxc5 dxc5 35. Qxc5 The weaknesses in the Black camp and the passed b-pawn now give White excellent drawing chances. While I was entering this game into the database another possibility was uncovered. I noticed that Crafty evaluated the move 35. Nxg5!? as equal. I figured it was just in some short term loop evaluating the capture of the knight, which is a perpetual. When I gave it a couple of minutes to look deeper, the evaluation didn't change. I figured the computer had lost its mind again. However, with some prompting, I managed to uncover the amazing line 35... f4 36. Qxc5 hxg5 37. Qxe7 with 4 pawns (and soon to be 5) for the rook. Combined with the open position of the Black king, if anyone has winning chances, it is White. Black's best bet is probably to make White take a perpetual by 37... f3+ 38. Kh3 Qf1+ 39. Kg4 Qxf2 40. Qxg5+= 35... Qxe4+ 36. f3 Qe2+ 37. Nf2 g4 This looks logical to try to open up the White king, but it is another set of pawns exchanged and the g-pawn can now become weak. 38. fxg4 fxg4 39. b6 Qf3+ 39... Qb2 is better, keeping an eye on both the b-pawn and the Nf2. 40. Kg1 Qb3 40... Ra8 41. Qd4 41. Qxe7 Qxd5 41... Qxb6 42. Qe6+ Qxe6 43. dxe6= 42. b7 Qf5 43. Qe2 Qb1+ 43... h5 44. Qa2+ Qf7 45. Qxf7+ Kxf7 46. h3= 44. Qd1 Qxd1+ 45. Nxd1 with equality, although now Crafty continually rates the position in the -1.00 to -2.00 range until finally hitting the tablebases after my 55th. 45... Rb8 46. Nf2 h5 46... Rxb7 47. Nxg4= 47. h3 gxh3 48. Kh2 Rxb7 49. Kxh3 Rb2 50. Ne4 Kg7 51. g4 Rb4 52. Nf2 Rb3+ 53. Kh4 Rb2 54. Nh3 hxg4 55. Kxg4 eliminating the last pawn. He played it out another 10 moves before offering the inevitable draw.

3/17/02 - Donalson-Bereolos 2002 US Masters

I played my worst game of the tournament and suffered my only loss in Round 4 with Black against IM John Donalson. I reached a difficult position in the middlegame after 19. exd5

White has an advantage in space and the two bishops. Potentially the e7 pawn is a weak point. These factors shouldn't quite add up to a win, but the problem I had with my position is that it is very hard to generate counterplay. White can keep the potential pawn breaks ...b5 (generally, he can have enough pieces in place to simply take) and ...a4 (b4 followed by preparation for c5) under control. Playing ...e5 or ...e6 will leave the d-pawn weak after he takes on e6. So, Black must sit and wait. White can maneuver for a3 and b4, but as John pointed out after the game, Black might be able to answer a3 with a4 and the subsequent b4 by Nb3. Not the greatest square for the knight, but still an outpost and then Black might start thinking about ...e5 and ...Nd4. I spent a lot of time on each move considering ways to engineer pawn breaks, but only got into time trouble for my efforts. He played very patiently, and if you compare diagrams, you can see that not much happened until 33.Bh3

I made the hasty move 33... b5? and realized how bad it was after I moved. Better is 33... Nd7, when Donaldson suggested 34. Bxd7!? Rxd7 35. a4, but Black can still dig in and fight. 34. f4 Nxc4 34... Nd7 35. Bxd7 Rxd7 36. cxb5 is clearly bad, so I chucked a piece, but he defended calmly 35. bxc4 bxc4 36. Rxc4 Qa6 37. Bf1 Rb2 38. Rd2 [1:0] This wasn't as bad as the caning he gave me in the 1988 edition of this event, but still not a very high quality game.

3/15/02 - Bereolos-Donahue 2002 US Masters

I got into the win column in Round 3 with an endgame win as White over Jeremiah Donahue. After 26... Bd7

Black's crippled queenside pawn majority made it tempting to immediately trade all the rooks. However, it seemed very difficult to break Black's light-square blockade after creating a passed pawn. For example, 27. Rxe8 Rxe8 28. Rxe8 Bxe8 29. Nd1 b6 30. Ne3 Ke6 31. h3 h5 32. Kd2 c5 33. Ke2 Bc6 34. Kf2 Kf6 35. g4 hxg4 36. hxg4 fxg4 37. Kg3 (37. Nxg4+ Kf5 38. Kg3 Ke4) 37... Bd7 38. Nd5+ Kf5 39. Nxc7 Ke4. So I decided to try to improve my position and make him initiate the rook trades with 27. R1e3 Then, I got a nice surprise by 27... Rxe5?! I expected him to force the bishop vs. knight ending with 27... Re6 28. Kd2 Rge8 29. Rxe6+ Rxe6 30. Rxe6+ Kxe6 Now White will have several advantages: 1. a passed e-pawn. 2. A superior minor piece with a nice outpost for the knight at f4. 3. A more active rook. 4. Superior queenside pawn structure. Put it all together and White may be close to winning here. 28. fxe5+ Ke6 the immediate 28... Ke7 is better 29. Ne2 Ke7 30. Rb3 b6 31. Nf4 Be6 32. Rc3 c5 33. b4 c4 34. Re3 I considered the swap to the rook ending with 34. Nxe6 Kxe6 but the line that put me off was 35. Rxc4 Rc8 36. Rh4 Rh8 37. Rh5 Kxe5 38. g4 Kf4 The active Black king should give at least equal chances. For example, 39. Rxf5+ Kxg4 40. Rf7 Kh3 41. Rxc7 Kxh2 42. Rxa7 Kg3 (42... h5 43. Rg7 cutting off the Black king may give White a little to play for.) 43. Rg7+ Kf2 44. Rf7+ Kg2= so I decided to keep maneuvering 34... Rd8 35. Re2 Rd4 36. c3 Rd8 37. Rd2 Rc8 38. Kd1 b5 39. Ke2 a5 40. Ke3 axb4 41. axb4 c5 on 41... Ra8 the rook ending is now good for White. 42. Nd5+ Bxd5 43. Rxd5 c6 (43... Ra2 44. Rxb5 Rxh2 45. Rc5) 44. Rd6 Ra2 45. Rh6 42. Rd6 Bf7 43. bxc5 Rxc5 44. Kd4 Rc8 45. Rb6 Be8 46. Rb7+ Kf8 47. e6 Bc6 48. Rf7+ Kg8 48... Ke8 49. Rxh7+- 49. Nh5 [1:0] He only has a few spite checks, then Nf6 and Rh7#

16 years earlier, in this same tournament, I was on the receiving end of such a mate against John Burke. After 34. Ra7

I played the terrible move 34... Ne5?? and resigned after 35. Nf6 Nd3+ 36. Kg3 1:0 Instead, 34...Rf8! would have led to a probable draw, for example 35. Nxd6 Nxd6 36. Rxd6 Rxb2+ 37. Kg3 c4 38. Rdd7 Rc8 39. Rxh7+ Kg8 and the Black pawns are too far advanced for White to achieve anything more than perpetual check.

3/11/02 - Gorlin-Bereolos 2002 US Masters

In Round 2, I had Black against Yelena Gorlin. We reached one of the standard positions of the Breyer System in the Ruy Lopez after 14... g6

My database shows 13 choices for White here, she played one of the rarer ones 15. h4!? I only found 2 games with this move: a prominent one between Olafsson and Benko in the 1959 Candidates tournament in Bled, and a later game Faibisovich-Tukmakov Dubna 1970. 15... d5!? This typical Breyer system freeing move was also Benko's choice, but Tukmakov waited one more move 15... Bg7 16. h5 d5 which also seems to make some sense. 16. Nxe5!? This seems to improve on Olafsson's 16. dxe5 when Benko won a fine endgame after 16... dxe4 17. Nxe4 Nxe4 18. Bxe4 Bxe4 19. Rxe4 Nxe5 16... Nxe5 17. dxe5 Nxe4 I wanted to avoid the possible pawn roller after 17... Rxe5 18. f4 Re8 19. e5 but Black is probably fine after 19... Nd7 because the h-pawn might be better off back on h3. 18. Nxe4 18. Bxe4 dxe4 19. Qxd8 Raxd8 20. Bg5 Be7 (20... Rd5 21. Nxe4) 21. Bxe7 Rxe7 22. Nxe4 Bxe4 23. Rxe4 Rd2 24. b3 Rc2 25. Re3 Rd7 gives Black some compensation, but I'm not sure it is enough for a pawn. 18... dxe4 19. Qxd8 Raxd8 20. Bf4 Again, 20. Bg5 Be7 (20... Rd5 21. Bf4 e3 is now met by 22. Be4) 21. Bxe7 Rxe7 22. Bxe4 Bxe4 looks better, transposing to the previous note, now Black equalizes. 20... e3 21. Bxe3 21. Rxe3 Rd2 and 22...Bc5 should give Black a slight pull. 21... Rxe5 22. Rad1 Rde8 23. Bd2 Rxe1+ Now, Black has the more comfortable part of the half point after 24. Rxe1 Rxe1+ 25. Bxe1 but I decided to save some energy and get my half before I did something weird like getting a bishop trapped. [½:½]

3/10/02 - Bereolos-Kiewra 2002 US Masters

In the first round I had White against Keaton Kiewra. We reached a position in the 4 Pawns Attack after 15....Qb4 that has been superceded by other variations in recent years.

16. Bb5 probably not a bad move, but White has more hopes of developing an initiative with 16. Qf3 There is no reason for White to allow such an easy exchange of queens, which is also the problem with the other move that has been played several times in this position 16. Qb3. 16... Qd4+ an improvement over 16... Bd7 17. Qf3 as in the game Kopacek-Komarek Brno 1968. 17. Kh1 Qxd1 18. Raxd1 Bd7 19. Bc4 Bf5 During the game I thought 19... Bxc3 20. bxc3 b5 21. Bd3 c4 22. Bc2 might be a little better than the text, but I can understand that Black is not eager to part with his dark-squared bishop. 20. d6 Bxc3 but now the knight was threatening to leap to d5 or b5. 21. bxc3 Nd7 22. Bxf7+ I tried to make 22. Rxf5 gxf5 23. Bb5 work, but couldn't find a good reply to 23... f6 when Black is fine after 24. Bxd7 fxg5 25. Bxe8 Rxe8; However, the bind with 22. Be7!? threatening Rxf5 and maintaining the bishop pair looks much more promising than the text. 22... Kxf7 23. g4 Re5 24. gxf5 Rxf5 24... gxf5 25. Rde1 Rae8 26. Be7 Rxe1 27. Rxe1 transposes to the game. 25. Rxf5+ gxf5 26. Re1 Re8 27. Be7 Rg8 stopping White from activating his king, but now the game peters out to a repetition. He could have tried to keep the game going with 27... b5 28. Bh4 Re8 29. Be7 Rg8 [½:½]

3/8/02 - Chess to Enjoy

I'm not sure what happened, but traffic to this site has suddenly exploded! Consequently, I guess I ought to make some posts. I should have some comments on my US Masters games starting tomorrow. In the meantime, here is the solution to the problem posed at the beginning of February.

1. Bce5 Ka2 avoiding ...Ka2 loses more quickly 1... a5 2. Ba1 a4 3. Bbe5 a3 4. Kd2 a2 5. Kc3 Kxa1 6. Kc2# White can transpose into the mainline any time Black tries ...Ka2 in this variation 2. Kc2 a5 3. Ba1 a4 4. Bbe5 a3 5. Kc3 Kxa1 [5... Kb1 6. Kb3 a2 7. Kc3 Kxa1 8. Kc2#]6. Kb3+ Kb1 7. Ba1 a2 8. Kc3 Kxa1 9. Kc2#

I found an interesting site with Chess Mazes. In these problems you need to get a piece on to a certain square, but the catch is that only protected pieces can moves. Walls make for additional complications. I thought most of them were pretty interesting and this should be a good place to waste some time while you're waiting for me to post some "real chess".

3/4/02 - US Masters

I'm back from Chicago where I played in the US Masters tournament over the past few days. This was the first time I had played in this event since 1988 back when it was still just the Midwest Masters. However, the event had only been held 5 other times since then because of funding issues. Although this is really the only national tournament solely for masters, it seems that the US Chess Federation isn't all that interested in supporting top players as can be witnessed by the gutting of the national grand prix and the outsourcing of the US Closed Championship. With such little support from the national federation, it's no wonder that so many promising American juniors give up the game as they enter into adulthood. This year's event was largely funded by a bequest from the late Dr. Eugene Martinovsky.

The tournament attracted a strong field of 101 players that included 15 GMs and 14 IMs. I believe the final totals were 26 states and 5 foreign countries represented. In the end 5 GMs tied for first with 5.5/7: Onischuk, Kaidanov, Wojtkiewicz, Yudasin, and Fridman. I was a bit disappointed that the latter 4 played quick draws in the final round (I didn't even see them at the boards). Among the chase group only Onischuk was able catch up, by beating Blatny. Many of the games in the chase group were also quick draws as 5 points got one a ticket to the US Championship (provided the player had ponied up a $75 qualifier fee beforehand).

My own play was fairly solid. I avoided the howlers that plagued me at Land of the Sky. It seemed that for the most part, I was able to convert better positions to wins and worse positions to draws. If only the good/bad position ratio had been more in my favor! As it was, I ended up with +2 =4 -1, which was fairly satisfactory to me since in my 4 previous tries in this tournament, the best I ever managed was an even score. My games were all fairly rich with possibilities, so I'll have to take some time to digest everything before posting some analysis.

I thought the event was superbly run. I'd like to thank Helen and Jim Warren for once again organizing this event. Hopefully the resources to make it an annual event will be present in the future.

Yet another counter