After 4 losses, I decided I needed to pull out all the stops. Even though it wasn't the final round,
I busted out the Tiger Woods red Nike shirt. It was time to get on the scoreboard. For Round 5, I had White versus IM Danny Kopec.
**1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 a6 5. Bxc4 b5 6. Bd3 Bb7 7. O-O Nbd7 8. a4 b4 9. a5 e6 10. Qe2 c5 11. Rd1 Qc7 12. Nbd2 Be7**

**13. e4!?**
I had reached a very similar position versus GM Serper in the 2000 Kings Island Open (Black had castled instead of playing Qc7). In that game I continued with Nc4 maintaining the central tension, but afterwards I analyzed this idea of e4-e5 which seemed logical since White has geared up his pieces to play e4. This was my first opportunity since then to try it in practice.
**13... cxd4 14. e5**
14. Nxd4 Ne5 with f4 and e5 to follow after withdrawing the bishop is another idea, but White doesn't have to be in a rush to recover the pawn and f4 may be a weakening move.
**14... Nd5 15. Nb3 Nc5**
15... O-O
is solid, but he elects to try to hold the pawn as long as possible.
**16. Nxc5 Bxc5 17. Bd2**

**17... h6**
On 17... O-O
I saw I had 18. Rdc1,
but while he was thinking I was also trying to work out if I could sacrifice on h7. It looks like it works 18. Bxh7+!? Kxh7 19. Ng5+ Kg8 20. Qh5 Rfc8 (20... Rfe8 21. Rac1) 21. Rac1 Qd7 22. Qh7+ Kf8 23. Ne4! Ba7 24. Bg5
**18. Rdc1 Qe7 19. Bb5+ Kf8**
19... axb5 20. Qxb5+
is clearly better for White
**20. Bd3 g5?!**
much too ambitious. Better is
20... g6
**21. Rc4 Kg7 22. Nxd4 Rad8 23. Nb3 Ba7 24. h4 gxh4**
another suprise, I had expected 24... f5
**25. Qh5 f5 26. Rxh4**
26. exf6+ Qxf6 27. Qxh4
is also good, but I was smelling blood.

**26... f4**
I thought Black could already be lost since it looks like I'm crashing in on h6, but the engine finds a defensive idea.
26... Ne3!? 27. Bxb4 Qg5 28. Qxg5+ hxg5 29. Rxh8 Kxh8 when the Black king is safe, his pawn structure repaired, and White's extra pawn is the backwards b-pawn, so there still could be some technical difficulties.
**27. Bxf4 Qxh4**
27... Nxf4 28. Rg4+
**28. Qxh4 Rdf8**
28... Nxf4 29. Qf6+ kills, so Black doesn't come close to getting enough material for the queen.
**29. Bxh6+ Kf7 30. Qh5+ Ke7 31. Bxf8+ Rxf8 32. Qg5+ [1:0]**

In Round 4, I had Black against my fellow Tennessean, IM Ron Burnett (sorry, no picture, he showed up about 15 minutes late). My familiarity with Ron as an opponent didn't help me as I played what was easily my worst game of the tournament, and the only loss in which I felt I didn't put up a good fight. **1. c4 g6 2. Nc3 Bg7 3. d4 Nf6 4. e4 d6 5. f4 O-O 6. Nf3 c5
7. Be2 **
I don't think this variation holds any danger to Black, but perhaps that let down my sense of caution. **7... cxd4 8. Nxd4 Nc6 9. Be3**

**9... Nxd4**
Fischer had Black here in back-to-back Olympiads against Uhlmann. In 1960, Bobby won with
9... Ng4, while in 1962 9... e5 ended up in a short draw. Another decent alternative is 9... Bg4
**10. Bxd4 Qa5**
10... e5 11. fxe5 dxe5 deserves consideration since 12. Bxe5 Qa5 looks about equal
**11. O-O a6?!**
a really pointless move. Again 11... e5 12. Be3 exf4 13. Bxf4 Qb6+ 14. Kh1 Re8
is fine for Black. I also considered 11... Be6 but 12. f5
bothered me a little
**12. Rb1 Nd7 13. b4 Bxd4+ **
13... Qd8
**14. Qxd4 Qb6**
this leads to a horrible ending.
14... Qd8 was still preferable, but White is clearly better.
**15. Qxb6 Nxb6 16. c5! dxc5 17. bxc5 Nd7 18. Na4**

the point, Black's queenside is paralyzed.
**18... e5 19. f5 Nf6**
19... Kg7 was better so as to be able to
meet fxg6 with hxg6
**20. fxg6 fxg6 21. Nb6 Rb8 22. Bc4+ Kg7 23. Bd5 Rd8 24. Rb3 Bg4 25. Re3**
my last hope was something like
25. h3 Be2 26. Rf2 Bb5 although it is still pretty grim.
**25... Bh5 26. h3 g5 27. Rf5 h6 28. Rxe5 Re8 29. Rxe8 Bxe8 30. Rf3 g4 31. Rf5 gxh3 32. gxh3 Kg6 33. Re5 Rd8 34. Nc4 Bc6 35. Nd6 Nd7 36. Re6+ Kh5 37. Bxc6 bxc6 38. Nf7 Rg8+ 39. Kh2 Rg6
40. Re7 Nf8 41. Re5+ Kh4 42. Rf5 Ne6 43. Ne5 [1:0] **

In Round 3, I was White against Macedonian GM Vladimir Georgiev. He had crushed me in the 2003 World Open. Here, I played a much better game, but with the same unfortunate result. **1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 e6 5. Bg5 Nbd7 6. cxd5 exd5 7. e3 Be7 8. Qc2 O-O 9. Bd3 Re8 10. h3 Nf8 11. O-O Be6 12. Rab1 Ne4 13. Bxe7**
13. Bf4 Bd6
engineers the exchange of bishops more favorably for Black.
**13... Rxe7**
13... Qxe7 14. Bxe4 dxe4 15. Qxe4
and Nc3 still covers a2
**14. b4**
I didn't think 14. Nxe4 dxe4 15. Bxe4 Bxa2 16. Ra1 Bd5
was much, but the two center pawns probably give White a small advantage]
**14... Nxc3 15. Qxc3 Rc8 16. a4 Qd7 17. Ne5 Qe8 18. f4 f6 19. Nf3 Qd7 20. Qc2 Rce8 21. Rfe1 Bf7 22. Kf2 Rc8 23. Rbc1 b6 24. b5 c5 25. dxc5 Rxc5 26. Qd2 Ne6 27. Bf5**
Pete Karagianis suggested the immediate 27. f5
since 27... Rxc1?? 28. fxe6
so the Black knight will not be able to reach e4.
**27... Bg6?!**
27... Qd6 is about equal.

**28. Bxe6+**
consistent, but
28. Rxc5 bxc5 29. Bxg6 hxg6 30. Rd1 Nc7 31. Qc2
would cost Black material.
**28... Rxe6 29. Rxc5 bxc5 30. Rc1 Qd6 31. Qc3 c4 32. Nd4 Re8 33. f5**
33. a5 Be4
so I lock the bishop out first, but now I have to be careful of his queen penetrating.
**33... Bf7 34. a5 h5 35. Rb1 h4**

**36. Nf3**
some better alternatives are
36. b6 axb6 37. axb6 Qg3+ 38. Kg1,
36. Ne2, or even 36. Kg1]
**36... Qg3+ 37. Kg1 Bh5 38. Qe1 Bxf3 39. Qxg3 hxg3 40. gxf3 Rxe3 41. b6 axb6 42. axb6 Re8 43. b7 Rb8 44. Rb5 d4 45. Rb4 c3 46. Rxd4 Rxb7 47. Rc4 Rb2**
the best try, if White is allowed Kg2xg3 then he has no problems.
**48. Rxc3 Rf2 49. f4 Rxf4 50. Rxg3**
50. Kg2 Rxf5 51. Kxg3
is a much improved version.
**50... Rxf5**

**51. h4??**
51. Ra3
in order to activate the rook for checks from behind gives White drawing chances, but Black has practical chances. After the text, Black's task is simple.
**51... Rf4 52. Rh3 Kh7 53. Kg2 Kh6 54. Kg3 Ra4 55. Rh1 Kh5 56. Rh2 Rg4+
[0:1]**

In the second round, I had Black again, this time against the top rated
player, GM Vitali Golod of Israel.
**1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5!?**
I haven't played the Benoni for awhile, but wanted to test out a move in the Modern Main Line. **3. d5 e6 4. Nc3 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. e4 g6 7. h3 Bg7 8. Bd3 O-O 9. Nf3 b5 10. Bxb5 Nxe4 11. Nxe4 Qa5+
12. Nfd2 Qxb5 13. Nxd6 Qa6 14. N2c4 Nd7 15. O-O Ne5!?**

Instead of the more usual 15... Nb6
I first ran into this move with the White pieces
against Nick Barber
in the 2003 Knoxville City Championship. Although I won that game, I didn't get much out of the opening and further investigation convinced me to try it from the other side.
**16. Nxe5 Bxe5 17. Nxc8 Raxc8 18. Re1**
18. Bh6 Rfd8 was roughly equal against Barber
**18... Qf6 19. Qg4 h5**
19... Bd4
has been played a couple of times and seems a bit better than the text as the White queen is not allowed easy access to the strong c4 square.
Recovering the pawn with
19... Bxb2?! 20. Bxb2 Qxb2 allows the White pawn to advance 21. d6
with clear advantage to White
**20. Qc4 Rfd8 21. Rb1**
better is 21. Be3 Bxb2 22. Rad1 with a slight advantage to White

**21... Bd4**
now this move is not necessary. Black could immediately equalize with
21... Qf5 22. Be3 Rxd5
**22. Be3 Qe5 23. Bxd4 Qxd4 24. Qa6 Qxd5 25. Re7**

**25...Rc6?**
25... Rb8 prepares ...Rb6 and seems to hold since 26. Qxa7 26... Ra8
is equal. and 26. Rxa7 Qf5 27. Qf1 Rd2 28. b3 c4 even looks better for Black.
**26. Qxa7 Rf6 27. Rbe1 Qd4**
27... Ra8 28. Qxa8+ Qxa8 29. Re8+ Qxe8 30. Rxe8+ Kg7
is difficult for Black to hold, but perhaps was the last practical chance.
He now regroups his pieces and methodically exploits the extra pawn.
**28. R7e2 Kg7 29. Qa3 Rdd6 30. Qe3 Qc4 31. b3 Qb5 32. Qc1 Qb4 33. Rd1 Qf4 34. Rc2 Rxd1+ 35. Qxd1 Rd6 36. Qe1 Re6 37. Re2 Rxe2 38. Qxe2 Qc1+ 39. Kh2 Qf4+ 40. g3 Qd4 41. h4 Kf8 42. Qe3 Qd5 43. a4 Kg8 44. Kg1 Qd1+ 45. Kg2 Qd5+ 46. Qf3 Qe6 47. Qb7 g5 48. a5 gxh4 49. a6 h3+
50. Kh2 h4 51. Qb8+ Kh7 52. a7 Qf5 53. a8=Q Qxf2+ 54. Kxh3 Qf5+ 55. Kh2 Qf2+
56. Qg2 hxg3+ 57. Qbxg3 [1:0]**

In round 1, I had Black against former US Women's Champion Rusa Goletiani. I really wanted to get off on the right foot in this game. The draw had given me an extra Black, as well as 3 Blacks in the first 4 rounds. On top of that, I would play the top two players in rounds 2 and 3. Since Rusa was the only other non-GM or IM in the field, this looked like a good spot to try to score early. Unfortunately, things didn't go as planned and a pattern for the tournament seemed to get set: nice positions ruined in time pressure. **1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 **
Many of her games had featured 2. b3
so I had to be ready for that move, too. But I had seen that she played 2. c4 in the recently concluded US Championship
**2... g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. d4 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. O-O Na6 8. Re1 c6 9. Bf1 exd4**

I've played the other main move 9... Bg4
previously against Gurevich and Gulko, but had prepared the solid text move to play against Gurevich in this tournament.
**10. Nxd4 Ng4 11. h3 Qb6 12. hxg4 Qxd4 13. Qe2**
Somewhat unusual, but it has been played. The main moves are
13. g5 and 13. Qf3
**13... Qe5 14. Bd2**
More natural seems to be 14. Be3
**14... Qe7**
14... Nc5 also deserves consideration
**15. Rad1 Qh4 16. Bf4**
Forced since 16. f3 Be5
is a disaster for White
**16... Be5**
I think this is best, forcing the exchange of bishops when Black will dominate the dark squares.
16... Qxg4 17. Qxg4 Bxg4 18. f3 Be6 19. Bxd6
or 16... Bxg4 17. f3 Be6 18. Bxd6 seem to only be equal.
**17. Bxe5 dxe5 18. f3 Nc5 19. Qe3 Ne6 20. Ne2 Qe7 21. g3 a5 22. Bg2 Qc5 23. Qxc5 Nxc5 24. Nc3 Be6 25. Bf1 Rfd8 26. Kf2**
26. g5 fixing Black's kingside deserves consideration
**26... Rd4**
Black could first play 26... f6 against g5
**27. Rxd4 exd4 28. Nb1 Nd7**
The computer suggests an interesting way of opening a second front
28... Kg7 29. e5 h5 30. gxh5 (30. g5) 30... Rh8 31. hxg6 Rh2+ 32. Kg1 Rxb2
**29. e5 a4 30. Nd2**
30. Re4 c5 doesn't change things
**30... Ra6**
30... Ra5 31. Re4 c5
The rook is going to have to go to a6 anyway although White would also lose time extracting the rook from e4.
**31. Bd3 Rb6 32. b3 axb3 33. Nxb3?**
After a long think, now we were both running low on time. White seems to have too many weakness now, better was
33. axb3 although Black still holds all the trumps after 33... Ra6
**33... c5 34. Re2 Rb4?!**
better is 34... Ra6 35. g5 Ra4
and the White knight doesn't get active.
** Na5 Kf8**
I decided to walk my king to the queenside to free the rook from defense of b7, but this could have perhaps been prefaced by
35... h6 so that White cannot fix the kingside pawn structure.
**36. g5 Ke8 37. f4 Kd8 38. a3 Rb6 39. Be4 Kc7 40. Rc2?!**
40. Rd2. A subtle mistake that I didn't take advantage of.
**40... Rb1**
I didn't realize how much the Be4 was holding together White's position. Exchanging with 40... Bf5! would have quickly collapsed White.
**41. Ra2 Rb6**
trying to gain some clock time since
41... Rc1 42. Nxb7 (42. Bxb7 Kb6) 42... Bxc4 43. Rd2 Ba6 44. Nd6
wasn't totally clear
**42. Kf3 Ra6**
42... Nb8 was another possibility but I had allowed the time situation to get out of hand again.
**43. Nxb7 Bxc4 44. Ra1 Rb6 45. Rc1 Rb3+ 46. Kf2**

**46... Rc3??**
total self destruction 46... Nb6 47. Nxc5 Rxa3 48. Bd3
was also bad, but 46... Rb2+ 47. Kg1 d3!
wins as the d-pawn scores a touchdown after 48. Rxc4 d2 49. Bf3 Rxb7
**47. Rxc3 dxc3 48. Ke3 Ba6
49. Nd6 Nb6 50. Bd3?**
giving Black a chance to resist
50. Ne8+ going after the h-pawn should win for White

**50... Nd5+ 51. Ke4 c4?**
remarkably, returning the knight 51... Nb6 52. Bc2 (52. a4 Nd5; 52. Nxf7 Nc4; 52. Bxa6?? c2) 52... Nc4 53. Nxc4 Bxc4
and Black may be holding. Certainly this line presents technical difficulties for White.
**52. Bc2 Ne7 53. Kd4 Nc6+ 54. Kxc3 Nd8 55. Be4 Kb6 56. Nxc4+ Kc5
57. Nd6 Be2 58. Bc2 Bg4 59. Ne4+ Kb5 60. Nf6 Be6 61. Nxh7 [1:0] **

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