Larry Evans Memorial 2012, round 5

by admin on April 8, 2012

Just like the NCAA basketball tournament, the first annual Larry Evans Memorial had a lot of upsets early, but as the tournament wears on the cream rises to the top.

The early Cinderella was Cameron Wheeler (2126), who defeated FM Viswesh Kameswaran (2319) and IM Eric Sevillano (2566) in consecutive rounds to attain a 3-0 score. His reward was to play against GM Sergey Kudrin and IM Vladimir Mezentsev in rounds 4 and 5. Kudrin beat him and it looks as if Mezentsev is going to win, although the game is still going on.

Mezentsev also was bitten by the upset bug early, losing in round one against Colin Chow. However, if he wins  the game against Wheeler, he will be in what looks like a five-way tie for second with Alexander Ivanov, Sevillano, John Bryant and Nick Raptis, at 4-1. And all alone in first place is… who else? Sergey Kudrin, just doing his thing at 4½-½.

As I said, that’s a very top-heavy leaderboard, with six of the top eight seeds in first or second place.

One step below them, at 3½-1½, are a slew of experts and masters, including yours truly. I lost in very disappointing fashion in round three. I had a very playable endgame against Hayk Manvelyan, maybe even better, but then hung a piece with my worst blunder in at least a year or two. He attacked my bishop and I started thinking about what I would do after moving the piece. And then I forgot that I needed to move it, and played the second move instead! It’s pretty embarrassing when somebody attacks your piece and you just leave it there.

However, my games in rounds 4 and 5 made up for that debacle. In round four I beat Francisco Anchondo, a guy I’ve talked with many times but never actually played against. He is a gambit lover, and so he played the Albin Counter Gambit against my 1. d4. Later he sacrificed a second pawn and I thought that it would be an easy win, because I had almost no weaknesses. But he just did a tremendous job of digging up counterplay. I’d have to say he outplayed me from moves 20 to 50. But each time he started getting close to drawing or even winning, I came up with a tactical trick to keep the advantage. When he finally conceded defeat, around 11:30 pm, we were the last people still playing.  It was a great battle. I’ll probably either do a blog post or a ChessLecture about it later.

In round five I defeated Viswesh Kameswaran, in another excellent game (from my point of view, not so much from his point of view). This time I was Black in the Bird Variation of the Ruy Lopez (Blackburne Subvariation), which everybody who reads this blog knows I am a fan of. He made an unnecessary move in the opening (Kh1) which he regretted later when his king became the target of all sorts of mating threats. I expect I will probably do a lecture or a blog post about that game, as well.

One more round to go!

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