Archive for the ‘US Open 2005’ Category


November 9, 2007

In the beginning there was a passport. Notice the funky Belgian and Dutch addenda.


Moving ahead a few decades, the US Open in Fort Lauderdale, FL 2005:


GM Susan Polgar (left), I’m on the right.

This was the first time, I think, that Susan ran the girls’ event and distributed those cute crowns. Gabby Kay (center) played, but opted for some reason not to wear her crown in this shot. Here’s a second photo from the same event, a breakfast candid scene.


The Fabulous 00s: The 2005 US Open

June 20, 2007

I needed to win to qualify for the 2006 US Championship. For a while, everything was going well!

IM M. Ginsburg – IM A. Simutowe US Open 2005, Phoenix, AZ

English 1. c4 c5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nc3 d5 (Grünfeld-like)

1. c4 c5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e3!? 5. g3 is much more common but the text has its points.

5…Nc6 6. Bb5!? This move is actually quite dangerous.




A very weak move. 6…Nxc3 7. bxc3 Bd7 is acceptable with a small white edge after 8. O-O e6 9. d4 Bd6 10. Rb1 cxd4 11. cxd4 Rc8. SM Patrick Hummel managed a draw in this line versus me, Las Vegas 2002(?) – I will try to find that game score.

7. d4 Of course. The black knight on b4 is just dangling now.

7…cxd4 8. exd4 a6 9. Ba4 b5 10. Bb3 Bf5 11. O-O Na5?! Highly dubious – nothing is out on the kingside in a flagrant violation of opening principles.

12. Bg5! An extremely strong move! A move like 12…f6, while obviously disgusting, is one of black’s only moves now to avoid a quick loss.


12… h6? Falling into the trap. 12… Nxb3? 13. Qxb3 is also really bad.

13. Ne5! The point! The black e-pawn is pinned so the sudden hit on f7 induces grave concessions. In fact, as black stated after the game, he was lucky that he didn’t have to resign straightaway (he overlooked 13. Ne5).

13… Nxb3 14. Qxb3 Be6 Forced.

15. Qxb4 hxg5 And now white needs to take a think and figure out the way to win. It stands to reason there should be something really good here.



16. Rfe1?

Wrong! White had the much stronger 16. a4! as GM Christiansen pointed out to me later. Black is way behind in development and his structure collapses. The variations can be quite beautiful: 16. a4 Qd6 (16… bxa4 17. Qxa4+ Bd7 18. Qc4 e6 19. Rxa6 Rxa6 20. Qxa6 f6 21. Nxd7 Qxd7 22. Nb5 Kf7 23. Rc1 Kg6 24. h3 and wins) 17. Qa5! bxa4 (17… Bc4 18. Nxb5 Bxb5 19. axb5 f6 20. Ng4 Qxd4 21. h3 f5 22. Rfd1 Qe4 23. Re1 Qd5 24.Ne3 Qe5 25. Qa4 Rh4 26. b4 wins) 18. Qxa4+ Bd7 19. Nb5!! and this is not the last fantastic move in this variation! Let’s pause here to look at the situation:


Position after 19. Nb5!! (Analysis) This is the kind of position that GM Christiansen would really enjoy. Continuing, 19…Qb8 20. Qc4 Bxb5 (20…Qxb5 21. Qf7+ Kd8 22. Qf3! Rc8 23. Nf7+ Ke8 24. Nxh8 wins mundanely) 21. Qxf7+ Kd8 22.Qd5+ Ke8 23. Rfc1! Ra7 24. Rxa6!! Fabulous! For the second time in this line, white has landed a heavy, heavy blow.

Let’s look at it:


Position after 24. Rxa6!! (Analysis)

Follow along now: 24. Rxa6!! Rxa6 (24…Bxa6 25. Qf7+ Kd8 26 Nc6+) 25. Qxb5!! Yes! 25…Qxb5 26. Rc8 mate. White gave up almost every piece , is a queen and rook down, and delivers a pure mate! This would have made it into a book of chess miniatures!


Position after 26. Rc8 mate (analysis).


Back to the text. 16. Rfe1? as played is very bad, it gives black time to develop. It doesn’t throw away the edge yet, but the beautiful mating patterns above hopefully illustrate the strength of 16. a4!

16..Bd5 17. Nxd5 Qxd5 18. Qb3?? What the heck is this? Trading queens is a horrific decision. My brain must have been switched off. Note that it gives black an easy way to develop – the classic definition of a soft move according to GM Stohl – and a very weak move!

18. a4! is still strong. For example, 18… e6 19.Qc3 Bd6 20. axb5 Qxb5 21. Qe3 Qxb2 22. Qxg5 O-O 23. Qh4 Qc2 and white is better.)

18… Qxb3 My opponent must have been thanking his lucky stars. 19. axb3 Rh6!

Ugh! I completely missed this move, which gives black a good game! He develops smoothly and I can make no threats! I could sense the game going downhill and I couldn’t believe it – what happened to my initiative??

20. h3 Rd6 21. Nf3 e6 22. Rec1 Be7 23. Rc5? 23. Kf1! is much better. I am shellshocked.

23…Rb6 24. Rc7 Bd8 25. Rc2 Rd6 26. Rc5 Rb8 27. Nxg5 Rxd4

White is flailing around and black improves his position methodically. A tragedy from my standpoint, but a deserved loss, since I made so many blunders after achieving a crushing game. The lesson? Be extra alert and spend extra time looking when it appears like there’s a chance to finish the opponent off quickly!

28. Nf3 Rd6 29. Kf1 Bf6 30. Ne5 Rbd8 31. Re1 Rd5 32. Rxd5 Rxd5 33. f4 Rd4 34. Nf3 Rxf4 35. Ra1 Rb4 36. Rxa6 g6 37. Ra8+ Ke7 38. Ra7+ Kf8 39. Nd2 Bxb2 40. Rc7 Be5 41. Rc8+ Kg7


It took me quite a while not to be really angry after this game. But it was all my fault! I couldn’t believe I let him get away with his anemic opening play. At least we see a nice mate in a variation! I wound up qualifying for the US Championship at the last possible moment, by defeating GM V. Georgiev in Las Vegas North American Open, December, 2005.

Slav Chebanenko 4…a6

June 17, 2007

IM M. Ginsburg – H. Itkis US Open 2005, Phoenix, AZ

1. c4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 a6 The Chebanenko variation, popular at the top levels. 5. cxd5 I am interested in “proving” that white can play for an advantage with this move after ….a6. The rationale? The dark squares on the black queenside (b6) have been slightly weakened. Theory disagrees with this rationale. My “back-door” rationale is to try to achieve the attacking formation in the brilliant game Portisch-Petrosian, Moscow 1967, which white won in 24 moves. Note in that game defensive specialist Tigran didn’t waste time with a7-a6 yet still went down the drain quickly.
5…cxd5 6. Bf4 Nc6


This position looks like it should offer white something due to the semi-wasted a7-a6 move. Perhaps 7. Ne5!? – I really want to reach a formation like Portisch-Petrosian mentioned above.

7. e3?! This cannot offer anything. 7…Bg4! By pinning the dangerous white knight, black removes all danger.

8. Qb3 Na5 9. Qc2 Bxf3 Black has equalized easily.

10. gxf3 e6 11. Bd3 Bd6 12. Bg3 Rc8 13. Bh4 b5 14. Rg1 Kf8 15. Qe2 Bb4? There was nothing wrong with 15…Bxh2! here! 16. Rc1 Nc4 16…Bxc3+ is about equal.

17. Kf1 Qa5 17…Nb6 was solid here.

18. Kg2 Rg8?! Nothing wrong with 18…Nxb2 19. Qxb2 Bxc3 20. Qb3 b4 with approximate equality.

19. Kh1 h6? Here, black has the strange and strong resource 19…g5! with the idea 20. Bxg5 Rxg5! 21. Rxg5 Nxb2 22. Qxb2 Ba3 23. Qb3 Bxc1 with equality.

20. f4 Now out of nowhere white has a menacing initiative.

20… Ke7 21. f5 Nxb2 Too late! Now white has a strong counter tactically.

22. Nxd5+! exd5 23. Qxb2 Ba3 24. Rxc8 Rxc8 24…Bxb2 25. Rxg8 is pretty hopeless.

25. Qb3 Rc3? 25…b4 was necessary with white keeping a big plus.

26. Qxd5! Something has clearly gone wrong for black and white gathers too many pawns now.  26…Rxd3? 27. Qe4+ is not playable for black.

26…Qd8 27.Qxd8+ 27. Qg2 wins also (again, 27…Rxd3?? 28. Qe4+ wins). 27…Kxd8 28. Bb1


28…Kd7 29. Rxg7 Rc1+ 30. Rg1 Rxg1+ 31. Kxg1 This is completely hopeless for black.

31…Nd5 32. Bc2!

Relocating to the favorable b3-g8 diagonal.

32…Nc3 33. Bb3 Ke8 34. Bf6 a5 35. d5 Hitting the knight with a discovered attack. White does everything with gain of time.

35…Ne4 36. Bg7 h5 37. Bc2 Nd6 38. e4 a4 39. e5 Nc4 40. e6 fxe6 41. fxe6 and black resigned.