Posts Tagged ‘Jorge Sammour-Hasbun’

The Fabulous 00s: North American Open 2008

January 21, 2009

Let’s see my 7th round game vs GM Slavko Cicak.  Shortly after this interesting game concluded, we could both be found at the Bally’s poker table.  I, in fact, lost my $100 chip stack in record time by betting wildly. GM Varuzh Akobian could be spotted at the next table over.

GM Slavko Cicak – M. Ginsburg  Round 7 NAO Las Vegas 12/28/08.

Sicilian Defense, 3. c3 4. Bc4 irregular

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. c3 Nf6 4. Bc4!? A pet line of Cicak’s that he employed in a prior round (not known to me at the time of this game).


Position after 4. Bc4!?

4…e6 After lengthy reflection I could not work out the ramifications of 4… Nxe4!? 5. Qa4+ Nc6 6. Bxf7+ Kxf7 7. Qxe4.  But more insight reveals the surprising 7…Qd7!  overprotecting the light squares  (less convincing is 7… h6 8. O-O e5 9. Na3 Qf6) and black is fully confident with the bishop pair.  For example, 8. O-O Qf5 9. Qe3 e5 10. Re1 Be7 11.d4 exd4 12. cxd4 Be6 13. Nc3 cxd4 14. Nxd4 Nxd4 15. Qxd4 Rhc8 and black is fine!  I am not sure if this approach has been seen in prior play.   Objectively 4. Bc4 cannot yield anything.

5. Qe2 Be7 6. d4 cxd4 7. cxd4 d5 8. Bb5+ Nc6 9. e5 Ne4 10. O-O O-O 11. Bd3 Black faces no particular problems after 11. Nc3 Nxc3 12. bxc3 Bd7 13. Bd3 Na5.  After the text, black must find a promising pawn sacrifice since 11….f5?! looks weakening.


Position after 10. Bd3.  Time for black to fight back.

11… Nb4! 12. Bxe4 dxe4 13. Qxe4 Bd7 14. Qe2 During the game I was more concerned about 14. Nc3 Bc6 15. Qg4, but after the careful 15… Kh8! black is OK.  For example,  White can get tricky offering a piece: 16. Rd1 Rc8 17. Be3 Nd5 18. Ne4 h6 19. Bg5! Bxg5 (clearly 19…hxg5? is not possible due to the queen and knight mate)  20. Nfxg5 Qb6! 21. b3 Qb4! 22. h4 Rc7 and black has enough counterplay.

14… Bc6 15.Be3 After 15. Nc3 Rc8 16. Be3 h6 17. Rfd1 Nd5 18. Rac1 Qa5 19. Bd2 Nxc3 20. bxc3 Bd5! black has plenty of Gruenfeld-like compensation.

15… Bxf3!  It’s a shame to get rid of black’s beautiful bishop, but the shattering of white’s pawns leads to full compensation in all lines.

16. gxf3 f5! 17. f4 What else?  And with this move white offered a draw.  It’s card-playing time!   A sample continuation is 17… Rc8 18. Nc3 Qd7! (the most accurate; less good is 18…Qa5) 19. Rac1 Rfd8 20. Rfd1 Nd5 21. Qf3 Nxc3 22. Rxc3 Rxc3 23. bxc3 b5! and black keeps full compensation with an iron light square blockade. It’s almost impossible for white to undertake anything.


Position after 17. f4 – Final Position


Mark Diesen Memorial Articles Available!

My Mark Diesen (World Junior Champ 1976) articles are available at US Chess Online.

Don’t forget to read about Mark Diesen’s life and play over some selected games of his here (Part 2) and here (Part 1).

Facebook Rules

A lot of chess players are flocking to Facebook.  Each profile has a “wall” that can be scribbled on (and counter-scribbled).

Where else can you:

a) discuss astrophysics with Vanessa Pinkham in South Africa as she prepares to go to Madagascar

b) learn that Ben Finegold is a fan of Hypnotoad

c) see all the possible choices Carina Jorgensen has in eyewear (here’s one of her artworks).

d) gawk at pictures of Dave Vigorito and his fiancee

And for something different

The Streatham & Brixton Chess Club website has this pearl:

“Two could play at that

To his surprise, instead of making a pass at him, she sauntered over to join him at the service niche. She took up an Imperial armorers’ sponge in her fingers, and began cleaning and disinfecting the blade of an épée, which showed that she knew what she was doing.

Her curled hand stroked firmly up and down the long shaft, leaving a gleaming trail of moisture where the sponge in her palm had pressed. The erotic suggestion was almost certainly deliberate.

Two could play at that.

A short excerpt from Knight’s Fork by Rowena Cherry who, according to her publicity


…has played chess with a Grand Master and former President of the World Chess Federation (hence the chess-pun titles of her alien romances).

She has spent folly filled summers in a Spanish castle; dined on a sheikh’s yacht with royalty; been seranaded (on a birthday) by a rockstar and an English nobleman; ridden in a pace car at the 1993 Indy 500; received the gold level of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award; and generally lived on the edge of the sort of life that inspires her romances about high-living alien gods.

As for me, I’ve lived on the edge of the sort of life which inspires me to note that there are at least three errors of English in the paragraph above. But that’s probably why I shall be playing chess today, and Ms Cherry (not, I suspect, her maiden name) will be living a life among alien gods. Or something similar.

Or maybe she will be busy at her desk, adding to her apparently Orwell-inspired oeuvre – among which are such works as Forced Mate, Mating Net and Insufficient Mating Material.

I, at least, am not making this up.”

Author’s note:  the jig may be up – I may have to give up the anonymity afforded by the moniker “Ms. Cherry.”

Blast from the Past

Going back to 1990, here is the author tangled up with Jorge Zamora (Sammour-Hasbun) in Massachusetts.


Jorge was strong back in 1990, too

This may have been the tournament featuring my surreal victory over Jack Young. (Plymouth, 1990).

Search Engine Terms

Readers used these terms to find my site.

the watchmen 2 More stats
manhattan chess club 2 More stats
carina jorgensen 2 More stats
“lev alburt” 1 More stats
the watchmen characters 1 More stats
awardee “deming prize” 1 More stats
smith morra gambit 1 More stats
10.ba3 1 More stats
mark ginsburg 1 More stats
ozymandias watchmen 1 More stats
john litvinchuk 1 More stats
berkeley riot 1 More stats

The Fabulous 00’s: The Headache of Dos Hermanas Online Blitz

April 6, 2008

ICC is hosting every year a relatively big money (2,000 Euros [$3,400] first) online blitz (3 0 time control) event named Dos Hermanas. For the second year running, an untitled player won in what must be considered a gigantic upset against numerous GMs.

Here is Chess.FM’s John Henderson reporting in an official ICC email marketing/promotion blurb:

“Jorge Sammour-Hasbun: The ICC’s Cinderella Man
Who says lightening doesn’t strike twice? Last year’s Cinderella-story winner of the Internet Chess Club’s annual Dos Hermanas blitz tournament, Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (ICC NECF-InSchools), proved that lightening does indeed strike twice as he retained his title.
Sammour-Hasbun, 28, who lives in Massachusetts, was the only untitled player among the seven-strong grandmasters in the eight-player final, yet he defied the odds again to win the title and $3,4000 (approx. €2,000) first prize.
En route to the title, he beat IM Anton Kovalyov, GMs Timur Gareev, Jobava Baadur and Dmitry Kononenko, before defeating his good friend, GM Ronen Har-Zvi, by a score of 4-1, to take the top prize and online blitz bragging rights for another year.
Ronen Har-Zvi was the first to congratulate Sammour-Hasbun in yet another stylish performance, and was even magnanimous enough to interview the 2008 Dos Hermanas champion for Chess.FM. Recorded LIVE, just minutes after the match, you can listen (free to non-members) to the two finalists’ thoughts on Dos Hermanas (including some amazing analysis of their games) in this exclusive, 36 minute video from Chess.FM. To view the video, click here.
910 8th Ave., #1110
Seattle, WA 98104
Cell: 847-347-9593″

Given the nature and magnitude of the repeat upset, many people were upset.

But as I understand it, the matches are not proctored. Last year (2007) proctors were present for the finals in selected cases (as a hubbub over the impending upset grew – GM Ian Nepomniatchi was screaming foul), but not in 2008. Wouldn’t it be better to either proctor the match or use webcams? This to me in any event marketed so heavily should be absolutely required. Otherwise there will always be a cloud over the ‘winners’. There are so many easy ways to cheat in this event.

For example, in previous DH events, people on the prize list in the final rounds have been summarily disqualified, including some big names in chess. Among the infractions there have been: a) having a team logon as the player from IP addresses separated by thousands of kilometers, b) obvious engine usage (every move matching and Blitzin ICC client also reporting an engine), and so on. The cheaters have been women’s world championship contenders, top Chinese GMs, and so on. Naturally ICC is loath to keep records – they are fearful probably of a lawsuit, because online cheating is easy to suspect strongly and hard to prove. But ICC really needs to get a handle on this and get audit controls in place. In the past, there have been blunders. ICC has accused Alex Lenderman (“Manest” on ICC) and it took quite some time for Lenderman to successfully clear his name. He is now a successful vendor and lecturer on ICC. In addition, Sammour-Hasbun was awarded a (C) as well (meaning he was computer-assisted) in the past when he used a different handle. He quit ICC in a huff and was absent for a long time. ICC’s client software, “Blitzin”, has process monitoring that has evolved over the years. Naturally these techniques are proprietary – but clearly not enough. We need stronger controls in the finals.

For a person motivated to win the event, can’t they simply have a friend over to assist? (if there is no proctor or webcam).

The event seems to be a mockery in its current state. Ronen Har-Zvi’s rather sycophantic interview of the tournament winner did little to allay my fears. Instead of Har-Zvi speculating on how strong this player is or that player is, it would be better to get proctors in place to make sure all the players are playing by themselves, alone. Then we can judge how strong everyone really is.

When this discussion was brought up in Channel 2, one of ICC’s communication areas, an admin Albi(*) expressed doubts that an honest proctor could be located for a remote location. This may well be the case, but a little pain is a lot of gain in terms of Dos Hermanas peace of mind, fairness, level playing field, and all those good things. Even a cheap webcam would be better than nothing – and the audience might have good fun scrutinizing players’ facial expressions as their precious seconds tick down!

I look forward to ICC’s revisions to the current format.