Markowski Qualifying Tournament Round 5
"...BAD MOON ON THE RISE.."
By Rick Aeria, Chuck Ensey, Bruce Baker, Andy Bell et. al...
It is just about every chessplayer's dream to be involved in an important event like the World Championship. However the reality of it is that, 99.999 % of us lack the talent to play like grandmasters Kasparov, Topalov, Anand, Kramnik etc.etc. Instead the vast majority of us are relegated to the humble open tournaments for our brief moment of glory which then fades away. Who can remember who won the U.S. Open in 2000, 2001 or 2002? How about the American Open in 1999, 2004 or even 2005? Get my drift? However in the subculture that is San Diego Chess there is one event which is revered and cherished and whomsoever wins it is forever enshrined in the annals and folklore of our little 'chess backwater' community. That is the San Diego Chess Club Championship! For a mere pittance (USCF dues, SDCC dues and a modest entry fee) the lucky everyday SDCC member can participate in our town's most prestigious event. Emotions run high in this tournament. There is no crying in baseball but I confess to shedding tears after Joel Batchelor torched me in 2002. And yes! Joel I have never forgiven you for it! . Everyone strives for a piece of "immortality" - sometimes it is not simply winning the whole tournment but that dark, narcissistic and almost perverse satisfaction of eliminating a rival from contention. Just like the MasterCard slogan - simply "priceless"! It is the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat that make the Markowski Qualifying Tournament every January a "must-play" event for most of us chessplayers in San Diego.
Having said that and setting the stage for this week's reporting, I will now proceed to give you the blow-by-blow account of this week's round five. The tournament really heats up now. Before I begin, one caveat: Read this with a sense of humor. Don't take this too seriously. I certainly don't want to be assassinated by some irate club member (or club members ) as I ponder my sixteenth move next week.
Board 2 NM David Hart vs. NM Bruce Baker (0-1) Benoni (Board 1 is Smith vs Wagner in a non-rated practice game)
Bruce Baker is a nightmare to face across the chessboard even in the best of times. A relentless, uncompromising chess predator who always plays for the win, Bruce is like a grizzly bear using the sheer weight of his deep theoretical knowledge with sharp tactical fangs and claws to dismember his hapless opponents. However, Bruce is in grave danger of joining in the elite company of chess luminaries like Akiba Rubinstein, Paul Keres and Viktor Korchnoi. Why? These were the strongest players never to have won the world championship - and in our little puddle called the SDCC, Bruce has yet to win the club championship. Maybe this year...
Of all the SDCC masters, there is none more regal than NM David Hart. Like his namesake the stag, Dave is king of the herd. Meticulous preparation, deeply theoretical and a refined chess technician, Hart is extremely gifted in his endgame erudition. Couple this with a stag's aggressive territorial sense - Hart will fiercely defend and drive off any interlopers to his chess domain with his impressive masculine antlers. I nicknamed them "Fork" and "Skewer". In a sharp Benoni position, the consensus was that Hart was holding his own until late in the middlegame when Bruce broke through and wrested a share of the tournament lead from Hart who up to this round was in the sole lead with an unblemished 4-0.
Board 3 NM Adam Corper vs. Raoul Crisologo (1-0) Classical French
Crisologo side-stepped Adam's home preparation by playing a Classical French Defence - giving his beloved Pirc Defence the night off. Things looked rather drawish in the endgame especially after Crisologo's rook penetrated to the f2 square. Somehow, the defending champion's tenacity and persistence paid off - it must have been Adam's technical virtuosity that netted a full point from Crisologo. This victory gave the Brit a share of the lead with Bruce at 4 1/2. Next week's encounter between the two will be one to watch. There is no love lost between these two!
Board 4 Alex Garcia-Betacourt vs. Dimitry Kishinevsky (1/2 - 1/2) Pirc Austrian Attack
Speaking of 'love'. This looked like a 'love fest' between two buddies. Alex arrayed an Austrian Attack formation against Dimitry's Pirc and shortly after that a peace accord was reached. We should send these two to the Middle East to have them mediate peace.
Board 5 David Delgadillo vs. FM Richard Russell (0-1) King Indian Attack
David Delgadillo, known as "El Mariachi" (from Once Upon a Time in Mexico) was playing the tournament of his life! Defeating two dangerous experts in Carey Milton and Richard Gimeno to be in the rarified atmosphere of the leader group. Dave is a deadly tactician and a Romantic from a byegone age. Dave chose a closed King Indian Attack against Russell and it took a very subtle deflection combination to finally put El Mariachi away.
Board 6 Carey Milton and NM Ron Bruno (1/2 - 1/2)
Another "love fest" between two room mates who knew that any decisive result would virtually eliminate the other. I question the wisdom of this point split as both now will have to score at least 1 1/2 out of 2 to qualify. At least the Bruno-Milton household will be in order. Ever seen the movie or the TV series the Odd Couple?
Board 8 Fawsi Murra Jr. vs. Rick Aeria (0-1), Pribyl Defence
I trotted out a new defence against Fawsi and after lots of inaccuracies on both sides managed to garner an important point from a young, ambitious fighter like Fawsi. Yes, I know that the peanut gallery was groaning that I did not put Fawsi away earlier with a pretty bishop sac on h2 but then again, I'm a known "tactical moron" and have trouble calculating even one-move combinations. See my blooper of the year against Balladeer Baluran in 2004. Above Maria and Mayra wait for Fawsi to resign.
Board 7 Brad Salz vs. NM Robert Richard (0-1), Dutch Defence
It was good to see Bob Richard finally pulling his pants up and move into qualification contention but Bob always seems to make things as complicated as possible. I suspect he gets a special charge about winning the tough ones. Credit to Brad who proved to be a worthy opponent to the club's most resourceful master.
Board 12 Leonard Sussman vs. Andrew Bell (1-0), QGD Orthodox
The Pinball Wizard, Leonard Sussman was in his element essaying a Queen Gambit Declined against Andy's Orthodox Defence. I thought Andy got too liberal about rearranging his Queenside pawns instead of generating play on the Kingside. More to come, I'm hoping that Chuck , Bruce or Andy will chime in with their observations (..if they dare) [OK, you asked for it Rick, here are some of my observations - Chuck]
Board 10 Nikolay Arutyunov vs John Funderburg (1/2 - 1/2)
John's flag fell before the first time control, but John rightly claimed that Nikolay was missing more than 3 move pairs from his scoresheet, and thus the claim was ruled invalid by me, Chuck Ensey, the assistant TD. Bruce is the chief TD and Saponara can also pitch in when he is not off traveling around the country. Nikolay, one of the newest members of our club, is not totally familiar with all our USCF rules and just smiled that big smile of his and continued to slog on in his grand Russian style. The game was drawish and stayed that way until the bitter end, around midnight, when at last the two players shook hands and the game was officially deemed "The Longest Game of the Night".
Board 9 Ignacio Sainz vs Dayne Freitag (1-0)
I didn't see this particular battle, but the big Mexican Expert put the hurt on the poor little gringo Class A player.
Board 11 NM Ruffo Orihuela vs Ronald Soto (1-0)
Rook and Bishop vs a Queen is a close and difficult game to play. Ron Soto almost got a draw.
Ron put up a pretty good fight against his fellow countryman. Ruffo played slowly and carefully as usual for him, taking nothing for granted, and in the end he secured the full point in a fairly long struggle. It is nice to see so many players from Mexico make the supreme effort to cross the border and compete for the Club Championship. Recently returned club member James Aranda tells us that NM Gustavo Hernandez wants to play here too, as soon as he can get his Visa issue resolved, and the club is going to try to help with that by writing a letter to the authorities.
Board 13 Jesus Orozco vs Chris Borgan (0-1)
This was the first really big upset of the night, although if you have been paying attention, Chris has been gaining strength by leaps and bounds recently (see the Player of the Month section). In other action, The Chess Balladeer (Alejandrino Baluran) made the Player of the Month for January, Esteban Escobedo, sing the blues, as "Ed" racked up a point to give him 3 1/2 now. Ramin Sinaee won what I think was the Quickest Game of the Night when he caught Jerry Soelberg with an opening trap in the Caro-Kahn, an opening Jerry likes to play as Black. Jerry admits he should have seen that one coming and just moved too quickly without really studying the position (isn't it strange but true that the ONE move that you make too quickly is ALWAYS the one that kills your game!!) Ramin heartily agrees, although he claims that Kasparov once made the same mistake in a similar position.
Phil Roth earned a point from Joel Batchelor and Robert Draper upset David Saponara in a wild game. Dave is clearly rusty from his long absence; Bob said he was losing badly until Dave offered up a howler (a horrible blunder). The next big upset was authored by Pejman Sagart, who knocked off Mariano Lozano, a very strong house player filling in for Thirunathan Sutharsan, who was mysteriously absent. I couldn't find the pairing chart from last week, maybe Thirunathan asked for a bye, but usually we would have seen that and then not paired him. There were two forfeits last week, so everyone PLEASE call us if you can't play. Sleeping in or not being near a phone are not good excuses, we've heard them all. The Murra family was a bit late showing up, but at least they called and let us know that they were on the way. I can't guarantee that your clock won't be running if you show up late, but at least if you call, you won't find that your expected opponent has been repaired with someone else and now YOU have no one to play... If we don't hear from you by 7:30 PM, chances are very good that the TD will assign someone else to your abandoned game if possible - we really can't wait much longer than that because the games can go way too late as it is and if we try to start a game at 8:00 PM then it might go until 1:30 AM, a ridiculous hour to try to be thinking straight.
Mayra Murra upset Fred Borges on Board 23. It is nice to see the women of the club doing so well. Monica Ness also won, upsetting James Aranda and the young Jackie Egger also was victorious, but it was over "fellow" distaff player Maria Murra. We rarely if ever change the pairings that the computer spits out, so if it is woman vs woman or Mexican vs Mexican or Filipino vs Filipino we aren't going to change them just to keep people happy, that is a slippery slope because then someone else might get a tougher pairing than they deserve and that wouldn't be fair. Occasionally we will make an exception for family members, so they don't have to play each other, but it must be a situation where changing the pairings will not make a big rating difference for the switched players.
The young Jedi Jason Qu fought on, but finally lost in 76 moves to Chuck Ensey, rated 600 points higher!