Sunday, January 6, 2008

'06 Finals Rd 6

Round 6 of the SDCC Finals, Reserve and Lasker Open (Wednesday, March 29, 2006)

"Hold up on the coronation, put the champagne back on ice... " 


By Rick Aeria, Chuck Ensey and Andy Bell

Board 1  Bruno-Corper 0 - 1

Dr. Adam Corper, the Defending Club Champion, salvaged a good measure of honor by, finally, being the man who stopped Ron Bruno on his celestial journey to the stars. Adam did this with his Scandinavian Defence which he and his trainer, IM Cyrus Lakdawala have worked out over the months. Cyrus has Adam playing razor-edge variations where one slip by Black spells instant oblivion and yet these represent a veritable tactical minefield that the player with White pieces will have to tread very cautiously with the relentless clock ticking away. Adam unfurled a variation we have dubbed the "Taunter Variation" and Ron got soon got enmeshed in the complexities of the position.  In a gripping doubled-edged middlegame Adam finds and unleashes an electrifying combination, a queen sacrifice with less than thirty seconds left on his clock! Suddenly Ron's position implodes like a house of cards leaving Adam with an easily won rook pawn endgame. Bruno plays on numbly out of inertia and finally capitulates.  

The game is an anthology piece! One of the finest games played in this championship and we have been fortunate to have a number of games with a high level of creative output from a number of participants. Later at the usual midnight meal at Denny's, the ebulient Adam said with his quaint English accent  "I was glad to have the opportunity to play such a move in such an important game!" You could see the competitive fires smouldering in the champion's eyes.

Suddenly the complexion of the championship changes and the race which is still Bruno's to win or lose gets tighter. Ron Bruno at 5-1 still holds his destiny in his own hands. A win against fellow master Todd Smith next week will give him the championship. A draw, on the other hand, may have him sharing the title....  For Dr. Corper at 4-2, though not mathematically eliminated, he can only tie for first if Ron Bruno loses and Dr. Carl Wagner draws or loses next week.

Board 2  Wagner-Hart 1-0  An epic battle


With tourney leader Ron's loss on Board 1, the ramifications of this encounter have taken much more serious proportions. Originally billed as the possible "runner up" battle, this game result may have definite championship implications. Former SDCC Champion (1989) Dr. Carl Wagner, playing excellent chess and in superb fighting form, finally wrested the full point from fellow master David Hart in a battle that could have gone either way in the early middlegame. Then Carl won a pawn and frittered it away and had to start all over again, parlaying his positional pluses to win another pawn and then another...

At 4 1/2 points, Dr. Carl Wagner is just half a point behind  the once-untouchable Ron Bruno and has reasonable chances of winning the club championship or sharing the title if Ron falters. I have been observing Carl's endgame technique and after tonight, I must place him in the top three for the club. Can you name the other two?

For David Hart, a magnificent campaign and his best finish ( 5 1/2 - 1 1/2  and an undefeated tie for first in the Markowski Qualifier and then 3 1/2 - 2 1/2  in the finals ) in the championships. With all possibilities of winning the championship extinguished, Hart has decided to withdraw.

Board 3  Garamendi - Aeria  0-1 

Bolivian phenom Alejandro Garamendi (3-3) sidesteps my week-long preparation for his 1. d4 by playing 1. c4. Instead of staying on known theoretical paths, Alejandro improvises with early with 4. b4 and then voluntarily and unnecessarily gives up the bishop pair. I gain a miniscule edge but Alejandro commits a tactical error and loses two minor pieces for a rook.

An important game and point as it keeps me in contention, however slim that may be.

Board 4  Sussman-Smith ( 1/2  -1/2

The veterans draw early. Both have a 3-3 score, but higher-rated master Todd Smith will have his chance for glory with a final round pairing against Ron Bruno.


Todd beat a younger and more inexperienced Ron in the finals last year. Can lightning strike twice?

Bd 5  Salz-Funderburg (1/2 - 1/2)


Another draw! Brad Salz can only be happy with his overall result of 2 1/2 points, thus far. Remember how modestly Brad conjectured that he could go 0-7 early in the tournament? For the Thunderbird this draw at least puts the brakes on his losing streak but I am sure he dreams of things that could have been.

Board 6  Milton-Borgan (1 - 0 )


Chris Borgan (2-4) got out-swizzled by yet another geezer! This time it was Carey Milton (2 1/2 - 3 1/2 ). One can only marvel at the magic that Carey uses to ensnare even strong international masters occasionally into his traps. For young Chris Borgan, there will be other tournaments but I humbly suggest that he objectively reviews his endgame play in this game.

Board 7  Betancourt-Sainz (1/2 - 1/2


Was this a peaceful draw by the tournament tail-enders? Ignacio Sainz ( 1 1/2 - 4 1/2) went to great pains to assure me that the three-fold repetition was warranted and that a trip to that unnamed mountain in Wyoming would not be needed. (I think all three of the draws played in this round might deserve a trip to the woodshed -C.E.) 

Reserve Championship

Board 8  Whitt  - Sagart  ( 0 - 1 )


Perry Sagart (5-1) took a firm hold of his lead in the Reserve Championship by accepting Tony Whitt's impetuous and unsound exchange sacrifice and then throttling Tony with his superior force of two rooks vs. Rook and bishop in the endgame.

Board 9 Ensey-Fawsi Murra Sr ( 1/2 - 1/2 )


Chuck Ensey (4-2) missed a golden opportunity to at least keep pace with Reserve championship leader Perry Sagart. A full pawn up in a knight and pawn endgame with Fawsi Sr. and Chuck loses his extra pawn! I just added this game to the website. No one in this section has been turning in games, so I'll put mine up for entertainment's sake. I made a few instructive errors that might amuse some people or some lower rated players might even learn from them.   

Bd 10  Robles - Mathe 0-1

Bd 11  Borges-Marquis 0-1

Bd 12  Oakes - Rodriguez  1/2-1/2

Bd 13  Lawless - Fair 0-1

Bd 14  Rocio Murra - Harbone 0-1


Mayra Murra before the start of Round 6

Bd 15  Philip Skiba - Mayra Murra 1-0

For Lasker Open, click here       For expected pairings next week click here.

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