American tour part 3: Concord and L.A.

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American tour part 3: a Bulgarian GM in Concord and L.A.After our two tournament reports from the U.S.A. by IM Robert Ris, we now have GM Dejan Bojkov writing for us about American tournaments. In January the Bulgarian played in both the Golden State Open in Concord, California and a round-robin GM norm event in Los Angeles. Report with video.

Downtown L.A. | Photo © Christian Glawe
By Dejan Bojkov

Golden State Open

After Robert’s two stories about his American experience, it is my turn to share impressions. From 15-19 January I took part in the Golden State open in Concord, California which is part of the C.C.A. (Continental Chess Association) events. Bill Goichberg is the man in charge here, and the series include the major chess opens in the U.S.A., such as the Philadelphia, Chicago World and North American open, those where the big money is.

Todo Santos Plaza, Concord, CA (Photo Wikipedia)

Goichberg’s tournaments have their own rules. There are no conditions for anyone (GMs do not pay entry fee, but the amount is deducted from their prices), and everyone is obliged to carry his own chess set and clock. There are various sections and those rated under 2200, 1600 or even 1300 can win a reasonable amount of money (for example, the under 1600 rating section’s first price is $2000, which is not bad considering the fact that the first price in the open section is $3000). Therefore, these events attract huge mass of players.

This year the open section started with a major upset straight from the first round. The nine-year-old Samuel Sevian knocked down the rating favourite Mauricio Flores:

Sevian,S (2157) - Flores,M (2653) Concord (1), 14.01.2011

28.e6!! 0–0 28...dxe6 29.Qb5+ Ke7 30.Bxc3; 28...fxe6 29.Qe5 both win at least a rook for White. 29.e7 29.exf7+ Kxf7 30.Re1 would have been even easier, as the rook is not going anywhere- 30...Ra3 31.Rxd8 Rxd8 32.Qe7+. 29...Bxe7 30.Qxe7 Rxh3+ 31.gxh3 Rxb8 32.Qe5 d6 33.Qd4 Qa6 34.Re1 Qc6+ 35.Kg1 Rc8 This allows another firework, but Black is losing anyway.

36.Bc3! f6 37.Qxf6 Qxc3 38.Re8+! 1–0

Mauricio told me that after the game his young opponent showed no excitement at all (even though this was his first win over a GM ever), and took it as normal. Samuel continued his great performance and managed to overcome the 2200 USCF rating mark, thus gaining the title of a national master. He is the youngest ever American who had achieved that and obviously, his main successes are still to come.

Meanwhile, after suffering from a poor start I managed to score 3.5/5 before the final two rounds. As usual, there is always a story with me when winning a tournament, and this was no an exception. It started with taking a train in the wrong direction before the sixth round that unfortunately costed me only 45 minutes on the clock. (Thanks for not forfeiting for a minute late on the American tournaments!)

I won that game though against E. Tate, and one more black after that against IM E. Sevillano, also as Black (I should add that Enrico is a great man and took the loss like a real gentleman), thus sharing the first with the American John Bryant (who in fact had the better tiebreak, and won some extra cash for that.)

Final standings here.

Metropolitan Invitational, Los Angeles

On the next day I was already travelling to L.A. for the first since six years, for a GM norm tournament on the South West Coast (19-23 January). It is a shame that such an enourmous city like Los Angeles with its seventeen million people is meagre on chess events.

This is however a subject to a change, as the local tournament organizer Ankit Gupta and tournament director Michael Belcher are working hard in promoting our sport. After organizing an IM norm event in December, they now succeeded in a GM brother, and there's more to come, including a strong open in August.

The event was dedicated in memory of Jimmy Quon, who taught more than a thousand children in his life, and organized numerious events in L.A. Before I continue, do check out this video produced by Ice Hat Creative:

Jimmy Quon Memorial Chess Tournament from Ice Hat Creative on Vimeo.

The contest for first place did not really take place, as GM Mark Paragua started with 6/6 to claim the title in style. Second came local hero GM Melik Khachiyan, third was IM Mackenzie Molner. I did not play well here (fatigue was taking its toll) but there was a curious moment in one of my games that would definitely bring joy to Mr. Afek:

Molner,M - Bojkov,D L.A. Invitational (8), 23.01.2011

Here I went for a correct idea, but in a wrong way: 1...Be4? The ideas is to chase the king into a smaller cage with Be4-f3+, Bf3-g3+ followed by Rg2-b2-b1 mate. However, the correct way to this was to make it with checks: 1...Bc2+ 2.Ke1 Bg3+ 3.Kf1 Rd2 Already, threatening mate, for example: 4.f6+ The point is that the defense 4.Be5 is not working due to: 4...Bd3+ 5.Kg1 Bf2+ as the rook on c5 is hanging. 4...Kf7 5.Ra5 Bd3+ 6.Kg1 Bh2+ 7.Kh1 Be4#. 2.Ke1 Bf3 However here Molner had enough time to destroy my plans: 3.f6+! Ke6 3...Kf7 4.Rf5 4.f7 Bd6 There is not time for mating net: 4...Bg3+ 5.Kf1 Rb2 6.Re5+! Kd7 7.Re1. 5.Re5+! Kxf7 6.Rf5+ draw.

Final standings here.

In conclusion, I would like to thank to sponsors California Market Center, Fashion Business, Inc.,, Rock and Roll Gourmet, LawyerFy, and Betty Bottom Showroom who made this event happen.

Third in L.A.: IM Mackenzie Molner

Second came GM Melik Khachiyan

The convincing winner: Mark Paragua

Photos © Christian Glawe


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