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Kudrin, Ivanov, Kekelidze and Hungaski Tie at Hartford Open Print E-mail
By Al Lawrence   
April 11, 2011
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IM Robert Hungaski, Photo Al Lawrence
The 2nd Annual Hartford Open at the Bradley International Airport Sheraton attracted nearly 130 players from a dozen states and Canada over the weekend of April 9-10. Although two dozen hopefuls, including four powerful GMs and three IMs, slugged it out in the Open Section, it was Avery Chen of Connecticut, with a pre-tournament rating of 1899, who walked away with the most wins and the biggest payday, and nearly 90 new rating points, by sweeping the separate, 46-player, under-2010 section with a perfect 5-0 score.

To be fair, of course, when the top four players in an open section average 2593, it's going to be unlikely to find a perfect score standing at the end of the day. Despite, or perhaps because of, the hard-fought quality of the games, four tied for first-GM Sergey Kudrin (Conn.), GM Alexander Ivanov (Mass.), GM Mikhail Kekelidze (N.Y.), and IM Robert Hungaski (Conn.), all scored four points. The former three gave up two draws to the grandmaster-pack, while Hungaski scored four wins, losing only to Kudrin in round two.

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GM Sergey Kudrin,  Photo Al Lawrence
The last-round saw a cliff-hanger on board two. The final game to finish save one saw Kudrin maneuver on into the second time control to win as Black against young FM Daniel Rozovsky(Conn.). Rozovsky joined Christopher Gu (R.I.), Sylvester Smarty (Ohio) and Matthew Meredith (Conn.) to share the under-2210 prizes.

With a draw as Black against Ivanov in the last round, three-time U.S. champion GM Nick de Firmian placed just out of the prizes at 3.5, largely due to an upset-third-round draw against expert Jonathan Richman of New York. (See game, with Richman's notes.)



Richman,Jonathan (2059) - De Firmian,GM Nick (2607) 
Hartford Open (3), 09.04.2011

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.a4 My pet line. 7...Nc6 8.Be3 Qc7 9.Qe2 Be7 10.0-0 Bd7 11.Ba2 0-0 12.Kh1 Giving my bishop a retreat square. 12...Nb4 13.Bb3 b6 14.f4 Rac8 15.Bg1! Preparing e5 and protecting my e4 pawn for a possible attack in the future. 15...Qb7 16.Rae1!? 16.e5! dxe5 17.fxe5 Nfd5 18.Ne4 With the idea of Nd6.16...g6 17.f5! gxf5 18.exf5?! 18.Qd2! Kh8 19.Nd5! exd5? 20.exd5 Nfxd5?! 21.Nxf5 Bxf5 22.Rxf5 Qd7 23.Ref1+- White wins back the piece and then some.18...e5 19.Rf4!? Rxc3!? This move shocked me completely. I was expecting some move like 19...Re8. [19...Kh8 20.Rh4 Nc6 21.Nd5 Nxd4! (21...Nxd5?? 22.Rxh7+!! Kxh7 23.Qh5+ Kg8?? 24.Re4 Nf4 25.Rxf4 exf4 26.Nxc6 Bxc6 27.Qg6+ Kh8 28.Bd4+ f6 29.Qh6# Is a nice mating line.) 22.Rxd4 Nxd5 23.Bxd5 Bc6 24.Bxc6 Qxc6 25.c3 Is an interesting line where White has a small edge. 20.bxc3 Nc6 21.Nxc6 Bxc6 22.Rh4?! I was debating if I should throw in the move Rb4 first. It seems I made the wrong decision. 22.Rb4! b5? (22...Nd7! 23.Bxb6+-) 23.axb5 axb5 24.c4+- 22...Kh8 23.Rh3 Be4 24.Rg3 Bxf5 25.Qf2 Bg6 26.Qxb6 Qc8 27.Qe3 In time trouble I made a decent defending move. 27...Nh5 28.Rf3 f5 29.Qe2?! [29.Qa7! Re8 30.c4! With the idea c5, which seems to break up his pawns.] 29...Nf6 30.Rff1 Ne4 31.Qc4?! Now it is about equal. 31...Nxc3?! 31...Nd2 32.Qxc8 Rxc8 33.Rf4! Rxc3 34.Rb4 Is best.32.Qxc8 Rxc8 33.Be6 Rf8 34.a5 f4 35.Bc4 Bd8 36.Bxa6 Bxa5 37.Ra1 Bb4 Here I had one minute left and he had 28 seconds. 38.Bd3 Kg7 39.Ra7+ Rf7 40.Rxf7+ Kxf7?! 40...Bxf7! 41.g3 e4?! 41...Bh5! 42.Bb6 f3 43.Bxh7 should hold for Black. 42.Rxf4+ Ke6 43.Bf1 Ke5 44.Rf8! d5 45.Rc8! Bh5? 45...d4! 46.Bxd4+? Kxd4 47.Rc4+ Ke3 48.Rxb4 Kf2 49.Ba6 e3 50.Rf4+ Ke1 51.Kg1 e2 52.Rd4 Bxc2 Should draw for black since I have to sacrifice by bishop for the e2 pawn. 46.Be3 Nd1 47.Bf4+ Kd4 48.Bg5?! 48.Bh6! wins for White since 48...e3? 49.Bg7+ Ke4 50.Kg2 Bf3+ 51.Kg1 The pawn has been stopped in its tracks. 48...Ke5 48...e3 49.Bf6+ Ke4 50.Kg2 Bf3+ 51.Kg1 e2 52.Re8+ Kf5 Is the difference between Bg5 and Bh6. 49.Bf4+ Kd4 50.Bg5?! We agreed to a draw. During the game I thought the d-pawn was dangerous, but the line I gave with 48.Bh6! shows that it is not. ½-½

"I haven't been playing much," Nick said before the start of the event. "I rented a car and drove up from the City. I'm splitting time between Manhattan and the San Francisco area, giving private lessons." He can be contacted by email at ndefirmian@hotmail.com.

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GMs Nick DeFirmian and Alexander Ivanov, Photo Al Lawrence

The tournament was organized into four separate sections, but everyone got to play in one spacious room, which makes it easy to keep an eye on the pros. In the under-2010 section, Chen was trailed by four, all with 4.0, who shared second-fourth prizes: Andrew Liu (Mass.), Robert Campbell (Mass.), Pedro Perdomo (N.Y.), and Michael Pascetta (Conn), who lost to Chen in a last-round struggle. Brian Jordan (Conn.) took undisputed possession of the under-1810 prize within the second section, while Robert Bagdasaryan (R.I.) took second under-1810.

Four class C-players walked away with the top spot in the under 1710 section: Zubin Mukerjee, Romain Popescu, Colin Denniston (all from N.Y.), and Sydney Faria (Conn.). Lew Millenbach (N.Y.), Jonathan Aiyathurai (Conn.), and Elliot Meyerson (Md.) shared the section's under-1510 prize.

Parag Mujumdar (Mass.) won clear first in the under-1410 section with 4.5 points, followed by a four-way tie for second: George Eason (Conn.), Joshua Chasen (N.Y.), Michael Cebrik (Conn.), and Alan Kuusisto (Mass.).

The Bradley Sheraton should be cited as a winner as well. "The staff here is great, with everyone pitching in," director Steve Immitt said. "The doors to the tournament hall were a bit squeaky last year, so they took them off completely, oiled them and replaced the springs." This year the only groans came from the occasional surprised combatant.
 
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