Khachiyan Wins In Agoura Hills

By Jack Peters, International Master

Los Angeles Times
August 5, 2007


Position No. 5962: White to play and win. >>From the game Magnus
Carlsen-Alexander Onischuk, Biel 2007.

Solution to Position No. 5961: Black wins with 1 Bh3+! 2 Qxh3 Rf6+
3 Ke1 Qf2+! 4 Kd2 Rd6+ 5 Kc3 Qc5+ 6 Kb2 Qb4+ 7 Ka2 Qxa4+ 8 Kb2 Qb4+
9 Ka2 Rb6, mating. If 2 Ke1, then 2… Qg1+ 3 Kd2 Rd6+ 3 Bd3 Qxh2+
will win White’s Queen.

Grandmaster Melikset Khachiyan of North Hollywood won the 12th Pacific
Coast Open, held two weekends ago in Agoura Hills, with an impressive
5-1 score. Although Khachiyan lost to GM Lars Bo Hansen (Denmark)
in the fifth round, he rebounded to beat former state champion IM
Andranik Matikozyan in his last game. Earlier, Khachiyan defeated GM
Rogelio Antonio Jr. (Philippines).

Next at 4 1/2 -1 1/2 were Antonio, Hansen, GM Suat Atalik (Turkey)
and state champion IM Enrico Sevillano. Harutyun Akopian earned the
best under-2400 prize at 4-2. The 42-player Open section boasted five
GMs and four IMs.

Other sections were won by Barry Lazarus, 5 1/2 – 1/2 in under-2100;
Jim Y. Chao, 5 1/2 – 1/2 in under-1900; Leonel Campoy and Alfred Ong,
each 5-1 in under-1700; Shirolly Anand, John Cachay, Howard Horwitz
and Dennis Neymit, each 5-1 in under-1500; Giovanni Catalenello and
Antonio Malapira, each 5-1 in under-1200; and David Alday, under-800.

A total of 209 players participated in the Continental Chess
Assn. event, the largest open so far this year on the West Coast.

National News

The 85,000-member U.S. Chess Federation conducted an election for
four spots on its seven-person Executive Board. Any of the 39,883
USCF members over age 16 were eligible to vote, and 4,574 (about 11%)
cast ballots. Former women’s world champion Susan Polgar (New York),
Randy Bauer (Indiana) and Paul Truong (New York) won four-year
terms, while Jim Berry (Oklahoma) will serve for two years. They
join incumbents Bill Goichberg (New York), Randy Hough (Alhambra)
and Joel Channing (Florida). The Executive Board sets policy. The
USCF’s office in Crossville, Tenn., handles the daily business of
the non-profit organization.

Local news

Jim Bullock will run an outdoors scholastic tournament August 11 at
Bolsa Chica State Beach. Advance registration is required. Call him at
(714) 848-4377.

The Santa Monica Bay Chess Club begins a four-round tournament at 7
p.m. Monday in St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, 11555 National Blvd. in
Los Angeles. Call Pete Savino at (310) 827-2789 for more information.

Today’s games

GM Varuzhan Akobian (U.S.)-GM Kevin Spraggett (Canada), Continental
Americas Championship, Cali, Colombia 2007: 1 d4 f5 The Dutch
Defense. 2 Nc3 Nf6 3 Bg5 d5 4 Bxf6 exf6 5 e3 This system tries
to bottle up the Bishop at c8 and show the superiority of White’s
Knight. Be6 6 Qf3 Nc6 7 Bb5 Qd6 8 Nge2 0-0-0 Worth a thought is 8…

a6 9 Ba4 0-0-0, preparing…Nc6-a5-c4. 9 a3 Kb8 10 Na4 Ne7 No better
is 10… b6?! 11 c4. 11 Nc5 Bc8 The knight belongs here, en route to c4
or e4. 12 g3 h5 13 h4 Stifling Black on the Kingside. Black’s position
is purely defensive. g6 14 b4 Bh6 15 c3 Ka8 16 a4 a6 If he remains
passive, White will open a file by a4-a5, Bb5-d3 and b4-b5-b6. 17 Bd3
Rhe8 18 Kd2 Ka7 19 a5 Permanently squelching …b7-b6. c6 20 Nf4 Rh8
21 Kc2 Rdg8 22 Qe2 Re8 23 Rab1 Rh7 24 Rb2 Planning 25 Rhb1 and the
sacrificial breakthrough 26 b5 cxb5 27 Bxb5.

g5!? In free fall, any change of direction is welcome. 25 Nxh5 Reh8
26 Rhb1!! If he merely extricates the Knight by 26 hxg5 fxg5 27 g4
Bf8 28 Rbb1 Rh6 29 Ng3 fxg4 or 29 gxf5 Nxf5, Black might survive.

Akobian spent 17 of his remaining 42 minutes to conclude, correctly,
that he should abandon the Knight. Bf8 27 b5 cxb5 Spraggett, a former
Candidate, continually finds the toughest defense but cannot escape.

Both 27… Rxh5 28 bxa6 bxa6 29 Rb7+ Bxb7 30 Rxb7+ Ka8 31 Bxf5! and
27… axb5 28 Bxb5 Rxh5 29 Ba6! lead to mate. 28 Bxb5 axb5 29 Rxb5
Ng8 30 Rb6 Qc7 31 Qb5 Preparing 32 a6. Not 31 a6? Qxb6. Bxc5 32 dxc5
f4 Other finishes include 32… Rxh5 33 a6 bxa6 34 Ra1 and 32… Qd7
33 c6 bxc6 34 Ra6+! Bxa6 35 Qb8 mate. 33 a6 Even stronger is 33 Ra1!

Bd7 34 a6. Bf5+ 34 Kc1 Bxb1 35 Rxb7+ Another way is 35 axb7 Qxb7 36
Qxb1, followed by taking Black’s Queen. Qxb7 36 axb7 Rxb7 37 Qa5+
Kb8 38 Qd8+ Ka7 39 c6 Rb5 40 Qd7+ Kb6 41 c7 Ne7 42 Qxe7?! White’s only
significant error, although he retains a winning position. Easier is
42 Qd8 Kb7 43 Qxh8 Kxc7 44 Qg7. Be4 Threatening perpetual check at
b1 and b2. 43 exf4 Clearing e3 for the King’s flight. Rb1+ 44 Kd2 Ra8
45 c8N+! This game has everything! Rxc8 Black cannot stand 45… Kc6
46 Qd6+ Kb7 47 Qd7+ Kb8 48 Ne7. 46 Qxf6+ Kb5 47 Qg7 Ka6 48 fxg5 If
White avoids traps, his pawns will advance decisively. Rb2+ 49 Ke3
Rc2 50 Nf6 In the excitement, Black never found time to eliminate the
"trapped" Knight. R8xc3+ 51 Kd4 Rc4+ 52 Ke5 Rxf2 53 Qg8 Rf5+ 54 Kd6
Kb5 55 Qb8+ Ka4 56 Qb2 Rc2 57 Qb6 Rc4 58 g4 Rf3 59 h5 Rb4 60 Qa6+
Kb3 61 h6 Bd3 62 Qa8 Rb6+ 63 Ke5 Simpler than 63 Kxd5 Be4+. Rf1 64
h7 Re1+ 65 Kf4 Rb4+ 66 Kg3 Re3+ 67 Kf2 Rh3 68 Qxd5+ Ka4 Or 68… Bc4
69 Qg2. 69 Kg2 Rxh7, and Black resigns. White wins with 70 Qxd3 or
70 Qa2+, but not 70 Nxh7?? Be4+.

GM Melikset Khachiyan (U.S.A.)-GM Rogelio Antonio Jr. (Philippines),
Pacific Coast Open, Agoura Hills 2007: 1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 dxe4 4
Nxe4 Bf5 The main line of the Caro-Kann Defense. 5 Ng3 Bg6 6 h4 h6
7 Nf3 Nd7 8 h5 Bh7 9 Bd3 Bxd3 10 Qxd3 e6 Some prefer 10…Qc7. 11
Bf4 Qa5+ 12 Bd2 Bb4 Or 12…Qc7. 13 c3 Be7 14 c4 Qa6 Playable, but
14…Qc7 is more popular and more solid. The alternative 14…Bb4 15
Ne4 favors White slightly. 15 0-0 Ngf6 16 a4 Varying from the usual 16
Rfe1 0-0 17 Nf5, when 17…Rfe8 defends. 0-0?! Khachiyan recommends
16…c5. 17 b4! Thwarting …c6-c5 and threatening to trap the Queen
by 18 a5. Qb6 18 Rfe1 Inviting 18…Bxb4?? 19 a5. Rad8 Once again,
18…Qc7 is safer. 19 Nf5 exf5? The critical variation begins 19…Rfe8
20 Nxe7+ Rxe7 21 Bf4. Black cannot get away with 21…Nxh5?? because
22 Bd6 Ree8 23 a5 Qa6 24 Bc7! sets up 25 b5, winning the Queen. But
Black can survive 21…Qxb4! 22 Reb1 (not 22 Bc7? Nc5!) Qa5 23 Qa3
Ree8 24 Rxb7 Qa6, as the pawn at h5 will fall.

20 Rxe7 Ne4 White refutes 20…Nxh5? cleverly by 21 c5! Qc7 22 Qxf5
Nhf6 23 Bxh6! gxh6 24 Qxf6. 21 c5! Qc7 22 d5!? Powerful, but Khachiyan
regretted rejecting 22 Nh4. He analyzed 22…Ne5 23 Qxe4!

Qxe7 24 Nxf5 Qe6 but missed that 25 Re1! Rfe8 (worse is 25…Nc4 26
Qg4 Qf6 27 Bxh6) 26 Qf4 Qd5 27 Bc3 wins material, as 27…Nc4 loses
to 29 Qg4. a5 Also 22…cxd5 23 Qxd5 and 22…Ndxc5 23 Qxe4! are very
uncomfortable for Black. 23 d6 Qc8 24 Nd4! axb4 25 Bxb4 Ndxc5 26 Bxc5
Nxc5 27 Qxf5 Qxf5 28 Nxf5 Ra8 Black cannot exchange White’s active
pieces. After 28…Rfe8 29 Rae1 Kf8 30 a5, White threatens 31 Nxg7.

29 Rc1! Welcoming 29…Nxa4 30 Rxb7 c5 31 Rc4. Ra5 White refutes
29…b6 by 30 Rc4! Rxa4 31 Rxa4 Nxa4 32 d7 Nc5 33 Nd4. 30 Re5! Nb3
31 Rxa5 Nxa5 32 Rc5! Efficiently maneuvering his Rook to g3. Nb3 33
Rc3 Na5 34 Rg3 c5 35 Nxg7 Kh7 36 d7 Rd8 37 Ne8 Kh8 38 Nf6 c4 39 Kf1?!

Quicker is 39 Rg8+ Rxg8 40 Nxg8 Nc6 41 Nxh6, when 41…Kg7 42 Nf5+
Kf6 loses to 43 h6! Kg6 44 Ne7+, while 41…c3 permits 42 Nxf7+ Kg7
43 Ne5! c2 44 Nd3. Nc6 40 Rg4 c3 41 Ke2 Ne5 42 Rg8+! Rxg8 43 Nxg8
Nxd7 44 Nxh6 Kg7 45 Nf5+ Kf6 46 Nd6 Nc5 47 a5 Threatening 48 Nxb7!

Nxb7 49 a6. Nb3 48 Kd3 Nxa5 49 Kxc3 White’s pawns are unstoppable. b6
50 g4 Nc6 51 f4 Kg7 52 Kd3 Nd8 53 Ke4 Ne6 54 g5 Nf8 55 f5 Nd7 56 f6+
Not fearing 56…Nxf6 57 gxf6+ Kxf6, as 58 h6 Kg6 59 Nf5 b5 60 Kd5
leaves Black helpless. Kg8 57 Kf5 Nf8 58 Nxf7! Kxf7 59 g6+ Kg8 60 h6
Nd7 61 h7+ Kh8 62 Ke6, Black Resigns.