Apr 26, 2001

New York (open) - 2000

I.Smirin - the Winner of NY Open 2000
We are grateful to Michael Atkins - webmaster of NY Open web site  ( http://w-w-w.com/nyopen/ ) for his kind permission to use the photos from the event which he made himself


In the open Championship of New-York, where more than 200 players from 37 countries took part, the winner was the player with the highest rating, I.Smirin. This victory is one more success in a row for the GM from Israel. Less than month ago, he qualified for the Honk Kong WC at the zonal tournament in Pula. At that time, he managed to get 2,5 points in three last rounds. There was the same kind of situation here. The decisive were his wins in the last two rounds - games with the World Junior Champion-1996 R.Leitao and A.Grischuk.

R. Letaio


Smirin, I-Grischuk, A  [C90]

Round 9

A. Grischuk


1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8.c3 O-O 9. d3 

One of the quiet variations of Rui Lopes, where the counter game of Black in the center is not easy. The purpose of white is to transfer the knight Nd2-f1-g3 and only when e4 pawn will be protected more than enough, to move d pawn to 4th rank.

9... Na5 10. Bc2 c5 11. Nbd2 Nc6 12. Nf1 Re8 13. h3  h6 

A good preventive move. If 13... Bf8 immediately, then after 14. Bg5 h6 15. Bh4 Be7 16. Ne3 Nd7 (it is not possible to play 16... Nh5? because of 17. Nxe5!  Bxh4 18.Nxc6 Qg5 19. Qf3 Bd7 20. Na5 and White has an extra pawn) 17. Bg3! Bf6 (Black does not overcome complications by 17... Bb7 because of 18. d4 Bf8 19. d5 Ne7 20. c4 Nb6 21. a4! and White has an advantage, Yemelin,V-Sturua,Z, Hamburg,1999) 18. a4 and Black experienced complications in the game Smirin,I-Frolov,A, Biel (izt),1993.

14. Ng3 Bf8 

Black needs to be cautious. An attempt to make a break-through in the center by 14... d5? is very dangerous for Black. After 15. exd5 Qxd5 16. Bb3 Qd6 17. Nxe5 Nxe5 18. Bf4 Qxd3 (also in case 18... Nfd7 19. d4 White gets a significant advantage) 19. Bxe5 Qxd1 20. Raxd1 and Black has a hard position. The game  Balber,G-Bakalov,E, Simferopol, 1991 confirms this estimation completely. It was played there 20... c4 21.Bxf6 gxf6 22. Rxe7! Rxe7 23. Rd8+ Kg7 24. Bc2 f5 25. Nh5+ Kg6 26. Rg8+ Kxh5 27. Bd1+ Kh4 28. Kh2, and Black resigned because of the inevitable checkmate.

15. d4 cxd4 16. cxd4 exd4 17. Nxd4Nxd4 18. Qxd4 Be6 19. Be3 

A little refinement. In the game Akopian,V - Khalifman,A, Las Vegas(m/5) 1999 it was played 19. Bf4 Rc8 20. Bb3 a5 and in several moves, Black managed to organize a fine counter play against white c4 pawn.

19... Rc8 20. Qd2 Nd7 

Black is not ready for the break-through in the center. After 20... d5?! 21. e5 Nd7 22. f4 White could capture the initiative. this is why Black is aiming to take a control over 5 square. 

  21. Rac1 Ne5 22. b3 

White of course should not allow Ne5-c4

22... Nc6 

Black is too passive. Now, in case of the break-through in the center 22... d5, after 23.f4 ( in case 23. exd5 Qxd5 the position remains relatively equal ) 23... Nc6 24. f5  Bb4 25. Qf2 Bxe1 26. Rxe1 Bd7 27. exd5 interesting complication could start.

23. Bb1!

A very subtle move. White proposes to Black to exercise the program move d6-d5 though he could prevent it by  23. Red1. 

23... d5 ?!

Black decides to test the white's idea, and this turns out to be a mistake. After 4 pawn disappears, the bishop at b1 gets an extreme power in the tandem with the queen, and this circumstance forces Black to weaken his position on the kingside.

24. exd5 Qxd5 

Capturing by bishop is not better. After 24... Bxd5 25. Red1 Ba3 (of course it is not possible to play 25... Be6?? because of 26. Qc2) 26. Qd3 g6 27. Rc2 and White has a significant advantage.

 25. Qc2 g6 26. Rcd1 

26... Ne7 

All of a sudden, it turns out that the Black queen which is located in the center of the board has no good square to retreat. For instance, if 26... Qe5 then 27. Bxh6 (in case of 27. Bc1, actually the only answer for Black would be exotic 27... Qh8!? with an idea to answer to 28. Bb2 with 28... Bg7)  27... Bxb3 28. Qxb3 ( the following brings nothing to White: 28. Rxe5 Bxc2 29. Rxe8 Rxe8 30. Bxc2 Bxh6 with approximately equal position) 28... Qxe1+ 29. Rxe1 Rxe1+ 30. Kh2 Bxh6 (after 30... Na5 31. Qd5 Rxb1 32. Bxf8 Rxf8 33. Ne4 Q + N is a very dangerous couple) 31. Bxg6 and it is not easy for Black to defend. Another retreat of the knight 26... Nb4? in the position on the diagram is worse than the move in the game because of 27. Qb2 Bg7 ( if 27... Qc6 then the following will be unpleasant for Black: 28. Ne4 Bg7 29. Bd4 with attack) 28. Qa3 and it is not possible to save Black's position.

27. Qb2 Bg7 

If the queen retreats, White strengthen his position by Ng3-e4 and Be3-d4. 

28. Bd4 Bxd4 29. Rxd4 Qc5 

It is not possible to play 29... Qg5? because of 30. Rd6 Bd5 31. Rxa6 and white has a material advantage. 

30. Rdd1 

Now 30. b4!? was worth attention with the idea to play after 30... Qc7 ( it is not possible to play 30...Qc3? because of 31. Qxc3 Rxc3 32. Ne4 and the threat Nf6+ decides all.) 31. Ne4 Qe5 and now 32. f4! Qxf4 33. Nd6 Qg3 34. Qd2 and Black will lose material. 


Probably, Black should not let the white knight to e4 square by 30... Bd5.

31.Ne4 Rxd1 32. Rxd1 Qc7 33. h4

White tries to break the position of black king with h pawn. After 33. Nf6+ Kf8 we did not find anything concrete for white.

33... h5 

The alternative to this move is  33... Nd5, as 34. Rxd5? does not work because of the intermediate 34...Qc1+, and if 34.h5 then 34...Qf4 with complications.

34. Ng5 Bf5? 

This is the decisive mistake, which results in the loss of a pawn. After 34... Rd8 35. Re1! ( The following does not work: 35. Rxd8+ Qxd8 36. Nxe6 because of 36... Qd1+ 37. Kh2 Qd6+ and Black is relatively fine.) 35... Bc8 36. Ne4 Nd5 37. Nf6+ Nxf6 38. Qxf6 the Black's position would be very passive, but White had to work hard for gaining a material advantage

35. Qf6!

The fork makes Black to lose a pawn.

35... Nd5 36. Qxa6 Bxb1 37. Rxb1 Rd8 38. Re1 Qc3 39. Nf3 b4 40. Rd1!

The pin on the knight decides the result to White's favor.

 40...Qc5 41. Qc4 Qd6 42. Qd4 Rd7  43. Ne5 Rd8 44. Nc4 Qf8 

If 44...Qd7, then 45.Ne3 leads to a victory.

  45. Nb6 Black resigned.  

More photos from the event:

P. Tregubov
I. Khenkin


"Chess is so interesting in itself, as not to need the view of gain to induce engaging in it;and thence it is never played for money."

Benjamin Franklin, "Chess made easy", 1802

"It is one of the insights of modern players, and especially of the best ones, that one has toplay the position itself, not some abstract idea of the position."

John Watson, "Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy", 1998

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