Friday, January 09, 2009

NAO Las Vegas
So close, yet so far...

I had a great time at the 2008 NAO. It was a chance to meet old friends and make new ones. It was also a chance to see if my #3 seed status in the U1900 section was justified.

Take 1
I arrived for the first round late because of a flight delay, and also with very little sleep the two previous nights. Despite these handicaps I managed to get the following position as White.

In bad time trouble I played Rg1?! , instead the obvious f4 was much better. I managed to lose this game.

Take 2
I decided to re-enter with a bye for the first round, and scored 4.5/5.0 in rounds 2-6

My best game was in round five where I played Bg6 as White in the following position against Daniel Pecherski . After ...f6, Nf7+ Rxf7, Bxf7 Qxf7, Rd8+ Bf8, Bxb8 Black is paralyzed.
I found Re2 as Black in round four vs Roland Zhu in bad time trouble (Thanks CTS)

Round 7

Win = $2500.00

My last round opponent was Michael G Da-cruz from California. He has been rated as high as 2048 in the past.

I had the opportunity to see some of his games since he was sitting next to me in several previous rounds. He was winning most of his games very easily in tactic heavy positions. In fact we became friends and he helped me analyze a couple of my games.

He was the only opponent I did not want to face in round 7. When we were paired in the last round I was already at a psychological disadvantage.

I then got the following position as White and was sure that Black had to repeat moves. I was happy with a draw, but he was not!
Instead of playing the expected ...Rb8 (3-fold repetition draw), he played ...cxd!? My best move after that is to take the rook and play Ke2 after the Bishop check, but I played Be2.

He won around $2500.00, and me $75.00! Michael did bye me dinner after the game though!

Old guy 4, young guys 0
As an adult player I am envious of the young guys, they mostly:
  • have more time to study
  • improve faster
  • have experienced coaches
  • don't have to worry about finances etc.
In this tournament I am happy to report that I won all four games against younger opponents.
My round three draw was against Daniel Mallaghan who came all the way from Ireland!

CCA Results etc. here

USCF results here


  1. Yeah, good luck Ivan&Co!

    Eastern Open:
    Alex and Erik 3.5/5 (draw against each other in round 5)
    Hongkai Pan: 4.5/5 (u1900 section)
    Three more rounds to go.


  2. 5/6 - one round to go to many ratings points... and hopefully a big pile of cash. Go Ivan!!


  3. Congrats to Hongkai Pan on winning the u1900 section in DC with 7.5/8!

    Congrats to Erik Santarius on getting the amazing 2300 in 2008.

    Congrats to Ivan on a fine year.

    Congrats to our new experts (too many to name).

    Happy New Year to All.

    My approximate tournament schedule:
    Moscow Open
    Chicago (?)
    World (?)
    Canadian Open (?)
    WI State Closed (?)

    Alex Betaneli

  4. Who are the new experts for 2008?

    I can only think of Anthony Parker

  5. I can add at least three more:

    Sasha Velinkanov
    Matt Waller
    Derek Paitrick

    Congrats to the many succusses of our Juniors in 2008 (and their coaches!) both in national tournaments, big tournaments and big increases in their ratings.

    Congrats to Tommy Schneider on finishing 1st in the WI Junior Grand Prix (while increasing his rating over 400 points in 2008!!)

    All in all, a very good year in chess for WI. Congrats to all!

  6. Spectacular performance, Ivan. You really deserve that elusive 19xx rating. :)

  7. Ivan

    You lost the last game because you respected your opponent too much. U said he won his earlier games easily who cares about that none of those games affected your game with him. you lost round 7 game as soon as you saw you were playing him. You beat yourself.

    Jon Burgess

  8. I think Ivan had a tense struggle and was a bit too excited about money. I have played great many "big money games" and know the feeling all too well. When the result of the tournament [seemingly] depends on one game, it's a tough situation. Best of luck in the future though!

    And congrats on a terrific success at the end of 2008. Let's look forward to LESS, but higher quality chess this year.

    And, naturally, no one prevents Ivan from joining the very best of American coaches on June 21-25 in Waukesha, WI. :-) With Greg Serper and Josh Friedel joining Erik, Ashish and myself, the camp should be outstanding. If there is enough interest in an adult group (in the evenings for instance), we can form one!