Monday, April 7, 2008
The final round saw very exciting chess! Let's go over the games individually:
GM ALEJANDRO RAMIREZ - GM SERGEY ERENBURG
1/2 - 1/2
The game saw a very solid 'Meran Defense' which led to a certain amount of complications in the middle game. 3 hours later the game was very hard to be evaluated, with white having slightly more material (2 bishops vs a rook and a pawn) but black's activity could not be underestimated.
After a very interesting struggle the game eventually finished with Sergey trying to chase my bishop away from guarding a very important square, b1, where he wanted to promote his passed pawn into a new queen. The bishop kept finding shelter and the game ended in a draw.
GM TIMUR GAREEV - GM MAGESH PANCHANATHAN
1 - 0
Magesh saw himself in a slight disadvantage early in the game after falling for a very cunning trap by the Uzbek Grand Master, Timur Gareev. Despite putting up an amazing resistance, white was able to convert his advantage after using very fancy tactics and great technique. Magesh's resilience was fantastic, making the task of winning very difficult for Gareev who proved why he is one of the top world junior players and the highest rated player in the event.
As a quick side note our team captain, Magesh Panchanathan, will be graduating this semester with his Masters in CS and has successfully represented UTD in 6 (!) Final Fours. Thanks Magesh, congratulations for the degree and best of luck!
IM DAVORIN KULJASEVIC - GM PAWEL BLEHM
1 - 0
Our player, Davorin 'Kul-J' Kuljasevic chose a slightly passive which apparently let Pawel equalize. However Kul-J outplayed Pawel with a magnificent style, not allowing the Polish to ever breathe or seek counterplay of any sort. Kul-J has been on a rise lately, making two GM norms and breaking the 2500 FIDE rating mark in the past few months.
Kul-Js excellent style was evidenced in this game, where it is impossible to say where Pawel went wrong. Davorin simply played too well! Davorin's game was the last to finish, and he needed but a draw to clinch the title, however being in a position where losing was really not in the picture, he pushed for a win that he got in a crushing Knight vs Bishop endgame, where his Knight restricted any possible activity by the bishop and allowed him to push his passed pawns into new queens.
As a side note this is Pawel's last final four, just like our team captain Magesh this is his 6th (!) President's Cup and he will be graduating this upcoming May.
WGM KATERYNA ROHONYAN - IM MARKO ZIVANIC
Marko was simply implacable in this tournament: despite the fact that he played 3 black games he won all of them! Rohonyan started the game very strongly, gaining a clear advantage. However she failed to find the decisive Nd7, where Zivanic's queen and rook would be under fire, giving white a huge advantage. Marko recovered flawlessly and outplayed Rohonyan giving UTD the first win of the match, and giving us much needed confidence in our boards.
At the end UTD prevailed 2.5-1.5, winning the tournament outright in both match points and individual points! Congratulations!
Come back soon for pictures and report on the closing ceremony, trip home and links to the articles published about the most recent success of the strongest chess team in the Western Hemisphere.