Skip Navigation Links
MACA Chess Horizons Magazine Article
 2009 National Open: Last Dance in Patzerland
 NM Ilya Krasik
  April 2010

[ Download game file here: RAR  ZIP ]

White: Ilya Krasik
Black: Eric Zhang
National Open,
Round 1, [D85] Grünfeld Defense

I've been to Vegas before but I've always let distractions shift my focus away from chess itself: suffering two horrible tournaments and one good tournament marred by a last round debacle, which I wrote about on This time while sitting on the plane, I recollected about those failures and thought about how to change my fortune this time around. The passenger next to me was a 6'5" typical All-American jock named Joe. He played college hockey at BC and was even drafted by the NHL. The third passenger sitting on Joe's side was in some way even more interesting: she was born and grew up in Vegas, raised a family there but thought that gambling was pure evil, a dishonest way to make a living... But if it weren't for casinos there would be no Vegas, I remarked...

With Joe, naturally, our conversation turned to hockey as he told me many personal stories about guys like Federov and Crosby — the boozing and the partying. When the conversation ended Joe dozed off and I thought about doing the same until I started feeling sharp jabs to my side.

It was big Joe, whose legs and arms were simply too big and too long for a regular seat. I woke him up several times but each time he went to sleep again; the elbowing continued, and my plans to sleep had to be shelved. I arrived in Vegas about 10-11 p.m. and got to my hotel at 12. Naturally I didn't feel too good after the six hour plane ride, but the good news was that I didn't have to play 'till the morning.

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. Bd2 Bg7 6. e4 Nxc3 7. Bxc3 O-O 8. Rc1 c5? 9. dxc5 Bxc3+ 10. Rxc3 Qxd1+ 11. Kxd1 Be6 12. Nf3 Nc6 13. Bc4 Rfd8+ 14. Kc2?!

14. Ke2 Bg4 (14...Nd4+ 15. Ke3 Bxc4 16. Rxc4 Nxf3 17. gxf3 +/-) 15. Ke3 Bxf3 16. gxf3 e6 17. f4 +/-)

14... Nb4+ 15. Kb3 Bxc4+ 15... Nd3

16. Kxc4! a5 17. a3 Na6 18. b4 Rac8 19. Rhc1 f6 20. e5?! b6 21. Kb5?

21. c6! Rxc6+ 22. Kb5 Rxc3 23. Rxc3 axb4 24. axb4 Nb8 25. e6 +-

21... Nc7+ 22. Ka4

Forced. 22. Kxb6 axb4 23. axb4 Nd5+ 24. Kb5 Rb8+ -+

22... Nd5 23. Rd3 axb4 24. axb4 Ra8+?

Black's one and only chance to capitalize on my mistakes and to save the game was 24...bxc5 25. bxc5 Ra8+ 26. Kb3 Rdb8+ 27. Kc4 Nf4 28. Rd2 Ra4+ 29. Kc3 Ra3+ 30. Kc4 Ra4+ 31. Kc3=

25. Kb3 b5?

Now it's all over. 25... bxc5 26. Rxc5 +/-

26. exf6 +- e6 27. Ng5! Ra6 28. c6 Rda8 29. f7+ Kg7

29... Kh8 30. Rxd5 exd5 31. Ne6 +-

30. Nxe6+ Kxf7 31. Ng5+ Kf6 32. Rxd5 Ra3+ 33. Kc2 Ra2+ 34. Kd1


White: John Williams
Black: Ilya Krasik
National Open, Round 2,
[A04] Reti Opening

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d3 Nc6 4. g3 g6 5. Bg2 Bg7 6. O-O Nge7 7. Re1 d6 8. Nbd2 O-O 9. Nf1 h6 10. h4 e5 11. c3 d5 12. N1h2

It's clear that White's pieces on the kingside are just getting nowhere.


12...f5? 13. exd5 Nxd5 14. Qb3 with counterplay, e.g. 14... Kh7 (or 14... Be6 15. Qxb7 Rc8) 15. Bg5 (15. Ng5+ hxg5 16. Qxd5)

13. Be3 b6

13...d4 14. cxd4 cxd4 15. Bd2 Qb6 was also strongly considered: 16. b4 (16. Qb1 a5) 16... Rfc8 =/+ (16... Nc8)

14. g4 Qd7 15. g5 h5

Thanks to my opponent, the kingside is locked and all his pieces there lack any purpose. This means it's time for action on the queenside.

16. Qa4 a6 17. Rad1

17. c4 b5 18. cxb5 axb5 19. Qxb5 Ra5 20. Qb3 (20. Qb6 Rb8 -+) 20... d4 -+

17... b5

17... d4 18.cxd4 cxd4 19. Bd2 Qd6

18. Qa3 d4 19. cxd4 cxd4 20. Bc1 Rfc8 21. b3 Bf8


22. Qb2 Qd6 23. Bd2 a5 24. Rc1 a4 25. b4 a3!

White is positionally bankrupt: his pieces are still out of play and a2 and b4 are very weak.

26.Qb1 Ra4 27. Rc5

One cannot cement a big leak with chewing gum. White's position is leaking profusely.

27...Nxb4! 28. Rxe5 Nec6

28... Bxa2! 29. Bxb4 Bxb1 30. Bxd6 a2

29. Rxb5 Bxa2 30. Qd1 Ra7 31. Qa1 Be6 32. Bxb4 Nxb4 33. Qxd4 Qxd4 34. Nxd4 a2 35. Ra1 Nxd3 36. Bf1 Rc1 37. Nc2 Bg7 38. e5 Bxe5 39. Rxc1 Bxh2+ 40. Kxh2 Nxc1 41. Na1 Nb3


White: Ilya Krasik
Black: John Funderburg
National Open, Round 3
[E11] Bogo-Indian Defense

By far the cleanest and quickest victory at the National Open. I spent about 45 minutes on the clock but in truth I probably could have played all my moves in under 10 minutes. Winning quickly was nice, because the South Point Hotel and Casino sported a luxurious swimming pool and a huge jacuzzi.

1. d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3. Nf3 Bb4+ 4. Bd2 Qe7 5. g3 Ne4?! 6. Bg2 Nc6 7. O-O Bxd2 8. Nbxd2 Nxd2 9. Qxd2 d6 10. d5!+/- Nd8

10... Nb8 11. dxe6 fxe6 12. c5!? with an advantage in development and the initiative.

11. Rac1 e5 12. c5! O-O 13. Rc3 f5!? 14. Rfc1 Nf7 15. cxd6 cxd6 16. Rc7 Qd8 17. Qc3

Black is paralyzed.

17... Re8 18. Nd2

My plan is to come to a5. (18. Bh3!? Ng5 19. Nxg5 Qxg5 20. e4)

18... g6 19. Nb3 Qg5 20. Na5 e4 21. h4 Qg4?

21... Qd8 was the only move

22. Qf6+-

22. Nc4

22... Rf8 23. Re7 g5 24.Rcc7 Qh5 25. Nc4!

A picturesque illustration of White's domination. Black resigns because of 25...Qg6; 26.Qxg6+ and 27. Nxd6 — Jacuzzi time.


White: Benjamin Marmont
Black: Ilya Krasik
National Open, Round 4
[B42] Sicilian Kan

After scoring a relatively easy 3/3 and occupying the top board for my section since round 2, I was feeling quite content. However, in round 4 it was almost as if a different player showed up. Disaster was close as I tightroped through a difficult position. I offered the draw when the worst was over, and my opponent to my surprise accepted. Afterwards I showed him many ways he could have broken through. In analysis he appeared weak and unsure. I couldn't believe I drew him, but then again I was close to the edge and all in all had to be quite content with the result.

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Bd3 Bc5 6. Nb3 Be7 7. O-O Nc6

7... d6 8. Qg4 g6 (8...Bf6)

8. Qg4 Bf6 9. Nc3 d6 10. f4 Qc7

11. Bd2 Nge7 12. Rae1 e5?!

12... Ng6 13. Qh5 (13. e5 dxe5 14. f5) 13... O-O?! 14. e5! dxe5 15. N e 4 with an attack.

13. f5 Bd7 14. a3?

14. Bg5 h5! 15. Qh4 and Black's position is very unpleasant (15. Qg3 h4 16. Qg4 h3 17. g3 Bxg5 18. Qxg5)

14... g6?

Just plainly stupid, since if I ever take on f5 his knight will come to e4 with devastating effect. I realized this sad reality as soon as I moved. Why does this happen?! (14... O-O 15. Bh6 (15. Bg5))

15. Qf3 g5

At least, admitting my stupidity.

16. Kh1?

I mostly feared

16. Qh5 16...h5 17. Qf2 b5

Played with a heavy heart as it loosens light squares on the queenside, especially c6. But, on the other hand, I wanted to pretend that I had something active to do, a good strategy against a somewhat weaker player in anticipation of a draw offer. (17... O-O-O 18. Be3 +-)

18. Nd5


18... Nxd5 19. exd5 Ne7

Here I began to think that I was toast again. White just needs to open lines with a timely c4... I felt as if someone had loaded a gun and pointed it at me. I closed my eyes but the gun never fired.

20. Be4

20. Ba5! Qb7 21. Nd2! Nxd5 22. Ne4 Qc6 (22... Ke7 23. c4) 23. c4+-

20... Rb8 21. Na5 Qb6 22. Qe2

22. Qxb6 Rxb6 23. c4 +/-

22... Rc8 23. b4 Kf8 24. Be3 Qb8 25. Rc1 Kg7+/-

Here I offered a draw, which was accepted. Had I been White there is no chance I would have accepted it.


To be continued in the July- September issue.