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  • Michael Presutti

My Accidental Trip to the USCF National Senior Invitational Tournament Who Says there is no luck in

Photo by Adam Porth

On June 9, 2018 the Idaho State Chess Association held a Senior Open Chess Tournament at Boise State University to determine who would represent Idaho at the first ever USCF Senior Invitational Chess Tournament. This prestigious national tournament would be comprised of the qualifying senior tournament winner from each state. As you might expect, the list of participants from the large population states read like a veritable “who’s - who” in American Chess. The national tournament would be held at the end of July into the first week of August during the US Open, Denker HS Championship, Girls Tournament of Champions and Barber K-8 Champion events in Madison, Wisconsin.

At the Idaho Senior qualifier I finished a disappointing third behind tournament winner, Utah’s Hans Morrow (you can find analysis of my loss to Hans in the August 2018 issue of Northwest Chess) Idaho senior, Janos Fuscko finished second on tiebreaks and since Hans was not an Idaho resident Janos was to be the Idaho representative.

July 4th, our Idaho State Chess Association President, Adam Porth phoned to explain that Janos would be out of the country and ask if I might be interested in representing our fair state at the national event. Yes!

It’s Green in Madsion, but the Chessplayers are gray!

This heading is not entirely true. Have you ever been to a national chess tournament? You owe yourself this treat. The majority of players at these events are young, enthusiastic and dedicated. Their passion for our game is incredible. You’ll definitely not be the: “Smartest Guy in the Room” because the young players, here for their respective championships, are strong!

The playing hall is cathedral-like with hundreds players sitting across from one another gazing at positions and planning. The silence in a room with hundreds of people engaged in head-to-head competition is amazing.

Forty two players representing forty one states played the senior tournament, the host state is allowed two players. The highest rated player going into the tournament, Alex Fishbein (USCF 2571) representing New Jersey. won his last round over the number three seed Alonzo Zapata representing Georgia. Alex was in Madison with his son Mitch who was the Denker HS representative for New Jersey. I first met Alex in Colorado when he was 15 years old and playing a simultaneous exhibition to raise money for his trip to the Denker! He won that tournament too, full circle! He hasn’t changed at all, pleasant, knowledgeable a gentleman. But, now he’s a SENIOR. Whew I feel old!

I started the tournament seeded 38th in the field and finished 24th with three points out of a possible six, two victories, two losses and two draws. My rating as I began the tournament was 1743 and post tourney was 1830. Shown below is my 6th round victory over Edward Garner of West Virginia for which I receive the upset award, $50.00!

I wish to extend a special thank you to our State Association President, Adam Porth and his family who were there to play in the Barber and Girls tournaments of Champions and the US Open.

This year’s Denker HS Champion and Barber Champions were from Virginia. International Master, PRAVEEN BALAKRISHNAN has won The Denker tournament two years in a row! The Barber K-8 Champion ANDY HUANG is a National Master. The Girl’s Champion is out of Oklahoma, Veronika Zilajeva and rated 2078!

As I submit this article they are still playing the US Open.

Adam Porth, Michael Presutti, Daniel Duan, Dylan Porth, Kevin Xu, Mr. Barber

[Event "USCF Senior Invitational"]

[Site "Middleton, WI"]

[Date "2018.07.31"]

[Round "6"]

[White "Presutti, Michael"]

[Black "Garner, Edward"]

[Result "1-0"]

[BlackElo "1918"]

[ECO "A80"]

[TimeControl "G-60, Increment-30 seconds per move"]

[WhiteElo "1760"]

I won the 6th round upset prize on this game.

1. d4 f5 2. Bg5 h6

3. Bh4 In this offbeat defense against the Dutch Black is willing to sac a

piece as early as move six in return for a lasting initiative and a lead

in development. A miniature, after trading errors I'm rewarded with a quick mate. 3... g5

4. e4 Nf6 There are a couple of branches here for White.

The line shown below beginning with 5. e5, is the line most explored (analysis by Houdini).

Yet another line is 5. Bg3.

As played, 5. Be2 has not been explored much.

5. Be2 (5. e5 e6 6. Bg3 f4 7. exf6 Qxf6 8. Qh5+ Kd8 9. Nf3 Nc6 10. c3 e5 11. d5 e4 12. dxc6 fxg3 13. hxg3 exf3 14. Qxf3 Qxf3 15. gxf3 bxc6 16. Nd2 d5 17. O-O-O Bd7 18. Bh3 Bd6 19. Nb3 h5 20. Nd4)

5... Nf6 6. e5 Nd5 7. Bh5+ Kf8 8. Bg3 e6

(8... d6 9. c4 Nb6 10. Nc3

Nc6 11. Nge2 dxe5 12. d5 Nd4 13. Bxe5 Bxe5 14. Nxd4 Nxc4 15. Qe2 c5 16. Ne6+

Bxe6 17. dxe6 Bxc3+ 18. bxc3 Qd5 19. Rd1 Qe4 20. Qxe4 fxe4 21. Rd7 Ne5 22.

Rxb7 Kg7 )

9. Nf3 f4 10. O-O Nc6 11. c4 Nde7

12. Nc3 Nf5

13. Qd3 What a crazy position! Black is offered the Bishop on

g3 for many moves but declines the offer because he does not wish to open

the f-file for White's Rook.13... d5

14. cxd5 Nb4 15. Qb5 ?! Nxd5 16. Nxd5 exd5

17. Rac1 {Not the best choice} 17... c6

18. Qb3 {Another

2nd best choice by White and Black is again better. 18... Rb8 {An error

by Black.} (18... Kg8 19. Rce1 Qb6 20. Qc3 Be6 21. Bxf4 gxf4 22. Qd2 Kh7 23.

Qxf4 Rhf8 24. Qd2 Qd8 25. g3 Kg8 26. Qd3 Qb6 27. Rc1 Rac8 28. Rc3 a5 29. Re1

Ne7 30. Qd2 a4 31. Rec1 Bf5 )

19. Rxc6 Ne7? It can be difficult to regroup after protracted defense and then a lapse in judgement.

20. Rd6 Qc7 ?

21. Qc3 Qxc3 And Black resigns in light of 22. Rd8++1-0

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