Saturday, May 11, 2013

Norowitz Batting .438 Heading into Final Round

Former Kenilworth Chess Club champion and IM-elect Yaacov Norowitz continued his solid play at the U.S. Chess Championship, drawing in the penultimate round against the young IM-elect Sam Sevian after holding a clear edge through much of the ending.  He stands at 3.5/8 going into the final round.  In Round 6, Yaacov had clear winning chances after gaining the Exchange against Varuzhan Akobian, but he had to settle for a draw after giving Black too much counter-play, which required him to give back the Exchange to gain a drawn Queen ending.  In Round 7, Yaacov got in trouble with his Larsen Caro-Kann (1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Nxf6 gxf6) against GM Sam Shankland.  That opening has accounted for both of his losses in the tournament.  Interestingly, he made no obvious errors after the opening.  So you have to wonder if he just needs a more solid main line as Black if he is going to succeed at this level.  I have annotated his games from Rounds 6 & 7 below, or you can download the PGN.

During the coverage today, we got a better view of just how Yaacov's "stickers" work (see photos below).  As discussed previously, the rules for observant Jews require no writing on the Sabbath, so the stickers (which Doc Lewis invented) are a rather original solution to the problem this presents.  I wonder if the late GM Sammy Reshevsky would have considered this possibility? Besides solving the problem faced by Orthodox Jews, the stickers might find other uses: Jen Shahade has suggested they would make for a fun way to teach youngsters how to record their games.

A close-up on Yaacov's stickers.

Yaacov's stickers to the left of him, scoresheet to the right.

In other news, GM Gata Kamsky only managed a draw against GM Timur Gareev, which means that everything will depend on the final round tomorrow.  Among those with a chance to win the tournament is GM Conrad Holt, a young college student playing in his first U.S. Championship.  In the Women's event, IM Irina Krush won against WGM Tatev Abrahamyan, her closest rival, and is guaranteed at least a part of first place even if she loses on Sunday.  During the live coverage, GM Yasser Seirawan pointed out that Abrahamyan missed a surprising resource late in the game when it looked like Krush was easily winning due to her powerful passed pawn at g2.  Can you find the move that both players missed?

Krush - Abrahamyan
White to play after 43...g2