Friday, March 17, 2017

Paramount Round 2

2017 Paramount - Round 2 Report

Round 2 of the Paramount is in the books - well, okay, technically three of the nine games are adjourned and two of the games have been delayed, so round 2 is 44.4% complete.  The adjourned positions are all fairly interesting, so we'll get right to those (note that white is on the bottom in all diagrams and I have listed the white player's name first in all cases):

A. Kannan - G. Birzu

Black sealed his 42nd move in this position.  The opposite color bishops mean that black has excellent drawing chances, but with two connected passed pawns, black will have to find at least a few accurate moves to hold the draw.

Note that even without the black g pawn the position is a tablebase draw, however white's pawns are both on light squares, so black will have to find the correct defensive idea in order to hold the balance.

N. Christiansen - E. Astrachan

White sealed her 47th move here.  The game started as an interesting Morra Gambit declined, and white outplayed black well into the middle game after black chose the incorrect development plan.  However, white allowed a tactical trick and black won two pieces for a rook.  I looked at the position right around time control (move 40), and I thought that white had decent chances to hold the endgame by activating her king and counter-attacking on the kingside.  The adjourned position, however, is very good for black, and black should have a few options to reel in the full point.

R. Oresick - T. Pendergast

Black (obviously) was the player to seal his move.  It's a little bit of a disadvantage to seal a move in this position because black has so few options.  Black must get out of check, and two of the ways to do that are very bad.  Without giving away too much, white will have excellent winning chances in this rook endgame with the extra pawn if he finds the correct idea.  Dvoretsky's endgame manual goes into great depth when it comes to these positions, and both players should probably spend some time looking at example games before resuming play.  After the game is completed, I will share some more of my thoughts.

Adjourned games from round 1

If you remember, there were two adjourned games from the first round.  I've already analyzed my game with Gabe Birzu, but the game between Atul and Natasha was also completed over this last weekend.  Atul managed to win the game with a few nice tricks:

[Event "BCF Paramount 2017"] [Site "?"] [Date "2017.03.11"] [Round "1"] [White "Kannan, Atul"] [Black "Christiansen, Natasha"] [Result "1-0"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/8/3K4/8/6kP/4R1P1/5r2/8 w - - 0 66"] [PlyCount "21"] 66. Kd7 Rf1 67. Kd8 Rf5 68. Ke7 Rf2 69. Ke6 Rf1 70. Ke5 Rf2 (70... Rf8 71. Kd4 (71. Re1 $4 Re8+) 71... Rf7 72. Re1 Kxg3 73. h5 Kg4 74. h6 Kg5 $11) 71. Re1 Kxg3 72. h5 Kg4 73. h6 Kg5 74. h7 Rf8 75. Rg1+ Kh6 76. Rg8 1-0
Black sealed her 69th move, Rf1.  White chose to give away the g pawn and try to queen the h pawn.  In order to try to win, white had to give away one pawn or the other.  It's my humble opinion that giving away the g pawn is slightly more dangerous, but in either case, black had a relatively simple drawing plan.  The correct drawing plan was to keep the black rook on f8 and f7, instead of on f1 and f2.  By keeping the rook in front of the pawn, black would save a full tempo over the game continuation.

The four completed round 2 games

It turns out that there were a few decisive games in the second round.  I managed to win as white against Jared Becker in an open Sicilian.  I sacrificed a pawn relatively early, an idea that I've used in blitz, but never in a serious tournament game.  Although the engine scoffs at my enterprising play, it is difficult to consolidate in an opposite side castling game, and Jared ended up in some time pressure that ultimately was my greatest asset in the position.  

Unfortunately I didn't get much of a chance to see this particular game, but Bob Sullivan won with white against Jon Lee.  The other game from the second section played this week was between Alex Paphitis and club newcomer Omkar Dixit.  It was a quiet opening, featuring three fianchettoed bishops.  As time pressure loomed, black infiltrated with his queen and rook, and managed to win a pawn.  In heartbreaking fashion, white blitzed out his 41st move, perhaps not realizing that he had made time control, and hung his entire queen.  White resigned before adjournment time.  

The third section featured a matchup between the top two rated players, Frank Frazier and Tony Cortizas.  I don't remember the exact placement of the pawns, but this diagram gives the general position.  White decided to attack the b pawn, and he played Rf5.  Black found the winning response and went on to convert without any further trouble.

Tournament statistics and a prediction contest

Since I love random statistics, I put together the expected score for each player in each section.  I used the March supplement ratings, and I rounded the scores to a single decimal place.  I can't speak for any of the other players, but my expected score is almost certainly inflated slightly because I've lost ~40 points since the March supplements were finalized.  (Does it still count as an excuse if I make it preemptively?)

Section 1

  • Andrew Hoy (2242):  7.8
  • Atul Kannan (2130):  6.2
  • Jared Becker (2043):  4.9
  • Ed Astrachan (2015):  4.4
  • Gabe Birzu (1983):  3.9
  • Natasha Christiansen (1903):  2.8

Section 2

  • Bob Sullivan (1900):  6.7
  • Ben Gunby (1898):  6.6
  • Jonathan Lee (1837):  5.7
  • Omkar Dixit (1717):  3.8
  • Alexander Paphitis (1713):  3.7
  • Larry Eldridge (1700):  3.5

Section 3

  • Frank Frazier (1697):  8.4
  • Tony Cortizas (1565):  6.9
  • Bob Oresick (1517):  6.3
  • Andrew Allerdt (1346):  4.2
  • Tom Pendergast (1274):  3.3
  • Geoff Blomerth (1001):  0.8
I don't put too much stock in expected scores, but it will be interesting to see who exceeds expectations as the tournament continues.  

Since I'm sure there are a few fans following along with this tournament, I've put together 15 yes/no style prop bet questions.  If you'd like to participate, either post your answers to the questions as a comment on this post, or print out the questions and turn in a paper copy at the club.  Since the questions all revolve around the Paramount, I'll print out a few copies for Paramount players and bring them this coming Monday.  

In order to make things fair, all of the tournament information we have so far is already posted on the wallchart ( and all of the adjourned positions are listed above.

Without further ado:
  1. Total number of draws in the tournament, over or under 12?
  2. Max rating gain for one player, over or under 100 points?
  3. Max rating loss for one player, over or under 50 points?
  4. Which will be greater, Bob Sullivan’s score or Frank’s score?
  5. Score of the second place finisher in the top section, over or under 6.5?
  6. Which will be greater, the number of Andrew’s wins or the number of Natasha’s losses?
  7. Total number of adjourned games, over or under 23?
  8. Will a player starting in the lowest 3 by rating win one of the sections?
  9. Number of top seed players that win their section, over or under 1.5?
  10. Which will be greater, Atul’s score or Bob Oresick’s score?
  11. Total number of unplayed and unrated games (eg. forfeit wins), over or under 3?
  12. Total number of black wins, over or under 37?
  13. Total number of TD rulings required, over or under 3?
  14. Which will be greater, number of winners with odd USCF ID or winners with even USCF ID?
  15. Will one of the sections have co-winners?
For tiebreak purposes, pick a player to win, place, and show in each of the three sections.

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