Annotated Game #6 from the 1998 New York Open

annotations by NM Steve Mayer

IM Asrian, Karen  (2555) - GMYermolinsky, Alex  (2650)  [B19]

1998 New York Open (Round 3)    17.03.1998


1. e4 c6

Yermo likes to win games but he doesn’t believe that it matters whether one wins quickly or slowly. As the 3rd highest rated American player in the history of the FIDE rating system, he knows that one doesn’t ‘fool around’ in round 3 of the strongest Open tournament in chess history.

2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bf5 5. Ng3 Bg6 6. h4 h6 7. Nf3 Nf6 8. h5 Bh7 9. Bd3 Bxd3 10. Qxd3 e6 11. Bd2 c5

5_1.jpg (30339 bytes)

A ‘new" idea that has fared well. It doesn’t generate a great deal in winning chances, but I haven’t met a GM yet who thinks that the move will be refuted anytime soon.

12. O-O-O Nc6 13. Bc3 Qd5 14. dxc5 Qxd3 15. Rxd3 Bxc5 16. Bxf6 gxf6 17. Ne4 Be7

Is Yermo going to lose this ending? Could he? Of course, but how would yoy have ‘bet’ if you were in the room?

18. Rhd1 Rg8 19. g3 Rc8 20. Nd6+ Bxd6 21. Rxd6 Rc7

5_2.jpg (29819 bytes)

Exactly! If rooks like 7th ranks, then they must also like 2nd ranks. Now Asrian must find something different than the usual recipe.

22. R6d3 Ke7 23. Rc3 Rgc8 24. Nd4 Nxd4 25. Rxc7+ Rxc7 26. Rxd4 Rc5 27. Rh4 Rf5 28. Rh2 Re5 1/2-1/2

No surprise; neither side has an attackable weakness.

Each round sees yet another (or several) untitled players do a ‘gut check’ and withdraw from the open section. The exodus among the ambitiuous young masters is particularly perturbing as the FIDE-rated U-2400 section gets ready to start. Curious; do they really believe that they’ll win the lottery in Section II? But then why did they enter the Open section? Ask them; I have and none of them has managed to give me a reasonable answer.