There were 1,014 participants competing for $105,000 in prizes at the recent New York Open. The competitors were divided into seven sections according to playing strength, with spectator interest centering primarily on the 176-player Open section, which featured no fewer than 17 grandmasters. When all the wood had been chopped, Kevin Spraggett, a 29-year-old international master from Montreal, was the surprise victor, scoring seven points out of eight games. Among his more prominent victims were American GMs Yasser Seirawan, Lev Alburt, and Roman Dzindzichashvili, as well as IM Mehrshad Sharif of Iran.
Tied for second place were Seirawan, your correspondent, and IMs Joel Benjamin of Brooklyn and John Fedorowicz of Clearwater, Fla. Some of the more renowned also-rans included six-time US champion Walter Browne, fellow American GM Lubomir Kavalek, Florin Gheorghiu of Romania, Miguel Quinteros of Argentina, and Bent Larsen of Denmark.
Spraggett played tough, sensible chess throughout, always keeping his cool right through to his $10,000 final-round victory, which follows. In this game, his opening play was very solid, if uninspired. Going into the final round, he was half a point ahead of his formidable adversary, as well as the rest of the field, so a draw would ensure that he would at least tie for first while Dzindzichashvili needed a win, which probably accounts for Black's taking risks and finally capturing a tainted pawn. The finish is full of many beautiful tactical points which more than compensate for the slow early maneuvering.
English Opening Sprag- Dzindzi- gett chashvili 1. P-QB4 P-QN3 2. P-QN3 B-N2 3. B-N2 P-K3 4. N-KB3 P-KB4 5. P-N3 N-KB3 6. B-N2 P-N3 7. O-O B-N2 8. N-B3 O-O 9. P-Q3 P-B4 10. P-K3 Q-B2 11. Q-K2 P-Q4 12. QR-B1 PxP (a) 13. NPxP (b) N-B3 14. KR-Q1 QR-Q1 15. P-Q4 KR-K1 16. B-R3 N-QN5 (c) 17. N-K5 BxB 18. KxB Q-N2 ch 19. K-N1 N-K5 20. NxN QxN 21. BxN PxB 22. P-B3 Q-N2 23. N-Q3 P-QR4 24. P-B5 R-QB1 25. K-N2 B-B1 (d) 26. N-K5 (e) PxP 27. PxP RxP (f) 28. RxR BxR 29. N-Q7 (g) B-K2 30. Q-B4 B-Q1 (h) 31. R-Q6 K-N2 (i) 32. Q-Q4 ch K-R3 33. N-K5 Resigns (j)
A. To close the QB file. Otherwise Black would have to reckon with White's playing PxP and a subsequent P-Q4, when the position of the Black Queen vis-a-vis the White Rook could spell trouble.
B. The right recapture, yielding a potentially strong central pawn majority.
C. The text yields control of White's K5; hence we would prefer 16. . . . B-B 1.
D. For the second time, yielding control of White's K5. The consequences this time are disastrous.
E. A beautiful pawn sacrifice, which capitalizes on the power of White's knight in conjunction with his control of the Q file. Black is virtually forced to accept the offering, as otherwise White threatens Q-N5, P-B6, or both.
F. Even less promising is 27. . . . BxP; 28. R-Q7, Q-N3; 29. Q-N2, B-B1 (White threatened 30. N-B4 or 30. N-N4); 30. NxP, PxN; 31. Q-B6, B-K2; 32. RxB, RxR (K); 33. RxR ch, K-R2; 34. R-R8 mate.
G. Black may have overlooked this knockout.
H. Or 30. . . . K-B2; 31. N-K5 ch, K-B3; 32. Q-Q4! (but not 32. Q-R4 ch, K-N2 ; 33. R-Q7, QxR), and Black is in a Gordian knot, one threat being 33. N-N4 ch, K-B2; 34. N-R6 ch, K-B1; 35. Q-R8 mate; and if 32. . . . P-N4; 33. P-R4, PxP (33 . . . . P-R3; 34. P-R5 and N-N4 ch wins, as before), then 34. QxP ch, K-N2 (34. . . . KxN; 35. Q-Q4 is mate); 35. Q-R5, R-Q1 (35. . . . R-KB1; 36. R-Q7); 36. Q-B7 ch, K-R1; 37. RxR ch.
I. 31. . . . K-B2; 32. N-K5 ch, K-B3; 33. Q-Q4!, much as in the previous note.
J. Black is defenseless. White is threatening 34. RxB, and 33. . . . B-B3; 34 . R-Q7, Q-B1 (34. . . . BxN; 35. Q-R4 mate); 35. Q-R7, R-R1 (35. . . . BxN; 36. RxP ch, K-N4; 37. P-R4 ch, mates); 36. N-B7 ch, K-R4; 37. NxR. At any time Black can indulge in a single innocuous check at his QB7, but White plays K-R3. International Grandmaster Arthur Bisguier is a former US champion, has won or shared the US Open title five times, and has captured virtually every other major tournament in this country at least once during more than three decades of competition.