US National Open produces some sizzling play in Las Vegas

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.

Perhaps a world separates the near-perfect chess of world championship contender Gary Kasparov and the two-round-a-day, fast-time-limit, long-weekend tournaments typical of most United States play. One of the more prestigious events of this type, the National Open, took place recently at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, Nev.

Several international grandmasters and all three current US co-champions were included in the field of 501 competitors. The winner on tiebreak was GM Walter Browne, a US co-champion from Berkeley, Calif., who scored 51/2 out of six games. Also tied with 51/2 points were GM Lubomir Kavalek of Reston, Va., International Master David Strauss of Dana Point, Calif., and National Masters Luismar Brito of Brazil, James Banks of San Diego, and your columnist. The other US co-champions, Roman Dzindzichashvili of Corona, N.Y., and Larry Christiansen of Los Angeles, finished with 5 and 41/2 points, respectively.

The aura of the casinos seemed to pervade the play, as much exciting chess was produced, including my last-round win over Ray Schutt, which was necessary to tie for the championship.

Nimzo-Indian Defense Schutt Bisguier 1. P-Q4 WSN-KB3 2. P-QB4 WSP-K3 3. N-QB3 WSB-N5 4. P-K3 WSP-QN3 5. N-K2 WSN-K5 6. Q-B2 (a) WSB-N2 7. P-QR3 (b) WSBxN ch 8. NxB WSP-KB4 9. P-QN4 WSO-O 10. B-N2 WSQ-K2 11. O-O-O WSP-QR4 12. P-N5 WSP-Q4 13. P-B3 WSNxN 14. QxN WSP-B3 (c) 15. P-QR4 WSBPxP 16. RPxP WSR-B1 17. B-R3 WSQ-B3 18. K-N2 (d) WSPxP 19. R-B1 (e) WSB-Q4 20. B-K2 WSN-Q2 21. B-Q6 (f) WSQ-N3 (g) 22. KR-N1 WSN-B3 23. Q-R3 (h) WSP-R5 24. P-N4 WSQ-K1 25. PxP (i) WSPxP 26. B-K5 WSK-R1 (j) 27. K-R1 WSR-R2 28. R-N5 WSQxP (k) 29. R-QN1 (l) WSQ-B3 30. RxBP WSP-B6 31. B-N5 WSQ-K3 32. P-K4 WSP-B7 33. R-N1 WSQ-K2 34. B-Q6 WSP-B8(Q) ch 35. RxQ WSRxR ch 36. K-N2 (m) WSR(R)-B2 (n) 37. B-Q3 (o) WSQ-Q2 38. BxR (p) WSQxB 39. RxB (q) WSR-KR8 (r) 40. Q-B8 ch WSN-N1 41. R-QB5 (s) WSPxR 42. B-B4 WSQ-N3 ch 43. K-B2 WSQ-N8 ch 44. K-Q2 WSRxP ch 45. Resigns

A. Best. Inferior alternatives are 6. P-QR3, Q-R5; 7. P-KN3, Q-B3; 8. P-B4, BxN ch; 9. NxB, NxN; 10. PxN, B-N2 and 6. P-B3, BxN ch (6. . . . NxN; 7. PxN, B-K2 or 7. . . . B-Q3 are interesting alternatives); 7. PxB, N-Q3; 8. N-N3, N-B3 , intending 9. . . . B-R3 or, if 9. Q-R4, P-KB4. All variations lead toward interesting, double-edged play, with White's extended pawns offering Black convenient targets for attack.

B. Again best. 7. P-B3, BxN ch; 8. PxB (8. NxB?, Q-R5 ch; 9. P-N3, NxP wins for Black), N-Q3; 9. N-N3, Q-R5; 10. B-Q3, P-KB4, with good play for Black.

C. At this point I was happy with the position, anticipating opening files on the queenside to get at the White king.

D. White coolly sacrifices a pawn to block the queenside and subsequently obtains effective play on the kingside and in the center.

E. Naturally not 19. BxP, B-Q4, but now White threatens to recapture with 20. BxP, B-Q4; 21. Q-N3 or 21. Q-Q3, with advantage.

F. Another fine maneuver. Despite the pawn plus, I was beginning to feel unhappy with the Black position.

G. Seeking counterplay on the Black QNP (not KNP).

H. To meet 23. . . . Q-K1 with 24. Q-R4, when White can get around to recapturing the QBP with advantage. Black plays 23. . . . P-R5 to prevent 24. Q-R4.

I. White blithely ignores the attack on his QNP. Now if 25. . . . QxP ch; 26. K-R1, Q-N6; 27. P-K4. If 26. . . . PxP, 27. B-K5 transposes into the following note.

J. Now against 26. . . . QxP ch; 27. K-R1, Q-B3, White has 28. RxP ch, KxR; 29. Q-K7 ch, since 29. . . . B-B2; 30. R-N1 ch is lethal.

K. At last, Black will obtain some counterplay.

L. Preventing 29. . . . Q-N6, when 30. . . . P-B6 would follow any White queen move (other than 30. QxQ, when 30. . . . RPxQ ch and Black's connected pawns should win).

M. With but a couple of minutes left on his clock to complete the 45-move time control, White goes astray. Here 36. QxR, QxB; 37. RxB! (37. PxB, R-B2 (38. B-B6?, NxP; 39. RxN, QxR) should win for Black, as the White king is vulnerable) should have been played, with difficult problems for both players. White's strong central pawns are excellent compensation for his vulnerable King. A possible continuation is 37. . . . Q-N1; 38. R-KB5, R-QB2; 39. B-B6, R-B1; 40. P-Q5 (40. P-K5?, N-Q4), QxP, and the game goes on.

N. It's easy to overlook this move. Now if 37. BxQ, R(2) B7 mates.

O. 37. BxR, R-B7 ch or 37. . . . R-N8 ch snares the White queen.

P. 38. PxB, R(2) B6 wins.

Q. 39. PxB, R-KR8; 40. B-B2, RxP; 41. QxP, P-N4; 42. Q-R8 ch, N-N1; 43. Q-B6, Q-R2; 44. Q-B5, Q-R5 should win for Black, who threatens 45. . . . P-N5 and 46. . . . P-N6 or 46. . . . Q-R6 ch. After 44. . . . Q-R5, White cannot hold with 45 . R-B8, as 45. . . . RxB ch; 46. QxR, Q-N5 ch wins the Black rook.

R. Finally the win is clear. Black threatens 40. . . . Q-B8 ch, mating, as well as 40. . . . RxP ch. The attempt to defend by 40. B-B2, RxP; 41. QxP loses the K-and-P endgame after 41. . . . QxB ch; 42. QxQ, RxQ ch; 43. KxR, NxR; 44. PxN, K-N1, and Black halts the QP while White is powerless to stay both the Black KRP and QNP.

S. Now Black can't defend mate, but he can mate White first.

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