A glimpse of US champion Yasser Seirawan's style

The 1986 US Championship ended in a decisive victory for the popular 26-year-old Seattle grandmaster Yasser Seirawan. Yasser, a former World Junior Champion considered by many to be the nation's strongest player, was the only undefeated player in the event, with six wins and nine draws for a total of 10 points. A good example of his style is today's featured game, a sharp victory with the black pieces over International Master Michael Rohde. Lev Alburt of New York City, the champion for the past two years, and 22-year-old Joel Benjamin of Brooklyn tied for second and third places. Alburt's double-edged style of play was in evidence as usual; he won seven games, more than any other player, but was beaten three times and drew his other five contests to finish with 9 points. Benjamin, one of the youngest competitors in the tournament, achieved the same score via 6 wins, 2 losses, and 7 draws.

Next came Larry Christiansen and Lubos Kavalek, who scored 8 each to share fourth and fifth places in the 16-player tournament held at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colo., Oct. 19 through Nov. 5.

Since this year's championship was a Zonal event, the three top finishers will represent the United States in the 1987 Interzonals, the next step in the eliminations to determine a future world championship challenger. There is a possibility, however, that the International Chess Federation (FIDE) will seed Seirawan because of his high international ranking. If so, Christiansen and Kavalek will play off for the remaining spot.

All of the above prizewinners are grandmasters except Benjamin, who is expected to be accorded this honor at the next FIDE congress in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, later this month.

Seirawan's victory was good for $5,556.80, which represents 10 cents for each US Chess Federation member as of June 1, 1986. Benjamin and Alburt each received $3,250 for their efforts, and Kavalek and Christiansen, $2,250.

One indication of the strength of this year's event is that last place (16th) was taken by grandmaster Nick de Firmian, the $21,000 winner of last summer's World Open. Here his 5 points earned him $450 ($90 a point). Petroff's Defense Rohde Seirawan 1. P-K4 P-K4 2. N-KB3 N-KB3 3. NxP P-Q3 4. N-KB3 NxP 5. P-Q4 P-Q4 6. B-Q3 N-QB3 7. O-O B-K2 8. P-B4 N-N5 9. B-K2 (a) B-K3 10. N-B3 O-O 11. B-K3 P-KB4 (b) 12. P-QR3 NxN 13. NPxN N-B3 14. Q-R4 (c) P-B5 (d) 15. B-Q2 K-R1 16. QR-N1 R-QN1 17. KR-K1 PxP 18. BxQBP B-KN5 19. B-K2 P-QR3 20. P-R3 B-R4 21. N-N5 (e) BxB 22. N-K6 Q-Q4 23. RxB P-B6 (f) 24. R(K)-K1 PxP 25. NxR RxN 26. Q-Q1 (g) Q-KB4 27. KxP QxBP ch 28. K-R1 R-B6 (h) 29. R-K3 RxR 30. BxR QxB 31. Q-N4 P-KN3 32. R-KB1 K-N2 33. R-B3 Q-K8 ch 34. K-N2 BxP 35. Q-B4 Q-K2 36. R-K3 Q-B2 37. Q-K4 B-Q3 38. R-K2 N-K2 39. QxP N-Q4 40. R-KB2 N-K6 ch 41. Resigns (i)

A.A critical variation here is 9.PxP, NxB; 10.QxN, QxP; 11.R-K1, B-KB4; 12.N-B3, NxN; 13.QxN, B-K3 (and not 13....P-QB3; 14.R-K5, Q-Q2; 15.B-R6!! with great advantage to White, since 15....PxB; 16.QR-K1, B-K3; 17.P-Q5, PxP; 18.RxB is decisive); 14.QxP, B-Q3, and Black has good compensation for the gambited pawn.

B.Overprotecting the knight and presaging a kingside attack.

C.The queen is soon found to be offside. 14.PxP followed by 15.P-B4 was indicated.

D.Black usurps the initiative on the kingside with this advance. For the rest of the game White must be wary of a Black P-B6.

E.More discreet was 22.N-R2. As the play goes, Black is happy to sacrifice the exchange.

F.With this move, Black effectively shreds White's king defenses.

G.White could not allow 26....Q-B6 wtih twin threats on the KR and KB pawns, and 26.R-K3, Q-KB4 is even more effective than in the game, since the QR is also en prise.

H.This move, which threatens 29....RxP mate, is decisive, since it forces White to sacrifice a piece. White plays on until the time control, hoping for a blunder that never comes.

I.Depriving Black of the attractive conclusion that occurs after 41.K-N1, B-R7 ch.

International Grandmaster Arthur Bisguier is a former US champion and has won or shared the US Open title five times.

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