The 2011 Emory Castle Grand Prix in Atlanta, GA featured an impressive lineup with GMs Ramirez, Becerra and De Firmian – and IMs Ludwig, Burnett, and Perdomo. GM Alejandro Ramirez was the tournament favorite and met expectations, winning 4 games and drawing GM Julio Becerra to win the tournament outright with 4.5/5 points and $1500. I was also impressed with FM Kazim Gulamali’s play, as he achieved a very nice attacking win against GM Nick De Firmian in round 4. Gulamali’s hopes to win the tournament were shattered by a round 5 defeat at the hands of a determined Ramirez. Expert Jim Mundy had a fantastic result in the Premier section, boosting his rating by over 30 points and winning the Under 2200 prize of $600. Jim is one of the nicest guys in chess, and it’s great to see him rapidly progressing towards the Master title.
Will Stewart ties GM Becerra and IM Burnett for 2nd place in premier section.
I was fortunate enough to have a good tournament, tying for 2nd in the Premier Section (top rated) with GM Julio Becerra and IM Ron Burnett. I know my readers have asked that I post more of my own games so here it is. This is the 1st time on my website that I’ve had the chance to cover one of my own tournaments. Here are a few key positions from my tournament games.
Round 1 Game against Danny Angermeir
My round 1 game against 11 year-old Danny Angermeier went smoothly as I was able to thematically sacrifice a pawn with 15. …d5! to break open the center from the black side of a Sicilian Najdorf, achieving a decisive advantage from the resulting complications. Danny is on the top 10 national rating list for his age group, and I expect big things in the future from this talented young man.
Angermeier Vs Stewart – Position After 15. …d5!
Round 2 – GM Ramirez beats me after a tough battle
Round 2 was a little bit tougher, as I faced GM Alejandro Ramirez. Before the game, it was nice to talk to Alejandro as he is from Costa Rica and I’m moving there in 1 week. I was pleasantly informed that my future neighborhood in San Jose is “not that dangerous”. I’ll take his word for it. Anyways, he really confused me with his interpretation of the Alekhine Defense. I was able to keep up with him well in the opening, however I pushed too hard for a positional advantage with 24. Rac1? – dropping the f4 pawn. To be honest, I was trying to bluff that I could trap his rook on f4 and I didn’t think he would take the pawn. I really need to stop playing poker and focus more on chess. After 24. …Rxf4, I figured out that he indeed could take the pawn without losing his rook and sunk into a deep thought on how I could win his c6 pawn while holding my weak pawn on e5. This cost me, as I was forced to play the rest of the game in time trouble. Ramirez played quickly and confidently, demonstrating his intuitive strength in the game. I was disappointed to lose this game, as I felt I had played well in the opening and had good chances to win. I think I went a little too far trying to bluff a 2650 GM, but as Atlanta chess icon Oddo Fox would say “You got to give a little to get a little”
Stewart vs Ramirez – Position After 24. Rac1?
Don’t try bluffing GrandMasters – William Stewart
Defeated my long time friend LM Richard Francisco in Round 5
I had to play long-time friend Richard Francisco for all the marbles in round 5, leading to a complicated showdown. Richard is one of the best players in Georgia and his opening knowledge is extensive. I attempted to vary the move order in the opening to throw him off, however he was able to steer the game into a favorable version of the English Attack against my Sicilian Najdorf Defense. I played the opening inaccurately and white was able to generate a very dangerous attack against my king, so I attempted to complicate the position as much as possible. After 26. Qg4, I thought I had simply dropped my knight on h5 due to 26. …Nf4 27. e7 Qxe7 28. Qxc8 winning a rook. However, I was fortunate to find the only defense, 26. …g6! barely defending due to 27. Qxh5 Rf1+! 28. Rxf1 gxh5. My position was certainly worse before 26. …g6, and I was lucky to find this saving move. After this, I began creating threats against white’s king and was able to consolidate my position and successfully convert my counterattack (specifically due to white’s inability to activate his Nb1). Richard had a solid tournament and is always a very dangerous opponent.
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