Hi everyone! This is Ray Robson from Las Vegas. I have just finished playing in the National Open, and I will be going home soon. In the end I finished with a good 4.5/6. Here is a short recap of my games:

Round 1 black vs. Gutman. In the first round I was black against an Expert. I was able to quickly seize the initiative and finished the game with an exchange sacrifice to open up my opponent’s king. Round 2 white vs. Sandager. My opponent offered to play the Marshall Attack in the Ruy Lopez, but instead I made it an Anti-Marshall. I thought a long time about playing the sacrifice 17.Bxf7+, but in the end I decided not to. Instead I played a different sacrifice with 17.Re3 and 18.Rg3. I am not sure if this sacrifice is completely correct, but after his move 18…Nbd4 I think the next moves were forced. I was able to get 5 pawns for a piece and won the game by eventually pushing my pawns forward.

Next, I had three games against grandmasters. Round 3 black vs. Akobian. I had played Akobian three times before this game and had lost them all. In this game we played the Shirov/Shabalov gambit in the Semi-Slav. I think I was just trying to get equal chances the whole game, and I eventually did. At move 24 my opponent offered a draw in an approximately equal rook endgame, and I accepted. Round 4 white vs. Yermolinsky. I had played Yermolinsky in only one game before, which was in the U.S. Championship Qualifier in Tulsa. In that game I had lost badly as white in a Ruy Lopez. We played another Lopez, but Yermolinsky played a different variation (5…Bc5 instead of Be7). Perhaps I could have gotten a slight edge in the opening but I didn’t see how to. My opponent found the strong plan with Kh8 and Ng8 to prepare f5. Although the position may still be about equal, I didn’t like it from my side of the board. Therefore, I offered a draw, which my opponent accepted. Round 5 black vs. Erenburg. The pairings were up early for this round, so I was able to prepare a little bit. We played a Rauzer and followed my preparation until move 21. My opponent thought a long time and played Qh4 followed by Qf6, trying to penetrate into my king’s position and threatening Bh6. Fortunately, I have the exchange sacrifice that I played, after which I think our next moves were pretty much forced and the game was a draw. By the way, if 24. Bh6 I have Qxc2+! 25. Kxc2 Be4+ 26.Kb1 Rxd1++.

 Round 6 white vs. Brigljevic. I didn’t play the opening too well in this last round game, and I think my opponent had good chances. However, he let me slowly improve my position. My opponent’s position was still solid, so it wasn’t clear if I could break through. Eventually I was able to win a pawn right before time control and then another one in my opponent’s time-trouble. My opponent sacrificed his bishop, perhaps thinking I couldn’t take it. However, everything was covered, and I won in a few moves. I was glad to end the tournament with a win.

 This is my first blog, and I’m still learning how to use the tools. Until I can get my games posted, you can always refer to the MonRoi site to see the games discussed above.


Ray Robson

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