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Bill Smith Open Round 5 - The Ten Minute Blitz

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Gregg Fritchle and David Argall in post-game analysis.
Gregg Fritchle and David Argall in post-game analysis.
The penultimate round of the Bill Smith Open produced two clear leaders in Gregg Fritchle (2066) and Mike Carlson (2062). The two will play each other next week to decide the tournament winner. An accident on the 210 freeway meant several players arrived late but nobody defaulted on time.

Gregg Fritchle faced off against David Argall (2000) on top board, the game being concluded in near record time (less than 10 minutes!). Argall is known to play quickly but few could have predicted such a swift end to the game. Argall played white and faced Fritchle's Sicilian Najdorf. He castled queenside but black's attack was faster, with his queen and rook battery on the c-file helping secure the win. The result means Fritchle is on 4.5/5 going into the final round next week.

On board 2, Mike Carlson took on Matthew Hayes (2064) with the white pieces. Carlson played a Stonewall System with white and an interesting middlegame promised to ensue. Unfortunately, black blundered a knight when daydreaming about an upcoming combination and had to make the best of it by then sacrificing the exchange for a bunch of pawns. Indeed, at one stage black had five pawns for the rook he was now down, in theory full compensation for the piece. However, black had weak dark squares around his king, forcing resignation when white threatened to invade with his queen and rook.

On board 3, Michael Cooper (2050) beat Dave Matson (1987) with the white pieces. This was a game that largely hinged on the endgame, with white up a piece for a pawn. According to the computer, both players missed chances with white blundering into what should have been a drawn position but black failing to take advantage of it. In the end, white's extra piece proved decisive and Matson ran out of drawing opportunities.

Ron Morris (1831) had the black pieces against Dane Hinrichsen (2000) on board 4 and was able to pick up an upset win over the former Master. This is one of Morris' best ever results in Arcadia and puts him in contention for a class prize depending on his result (and the results of others) next week.

The evening's only upset came courtesy of Cory Chen (1514), who has been picking up quite a few high rated scalps lately. This time his opponent was Bill Kiplinger (1809), who at least faired better than some of Chen's other victims by drawing their game. Chen even had the black pieces, making for quite an impressive result.

The Bill Smith Open will conclude Monday, August 13.