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Istvanyi Open Round 4 - The Mice Come Out to Play

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Queena Deng in her win over Hector Valdez.
Queena Deng in her win over Hector Valdez.
The Istvanyi Open resumed last night with an unusual list of players on the top few boards. Taking advantage of the higher rated players' lapses were Stephanie Shao (1814), Danny Machuca (1731), Bob Head (1479), and Cory Chen (1273). They were all playing on boards 1-4 and have had superb tournaments so far. Apparently it's quite true that, when the cats are away, the mice do indeed come out to play!

Shao and Machuca met on board 1 and the position seemed fairly even for a while. Eventually, Machuca - who had black - was able to pry open the h file, making life uncomfortable for Shao's king. Trading one pair of rooks helped white avoid any immediate mating threats but control of the h file still gave black a significant positional advantage and he was able to make this count to pull out the win.

On board 2, Bob Head had black against Michael Cooper (2057) and soon found himself in trouble in the opening, a Scandinavian. White took full advantage by advancing his g and h pawns menacingly, ripping open the black king's pawn cover. Black resigned when white played d5, uncovering a deadly discovered check by his dark squared bishop, which would have lead to mate the next move.

Board 3 was the only top board to contain two "cats" as Randy Hough (2022) drew against Craig Faber (2202). Playing with the white pieces, Hough faced Faber's favorite Dutch Defense and black seemed to have some chances for a while. However, Hough was able to neutralize the situation to make a well earned draw.

On board 4, Ryan Chen had white against Jesse Victoria (2065). He put up brave resistance, and indeed the game lasted a long time, before having to capitulate. The result will likely put Victoria on top board next round.

There were also wins for experts Gregg Fritchle (2075) over Wendell Salveron (1941), Matthew Hayes (2051) over John Anderson (1944), and David Argall (2000) against Asatour Dovlatyan (1872).

Last week produced a lot of upset results and round 4 wasn't too shabby either. Firstly, Eduardo Linsangan (1823) beat Dane Hinrichsen (2000) with the black pieces. Jeffrey Chou (1330) then had an excellent draw against David Munoz (1634). Xavier Armagnac (1445) defeated Tony Grauso (1643) and Brian Phillips (894) had a win over Gabriela Yu (1001).

Finally, Johan Akesson (1516) is playing his first real tournament in 15 years and seems to have shaken off the rust very quickly. He defeated Melvin Bond (1700), and with black no less, to roll back the years.

The Istvanyi Open will continue Monday, September 24.