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    Montreal Round 2

    August 26, 2008 • General

    Before, I get right into this post, I’d like to start off by offering my apologies for posting blogs the day after the round. Unfortunately, after the round ends, I am usually quite tired, so I come back to the house, eat dinner and then spend the rest of the evening playing pool or just listening to some great people speak some excellent French. Therefore, it is unlikely I will be posting after rounds end.

    Yesterday, I was paired against American GM Varuzhan Akobian. I first remember seeing Akobian pop up on the American chess scene around 2001-2002. It was during this time that he emigrated from Armenia to the US and chose to live in Los Angeles. Akobian stalled somewhat after his big run during that time, but due to some good results (Gibraltar,Australia) he has improved his rating significantly to the 2600+ mark. During these past years, we have had many matchups with the overall score being +1 for him from 5 games. The lone decisive game was in the Imre Konig Memorial way back in 2002. Since then we have split the following four matchups. Onto the game!

    In the game the opening was a French defense with Akobian employing his favorite variation 3…dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 (we’ve had 3 games with this line already) after which I followed up with 5.Nf3 Ngf6 6.Bd3!? This was definitely a surprise to Varuzhan as he used quite some time before playing 6…c5. The game then went 7.Nxf6 Nxf6 8.Be3!? Although I did not know whether I would get this variation, I had done significant preparation on it before the game. He then decided to play 8…Qc7 and it was fairly standard until move 16 when he erred with 16…Nd5? If he had chosen to play 16…Rfd8 17.g5 Qf4 then the game would have remained roughly equal. However after this mistake I capitalized very quickly with 17.Qe4! leading to an unpleasant endgame. Although there were definitely some chances in this endgame, from a practical point of view it is very hard to defend and I was able to win. For further analysis on the game, you can check the games section which I will be adding this game to shortly.

    After two rounds, I now have 1.5/2 and am tied for first. Today I will be playing Canadian IM Thomas “Thoma” Roussel-Roozmon with Black and we shall see what happens. Check back tomorrow for an update on today’s game. There is also a chance I will give a little commentary on my games via ICC as well, so make sure to check both this website but also ICC.

    Hikaru!

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