Chess - The Scotsman 01/06/12

ONE of chess’s enduring myths is that the only proper tournament is a round-robin, in which each player is paired with every other player. Anything else is a “lottery.”

But the Swiss system, in which players with the same score are paired, has several advantages over a round-robin; the biggest one being it can cater best for the masses. The “lottery” label comes from complaints that the winner of a Swiss benefits from lucky pairings and faces weaker players than his rivals.

This system dates back to Zurich chess tournaments in the 19th century, but its popularity increased dramatically through the 1960s and beyond with usage in chess tournaments in the United States. There are still many major Swiss Opens there, the latest the Chicago Open won last weekend by the visiting Armenian grandmaster, Gabriel Sargissian, whose score of 7/9 was enough to win the £6,600 top prize. He finished a half point ahead of the cosmopolitan pack of GM Robert Hess (USA), GM Tamaz Gelashvilli (Georgia), GM Alejandro Ramirez (USA), GM Milos Perunovic (Serbia), GM Nikola Mitkov (Macedonia), GM Mesgen Amanov (Turkmenistan) and IM Daniel Ludwig (USA).

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Scots playing in US Swiss Opens are few and far between, but Daniel McGowan, from Tiree, made the trip to Chicago, but found the going tough, finishing in equal 77th place with a score of 3/9.

G Sargissian - T Gelashvili

Chicago Open, (8)

Queen’s Gambit Declined,

1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 c4 d5 4 Nc3 Bb4 5 cxd5 exd5 6 Bg5 h6 7 Bh4 c5 8 e3 0–0 9 Bd3 c4 10 Bc2 Nbd7 11 0–0 Qa5 12 Ne2 Re8 13 b3 Ba3 14 Bf5 b5 15 Qc2 Bb7 16 Rab1 a6 17 Bg3 Nf8 18 Ne5 g6 19 Bh3 Qd8 20 f3 Qe7 21 Bh4 N8h7 22 g4 Ng5 23 Bg2 Nd7 24 f4 Nxe5 25 fxe5 Nh3+ 26 Bxh3 Qxh4 27 Nf4 Bf8 28 Kh1 Bg7 29 Bg2 cxb3 30 Qxb3 Qxg4 31 Nxd5 Qd7 32 e4 Rad8 33 Rf4 Rf8 34 Rbf1 Bc6 35 Nf6+ Bxf6 36 Rxf6 Kg7 37 d5 Bb7 38 e6! fxe6 39 Qc3 e5 40 Qxe5 Rxf6 41 Rxf6 Kh7 42 Re6 1–0