Gata Kamsky wins Foxwoods Open

4/11/2007 – This US Swiss tournament is quite extraordinary, especially to European minds: it is held in the world's biggest casino, the entry fees range from $100 to $300, the prize fund is unclear until all participants have registered (but is guaranteed for $100,000), and the players must bring their own clocks. Top US grandmaster Gata Kamsky won first prize in a blitz tiebreak against Zviad Izoria. Report.

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The Foxwoods Open was held from April 5th to 8th, 2007 in the Foxwoods Resort Casino + Hotel, Ledyard, Connecticut. Foxwoods is billed as the largest casino in the world, with 340,000 sq. ft (31,587 sq m) available for gaming on over 380 tables, which provide blackjack, craps, roulette, and poker. The casino has over 7,400 slot machines, the hotel 1,416 rooms.


Full information on the Foxwoods Resort + Casino

The annual Foxwoods chess tournament is one of the big Swiss events held in the US. There are high entry fees, ranging from $100 to $250 for online registry, and up to $300 if you simply show up and want to play. The prize fund is unclear since it depends on the number of participants. But the organisers project $150,000 and guarantee a minimum of $100,000. The distribution is $15,000, $8,000, $4,000, $2,500 etc. for the open section, under optimum circumstances, but can drop to under $10,000 if attendance is poor. The final prize sums were not posted on the official web site two days after the end of the event. Players are expected to bring their own clocks and play two games per day.


The winner of Foxwoods 2007: top US GM Gata Kamsky

Most of the leading GMs from America (but few foreign players) took part in this year's event, which ended in a four-way tie for first between Gata Kamsky, the top rated player in the US at 2752, Zviad Izoria (2722), Ildar Ibragimov (2675) and Alexander Stripunsky (2638). All scored seven points in nine rounds. Kamsky and Izoria led on tie break points, and a blitz decider was played by them. Gata won this in 29 moves, with the black pieces.


GM Zviad Izoria of Georgia, who took secong [photos by Michael Atkins]

One of the favourites did not fare so well: GM Hikaru Nakamura, rated 2755, finished at 4½ points at place 50. On the other hand IM Jesse Kraai, 34, who defeated Nakamura and Shabalov in this event, scored 6½ and complete his final GM norm. He still needs a few Elo points to make the 2500 rating required for the title. Note that the ratings given in the table below are US ratings. On the FIDE scale Kamsky is 2705, Ibragimov 2602, Stripunsky 2569 and Nakamura 2663.

Top standings of the Foxwoods Open Section

Rnk Name Rtng Points
1 GM Gata Kamsky 2752
7
2 GM Zviad Izoria 2722
7
3 GM Ildar Ibragimov 2675
7
4 GM Alexander Stripunsky 2638
7
5 GM Jaan Ehlvest 2675
6 GM Yury Shulman 2662
7 GM Alexander Ivanov 2646
8 GM Eugene Perelshteyn 2609
9 IM Jesse Kraai 2561
10 WGM Irina Krush 2480
11 IM David Pruess 2461
12 GM Alexander Shabalov 2656
6
13 IM Joshua E Friedel 2544
6
14 GM Dashze Sharavdorj 2522
6
15 IM Peter Vavrak 2464
6
16 IM Justin Sarkar 2438
6
17 IM David E Vigorito 2419
6

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