Ten-way tie at the top of America's biggest Open

by ChessBase
7/13/2013 – The 2013 edition of the World Open was held in a suburb of Washington D.C. The tournament attracted over one thousand chess players, a few of which took home a good prize fund. The Open section saw a massive tie for first, but the winners of the lower sections we awarded more than $12.000 each. Report and analysis of a wild game.

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The Continental Chess Association hosted the 41st Annual World Open in Arlington, Virginia from June 29th to July 7th. The World Open is the most important open tournament in the American continent and it attracts people from all over the world. Being an American event, it is unique in many ways that are almost incomprehensible to players from more traditional chess countries.

The first and most unique part of the tournament is the immense amount of money that amateurs can win. The tournament is played in nine different sections: under 900, 1200, 1400, 1600, 1800, 2000, 2200, 2400 and Open. These rating separations are based on the United States' rating system. The Open section has a juicy first prize of $20.000, but it isn't the only high paying section. The first prize for u1800, 2000, 2200 and 2400 is an awesome $13.000, much higher than most European events that attract hoards of grandmasters. The offside is that American tournaments rarely offer 'conditions' to titled players, so the tournaments are much riskier and the entry fees are very high - about $400 per player.

Another interesting fact is that players have different 'schedules' in which to play. For example, in the Open section, there were three distinct schedules: two weekend, seven-day and  five-day. The two weekend players started on June 29th, played rounds 1-4 on that weekend, and then merged with the rest of the players the next Friday on round 5. The seven-day was one game a day starting on Monday and again merged on Friday night, while the five-day was a two game a day tournament all throughout. This can create some funny situations as in the two weekend GM Erenburg was the only titled player to register for the section and went on to win 4-0. (Although to be fair to him, in the next five games he was black against the top three seeds of the event).

The tournament had a new location this year as it was held in the Hyatt Regency in Crystal City, Virginia. Crystal City is a suburb of Washington D.C.

The Hyatt Regency was a perfect hotel for the event, comfortably hosting the over a thousand participants

A classic view of Washington D.C. with the Washington Monument obelisk in the background

The Pentagon was only one metro stop away from the playing site

Overall the tournament's organization was close to disastrous. Pairings come out between five minutes before the round and half an hour after the round is supposed to start. Only the top players are given boards and pieces to play with, which results in some hilarious situations in which top grandmasters go around the room asking to borrow a set of pieces and a clock, or where they play with miniature chess boards that an avid fan was using as a spare or a travel set. Of course the tournament is humongous, with well over one thousand participants, and it seems that year after year the organization is short on arbiters and people to make the pairings. There were some good pluses to the organization, such as the hotel location which was pristine and the Monroi live transmission which was handled by TD Haskell.

The Open tournament saw many top grandmasters play. The Cuban Federation is finally sending their players to play in America, and as such Lazaro Bruzon was the top seed of the event.

Top seed Bruzon was able to be take part of the top prize

GM Alejandro Ramirez tied for first and wrote the report you are reading! He was also featured in an article in a local Costa Rican newspaper which can be found here.

# Name Rtg St
1 GM Varuzhan Akobian 2612 KS
2 GM Yuniesky Quesada 2639 CUB
3 GM Lazaro Bruzon 2689 CUB
4 GM Viktor Laznicka 2684 CZE
5 GM Sergey Erenburg 2615 PA
6 GM Tamaz Gelashvili 2572 GEO
7 GM Parimarjan Negi 2634 IND
8 GM Alejandro Ramirez 2583 TX
9 GM Yury Shulman 2542 IL
10 GM Conrad Holt 2531 KS

In a rather bizarre occurrence, all of the top four boards ended in draws in the last round which allowed players with only 5.5/8 to win their last round and catch up with the leaders. This resulted in a massive ten way tie that severely dwindled the top prizes. Varuzhan Akobian (above) took the title and an extra $70 by beating Yuniesky Quesada in a blitz playoff.

Parimarjan Negi flew from India to play in this event and the 'warm-up' DC International, which he also won

Mackenzie Molner is America's newest GM, having just finished his requirements at the recent New York International

Czech GM Laznicka is no stranger to winning this tournament: he claimed top honors by himself in the 2010 edition

No GM norms were achieved, but US Women's Champion Irina Krush came very close being only half a point away

Awonder Liang, only ten years old, had a very impressive 4.0/9 score

Another young talent, 14-year-old Luke Harmon Velotti, is sporting a University of California Los Angeles sweater because he will be attending there in the Fall

Next year's edition will be held again in the Hyatt Regency and is projected to have similar prizes. If you are feeling like a gambling man, you think you are highly underrated or you just want to play chess in America's capital and you think you can tolerate the organization mishaps, then the World Open is perfect for you. After all, someone has to win the U-1800 prize and take home $13.000.

The following is only one example of many of the crazy games played in this tournament:

[Site "Arlington, Virginia"]
[Date "2013.07.06"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Shabalov, Alex"]
[Black "Vioreanu, Bogdan"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E04"]
[WhiteElo "2553"]
[BlackElo "2404"]
[Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"]
[PlyCount "75"]
[EventDate "2013.??.??"]
[Source "MonRoi"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 c6 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. g3 Nf6 6. Bg2 b5 7. O-O Bb7 8. a4 a6
9. e4 Nbd7 10. e5 Nd5 11. Ng5 Be7 12. Qh5 g6 13. Qh6 Bf8 14. Qh3 {A very
'Shabba' type of position. He is down a pawn, but the situation is very
unclear and he has some threats.} N7b6 15. Nce4 Qd7 {Black is trying to remain
as solid as possible and wants to possibly evacuate to the queenside, where
his pawn shield will prove to be useful. White can take on h7, but it looks
risky as the self-pin might be dangerous.} 16. a5 Na4 17. Ra3 $5 {White
sacrifices an exchange to weaken Black's dark squares. Black has absolutely no
choice.} Bxa3 (17... O-O-O 18. Rf3 {wins instantly.}) 18. bxa3 Kd8 $5 (18...
O-O-O 19. Nd6+ Kb8 20. Ngxf7 {recovers material but gives Black freedom and
king safety. The Romanian IM is greedy!}) 19. Nd6 Rf8 20. Qxh7 Kc7 21. Ndxf7 {
White has a pawn for the exchange, which is not a bad trade for him. The
question is what else can he achieve.} Nac3 22. Re1 c5 23. dxc5 Ne7 24. Nxe6+
$5 {White sacrifices even more material to expose Black's position. There are
no concrete variations just yet, but Black's position is difficult to play.}
Qxe6 25. Ng5 Qd7 26. e6 Qe8 27. Nf7 Bxg2 28. Bf4+ Kc6 29. Kxg2 Kxc5 $1 {The
king marches forward, taking the enemy pawn. Black is ahead in material, but
his king is in a dire position.} 30. Qg7 Ned5 $2 {The losing mistake.} (30...
Ncd5 $1 31. Bd6+ Kc6 {was still complex as White doesn't have access to the f8
rook or the seventh rank.}) 31. Bd6+ Kc6 32. Bxf8 Qxf8 33. Ne5+ Kd6 34. Qd7+
Kc5 35. Qc6+ Kd4 36. e7 $1 Nxe7 37. Qb6+ Kd5 38. Nd7 {An absolutely crazy game.
Many interesting duels were played in this tournament!} 1-0




Full standings, more pictures and information can be found at the official website: World Open.

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