The World Open: An experience

by Alexander Ipatov
7/10/2015 – The World Open is one of the oldest and most prestigious tournaments in American history. One reason for GM Alexander Ipatov, World Junior Chess Champion 2012, to visit the USA and take part. He shared first prize with seven other players, won $ 5.000, and made a lot of experiences. Some good, some less pleasant, but all remarkable. Big illustrated report.

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World Open 2015: An experience

It has been 18 months since I played my last open tournament in the United States, and I kind of forgot how it feels to play two rounds per day, waiting for the pairings of the evening round till five minutes before the start of a game, and then scroll down through your opponent’s repertoire in the Mega Database in a super fast mode; or to be forced to bring your own set & clock (or hope that your opponent would bring one!), because none is supplied. The recently finished World Open made me recall all these memories from my brain and even added some new experiences.

The first time in my career I lost sleep and appetite because of drinking too much coffee during a tournament – you needed to keep your concentration up for 9 to 11 hours for a days average. I had thought coffee was a harmless thing, but after this tournament I am not so sure anymore. Right now I think that the players who consider themselves as professionals (which is a minority) should stay away from most of American opens; it is a nice choice for amateurs, though. Let me explain why: in almost all American tournaments GMs get no conditions, and, therefore, start a tournament with a minus. If they win a prize, a fixed $$$ is deducted from it (at the World Open - $200). It is as if a GM pays the entrance fee of $200 to participate in a tournament with a reasonable prize fund.

If a GM doesn’t win a prize, money is not deducted, of course. But the GM then loses on travel expenses, lodging and catering. In my opinion, the only tournament which has the right to require entrance fees from GMs is the Millionaire Open. Because the prize fund is really decent there, so I can understand and accept that business model.

Other drawbacks are the following ones: there is no time to prepare for the games, necessity to bring your own set & clock to each game, plus to be forced to pay a %30 tax in case of a won prize. Do not think, that I condemn all tournaments in the US! Not true. It was a very nice experience for me to play in the Bay Area International (in my opinion, the best organized American chess open  – thanks, Arun!), Michigan Chess Festival (thanks, Alan!), Spice Cup (thanks, Susan!). Grandmasters get invited and there is no need to bring your own chess equipment. The Millionaire Open is another interesting tournament to consider.

Some remarkable moments from the tournament:






Alexander Ipatov



Anyways, I think it was worth taking part in the World Open this year, because it is a lifetime experience to feel the spirit of one of the oldest and most prestigious chess opens in American history. Eight players tied for 1st place and since the prize money is equally shared in American chess tournaments, everyone who ended up on +5 should feel happy with the result.

Host of the tournament

But where's the tournament?

This way please!

It's close!



Almost there...

Finally some known face! To the right tournament winner Alexander Lenderman...

Luke McShane

Ilya Smirin

Artur Jussupov

Boris Avrukh

Romain Eduard

Irina Krush

Kayden Troff

...and Alejandro Ramirez, here with Varuzhan Akobian

Final result Open

# Name Rtng Tot TB1
1 GM Alex Lenderman 2623 7.0 43.5
2 GM Rauf Mamedov 2639 7.0 46.5
3 GM Ilya Smirin 2663 7.0 41.5
4 GM Alexander Ipatov 2615 7.0 41.5
5 GM Ehsan Ghaem Maghami 2570 7.0 41
6 GM Illia Nyzhnyk 2627 7.0 39.5
7 GM Romain Edouard 2639 7.0 37
8 GM Axel Bachmann 2633 7.0 36
9 GM Varuzhan Akobian 2632 6.5 43
10 GM Anton Kovalyov 2613 6.5 43
11 GM Gata Kamsky 2672 6.5 42.5
12 GM Luke McShane 2685 6.5 39
13 GM Sergei Azarov 2618 6.5 39
14 GM Krikor Mekhitarian 2589 6.5 39
15 John Michael Burke 2258 6.5 38
1st U2300
16 GM Felipe El Debs 2515 6.5 37
17 GM Sergey Erenburg 2585 6.5 29.5
18 GM Alejandro Ramirez 2587 6.0 42.5    
19 IM Andrey Gorovets 2505 6.0 42.5    
20 GM Jianchao Zhou 2601 6.0 42    
21 GM Alexander Stripunsky 2561 6.0 41    
22 IM Ashwin Jayaram 2492 6.0 40    
23 IM John Daniel Bryant 2388 6.0 40
1st-5th 2300-2449
24 GM Boris Avrukh 2605 6.0 39    
25 IM Luke C Harmon-Vellotti 2430 6.0 38.5
1st-5th 2300-2449
26 GM Magesh C Panchanathan 2541 6.0 38    
27 GM Leonid G Yudasin 2510 6.0 37    
28 GM Alonso Zapata 2443 6.0 37
1st-5th 2300-2449
29 IM Kassa Korley 2430 6.0 36.5
1st-5th 2300-2449
30 IM David Vigorito 2415 6.0 36.5
1st-5th 2300-2449
31 GM Kayden Troff 2545 6.0 36    
32 GM Irina Krush 2477 6.0 34    
33 Raven M Sturt 2259 6.0 34
2nd U2300
34 FM Nicolas De T. Checa 2346 6.0 33
1st-5th 2300-2449

... 211 players

Before the tournament my best friend and I spent one week in New York City. We visited a bunch of museums, made it to the top of some famous skyscrapers, and in general covered most of the local worth-to-go places.

New York

Scenic view

But no clear sky

Manhattan - with the new One World Trade Center

South of it Liberty Island with the statue of liberty

Ferries bring lots of visitors

The statue of liberty, designed by Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi geschaffen, 1886 fertig gestellt, 93 Meter hoch-Auguste Bartholdi geschaffen, 1886 fertig gestellt, 93 Meter hoch-Auguste Bartholdi geschaffen, 1886 fertig gestellt, 93 Meter hochmetres high

The UNO building

New York, New York

USS Intrepid

The USS Intrepid, built in 1941 it was used in WW II and during the war in Vietnam but now serves as a museum.

Alexander Ipatov


American Museum of National History

The Willamette meteorite, found in 1902

Good to know that this animal is no longer a threat....


Lots of police in Washington, on wheels...

... and on horses.

And with dogs 

Government area, NationalMallMall

The place where the president lives and works.

Washington Monument


Lincoln Memorial

The Eisenhower Executive Office Building is part of the White House


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

Grandmaster, World Junior Champion in 2012, born in Ukraine and playing for Turkey.


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