International GMs dominate Washington Masters

by ChessBase
9/3/2018 – GM Hovhannes Gabuzyan (pictured left) outpaced the competition in the Masters Section of the Washington International, held in Rockville, Maryland, adjacent to the US capital city from August 11-15, 2018. A full point behind him in the nine-round Swiss open tournament was a trio of international grandmasters including NICLAS HUSCHENBETH (pictured right) who annotated two games for our report. The top American player was US number ten and the sixth best Junior player in the world, GM Sam Sevian, who finished with 6 points. | Photos: Maryland Chess Association

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Gabuzyan leads the pack

The Masters section attracted a total of 71 players, including 22 GMS and 15 IMs. Gabuzyan moved into sole first place after winning his first four games. After that, no one could catch him, and he finished with a final score of 7½ out of 9, earning the first place prize of USD $4,500.

Russian GM Andrey Stukopin, who studies at the University of Texas at Brownsville, finished second with 6½ alongside GMs Niclas Huschenbeth (GER) and Evgeny Postny (ISR). Each took home $1,400 for the week.

Stukopin and Postny

Andrey Stukopin and Evgeny Postny rounded out the top four | Photo: Maryland Chess Association

Gabuzyan's most interesting game was his third round win over GM Gil Popilski. You don't often see a player sacrifice a queen twice in one game and win!


Nico ChecaDespite there being five players in the running for Grandmaster norms going into the last round, only Nico Checa (pictured) earned a norm. In fact, he didn't need to score any points going into the last round, having already reached the required score threshold, but still drew his last game.

Checa also went over 2500 during the tournament, leaving him just one norm short of the GM title. Nico showed signs of being in good form from the start when he won the blitz event by a full point ahead of seven GMs. One of his best games was his win against the top-seeded player in the tournament, GM Sam Sevian, which came already in the first round in a Queens Gambit Declined exchange variation.


Sam Sevian

Sam Sevian, with 6 points, had to settle for fifth place | Photo: Maryland Chess Association

A total of 142 players competed in the Masters, Experts, and Contenders sections combined. The Experts section (under 2201 USCF national rating) ended with a five-way tie at 6½/9 between Akshay Indusekar, Noah Thomforde-Toates, Richard Tan, David Siamon and Daniel Pomerantz, while the Contenders section (Under 1800 USCF) ended in a three-way tie between Barzin Badiee, Duane Smith, and Ariel Joshi.

The tournament was organized by the Maryland Chess Association, and the Chief Arbiter was Michael Regan.

Annotated games by GM Niclas Huschenbeth

Niclas also analysed his game against GM Tang for his YouTube Channel

Final standings

Top 10 standings

Michael Regan contributed reporting for this story.


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