The 2020 World Open: Warming Up

The 48th Annual World Open was held online from August 7-9 this year because of the COVID Pandemic. In preparation for the main event, CCA has been holding many online events in cooperation with the Internet Chess Club (ICC).  Some of these events have the same formats as typical World Open side events and some are slightly different.  On the weekend on July 31 to August 2, there were three events:  the G/7, Warmup, and Women’s Championship

The G/7 was held on July 31st as a seven round swiss in two sections.  The event was very strong with six GMs and three IMs in the 57 player Open section.  When the smoke cleared, there was one player in clear first: GM Jaime Santos Latisa from Spain with a score of 6½-½.  He started 6-0 and then played a GM draw in round 7 to secure clear first.

This last round draw was REALLY a GM draw.  The players did not play any moves!  This is another difference in online and OTB chess.  We would not allow this (and wouldn’t have allowed it online either), but since TDs can’t watch every game online we were not even aware this occurred until after the fact.  Ultimately, I’m sure it makes no difference.  In over-the-board play, they would have just played 5 or 10 moves and then agreed to a draw. 

GM Santos Latisa played three GMs in seven rounds and scored 3-0 against them.  He was in clear first after round four and never looked back, defeating top seeded GM Gadir Guseinov in round four, GM Sergey Erenburg in round five, and GM Nicolas Checa in round six before agreeing to a draw with IM Guha Mitrabha in the last round “ghost” game. 

The early round results were pretty much what was expected with all the titled players cruising to 2-0 without too much effort.  The first titled matchup occurred in round three and had a bit of an upset as IM Mitrabha defeated GM Jose Martinez Alcantara.  GM Martinez Alcantara blundered in an equal position - it is blitz after all…

[pgn][Event "World Open G/7"] [Site "Internet Chess Club"] [Date "2020.07.31"] [Round "3"] [White "Mitrabha, Guha"] [Black "Martinez Alcantara, Jose"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E00"] [WhiteElo "2495"] [BlackElo "2670"] [Annotator "Hater,David"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "3r2k1/2p3pp/P4p2/1P2p3/4B3/4PKP1/1pb2P1P/5R2 b - - 0 31"] [PlyCount "24"] [EventDate "2020.??.??"] [TimeControl "420+2"] {[#]} 31... Ba4 32. a7 f5 33. Bd5+ Kf8 34. Rb1 Bxb5 35. a8=Q Rxa8 36. Bxa8 g5 37. Rxb2 Bf1 38. e4 f4 39. gxf4 exf4 40. Kg4 h5+ 41. Kxg5 h4 42. Kf6 f3 43. Rb8# {Black checkmated} 1-0 [/pgn]

Martinez Alcantara could have played either 31. … Bd3 or 31. … Bxe4 to maintain the balance, but after 31. … Ba4 White is winning.  Mitrabha finds the best move, can you play as well as the IM?

32.  a7 is winning as black cannot stop the white pawn from queening, but white stops the black pawn.  The game continued 32. a7 f5 33. Bd5+ Kf8 34. Rb1 and White is winning (better than 34. a8=Q Rxa8 35. Bxa8 Bc2).

After round 3, there were six perfect scores:  GMs Gadir Guseinov, Nicolas Checa, Sergey Erenburg, Jaime Santos Latisa & Jakhongir Vakhidov and IM Guha Mithabra.  The resulting round was a study in contrasts. 

Vakhidov and Erenburg drew quickly in 15 moves.  Checa and Mithabra also drew though that game went 114 moves after Checa failed to convert a win and allowed Mithabra to draw.  The one decisive game was Santos Latisa defeating Guseinov. 

[pgn][Event "World Open G/7"] [Site "Internet Chess Club"] [Date "2020.07.31"] [Round "4"] [White "Santos Latisa, Jaime"] [Black "Guseinov, Gadir"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E73"] [WhiteElo "2670"] [BlackElo "2715"] [Annotator "Hater,David"] [PlyCount "97"] [EventDate "2020.??.??"] [TimeControl "420+2"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Be2 O-O 6. Be3 c6 7. Nf3 e5 8. O-O exd4 9. Bxd4 Re8 10. Qc2 Bg4 11. Rad1 Nbd7 12. Rfe1 Qc7 13. h3 Bxf3 14. Bxf3 a6 15. g3 Ne5 16. Be2 Rac8 17. f4 Ned7 18. Bf3 b5 19. cxb5 axb5 20. a3 Qb8 21. Qb3 Re7 22. Kg2 Rce8 23. Re2 Re6 24. Bf2 Nb6 25. Rde1 Nfd7 26. Qc2 Nc4 27. a4 bxa4 28. Nxa4 Qb4 29. Rc1 d5 30. exd5 Rxe2 31. Bxe2 cxd5 32. Bxc4 dxc4 33. Qxc4 Qa5 34. Nc3 Nf6 35. Qc6 Rb8 36. Rc2 h5 37. Re2 Qf5 38. Bd4 h4 39. Qd6 Rc8 40. Bxf6 Qxf6 41. Qxf6 Bxf6 42. Nd5 Kg7 43. g4 Rc5 44. Nxf6 Kxf6 45. b4 Rc3 46. Rb2 Rg3+ 47. Kh2 Ke7 48. b5 Kd6 49. b6 {Black forfeits on time} 1-0 [/pgn]

In round 5, Santos Latisa defeated Erenburg while Checa got a gift because Vakhidov misunderstood when the break was and did not “show up” to play Checa.  That meant there were two players a half-point point back of Santos Latisa: GM Checa and IM Mithabra. 

In round 6, Santos Latisa defeated Checa and Mithabra defeated IM Ben Li.  This left only Mithabra a half-point back of Santos Latisa going into the last round. Mithabra was content to draw and share second place with GM Martinez Alcantara, both finishing at 6-1.  The under 1800 section was won by Akshat Suresh and Eric Li who both finished at 6-1. 

The World Open Warmup was held the following day, Saturday, August 2.  This tournament was a six round event in four sections with a time control of G/30 with a 10 second increment.  The Premier section was very strong for two reasons – there was a U2200 section and we have noticed that with no travel costs and a free entry, we are attracting numerous GMs in our events.  The 19 player Premier section had 7 GMs!

The titled players only got one “free” round in this event.  Even so, not all of them made it out of the first round. GM Jakhongir Vakhidov drew with Joshua Altman.  When they agreed to a draw, Altman was winning.  Fritz puts it at over +2 as Altman is a clear pawn up and it is an outside passed pawn.  We later found out why Vakhidov may have been distracted – he was playing in two online events at the same time!  In addition to the CCA event, Vakhidov was playing in a blitz event on another online site.  He won the other event, but was not as fortunate in the CCA event.

[pgn][Event "World Open Warmup"] [Site "Internet Chess Club"] [Date "2020.08.01"] [Round "1"] [White "Altman, Joshua"] [Black "Vakhidov, Jakhongir"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A58"] [WhiteElo "2128"] [BlackElo "2573"] [Annotator "Hater,David"] [PlyCount "56"] [EventDate "2020.??.??"] [TimeControl "1800+5"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 b5 4. cxb5 a6 5. bxa6 g6 6. Nc3 Bg7 7. e4 O-O 8. Nf3 Qa5 9. Bd2 d6 10. Be2 Bxa6 11. O-O Nbd7 12. a4 Bxe2 13. Qxe2 Ne8 14. Nb5 Qb6 15. Bc3 Nc7 16. Bxg7 Kxg7 17. Nxc7 Qxc7 18. b3 Rfb8 19. Rab1 Rb4 20. Rfc1 Rab8 21. Nd2 Qa7 22. h3 Ne5 23. Kh1 f6 24. f4 Nd7 25. Rc3 Nb6 26. Rf1 Qa5 27. Rg3 Nd7 28. h4 Nf8 {Game drawn by mutual agreement} 1/2-1/2 [/pgn]

Round two featured the first GM vs GM pairings.  GM Jose Martinez Alcantara drew with GM Jaime Santo Latisa.  However, GM Sergey Erenburg defeated GM Kevin Cori. 

[pgn][Event "World Open Warmup"] [Site "Internet Chess Club"] [Date "2020.08.01"] [Round "2"] [White "Erenburg, Sergey"] [Black "Cori, Kevin"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B51"] [WhiteElo "2641"] [BlackElo "2542"] [Annotator "Hater,David"] [PlyCount "69"] [EventDate "2020.??.??"] [TimeControl "1800+5"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Nd7 4. c3 Ngf6 5. Bd3 b6 6. O-O Bb7 7. Re1 Qc7 8. Bc2 Rc8 9. Na3 a6 10. d4 e6 11. d5 e5 12. c4 Be7 13. Bd3 h6 14. Nb1 g5 15. Nc3 Nf8 16. Rb1 Ng6 17. a3 O-O 18. Ne2 Rfe8 19. Ng3 Bf8 20. b4 Rb8 21. h4 g4 22. Nh2 Bc8 23. Nf5 h5 24. f3 Bxf5 25. exf5 e4 26. fxg6 exd3 27. Rxe8 Rxe8 28. Bg5 Bg7 29. Qxd3 gxf3 30. Bxf6 f2+ 31. Kxf2 Bxf6 32. Nf3 Qe7 33. Re1 Qd8 34. gxf7+ Kxf7 35. Qh7+ {Black resigns} 1-0 [/pgn]

The number of perfect scores after two rounds had been reduced to three:  GMs Gadir Guseinov, Sergey Erenburg and Nicolas Checa.  In round three, Guseinov ground out a win against  Erenburg.  It was interesting to watch because toward the end Erenburg was basically playing on increment and Guseinov had considerably more time to calculate the variations.

[pgn][Event "World Open Warmup"] [Site "Internet Chess Club"] [Date "2020.08.01"] [Round "3"] [White "Guseinov, Gadir"] [Black "Erenburg, Sergey"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B19"] [WhiteElo "2715"] [BlackElo "2644"] [Annotator "Hater,David"] [PlyCount "125"] [EventDate "2020.??.??"] [TimeControl "1800+5"] 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bf5 5. Ng3 Bg6 6. h4 h6 7. Nf3 Nd7 8. h5 Bh7 9. Bd3 Bxd3 10. Qxd3 e6 11. Bd2 Ngf6 12. O-O-O Be7 13. Ne4 Nxe4 14. Qxe4 Nf6 15. Qd3 c5 16. Qb5+ Qd7 17. Qxd7+ Nxd7 18. Be3 cxd4 19. Bxd4 Bf6 20. Be3 Ke7 21. Nd2 Rhc8 22. Ne4 Be5 23. Rd3 f5 24. Rhd1 Rc7 25. Nd2 Bf6 26. Bf4 e5 27. Bh2 Rac8 28. c3 Nc5 29. Re3 Kf8 30. Kc2 f4 31. Re2 Rd7 32. f3 b5 33. Ne4 Rxd1 34. Kxd1 Nxe4 35. Rxe4 Kf7 36. a4 a6 37. Bg1 Rc4 38. axb5 axb5 39. Kc2 Rxe4 40. fxe4 g6 41. hxg6+ Kxg6 42. Kb3 Be7 43. c4 bxc4+ 44. Kxc4 Kg5 45. Kd5 Kg4 46. Kxe5 Kg3 47. Bd4 Bg5 48. b4 Kxg2 49. b5 f3 50. b6 Bd8 51. b7 Bc7+ 52. Kf5 h5 53. e5 h4 54. e6 h3 55. e7 h2 56. e8=Q h1=Q 57. Qg8+ Bg3 58. b8=Q Qh5+ 59. Ke4 Qh4+ 60. Kd3 f2 61. Qb7+ Kh2 62. Bxf2 Bxf2 63. Qbg2# {Black checkmated} 1-0 [/pgn]

Checa was paired down a scoregroup to GM Martinez Alcantara, but he lost which put Guseinov in clear first place at the halfway point.

In round four, Guseinov drew with Martinez Alcantara which put Guseinov a half point ahead of the field.  Guseinov led with 3½/4 and was being chased by GMs Jose Martinez Alcantara, Sergey Erenburg, and Jakhongir Vakhidov all at 3-1.  Guseinov defeated Vakhidov to maintain his half-point lead going into the last round, with Martinez Alcantara and Erenburg each at 4-1. 

In the game against, Vakhidov, Guseinov makes an interesting decision on the best way to convert the win.  In the following position, there are two winning moves and Guseinov saw them both.  The best move is a rook sacrifice leading to an evaluation of +15.  The simpler win is only +3, but does not involve the tactics of the rook sacrifice.  Guseinov chose the simpler line even though the evaluation is not nearly as good.

[pgn][Event "World Open Warmup"] [Site "Internet Chess Club"] [Date "2020.08.01"] [Round "5"] [White "Guseinov, Gadir"] [Black "Vakhidov, Jakhongir"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B35"] [WhiteElo "2715"] [BlackElo "2583"] [Annotator "Hater,David"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/5pkp/p2Rpnp1/7q/P2Q4/4R2P/2r2PP1/6K1 w - - 0 34"] [PlyCount "11"] [EventDate "2020.??.??"] [TimeControl "1800+5"] {[#]} 34. Rxa6 (34. Rexe6 fxe6 (34... Rxf2 35. Rxf6 Rxf6 36. Rxf6) (34... Kh6 35. Qxf6 fxe6 36. Qf8+ Kg5 37. Rd5+ exd5 38. f4+ Kh4 39. Qe7+ Kg3 40. Qe3+) 35. Rd7+ Kh6 36. Qxf6) 34... Rc1+ 35. Kh2 Rd1 36. Qc3 Qh4 37. Rf3 Rd4 38. g3 Qe4 39. Rf4 {Black forfeits on time} 1-0 [/pgn]

34. Rexe6 is best, but it is complex.  A few of the lines:

            34. … fxe6 35. Rd7+ Kh6 36. Qxf6

            34. … Rxf2 35. Rxf6 Rxf6 36. Rxf6

            34. … Kh6 35. Qxf6 fxe6 36. Qf8+ Kg5 37. Rd5+ exd6 38. f4+ Kg3 39. Qe3+

Guseinov just opted for 34. Rxa6 and won a few moves later.

Guseinov only needed a last round draw to at least tie for first.  He got the draw, but there was some drama involved. If Guseinov drew, either Erenburg or Martinez Alcantara could tie for first by winning.  However, they played a quick draw (which Guseinov knew), so Guseinov only needed a draw for clear first.  However, Jaime Santos Latisa could force a four-way tie for first if he could beat Guseinov. For a while it looked like that was exactly what was going to happen. 

Guseinov played the opening well and obtained equality or perhaps even a slight advantage.  However, he went wrong in the middlegame and was lost by move 24. I was watching the game and the evaluations never dropped below +2 and reached well over +6 from moves 24 through 52.  White even missed mate in 1 on move 47!  I’m not sure I have ever seen a GM miss a mate in 1 when they had ample time!  Somehow, Guseinov came back and drew the game!  He thus finished in clear first while Erenburg and Martinez Alcantara tied for second.

[pgn][Event "World Open Warmup"] [Site "Internet Chess Club"] [Date "2020.08.01"] [Round "6"] [White "Santos Latisa, Jaime"] [Black "Guseinov, Gadir"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "E73"] [WhiteElo "2670"] [BlackElo "2715"] [Annotator "Hater,David"] [PlyCount "128"] [EventDate "2020.??.??"] [TimeControl "1800+5"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Be2 O-O 6. Be3 Nc6 7. d5 Ne5 8. f4 Neg4 9. Bd2 Nh6 10. h3 e6 11. dxe6 fxe6 12. g4 b5 13. cxb5 Bb7 14. Bf3 d5 15. Qe2 dxe4 16. Nxe4 Nxe4 17. Bxe4 Qh4+ 18. Kd1 Bxe4 19. Qxe4 Rad8 20. Kc2 e5 21. Nf3 Qf2 22. Qc4+ Kh8 23. Raf1 Qg2 24. Kc1 exf4 25. Bc3 Rde8 26. Bxg7+ Kxg7 27. Rh2 Qg3 28. Qc3+ Kg8 29. Rg1 Re3 30. Qc4+ Nf7 31. Rxg3 fxg3 32. Rg2 Rxf3 33. Qxc7 Rf1+ 34. Kd2 Ng5 35. Qc4+ Kg7 36. Rxg3 R8f4 37. Qc7+ Kh6 38. Re3 Ne4+ 39. Rxe4 Rxe4 40. Qxa7 Rh1 41. Qa8 Rh2+ 42. Kd3 Rf4 43. b6 Rxb2 44. b7 Rfb4 45. Qf8+ Kg5 46. Qe7+ Kf4 47. Qxh7 Rxb7 48. Qxg6 Kg3 49. g5 Rd7+ 50. Kc3 Rxa2 51. Qe6 Ra3+ 52. Kb2 Raa7 53. Qg4+ Kh2 54. Qf4+ Kxh3 55. g6 Rg7 56. Qg5 Rac7 57. Kb3 Kh2 58. Kb4 Kh3 59. Kb5 Rb7+ 60. Kc6 Ra7 61. Qh5+ Kg3 62. Qg5+ Kh3 63. Qh5+ Kg3 64. Qg5+ Kh3 {Game drawn by repetition} 1/2-1/2 [/pgn]

The section winners were:

Under 2200

Paul Jia, 6-0, $300

Under 1800

Soham Pattnaik, 6-0, $250

Under 1400

Zachary Song, 6-0, $200

The final event of the weekend was the Women's Championship. This was a five round, G/30 + 10 sec increment event.  When held over-the-board, this event usually draws only about 20 players.  Since the event was online, it drew 43 players, so we were very pleased with that.  One tradeoff was the strength of the event.  When held alongside the World Open, we often get several masters and even a few titled players.  This year, there were only two players over 2000. 

Top seeded Ayleen Ramirez Toledo won the event with a score of 4½-½.  It was not always easy though as she had plenty of competition.  There was a six-way tie for second place: Omya Vidarthi, Megan Chen, Jessica Lauser, Mantra Iyer, Adelynne Yang, and Logeshwari Chan all finished half a point back at 4-1. 

After round three, there were only two perfect scores:  Ayleen Ramirez Toledo and Adelynne Yang.  They faced each other in round four and the game was balanced for quite a while.  Finally, Yang did make a mistake and with only seconds left on her clock, Maribel was able to convert on some tactical opportunities. 

[pgn][Event "World Open Womens"] [Site "Internet Chess Club"] [Date "2020.08.02"] [Round "4"] [White "Ramirez Toledo, Ayleen"] [Black "Yang, Adelynne"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E06"] [WhiteElo "2050"] [BlackElo "1695"] [Annotator "Hater,David"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "2rr2k1/1q2b1p1/pn2ppQp/1p6/8/1P2N1P1/PB2PP1P/2RR2K1 b - - 0 29"] [PlyCount "12"] [EventDate "2020.??.??"] [TimeControl "1800+10"] {[#]} 29... Nd7 30. Ng4 Nf8 31. Rxd8 Rxd8 32. Nxh6+ Kh8 33. Qf7 gxh6 34. Bxf6+ Bxf6 35. Qxb7 {Black resigns} 1-0 [/pgn]

In order to maintain the balance, Black needs to play 29. … Rxc1 30 Rxc1 Rd2.  Instead, Black played 29. … Nd7? And after 30, Ng4 white starts to get an attack. 

With that win, Ramirez Toledo was in clear first going into the last round at 4-0, and played Megan Chen, the only player at 3½.  A draw was sufficient for clear first for Ramirez Toledo, while Chen needed a win to take the title. The game was complex throughout and eventually Chen achieved a winning advantage, but on that same that she achieved the winning advantage she offered a draw which was accepted.  This gave Ramirez Toledo first place and $200. 

[pgn][Event "World Open Womens"] [Site "Internet Chess Club"] [Date "2020.08.02"] [Round "5"] [White "Chen, Megan"] [Black "Ramirez Toledo, Ayleen"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B21"] [WhiteElo "1826"] [BlackElo "2050"] [Annotator "Hater,David"] [PlyCount "45"] [EventDate "2020.??.??"] [TimeControl "1800+10"] 1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 dxc3 4. Nxc3 Nc6 5. Nf3 e6 6. Bc4 Be7 7. O-O d6 8. Qe2 Nf6 9. Rd1 e5 10. Be3 O-O 11. Rac1 Bd7 12. h3 a6 13. a3 b5 14. Ba2 Rc8 15. b4 Be6 16. Bxe6 fxe6 17. a4 bxa4 18. Qxa6 Nxb4 19. Qxa4 Nc6 20. Qb3 Qd7 21. Na4 d5 22. Nb6 Qb7 23. exd5 {Game drawn by mutual agreement} 1/2-1/2 [/pgn]

All of the results in this article are not official until fair play analysis is complete.  Sadly, for virtually every tournament CCA has run, there have been at least one or two disqualifications for fair play violations.  Hopefully, these events will break that streak.

The G/7 tournament was directed by NTD Steve Immitt assisted by David Hater, Tom Brownscombe, Bill Scott, Marvin Martzell, and Daniel Bell.

The World Open Warmup was directed by NTD Steve Immitt assisted by David Hater, Harold Scott, Harold Stenzel, Maya McGreen, Terry Winchester, Bill Scott, Daniel Bell, and Alonzo Barrow.

The World Open Women Championship was directed by NTD Steve Immitt assisted by David Hater, Terry Winchester, Bill Scott, Marvin Martzell.

Crosstables and all games in the online events are at

Previous Continental Chess tournaments can be found at the Continental Chess website at