American Hustle Takes Rilton Cup

The 49th edition of the Rilton Cup took place from December 27th through January 5th in Stockholm, the Swedish capital. Participants from 24 countries decided to celebrate the new year over-the-board, while the venue, the Scandic Continental hotel, was situated in the city center with proximity to several restaurants and a shopping mall. It was a perfect place to get inspired for pushing some wood!

The U.S. had five representatives in the main tournament: GM Elshan Moradiabadi, IM Eric Santarius, IM Dean Ippolito, WGM Sabina Foisor, and FM John Bick. FM Alex Betaneli decided to try his luck in U2200 section.

The tournament was a overall success for the American players, with top honors going to tournament winner Moradiabadi. The North Carolina-based GM, who is training for his debut in this year’s U.S. Championship, posted a solid 2705 performance, giving him reason for optimism in Saint Louis.

Here, Moradiabadi (with an assist from Betaneli) provides you with a number of memorable moments for Team America in this event, where players showed the power of their ‘American hustle’ to their European counterparts!


  1. Told the entire chess community that Bick of New Orleans would be an absolute monster but decades later….. guaranteed late bloomer in his 40s and fifties..he just be sashaying at his own pace..also he is fascinated with old tyme housing reconstruction.. a first flash memory was Grandmasters Ehlvest and Kaidanov visiting New Orleans…Mr. Bick PERSONALLY arranged both events. Jude Acers/ New Orleans

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