GM Vladimir Belous won the 51st Annual Atlantic Open (August 23-25, Falls Church, VA) with a score of 4.5-0.5 to take the first place prize of $3100. Belous played the two other GMs in the 38 player Major Section, scoring 1.5/2, and he graciously provides some notes to his games for CLO readers. Belous also won clear first in the blitz event and came up a half-point point short of winning a mixed doubles prize!
This year’s event drew 303 players across seven sections, all chasing the guaranteed $30,000 prize fund. These numbers are in line with historical averages and served to guarantee good competition for all the players!
The first round generally went as expected, with the usual draws and two upsets. 25th seeded Joshua Altman (who could have opted to play in the U2100 section) drew with 6th seeded NM William Marcelino. Also, Charles Bouzoukis drew with Diana Suralik. The upsets were NM Daniel Clancy losing to Ronen Wilson and Peter Boris losing to Nikunj Oza.
By the second round the top boards featured masters playing the GMs. There was a surprise on board one when NM Paris Prestia drew with top seeded GM Oliver Barbosa. At the end of the second round, there were only four perfect scores: GMs Mark Paragua and Vladimir Belous, FM Andrew Samuelson, and NM Evan Ling.
Round three saw another draw on the top board as Samuelson held against Paragua. Belous continued to roll as he beat Ling. He would head into Sunday’s money games in clear first place at 3-0, but chased by many players a half-point back including GMs Paragua and Barbosa, IM Kevin Wang (who took a bye in round 1), FM Samuelson NM Terry Luo, and Joshua Altman. (Wang withdrew and would not be a factor in the rest of the event.)
A lot of blood was shed in Sunday morning’s fourth round. Belous defeated Barbosa, while Paragua defeated Luo to stay within striking distance. Alton pulled off his third straight upset as he defeated Samuelson.
Going into the last round, Belous still was in clear first place with a perfect 4-0 score, followed by just two players at 3.5: GM Paragua and Altman! Belous would face Paragua and Altman would get paired down to the highest rated player at 3-1: NM Daniel Clancy.
Needing to win to get to first place and with the white pieces, Paragua came to play, but Vladimir did get the draw that he needed.
The draw allowed Altman to possibly share first place if he could defeat Clancy, but he only drew. This meant that Paragua and Altman shared 2nd place / 1st Under 2300, with each winning $1400. Sharing 4th place and 2nd Under 2300 was GM Barbosa, FM Samuelson, NM Clancy and Sigautam Bonam. Each won $525.
Altman had a great event, scoring 3 wins and 2 draws against the five masters he faced. His post-event rating climbed to 2183 and I’m sure he will join the ranks of national masters soon!
The section winners were:
Sebastian Prestia, 4.5-0.5, $2000
Lillian Wang, 4.5-0.5, $2000
Michael Eidi & Daniel Wang, 4.5-0.5, $1350
Andrew Shermeyer, 4.5-0.5, $1500
Adhiraian Ayyappan, 5-0, $1300
Ryan Lindley, 5-0, $800
Aadarsini Ayyappan & Adhiraian Ayyappan, 8.5 points, $500 to each player
GM Vladimir Belous, 8-0, $150
NTD Steve Immitt directed for Continental Chess assisted by Andy Rea, Harold Stenzel, Adam Chrisney and Josh Hilban.
Previous Continental Chess tournaments can be found at the Continental Chess website at http://www.chesstour.com/cross.html.