Bryant Golden in 10th Annual Golden State Open

IM John Bryant at the 2016 Southern California Open. Photo: Irina Nizmutdinova

International Master John Daniel Bryant won clear first in the 10th Annual Golden State Open held from January 18th to 21st in the San Francisco suburb of Concord, California.  This year’s event drew 278 players which is slightly smaller than normal but still well within attendance ranges for this event.  However, this year the event was not nearly as strong as past year’s events.  In past years, the event benefitted from close proximity timewise to Bay Area International events.  This year the Bay Area International and Pan-Ams were not quite as close to the Golden State Open and rather than get a synergy, top players had to make a choice.  Given that the events are locked in to holiday weekend schedules, it didn’t work out that some of the stronger GMs could play in multiple consecutive events.

Bryant certainly made the most of this opportunity as he was the top seed and outrated the second seed by nearly 200 points.  Even though Bryant was the presumptive favorite, there were two FMs, one WIM, two WFMs and a total of 15 players over 2200, so his victory was certainly not pre-ordained.  Bryant did dominate the field scoring 6-1 with 5 wins and two draws.  He played every game on board one.  Bryant played five of the six players seeded immediately behind him and all but his first round game were played against masters seeded in the top 10 in the tournament.

Bryant played in the four day schedule and started at 3-0 winning his games against Theodore Biyiasis, NM Michael “f-pawn” Aigner, and WIM Megan Lee.  By round four, there were only two perfect scores, Bryant and second seeded NM Chao Zhang.  These two played in round four.  Bryant was better in the middle game and was a pawn up for a while, but Zhao had a dangerous passed pawn and was able to obtain a winning position In the end Bryant held the draw.

Round four featured a nice miniature where NM Kevin Pan defeats Archit Dasika.  Can you spot the winning combination?

Solution:  18. a6! Bxa6 (18. … Bc8 19. Nc6 Qe8  20. Nxe7 Be4) 19. Nc6 Qe8 20. Nxe7 and either 20. … Qxe7 21. Rxd5 or 20. …Nxe7  21. Rxa6

The round four draw between the two perfect scores allowed others to catch up.  Entering round five, there were five players tied at 3 ½ – ½ Bryant, Zhao, FM Eugene Yanayt, and NMs Sergey Nazaryev and Kevin Pan.  All of their fifth round games were decisive.  Bryant had black and defeated Nazaryev, Zhang defeated Pan and Yanayt played NM Kyle Morrison who had 3 points.

This narrowed the leaders to three: Bryant, Zhao, and Yanayt.  Bryant defeated Yanayt in round six, but Zhao could only draw with NM Vinesh Ravuri.

In round six Dasika showed he could also be on the good side of a miniature where it may have looked like white was attacking but black had a very nice counterattack which features a very nice mate threat.

This meant Bryant went into the last round in clear first.  Zhang was the only player ½ point back.  There were four players 1 point back including Yanayt, Nazaryev, Ravuri, and NM Rochelle Wu.  In the last round, Zhang and Nazaryev played a fairly quick draw.  I thought there was some chance that might encourage Bryant to draw to take clear first,  He did eventually draw, by it wasn’t quick and it looked like Wu was definitely trying to win. Yanayt and Ravuri also drew.  This left Bryant clear first at 6-1, Zhao clear second at 5 ½ – 1 ½ and Yanayt, Ravuri, Nazaryev, Wu and NM Michael Zaloznyy (who won his last round vs Pan) to share third place and earn $600.

Only one other section had a clear winner and that section featured the only perfect score.  Gabriel Enkhjargal scored a perfect 7-0 and picked up 233 rating points and $1000.  Gabriel won the tournament with a round to spare.  In the last round he was 6-0 and was paired down to a player at 4-2 as he had already played and beaten everybody with a higher score.

Rochelle and Derek Wu both played in the Golden State Open, Photo Maggie Luo

Here are the winners of each section:

Under 2100

Michael Taylor and Jaisuraj Kaleeswaren, 6-1, $1300

Under 1800

Abraham Canafe, Igor Garbouz, Abraham Martinez, Yash Mago,

Vincent Qin, Elia Harmatz, & Deepak Kini, 5 ½ – ½, $833.34

Under 1500

Robert Chen and Garrett Edwards, 6-1, $1050

Under 1200

Gabriel Enkhjargal, 7-0, $1000

Mixed Doubles

Tatiana Vasilkchuk/Chao Zhang & Megan Lee/Robert Chen, 9 ½ – 4 ½, $750 each team

Blitz Tournament

Kyle Morrison, 7-1, $80

NTD David Hater directed for Continental Chess Association assisted by Tom Langland and John McCumiskey.

Full tournament details can be found at www.goldenstateopen.com.

Previous Continental Chess tournaments can be found at the Continental Chess website at  http://www.chesstour.com/cross.html.

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