Senior Master Mika Brattain Leads Wire-to-Wire at the Cleveland Open

Mika Brattain at the 2015 U.S. Junior Championship. Photo: Austin Fuller
Senior Master Mika Brattain started the Cleveland Open as the tournament’s top seed and played every game on board one scoring four wins and a quick last round draw to take the $2000 first place and $100 clear first place bonus.  Brattain commented that his games were good technical wins, and he was never in trouble in any of the games.  He may not have cruised to victory, but it was a very smooth performance from start to finish.  Along the way, Brattain beat FM Arvind Jayaraman in round three and FM Seth Homa in round four.  Here is Brattain’s fourth round win.
[pgn][Event "Cleveland Open"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2017.08.13"]
[Round "4.1"]
[White "Brattain, Mike"]
[Black "Homa, Seth"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E04"]
[WhiteElo "2482"]
[BlackElo "2375"]
[PlyCount "53"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. g3 Bb4+ 5. Nbd2 dxc4 6. Bg2 b5 7. a4 c6 8. Ne5
Nd5 9. Qc2 Bb7 10. O-O a6 11. b3 cxb3 12. Nxb3 O-O 13. Bb2 bxa4 14. Rxa4 a5 15.
Nd3 Na6 16. Rfa1 Nb6 17. Nxa5 Nxa4 18. Nxb7 Qb8 19. Qxa4 Bd2 20. Qxc6 Nb4 21.
Rxa8 Qxa8 22. Qc4 Nd5 23. Nbc5 Rb8 24. Bf3 g6 25. Kg2 h5 26. e4 Nf6 27. d5 1-0[/pgn]
After winning his first four games, Brattain was in clear first place going into the last round.  Brattain played a very quick draw in the last round versus NM Jason Wang.  This guaranteed Brattain at least a tie for first, but opened the door for 5th seeded NM Scott Ramer to tie for first.  If Ramer could win with black against FM Homa, Ramer would also have 4 ½.  However, that game ended in a draw, and Ramer tied for second with Wang and NM Grant Xu & FM Francisco Sanchez Saez, who all finished at 4-1 and won $600. This year’s Cleveland Open drew 205 players, which is about the same as last year’s 202, but there were not quite as many titled players at the top of the crosstable.  Last year there was 1 GM and 3 IMs while this year there was 1 IM and 5 FMs.
In round one, there was a pairing between two CCA TDs who were both playing in the tournament.  NM Tom Magar was paired versus Brian Yang who, as usual, decided to play up in the Open section.  Brian pulled off the upset in what was the last game to end on Friday night.  Brian was playing on board 8, which as a Chinese American is a lucky number for him!  However, it was also his birthday!  He may have felt lucky and superstitious, but his play ultimately decided the result!
[pgn][Event "Cleveland Open"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2017.08.11"]
[Round "1.8"]
[White "Magar, Thomas"]
[Black "Yang, Brian"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D19"]
[WhiteElo "2204"]
[BlackElo "1993"]
[PlyCount "134"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. a4 Bf5 6. e3 e6 7. Bxc4 Bb4 8. O-O
O-O 9. Qe2 Nbd7 10. Rd1 Qc7 11. e4 Bg6 12. e5 Nd5 13. Ne4 Be7 14. Bg5 Bxg5 15.
Nfxg5 N7b6 16. Bb3 a5 17. h4 h6 18. Nf3 Nb4 19. Nfd2 Rad8 20. Nc4 Nxc4 21. Bxc4
Qe7 22. h5 Bh7 23. Ra3 Qh4 24. Nd6 b6 25. Rh3 Qe7 26. Rg3 Kh8 27. Qg4 f5 28.
Qf4 Rd7 29. Rc1 Rfd8 30. Re3 Bg8 31. Be2 Nd5 32. Qf3 Rxd6 33. exd6 Rxd6 34. Re5
Qg5 35. Rd1 Bf7 36. Qa3 Rd8 37. Bf3 Nb4 38. Qe3 Qh4 39. Rxe6 Nc2 40. Qe5 Bxe6
41. Qxe6 Nxd4 42. Rxd4 Qxd4 43. Qxf5 Re8 44. g3 Qxa4 45. Qg6 Re1+ 46. Kg2 Qc4
47. Qf5 Qf1+ 48. Kh2 Qxf2+ 49. Kh3 Qf1+ 50. Kh4 Qc4+ 51. g4 Qe6 52. Qf8+ Qg8
53. Qd6 Qe8 54. Qf4 Qd8+ 55. Kh3 Re6 56. Be4 Rf6 57. Bf5 c5 58. Qe4 b5 59. Qb7
b4 60. Qb5 Qf8 61. Qxa5 Rxf5 62. gxf5 Qxf5+ 63. Kg2 Qxh5 64. Qd8+ Kh7 65. Kf2
Qf5+ 66. Ke3 Qe5+ 67. Kf3 Qf6+ 0-1[/pgn]
Yang commented that this was the first game he had won in several years.  That is a bit of an overstatement as he forgot about a tournament a few months ago where he won two games.  Brian directs more than he plays by far as he typically directs more than 20 tournaments a year, but he only plays in a few tournaments a year and always plays up, but this tournament he finished with an even score.  Brian should have finished with a plus score.  He drew the last round in a game he easily could have won.  His opponent was Marrissa Li who recently represented Illinois in the National Girls Tournament of Champions where she tied for third.  The game was a very see-saw battle that eventually ended in a draw.
[pgn][Event "Cleveland Open"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2017.08.13"]
[Round "5.13"]
[White "Li, Marrissa"]
[Black "Yang, Brian"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "D17"]
[WhiteElo "2098"]
[BlackElo "1993"]
[PlyCount "116"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 dxc4 5. a4 Bf5 6. Nh4 Bg4 7. h3 Bh5 8. g4
Bg6 9. Nxg6 hxg6 10. Bg2 e6 11. O-O Qc7 12. f4 Na6 13. e4 O-O-O 14. Be3 Qb6 15.
Qf3 Nb4 16. a5 Qa6 17. Rfc1 Nd3 18. Rcb1 Bb4 19. Na2 Bxa5 20. b4 Bc7 21. Nc3
Qb6 22. d5 Qxe3+ 23. Qxe3 Bb6 24. Qxb6 axb6 25. dxc6 Nxf4 26. e5 N6d5 27. Nb5
bxc6 28. Nd6+ Rxd6 29. exd6 Kb7 30. Ra3 Ne2+ 31. Kf2 Nd4 32. Rba1 Nb5 33. Ra8
Rxa8 34. Rxa8 Nxd6 35. Rg8 c3 36. Ke1 c2 37. Kd2 Nxb4 38. Kc1 Nc4 39. Be4 Nd6
40. Bxc2 Nxc2 41. Kxc2 Kc7 42. Rxg7 Kd7 43. h4 Ke7 44. Rg8 Nc4 45. Rc8 Ne3+ 46.
Kd2 Nxg4 47. Rxc6 Ne5 48. Rc7+ Kf6 49. Rc3 Kg7 50. Ke3 Ng4+ 51. Kf4 Nf6 52. Rb3
Nd5+ 53. Kg5 Kh7 54. Rb2 Kg7 55. Rb1 Kf8 56. Kh6 Ke7 57. Kg7 Ne3 58. Rxb6 Nf5+
Li - Yang Brian’s real achievement though came in the blitz event.  His blitz rating is nearly 200 points higher than his standard rating, and Brian scored 8-0 to win the blitz tournament---two points ahead of second place! Another TD who played and did very well was Amy Nunn.  She played in the Under 1500 section scored 4 ½ - ½ and tied for first winning $750.  Normally when a woman scores 4 ½, you also expect to see her among the Mixed Doubles winners.  However, even though Amy’s mixed doubles team was tied for first going into the last round, and she won the last round, her partner lost, and they did not cash in the mixed doubles category.  Amy’s partner was her husband, Larry Bell, who is also an active TD.  At the start of the tournament, Larry told me that even though they signed up as a mixed double team, his wife was going to team up with someone else.  However, Amy relented and decided she would be on the same team with her husband.  That should have worked as Larry was seeded 9th in the Under 1800 section and Amy was seeded 6th in the Under 1500 section.  However, even though Larry was paired down all five rounds, he had a bad tournament and finished with only two points leaving the team ½ point out of the money!  I wonder who Amy will choose as a mixed double partner next year!
In the Under 1200 section, Brett Polcyn and his father, Jeffrey Polcyn, both won prizes this year.  Last year they played in the Cleveland Open, and both lost every game!  Last year was the first tournament for Brett, and both were unrated last year.  Last year, Jeffrey did get a bye and won the top unrated prize with that bye as he and son Brett were the only unrateds last year.  Apparently, Jeffrey had been boasting about the trophy for the past year.  That strategy may have backfired!  This year, Jeffrey still didn’t win a game, but finished with 2 1/1 points.  He started with a full point bye in round one as the lowest rated player and had two draws and a half point bye.  He won the top Under 600 plaque.  However, Brett did even better.  Brett won 4 and lost only 1 game to tie for second place in the Under 1200 section.  He won $175 and picked up nearly 300 rating points.  He also tied for the Under 1000 plaque but lost that plaque on tiebreaks and had to settle for the Under 800 plaque, which he won outright.   I will be interested in seeing the competition between them next year! Here are all the section winners:

Joshua Osbourn, 4 ½ - ½. $1200


Dave Pecot, 4 ½ = ½. $1200

Under 1500

Brooklyn Li & Amy Nunn, 4 ½ - ½, $750

Under 1200

Dave Ferkins, 5-0, $600

Mixed Doubles

Miriam Marco  Francisco & FM Francisco Sanchez Saez, 7 ½ - 2 ½, $300 each

Blitz Tournament

Brian Yang, 8-0, $110

            NTD David Hater directed for CCA assisted by Joe Yun and Steven Plotnick. For more information, visit: