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.

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.

TOURNAMENT DIRECTORS PLAY CHESS

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!

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.

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!

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES

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:

U2100

Joshua Osbourn, 4 ½ – ½. $1200

U1800

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.

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