Four Tie in Indianapolis Open

Mika Brattain at the 2015 U.S. Junior Championships. Photo: Austin Fuller

Four players finished tied for first in the Indianapolis Open held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at the Indianapolis Airport from August 27-29.  GM Priyadharshan Kannappan, IM Ron Burnett, SM Mika Brattain and NM Jason Wang all scored 4-1 to tie for first and take $975, with Brattain taking an extra $100 for the best tiebreaks.

Mika started as the second seed and was 3-0 on Saturday in the two day schedule. He then drew with Burnett in round 4 and Kannappan in round 5.  Here is Brattain’s round two win over NM Michael Wiseman Sr.

Brattain’s last round draw with Kannappan was a relatively quick draw, but the round 4 game was a fighting draw.  In fact, the Brattain – Burnett game was one of the last games of the round to finish.

Burnett took a similar path to the winner’s circle.  He also played in the two day schedule and had very favorable pairings as he was typically the lowest rated top player in the perfect score group after round one.  He played two experts and an A player on Saturday before drawing Brattain and NM Gopal Menon on Sunday.  Burnett said he had an advantage against Menon and was going to play for a win but made a few inaccuracies and had to settle for a draw.

Kannappan was the tournament’s top seed and, as such, faced slightly more difficult pairings.  After routine wins in rounds one and two, he surrendered a draw to Menon in round three and started Sunday 1/2 point behind the leaders.  Kannappan’s round two game may have been routine for him, but he played a very nice combination against Ben Inskeep.  Can you spot the tactic?

Ben Inskeep vs. Priyadharshan Kannappan

Black to move.

Kannappan played NM Joshua Postuma in round four and won to catch the leaders as Brattain and Burnett drew.

The surprise of round four occurred on board three where Menon drew with expert Glenn Snow.  The game was a short draw, and I was trying to figure out why.  The draw would not get Menon an easier pairing in the last round.  Several of the strongest players thought Menon was in trouble after Snow sacked an exchange.  Snow did finish right behind the leaders at 3 ½ – 1 ½.  Snow won $800 for clear first Under 2200.  Snow had a great tournament, going undefeated as he drew with NMs Joshua Posthuma Gopal Menon, and Rachel Ulrich and won his games against the players below 2200.  He gained over 50 rating points!

The last player in the tie for first was NM Jason Wang.  He did it the hard way as he lost in round one to Bernard Parham.  Parham may not be as high rated today, but he is a former National Master having first gone over 2200 in 1992, many years before Wang was even born.  Parham is now 72 years old and still active on the tournament circuit!  After losing in round one, Wang went 4-0 defeating NM Garret Smith in the last round.  Wang even managed to gain a few rating points for the tournament!

There were two players who scored 5-0 in the tournament.  Both players finished one point ahead of their competition.  Noah Fields went 5-0 in the Under 1200 section while Khalid Shawkat went 5-0 in the Under 1600 section.  Noah was the top seeded player in the Under 1200 section at 1198.  He played every round on board one of that section and gained over 100 rating points!  It is somewhat unusual for the top seeded player in a class tournament to win the section, so Noah is definitely to be congratulated.  Both players won over $600 and had to provide a social security number so their winnings could be reported to the IRS.  Noah is a junior player and did not have his SSN number with him, so he had to be mailed the prize.  Maybe even as the top seed, he wasn’t planning to come in clear first.  Khalid on the other hand provided his SSN to CCA before the tournament started!  I thought that was extreme confidence in expecting to win the section, but Khalid said he thought all players had to do provide the information in advance.

The Saturday night blitz tournament drew 20 players, which is a normal amount, but what was slightly unusual is that many of the top players opted to play.  One thing I noticed is that 8-0 scores in the blitz are exceedingly rare, but in this blitz event, we had four players who had previously won CCA Blitz event with perfect scores. The top 4 seeds all previously won a blitz event with an 8-0 score:  GM Priyadharshan Kannappan, NMs Gopal Menon and Joshua Posthuma and Brian Yang.  Menon won the blitz even with 7 ½ – ½ to win $100.   Menon almost always plays in and wins the blitz events as his blitz rating is nearly 200 points higher than his standard rating.  Posthuma and Yang tied for second at 6 ½ – 1 ½.  It looked like there was going to be a 4-way tie for first as Kannappan looked like he would win his second game against Menon, and all four players would finish at 6 ½.  Menon came back though to sweep Kannappan 2-0 and win the event.  The only draw Menon surrendered was to Brian Yang, who he defeated 1 ½ – ½.

The section winners were:

Under 2000

Nathaniel Criss & Dennis Geisleman. 4 ½ – ½, $1050

Under 1600

Khalid Shawkat, 5-0, $1200

Under 1200

Noah Lewis, 5-0. $700

Mixed Doubles

Rachel Ulrich & William Nesham, 7 ½ – 2 ½, $300 each

Blitz Tournament

Gopal Menon, 7 ½ – ½ $100

            NTD David Hater directed for CCA assisted by Bill Buklis.

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