GM Timur Gareyev scored a perfect 6-0 in the 2019 Pacific Coast Open (July 18-20, Van Nuys, CA), earning $3,100 for his sterling performance. Curiously, Gareyev probably could have made a draw (or two) on the last day and still taken clear first (and the same amount of money). When I raised this possibility with Gareyev, he said he was feeling good and simply wanted to play some good chess. Gareyev has annotated his two critical fifth and sixth round wins exclusively for CLO.
Timur Gareyev (photo Hartmann)
The tournament started off with several upsets. Interestingly the upsets occurred in the slow time control three-day schedule, where four masters did not survive the first round. NM Paris Prestia lost to Bernard Bednarz and NM Leo Creger lost to Chang Xu while NM Teddie Wen drew with Shawnaak Shivakumar and NM Vyom Vidarthi drew with Sebastian Prestia.
There were not as many upsets in round two, but there was one big surprise on board one of the three day schedule where GM Gergely Antal drew with Tommy Wen.
With this being a six round event, the merge would not occur until after round three, when the top players were already meeting. There were only three players at 2-0 in the two-day schedule: GM Gareyev, IM John Bryant and NM Gabriel Sam. GM Gareyev defeated Bryant to emerge as the only 3-0 as Gabriel lost to NM Ming Lu.
In the three day schedule, there were only two perfect scores after two rounds: NMs Vijay Krishnamoorthy and Gabriel Edelman. Krishnamoorthy won to get to 3-0 and would face Gareyev after the merge. On board two of the section, Antal did better against the Wen family as he defeated NM Teddie Wen.
This meant that at the merge, there were only two perfect scores: Gareyev and Krishnamoorthy. Four players were half a point back: GM Antal, and NMs Nicky Korba, Ming Lu, and Ilya Stern. Gareyev won to emerge in clear first at 4-0. Antal defeated Sterin and Korba defeated Lu. Going into Sunday’s money rounds Gareyev stood at 4-0 and was being chased by Antal and Korba at 3.5.
With a half point lead and playing the only other GM in the event, Gareyev could have certainly afforded a draw. However, he had white and he wanted to play, defeating Antal to get to 5-0.
Korba was paired “down” to IM Bryant, and while he was outrated by 200 points, Korba pulled off the upset to stay within striking distance of the leader Gareyev.
Going into the last round Gareyev was alone at 5-0. Korba was the only 4.5. There was also only one player at 4-1: NM Gabriel Sam. GM Antal led a group of six players at 3.5–1.5.
Gareyev could have just given a quick draw to take first place. He also had black so a short draw would not be surprising. Timur had other plans, and he defeated Korba to finish at 6-0, a full 1.5 points clear of second place.
Gareyev also paced his team to the first place mixed doubles so Timur added another $500 to his winnings.
Antal defeated Sam to secure part of second place along with Korba. NM Lernik Manukyan defeated Matthew Shuben and NM Ilya Sterin defeated Caleb Wan to join them, with the four players winning $1075 each. Since Korba and Sterin were Under 2300, they pulled up the class prize leaving 4th place to be split six ways among the players who finished at 4-2. IM John Bryant, NMs Gabriel Sam, Vijay Krishnamoorthy, Gabriel Eidelman, and Daniel Erlikhman and Tommy Wen each won $83.34.
Section winners were:
Kian Patel, 5.5-0.5 $2000
Carlos Varela, Corlan Chinn, Christopher Sheu, & Benjamin Bankhead, 5-1, $950
Artiom Ambartsoumian, 6-0, $1600
Benjamin Levy, Nicholas Paetsch, & Sadhana Arivoli, 5-1, $933.34
Brian Lantz & Neville Linden, 5.5-0.5, $600
GM Timur Gareyev and Vanessa Zhou, 9.5 points, $500 to each player
Daniel Lee & Mick Bighamian, 7-1, $105
NTD Steve Immitt directed for Continental Chess assisted by Randy Hough and Dylan Quercia.