GM Belous Wins Northeast Open

GM Vladimir Belous took first place at the Silver Anniversary of the Northeast Open (June 7-9, Stamford, CT) with a score of 4.5/5. This year’s tournament was the largest Northeast Open since Continental Chess resumed holding the event in 2003, drawing 224 players. While just over 200 players is not a huge event by CCA standards, the $10,000 guaranteed prize fund was enough to draw three GMs, two IMs, and one FM in the 50 player Major section.
Vladimir Belous (photo David Hater)
There weren’t any upsets in round one, but there were a significant number of masters being held to draws. The most significant of these was NM Alejandro Botta drawing GM Sergey Kudrin. Six masters surrendered draws, and thirteen players entered with half point byes, so the number of perfect scores was significantly lower than could be expected for a tournament of this size. Most of the first round winners were over 2200 and the GMs were playing players in the 2250-2300 range in round two. Kudrin was able to rebound from his first round draw as he was paired to the lowest rated master with one point and he was able to defeat NM Yefrim Treger. GM Alexander Ivanov was not as fortunate as he lost to NM Joseph Han. IM Justin Sarkar got a bit of good luck as he was erroneously paired with a player who had properly requested a half point bye. The oversight on the TD staff resulted in an easy point by forfeit for Sarkar. IM Alexander Katz had the biggest rating mismatch as he was paired against the player who received the bye in the first round. Meanwhile on board one, Belous was having a typical day at the office and turned in a nice win over NM Max Li.

[Event "Northeast Open"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2019.06.06"]
[Round "2.1"]
[White "Li, Max"]
[Black "Belous, Vladimir"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A05"]
[WhiteElo "2271"]
[BlackElo "2606"]
[PlyCount "88"]
[EventDate "2019.??.??"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d3 g6 4. g3 Bg7 5. Bg2 Nf6 6. O-O O-O 7. Re1 d6 8. c3
Bg4 9. h3 Bxf3 10. Qxf3 Rb8 11. a4 a6 12. Be3 Nd7 13. Qd1 Qc7 14. Nd2 b5 15.
axb5 axb5 16. Qc2 b4 17. f4 Rfc8 18. Nc4 Nb6 19. Nd2 Qd8 20. Rec1 Nd4 21. Bxd4
cxd4 22. c4 e5 23. Nb3 exf4 24. gxf4 Nd7 25. Qf2 Nc5 26. Nxc5 Rxc5 27. Rcb1 Rh5
28. Ra7 Qb6 29. Rba1 b3 30. R1a4 Bf6 31. R7a6 Qc5 32. Ra7 Bh4 33. Qd2 Bd8 34.
Qf2 Bb6 35. R7a6 Kg7 36. Qg3 Qc7 37. Bf3 Ra5 38. Qf2 Rxa4 39. Rxa4 Bc5 40. Qd2
Qd7 41. Ra6 Qxh3 42. Bg2 Qe3+ 43. Qxe3 dxe3 44. Ra1 e2+ 0-1

The number of perfect scores at the merge had dwindled significantly, with only six perfect scores entering round three: GM Belous, IMs Katz and Sarkar, FM Carissa Yip and NMs Andrew Ardito and Joseph Han. There would be no upsets in the perfect scoregroup this round as Belous defeated Yip, Katz defeated Ardito and Sarkar defeated Han. Going into the Sunday money rounds there would be just three players at 3-0: Belous, Katz, and Sarkar. Belous was paired with Sarkar, taking the black pieces. He sacrificed a pawn in the opening and obtained some play, but Sarkar was better. By the time material equality was restored in the late middle game, Belous had a slight edge, but he was not able to obtain anything decisive. It was a well played fighting draw by both sides.

[Event "Northeast Open"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2019.06.08"]
[Round "4.1"]
[White "Sarkar, Justin"]
[Black "Belous, Vladimir"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A61"]
[WhiteElo "2418"]
[BlackElo "2606"]
[PlyCount "108"]
[EventDate "2019.??.??"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 e6 4. Nc3 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. Nf3 g6 7. Bf4 Bg7 8. Qa4+
Bd7 9. Qb3 b5 10. Bxd6 Qb6 11. Be5 O-O 12. e3 b4 13. Nb1 Bf5 14. Nbd2 Nbd7 15.
Nc4 Qd8 16. Bd6 Re8 17. Rd1 a5 18. a4 bxa3 19. Qxa3 Ne4 20. Bd3 Nb6 21. Nxb6
Qxb6 22. Bxe4 Bxe4 23. Bxc5 Qb5 24. Bd4 Bxf3 25. gxf3 Qxd5 26. Bxg7 Qxf3 27.
O-O Kxg7 28. Qd6 Rad8 29. Qxd8 Rxd8 30. Rxd8 Qg4+ 31. Kh1 Qe2 32. Kg2 Qxb2 33.
Rd4 h5 34. h4 Qa2 35. Rc1 a4 36. Rc7 a3 37. Ra7 Qb3 38. Rda4 Qd5+ 39. Kg3 Qe6
40. R7a6 Qe5+ 41. Kg2 a2 42. Rd4 g5 43. Rxa2 g4 44. Ra7 Qf6 45. Rf4 Qxh4 46.
Rfxf7+ Kg6 47. Rae7 Qh3+ 48. Kg1 Qh4 49. e4 Qh3 50. Rf5 g3 51. Re6+ Kg7 52.
Re7+ Kg6 53. Re6+ Kg7 54. Re7+ Kg6 1/2-1/2

This left the door open for Katz as he was paired down to the highest 2.5 point player – NM Max Lu. But Lu was able to pull off the upset and catch up with Belous and Sarkar. Also joining the leaders was NM Danila Poliannikov. These four leaders – Belous, Sarkar, Lu, and Poliannikov – all headed to the last round with 3.5/4. Sarkar opted before the tournament for a last round half point bye. This set up a last round pairing of Belous with white against Lu and Poliannikov being paired “down” to GM Ivanov. Belous won against Lu and Ivanov defeated Poliannikov.

[Event "Northeast Open"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2019.06.09"]
[Round "5.1"]
[White "Belous, Vladimir"]
[Black "Lu, Max"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A11"]
[WhiteElo "2606"]
[BlackElo "2339"]
[PlyCount "77"]
[EventDate "2019.??.??"]

1. c4 Nf6 2. g3 c6 3. Nf3 g6 4. b3 Bg7 5. Bb2 a5 6. Nc3 d5 7. Bg2 O-O 8. O-O d4
9. Na4 Ne8 10. c5 Na6 11. Rc1 Nec7 12. d3 Bg4 13. Qd2 Bxf3 14. Bxf3 Nb4 15. Nb6
Ra6 16. a3 Nbd5 17. Nc4 Nb5 18. Rfe1 Qc7 19. e4 dxe3 20. fxe3 Rd8 21. Bxg7 Kxg7
22. Qb2+ Nf6 23. d4 Na7 24. Qf2 Nd7 25. Rcd1 Nc8 26. Rf1 Rf8 27. e4 b5 28. Ne3
Ra7 29. Qd2 h5 30. Bxh5 Rh8 31. Bf3 e5 32. Bg4 Nf6 33. Bxc8 Qxc8 34. Nf5+ Kg8
35. Nd6 Qe6 36. d5 cxd5 37. exd5 Qe7 38. Rf2 Kg7 39. Rdf1 1-0

This left the final standings with Belous at 4.5 winning $1200 and Ivanov, Katz and Sarkar sharing 2nd-3rd winning $366.67 each. NM Ardito also scored 4-1 (losing only to Katz) to win first place Under 2300. Pollianikov, Han, and Lawyer Times spilt second Under 2300 winning $83.34. There was a nice miniature in the last round between Jason Lu and Ankit Raparthi. Black takes a poisoned pawn and pays a heavy price.

[Event "Northeast Open"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2019.06.08"]
[Round "5.11"]
[White "Lu, Jason"]
[Black "Raparthi, Ankit"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A40"]
[WhiteElo "2150"]
[BlackElo "2060"]
[Annotator "Hater,David"]
[PlyCount "31"]

1. d4 e6 2. c4 b6 3. Nc3 Bb7 4. e4 Bb4 5. Bd3 f5 6. f3 fxe4 7. fxe4 Bxc3+ 8.
bxc3 Bxe4 $2 {The pawn is poisoned. However, black takes the poisoned pawn and
now the game becomes very tactical.} 9. Qh5+ g6 10. Qe5 Bxg2 {Black continues
to take material, but should pay a heavy price.} 11. Bg5 (11. Qxh8 Qh4+ 12. Kd2
$16) 11... Nc6 12. Qg3 Nf6 $2 (12... Bxh1 13. Bxd8 Nxd8 14. O-O-O {White is
clearly better, but the position is not easily winning as in the game line.})
13. Qxg2 O-O 14. Bh6 Re8 15. Bxg6 Re7 16. Bf7+ 1-0

The section winners were: Under 2100 Shawn Swindell & Frank Prestia, 4.5/5, $700 Under 1800 Isaiah Glessner, 5-0, $800 Under 1500 Sergei Zakharov, 4.5/5, $1400 Under 1200 Ian Dailis & Phil Lee, 4.5/5, $300 Mixed Doubles Chloe Gaw & Phil Lee and Nicole Zlotchevsky & Shawn Swindell, 7.5, $225 to each team Blitz Tournament Yefrim Treger, 7.5/8, $85 NTD Steve Immitt directed for Continental Chess Association assisted by Jabari McGreen, Danny Rohde, F. Prestia, and R. Prestia. Full tournament details can be found at Previous Continental Chess tournaments can be found at the Continental Chess website at