GM Elshan Moradiabadi, the 2017 Washington Congress Champion
The annotations of the games are provided courtesy of GM Moradiabadi. The tournament coverage is from David Hater.
GM Elshan Moradiabadi won clear first at the Washington Chess Congress held from October 6th through 9th at the Hilton Crystal City in Arlington, VA. In past years, the event was a GM/IM norm event, but this year the hotel was not available for the entire time, so CCA was not able to schedule a 9 round open section. Nonetheless, attendance was still good as there were 213 players in five sections.
The Premier section may not have been quite as powerful as past norm events, but was still quite strong. Five GMs, one IM, and six FMs headlined the 47 player Premier section. Moradiabadi scored 6-1 to take clear first. This is an even more significant achievement as his only two half points were a half point bye and a draw in the last round to secure clear first place. He played three GMs in six games, scoring 2 ½. His performance rating for the tournament was 2899, and he picked up 20 rating points, which is a huge number for a GM whose USCF rating is close to 2600!
Moradiabadi had some off results last year and dipped below 2600 USCF. He is now back to his previous form, winning tournaments and increasing his rating back up to the mid 2600 range (USCF). Perhaps more importantly, Elshan recently became a US citizen, and while FIDE has recognized him as a US player for several years, this is the first tournament Elshan won as a US citizen. Congratulations Elshan!
Moradiabadi started with a routine win in round one and then took a half point bye in round two. Moradiabadi wanted to take a half point bye at some point in the faster two day schedule and opted for round two as he thought he might be paired up as early as round two! That turned out not to be correct, but the extra rest must have done him well!
After winning in round three, he faced GM Jesse Kraai in round four and again came away with the win. In round 5, Elshan benefited from Swiss pairings. There was only one perfect score: GM Denis Kadric was 4-0. There were two players at 3 ½: GM Mark Paragua and GM Moradiabadi. Paragua was higher rated and played Kadric while Moradiabadi got paired down by scoregroup and rating to FM Andrew Samuelson. Moradiabadi defeated Samuelson.
Here is a critical position from Moradiabadi versus Samuelson with notes from GM Moradiabadi:
Paragua defeated Kadric in the following game to maintain pace with Moradiabadi as the leaders going into the final day.
This left Paragua and Moradiabadi leading the tournament at 4 ½ out of 5 going into the last day. In the penultimate round, Moradiabadi defeated Paragua to put himself in clear first place entering the last round. Here are Moradiabadi’s notes to this critical game.
In the last round, Moradiabadi would face the only player who had 5 points: GM Denis Kadric. A draw would give Moradiabadi clear first place, and that is exactly what happened. Kadric would then finish in second place with 5 ½ points and could be joined in the tie for second by up to two players: the winners in Paragua – Gareyev and Krai – Balakrishnan would finish in the tie for second. Interestingly, black won both games as Gareyev and Balakrishnan were decisive. Here are the games.
The Under 2100 section was won by none other than Robert J. Fischer. No, not THAT Robert J. Fischer! This Robert J. Fischer lives in suburban Washington, D.C. and is a frequent competitor in CCA events. He is a former National Master, but his current rating dipped below 2100 making him eligible for this section. He started slow by drawing two Class A players in rounds one and two. He then won five in a row to finish at 6-1 and take clear first and the $2000 first prize.
Every section had a clear winner as Dmitry Agron went 6 ½ -1/2 in the Under 1700 section winning $1700, and John Sanberg went 6 ½ -1/2 in the Under 1300 section winning $1000.
GM Mark Paragua did not win a top prize in the Premier section as he tied for 5th and only won $100. However, he did choose a good mixed doubles partner. His partner Rachana Bhanuprasad scored 5 ½ points in the under 1300 section. Added to Paragua’s 4 ½, the 10 points for the mixed doubles team earned each player $500.
GM Timur Gareyev started the blitz tournament with a half point bye, then won the rest of his games to finish 7-1 and take the $95 first prize.
The section winners were:
Robert J. Fischer, 6-1, $2000
Dmitry Agron, 6 ½ – ½, $1700
John Sandberg, 6-1, $1000
Rachana Bhanuprasad & GM Mark Paragua, 10-4, $500 each
GM Timur Gareyev, 7-1, $95
National Tournament Director Steve Immitt directed for CCA assisted by Andy Rea and Anand Dommalapati.