GM Quesada Perez Wins the 25th Annual Southern Open

The silver anniversary edition of the Southern Open was held at the Wyndham resort in Orlando, FL on July 21-23rd and featured a quite strong Open section.  There were 3 GMs, 1 IM, 3 FMs, and 4 NMs in the 23 player Open section.  GM Yuniesky Quesada Perez was the highest rated of the three GMs at 2696 USCF, and he played every game on board one en route to winning the tournament, but it was certainly anything but easy. One of the minor surprises was that most of the titled players played in the three day schedule.  Often, the two day schedule is favored by many of the professional players in an effort to save costs.  Regardless of the schedule, the first two rounds were relatively routine for the top players with just a couple notable exceptions.  IM Mikhail Zlotnikok lost in round one to Raghav Venkat, and FM Yans Girones Barrios surrendered a draw to Ravindra Wijesundera.
[pgn][Event "Southern Open"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2017.07.21"]
[Round "1.5"]
[White "Venkat, Raghav"]
[Black "Zlotnikov, Mikhail"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B06"]
[WhiteElo "2098"]
[BlackElo "2289"]
[PlyCount "49"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]1. d4 g6 2. Nc3 Bg7 3. e4 d6 4. Be3 c6 5. Qd2 Nd7 6. f3 Qa5 7. Nge2 b5 8. Nc1
Bb7 9. Nb3 Qc7 10. O-O-O a5 11. d5 b4 12. dxc6 bxc3 13. cxd7+ Kd8 14. Qf2 Qxd7
15. Nc5 Qc6 16. a4 cxb2+ 17. Kb1 Qc8 18. Nxb7+ Qxb7 19. Bb5 Kc7 20. c4 Nf6 21.
c5 Ne8 22. Qc2 Kd8 23. Rd3 Nc7 24. Qc4 Rb8 25. Qxf7 1-0[/pgn]
All the other titled players started 2-0.  For round three, FM Corey Acor had opted for a half point bye, so the top two boards featured GM Sandro Pozo Vera against Quesada Perez and GM Julio Becerra against FM Jorge Leon Oquendo.  Both games ended in draws, but neither was a “GM draw.”  Meanwhile, FM Girones Barrios defeated IM Zlotnikov to catch the leaders and Acor kept pace with the bye, so there would be six players entering the money day with 2 ½ out of 3. On Sunday morning, Quesada Perez had white versus FM Girones Barrios, and he made the most of his opportunity as he won to emerge as the sole leader going into the last round because FM Acor drew with GM Becerra, and FM Leon Oquendo drew with GM Pozo Vera. This setup some last round interesting matchups.  GM Becerra had white versus GM Quesada Perez, and he could tie for first with a win.  On board two, GM Pozo Vera had white versus FM Acor, and FM Leon Oquendo had white versus Truman Hoang.  Any of those players could tie for first, providing Quesada Perez did not win.
GM Yuniesky Quesada vs. GM Julio Becerra. Photo: Harvey Lerman
Quesada Perez would have been happy with a draw and did offer to repeat the position a few times.  However, Becerra needed the full point.  Becerra pressed as hard as he could and eventually overpressed and allowed Quesada Perez to win and take clear first with 4 ½ out of 5.  Both Pozo Vera and Leon Oquendo won to finish at 4-1 and tie for second.  Girones Barrios defeated NM Nicki Rosenthal to finish at 3 ½ and take clear fourth place.
[pgn][Event "Southern Open"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2017.07.23"]
[Round "5.1"]
[White "Becerra, Julio"]
[Black "Quesada Perez, Yuniesky"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C84"]
[WhiteElo "2643"]
[BlackElo "2696"]
[Annotator "Hater,David"]
[PlyCount "177"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d4 exd4 5. O-O a6 6. Ba4 Be7 7. Re1 O-O 8. e5
Nd5 9. Bb3 Nb6 10. Nxd4 Nxd4 11. Qxd4 d5 12. exd6 Bxd6 13. Bf4 Qh4 14. g3 Qg4
15. h3 Qg6 16. Bxd6 Qxd6 17. Qxd6 cxd6 18. h4 d5 19. Nc3 Be6 20. Ne2 a5 21. a3
a4 22. Ba2 Rfe8 23. Nd4 Bd7 24. f3 Kf8 25. Kf2 h5 26. Rad1 Rxe1 27. Rxe1 g6 28.
Re3 Rc8 29. Ke2 Rc5 30. Kd2 Rc8 31. Rc3 Nc4+ 32. Bxc4 dxc4 33. Re3 f6 34. Kc3
Kf7 35. f4 b6 36. Kb4 b5 37. c3 Rc7 38. Ka5 Rb7 39. Re1 Rb8 40. Ka6 Bc8+ 41.
Ka5 Bd7 42. Ka6 Bc8+ 43. Ka7 Rb7+ 44. Ka8 Rb6 45. Re3 Kf8 46. Re1 Kf7 47. Re2
Kf8 48. Ka7 Rb7+ 49. Ka6 Rb8+ 50. Ka5 Bd7 51. Ne6+ Kf7 52. Nc5 Be8 53. Rd2 Ke7
54. Ka6 Rc8 55. Re2+ Kd6 56. Nb7+ Kd5 57. Re7 Rc6+ 58. Ka5 Rc8 59. Kb4 Bc6 60.
Nc5 Re8 61. Rxe8 Bxe8 62. Nb7 Bd7 63. Ka5 Kc6 64. Nd8+ Kc7 65. Nf7 Be8 66. Nh6
Kd6 67. g4 Ke6 68. gxh5 gxh5 69. Kb6 f5 70. Kc7 Bg6 71. Kd8 Kd6 72. Ng8 Bf7 73.
Ne7 Ke6 74. Nc6 Kd5 75. Ke7 Bg8 76. Nd4 Ke4 77. Kf6 Kxf4 78. Nxf5 Bd5 79. Ne7
Be4 80. Ke6 Kg4 81. Ke5 Bd3 82. Nd5 Kxh4 83. Kf4 Bf1 84. Nf6 Bg2 85. Kf5 Bc6
86. Kf4 Bg2 87. Kf5 Bf3 88. Kf4 Bd1 89. Ne4 {Both players were in severe time
pressure and not keeping score. Black eventually made his extra pawn decisive.}
In round 2, Pozo Vera played a nice tactic against Tony Burrus.  Can you find the tactic?

Pozo Vera vs. Burrus

White to move.
Show Solution
[pgn][Event "Southern Open"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2017.07.22"]
[Round "2.3"]
[White "Pozo Vera, Sandro"]
[Black "Burrus"]
[ECO "D10"]
[WhiteElo "2545"]
[BlackElo "2011"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "r4rk1/ppb1nppp/3qbp2/3p4/N2P4/3BP1N1/PP3PPP/2RQ1RK1 w - - 0 14"]
[PlyCount "3"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]14. Bxh7+ Kxh7 15. Qc2+ {leads to an advantage for white. Black could have
fought on, but after another inaccuracy did not survive long.} *[/pgn]
Another quick win was turned in by NM Rosenthal versus NM Maldonado.
[pgn][Event "Southern Open"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2017.07.23"]
[Round "4.4"]
[White "Rosenthal, Nicholas"]
[Black "Maldonado, Oscar"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B30"]
[WhiteElo "2257"]
[BlackElo "2207"]
[PlyCount "63"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Qb6 4. Nc3 e6 5. Bxc6 Qxc6 6. d4 Qa6 7. Bf4 b5 8.
Qe2 b4 9. Nb5 Kd8 10. Bc7+ Ke8 11. Bf4 Kd8 12. Ne5 Ke7 13. Qh5 g6 14. Qh4+ f6
15. Nxg6+ hxg6 16. Qxh8 Qxb5 17. Qh7+ Ke8 18. Qxg6+ Ke7 19. Qh7+ Ke8 20. Qxg8
Ba6 21. O-O-O cxd4 22. Bd6 Qg5+ 23. Qxg5 fxg5 24. Bxf8 Kxf8 25. Rxd4 Ke7 26.
Rxb4 Rc8 27. Rd1 Be2 28. Rd2 Bf1 29. f3 Rc7 30. Kd1 a5 31. Rb6 Rc5 32. a4 1-0[/pgn]
One player who made good use of the re-entry option was Joshua Harrison.  He lost in round one of the three day schedule and re-entered the two day schedule.  He then went 5-0 to take clear first and $1200 in the Under 2100 section! The section winners were:

Joshua Harrison, 5-0,  $1200


Marcus Matthews & Trongan Hoang, 4 ½ = ½. $900

Under 1500

Michael Field, 5-0, $1000

Under 1200

Robert Deem, Nicholas Thompson, Shreyas Sama, & Darien Brown. 4 ½ - ½, $300

Mixed Doubles

Sisara Yerrajennu & Darien Brown 8-2, $400 each

Blitz Tournament

Nicholas Rosenthal, 7 ½ - ½, $135

NTD David Hater directed for CCA assisted by Harold Scott, Harvey Lerman, and Krista Alton. For more information, visit: