GM Smith and FM Petesch Win the Pittsburgh Open

GM Bryan Smith

GM Bryan Smith and FM Gabriel Petesch each scored 4-1 to win the 110 player Pittsburgh Open held March 3-5th at Wyndham Pittsburgh Airport hotel.  The Pittsburgh Open is one of the smaller Continental Chess (CCA) events at a based on prize fund of $10,000 and just over 100 players, but it still draws strong players and produces fighting chess.

Smith and Petesch met in round 4 with Smith in clear 1st at 3-0, leading the field by half point.  In order to win the tournament, Petesch would need to beat Smith. At least, Petesch had the white pieces. He did win the game—to become the tournament leader going into the last round.  In the last round, Petesch assured himself of at least a tie for first by drawing with FM Akshita Gorti.  The draw allowed Smith to catch up by beating NM Mark Eidemiller.

Here is the critical game of the tournament where Petesch defeats Smith.

The Under 1800 section had a repeat customer.  The previous weekend Jason Zipfel went 5-0 at the George Washington Open Under 1800 section. This week, he gives up two draws, but his 4-1 score is still good enough to tie for first in the Under 1800 section.  Since he has now gained nearly 150 points in two weekends and is slightly over 1800, he can move up a section.

The section winners were:

Under 2100

Maxim Yaskolko, 4 ½ –  ½ $732

Under 1800

Jason Zipfel & Jeff Hohn, 4-1, $549

Under 1500

Rohan Padhye, 4 ½ – ½, $586

Under 1200

Ivan Voinov 5-0, $293

Mixed Doubles

FM Akshita Gorti & Vasishta Malisetty, 7 ½ – 2 ½, $110 each player

Blitz Tournament

Alexander Heimann, 7 ½ – ½, $80

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  1. This article left some uneasy feelings.

    1. The picture of GM Smith is from a different tournament. How difficult was it to make the recent picture and include it with an article. Also, there is no picture of a co-winner.
    2. The critical game is given without commentaries. How difficult is to ask the co-winner of the tournament (at the moment when you hand him his prize check and he is happy) to provide light commentary or to share his thoughts on a key moments of the game that pretty much decided the tournament.
    3. A “repeat customer” in U1800 section is mentioned. No picture or games (with or without a commentary) is given for this person.
    4. Winners of the sections are given with their winnings. Is there anything else that can be learned about them (some of them)?

    My apologies if I sound a bit negative here, but I expect more from the federation news page.

  2. Dang,

    I’m impressed that you’re such a Bryan Smith fan that you recognize that that photo is from a different tournament. You must be his number one fan. Kudos to you. Perhaps you have that photo autographed already? If not, I’m sure GM Smith would be happy to send one. Re shade on the good Colonel – thank you for your service to our country Colonel and thank you for your service to chess for writing this article on a volunteer basis I assume.

  3. You made my day with this comment, buddy. I am not a fan of Bryan Smith, but there is GM. Alex Lenderman playing in the background of this photo.
    Since Alex was not playing in Pittsburg tournament, it is clear that photo was made at a different tournament.

    Now, with regards to Colonel David A. Hater. I salute his service to our country. I also saw him in action running tournaments and I have no complains. But as I said, this article left an uneasy feeling and I believe I was up to the point when I listed what exactly I believe is missing. Isn’t that something which is called “constructive criticism”? You are of cause is free to disagree.

  4. Thanks for the feedback on the article.  While I certainly agree that the article could be improved by some of the additions Mr. Koganov suggests, there are several factors to consider.  US Chess News has a limited budget.  If there were a large budget, US Chess could pay for photographers, writers who are only focused on writing (as opposed to organizing and directing), and compensation for players to analyze their best games.  For some major events, there is a budget to do these things.  Obviously the budget that exists is devoted to covering larger events -tournaments such as this one are usually not covered.  I write many of these articles for free and US Chess News graciously prints them.  Since there is no budget for an article, there is also no budget to pay a player to annotate his/her game(s).  Sometimes they do for free, but that is rare.  This game did come from the player as is and that is what I used.  As to photos, while I did earn the photography merit badge when I was a Boy Scout, that was many years ago and I don’t consider myself a good photographer, so I don’t take pictures at the tournaments I run.  When other much more competent photographers take pictures (almost always for free), I pass them along. When that doesn’t happen, US Chess News uses file photos, which is fairly common in journalism.  Generally these stories focus on the championship sections. Sometimes we get tidbits from the lower sections, but this is less common.  It would be exceptionally difficult to get much done when prizes are being paid. We have a difficult enough time just getting the prizes paid quickly when everybody wants to go home.  The last thing I would mention from a personal point of view is that I generally write these stories when I am also the TD.  I focus on directing and try to do the reporting as best I can.  My time to dig up stories (such as in lower sections) is usually somewhat limited by my directing duties.  Finally, as it pertains to this article, I was over 1000 miles away running a different tournament. I wrote this using what tidbits I could get from others.  While I wish I could meet some of the expectations that Mr. Koganov has, I would suggest that some of these standards are a bit high for a volunteer journalist.  I would suggest that a better lens to view these “free” articles is would you rather have an acceptable though by no means great article or would you rather have nothing if we cannot resource the article to a very high standard?  Again, thank you for the comments and I hope this provides the other side of the story.  You will be seeing more of my articles soon. I hope you enjoy them more than you enjoyed this one,  🙂  Dave Hater

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