GMs Zhou, Kadric Win Fight for First at 14th Annual Open at Foxwoods

On April 13-17, the 14th Annual Open at Foxwoods in Mashantucket, CT returned to over-the-board play after a 3-year hiatus due to COVID.

This year’s event featured a $75,000 prize fund, based on 500 full entries. While the prize fund didn’t reach its full potential, the event did draw 446 players, including 27 titled players: 11 GMs, seven IMs, seven FMs, a WGM, and WIM. With such a strong field and many players pursuing norms, competition was going to be sharp, and the upsets started immediately.

In round one, Naveen Prabhu (2010) defeated Polish GM Jacek Stopa (2410). Naveen could have opted for the U2200 section, but chose to compete in the Open — a good choice as he went on to score 5/9 and achieve his National Master title.

[pgn][Event "14th Foxwoods Open"] [Site "?"] [Date "2022.04.13"] [Round "1.10"] [White "Prabhu, Naveen"] [Black "Stopa, Jacek"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C41"] [WhiteElo "2010"] [BlackElo "2430"] [PlyCount "75"] [EventDate "2022.??.??"] 1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 e5 4. Nf3 Nbd7 5. Bc4 Be7 6. O-O O-O 7. h3 c6 8. a4 Re8 9. Re1 exd4 10. Qxd4 Bf8 11. Bf4 Nc5 12. Rad1 Be6 13. b4 d5 14. exd5 cxd5 15. Nxd5 Bxd5 16. Bxd5 Nxd5 17. Rxe8 Qxe8 18. Qxd5 Ne6 19. Re1 Bxb4 20. Re4 a5 21. Ng5 Rc8 22. Nxe6 fxe6 23. Rxe6 Qf7 24. Qe4 Bc5 25. Be3 Bxe3 26. Qxe3 h6 27. Re7 Qg6 28. Qb3+ Kh7 29. Rxb7 Rxc2 30. Rb5 Rc1+ 31. Kh2 Qd6+ 32. Qg3 Qd1 33. Qe3 Rc4 34. Qe5 Qc2 35. Rb7 Qg6 36. Qxa5 Qd6+ 37. g3 Rf4 38. Qa7 1-0 [/pgn]

In round two, the norm-seekers came out swinging.

WGM Mai Narva, would would earn an IM norm with a score of 6/9, played fighting chess throughout, as each of games were decisive and her only losses were to GMs.  Even though she “only” beat one of the four GMs she played, she made it count in round two when she defeated GM Denis Kadric.

[pgn][Event "14th Foxwoods Open"] [Site "?"] [Date "2022.04.14"] [Round "2.3"] [White "Narva, Mai"] [Black "Kadric, Denis"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B09"] [WhiteElo "2355"] [BlackElo "2576"] [PlyCount "48"] [EventDate "2022.??.??"] 1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. f4 Bg7 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Bd3 Nc6 7. e5 dxe5 8. fxe5 Nh5 9. Be3 Bg4 10. Be2 f6 11. exf6 exf6 12. O-O Re8 13. Qd2 Qe7 14. Rae1 Rad8 15. Bc4+ Kh8 16. Nd5 Qd7 17. Bb3 b6 18. Qf2 Na5 19. Nc3 Nxb3 20. axb3 Bxf3 21. Qxf3 f5 22. d5 Kg8 23. Rd1 Nf6 24. Bf4 Qf7 1-0 [/pgn]

FM Michael Ivanov, who would defeat two GMs en route to a score of 6/9 and an IM norm, defeated GM Robert Hungaski. FM Danila Poliannikov, would also defeat two GMs and earn an IM norm with a score of 5½/9, defeated GM Alexander Shabalov in the second round. 

GMs Alex Shabalov (left) and Robert Hungaski. Photos: Crystal Fuller/St. Louis Chess Club


Going into round three, the number of perfect scores was whittled down to six. All three of the norm winners were 2-0. The third round would cut that the number of perfect scores in half and the GMs would begin to show their stuff.

GM Benjamin Gledura, the tournament’s top seed, defeated Ivanov; Narva defeated Poliannikov; and GM Arman Mikaelyan defeated FM Erick Zhao.

[pgn][Event "14th Foxwoods Open"] [Site "?"] [Date "2022.04.14"] [Round "3.1"] [White "Gledura, Benjamin"] [Black "Ivanov, Mike"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A61"] [WhiteElo "2652"] [BlackElo "2307"] [PlyCount "75"] [EventDate "2022.??.??"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 c5 4. d5 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. Nc3 g6 7. Bf4 a6 8. a4 Bg7 9. h3 O-O 10. e3 Ne8 11. Be2 Nd7 12. a5 Qe7 13. O-O Rb8 14. Ra3 Nc7 15. Rb3 Re8 16. Re1 h6 17. Na4 Nf6 18. Nb6 Bf5 19. Bd3 Bxd3 20. Qxd3 Ne4 21. Nd2 Nxd2 22. Qxd2 Nb5 23. Nc4 Rbd8 24. Bg3 f5 25. f3 g5 26. Kh1 Rd7 27. Rd3 h5 28. Bh2 h4 29. b4 cxb4 30. Qxb4 Qf6 31. e4 g4 32. e5 dxe5 33. Nxe5 Rde7 34. d6 Re6 35. d7 Rd8 36. hxg4 Qe7 37. Qc4 f4 38. Ng6 1-0 [/pgn]

Heading into round 4, only Gledura, Mikaelyan, and WGM Narva held perfect 3/3 scores. That would soon change. Gledura continued his streak at the expense of Narva on board one.

[pgn][Event "14th Foxwoods Open"] [Site "?"] [Date "2022.04.15"] [Round "4.1"] [White "Narva, Mai"] [Black "Gledura, Benjamin"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C88"] [WhiteElo "2355"] [BlackElo "2652"] [PlyCount "88"] [EventDate "2022.??.??"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. a4 Bb7 9. d3 d6 10. Nc3 b4 11. Ne2 Na5 12. Ba2 c5 13. c3 bxc3 14. bxc3 Bc8 15. Ng3 Qc7 16. Bg5 c4 17. Nh4 g6 18. dxc4 Nb7 19. Qf3 Ng4 20. Nhf5 Bxg5 21. Qxg4 Bd8 22. c5 Nxc5 23. Nh6+ Kh8 24. Qf3 Ne6 25. Red1 Rb8 26. Rab1 Rxb1 27. Rxb1 Bg5 28. Ng4 Nf4 29. Ne2 Nxe2+ 30. Qxe2 Qxc3 31. h4 Bxh4 32. Ne3 Qd4 33. Qc2 Bd7 34. a5 Rc8 35. Qd1 Bb5 36. Qf3 Rf8 37. Bd5 Bg5 38. Nc2 Qc5 39. Qb3 f5 40. Nb4 fxe4 41. Rb2 e3 42. fxe3 Bxe3+ 43. Kh2 Qd4 44. g3 Bd2 0-1 [/pgn]

On board 2, Mikaelyan could only score a half-point, drawing IM Justus Williams and leaving only Gledura in the lead with a perfect 4/4.

At the halfway point, however, dreams of a perfect performance were dashed as Mikaelyn held Gledura to a draw. FM Poliannikov defeated his second grandmaster, Robert Hungaski.

[pgn][Event "14th Foxwoods Open"] [Site "?"] [Date "2022.04.15"] [Round "5.4"] [White "Poliannikov, Danila"] [Black "Hungaski, Robert"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C09"] [WhiteElo "2275"] [BlackElo "2539"] [PlyCount "103"] [EventDate "2022.??.??"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 c5 4. exd5 exd5 5. Ngf3 Nc6 6. Be2 Bd6 7. dxc5 Bxc5 8. O-O Nge7 9. Nb3 Bb6 10. Nbd4 O-O 11. Be3 Bg4 12. h3 Bh5 13. Qd2 Na5 14. b3 a6 15. Rfe1 Qd6 16. Bf4 Qa3 17. c3 Bg6 18. Ne5 Rfe8 19. Bg4 Be4 20. b4 Nac6 21. Rxe4 Bxd4 22. Rxd4 Nxd4 23. cxd4 Ng6 24. Nxg6 hxg6 25. Rc1 a5 26. b5 Qa4 27. b6 Qb5 28. Bc7 a4 29. a3 Qb3 30. Qc3 Re4 31. Bf3 Qxc3 32. Rxc3 Rxd4 33. Rc5 Rd3 34. Bxd5 Rxa3 35. Bxb7 Re8 36. Bc6 Re1+ 37. Kh2 Rb1 38. b7 Rab3 39. b8=Q+ Rxb8 40. Bxb8 Rxb8 41. Bxa4 Rb2 42. Kg3 Kh7 43. Rc7 f5 44. f4 Re2 45. Bd1 Rd2 46. Bf3 Rd4 47. Rc6 Rb4 48. Bd5 Rb7 49. Kh4 Rd7 50. Bf3 Rd8 51. Kg5 Rc8 52. Rxg6 1-0 [/pgn]

 After 5 rounds, Gledura continued to hold first place at 4½/5 but was being chased by four players at 4/5: Kadric, GM Jianchao Zhou, Mikaelyan, and FM Poliannikov. 

 

Image
GM Jianchao Zhou
Image Caption
GM Jianchao Zhou, 2022. Photo: Charlotte Chess Center

In the sixth round, fighting draws appeared on top boards as Gledura split the point with GM Gabriel Flom on board 1 and Zhou drew Mikaelyan on board 2. But just below on board 3, GM Kadric defeated FM Poliannikov and GM Shabalov defeated FM Ivanov on board 4. 

[pgn][Event "14th Foxwoods Open"] [Site "?"] [Date "2022.04.16"] [Round "6.3"] [White "Kadric, Denis"] [Black "Poliannikov, Danila"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C54"] [WhiteElo "2576"] [BlackElo "2275"] [PlyCount "63"] [EventDate "2022.??.??"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. O-O Nf6 5. d3 O-O 6. Re1 d6 7. c3 Bb6 8. h3 h6 9. Nbd2 Ne7 10. d4 Ng6 11. Bd3 c6 12. Nf1 Re8 13. Ng3 Bc7 14. Qc2 Be6 15. Be3 Nh7 16. Qd2 Nh4 17. Nh2 d5 18. dxe5 Bxe5 19. f4 dxe4 20. Nxe4 Bc7 21. Rad1 Bd5 22. Bd4 f5 23. Ng3 Qd7 24. Bf1 Bxa2 25. Nh5 c5 26. Bf2 Qxd2 27. Rxd2 Rxe1 28. Bxe1 Rd8 29. Bd3 Ng6 30. Bxf5 Rxd2 31. Bxd2 Bxf4 32. Nxf4 1-0 [/pgn]

Gledura was still in clear first place at 5/6, but the groundswell of players just a half-point behind grew to six: Kadric, Zhou, Flom, Shabalov, Mikaelyan, and IM Alexander Katz. 

In round 7, Gledura drew Kadric, which allowed two players to catch up in the fight for first. In decisive turns, Zhou defeated Flom and Mikaelyan defeated Shabalov.  

[pgn][Event "14th Foxwoods Open"] [Site "?"] [Date "2022.04.16"] [Round "7.2"] [White "Zhou, Jianchao"] [Black "Flom, Gabriel"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A77"] [WhiteElo "2585"] [BlackElo "2451"] [PlyCount "75"] [EventDate "2022.??.??"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 c5 4. d5 d6 5. Nc3 exd5 6. cxd5 g6 7. Nd2 Bg7 8. e4 O-O 9. Be2 Nbd7 10. O-O Re8 11. a4 g5 12. Re1 Ne5 13. Nf1 h6 14. Ng3 a6 15. Qc2 Ng6 16. Nd1 Nf4 17. Ne3 h5 18. f3 h4 19. Ngf5 Bf8 20. g3 hxg3 21. hxg3 Ng6 22. Kg2 Ne7 23. g4 Ng6 24. Rh1 Nf4+ 25. Kg1 Bg7 26. Bf1 Bxf5 27. Nxf5 Nd7 28. Qh2 Qf6 29. Bxf4 gxf4 30. Qxf4 Qxb2 31. Rb1 Bd4+ 32. Nxd4 Qxd4+ 33. Kg2 Qe5 34. Qh6 Qf6 35. Qh7+ Kf8 36. Rxb7 Ke7 37. Rh6 Rh8 38. Qxh8 1-0 [/pgn]

Katz also had a chance to make his mark, but was upset by Narva. 

Round 8 began with a three-way tie for first between GMs Gledura, Zhou, and Mikaelyan, each at 5½/7, and five players a half-point behind: GMs Kadric and Hungaski, FM Poliannikov, WGM Narva, and Gunnar Andersen. 

On the top boards, Gledura and Zhou drew, GM Mikaelyan defeated FM Poliannikov,  Kadric defeated Hungaski, and Narva defeated Andersen.
 

Image
GM Denis Kadric, 2019
Image Caption
GM Denis Kadric, 2019. Photo: Crystal Fuller/St. Louis Chess Club


On board 6, FM Ivanov collected his second GM scalp: Flom.

[pgn][Event "14th Foxwoods Open"] [Site "?"] [Date "2022.04.17"] [Round "8"] [White "Ivanov, Mike"] [Black "Flom, Gabriel"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B40"] [WhiteElo "2307"] [BlackElo "2451"] [PlyCount "81"] [EventDate "2022.??.??"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. b3 Nf6 4. e5 Nd5 5. Bb2 Nc6 6. g3 f5 7. Bg2 Be7 8. O-O O-O 9. c4 Ndb4 10. d4 Nxd4 11. Nxd4 cxd4 12. Bxd4 Nc6 13. Bb2 Rb8 14. Qd2 Rf7 15. Na3 f4 16. Nb5 f3 17. Bh3 a6 18. Nd6 Bxd6 19. exd6 b5 20. Rac1 b4 21. c5 Qa5 22. Ba1 Rb5 23. Qc2 Qd8 24. Qd2 Qa5 25. Qc2 Qd8 26. Rfe1 Qg5 27. Bf1 Rf5 28. Bxb5 axb5 29. Re4 Bb7 30. h3 h5 31. h4 Qd8 32. Rce1 Qf8 33. Qd3 Qa8 34. Rf4 Rxf4 35. gxf4 Qe8 36. Kh2 Qf7 37. f5 e5 38. Rg1 Qf6 39. Qd5+ Kf8 40. Rg5 g6 41. Rxg6 1-0 [/pgn]

Headed to the ninth and final round, GM Mikaelyan had taken the lead at 6½/8, with Kadric, Zhou. Gledura and Narva a half-point behind.

Kadric defeated Mikaelyan on board one to secure at least part of the top prize. Zhou joined the tie for first by defeating Narva on board 2.

[pgn][Event "14th Foxwoods Open"] [Site "?"] [Date "2022.04.17"] [Round "9.2"] [White "Zhou, Jianchao"] [Black "Narva, Mai"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D32"] [WhiteElo "2585"] [BlackElo "2355"] [PlyCount "83"] [EventDate "2022.??.??"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 c5 4. cxd5 cxd4 5. Qa4+ Bd7 6. Qxd4 exd5 7. Qxd5 Nf6 8. Qd1 Bc5 9. Nf3 O-O 10. e3 Nc6 11. Be2 Qe7 12. O-O Rfd8 13. a3 Rac8 14. Qc2 Bd6 15. Rd1 Ne5 16. Bd2 Bg4 17. Nd4 Bxe2 18. Ndxe2 Nd3 19. Be1 Nxe1 20. Rxe1 Ng4 21. g3 Qf6 22. Nd4 Bc5 23. Qe2 Qg6 24. Nf3 Re8 25. Nd5 Qe4 26. Rad1 a5 27. h3 Nh6 28. Kg2 Nf5 29. Qd3 h6 30. Qxe4 Rxe4 31. Nd2 Ree8 32. Nb3 Ba7 33. Nc3 Re5 34. Rd7 a4 35. Nxa4 Rb5 36. Rc1 Re8 37. Nbc5 Rc8 38. Nd3 Re8 39. Nc3 Rb3 40. Nd1 Bb8 41. Nc5 Rb5 42. Rxb7 1-0 [/pgn]

While the previous front-runner Gledura had a chance to join the tie for first, he was unable best Shabalov on board 3. 

The interesting game was on board 4. FM Poliannikov was paired against FM Ivanov, both of whom were playing for IM norms. Ivanov sat a half-point better at 5½ and only needed to draw to earn the norm. Presumably, Poliannikov would have to win. After the final round draw, however, Poliannikov was surprised to learn that he would also earn an IM norm, despite finishing at 5½/9. 

When the dust settled, GMs Kadric and Zhou finished tied for first at 7/9 and won $4,262.50 each, with Kadric pocketing an additional $155 for superior tiebreaks. 

Shabalov and Mikaelyan tied for 3rd at 6½/9 and each won $1,162.50. 

FM Ivanov and WGM Narva tied at 6/9 and each won $1,162.50 for the top U2400 FIDE.

FMs Ivanov and Polianikov and WGM Narva earned IM norms.

 

Section Winners and Prizes

U2200: Anton Barash - 6/9 - $3,100

U2000: Xilen Chen - 6/9 - $3,100

U1800: Erick Kennedy, Yiming Chen - 6/9 - $2,325 each

U1600: Donato Gamaro - 6½/9 - $2,325

U1400: Daniel Liu - 6/9 - $2,325

U1100: Jithya Sajeevan, Oneyedikachi Osundu, Varun Ramanathan - 6/9 - $542.67 each

Mixed Doubles: Jithya Sajeevan, Sebastian Lopez - 11½/14 - $750 to each player

Blitz: FM Igor Sorkin - 9/10 - $400

FIDE U2400 Side Event: IM Justin Sarkar - 5½/6 - $500
 


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