IM Alexander Katz Wins Atlantic Open

alexander_katzThe 48th edition of the Atlantic Open was held at the Crystal City Hilton from August 26th-28th.  This tournament typically draws well and this year was held near to the site of the 2015 World Open, the Crystal City Hyatt (an earlier version of this article stated that the World Open was at the same venue.)  The prizes were increased $6000 this year to $26K which likely led to the number of players – 302 and titled players – 11. 

When all was said and done, IM Alexander Katz pulled off an upset and finished in clear first with 4 ½ points to pocket the $3000 first prize and $100 first prize bonus.  Not content to just win the main tournament, he also won the blitz with 7 ½ out of 8 picking up another $140.

The first day’s rounds started as expected as the titled players generally held serve and brought home the full point against their lower rated opponents.  The one mild surprise among the GMs/IMs was GM Michael Rohde drawing in round 2. The 2400+ crowd would start facing each other Sunday morning.

Starting Sunday there were four players at 3-0:  GMs Sergey Kudrin & Bryan Smith, IM Alexander Katz and FM Christopher Wu.  Kudrin would face Wu on first board with the white pieces and Katz had white against Smith on board 2. There were only two players at 2 ½ and GM Michael Rohde had white versus FM Ralph Zimmer on board 3.

Katz defeated GM Smith and emerged as the only perfect score going into the last round as Kudrin and Wu drew their game.  Rohde defeated Zimmer to join the players chasing Katz.  Here is that  game:

[Event “2016 Atlantic Open”]
[Site “?”]
[Date “2016.08.28”]
[Round “4”]
[White “GM Rohde, Michael”]
[Black “FM Zimmer, Ralph”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “A33”]
[WhiteElo “2502”]
[BlackElo “2311”]
[PlyCount “85”]
[EventDate “2016.08.28”]
[SourceDate “2016.08.28”]

1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e6 6. g3 Qb6 7. Nb3 Ne5 8. e4
Bb4 9. Qe2 O-O 10. f4 Ng6 11. e5 Ne8 12. Bd2 d6 13. O-O-O dxe5 14. fxe5 Bd7 15.
Bg2 Rc8 16. Kb1 a5 17. Be3 Qc7 18. Nb5 Bxb5 19. cxb5 Qxe5 20. Bxb7 Rb8 21. Bc6
Nf6 22. a3 a4 23. Nd4 Bc5 24. Rhe1 Rfd8 25. Qc2 Bxd4 26. Bxd4 Qh5 27. Ba7 Ne7
28. Bxb8 Rxb8 29. Qxa4 Qxh2 30. Qf4 Rf8 31. Rh1 Qe2 32. Rd2 Qg4 33. Qxg4 Nxg4
34. Rd7 Nc8 35. a4 Ne5 36. Rc7 Nc4 37. Rc1 N8d6 38. b3 Na5 39. b4 Nac4 40. Bh1
Nb6 41. a5 Na4 42. b6 g5 43. Bc6 1-0

So going into the last round, Katz stood alone at 4-0.  There were three players ½ point back:  GMs Kudrin & Rohde and FM Wu.  On board 1, Katz would face Kudrin.  Both were due black, but the lower rated and higher ranked player got his due color so Katz had black against Kudrin.  Wu had white versus Rohde.  Wu and Rohde drew quickly to assure themselves a tie for second.  This enabled Katz to draw Kudrin and take clear first.  Here is Katz last round game versus Kudrin.

[Event “2016 Atlantic Open”]
[Site “?”]
[Date “2016.08.28”]
[Round “5”]
[White “GM Kudrin, Sergey”]
[Black “IM Katz, Alexander”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[ECO “C07”]
[WhiteElo “2567”]
[BlackElo “2457”]
[PlyCount “51”]
[EventDate “2016.??.??”]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 c5 4. Ngf3 cxd4 5. exd5 Qxd5 6. Bc4 Qd6 7. O-O Nf6 8.
Nb3 Nc6 9. Nbxd4 Nxd4 10. Nxd4 a6 11. Re1 Qc7 12. Bf1 Bc5 13. c3 O-O 14. Bg5
Nd5 15. Qd3 Bd7 16. Rad1 h6 17. Bc1 Rad8 18. Qe4 Nf6 19. Qh4 e5 20. Nb3 Ba7 21.
h3 Bc6 22. Bxh6 Rxd1 23. Bxg7 Kxg7 24. Qg5+ Kh7 25. Qf5+ Kg7 26. Qg5+ 1/2-1/2

Two other players had a chance to join the second place tie.  On board 3, GM Smith faced Yefrim Treger.  If the game was decisive, the winner would have four points and join the second place tie.  Smith had white in what turned out to be a very unbalanced game.  At one point, Smith had 4 pawns versus Treger’s extra rook.  In the end, the extra material was decisive and Treger defeated Smith to tie for 2nd.

On board 4, FM Steven Grenias had white versus Joseph Zeltsman.  In an equal position Grenias errs and allows Zeltsman a winning tactic.  Can you find the tactic that enabled Zeltsman to reach 4 points and tie for 2nd?

Zeltsman has now cashed at three CCA tournaments in a row:  Manhattan Open, Northeast Open and Atlantic Open.   In his 15 games of those tournaments, he was paired up 11 times (including two round 1 pairings against IM Jay Bonin) and scored a total of 10 wins, 2 draws and only 3 losses (two of which were to Bonin).  He gained nearly 100 rating points and won almost $2000!

The section winners were:

Under 2100

David Apelo, 4 ½ – ½ $2000

Under 1900

Carlos Garcia & Benjamin Gunby 4 ½ – ½ $1500

Under 1700

Ryan Cowdin & William Hall, 4 ½ – ½ $1250

Under 1500

Aidan Choo, 5-0 $1500

Under 1300

David Vermette 4 ½ – ½ $1000

Under 1000

Kevin Su, 5-0, $600

Mixed Doubles

Grace Calapati & David Apelo 8-2 $500 each

Blitz Tournament

IM Alexander Katz, 7 ½ – ½ $140

NTD Steve Immitt directed for Continental Chess Association assisted by Andy Rea, Anand Dommalapati, and James Cope.

Full tournament details including some games can be found at

Previous Continental Chess tournaments can be found at the Continental Chess website at


  1. I made a mistake in the article. This tournament was held at the Crystal City Hilton. The World Open was held at the Crystal City Hyatt.

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