It’s Not Where You Start, It’s Where You Finish

Andrey Baryshpolets (2nd from the left) on the winning Texas Tech team at the 2015 Pan-Am Championship

Golden State Open Champion, Andrey Baryshpolets (2nd from the left), on the winning Texas Tech University team at the 2015 Pan-Ams. Photo: Al Lawrence

The 8th Annual Golden State Open was held in the San Francisco area of Concord, California from January 13 to 16 and featured several turns of fortune that made for an exciting tournament finish.  The $25,000 tournament drew 288 players in five sections.  The 62 player open section was incredibly strong featuring ten grandmasters, four international masters, three FIDE masters, one woman international master and 18 national masters.

GM Andrey Baryshpolets was seeded third but lost in round one to NM Trevor Showalter.  Baryshpolets then went 6-0 in his remaining games to finish 6-1 and take clear first of $3000 and the $100 bonus for first.  Losing in round one must be viewed as the ultimate “Swiss gambit.”  Baryshpolets certainly doesn’t recommend this approach!  The first round loss was a wild game that could have easily gone either way.

In spite of the fact that he may have had slightly “easier” pairings for a few rounds, Baryshpolets faced two GMs on the final day including GM Vladimir Belous who led the tournament for the first six rounds.  Belous was the second seed and started off 5-0 and was a full point ahead of the field going into the last day.  It seemed like he would surly win the tournament, but on the last day he drew GM Conrad Holt before losing to Baryshpolets on board one in  the last round.

Belous still tied for second with 5 ½ out of 7.  He faced the strongest schedule of any player in the field playing four GMs and one IM and having the highest performance rating of anyone in the tournament at 2774.  Here is Belous’ win over IM John Bryant.

GM Elshan Moradiabadi

GM Elshan Moradiabadi when he won the 2016 Washington International

Also tying for second was GM Elshan Moradiabadi.  He was one of only two players to finish undefeated.  Here is Moradiabadi’s win over FM Andy Lee.

The other undefeated player is a name from the past GM Jim Tarjan recently returned to chess after a several decade hiatus.  Tarjan took two half point byes and finished with 3 wins and 2 draws in his other games to tie for 6th place which did not cash but is still a good result In such a strong field.

Two other players in the tie for second deserve special mention for outstanding results.  Jack Zhu finished with 5 ½ points and had to play four of the GMs to do so. He scored two wins, one draw and one loss against the GMs and 3-0 versus his non GM opponents for a 2675 performance rating.  Here is Zhu’s last round win over GM Conrad Holt.

The last player in the tie for second is Andrew Hong.  He defeated GMs Andrey Stukopin and Enrico Sevillano on the final day to reach 5 ½ points.  Here is his round six win over Stukopin.

In the Under 1500 section, another player started at the bottom of the crosstable and finished in first place.  Otgonbayer Suren is unrated and playing in his first tournament.  He finished at 6-1 and tied for first in the section.  As an unrated, he was limited to a prize of $350 and the beneficiary was Min Zhou who also scored 6-1 and tied for first and able take the entire prize due to Suren being prize limited..

The only player to finish with a perfect score was Thomas Zhu in the Under 1200 section.  He clinched first place with a round to spare.  Even if he lost the last round, he would have won clear first.  He finished 1 ½ points ahead of the field and gained 259 rating points.

The section winners were:

Under 2100

Julia Sevilla, 6-1 $1700

Under 1800

Akshar Aiyer and Ruthvik Singireddy, 6-1, $1300

Under 1500

Otgonbayer Suren $350 & Min Zhou $1400, both 6-1

Under 1200

Thomas Zhu, 7-0, $800

Mixed Doubles

Akshithi Eashwaren/Ruthvik Singireddy &

Renate Otterbach/Michael Walder, 10-4, $750 each team

Blitz Tournament

Arthur Ismakov, Joshua Grabinsky, and Anthony Faulks 6 ½ –  1 ½ $49

NTD David Hater directed for CCA assisted by Tom Langland and John McCumiskey.

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  1. That first game I think you want 13. Rc1 instead of 13. Re1, otherwise it doesn’t make sense. GM Andrey Baryshpolets did a fantastic job, congrats on the victory! I particularly liked his 7th round Grunfeld game, very instructional.

    • Because 13. Re1 cant be the right move, probably looked like 13. Rc1 on the scoresheet. Otherwise 17 black would have played 17.. qxc7, 31… Qxc5+, or even checkmate in 1 like you said.

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