Labor Day Weekend Round-Up: From New York to California

GM Stripunsky Wins New Jersey Open on Tiebreaks by Al Lawrence

fifth-round-murderers-rowMurderer's Row at the NJ Open: GMs Fishbein, Stripunsky and Benjamin

Winning a chess tournament in the Garden State is no picnic, even for a grandmaster. GM Stripunsky brought a big enough basket of good moves to take the title but had to share the cash with GMs Joel Benjamin, Alex Fishbein and Sergey Kudrin. All scored 5-1, drawing two games. GMs Fishbein and Benjamin kindly annotated a victory each for US Chess. GM Alex Fishbein always plays interesting chess. In a key game in Round 4, he demonstrates the sparkle that attracts spectators.

[pgn] [Event "NJ Open"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.09.04"] [White "Xu, Runya"] [Black "Fishbein, Alexander"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B22"] [WhiteElo "2225"] [BlackElo "2528"] [PlyCount "66"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] 1. e4 c5 2. c3 e6 3. d4 d5 4. exd5 exd5 5. Nf3 Nc6 6. Be3 c4 7. b3 cxb3 8. axb3 Nf6 9. Bd3 Bd6 10. O-O O-O 11. Nbd2 h6 12. h3 Re8 13. b4 Be6 14. b5 Na5 15. Qa4 b6 16. Rfc1 Ne4 17. c4 Nxd2 18. Nxd2 Bxh3 $5 {An interesting but objectively wrong idea. I did not see the move 19...f5 which would have solved all problems without sacrificing.} (18... f5 $1 19. c5 f4 20. cxd6 fxe3 21. fxe3 Qg5) 19. c5 $2 (19. gxh3 Qh4 (19... Rxe3 20. fxe3 Qg5+ 21. Kf2 Re8 22. Nf1 Qh4+ 23. Ke2 Qxh3 24. Kd2) 20. Bf1 $1 Rxe3 21. fxe3 Qg3+ 22. Bg2 Qxe3+ 23. Kh1 Qxd2 24. c5 Bc7 25. Qd1 $1 Qf4 26. Qg1 {Looks better for White}) 19... Rxe3 $1 20. fxe3 Qg5 21. Bf1 Qxe3+ 22. Kh1 Bf4 $2 {Again looking for an attack instead of a more positional solution.} (22... Be6 $1 23. cxd6 Qxd2 {With a clear advantage, owing to two or three pawns for the exchange. The d6 pawn will fall. }) 23. Nf3 $2 (23. Ra3 $1 {White could have defended and equalized with precise moves} Qxd2 24. Rd1 Bxg2+ 25. Bxg2 Qe2 26. Rf1 $1 g5 27. Qd1 $1 Qe6 28. Re1) 23... Bg4 {Now there is no hope for White.} 24. Re1 Qf2 25. Qd1 Qg3 26. Ra2 Rf8 27. Qe2 Bxf3 28. gxf3 Qh4+ 29. Kg1 Nc4 30. Rea1 Be3+ 31. Kg2 Qg5+ 32. Kh3 (32. Kh2 Bf4+ 33. Kh1 Qh5+ 34. Kg1 Be3+ 35. Kg2 Bxd4) 32... Bf4 33. Qf2 Qh5+ 0-1 [/pgn]
GM Joel Benjamin has an eye-opening new book “Liquidation on the Chess Board.” In his game against Brandon Jacobson, he shows off the idea.
[pgn] [Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.09.10"] [Round "?"] [White "Benjamin, Joel"] [Black "Jacobson, Brandon "] [Result "1-0"] [Annotator "Benjamin,Joel"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/8/8/p3Rp2/1r3P2/1PK1Pk2/8/8 b - - 0 1"] [PlyCount "10"] 1... Re4 2. Rxe4 Kxe4 3. Kd2 Kf3 {Black loses by at least one tempo.} (3... Kd5 4. Kd3 Kc5 5. e4 fxe4+ 6. Kxe4 Kb4 7. f5 Kxb3 8. f6 a4 9. f7 a3 10. f8=Q a2 11. Qh8 {is another way}) 4. Kd3 Kg4 (4... Kg3 5. Kd4 Kf3 6. Ke5 Kxe3 7. Kxf5 Kd4 8. Ke6 Kc3 9. f5 Kxb3 10. f6 a4 11. f7 a3 12. f8=Q a2 13. Qh8 {again winning}) 5. Kc4 {White does not need to triangulate to win, but when you have written a book on pawn endings (Liquidation on the Chess Board), you show off when you can.} Kg3 6. Kd5 {And Brandon resigned because 6/\Kf3 7.Kd4 Kg4 8.Ke5 wins by two tempi and 7...Ke2 8.e4 will be trivial as well. This narrow win came on the heels of two long games with the Wang brothers and left me completely wiped out. And I had to play an even stronger student the next morning! Fortunately for me, John Burke made a major oversight in the opening and it was smooth sailing. I was very relieved to not have to work too hard on the last day, after the first two were so brutal!} 1-0[/pgn]
IM Yaacov Norowitz, GM Mackenzie Molner, NM Runya Xu, and Expert Sandi Hutama tied for 5th-8th. Hutama earned Top Expert. Thoshan Omprakash won the Class A prize with 3½. The 79-player open section was a tough crowd. Katherene Qi, pre-ranked seventh and 150 rating points under number-one Serge Adelson, took clear first in the 60-player Under-2000 section with 5½ points, drawing Adelson in the final round. Adelson, Taran Idnani, Jason Lu, and George Chachkes tied for 2nd-5th, a full point behind Qi. Chachkes won Best Class B. Lisa Jin took Best Class C with 3½ Alexander Vekker, entering with a rating of 1457, topped 30 players in the Under-1600 section with 5½-½. Pranav Shah was second. Theodore Covey, Alexander Hu, and John Gonzalez tied for 3rd-5th with 4½ . Jaron Bernard won Class D with 4 points. Sudyut Sinha took Class E with 2½. Ellexis Cook scored 2 points to win the Class F prize. On Saturday 78 juniors competed in a scholastic event in separate rooms at the Hyatt. Charles Lin won the Under-1200 section. Dhriti Iyer won the Under-900 prize, and Sofia Macaspac won the Under-600 section. Any of the participants could then enter the two-day schedule of the main event. New Jersey stalwart Aaron Kiedes directed the junior event, with help from Jim Mullanaphy. The New Jersey Open, a three-day event held annually on the Labor Day weekend, checks all the boxes in my personal five-category tournament ranking system.

  • It attracts a pride of GM lions of American chess. This year: Stripunsky, Benjamin, Fishbein, Kudrin, Arun Subramanian, Molner, and John Fedorowicz, plus a number of IMs. In all there were 18 chess masters.
  • It’s well-run and comfortable. TD Noreen Davisson handles everything with an even hand and a lot of charm. There’s room to play without feeling as if you can’t scratch your ear without elbowing the player on the next board into a touch-move blunder.
  • It’s in an excellent hotel. The Hyatt Regency Morristown is up-to-date, offers a coffee bar, a sports bar, and a restaurant, plus free wifi, all at a good room rate.
  • It gives players a bookstore to browse. Fred Wilson, Bibliognost Emeritus of American chess, handles it and always has a chess tip or anecdote worth listening to.
wilsonbooksFred Wilson and his book store

The playing site is close to other diversions. This one is getting to be a hard box to fill for otherwise excellent events. But the New Jersey Open aces this category. The Hyatt is in the heart of historic Morristown. In minutes, you can walk to dozens of shops and restaurants, one of George Washington’s important Revolutionary War headquarters, even a farmers’ market and a beautiful town-square park.

all-agesChess for all ages!

Just don’t think winning is a walk in the park. Tennessee Open


The Tennessee Open was won by Alex King, who is originally from Nashville. He now lives in Memphis and works for a new statewide chess in schools program based at the University of Mississippi. Alex annotates his favorite victory from the tournament.

[pgn] [Event "Tennessee Open"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.09.03"] [White "Smith, Brian D"] [Black "King, Alexander B"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A00"] [WhiteElo "1979"] [BlackElo "2334"] [PlyCount "144"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [SourceDate "2013.01.14"] 1. Nc3 c5 2. d4 $5 {Already a new position for me.} cxd4 3. Qxd4 Nc6 4. Qh4 d5 5. Nf3 d4 6. Ne4 Nb4 $1 7. Kd1 Bf5 8. Bd2 Nc6 $2 ({Better was the immediate} 8... e5 $1) 9. e3 dxe3 10. fxe3 e5 11. Qxd8+ Rxd8 12. Ng3 Be6 13. Bb5 f6 14. Ke2 Nh6 15. e4 Nf7 16. Be3 a6 17. Ba4 g6 18. Bb6 Rc8 19. c3 Bd6 20. Rhd1 Ke7 21. Rd2 Nb8 $1 22. Rad1 Nd7 23. Be3 Bxa2 $1 24. b3 b5 25. Rxa2 bxa4 26. Rxa4 Rxc3 27. Rxa6 Rxb3 28. Rd3 $2 ({After} 28. Nh4 $1 {Black would have nothing.}) 28... Rxd3 29. Kxd3 Rb8 30. Nd2 Bc5 31. Ra2 Bxe3 32. Kxe3 Nd6 33. Rc2 Rc8 34. Rxc8 Nxc8 35. Nc4 Nd6 36. Na5 Nc5 37. Nc6+ Ke6 38. Nb4 Nb5 39. Na2 Nd4 40. Nc3 f5 41. Nh1 Nc2+ 42. Kd2 Na3 43. Nf2 Nc4+ 44. Ke2 Nd6 45. exf5+ Kxf5 46. Kf3 Ke6 47. g4 g5 48. Kg3 e4 49. h4 gxh4+ $2 ({After} 49... h6 {I was worried about reaching the infamous ending of two knights against a pawn, e.g.} 50. hxg5 hxg5 51. Nh3 Kf6 52. Nd5+ Ke5 53. Nxg5 $5 Kxd5 54. Nxe4 $5 Ncxe4+ {and Black will not be able to prevent White's pawn from crossing the midpoint of the board. Tablebases confirm that this is a draw.}) 50. Kf4 $4 (50. Kxh4 {would lead to a draw:} Ke5 51. Kh5 e3 52. Nfd1 Nce4 53. Nxe3 $1 ({But not} 53. Nxe4 $4 e2 $1 $19) 53... Nxc3 54. Kh6 $11) 50... Nd3+ $1 51. Nxd3 exd3 $19 {Now Black is winning, although it still requires some care.} 52. Ke3 h3 53. Nd1 Nc4+ 54. Kf3 Ne5+ 55. Kg3 Nxg4 56. Kxh3 Kf5 57. Kg3 Ne5 58. Ne3+ Kg5 59. Nf1 h5 60. Ne3 h4+ 61. Kg2 Ng4 62. Nd1 Ne5 63. Ne3 Kf4 64. Nd1 Ng4 65. Kh3 Kf3 66. Kxh4 Ne3 67. Nb2 d2 68. Kh3 Ke2 69. Kg3 Nc4 70. Na4 Kd3 $1 ({But not} 70... d1=Q $4 71. Nc3+ $11) 71. Nc5+ Kc2 72. Ne4 d1=Q 0-1 [/pgn]
Find the MSA Crosstable here.


Alex Ostrovskiy

New York State Championship By David Hater IM Alexandr Ostrovskiy successfully defended his title as New York State Chess Champion, but he had to come from behind to do it.  Ostrovskiy lost in round two to FM Ben Dean-Kawamura and had to win the rest of his games to tie for first and take the title on tiebreaks over FM David Brodsky. This is Ostrovskiy’s third title as New York Champion.  He won in 2010, 2015, and now this year at the 138th Championship.  At the time he won in 2010, he was the youngest ever winner at 14 years old (since eclipsed by Nicolas Checa in 2013).  Winning the event three times places Ostrovskiy in some pretty elite company.  Only five people have won it more than three times:   GM Joel Benjamin 9 times (1985-87, 1990, 1995, 2000-2002), GM Michael Rohde 5 times (1988, 1993-94, 1996, 2002), Eugene Delmar 4 times (1887, 1890-91, 1897), Erich Marchand 4 times (1960, 1967, 1969-70) and Anthony Santasiere (1928, 1930, 1946 and 1956).  Four others have won it three times:  IM Jay Bonin (1982, 1997, 1999), Jacob Bernstein 1920-1922, Julius Finn 1901, 1907, 1908, and Albert Hodges 1891-1893. A critical game was round five.  FM Anthony Renna was 4-0 and was a full point ahead of the field.  Six players were at 3-1:  Ostrovskiy, FMs David Brodsky & Ben Dean-Kawamura and NMs Lev Paciorkowski, Zachary Tannenbaum and Joseph Zeltsan.  Renna had white versus Ostrovskiy.  He would be quite content to draw and he kept the game very balanced for a long time, bus Ostrovskiy figured out a way to win.

[pgn] [Event "New York State-ch138"] [Site "Colonie,NY"] [Date "2016.09.05"] [White "Renna, Anthony"] [Black "Ostrovskiy, Alexandr"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C01"] [WhiteElo "2330"] [BlackElo "2488"] [Annotator "Townsend,William"] [PlyCount "94"] [EventDate "2016.09.??"] [EventRounds "6"] [EventCountry "USA"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 exd5 4. Bd3 c5 5. Nf3 c4 6. Be2 Nf6 7. b3 cxb3 8. axb3 Nc6 9. Ne5 Bd6 10. Nxc6 bxc6 11. Bg5 O-O 12. O-O h6 13. Bh4 g5 14. Bg3 Bxg3 15. hxg3 Ne4 16. Bf3 f5 17. g4 fxg4 18. Bxe4 dxe4 19. Nc3 Bf5 20. Ra4 Qf6 21. Qe2 Rad8 22. Qc4+ Kh8 23. d5 e3 24. fxe3 cxd5 25. Nxd5 Qe5 26. e4 Be6 27. Rxf8+ Rxf8 28. Qd4 Qxd4+ 29. Rxd4 h5 30. Ra4 g3 31. Rxa7 Rf2 32. Ra8+ Kg7 33. Ra7+ Kf8 34. Ra8+ Kg7 35. Ra7+ Bf7 36. Ne3 h4 37. Rc7 Re2 38. Nf5+ Kf6 39. Kf1 Rf2+ 40. Kg1 Re2 41. Kf1 Rf2+ 42. Kg1 Be6 43. Rc6 Ke5 44. Ne3 Re2 45. Nf1 Re1 46. Rc5+ Kf4 47. e5 h3 0-1[/pgn]
Brodsky defeated Zeltsan and Paciorkowski defeated Tannenbaum.  Dean-Kawamura was paired “down” to GM Rohde and drew.  This setup a 4 way tie going to the last round with Ostrovskiy, Brodsky, Paciorkowski and Renna all at 4-1.  In the last round Ostrovskiy defeated Paciorkowski and Brodsky defeated Renna to finish in a tie for first.
[pgn] [Event "New York State-ch138"] [Site "Colonie,NY"] [Date "2016.09.05"] [Round "6"] [White "Renna, Anthony"] [Black "Brodsky, David"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B11"] [WhiteElo "2330"] [BlackElo "2378"] [PlyCount "84"] [EventDate "2016.09.??"] [EventRounds "6"] [EventCountry "USA"] 1. e4 c6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Nf3 Bg4 4. h3 Bxf3 5. Qxf3 Nf6 6. e5 Nfd7 7. d4 e6 8. Be3 c5 9. dxc5 Nc6 10. Nb5 Nxc5 11. Nd4 Nxe5 12. Bb5+ Ncd7 13. Qg3 Ng6 14. O-O-O Be7 15. Nf5 O-O 16. Nxe7+ Qxe7 17. Qc7 Nde5 18. Qxe7 Nxe7 19. Bc5 N5g6 20. h4 Rfc8 21. Ba3 a6 22. Be2 Nc6 23. h5 Nf4 24. Bf1 g6 25. h6 d4 26. Kb1 b5 27. Bc5 e5 28. c3 dxc3 29. bxc3 Rd8 30. Rxd8+ Rxd8 31. g3 Ne6 32. Be3 Ne7 33. Bg2 Nd5 34. Bd2 Ndf4 35. Bxf4 exf4 36. Kc2 fxg3 37. fxg3 f5 38. a4 bxa4 39. Rb1 Nc5 40. c4 Kf7 41. Rb6 a3 42. Rb1 Rd3 0-1[/pgn]
Ostrovskiy’s mixed doubles team finished 1 ½ point ahead of all other teams as Ostrovskiy’s partner Charlie Reeder won the Under 1800 section with a score of 5 ½ - ½.   This is the first time the State Champion also won first mixed doubles. IM Jay Bonin finished in clear third place with 4 ½ - 1 ½.  Bonin defeated GM Michael Rohde in the last round.
[pgn] [Event "New York State-ch138"] [Site "Colonie,NY"] [Date "2016.09.05"] [Round "6"] [White "Rohde, Michael A"] [Black "Bonin, Jay R"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E70"] [WhiteElo "2509"] [BlackElo "2397"] [Annotator "Townsend,William"] [PlyCount "90"] [EventDate "2016.09.??"] [EventRounds "6"] [EventCountry "USA"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Bd3 Nc6 6. Nge2 Nd7 7. Bc2 e5 8. d5 Nd4 9. Nxd4 exd4 10. Nb5 Ne5 11. Nxd4 Nxc4 12. Ba4+ Bd7 13. O-O O-O 14. Bxd7 Qxd7 15. b3 Nb6 16. Bb2 Rfe8 17. Qc2 c5 18. dxc6 bxc6 19. Rfe1 d5 20. Rad1 Qb7 21. a4 dxe4 22. a5 Nd5 23. Qxc6 Rab8 24. Qxb7 Rxb7 25. Nf5 Bxb2 26. Nd6 Nc3 27. Nxb7 Nxd1 28. Rxd1 e3 29. fxe3 Rxe3 30. Nc5 Bc3 31. a6 Ba5 32. Rd3 Re1+ 33. Kf2 Rc1 34. Ne4 Bb6+ 35. Kf3 Ra1 36. Nf6+ Kg7 37. Nd7 Rxa6 38. Nxb6 Rxb6 39. g4 g5 40. h3 Kg6 41. Ke4 h5 42. gxh5+ Kxh5 43. Kf5 Rb4 44. Rc3 Rf4+ 45. Ke5 Kh4 0-1[/pgn]
Bonin got off to a rough start.  He was scheduled to play in the three day schedule, but ran into a traffic jam and had to take a half point bye in round one.  He was paired significantly down in round two and won and then drew with Paciorkowski and Dean-Kawamura in rounds 3 and 4.  He won his two games on Monday to finish third. One player who did not win money but had a great tournament is FM Ben Dean-Kawamura.  He defeated Ostrovskiy and drew with Bonin and Rohde.  Only a last round loss to FM Olivier Chiku-Ratte  kept him from cashing. This tournament has a 4 day, 3 day, and 2 day schedule (except no two day schedule for the Open).  By far the most popular schedule is the three day option.  Not a single master opted for the 4 day schedule! On Sunday night there was  a blitz tournament which GM Max Dlugy won scoring 9 ½ - ½ giving up only a draw to GM Michael Rohde and going 2-0 against everyone else including Ostrovskiy and WIM Megan Lee.  Since Dlugy is now from New Jersey, Yefrim Treger is the New York State Blitz Champion.  He tied for 2nd place with WIM Megan Lee from Washington. The Under 2100 section had a familiar face atop the standings – Harold Scott started 4-0 and then drew both games Monday to tie for first with Webster Kehoe.  Scott and Kehoe drew their final round game.  I have to apologize to Mr. Kehoe.  It is my fault he didn’t come in clear first.  After a couple mediocre performances in “Under” sections, Harold Scott recently told me if he ever tried to enter an Under section again I was to stop him.  Unfortunately, I was not in Albany to direct or play so I was not able to stop Harold from winning the tournament! Harold and Tony Renna were roommates at this tournament and both started 4-0. This tactic occurred in the Under 2100 section.  Can you find white’s move? Craig, Peter A-Geiger, Alan E
Show Solution

Solution 11. Ndxb5 axb5 12. Nxb5 Qb6 13. Nxd6+ Kf8   14. Nxb7

Here is a miniature from the Under 2100 section featuring a king hunt and mate in the middle of the board.

[pgn] [Event "New York State-ch138"] [Site "Colonie,NY"] [Date "2016.09.04"] [White "Ellenbogen, Michael"] [Black "Adamec, Carl"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A15"] [WhiteElo "2185"] [BlackElo "2000"] [Annotator "Townsend,William"] [PlyCount "43"] [EventDate "2016.09.??"] [EventRounds "6"] [EventCountry "USA"] 1. c4 Nf6 2. g3 d5 3. cxd5 Qxd5 4. Nf3 Bf5 5. Bg2 Bxb1 6. Rxb1 Qxa2 7. Ne5 Nbd7 8. Nxd7 Qxb1 9. Bxb7 Rd8 10. Nxf6+ exf6 11. Qa4+ Ke7 12. O-O Qf5 13. b3 c5 14. Ba3 Qe5 15. Qc6 Rd6 16. Bxc5 f5 17. d4 Qf6 18. Qc7+ Ke6 19. Bc8+ Kd5 20. Bxd6 Bxd6 21. Qc4+ Ke4 22. Bb7# 1-0[/pgn]
The section winners were: Under 2100 Harold Scott & Webster Kehoe 4-2, $750 Under 1800 Charlie Reeder, 5 ½ - ½ $1000 Under 1500 Dmitry Agron 6-0 $700 Under 1200 Ashwin Vutha 5 ½ - ½ $400 Mixed Doubles IM Alexandr Ostrovskiy & Charlie Reeder 9 ½ - 1 ½ $300 each Blitz Tournament GM Max Dlugy 9 ½ - ½ $300 14212568_10154623234536454_9143093351606152718_nThe New York Chess Association holds its annual meeting at this event.  As part of the meetings, they induct players or organizers into the New York Chess Hall of Fame.  This year the players were GMs Robert J. Fischer, Sammy Reshevsky, Reuben Fine, Gata Kamsky and Carrie Goldstein.  The organizer this year was Sophia Rohde.  A few highlights of Sophia’s accomplishments are from the induction ceremony are: A Chess Tournament Director since the age of 11, Sophia Rohde was the youngest person in the world to earn the FIDE International Arbiter title at age 19.  She is also a FIDE International Organizer and a USCF National Tournament Director.  She has long been active in chess organization at the City, State, National and International levels, and her contributions have been immense. Sophia has been among the Top 100 US women as a player.  She served as the Manager of the Manhattan Chess Club.  As an organizer, Sophia is always seeking the highest standards for the players.  As a teacher, Sophia instills her love of the game in her students. She has been a teacher and true aficionado of the Royal Game for almost her entire life.  She has a special mission to bring its enjoyment and challenges to the disadvantaged.  Sophia makes people's lives better through Chess. Congratulations to all on a well deserved honor. NTD Steve Immitt directed for Continental Chess Association assisted by Bill Goichberg, Brother John McManus & William Townsend.  William Townsend also edits many of the games from the tournament for this article and for Empire Chess. Full tournament details including some games can be found at Previous Continental Chess tournaments can be found at the Continental Chess website at Record-Breaking Attendance at the Southern California Open

By Vanessa West

The Southern California Open, one of the strongest open tournaments in California, took place in the ever-sunny city of San Diego for the 6th year in a row. Wandering across the tournament location, the extensive grounds of the Town and Country Resort, you pass the convention center hosting a wide range of events, including the TICA Cat Show, which boasts “America’s finest felines”, and Hidden Valley Feis, a huge Irish dance competition, on the way to the ballroom where a record-breaking 208 players, including some of the top players in the state, battle it out for the coveted title of “Southern California Open Champion."

GM Timur Gareyev. Photo: Irina NizmutdinovaTop Seed, GM Timur Gareyev. Photo: Irina Nizmutdinova

This year’s top seed, GM Timur Gareyev, shared first place with IM John Bryant. While both ended undefeated with 5 points out of 6, each achieved the score in different ways. Gareyev competed in the 2-Day Schedule and emerged from the three 50-minute games with a perfect 3-0, including victories over two former Southern California Open Champions, IM Dionisio Aldama and IM Andranik Matikozyan. The final two rounds, he accepted draws against two of his closest competitors, Bryant and IM Keaton Kiewra. Bryant, on the other hand, played the 3-Day Schedule with the longer time control throughout and was a half point behind Gareyev going into the final round, when he won a critical game to tie for first. 

IM John Bryant. Photo: Irina Nizmutdinova IM John Bryant. Photo: Irina Nizmutdinova

In addition to the Open, there were five competitive class sections. Here are the winners for each:


Rick Sun and Bryan Leano


Andrey Malkhasyan


Andy Johnson


Vladyslav Shevkunov, Eusy Ancheta, and Ariadne Dodd


Alejandro Lucero

The Southern California Open is one of the few opens that offers three “Best Game Prizes”, including one reserved for a class section. Last year, the 1st place Best Game Prize went to FM Michael Casella for his hard-fought victory against IM Dionisio Aldama.

[pgn][Event "2015 Southern California Open"] [White "FM Michael Casella"] [Black "IM Dionisio Aldama"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B42"] [WhiteElo "2338"] [BlackElo "2420"] [PlyCount "159"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"]1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Bd3 Nf6 6. O-O d6 7. c4 g6 8. Nc3 Bg7 9. Nb3 O-O 10. Be2 b6 11. Bf4 e5 12. Bg5 h6 13. Be3 Bb7 14. f3 Ne8 15. Qd2 g5 16. Rfd1 Nd7 17. Rac1 Bf6 18. Na1 a5 19. Nc2 Nc5 20. Bxc5 bxc5 21. Ne3 Kh7 22. Nf5 Ra6 23. Nd5 Rg8 24. Rc3 Bg7 25. Rb3 Bc6 26. Nde7 Ba4 27. Rb7 Bxd1 28. Bxd1 Rf8 29. Ba4 Qa8 30. Rd7 Nf6 31. Rxd6 Rxd6 32. Qxd6 Qd8 33. Nc6 Qxd6 34. Nxd6 Nd7 35. Nxa5 Nb6 36. Bc6 Bf6 37. Ne8 Be7 38. b3 Rg8 39. g4 Rg6 40. Bb5 Na8 41. Nc6 Bd6 42. Kf2 h5 43. gxh5 Rh6 44. Kg3 Nc7 45. Nxd6 Rxd6 46. Nxe5 Rd2 47. Nxf7 Ne6 48. h4 gxh4+ 49. Kxh4 Nd4 50. Kg4 Rxa2 51. Ba4 Kg7 52. Ne5 Kh6 53. Nd3 Rg2+ 54. Kf4 Rg5 55. e5 Rxh5 56. Nxc5 Rh4+ 57. Ke3 Nf5+ 58. Kd3 Nd4 59. e6 Nf5 60. Ne4 Rh3 61. Nd2 Kg7 62. Bc6 Kf6 63. Bd5 Ne7 64. Kd4 Nf5+ 65. Kc5 Ke7 66. b4 Rh8 67. b5 Rc8+ 68. Kb4 Kd6 69. f4 Ne7 70. Ne4+ Kc7 71. Kc5 Rf8 72. b6+ Kb8 73. Kd6 Nc8+ 74. Ke5 Ne7 75. Nf6 Ng6+ 76. Kf5 Ne7+ 77. Kg5 Kc8 78. Be4 Rd8 79. Nd7 Rg8+ 80. Kf6 1-0[/pgn]

Stay tuned for the announcement of this year’s Best Game Prize winners in a few days!

For standings and more information, visit the Southern California Chess Federation and San Diego Chess Club websites.  New England Open by Alex Relyea

On Sunday of Labor Day weekend IM Denys Shmelov faced his two top competitors with Black and emerged with a 1 1/2 result en route to becoming the first player since 2011 to be declared sole New England Champion.  114 players came to Burlington, Massachusetts for the 76th New England Open.  GM Alexander Ivanov was declared Blitz Champion with 7/8.

[pgn] [Event "76th New England Open"] [Site "Burlington, MA"] [Date "2016.09.04"] [Round "3"] [White "Ivanov, Alexander"] [Black "Shmelov, Denys"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B12"] [WhiteElo "2530"] [BlackElo "2509"] [PlyCount "132"] [EventDate "2016.09.03"] [EventRounds "6"] [EventCountry "USA"] [SourceDate "2006.03.16"] 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. h4 h6 5. g4 Bd7 6. Nd2 c5 7. dxc5 Nc6 8. Nb3 h5 9. gxh5 e6 10. Bf4 Bxc5 11. Nxc5 Qa5+ 12. Qd2 Qxc5 13. O-O-O O-O-O 14. Nf3 Rxh5 15. Be2 f6 16. Be3 Qe7 17. exf6 Nxf6 18. Nd4 Rhh8 19. Nxc6 Bxc6 20. Bxa7 d4 21. f3 e5 22. Bb6 Rde8 23. Qa5 Nd5 24. Bc5 Qc7 25. Qa3 Rh6 26. Rhg1 Nf4 27. Bd3 Rf6 28. Qa8+ Qb8 29. Qxb8+ Kxb8 30. Rxg7 Bxf3 31. Bb5 Rc8 32. Be7 Rb6 33. a4 Bxd1 34. Kxd1 Nd5 35. Bg5 Ne3+ 36. Bxe3 dxe3 37. c4 Rh6 38. Rg5 Rxh4 39. Rxe5 Rh2 40. Rxe3 Rxb2 41. Kc1 Rf2 42. Rc3 Rg8 43. Rc2 Rxc2+ 44. Kxc2 Rg3 45. Kb2 b6 46. Kc2 Kc7 47. Kb2 Kd6 48. Kc2 Kc5 49. Kb2 Kb4 50. Kc2 Rh3 51. Kd2 Kb3 52. Ke2 Kc3 53. Ba6 Rh5 54. Bb5 Re5+ 55. Kd1 Rh5 56. Ke2 Rh1 57. Ba6 Rb1 58. Bb5 Ra1 59. Kf2 Kd2 60. Kf3 Re1 61. Kf4 Kc3 62. Kf3 Kd4 63. Kf2 Re3 64. Ba6 Re5 65. Bb5 Kc5 66. Kf3 Kb4 0-1[/pgn]
Eight-Time Champ in Florida 


GM Julio Becerra won his eighth (!) Florida State title at the Arnold Denker FL State Championship in Tampa, Florida. Congrats to Becerra, who won every Florida Championship he played in so far, and this time took clear first by a full point. (MSA crosstable). Have a Labor Day memory to share? Please share with us on facebook and twitter. And don’t forget to solve GM Pal Benko’s “Back to School” puzzles.