Lenderman Perfect at Manhattan Open

Alex Lenderman at the 2018 U.S. Championship. Photo: Spectrum Studios

GM Alex Lenderman won the Manhattan Open with a perfect 5-0 score.  The Manhattan Open was held August 3-5th, which unfortunately coincided with the second weekend of the US Open.  The Manhattan Open is normally scheduled later in August to avoid the conflict, but this year venue constraints made the conflict unavoidable.  Still, the Manhattan Open did well drawing 479 players and was very strong as it drew 21 titled players, which is nearly as many as the 27 at the US Open.  Even the number of GMs at Manhattan was an impressive seven GMs which was not nearly as many as the 19 at the US Open, but still represents a strong event.  Of course, the US Open draws many GMs seeking the coveted spot to the US Championship for the winner.  Another connection is that at least two of the top players in Manhattan were also in Madison for at least part of the time.  GM Michael Rohde represented New York in the Senior Tournament of Champions, and FM Yoon-young Kim represented Connecticut in the Denker Tournament of Champions.

In round one, all the GMs won (except for GM Kudrin who opted for half point byes to start).  By round two however, only two GMs won.  GM Alex Lenderman and GM Gil Popilski both got to 2-0.  GM Rohde opted for a half point bye as did GM Sergey Kudrin.  GM Sergei Azarov forfeited in round two while GM Niclas Huschenbeth lost to Senior Master Robert Perez while GM Irina Krush surrendered a draw to Senior Master Grant Xu.

There was a nice combination in round two when NM Steven Barrett defeated Winston Ni.  Can you spot the moves that Barrett used to bring home the full point?

Steven Barrett vs. Winston Ni

White to move.

Going into round three there were eleven players at 2-0:  GMs Lenderman and Popilski; IMs Kassa Korley and David Brodsky; FMs Joshua Colas, Hans Niemann and Justin Paul; SMs Robert Perez and Qibao Wang; and NMs Justin Chen and Isaac Chiu. The first surprise of round three was FM Colas forfeiting to GM Lenderman. Colas had left between rounds and found that the New York Subway system was not always on time, and he didn’t make it back in time for round 3!  He did stick around for the blitz and came in clear second, and he had a chance to tie for second in the main event if he could have won his last round game.  GM Popilski defeated Qibao Wang to join Lenderman at 3-0.  IM Korley lost to FM Niemann SM Perez lost to FM Paul while IM Brodsky drew with NM Chen. NM Chiu was paired down to the next score group and lost to GM Krush. This left now four perfect scores going into the final day.

In round four, the GMs stayed perfect as Lenderman defeated Niemann, and Popilski defeated Paul.  They would be the only 4-0 scores and be on board one in the last round.  There were only two players trailing by ½ point: IM Djurabek Khamrakulov and NM Justin Chen.  I would have thought that board one would draw quickly and see if one other person joined the tie, but Lenderman had other ideas. Lenderman defeated Popilski to finish at 5-0 and take the $2000 first prize and $100 bonus.  He also won an additional $75 as his team tied for second mixed doubles.

Khamrakulov or Chen could have finished in clear second place with a decisive game, but they drew joining Popilski in the tie for second. GM Rohde who defeated FM Paul in the last round, IM Brodsky who defeated FM Wesley Wang in the last round, FM Aravind Kumar who defeated FM Niemann in the last round, and NM Akira Nakada who defeated FM Colas in the last round all also joined the tie for second. All those in the second place tie won $414.29.

One of the class players who deserves special recognition is Akash Kumar. Rated 1930, he was eligible to play in the Under 200 section but chose to play in the Under 2200.  He opted for a half point bye in round four and then went 4-0 in his other games to tie for first with 4 ½ points. That was worth $833.34 and 135 rating points!

The section winners were:

Under 2200

Vladimir Bugayev, Juan Tica, and Akash Kumar, 4 ½ – ½, $833.34

Under 2000

Dimitry Gorelik and Mikhail Molodyk, 4 ½ – ½, $1050

Under 1800

Christopher Zhou and Michah Saperstein, 4 ½ – ½, $1050

Under 1600

Krish Bandari, 5-0, $1200

Under 1400

Andre Lowden 5-0, $200 (limited to $200 as unrated)

Xuan Zhou and Mahammat Baba 4 ½ – ½, $750

Under 1100

Smittipon Srethapramote, 5-0, $700

Aleksandre Iluridze, 5-0 $100 (limited to $100 as unrated)

Mixed Doubles

Xuan Zhiu and Audrey Zhou, 8 ½ – 1 ½, $300 each

Blitz Tournament

Joseph Zeltsan, 7-1. $105

NTD Harold Stenzel directed for Continental Chess Association assisted by Andy Rea, Jabari McGreen, Ernesto Rivera, Hector Rodriguez, and Harold Scott.

Full tournament details can be found at www.manhattanopen.com.

Previous Continental Chess tournaments can be found at the Continental Chess website at  http://www.chesstour.com/cross.html.


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