Lenderman and Sevian Win the Eastern Class Championships

Aleksandr Lenderman at the Eastern Open earlier this year, where he also won 1st. Photo: Bill Simmons

Grandmasters Alexandr Lenderman and Samuel Sevian won the Eastern Class Championships held at the Host Hotel at Cedar Lake in Sturbridge, Massachusetts from April 28-30.  Each scored 4-1 and won $1500.  The tournament drew 278 players in seven sections and awarded a guaranteed prize fund of $20,000!  Lenderman annotates his best game of the tournament—his round two win over WFM Carissa Yip.

The Master section was extremely strong.  There were 21 players and one third were GMs!  In addition to Lenderman and Sevian, GMs Giorgi Kacheishvili, Gil Popilski, Alexander Fishbein, Alexander Ivanov, and Irina Krush made up the top seeds.  In addition to the GMs, there were two FMs, one WFM and five NMs.  All told there were 15 masters.  Round one was fairly straightforward as the GMs all won.  The only upset of the round was expert Alan Zhang defeating FM Christopher Chase.

Five of the seven GMs opted for the two-day schedule, which had eleven players.  After round one of the two day schedule, only GMs were at 1-0, so there would be two GM matchups in round 2!  On board one of the two day schedule, Sevian defeated Alexander Ivanov while, on board two, Kacheishvili drew with Popilski.  Krush was the lowest rated of the perfect scores and got paired “down” to NM Farzad Abdi, who had taken a half point bye in round one.  Krush also won.

When the merge occurred, there were four perfect scores—all GMs!  On board one, Sevian would face Alexander Fishbein and draw while, on board two, Lenderman defeated Krush to emerge as the only 3-0 score.

Going into Sunday’s rounds, Lenderman was trailed by Sevian and Fishbein, who were ½ point back while Kacheishvili, Ivanov, and Krush stood at 2-1 with NMs Wesley Wang and Nithin Kavi.  Due to colors, Lenderman faced Fishbein on board one, Sevian played Kacheishvili on board two while Ivanov and Krush faced off against Wang and Kavi.  Lenderman defeated Fishbein and, because Sevian drew Kachievili, he was now 1 point up on the field and guaranteed at least a tie for 1st.  Ivanov defeated Wang while Krush drew Nivin.

This set up the last round where Lenderman was 4-0, and Sevian and Ivanov both had 3-1.  Kachiesvili, Popilski, Fishbein, Krush, Abdi and expert Christopher Wood, who defeated FMs Christopher Chase and drew FM Gregory Markzon all stood at 2 ½.

Sam Sevian at the 2015 U.S. Championships. Photo: Austin Fuller

Sevian had the white pieces against Lenderman and needed a win, in order to catch Lenderman and tie for first.  He was up to the task and won the game to join Lenderman at 4-1.

Even though Sevian played 4 GMs while Lenderman played 3 and even though Sevian defeated Lenderman, it was Lenderman who had the better tiebreaks and won the $100 bonus.  Both players tied on the first two tiebreak systems, but because Lenderman started at 4-0, he had the better Cumulative tiebreaks.

Ivanov also had a chance to tie for 1st if he could defeat Kacheishvili, and Ivanov also had white, but the game ended in a draw, so Ivanov tied for 3rd. The winner of Popilski–Krush and Abdi–Fishbein would also tie for 3rd, and Wood could join the tie if he could beat WFM Carissa Yip.  Abdi did defeat Fishbein to finish at 3 ½.  He started with a half point bye and a loss to Krush and then won his last 3 games.  Popilski and Krush drew while Yip defeated Wood.  Abdi won $800 as top Under 2300 while Ivanov won $500 for 3rd.  Here is Ivanov’s round three win over GM Gil Popilski.

Abdi also won the blitz tournament.  He started with a half point bye for the first two games and won all his games to finish at 7-1 tying with NM Ramya Inapuri.

There was one interesting observation about mixed doubles. A player asked to be paired with a mixed doubles partner.  We tried to explain that the idea behind this prize is twofold: 1) you bring someone to the tournament with you and 2) increase female participation.  The idea isn’t that we match people up for a free prize!

However, as luck would have it, right before the deadline GM Irina Krush said she didn’t have a partner.  That is amazing for the highest rated lady in the tournament! So we paired the two together.  They were in 1st place after three rounds!

They only scored a point on the second day, so they didn’t win the prize, but at least they got to compete. Still, it is probably a good idea to form your teams in advance.  A man coming to the tournament looking for a woman partner is likely to have a hard time, but we are looking to increase women’s chess.

The winners of each section were:


Danila Poliannikov, 4 ½ – ½, $1500

Class A

Anton Barash, 5-0, $1500

Class B

Ryan Wang, 4 ½ – ½, $1500

Class C

Dmitry Agron, Shravani Patil, and Benjamin Marinelli, 4 ½ – ½. $800

Class D

Riya Kanuri, 5-0, $700

Class E

Owen Ji, 5-0, $600

Mixed Doubles

Riya Kanuri and Juan Tica 9-1, $300 each

Blitz Tournament

Farzad Abdi and Ramya Inapuri, 7-1. $86.50.

            NTD Bill Goichberg directed for CCA assisted by Bob Messenger.

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  1. The player ratings for the annotated Game 1 are reversed:
    GM Alex Lenderman (2368) – WFM Carissa Yip (2661).

  2. The cumulative tiebreak is, in my opinion, an inferior tiebreak system. Allowing Lenderman, who lost to Sevian, to gain the bonus money of $100 instead of Sevian, is proof of that. It is reminiscent of what happened back in the 1970s, when FM John Curdo and IM Jack Peters scored 5-1 in the New England Open Championship. Curdo defeated Peters, but Peters gained the New England Open championship title based on cumulative tiebreak points. The whole matter was discussed in an issue of Chess Horizons, the official publication of the Massachusetts Chess Association.

    • Totally agree. Head to head results should always be the first tiebreaker when applicable.

    • That’s why it’s third on the standard list. And head to head has an inherent disparity that only one of the players has White.

      The purpose of tiebreaks is not to be fair. The purpose of tiebreaks is to distribute indivisible prizes.

  3. Compare to previous tournament reports this one stands out as by far the best version of “Hater Journalism”. This is due in part to that well commented game of Alex Lenderman by Alex Lenderman. It was entertaining and educational to review the game and read through GM insights along the way.
    My hope that commented games of the winners is the new standard to see in the future tournament reports supplied by this multi-talented TD and journalist.

  4. well, i’m only a class “a” player but don’t understand that sevian-lenderman game at all. was black’s bishop supposed to be on d6 instead of c5?

  5. Scot and all readers: The game score from Sevian – Lenderman is not accurate. I have no idea how this happened. I went back to my original file and it is correct, but when I sent it in, it is not correct. While I do not claim to be a Chessbase or computer expert, this is the first time, I have had this happen. GM Sevian graciously provided his game (with some annotations). I have asked for a reposting. I apologize to both players and to the readers. Dave Hater

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