Post World Open Fireworks

DSCN3008 GM Illia Nyzhnyk, Photo Jim Doyle

The main event of the World Open concluded July 4th, but there was still much chess to be played.  Normally the side events are held in the week prior to the World Open but this year due to what day of the week July 4th fell on and hotel availability, the side events were held the week after.  In the week after the World Open, there were five “slow” chess tournaments including several with titled players. Before moving on to the classical side events, I will note the World Open Blitz Championship.  The event was held in two sections with a total of $3000 guaranteed prizes and 165 players.  There were 16 players over 2500 including 12 GMs!  GMs Illia Nyzhnyk and Yarosla Zherebukh scored 8 ½ out of 10 to win the event and take home $400.  After staying up until nearly 3 AM, for the Blitz, many of the players and TDs started all over again the next evening with classical events! The flagship side even was the Philadelphia International.  Sixty players attended this event and it was strong enough to qualify as a Super swiss.  Of the 59 FIDE rated players there were 31 foreigners representing 17 separate FIDE federations.  There were 9 GMs, 10 IMs, 8 FMs, and 1 WIM.   While the tournament was not as large as the World Open where 10 norms were achieved, there was one norm achieved and many players were in contention for norms right up until the end of the tournament.  The one norm achieved was by IM Priyadharshan Kannappan from India.  This is his third GM norm.  He also won $700 for finishing in the tie for 3rd place.  Interestingly, he started somewhat slow with 2 ½ out of 4.  However, he won 4 of his last 5 games to secure the norm.  He needed to win the last round against GM Reynaldo Quevedo to get the norm.

[pgn][Event "10th Philadelphia International"] [Site "Philadelphia, PA"] [Date "2016.07.10"] [Round "9.4"] [White "Kannappan, Priyadharshan"] [Black "Quevedo, Reynaldo"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B52"] [WhiteElo "2484"] [BlackElo "2432"] [PlyCount "123"] [EventDate "2016.07.??"] [EventRounds "9"] [EventCountry "USA"] [WhiteClock "0:15:15"] [BlackClock "0:14:31"]1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Bd7 4. c4 Nc6 5. Nc3 Ne5 6. d4 Nxf3+ 7. gxf3 cxd4 8. Qxd4 Nf6 9. Bg5 Bxb5 10. cxb5 Nd7 11. O-O-O h6 12. Be3 e6 13. f4 a6 14. Kb1 Qa5 15. bxa6 bxa6 16. Rd2 Rb8 17. Rg1 Qb4 18. Qd3 Nc5 19. Bxc5 Qxc5 20. Rc2 Qb4 21. Qxa6 Be7 22. Rxg7 Kf8 23. Rg3 Rg8 24. Qe2 Bf6 25. e5 Bg7 26. Qe3 Bh8 27. Re2 Rc8 28. Qe4 Qb8 29. Qd4 d5 30. Rc2 Rg6 31. Qd3 Rxg3 32. hxg3 Bg7 33. Ne2 Kg8 34. Rxc8+ Qxc8 35. Qc2 Qb8 36. a3 Bf8 37. Ka2 Kg7 38. Nc1 Qb6 39. Nd3 Qd4 40. b4 Be7 41. Kb3 h5 42. a4 h4 43. gxh4 Bxh4 44. a5 Qa1 45. Qc1 Qd4 46. Qc3 Qa7 47. Qc5 Qa6 48. Qd4 Qb5 49. f5 exf5 50. Nc5 Be7 51. Qxd5 Qf1 52. Qd4 Kg6 53. Ka4 Qe2 54. Nd3 Qa2+ 55. Kb5 Bg5 56. a6 Qe2 57. a7 Qf3 58. Nc5 Be7 59. Qd3 Qa8 60. Qd7 Bxc5 61. bxc5 Qf3 62. Qc6+ 1-0[/pgn]
The two co-champions of the International started as the top two seeds, drew each other and each finished with 5 wins and 4 draws to take $2250 for their 7-2 score.  Fresh off a tie fir first in the World Open, GM Alex Shimanov was the first to finish only needing a quick last round draw to assure a tie for first.  Shimanov played a tough field defeatining GM Quevedo, IMs Gorovets & Aldama and only seeding draws to GMs Bachmann, Popilski, Jiminez and IM Kannappan.  In round 8 Shimanov defeated IM Andrey Gorovets who achieved his 3rd GM norm in the World Open the week before.  In the two weeks Shimanov finished with 10 wins 8 draws and no losses and picked up just over $8000 and 20 rating points!
[pgn][Event "10th Philadelphia International"] [Site "Philadelphia, PA"] [Date "2016.07.09"] [Round "8.2"] [White "Shimanov, Alex"] [Black "Gorovets, Andrey"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E62"] [WhiteElo "2627"] [BlackElo "2545"] [PlyCount "83"] [EventDate "2016.07.??"] [EventRounds "9"] [EventCountry "USA"]1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 d6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. O-O O-O 6. c4 Nc6 7. Nc3 Bf5 8. d5 Na5 9. Nd4 Bd7 10. Qd3 c5 11. Nc2 a6 12. b3 b5 13. Rb1 bxc4 14. bxc4 Rb8 15. Bd2 Qc7 16. Ne4 Nxe4 17. Bxe4 Nxc4 18. Qxc4 Bb5 19. Rxb5 axb5 20. Qb3 Qa7 21. a3 Rfc8 22. h4 Qa4 23. Qxa4 bxa4 24. Ne3 c4 25. Bb4 Bd4 26. Nc2 Bc5 27. Rc1 e6 28. Bxc5 Rxc5 29. Nb4 Rbb5 30. Rd1 f5 31. Bc2 exd5 32. e3 Kf7 33. Kf1 h5 34. Ke2 Ke6 35. Rd4 c3 36. Kd3 Rb7 37. Bxa4 Ra7 38. Nc2 Rb7 39. Rb4 Ra7 40. Bb3 Kf6 41. a4 Ke5 42. Rb6 1-0[/pgn]
The other co-champion Alex is GM Alex Bachmann.  He needed to win his last round against GM Victor Mikalevski in order to catch Shiminov and he proved up to the task.  Enroute to his first place finish Baxchmann defeated GMs Mikalevski, IMs Gorovets and Bora and ceded draws to GMs Shimanov, Popilski, Jimenez and IM Sarkar.
[pgn][Event "10th Philadelphia International"] [Site "Philadelphia, PA"] [Date "2016.07.10"] [Round "9.2"] [White "Bachmann, Axel"] [Black "Mikhalevski, Victor"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C54"] [WhiteElo "2649"] [BlackElo "2545"] [PlyCount "115"] [EventDate "2016.07.??"] [EventRounds "9"] [EventCountry "USA"] [WhiteClock "0:21:11"] [BlackClock "0:00:12"]1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d3 a6 6. O-O d6 7. a4 Ba7 8. Na3 Ne7 9. Nc2 Ng6 10. Be3 O-O 11. Bxa7 Rxa7 12. Re1 a5 13. d4 Ra8 14. dxe5 dxe5 15. Qxd8 Rxd8 16. Ng5 Rf8 17. Ne3 h6 18. Nf3 Nxe4 19. Nd5 Bf5 20. Ba2 c6 21. Nb6 Rad8 22. Bb1 Nd6 23. Bxf5 Nxf5 24. Nxe5 Nd6 25. Ned7 Rfe8 26. Nc5 f5 27. Ne6 Rb8 28. Rad1 Ne4 29. Nd4 f4 30. Nf5 Nc5 31. h4 Re5 32. h5 Nd3 33. Rxe5 Ngxe5 34. Nc4 Nxc4 35. Rxd3 Rf8 36. Ne7+ Kf7 37. Ng6 Re8 38. Rd7+ Kf6 39. Rxb7 Re1+ 40. Kh2 Re2 41. b3 Ne5 42. Nxe5 Rxe5 43. b4 Rxh5+ 44. Kg1 Re5 45. Rb6 Re6 46. bxa5 Re5 47. Rxc6+ Ke7 48. Rc7+ Kf6 49. a6 Ra5 50. Ra7 Rxa4 51. Ra8 Ra1+ 52. Kh2 g5 53. a7 Kg7 54. c4 g4 55. c5 Ra5 56. c6 Rh5+ 57. Kg1 Rc5 58. Rg8+ 1-0[/pgn]
One of the other top rated IMs chasing a GM norm was IM John Burke.  His 6 points were not quite enough for the GM norm and finished in a tie for 7th-9tth.  In the first round, he sacs a piece against FM David Peng and chases his king all over the board before delivering checkmate.
[pgn][Event "Philadelphia International"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.07.05"] [Round "1.5"] [White "Burke, John"] [Black "Peng, David"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B66"] [WhiteElo "2571"] [BlackElo "2261"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "2rr4/3bkp2/p3pqpR/1p6/8/3BQ3/PPP2PP1/1K5R w - - 0 23"] [PlyCount "25"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"]23. Bxg6 fxg6 24. Rh7+ Kd6 25. Qb6+ Bc6 26. Rd1+ Ke5 27. Qc5+ Bd5 28. f4+ Kf5 29. g4+ Kxg4 30. Qg1+ Kxf4 31. Qh2+ Ke3 32. Qd2+ Kf3 33. Qd3+ Kg4 34. Rg1+ Kf4 35. Rf1+ 1-0[/pgn]
One of the features of these International’s is the ability to play strong players every single round.  This draws non-titled players not seeking norms or prizes, but seeking the opportunity just to play strong players.  One such entrant is Gary De Fotis.  He has been a master before reaching over 2300.  His FIDE rating was only 1985 placing him as one of the lowest seeds, but he finished with an even score of 4 1/2 points!  In round 8, he has an equal position against NM Siddharth Banik.  After Banik makes an innocuous move, the position goes from completely equal to completely winning for De Fotis.
[pgn][Event "Philadelphia International"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.07.09"] [Round "8.19"] [White "De Fotis, Gary"] [Black "Banik, Siddharth"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E55"] [WhiteElo "1983"] [BlackElo "2226"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/p4p1k/1p2qnp1/7p/2PQ3P/5P2/P2N1KP1/8 b - - 0 38"] [PlyCount "4"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"]38... Nd7 39. Ne4 $1 {And there is no defense to the threat of the multiple knight checks.} Ne5 40. Ng5+ 1-0[/pgn]
Steve Immitt was the chief arbiter assisted by Bob Mesenger, Manuel Nieto, Jon Haskel and David Hater. The next major side event was the World Open Senior Championship.  Senior championships seem to be gaining in popularity as many states now have a Senior Championship, USCF has a National Championship for seniors and FIDE has a World Championship for Seniors.  This event was open to players 50 or over and had a choice of either 5 day or 3 day schedule and offered a $3000 guaranteed prize fund.  Three GMs and an FM entered the 5 day schedule.  The crucial round in the 5 day schedule occurred before the merge.  GM Lawrence Kaufman had white against GM Joel Benjamin on board 1 while FM Ian Findlay had white on board 2 against GM Niaz Murshed.  The two GMs on board 1 while Murshed defeated Findlay to emerge as the only perfect score at the merge.  Meanwhile in the 3 day schedule Gregory Nolan emerged as the only perfect score. In the merged round Nolan had white against Murshad.  Murshad won emerging as the sole perfect score after four rounds.
[pgn][Event "World Open Senior"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.07.09"] [Round "4.1"] [White "Nolan, Gregory"] [Black "Murshed, Niaz"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E44"] [WhiteElo "2181"] [BlackElo "2534"] [Annotator "Hater,David"] [PlyCount "56"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"]1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 b6 5. Nge2 Bb7 6. a3 Bxc3+ 7. Nxc3 O-O 8. d5 c6 9. Be2 cxd5 10. Bf3 Nc6 11. cxd5 Ne5 12. e4 exd5 13. exd5 Ba6 14. Be2 Bxe2 15. Qxe2 Neg4 16. O-O Qc7 17. g3 Rfe8 18. Qf3 Ne5 19. Qd1 Qc4 20. Bg5 Ne4 21. Nxe4 Qxe4 22. f3 Qf5 23. Bf4 Nd3 24. Qd2 Qxd5 25. Rfd1 Qxf3 26. Rf1 (26. Qxd3 Re1+) 26... Qd5 27. Be3 Qe4 28. Bf2 Ne5 0-1[/pgn]
This setup the critical game of the tournament in the penultimate round. The two top seeds playing on board one.  Murshad had white versus Benjamin who was half point back.  It appeared the game was headed for a draw.  Benjamin admitted the game was a bit messy, but it ultimately determined the championship as Benjamin came from behind to take the lead going into the last round.  Can you spot the tactic GM Benjamin used to defeat GM Murshad?

GM Niaz Murshad vs. GM Joel Benjamin

[fen]r5k1/5p1p/3Q2b1/N2P4/2P1r3/4pRPq/P7/4R1K1 b - - 0 34[/fen]

Black to move.

Show Solution

[pgn][Event "World Open Senior"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.07.08"] [Round "5.1"] [White "Murshed, Niaz"] [Black "Benjamin, Joel"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E11"] [WhiteElo "2627"] [BlackElo "2534"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r5k1/5p1p/3Q2b1/N2P4/2P1r3/4pRPq/P7/4R1K1 b - - 0 34"] [PlyCount "7"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"]34... Rh4 $1 {And the black attack is unstoppable.} 35. gxh4 Qxf3 36. Qh2 Be4 37. c5 {And white resigned. After Black plays} Kh8 {the game is over.} 0-1 [/pgn]

Here is the full game:

[pgn][Event "World Open Senior"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.07.08"] [Round "5.1"] [White "Murshed, Niaz"] [Black "Benjamin, Joel"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E11"] [WhiteElo "2627"] [BlackElo "2534"] [PlyCount "73"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"]1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 Bb4+ 4. Bd2 Qe7 5. Bg2 Nc6 6. Nf3 Bxd2+ 7. Nbxd2 d6 8. O-O O-O 9. e4 e5 10. d5 Nb8 11. Ne1 a5 12. Nd3 Na6 13. f4 c6 14. Kh1 Re8 15. Rc1 Nd7 16. f5 Nb4 17. Qe2 Qg5 18. Nf3 Qh6 19. Nd2 Nxd3 20. Qxd3 Nc5 21. Qc3 cxd5 22. exd5 b5 23. b3 bxc4 24. bxc4 e4 25. Rce1 e3 26. Nb3 Ne4 27. Bxe4 Rxe4 28. Nxa5 Qh3 29. f6 Bf5 30. Kg1 gxf6 31. Qxf6 Bg6 32. Rf3 Qg4 33. h3 Qxh3 34. Qxd6 Rh4 35. gxh4 Qxf3 36. Qh2 Be4 37. c5 0-1[/pgn]
In the last round Benjamin played Leroy Hill a retired Air Force sergeant and former frequent competitor in Armed Forces Championships.  Higher rated by over 500 points, Benjamin won the game and pocketed clear first and $1550.  Murshad was paired against GM Kaufman (who earned the GM title by winning the Senior World Championship in 2008).  Murshad won to finish 5-1 and take clear second and $800. A class player deserving some mention is John Mac Arthur who scored 4-2 and split the Under 2250 prize with James Larson winning $450.  Mac Arthur is a former National Master so winning an Under 2250 prize is not shocking.  His only two losses were to FMs Karl Dehmelt and Ian Findlay.  In round 5, Mac Arthur punishes some opening inaccuracies made by Gregory Nolan.
[pgn][Event "World Open Senior"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.07.10"] [Round "5.3"] [White "MacArthur, John"] [Black "Nolan, Gregory"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B22"] [WhiteElo "2035"] [BlackElo "2181"] [Annotator "Hater,David"] [PlyCount "57"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"]1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. c4 Nc6 {Mac Arthur felt that this was a mistake. While other moves are the "book" moves, this is playable as Fritz gives white a slight edge.} 5. cxd5 Qxd5 6. Nf3 Bg4 7. Nc3 Qa5 8. d5 O-O-O 9. Bd2 {Mac Arthur has followed this up correctly and has a clear edge. In order to have a somewhat playable game, black needs to give up the exchange with 9. . .. Rxd5} Nb4 {After this move, black is lost and Mac Arthur brings home the full point very easily.} 10. Qb3 (10. a3 Nxd5 11. Na4) 10... Nxd5 (10... Bxf3 11. gxf3 Nxd5 12. Na4 Nb4 13. Bxb4 Qe5+ 14. Be2) 11. Qc4+ {Winning the piece is good, but Na4 is stronger.} (11. Na4 Nb4 12. Rc1+ Kb8 13. Rc5) 11... Kb8 12. Qxg4 Ngf6 13. Qa4 Qb6 14. Nb5 e5 15. Ba5 Qa6 16. Nc3 Qe6 17. Bxd8 Bb4 18. Ba5 Bc5 19. Bc4 b6 20. Nxd5 Nxd5 21. Qb3 Qg4 22. Bxd5 Qxg2 23. O-O-O (23. Nd4) 23... Bxf2 24. Nxe5 Qg5+ 25. Rd2 Be3 26. Nd7+ Kc7 27. Qc4+ Kd8 28. Nxb6 axb6 29. Bxf7+ 1-0[/pgn]
The tournament was directed by David Hater assisted by Bob Messenger and Bill Goichberg.

DSC_3277 Irene Sukandar, Photo STL Chess Club

The next major side event was the Women’s Championship.   IM Irine Sukandar outrated the 11-player field by several hundred points and cruised to a 5-0 victory and won $1000.  Even though she only gained three rating points, it was enough to raise her USCF rating over 2500 for the first time.  Her only real competition in the tournament was second seeded WIM Nino Melashvili.  They played in round 3 with Sukandar coming out on top.

[pgn][Event "World Open Women's Championship"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.07.06"] [Round "3.1"] [White "Melashvili, Nino"] [Black "Sukandar, Irine"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D02"] [WhiteElo "2200"] [BlackElo "2458"] [PlyCount "94"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"]1. Nf3 Nf6 2. d4 d5 3. Bf4 c5 4. e3 Nc6 5. c3 Qb6 6. Qb3 c4 7. Qxb6 axb6 8. Na3 e6 9. Nb5 Ra5 10. Nd6+ Bxd6 11. Bxd6 Ne4 12. Bb4 Nxb4 13. cxb4 Ra4 14. Nd2 Rxb4 15. Nxe4 dxe4 16. Rc1 Rxb2 17. Bxc4 Bd7 18. O-O Ke7 19. Bb3 Kd6 20. Rb1 Rxb1 21. Rxb1 Ra8 22. Kf1 Bc6 23. Ke1 Ra5 24. Rb2 b5 25. Kd2 b4 26. Bc4 Bd5 27. Bxd5 Kxd5 28. Rc2 Ra3 29. Rc5+ Kd6 30. Rc2 f5 31. h4 h6 32. h5 b3 33. axb3 Rxb3 34. Kc1 Rb6 35. Ra2 Ke7 36. Ra5 Kf6 37. d5 Ra6 38. Rb5 exd5 39. Rxb7 Ra2 40. Rb2 Rxb2 41. Kxb2 Kg5 42. Kc3 Kxh5 43. Kd4 Kg4 44. Kxd5 h5 45. Ke6 h4 46. Kf7 g5 47. Kf6 f4 0-1[/pgn]
Melashvili finished 4-1 in clear second and won $500. David Hater directed the event assisted by Bob Messenger. One of the minor side events was the Under 2100 section.  There were 21 players competing for a $500 guaranteed prize fund.  In the end two players finished undefeated with 3 wins and 2 draws and won $150 each.  Travis Miller from Idaho and Naman Kumar from Florida both turned in fine performances and picked up a lot of rating points in the process. The Under 2300 section was perhaps the most disappointing side even attendance wise.  Originally there were four entries but 1 dropped out before round 1 and 1 dropped out after round 1 due to the low attendance! It was only late entries and house players who saved the tournament. The final crosstable shows 12 different players, but 6 were house players who only played 1 game!  Four of the six players who completed their schedule shared in the $500 guaranteed prize fund.  If it were not for the house players, we would have had trouble coming up with legal pairings for the event!  Rounds 1 and 2 only had 2 non-house players playing, rounds 3 and 4 had 4 non-house players playing games and only the last round had all six players paired on three boards!  Class A player Robert Gist entered the tournament late with a half point bye in round 1 (after he saw the prize fund and not many players) and scored 3 ½ out of 4 in played games to finish in clear first place at 4-1 and win $200.  The second place winner was the only one of the original four entries who completed the schedule.  He won the $110 U2000 prize.  The second place was interesting.  A Nigerian player with a 2000 rating also saw the guaranteed prize fund.  He entered with two half point byes.  He beat an unrated (post tournament ratings show a nearly 2000 rating point difference), drew Gist and then forfeited the last round, but still won $95.  Such strange events occur with guaranteed prize funds when nearly nobody shows up! The event was directed by David Hater assisted by Bob Messenger and Bill Goichberg. The last side event was a scholastic even for players aged less than 13 years old.  There were 140 players in four sections.  Each of the top section winners received free entries for future CCA events.  This may have drawn some of the stronger players particularly in the open section which offered six months of free entries.   The open section had 28 players and 5 were rated in the 1800-2000 range.  In the end the top seed won the even on tiebreaks with an undefeated 5-1 score.   Shawn Wang started as the top seed with a pre-event rating of 1946.  However, he was in trouble or even losing the two games that he drew.  His third round draw against A player and third place winner Charles Hua was a very interesting game.
[pgn][Event "World Open Under 13"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.07.09"] [Round "3.1"] [White "Hua, Charles"] [Black "Wang, Shawn"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C06"] [WhiteElo "1826"] [BlackElo "1946"] [PlyCount "60"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"]1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 Be7 4. Ngf3 Nf6 5. e5 Nfd7 6. Bd3 c5 7. c3 Nc6 8. O-O Qb6 9. a3 a5 10. Re1 cxd4 11. cxd4 f6 12. Nf1 O-O 13. exf6 Nxf6 14. h3 Bd7 15. Be3 Qxb2 16. Rb1 Qxa3 17. Rxb7 Nb4 18. Bb1 Bd8 19. Qe2 Qa4 20. Bd2 Re8 21. Ne5 Bc8 22. Rf7 Nc6 23. Bxh7+ Nxh7 24. Qg4 Bf6 25. Qg6 Nf8 26. Rxg7+ Bxg7 27. Qf7+ Kh8 28. Qh5+ Kg8 29. Qf7+ Kh8 30. Qh5+ Kg8 1/2-1/2[/pgn]
The other co-champions was Nikil Hakeem.  After scoring a forfeit win in round 1 and being paired down in round 2, Hakeen was 2-0.  Hakeem was the tournament’s sixth seed, but there was over 100 (and in some cases nearly 300 point rating differences between him and the top 5 seeds.  Hakeem was paired up the last 4 rounds to the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th seeded players.  He scored 3-1 losing only to Wang.  He picked up 117 rating points the second place trophy and a book donated by the late IM Dr. Danny Kopec. Daniel Shen started as the top seed in the Under 1400 section and scored 6-0 picking up 116 rating points in the process.  Jack Yang was the only 5-0 in the Under 1000 section going into the last round.  He lost the last round but still finished first on tiebreaks and was joined in the tie by Amogh Kollipara George Stevens and Chandler French.  The Under 600 section was won by Declan Kennedy with 5 ½ out of 6. David Hater directed the event assisted by Jabari McGreen and Andy Rea. Full tournament details of all World Open events, including many games can be found at All previous Continental Chess crosstables can be found at the Continental Chess website at  

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