Sevian and Arribas Win Philadelphia Open – Brodsky and Hong Achieve IM Norms

Philadelphia Open Co-Champion Sam Sevian at the 2015 U.S. Championships. Photo: Austin Fuller

The 11th Annual Philadelphia Open, held April 12th-16th at the Philadelphia Downtown Marriott Hotel, ended in a victory for GMs Samuel Sevian and Angel Arribas Lopez, each with a score of 7-2.  Each won $5615.50 with Sevian earning an extra $204 for the superior tiebreaks.  The somewhat odd dollar amounts are due to the prize fund being increased!

The tournament had an $80,000 prize fund based on 500 full paid entries.  The actual paid entries were 102.1% of based on, so the prize fund was increased proportionally.  The actual attendance was 573 players, though some were reduced or free entries.

Sevian finished the tournament with 5 wins and 4 draws.  He played a total of 5 GMs, 1 IM, and 1 FM.  He gave up two early round draws to Andrew Hong and GM Mackenzie Molner, but then won three straight games against IM Guillermo Vazquez, GM Magesh Panchanathan and GM Vladimir Belous before drawing with GMs Lopez and Alexander Shimanov to secure first place.

In round seven, Sevian was on board one versus 2nd seeded GM Vladmir Belous.  Sevian had the black pieces and trailed Belous, who was in clear 1st place by half a point.  Sevian won the game and was then in clear 1st place, and he never relinquished the lead!

GM Angel Arribas Lopez also played 5 GMs, but he took a slightly different path to the winner’s circle. Arribas started out 4-0 and was in clear 1st place after round four.  In round five, he was on board one with the black pieces against GM Belous.  Belous won the game and was tied for 1st after 5 rounds.

Arribas Lopez then played FM David Brodsky on board two, trailing the FM by half a point. Arribas Lopez defeated Brodsky while on board one Belous defeated GM Ruifeng Li to set up his game with Sevian.

Arribas then drew with GMs Li and Sevian and would need a win in the last round to tie for 1st place.  In the last round, Sevian was on board one versus Shimanov.  Sevian was in clear 1st leading the field by half a point.  A draw ensued, but it was not the quick variety.  It went several hours and 36 moves.

Only two other players trailed by half a point.  On board two, the winner of IM Nicolas Checa versus GM Lopez would tie for 1st with the added drama that Checa would make a GM norm if he won.  Even though Checa had the white pieces, Arribas did win.

David Brodsky after earning his first IM Norm at the 2016 New York International

This tournament also has norm opportunities.  Many players were in contention for GM or IM norms right up until the final round.  In the end, FM David Brodsky and Andrew Hong achieved IM norms.

Brodsky achieved the IM norm with two rounds to spare!  He scored 5 ½ points, even though he only needed 5 for an IM norm.  He could have made a GM norm and tied for 3rd if he had won his last round game versus Ruifeng Li.  Interestingly, Brodsky was paired down in the 1st round and drew!  He then won four in a row and was tied for 1st after five rounds.  In round four, Brodsky beat the tournament’s highest rated player, GM Alexander Shimanov.

This is Brodsky’s third IM norm.  He still needs to gain 20 FIDE rating points to get the IM title, but I would expect him to do that soon.  He gained nearly 25 US Chess rating points this tournament and is closing in on 2500.  Brodsky played six GMs this tournament scoring 3 wins, 2 losses and 1 draw.

The other IM norm was earned by Andrew Hong.  Hong played six GMs and drew 5 of the games, losing only to GM Julio Sadorra.  Hong won both games in which he was paired down and had the black pieces.  In round four, can you find the winning continuation?

Balaji Daggupati vs. Andrew Hong

Black to move.

One game that did not directly determine prizes, but was very interesting occurred in round one.  GM David Berczes had black against Justin Paul on board nine.  Both players used about 1-2 minutes for the first three moves. By move 6, White had used 35 minutes and Black had used 76 minutes. Before move 20, White had less than 20 minutes remaining and Black had less than 5.  The position was complicated and crazy, so I can’t blame the players for burning a lot of time.  The game didn’t reach time control.  Black had less than a minute on his clock, and White had only a few minutes.

The Under 2400 class prizes were won by IM Michael Mulyar and FM Akshita Gorti both with 6-3.  Mulyar finished 50% against the 5 GMs he played and scored 3 ½ out of 4 against the others, but it wasn’t quite enough for a GM norm.

Gorti had a much different route.  She lost in round one, beat the lowest rated player in round two and drew four games.  She then won her last three games, including a last round win over IM Praveen Balakrishnan.  She was paired down 8 rounds in a row from rounds one through eight!  Both Mulyar and Gorti won $1531.50.

Gorti’s sister, Atmika Gorti, paired up with GM Kayden Troff in the mixed doubles competition. They scored a combined 10 ½ points to take clear 1st in the mixed doubles, each winning $510.50.  Atmika also won $929.50 for tying for 3rd in the Under 1800 section.

Atmika Gorti benefited by a prize limiting rule that CCA has. At the largest CCA events (World Open, North American Open, Chicago Open, and Philadelphia Open), CCA has several rules that limit a player’s winnings in class sections. Specifically, limits apply to any player who:

  • has played less than 26 games,
  • has been rated more than 30 points over the section limit anytime in the last 12 months, or
  • is unrated.

The winner of the Under 1800 section was a Class C player, who was playing up a class.  Anthony Kozikowski was rated 1585 and started seeded 70th of 89 players.  He started 6-0 before agreeing to a last round draw.  He finished in clear 1st place, but he had played only 25 USCF games as of the April rating supplement, so he could only win $2000.

The clear 2nd place winner was Guillermo Huertas, and he won $5105 (the 1st place amount).  Second prize was $2552.50, and Kozikowski could only take $2000 of that, so the remaining $552.50 floated down to the 3rd place winners.

The Under 1100 and Under 1400 sections had an even more complicated distribution.

In the Under 1100 section, Ezekiel Shonola, an unrated player, started 6-0 before agreeing to a last round draw.  He could only win $300.  Two of the three players who tied for 2nd had only 26 games and could only win $500.  The other 2nd place winner was able to win the full 1st prize of $1021.

In the Under 1400 section, Patrick Tenorio started 6-0 before agreeing to a last round draw.  He had less than 26 games and could win only $1000.  In 2nd place was Hakim Buchanan and Jose Mrasol.  Buchanan had less than 26 games and won $1000.  Mirasol won $3062, which was the 1st place amount.  Even with Mirasol taking 1st place money, the additional 2nd/3rd place money floated down to the next players.

Class players don’t often get their games published in these articles, but this game is instructive.

The section winners were:

Under 2200

Nabil Feliachi, 6-1, $5105

Under 2000

Hamilton Fiallos, 6 ½ – ½ $5105

Under 1800

Anthony Kozikowski, 6 ½ – ½, $2000 (prize limited)

Guillermo Huertas, 6-1, $5105

Under 1600

Noah Marinelli, 7-0, $4080

Under 1400

Patrick Tenorio, 6 ½ – ½, $1000 (prize limited)

Hakim Buchanan, 6-1, $1000 (prize limited)

Jose Mirasol, 6-1 $3062

Under 1100

Ezekiel Shonola, 6 ½ – ½, $300 (prize limited)

Mohammed Sobh & Ian Jacobson, 6-1, $500 (prize limited)

Arad Badiee, 6-1, $1021

Mixed Doubles

GM Kayden Troff & Atmika Gorti, 10 ½ – 3 ½, $521.50 each

Blitz Tournament

FM Arvind Jayaraman & Aaron Jacobson, 7-1, $135

            International Arbiter & NTD Bill Goichberg directed for CCA assisted by David Hater, Harold Stenzel, Mike Atkins, Jabari McGreen, Bob Messenger, Andy Rea, Eric Stenzel and Brenda Goichberg.

Full tournament details can be found at the Philadelphia Open Website.  We are in the processing of posting all the Open section games on the website. Once completed, there will be well over 200 games posted.  Early rounds are already online with later rounds on the way.

Previous Continental Chess tournaments can be found at the Continental Chess Website.


  1. Anthony Kozikowski is to be congratulated. However he’s not really a ‘1585’ rated player. After competing in a NY Action tourney 3/30/2017, he beat a 1993 and a 1904 rated player and drew a 2314 rated player. He did this as a 1585 player and this resulted in a rating of 1734. Through no fault of his own, his new rating wasn’t used for the Phila Open. The point of all this is to say, if you’re not doing this already, is to check out your opponents tournament history before you sit down at the board. That 1430 player you think you’re playing could very well be 1705!

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