The 4th Annual Boston Chess Congress was held January 8-10th at the Hyatt Hotel in Boston Massachusetts. At the top of the crosstable, there was a true diversity of nationalities as 5 federations from three continenants made up the top 10 titled players. Continuing the international flavor there was a true melting pot of national heritage among all players even the USA players. The foreign contingent was led by English GM Luke Mcshane. Rated over 2800 USCF, the smart money was on McShane to win the tournament. However, just like 200 years ago, there was an upset in this historic city and the British did not win. Mcshane actually lost in the first round to FM William Kelleher from Massachustetts. Mcshane did win the rest of his games to tie for 2nd at 4-1. Also finishing in the tie at 4-1 were Canadian GM Eric Hansen, and GMs Eugene Perelshteyn and Alexander Ivanov.
At the top of the crosstable all alone is four time US Chess Champion Alexander Shabalov. Born in Latvia, Shabavov has been a USA player since settling in Pittsburgh in 1992. Shabalov started the tournament with 2 1/2 drawing Ivanov in round 3. This set up a Sunday morning matchip where he faced the only perfect score and even though GM Perelshtyn was white and was leading by 1/2 point, Shabalov won and entered the last round as one of the four players at 3 1/2. In the money round, GM Ivanov had white versus GM Hansen on board one and ended in a draw. This enabled Shabalov to take clear first with his win over IM Steven Zierk. Here is that decisive last round game.
The prizes were increased due to a good turnout. The $12,000 prize fund was based on 220 entries, but there were 258 players and the prizes were increased accordingly. Shabalov won $1274 plus a $107 bonus for the first place finish.
The only 5-0 score in the tournament was in the Under 1300 section. Subba Ayyagari was seeded 33rd of the 39 rated players in the section. He was paired up all 5 rounds and won all 5 rounds! The perfect score was worth $425.
In all the other sections, 4 1/2 points either won or tied for first.
In the Under 2100 section, WFM Martha Samadashvili started with a half point bye and then went 4-0. She was joined in the winner’s circle by Ryan Rust. Each won $796.
In the Under 1900 section, Botakoz Koshkarova finished with 4 1/2 for clear first. Continuing the international flavor of this tournament, Koshkarova is now living in Massachusetts but still lists Kazakstan as her host federation. Her win was worth $1061.
In the Under 1700 section, Uygar Polat from Turkey tied for first with Kevin Zimerman. Kevin also started with a half point bye and went 4-0. They each won $743.
Elliott Wu won the Under 1500 section by winning his first 4 games and drawing the last round to secure first. His efforts were worth $849.
The first mixed doubles team was Koskkarova and Brian Dobosh. They split the $849 first mixed doubles prize.
The blitz tournament also had an increased prize fund as 22 players participated. Ilya Krasik and Michael Mahoney each scored 7-1 and won $82.50.
The tournament was directed by Bob Messenger and Boyd Reed for the Continental Chess Association.