The U.S. Masters: Logjam at the Top

By John Hartmann |  August 30, 2019  |   News

An astonishing nine(!) players tied for first in the 2019 edition of the U.S. Masters. GMs Ortiz Suarez, Azarov, Bruzon Batista, Naroditsky, Moradiabadi, Zierk, Gabuzyan, Meceija and IM Balakrishnan took top honors and chopped up the $21,500 in prizes to take home $2,389 each. Top overall on tiebreaks were GM Sergei Azarov of Belarus and GM Isan Reynaldo Ortiz Suarez of Cuba. Top U.S. players were GM Daniel Naroditsky and GM Elshan Moradiabadi.  Each pair played an Armageddon game to decide the tiebreak winner of each category. In both games white had 15 minutes with a 5 second delay against blacks 10 minutes with 5 second delay. As typical with Armageddon games black has less time but draw odds. In the game for overall champion, GM Azarov had the white pieces but could not topple GM Ortiz Suarez in the Closed Ruy Lopez:

[pgn] [Event "2019 US Masters"] [Site "Tiebreakers"] [Date "2019.08.25"] [Round "10"] [White "Azarov, Sergei"] [Black "Ortiz Suarez, Isan Reynaldo"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C92"] [PlyCount "98"] [EventDate "2019.??.??"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. h3 Bb7 10. d4 Nd7 11. Nbd2 exd4 12. cxd4 Na5 13. Bc2 c5 14. Nf1 Bf6 15. Ng3 g6 16. Bf4 cxd4 17. Nxd4 Nc4 18. b3 Nce5 19. Qd2 Rc8 20. Rad1 Qc7 21. Bb1 Rfe8 22. Be3 Nc5 23. Nde2 Rcd8 24. Nf4 Bg7 25. Nd5 Bxd5 26. Qxd5 b4 27. Rc1 Ned7 28. Qc4 Qb8 29. Red1 a5 30. Qe2 a4 31. Bc2 axb3 32. Bxb3 Nxb3 33. axb3 Nc5 34. Qc4 Rc8 35. Qd5 h5 36. h4 Bc3 37. Bf4 Qa8 38. Bxd6 Nxe4 39. Nxe4 Rxe4 40. Qxa8 Rxa8 41. Bg3 Re2 42. Rd7 Rb2 43. Rb7 Rxb3 44. Rd1 Ra1 45. Rxa1 Bxa1 46. Kh2 Bf6 47. f3 Rb1 48. Bf4 b3 49. Bg5 Bxg5 1/2-1/2 [/pgn]
GM Ortiz comfortably drew the game and thus was the winner of the overall tiebreak for the U.S. Masters.

Ortiz Suarez and Walter High (photo Giannatos)

In the tiebreak game for top US player, GM Moradiabadi had the white pieces and prevailed in a very topsy-turvy game to take down GM Naroditsky:

[pgn] [Event "2019 US Masters"] [Site "Tiebreakers"] [Date "2019.08.25"] [Round "10"] [White "Moradiabadi, Elshan"] [Black "Naroditsky, Daniel"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C96"] [PlyCount "103"] [EventDate "2019.??.??"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. h3 Na5 10. Bc2 c5 11. d4 Nd7 12. Nbd2 exd4 13. cxd4 Nc6 14. d5 Nce5 15. Nh2 Bf6 16. Ndf1 Re8 17. Rb1 c4 18. f4 Ng6 19. Ng4 Nc5 20. Nxf6+ Qxf6 21. Qf3 Bb7 22. Be3 Nh4 23. Qg4 Nxe4 24. Bxe4 Rxe4 25. Ng3 Bxd5 26. Rbd1 Rxe3 27. Rxe3 Nxg2 28. Nh5 Qg6 29. Rg3 Re8 30. Qd7 Qe6 31. Qxe6 fxe6 32. Nf6+ Kf7 33. Nxd5 Nh4 34. Ne3 d5 35. Rg4 Ng6 36. f5 exf5 37. Nxf5 Re2 38. Rg2 Re5 39. Rf1 Kg8 40. h4 Re4 41. h5 Nf4 42. Rxg7+ Kh8 43. Rf7 Ne6 44. h6 Rg4+ 45. Kh2 Rg6 46. Re1 Kg8 47. Ra7 Rf6 48. Re5 d4 49. Rxa6 Kf7 50. Raxe6 Rxe6 51. Rxe6 Kxe6 52. Nxd4+ 1-0 [/pgn]
GM Moradiabadi, who recently won a similar armageddon playoff against IM Tiglon at the US Open, continued his streak of Armageddon victories and took the honors of top U.S. player.

Walter High and Elshan Moradiabadi (photo Giannatos)

Norms Galore…. A total of five(!) norms were earned this year which is well above the average of three. It certainly helps that for the fifth year in a row the U.S. Masters was a super swiss.

IM Balakrishnan, who also tied for first in the tournament, had a stellar performance overall which earned him his second GM norm. The following was a fantastic endgame conversion by Balakrishnan over one of the top seeds:

[pgn] [Event "US Masters"] [Site "?"] [Date "2019.08.24"] [Round "7"] [White "Balakrishnan, Praveen"] [Black "Swiercz, Dariusz"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D38"] [PlyCount "137"] [EventDate "2019.??.??"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bxf6 Qxf6 7. Qa4+ Nc6 8. e3 O-O 9. Be2 Bd7 10. Qb3 dxc4 11. Qxc4 Qg6 12. O-O Bd6 13. Rfd1 Na5 14. Qd3 Qxd3 15. Bxd3 Nc6 16. Rac1 Rfc8 17. Ne4 Nb4 18. Bb1 Ba4 19. Rd2 b6 20. a3 Nd5 21. Bc2 Be8 22. Bb3 Bf8 23. Ne5 Rab8 24. Nc6 Bxc6 25. Rxc6 Ne7 26. Rc3 c5 27. dxc5 bxc5 28. Rdc2 Nc6 29. Ba2 Ne5 30. h3 a5 31. Nxc5 Rxc5 32. Rxc5 Bxc5 33. Rxc5 Rxb2 34. Bxe6 fxe6 35. Rxe5 a4 36. Re4 Ra2 37. Rxa4 Kf7 38. g3 Kf6 39. Rf4+ Ke7 40. a4 g5 41. Rb4 Kf6 42. g4 Ra1+ 43. Kg2 Ra3 44. Kf3 Ra2 45. Kg3 Re2 46. h4 Ra2 47. h5 Ra1 48. Kf3 Ra2 49. Rc4 Ke5 50. Rc5+ Kd6 51. Ra5 Ke7 52. Ra8 Kf6 53. Ra7 Ra1 54. Ra8 Ra2 55. a5 Ra4 56. a6 Kg7 57. a7 e5 58. Ke2 e4 59. Kd2 Ra3 60. Kc2 Ra2+ 61. Kb3 Ra1 62. Kc4 Ra2 63. Kd5 Ra4 64. Kc6 Ra1 65. Rd8 Rxa7 66. Rd7+ Rxd7 67. Kxd7 Kf7 68. Kd6 Kf6 69. Kd5 1-0 [/pgn]
IM David Brodsky earned his 3rd GM norm and finished only a half point behind the field. David also took home $800 for shared (with IM Zhaozhi Li) U2500 FIDE prize. FM Carissa Yip earned her 2nd IM Norm and took home $500 for top U2400 FIDE prize. FM Kapil Chandran earned his first IM Norm. And Canadian FM, Olivier Kenta Chicku-Ratte, earned his 3rd IM norm. The organizer would also like to thank his team of arbiters for conducting such a seamless event.

Korey Kormick, Walter High, Thad Rogers, Rudy Abate (photo Giannatos)

North Carolina Open The 2019 North Carolina Open ran alongside the U.S. Masters. The tournament drew a healthy 218 players from throughout the region. The Open section was won by SM Tianqi Wang and Expert Benjamin Snodgrass.

Snodgrass, Tianqi (photo Giannatos)

Under 2000 Winner – Harold Mitchell Under 1700 Winner – Jonathan Hudson Under 1400 Winners – Leon Copeland, Monish Behera, Sofia Gomez A special thank you goes to the TD’s - Kevin Hyde, Maya McGreen and Keith Hooker - for running a smooth event.

View US Masters Rated Results View NC Open Rated Results View Games, Standings and Official Website Here


In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

congrats to the senior master who co-won the "normal" n c open, but shouldn't he have competed in the "awesome" u s masters?

In reply to by mark ashland, … (not verified)

Some of the local players had school and could not start with the Masters on Wednesday.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

[…] at the 2019 U.S. Junior Girls Championship, and followed it up with a formidable showing in the U.S. Masters to propel her to new heights. She earned her second IM norm at the U.S. Masters, and grew her rating over 2400 FIDE. She told CLO […]

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