Upsets Abound at the Empire City Open

The 35th Empire City Open held from December 27-29th at the Hotel Pennsylvania in Manhattan was very strong as three GMs, five IMs, seven FMs, one WFM and fourteen NMs competed in the 60 player open section seeking their share of the $15,000 prize fund.  In the end though it was two FMs scoring 5-1 and tying for first.  By the halfway point of the tournament, all three GMs had suffered a loss!  At the conclusion of round four there were no perfect scores remaining.  Six players had 3 1/2: four FMs and two IMs. The upsets started in round one as top seeded GM Alexander Stripunsky opted for the fast time control, but fell victim to NM Ernest Colding.  The next GM to be upset was GM Alexander Fishbein who lost to NM Joseph Zeltsen in round two.  Finally in round three, GM Sergey Kudrin was defeated by IM Jay Bonin. The upsets of the highest rated players cleared the way for FMs and IMs to rise to the top of the crosstable if they could hold serve.  The two eventual winners did just that winning when paired down and each also won a small upset along the way.
FM Levy Rozman FM Levy Rozman
FM Levy Rozman was the first player in the tie and had the higher tiebreaks which garnered him the extra $100 bonus.  His path was a bit more unlikely as he unintentionally played the swiss gambit by drawing expert Eric Zhang in round one.  He played an A player in round two and won which gave him a 1 ½ start, but one would have thought winning the tournament with the highest tiebreaks would have been unlikely at that point.  However, Rozman won three in a row over FM Rico Salimbagat, Brandon Jacobson, and New York Champion IM Aleksandr Ostrovskiy to find himself on board one in the last round.  A quick last round draw with his co-champion FM David Brodsky sealed the deal for first place. FM David Brodsky had a more steady path to the top, but his tiebreaks were hurt by a forfeit win and by one of his late round opponents withdrawing.  Brodsky had relatively routine wins in rounds one and two and was 2-0 and on board four when NM Richard Shtivelband forfeited to him when he was delayed by the subway.  Brodsky was then 3-0 and wound up being paired up slightly in each of his last three round games.  Round four was an exciting draw between Brodsky and IM John Burke.  Brodsky sacrifices a pawn and an exchange, mounts an attack with kings on opposite sides of the board and obtains an advantage, but the game eventually ends in a drawn rook and pawn ending.
[pgn][Event "Empire City, Dec'16"]
[Site "NYC"]
[Date "2016.12.28"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Brodsky, David"]
[Black "Burke, John"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[WhiteElo "2417"]
[BlackElo "2489"]
[PlyCount "132"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. Qd2
Nbd7 9. O-O-O b5 10. f4 Be7 11. f5 Bc4 12. g4 Nxg4 13. Rg1 h5 14. h3 Nxe3 15.
Qxe3 Rh7 16. Bxc4 bxc4 17. Nd2 d5 18. Nxd5 Bc5 19. Qc3 Bxg1 20. Rxg1 Nb6 21.
Qxe5+ Kf8 22. f6 Nxd5 23. fxg7+ Kg8 24. exd5 Qb6 25. Re1 Rxg7 26. Ne4 Qh6+ 27.
Kb1 Rg6 28. Rf1 Rd8 29. b3 cxb3 30. axb3 Qg7 31. Nf6+ Rxf6 32. Qxf6 Qxf6 33.
Rxf6 Rxd5 34. Rxa6 f5 35. Kb2 Kf7 36. Kc3 f4 37. Ra4 Rf5 38. Kd2 f3 39. Ra1 Rg5
40. Rf1 Rg3 41. Ke3 f2+ 42. Kxf2 Rc3 43. Kg2+ Ke6 44. Rf2 h4 45. Rd2 Ke5 46.
Rd3 Rxc2+ 47. Kf3 Kf5 48. Rd5+ Ke6 49. Rb5 Rd2 50. Rb4 Kf5 51. Ke3 Rg2 52. Rf4+
Ke5 53. b4 Rg3+ 54. Rf3 Rg2 55. Kd3 Kd5 56. b5 Kc5 57. Ke4 Kxb5 58. Rf4 Kc6 59.
Kf5 Kd7 60. Kf6 Rg3 61. Rxh4 Rf3+ 62. Kg7 Rg3+ 63. Kf6 Rf3+ 64. Kg5 Ke7 65.
Rh7+ Kf8 66. h4 Ra3 1/2-1/2[/pgn]
Brodsky again launches an attack in round five. This time it was decisive as he defeated FM Igor Sorkin.  The game was complicated and had significant imbalaces for the entire game.  At various points, one side was winning and then the balance shifted.  In the end, Brodsky emerges on top.
[pgn][Event "2016 Empire City Open"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.12.29"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Sorkin, Igor"]
[Black "FM Brodsky, David"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D02"]
[WhiteElo "2489"]
[BlackElo "2431"]
[PlyCount "104"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Bf4 c5 4. e3 Nc6 5. c3 e6 6. Nbd2 Bd6 7. Bg3 O-O 8. Bd3
b6 9. Ne5 Bb7 10. Qb1 g6 11. f4 cxd4 12. exd4 Nh5 13. Be2 Nxg3 14. hxg3 Qc7 15.
Ndf3 f6 16. Bd3 fxe5 17. Bxg6 e4 18. Bxh7+ Qxh7 19. Rxh7 Kxh7 20. Ng5+ Kg6 21.
Qd1 Be7 22. Nxe6 Rh8 23. Qg4+ Kf6 24. Nc7 Rad8 25. Qg5+ Kf7 26. Qf5+ Bf6 27.
Nxd5 Rd6 28. Nxf6 Ne7 29. Qe5 Re6 30. Qc7 Rh1+ 31. Ke2 Ba6+ 32. c4 Rxa1 33. Ng4
Ke8 34. d5 Nxd5 35. Qb8+ Kd7 36. Qxa7+ Nc7 37. f5 Rd6 38. Ke3 Kc8 39. b3 Rd3+
40. Kxe4 Rxb3 41. Ne5 Bb7+ 42. Kf4 Rf1+ 43. Kg4 Re3 44. Ng6 Re8 45. Kg5 Bxg2
46. Qxb6 Bh3 47. g4 Re4 48. f6 Rxg4+ 49. Kh6 Rxc4 50. Ne5 Rcf4 51. Kg6 Be6 52.
Nc6 Rg4+ 0-1[/pgn]
Brodsky and Rozman each won $1000 for their share of first with Rozman getting an extra $100 for finishing with better tiebreaks. One player in the open section won all his games, but did so in a rather unusual fashion. Cesar Apalla entered the Under 2100 section and started 2-0.  However, the organizers discovered he had a FIDE rating that converts to 2200 so he was moved to the open section.  There was a limit of two half point byes, so Cesar took byes in rounds 1 and 2 and an unplayed game in round 3 to start the event with one point.  He won all three games he played and finished tying for the Under 2300 prize with 4-2.  His provisional rating went from 1742 based on two games to 2557!  Shtivelband, Colding and FM Robert Sulman and expert Daniel Yedidia also finished at 4-2 and each won $180 for their share of the class prize. There was a four way tie for third place with 4 ½ points.  GMs Alexander Stripunsky & Sergey Kudrin, and IMs Aleksandr Ostrovskiy & Joerg Wegerle each won $150. The tournament was very well attended as there were 415 players in seven sections.  The one surprising thing was there were only 39 players in the Under 1500 section.  As is relatively common in the lower sections, there were significant rating gains by the lower section winners:  Robert Cheng gained 253 points in the Under 1500 section, Steven Reddy gained 237 points in the Under 1300 section and Charles Orbison gained 181 points in the Under 1100 section.  The section winners were:
Under 2100

Ethan Gu, 5 ½ - ½ $1000

Under 1900

Wang Chen & Samantha Dong, 5 ½ - ½, $750

Under 1700

Laron McBryde, 5 ½ - ½, $900

Under 1500

Robert Cheng, 5 ½ - ½, $800

Under 1300

Steven Reddy, 6-0, $800

Under 1100

Charles Orbison, 6-0, $500

Mixed Doubles

Malina Parlova & Charles Orbison, 10 ½ - 1 ½ , $300 each

Blitz Tournament

Alikhan Irgaliyev 7 ½ - ½ $110

NTD Steve Immitt directed for CCA assisted by Harold Stenzel, Jabari McGreen, Danny Rohde, and Anand Dommalapati. For information, visit:

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