Vegas Chess Festival Begins with Women's Open and Li Simul

Last year's National Open Champion Ruifeng Li with organizer Janelle Losoff and GM Daniel Fridman.Photo Tim Hanks
The crown jewel of the Las Vegas Chess Festival is the National Open, but plenty of exciting accompanying events pack the five day festival now underway at the Westgate Resort and Casino in Vegas. This year's edition began with the US Women's Open, which featured a strong field including 2016 US Women's Champ Nazi Paikidze, WGM Yaniet Marrero and WIM Ashritha Eswaran. Paikidze took clear first after defeating top seeded Marrero in the penultimate round, followed by a final round victory over Saikhanchimeg Tsogtsaikhan of Mongolia. Paikidze currently lives in Las Vegas, so she will continue to build on her homecourt advantage as the Festival continues.    
GM Walter Browne
The fun continues with the Walter Browne Memorial blitz tournament, which GM Tigran Petrosian won on tiebreak. There was also an opening 29-board simul from the defending champ himself, 15-year-old GM Ruifeng Li. Li ended up with 27 victories and two draws against Charles Davis and against US Chess contributor Dylan Quercia. Follow live games here and look for reportage on US Chess from Vanessa West and Pete Karagianis.