Chess Life 2009-09.pdf

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Chess Life
Editorial Staff
Chess Life Editor &
Director of Publications
Daniel Lucas
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Glenn Petersen
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ext. 189
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& National Events Director
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Chess Life — September 2009
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September on
Labor Day Madness
Labor Day is a huge
weekend for chess events
with World Chess Live
over a dozen states.
Some of the largest
include the New York
State Championship in
Albany, the Southern
California Open in San
Diego and the Southwest
Open in Fort Worth,
Texas. The weekend of
September 5-7th will
also feature two major
events in Tulsa, Okla-
homa—the 1st Women’s
Open and the U.S. Senior
Open. The winner of the
Senior gets a ticket into
the 2010 U.S. Champi-
onship set for spring
2010 in St. Louis.
GM Rogers on
Rising Stars
Don’t miss GM Ian
Rogers’ wrap-up of the
NH tournament in
Amsterdam, which fea-
tures Rising Stars v ersu s
Experience. Among the
five rising stars are U.S.
Champion Hikaru
Nakamura and Italian-
American Fabiano
Caruana (pictured
Back to School
with GM Joel
Send GM Joel your
inquiries on anything
from a specific endgame
position to how to
approach games against
lower rated players. In a
special autumn promo-
tion, the best entries this
month will win hardcover
copies of The Art of
Learning !Sendyour
questions to
Photo Essay
FM Mike Klein (above,
kneeling) just completed
an eight-month around-
the-world adventure,
traveling to 25 cou ntries
along the way. While he
failed to complete the
great American novel, he
did play chess along the
way. Watch for his photo
essay this month, where
he came only 100 meters
from challenging the
Dalai Lama to a game.
Chess Life
now available via pdf viewer
on the web with our new online pdf viewer. Flip
pages ‘virtually’ and click on hyperlinks for easy access
to e-mail and web addresses! The USCF is pleased to offer
this enhancement to your membership.
Chess Life
Cover Story
he 2009 National Open (June 4th-
7th) assembled an impressive array
of strong players, including 17
grandmasters and 13 international mas-
ters. Despite its name, the National Open
had a very international feel to it, at least
in terms of the battle for first place; this
year, the top four seeds were all visitors
from abroad: Frenchman Laurent
Fressinet (2715), Armenian Gabriel Sar-
gissian (2773), the Russian Evgeny Bareev
(2556), and Loek Van Wely (2728), from
the Netherlands. At some point in their
careers, Bareev and Van Wely were 2700+
FIDE-rated players and regularly faced off
against the best in the world, so their
participation in the National Open was
something of a treat.
The National Open draws people for a
number of reasons beyond the obvious
one. Fortuitously cushioned between
the big money Chicago and World
Opens, it makes a sensible stop for for-
eign GMs on their summer chess tour of
the U.S. Others are lured by the prox-
imity to the World Series of Poker events
held nearby at the Rio (Fressinet’s wife,
IM Almira Skripchenko, won $78,664 in
a No-Limit Hold’Em event 11 days after
the National Open ended, which, cou-
pled with Laurent’s winnings at the
tournament, meant the pair left Vegas
with an enviable total of $78,695 in
prize money.) One person is probably
there because they won the previous
year’s raffle grand prize of round trip air-
fare and free entry.
But I think that a lot of people come
because of the way the National Open has
positioned itself as more than just your reg-
ular chess tournament. In fact, the
tournament is the centerpiece of an entire
chess festival, replete with grandmaster
simuls, lectures, and even an instruc-
tional camp. There’s a popular game/10
rapid championship the eve of the tourna-
ment, and blitz and bughouse events at its
conclusion. Scholastic chess, too, features
prominently, as Susan Polgar runs her
World Open for Girls and Boys parallel to
the National Open, and hosts a myriad
other events during the festival.
Another standout feature of the
National Open has been the presence of
legendary guest stars, who are enticed
with promises of rounds starting on time
and quiet in the playing room. No, wait,
I’m mixing up my notes ... Freddie did say
that those are high priorities for the
organization, but what seals the deal is
likely the business-class tickets and gen-
erous appearance fees the players receive.
Over the years, the National Open has
played host to Sammy Reshevsky, Viktor
Korchnoi, Gata Kamsky, and the Polgar
sisters, among others.
I wondered how the National Open
could afford its munificence. The answer
is: it’s not run for profit. Everything that
the tournament takes in is given back to
the players in some form. That’s not a
business model that would appeal to
everyone, but it does make possible “The
Chess Vacation of the Year”!
Now maybe you’d like to know who
won the tournament; despite my silence
thus far, it’s actually not a state secret,
and will eventually be revealed. Going
into the final round, there were no less
than twelve players tied at 4-1, so the-
oretically there could have been a long
list of winners to transcribe here. When
the dust cleared, though, only two of
the six pairings saw a decisive result,
and two southern Californians, GM
Varuzhan Akobian and IM Enrico Sevil-
lano, topped the field, collecting $4,641
each. Ironically, Varuzh could be heard
grumbling about the small amount of
money he’d won; of course, the compe-
tition for this prize had been fierce, and
one could only wish the chess pie were
a bit larger. But we should probably
reserve the bulk of our sympathy for
the people half a point below him—they
took home ten times less.
Varuzhan has been a member of the
U.S. Olympiad team for the last two
Olympiads, and, as one of the top players
in the U.S., his position at the top of the
crosstable was not a big surprise. But
Enrico overcame his underdog status
against a much higher-rated opponent,
with the black pieces to boot. He is such
a friendly and affable person that it was
very pleasing to see him enjoy this success.
Let’s take a look at their critical last
round wins:
As Fred Gruenberg says goodbye to the tournament he made one of the
most player-friendly ones on the circuit, the initial international flavor of this
year’s event ends with a local feel as two southern Californians finish on top.
By Irina Krush
Photos by Chris Bird
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Chess Life — September 2009
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Zgłoś jeśli naruszono regulamin