Tuesday, October 21
Wrap-up of the Western States Open
I returned home after a long and tiring weekend in Reno and slept in my familiar bed again. Reno has always been one of my favorite destinations, but this year's Western States Open was up and down both at the chess board and away from it. My wheelchair problem (see previous blog entry) distracted me a lot, although fortunately, my joystick worked well after I "fixed" it using my finger. Nonetheless, I blundered left and right in my final three games, still somehow scoring 1.5/3 after my last round opponent repeated moves in a winning position. Maybe I was more frustrated than usual because all of my opponents were from Northern California. My final score of 3.0/6 (two wins, two losses, a draw and a bye) was good for $135 in prize money, but I lost 3 USCF and 4 FIDE rating points. I picked up another $120 net from gambling. It could have been worse. :-\
Most of my half dozen students finished with respectable results. On the bright side, Nicholas (photo at upper left) was undefeated at 4.0/6 in the A section and 11 year old Yian (photo at upper right) gained valuable experience from 3.5/6 in the Expert section. NM Steven Zierk continued two contradictory streaks: he remained undefeated lifetime against Grandmasters by drawing with Alex Yermolinsky in round 1, but he also added to an otherwise mediocre record against IMs and 2400s. Getting to 2300 and beyond was never supposed to be easy. Congratulations to Sacramento area 12 year old Suraj (see photo at right) for winning the D section on tiebreaks with 5.0/6!
I expect the organizers to upload the final standings and submit the tournament for rating by Wednesday. In the meantime, please check out over 60 photos at Flickr: click to view the album or the slideshow.
My final report will appear at the USCF homepage later this week. Kudos to GM Sergey Kudrin for taking top honors at 5.0/6. Three tied for 2nd at 4.5: GM Jaan Ehlvest, GM Melik Khachiyan and IM Enrico Sevillano (photos below from left to right).