(Photo taken from the 95th floor of the Hancock Building.)
The fpawn has landed in Chicago. In fact, he has already been in the area for several days to visit and relax. The 18th annual Chicago Open chess tournament begins on this evening at the spacious Westin Chicago North Shore hotel in Wheeling, IL.
This weekend is one of the flagship events organized by USCF President Bill Goichberg and his Continental Chess Association. Despite the weak economy, nearly 600 players have already registered. Counting on-site entries, the total attendance will probably be near last year's 703. The prize fund of $100,000 is unconditionally guaranteed, including $8000 for 1st in the Open section and $6000 for 1st in each of the lower classes.
I signed up in the U2300 division again, hoping to improve on my tie for 3rd place last year with 5.5 out of 7. I know that it won't be easy! Hopefully I won't need to reenter into the wild 2-day schedule as I did a year ago. Fortunately, with no students here, I can focus strictly on myself without any coaching distractions. Wish me luck!
Those of you back in California, don't forget the Bay Area Chess Memorial Day event in San Jose. Choose between 3-day and 2-day (Sunday and Monday only) schedules. The top section will feature IM DeGuzman, FM Zildzic, NM Loanzon and one or two other masters.