(The Westin Chicago North Shore was my home this weekend.)
For the second year in a row, I chose the Chicago Open as a place to relax and play chess after coaching my students at the CalChess Scholastics and Supernationals. With no students or close friends in attendance, this was the perfect opportunity to concentrate on my own games. I ended up with a respectable 5.0 out of 7, good enough for a share of 6th place in the U2300 division.
The field was extremely competitive with many strong players; the winner, 18 year old Tyler Hughes of Colorado, just came from the US Championship last week in St. Louis, where he finished at 4.0 out of 9. I started out poorly with a short win, two ugly draws and a painful opening mistake against veteran FM Renard Anderson. Fortunately, I recovered with three straight wins, culminating with the black side of a b3 Sicilian against young Cuban-American WFM Liulia Cardona. The highlight of my tournament was a marathon win against NM Ariel Levi of Michigan in round 6--a game full of wild tactics and time scrambles both at move 40 and at the end. (Click on links to view games on Chess Publisher.)
Somehow, I managed to score 3.5 out of 4 against teenagers (two masters and two experts) but merely 1.5 out of 3 against three floored 2200 adults, all 55 or older. I gained about 8 rating points USCF for my 2324 performance, but lost about the same points FIDE because my last two wins came against FIDE unrated opponents. Sigh!
Update: Here's a link to the Chicago Open rating report.
As a side note, it was a great weekend to be named Samuel at the Bay Area Chess Memorial Day tournament. Kudos to my student Sam Bekker (see photo at right) for winning the Expert section, jumping nearly 100 points to 1958! FM Kenan Zildzic of Sacramento won the Master section, ahead of IM Ricardo DeGuzman, NM Arjoe Loanzon and 8 year old Samuel Sevian. The young rising star drew with five masters including IM DeGuzman and even beat one of the state K-12 co-champions! His new rating is 2036. Simply amazing!