Monday, December 28

Spending the Holidays Playing Chess in Las Vegas!

Howdy from Bally's Hotel and Casino on the world famous Las Vegas Strip. Las Vegas baby!

Considering all of the other entertainment alternatives, it is hard to imagine over 600 players at a chess tournament with games lasting 4 to 6 hours each. The annual North American Open attracts a broad spectrum of players: chess professionals, casual gamblers, hobbyists seeking a vacation, young children with their families, and of course chess nuts. Grandmasters rub elbows with novices. Despite the talk about Americans curtailing their travel due to the recession, this year's attendance actually seems to be about 10% higher than 2008! By my count, about 25-30 players either flew or drove from Northern California.
I am watching closely my folk of nine current and former students. (Photo at top right: students Steven, Evan and Kyle chat.) No fewer than six play with the big boys in the Open section (not really surprising since four are masters). I hope to update the highlights list below whenever I have free time between rounds.
  • Danya 3.0/3 -- beat GM Sundarajan Kidambi of India (see photo at top left)
  • Steven 2.5/3
  • Yian 2.0/3 -- two consecutive draws vs 2400+ rated FMs
  • Greg 2.0/3 -- drew with GM Victor Mikhalevski of Israel (see photo at right)
  • Fpawn 1.5/3 -- got crushed by GM Mesgen Amanov

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