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Ramirez & Shabalov Lead in Irvine Print E-mail
By Randy Hough   
August 7, 2010
GM Alexander Shabalov,  Photo courtesy Monroi.com
As we reported the status of the 111th U.S. Open yesterday , GM Alejandro Ramirez of Costa Rica  had scored 6-0 in the Traditional schedule and was guaranteed at least a share of the lead when the three schedules merged late Friday afternoon at the Hyatt Regency in Irvine, California. In fact, he turned out to be the only perfect score.

Nobody in the six-day schedule could score more than 5, a score achieved by GM Mark Paragua; IMs Enrico Sevillano (the 2008 Open champ), Salvijus Bercys, Mark Ginsburg, Julio Sendorra, and Max Cornejo; 2290-rated Michael Thaler (who upset FM Oscar Culbeaux), and Expert Eric Zhang, who followed his upset of IM Tim Taylor by beating 2325-rated Howard Chen. (Eric modestly says that neither of his opponents played near normal strength.)

When the smoke cleared in the frenetic four-day schedule (Game/60 for each player), two of the U.S.’s top GMs, Varuzhan Akobian and Alexander Shabalov, were on top with 5 ½.  Akobian had drawn with GM Timur Gareyev while "Shabba" drew with GM Dmitry Gurevich (last year’s champ). Garayev and Gurevich were joined at five points by IM Andranik Matikozyan (an Akobian victim in Round 5), FM Joel Banawa (who drew Gurevich in Round 6), FM Gregg Small, Bryan Williams Paulsen, young Master Deepak Aaron (a Denker player who rested two days before getting into the Open; he upset veteran IM Anthony Saidy), and unheralded A player Chris Pascal (who beat a 2200 and two strong Experts).

After the merge, Shabalov caught Ramirez at 6 ½ points of 7, beating GM Larry Kaufman while Ramirez and Akobian drew.

Joining Akobian at six points are Paragua, Gurevich, Sevillano, Bercys, Cornejo (who took Zhang’s measure), Sadorra, Ginsburg, Naroditsky, and Aaron, who continued to validate his strategy by upsetting IM Michael Mulyar. GM Melikset Khachiyan (who barely beat young Kevin Mio) and Matikozyan (who drew with Thaler) are in the 5 ½ group, still in contention.

At the start of the merged round, USCF Executive Director spoke about Jerry Hanken, for whom the 2010 tournament is named. At the start of the Traditional schedule this writer had spoken of Jerry’s devotion to the Open (he played 43 times), political, organizing, and journalistic skills, and status as a great ambassador for chess. Bill emphasized how he and Jerry developed a close friendship after initial mutual suspicion, of how Jerry mellowed and repaired some damaged friendships in his final years, and the heartbreak of missing the 2009 Open, the first time since 1972. Jerry passed away two months later.

Mike Wojcio reported on the annual U.S. Open golf tournament. He won first low net ahead of Denis Strenzwilk. USCF President Jim Berry was second in low gross, but local player Shawn Williams took a trifecta with first low gross, closest to pin, and longest drive. Way to go, Shawn!

Look for another report after Round 8 ends late Saturday night. It will be an especially long day for those of us who are USCF Delegates, as the annual meeting (first day) runs from 9 to 5. We’ll catch up on our sleep later…

You can watch the top boards of the US Open live on Monroi.com.
Follow the US Open standings and pairings here.


August - Chess Life Online 2010

RAW World Chess Challenge: Magnus Takes on the World US Senior Wraps: Ivanov Wins, Kaufman Advances to World SeniorBarnett Joins GMs Paragua & Shabalov at the Top of the Atlantic OpenUS Chess League Opens with FireworksAlexander Ivanov Wins 2010 US Senior Ivanov and Kudrin Lead US SeniorFour Lead US Senior OpenDean Sweeps the Dean of Chess Academy FIDE Invitational US Senior Open Kicks Off Americans Abroad: Nakamura Nets Amber Spot US Senior Open Begins MondayUS Olympiad Teams Finalized A Grandmaster Vacation: GM Pascal on SturbridgePerfection in Montreal GM Rogers on NH Chess: Nakamura on a Roll Grand Prix Rule Changes Include 1st Prize Minimum 2010 US Chess League Preview Americans Abroad: From Greece to Canada Schein - Friedman Scholastic Project The Kids are Alright in AmsterdamAmericans in Europe, ContinuedNakamura Saves Draw vs. Van Wely and Scores vs. NielsenNakamura Starts NH Masters with a WinUpdate on Americans in Europe From Trophies to Money: A Chess Mom on the Southern Open USCF Recognizes Leaders at Awards Luncheon Nakamura to Play for World Against Carlsen in G-Star Raw ChallengeGM Ramirez Coasts to Victory at the US Open US Champion Kamsky Wins Mainz Rapids! Ramirez Sole Leader as US Open Nears FinaleTommy He Golden in Brazil Ramirez & Shabalov Lead in IrvinePan-Am Nears Conclusion GM Kaufman on Fischer Random & The Irvine Grind Ramirez Perfect as Merge Approaches Campaign for FIDE President Heats up Middle EastRamirez Still Perfect at the US Open as Six-Day Heats UpToby Boas, GMs Becerra & Paragua Share First at the Southern OpenFavorites Prevail in Denker & TOC; Six-Day US Open Schedule BeginsThe August Check is in the Mail Arnold and Melekhina Off to the World Juniors Learning From Your Losses Leaders Emerge in Irvine