|Four-Way Tie at the Southern Open|
|By Steve Immitt|
|April 4, 2011|
At the Southern Open in Orlando this past weekend, GM Julio Becerra displayed one of the hallmarks of the professional player: the ability to shrug off an upset loss, hunker down and still finish in the money. After receiving a heavy shellacking in the first round by Expert David Wyde (action-packed game below), Julio turned on the steam to flatten his next four opponents, two of them GMs themselves!
Becerra then proceeded to tie for 1st with Robert Perez, FM Eric Rodriguez and powerhouse "A-player" Justin Blackman (who sports an 1802 USCF rating alongside his more realistic 2145 FIDE rating). But Julio's comeback was made complete when he won the additional Bonus Prize for finishing in First Place with the strongest tiebreaks!
One of Becerra's victims was GM Ron Henley, who recently relocated to Florida. Henley ended a thirteen-year hiatus from tournament play this weekend.
College student Robert Perez faced two GMs en route to his climb to the top, Ron Henley and Mikheil Kekelidze, and drew both of them.
Completing the Winners' Quartet was FM Eric Rodriguez, who was leading the tournament with a perfect score after four rounds before running head-first into Becerra on Board One in the last round. Rodriguez demonstrated more than a little resiliency in his Round 4 game against Expert David "the GM-upsetter" Wyde, when Eric slipped out of a monstrous attack to surprise his opponent's own King.
The Southern Open, held in Orlando on April Fool's Weekend, had 176 entries, including 4 re-entries, and happily avoided the April Fool's Day kick from Mother Nature, when a tornado touched down in Orlando on the Thursday before the first round, uprooting some trees and causing a number of power blackouts downtown.