|Lenderman on Top in Orlando|
|By Jennifer Shahade|
|August 8, 2011|
the US Open in Orlando, nearly 100 chessplayers craned their necks to watch a dramatic playoff contest between the new Samford Scholar, GM Aleksandr Lenderman and defending US Open Champion Alejandro Ramirez. Among the spectators were many other successful Orlando competitors including three GMs who also tied for first in the US Open, Tamaz Gelashvili, Timur Gareyev, Alonso Zapata and Denker Champion Michael Vilenchuk.
Just after 9 PM on the final night of |
GM Georgi Kacheishvili, who also tied for first, entered the moves on Monroi while chief arbiter Franc Guadalupe explained the rules and stakes. In addition to the prestigious title, trophy and a small cash bonus a coveted US Championship spot was up for grabs.
Lenderman won a coin flip to chose between white pieces with five minutes or playing black with three minutes and draw odds (there was also a five-second delay.) Without hesitation, Lenderman chose White and the game began.
Lenderman was ecstatic as he posed joyously with his newfound trophy, seeming ready to break into his famed "Lenderman" dance.
Aleksandr got into playoff position with a final round draw against World Top ten player GM Hikaru Nakamura. If either player had won this game, they would have taken clear first in the event.
This draw opened the field up to create a seven-way tie for first: Besides Nakamura and Lenderman, GMs Alejandro Ramirez, Tamaz Gelashvili, Timur Gareyev, Alonso Zapata, Giorgi Kacheishvili took home over $2000 each.
Lenderman told CLO that he planned to relax for the next couple weeks before his next event, the Manhattan Open (August 17-21).
Nakamura rarely plays in American Opens for the past couple years, so it was a pleasant surprise to see him in action in Orlando. Although Nakamura tied for first, anything but clear first can't be seen as a big success for such an elite player. Still Nakamura was in good spirits while in Orlando. His stepfather FM Sunil Weeramantry picked up Nakamura's award at the annual luncheon for "Grandmaster of the Year" (which he shared with US Champion Gata Kamsky this year). Meanwhile, Hikaru dominated the blitz tournament with a perfect 14-0 score.
Other members of the winners' circle scored crucial final round victories.
GM Alonso Zapata had previously arranged to take a final round half-point bye to also end with 7.5/9.
Players enjoyed the high quality hotel and atmosphere at the Hyatt. The US Open has a unique feel since all players enter one big section. It's not every day that an amateur has a chance to play with GMs like Hikaru Nakamura or Loek Van Wely. To join the fun next year, mark your calendars early for 2012. The 113th US Open will be held in Vancouver, Washington State from August 4-12.
See full results on the official site and rated results on MSA. For more info on the Denker, Barber and US Junior Girls Open, see Melinda J. Matthews article from last week. Also look for future features from Orlando, including an interview with bughouse fiend Kazim Gulamali and a piece on playing the Fischer-Random event by CLO editor Jennifer Shahade.