Home Page arrow Chess Life Online arrow 2015 arrow August arrow GMs Flood U.S Open; Schedules Merge Tonight
GMs Flood U.S Open; Schedules Merge Tonight Print E-mail
By Mike Klein, Chess.com, reporting for U.S. Chess   
August 7, 2015
GM Alejandro Ramirez now has a lot of company. After entering as the lone grandmaster in the U.S. Open traditional schedule from August 1-9, the number of compatriots has now risen 1,000 percent.

Joining him via the six-day schedule will be GMs Illia Nyzhnyk, Andrey Stukopin, Bartlomiej Macieja, Alex Shabalov, Mackenzie Molner and Andre Diamant. The four-day warriors include GMs Aleksandr Lenderman, Christian Chirila, Conrad Holt (the defending champion) and Rogelio Barcenilla.

All of the fields merge into one tonight at 7pm Pacific for rounds seven through nine, with the champion and automatic U.S. Championship bid coming Sunday. Is there a local analogy for the blending of the three large masses? Google Maps tell us that just outside of Phoenix, the Gila, Agua Fina and Salt Rivers merge proximate to the site of the Phoenix International Raceway.

But how is the race going at the Arizona Biltmore? Ramirez was breezing along in the "European" schedule - one game a day for nine days. He didn't have to play his first master until round five (besides being the only GM, there aren't even any IMs in the slow schedule). Ramirez settled for a draw in round six versus NM Andrew Hong.

They are both on 5.5/6 atop the standings along with Benjamin Moon and Nicky Rosenthal, who beat his highest-rated player ever in round five (FM Seth Homa, 2486) and then drew another FM last night (Arizona resident Pedram Atoufi).

The expedited schedules still have perfect scores going into Friday. In the six-day, Shabalov and Macieja begin the day on 5.0/5; they play at noon Pacific with Shabalov taking the white pieces.

Bartlomiej Macieja

Macieja had a bit of a scare in the second round. After the classic Sicilian knight sac to open the e-file, his opponent looked to mate the grandmaster before move 20. But experience prevailed. Macieja had about an hour deficit on his clock but nonetheless wriggled out of the danger and in fact won rather quickly.

Surprisingly 16. Bf4 is better than 16. f4, which allowed the diabolical defense played in the game. If 17. fxe5 Nc5! traps the white queen.

Chasing the leaders are the other four GMs (Nyzhnyk, Stukopin, Molner and Diamant). They are all on 4.5/5 and lead a large peloton of masters a further half-point back.

Nyzhnyk and Stukopin drew after 10 moves in round six as I write this report, apparently preferring to take their chances later in the event. Stukopin did show what he was capable of earlier. In round four, after the Bishop's Opening, a nice tactic on f7 got him a quick win.

Like Macieja, Diamant also had some adventures in round two. In a wild melee, he avoided the perpetual to enter a slightly worse ending, which he eventually won despite being a piece down!

Ilya Nyzhnyk

Nyzhnyk, a Webster University chess team member and the second-highest US Chess rated player here (Lenderman edges him by three points, 2728 to 2725), endured a great struggle in round four from local FM Robby Adamson. Rook and four against rook and three was once again on trial, and Nyzhnyk pronounced it winning in this case:

Adamson can take some solace from his victory in the U.S. Open Bughouse Tournament, which he won with 8.0/10 along with this partner R. Tan.

The four-day schedule began yesterday with the sadistic chore of playing four games in a day, the last of which started at 10pm local time. The quasi-Insanity Tournament (the real one takes place over New Years Eve night) uses the time control of G/60+5 for the opening six rounds, then slows drastically to the snail pace of the other schedules (40/120, SD/60+5).

The survivors list of the brutal schedule includes Lenderman, Barcenilla, IM Andrey Gorovets and FM Roland Feng, who beat Chirila in the evening round (the energy of youth!).

Other side events and goings-on fill the morning and afternoon voids for those here for the long schedule. Daily quads have taken place since Monday: Top daily quad winners include NM Daniel Brashaw, Eli Karp, Peyton Smith, James Taylor, and NM Leo Cruger. Peyton Smith also won the weekend Swiss with 4.5/5.
GM Aleksander Lenderman

Lenderman won the U.S. National G/15 Championship with 4.5/5, which also explains why he played in the four-day U.S. Open and not the six-day!

Of course U.S. Chess is hosting various seminars and annual meetings too. But why have a meeting inside a boardroom when the surrounding parts offer views like this?

FM Mike Klein, Jon Haskell, Dan Lucas, and Cheryl Webster

Full disclosure: Team Lucas-Webster handled Team Haskell-Klein 6-2, 6-3 but no one collapsed from heat stroke at least.

Dewain Barber and Mike Nietman playing at Grand Canyon

To follow the standings of all events, click here. To follow the games live via Monroi, click here.