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Bonin Wins Cleveland Open Print E-mail
By David A. Hater   
August 13, 2015
IM Jay Bonin won the 2015 Cleveland Open held at the Cleveland Sheraton Airport Hotel from August 7th to 9th. After starting 2-0, Bonin played two IMs and a GM in the last three rounds and scored 2 ½.  His 4 ½ points were good enough to pocket the $2100 for clear first.   His dominant performance picked up 28 rating points. Bonin was seeded 4th and played the 1st, 2nd, and 5th seeds. 

This year’s Cleveland Open had a total of 221 players which though not a record is still well attended.  

The open section of 37 players featured one GM and five IMs among the seven masters.  We were scheduled to have another GM but a last minute dropout prior to round one cut the number of GMs in half.  Round one was relatively uneventful as he top rated players mostly won. There were two draws and two upsets, but most of the top players took care of business. 

Round two featured the first master versus master pairings.  In the three day schedule two local favorites meet on board 3.  IM Calvin Blocker playing the black pieces faced WCM Maggie Feng. After the game, Calvin thought he was worse for a good portion of the game.  Fritz says otherwise as it was an equal struggle for a long time. Calvin actually declined a draw offer when white had a slight edge.  Below is most of the game.

The end of the game is not available due to the sudden death time pressure, but the over 60 moves that we do have show two excellent players fighting for the victory.  One amazing tidbit I found out as I was working with IM Blocker to reconstruct is he is very old-school in preparation. He doesn’t have email, computer, or databases.   He is probably one of the strongest players, if not the strongest player to eschew modern technology and in this instance it made it hard to reconstruct.  Suffice it to say that in mutual time pressure and in a position where he is clearly better (perhaps not winning), Calvin found a way to beat a strong player.

In round three, the schedules merged and the number of perfect scores was down to the six titled players.  IM Bonin defeated GM Georgiev on board one after the GM blundered the exchange.  On board two IM Calvin Blocker defeated IM Goran Vojinovic.  Because the two IMs (Priyadharshan Kannappan and Florin Felecan) on board three drew, going into Sunday’s rounds, Bonin and Blocker would be the only perfect scores.

On Sunday morning Blocker and Bonin faced off on board one.   They both played for an advantage and were both playing to win, but after just under 30 moves, they settled the matter peacefully.  They would enter the last round as the only two players with 3 ½. However many players followed with three including GM Georgiev, IM Vojinovic, IM Kannappan, and four other masters and experts.
One of the first games to end was the board one game between IM Bonin and IM Vojinovic.  Bonin won fairly quickly to assure himself at least a tie for first. 

Blocker had a chance to join Bonin if he could beat GM Vladimir Georgiev.  That is a tall order, but Calvin put himself at a significant disadvantage by nearly forfeiting by showing up almost 1 hour late. It is not a good idea to spot a GM playing the white pieces an hour on the clock!  Calvin had to play the first time control at nearly 40 moves in less than an hour rather than he published 40/110. 

After the game, Calvin made no excuses for his lack of time management and commented that he likely still would have lost to his GM opponent even with the full amount of time.  Blocker's rating may be a bit lower than usual right now, but I can remember as a youngster growing up in Ohio in the 80’s when Blocker was around 2600 and one of the highest rated players in the USA. 

Calvin had lost to Georgiev the week before in the Dayton, Ohio International.  He commented that though his result in Dayton may have been sub-par, part of the reason he played well in Cleveland was the experience of the international the week prior.   Georgiev’s win over Blocker enabled the GM to finish with 4-1 and win $1000 for clear second.

Boards 3 through 5 all ended in hard fought draws creating a huge tie for 3rd, 4th, and the U2300 prizes.  3 ½ points was worth $285.71 for  Blocker, Kannappan, Feng, Mark Eidemiller, , Ben Li, William Sedlar, and Nabil Feliachi. 

The Under 2100 section was also won with a score of 4 ½.  Going into the last round, six players all had 3 ½. All the top boards were decisive.  Jonathan Zhou, Kent Lui, and Ari Terjanian all earned $900 for their first place tie. 

The under 1700 section was also won with 4 ½.  Going into the last round, Ater Gorgis was the only perfect score.  He won quickly to secure a portion of first.  Because he is unrated, he was not allowed to win more than $500.  Even had he won and took clear first and first place was $1000, he would have won the same amount.  His draw allowed Ryan Knapp and Diamond-Abdus-Shakoor to catch up to him by winning their last round games.  They were also quite happy to learn that they each won $800, in part because Gorgis winnings were capped.

The Under 1300 section was also won with 4 ½. Charisse Woods and Trenton Rothan each won $600 for their share of first place.  Charisse was also on the wining mixed doubles team and won $400 for that with her brother also winning $400.  The Woods family certainly had a profitable weekend!

As mentioned CCA tournaments have mixed doubles prizes.  Teams must be 1 male and 1 female with an average rating of under 2200.  Charisse Woods and Jalen Woods scored a combined 7 ½ points and won $800.The second prize of $400 was won by Harvey He and Samantha Ma with 7 points.

IM Kannappan won the blitz tournament with a perfect score of 8-0.  His $160 prize works out to $20 a game or $2 a minute (if he had to use all his time).

NTD David Hater directed for CCA assisted by Senior TD Andy Rea.