|Qualifier Open Kicks Off|
|By Dr.Alexey Root, WIM|
|March 28, 2008|
2008 Frank K. Berry U.S. Chess Championship and the 2008 Frank K. Berry U.S. Women's Chess Championship. That is, the top seven U.S. finishers will qualify for the U.S. Championship, and the top U.S. female will qualify for the Women's Championship. Tom Braunlich wrote a Qualifier Open preview article with additional information. Jerry Hanken will report the event for Chess Life, and GM Jesse Kraai will write a CLO summary of the tournament after it ends. Jon Haskel is broadcasting games for MonRoi. He also helped me get on the Internet, and help John Fedorowicz with his MonRoi unit. (See the photo to the left.)
The Qualifier Open attracted 102 participants, including 57 master-level or higher players, to Tulsa, OK, March 28th-30th, 2008. (Scroll down to see the most current wallchart.) The $11,000-guaranteed prize fund, seven-round tournament is a qualifier for the |
Organizer Frank K. Berry pointed out the strength of the event by saying, "Mikhail Langer is complaining because he is lower-ranked here than he was at the 2007 Frank K. Berry U.S. Chess Championship." GM Alexander Ivanov said that many players at the 2008 FKB U.S. Chess Championships in May will break even, as the $1000-$2000 that they will win will go toward travel and hotel expenses. Still, he is trying to qualify for that event. As he said, "I'm a player, so I want to play in May. And right now, for the May event, I'm ranked #15. Only the top 10 get invitations for May. So I am playing here to earn a qualification spot. It is tough because there are a lot of GMs here."
The top players in the Qualifier Open, in pre-tournament USCF rating order, are: 1. GM Julio Becerra (2637) 2. GM Alexander Ivanov (2622) 3. GM Eugene Perelshteyn (2615), 4. IM Ben Finegold (2613), 5. GM Sergey Kudrin (2610) , 6. GM Alex Goldin (2597), 7. GM Alex Yermolinsky (2587) and 8. GM Jesse Kraai (2659). The first non-U.S. representative among the top players, ranked 26th, is University of Texas at Dallas student Taut Verdrickas (2369), representing Lithuania. The top eight players were paired down to 2200-rated players.
One of the most interesting top board games was between Alex Yermolinsky and Chess Life reporter for the event, Jerry Hanken:
Unlike the top eight overall players, who all represent the U.S., two of the eight participating women play for other countries. These non-U.S. players are eligible for the $1000 top women's prize, but only the top woman representing the U.S. is eligible for the wild card qualification spot. The seven women, in pre-tournament USCF rating order, are: 1. WFM Bayaraa Zorigt (Mongolia, 2219), 2. WFM Iryna Zenyuk (U.S., 2205) 3. WIM Liudmila Mokriak (Ukraine, 2175). 4. WFM Chouchanik Airapetian (U.S., 2143), 5. Hana Itkis (2084) 6. Courtney Jamison (U.S., 2064), 7. WIM Alexey Root (U.S., 2001) , and 8. Jennifer Acon (U.S., 1972).
Bayaraa Zorigt won her first game, after a big adventure getting here. Friday morning, UT-Dallas students Bayaraa Zorigt, Sal Bercys, Taut Verdrickas, and Gerald Roberts left Dallas by car at 6 a.m. Then the water pump gave out. They had to wait 45 minutes at a gas station for repairs. Even with that slowdown, they got here at noon, when the first round started.
Tom Braunlich told me that the youth had a great first round, "Maxx Coleman from KS beat IM Ginsburg. Conrad Holt beat Carl Boor. Devin Hughes drew Michael Aigner."
Young star Ray Robson (2427) also won. Chouchanik Airapetian said she played a good game against Ray, but got in time trouble. Instead of continuing her attack, she erred with "knight back on move 30. And that is not good, because when you are attacking you have to keep attacking."
Finally, I've been wondering who is older, Jerry Hanken or Viktors Pupols? I've known both men for years. Here are the photos:
Vik suggested showing a photo of him climbing a mountain to help readers get the right answer. Jerry says he is working on a book manuscript of his life as a chessplayer and chess insider, which he describes as "Chess Don with a little chess." If the readers wish to vote in comments, I'll give the answer next time. (Jerry wants to know the answer too, and Vik won't tell him.)
Until next time,
Dr. Alexey Root is a WIM and former U.S. Women's Champion. She will continue to report from Tulsa this weekend. You can find out more about her and her books in the following links: http://lu.com/authors/AlexeyRoot.pdf , Science, Math, Checkmate and Children and Chess.
SwissSys Wall Chart. Qualifier: Open (Standings)