Home Page arrow Chess Life Online arrow 2010 arrow December arrow Ramirez & Shabalov Lead in Irvine
Ramirez & Shabalov Lead in Irvine Print E-mail
By Randy Hough   
August 7, 2010
GM Alexander Shabalov,  Photo courtesy Monroi.com
As we reported the status of the 111th U.S. Open yesterday , GM Alejandro Ramirez of Costa Rica  had scored 6-0 in the Traditional schedule and was guaranteed at least a share of the lead when the three schedules merged late Friday afternoon at the Hyatt Regency in Irvine, California. In fact, he turned out to be the only perfect score.

Nobody in the six-day schedule could score more than 5, a score achieved by GM Mark Paragua; IMs Enrico Sevillano (the 2008 Open champ), Salvijus Bercys, Mark Ginsburg, Julio Sendorra, and Max Cornejo; 2290-rated Michael Thaler (who upset FM Oscar Culbeaux), and Expert Eric Zhang, who followed his upset of IM Tim Taylor by beating 2325-rated Howard Chen. (Eric modestly says that neither of his opponents played near normal strength.)

When the smoke cleared in the frenetic four-day schedule (Game/60 for each player), two of the U.S.’s top GMs, Varuzhan Akobian and Alexander Shabalov, were on top with 5 ½.  Akobian had drawn with GM Timur Gareyev while "Shabba" drew with GM Dmitry Gurevich (last year’s champ). Garayev and Gurevich were joined at five points by IM Andranik Matikozyan (an Akobian victim in Round 5), FM Joel Banawa (who drew Gurevich in Round 6), FM Gregg Small, Bryan Williams Paulsen, young Master Deepak Aaron (a Denker player who rested two days before getting into the Open; he upset veteran IM Anthony Saidy), and unheralded A player Chris Pascal (who beat a 2200 and two strong Experts).

After the merge, Shabalov caught Ramirez at 6 ½ points of 7, beating GM Larry Kaufman while Ramirez and Akobian drew.



Joining Akobian at six points are Paragua, Gurevich, Sevillano, Bercys, Cornejo (who took Zhang’s measure), Sadorra, Ginsburg, Naroditsky, and Aaron, who continued to validate his strategy by upsetting IM Michael Mulyar. GM Melikset Khachiyan (who barely beat young Kevin Mio) and Matikozyan (who drew with Thaler) are in the 5 ½ group, still in contention.

At the start of the merged round, USCF Executive Director spoke about Jerry Hanken, for whom the 2010 tournament is named. At the start of the Traditional schedule this writer had spoken of Jerry’s devotion to the Open (he played 43 times), political, organizing, and journalistic skills, and status as a great ambassador for chess. Bill emphasized how he and Jerry developed a close friendship after initial mutual suspicion, of how Jerry mellowed and repaired some damaged friendships in his final years, and the heartbreak of missing the 2009 Open, the first time since 1972. Jerry passed away two months later.

Mike Wojcio reported on the annual U.S. Open golf tournament. He won first low net ahead of Denis Strenzwilk. USCF President Jim Berry was second in low gross, but local player Shawn Williams took a trifecta with first low gross, closest to pin, and longest drive. Way to go, Shawn!

Look for another report after Round 8 ends late Saturday night. It will be an especially long day for those of us who are USCF Delegates, as the annual meeting (first day) runs from 9 to 5. We’ll catch up on our sleep later…

You can watch the top boards of the US Open live on Monroi.com.
Follow the US Open standings and pairings here.


December - Chess Life Online 2010

Lenderman Wins Eastern OpenUniversity of Texas at Dallas Wins Pan-Ams! Daniel Naroditsky Earns Second IM NormKacheishvili and Stocek Top Vegas Pan-Ams in Full Swing! Friedel in Clear Lead at North American Open The Chess Stars Come out in Las VegasDreev Dominates UTD InvitationalEastern Open Begins in DC Holiday Tournaments Kick Off The Atlantic City Chess Scoop: Part II A Christmas Mate in Two Hou Yifan Women's World Champion! The Staunton Code: Part I Ruan and Hou Off to Tiebreaks at World Women's Champs The US Chess Scoop on Atlantic City: Part I Kamsky and Van Wely Top Atlantic City InternationalAtlantic City International Features Top-Notch FieldUniversity of Texas at Dallas Invitational BeginsRuan Lufei Advances to World Women's Final All-Chinese Final at the Women's World Championships Pan-Ams Head to Milwaukee, December 27-30Melekhina and Mandizha Share Top Honors in Philly A Disney Chess Weekend: Matan on the K-12 Nationals Carlsen Wins in London; Nakamura Finishes in Middle Samuel Sevian Youngest US Master Ever! Melinda on Nationals: A Successful AdventureFinal Four Almost Set for World Women's Championships Three Roads to the 2011 Arizona State Championship: Part IIIChess Expert Jonathan Corbblah to Appear on JEOPARDY! Grade Nationals Results are in! Drama Heightens at the K-12 National Scholastics Nakamura Loses to Carlsen in LondonZatonskih Eliminated in Women's World Champs Nakamura Celebrates Birthday with Win Over KramnikNational K-12 Champs Kick Off This WeekendZatonskih Advances in World Women Champs to Face Koneru Nakamura - Carlsen, Private Blitz Match [Video]London Chess Classic Underway Zatonskih Wins First Game Against Sebag Three Roads to the 2011 Arizona State Championship: Part II Ruth Haring on Volunteering and her Chess ComebackKasparov Visits Saint Louis, Short Puts on Lecture and SimulThe December Check is in the Mail Wrapping up the American Open Zatonskih Advances, Baginskaite Goes to TiebreakExtreme Blitz Match Featuring IMs Hungaski and Shahade Women's World Championship Begins in Turkey Three Roads to the Arizona State Championship: Part I Dates Set for 2011 US Chess Championships