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Milov Takes Chicago Open Print E-mail
By Elizabeth Vicary   
May 29, 2007
Betsy Dynako

by Elizabeth Vicary

With six points each, GM Vadim Milov and GM Yury Shulman tied for first in the Chicago Open last weekend, beating out a strong field of 16 Grandmasters and nine International Masters. Overall, 687 people played with 60 re-entries.

Milov defeated Shulman in the blitz tiebreak to earn the title of Chicago Open champion. I asked Milov what his favorite game of the tournament was and if he had any brilliant attacks or creative ideas. He shrugged and said: "I didn't have any ideas in any games. It's very difficult to have ideas when you are playing two games a day." I laughed and said I have lots of ideas all the time, to which he smiled and replied slowly "Yeah, but I mean good ideas." After some thought Milov picked his game against GM Alejandro Ramirez as his best of the tournament.


After the opening his position was extremely dangerous, but Milov was proud of his defensive effort and eventually won the game. I asked if he hadn't also been in trouble in round one, against Marc Esserman, and he agreed: "Yes, I was lost. No, worse. (pause) OK, much worse. But I didn't blunder; my opponent just played well."

In this position, Yury Shulman resigned, giving Milov the title of Chicago Open champion. They still shared the prize money. Photo Betsy Dynako.

Milov is unusual among top players as he declines to use Monroi to keep score, out of a worry that it might prove tricky to use in time trouble. GM Yury Shulman was the local hero of the event-he resides near Chicago and won the U.S. Open at the same hotel. His key win was in the penultimate round with black against Jaan Ehlvest:


Ehlvest chose the wrong rook (an expression usually used in much more mundane situations!) when he played Rf1. He gave up after d3 because Qxd3 Nf4 Qe3 Nxe2 Qxe2 Qd4+ and White loses the rook on f1 and gets checkmated. Rc1 and Jaan would hang in there because after d3, White can save the day by inserting Rxf8 (the rook is pinned in the game variation.)

As mentioned in the midway report on the tournament, the top section saw frequent upsets. This continued throughout the tournament, as Raja D Panjwani (2351) beat GM Varuzhan Akobian, and IM Amon Simutowe drew GM Alex Shabalov and beat GM Emil Anka. Jake Kleiman, who despite beating one GM and drawing two more, had described his games as low-quality, finally played a game he was satisfied with against IM Angelo Young.

The lower sections of the Chicago Open were unusual this year for being mostly odd numbered--under 2300, under 2100, etc. I loved the change – it means that people whose ratings are stable around 2275, 2075, 1875, etc., people who are never really favorites to win their (even-numbered) sections, have a much better chance for money. Craig Jones and Matt Perry tied for first in the under 2300 section with six points each . I also played in the U2300 and I can't help but include one game of my own for purely comic value.


After blundering horribly with 7... Bd7 in a c3 Sicilian, I found myself down four pawns and getting checkmated. My opponent sacked a piece incorrectly, then slowly lost one pawn after another back, until I found myself in a winning ending.

Elizabeth Vicary. Photo Betsy Dynako

Mikhail Sher tied for first with Patrick Lacey, Joseph Richards and Gauri Shankar in the under 2100 section. He called most of his games "pretty mediocre," but blamed this partly on the fast time controls of the 2-day section. His funniest game was in round six, when, after the first time control, he found himself down a pawn in a rook ending. His opponent, who had f and h pawns against his b pawn, thought a lot in the ending and became seriously low on time. Mikhail managed to blockade the pawns, create some mate threats, and then flag his opponent. He attributes his success partly to the fact that he finished school and has begun working full-time. Now he has more time for chess, since he solves tactics problems for a couple hours a day on his commute from Brooklyn to Manhattan.

This year's tournament is the last Chicago Open that will be held at the Hyatt Doubletree; for the next three years the tournament moves to the Westin in the North Shore District, an upscale neighborhood with many good restaurants nearby the playing site.

Photo Gallery by Betsy Dynako

Chicago area GM Dmitry Gurevich scored 5 out of seven.

Emil Anka and Ilya Smirin analyze their third round draw.

Newly crowned U.S. Champion Alexander Shabalov lost his final game to the young Ukrainian GM living in Omaha, Valeriy Aveskulov

Andrew Karklins, a perenial contender for the U2400 prize in the Open got a chance at serious money in the Chicago Open. He tied for third after losing the final game.

Milov signing the board that a fan lent for the playoff.

Jerry Hanken. Hanken will write a full report on the Chicago Open in the August 2007 issue of Chess Life Magazine.



1-2- Vadim Milov and Yury Shulman- 6.0
3-6- Zviad Izoria, Merab Gagunashvili, Valeriy Aveskulov and Sergey Erenburg- 5.5
7-9- Jaan Ehlvest, Dmitry Gurevich and Josh Friedel- 5.0
10-14- Alexander Shabalov, Salvijus Bercys, Amon Simutowe, Mehmed Pasalic and Jake Kleiman- 4.5

1-2- Craig Jones and Matt Parry- 6.0/7

1-4- Patrick Lacey, Joseph Richards, Gauri Shankar and Mikhail Sher- 6.0/7

1-4- Dmitry Barabanov, Andrew Pheasant, James Condron and Dexter Pacheco- 6.0/7

1-Zoran Stojanovski- 6.5/7

1. Juan Avalos- 6.5/7

1. Leon Ding- 6.5/7

1.Joseph Doliner- 7.0/7

Complete Standings