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Moradiabadi Tops Kings Island Print E-mail
By Steve Immitt   
November 19, 2013
Elshan Moradiabadi, Photo June 2013

The 22nd edition of Continental Chess’s Midwest classic, the annual Kings Island Open, has continued its recent tradition of the past few years of outdrawing the previous year’s event, this time with 320 entries, plus another 17  re-entries, converging on the Kings Island Resort near Cincinnati on the weekend of November 15-17th, for the Buckeye State’s largest open tournament.

The tournament was not without its upsets, which started in the first round, when Number Two ranked GM Alex Shabalov was held to a draw by Expert David Peng, and then succumbed to a mating attack the next round, courtesy of FM Luis Flaquer.


But the ratings are there for a reason, and in the end the top seed, Iranian GM Elshan Moradiabadi tied for top honors along with America’s newly-minted GM-elect, Bryan Smith.  Both GMs blitzed their respective fields for the first four rounds. 



Moradiabadi stopped IM Justin Sarkar’s express train in Round 4.


Justin did get some consolation later on when he (almost) blitzed the Sunday Night Blitz tournament with 7 out of 8 to win the $50 Blitz First Prize. 

Meanwhile on the next board, Smith put an end to GM-slaying Flaquer’s Cinderella story.


A last-round draw on Board One  led to  both Grandmasters chalking up over $2,050 for their efforts.  Elshan, who currently lives in Lubbock, Texas, also won the additional $182 First Place Bonus Prize by a whisker--  their results were so nearly identically impressive that it took four separate tiebreaks to separate the two!

FM Peter Bereolos defeated FM Carl Boor in the last round to finish with 4 points and a tie for the Under 2300 prizes with FM Hans Multhopp, who likewise won his last round against Okechukwa Iwu. The victorious FMs each won over $1,093.


William Sedlar drew his first round in the Under 2100 Section, but he wanted more.   He re-entered the Two-Day Schedule to see if he could do better.  The strategy worked.  He won his next four games and then drew his last round against another re-entry player, John Miller, to clinch the $1,823 First Prize.  Miller himself shared 2nd-4th with Liberty Green and Bill Turner.

No ties in the Under 1900 Section—  Vikram Srivastava saw to that by winning all five games en route to his $1,823 First Prize.  William Purcell, who finished with 4½, said the $911 he won for clear second was his biggest payday ever, as he was basking in filling out his W9 tax form.  And 83-year-young Valdis Tums’s $182.34 check  proved that kids are not the only ones who win prizes in the class sections.  He ended up in a six-player logjam for 3rd, along with Michael Higgins, Krishna Venkatasubba, Forst Chen, Arden Markin and William Stewart.

Roy Dotson, Jeffrey Zhu and Leo Zamansky each took home over $1,063 for divvying up the Under 1700 Section three ways, although Leo had to wait until he finished the Blitz tournament Sunday night to collect his checks (he also tied for 1st-2nd Under 1800 in the Blitz).

Jeremy Koebel tied for 1st-2nd in the Under 1500 Section, so he might have been surprised to get a check for the whole $1,458 First Prize.  Although Khanh Lee also scored 4½ points, he was limited to winning $600 as an unrated player. That meant that Jeremy took home most of what would have otherwise been split up in the tie, and there was even some more left over to be spread amongst the six players who tied for 3rd-8th with 4 points: Jacob Naylor, Raymond Gifford, Evan Huang, Kipp Bynum, Richard Hayes and Peter Katchmer.  They each won a slightly increased prize of over $158.

Jacob Rapport  and  Bryan Waterhouse each scored 4½ points and took home $820.50 at the top of the Under 1250 Section, while Max Zhu and Emma Cheng did likewise with the $319 they each received for tying for 3rd-4th at 4-1.

 To say that Katherine Lin had a good tournament would be somewhat of an understatement.  Not only did she win all five to games in the Under 1000 Section to clinch the $638 First Prize, she was also part (a very important part) of  the three Mixed Doubles teams which tied for the 1st-3rd Mixed Doubles Team prizes.  Jeannie Zhang and Jeffrey Zhu comprised the second winning team (average team rating 1563), and Emma Cheng and Jordan Zipfel (average rating 1026) were the third winning duo.  This may have been the first  time that siblings were on a winning team—   just not on the same team!  Jordan’s brother Jason was also Katherine’s teammate (their average rating was 1001).  Each of the three teams won $365.

While the storms raged furiously over the chess boards, outside things were not much better.  About two hours into the final round, the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for a Level 3 storm (on the EF-scale, one does not aspire to a high rating).   The waiting area designated by the hotel for this situation was the convention center ballroom, where the tournament  was being played. Although this did at least have the advantage of providing maximum convenience for the hundreds of players and spectators already in the room, the commotion of all the hotel’s guests and workers assembling in the tournament  room proved to be too much nevertheless, and play was suspended.

After a delay of several minutes, the storm clouds moved on, fortunately bringing a relatively anti-climactic ending to a decidedly anti-climatic event.

This year’s 22nd edition of the Kings Island Open was marked by a sad occurrence, however.  At the beginning of the first round of each playing schedule, a moment of silence was offered in remembrance of Mike Anders, one of our tournament directors in recent years.  He was tragically killed in a private plane accident earlier this year.  Mike was constantly promoting the Kings Island Open, welcoming new players and working hard to keep the regulars happy.  He would always encourage the players to bring a friend next year, to keep the tournament vibrant, strong and growing.

Although his familiar, smiling face will be sorely missed, I think he would be happy with the results of his efforts.

Find the MSA for the King's Island Open here.