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Ramirez, Kudrin & Enkhbat Share Top Honors in Arlington Print E-mail
By Jamaal Abdul-Alim   
October 11, 2011
GM Alejandro Ramirez
Arlington, Va. -- Two GMs and an IM split the first-place prize in the masters section of the Continental Class Championships that took place over Columbus Day weekend.

The top honors went to GMs Alejandro Ramirez, 23, and Sergey Kudrin, 52, and IM Tegshsuren Enkhbat, 41. Each of the first-place players won approximately $2000 apiece after they all scored 6.5 points in the five-day, nine-round tournament here at the Crystal City Hyatt.

In a big change for the largest tournament of the summer, officials with the Continental Chess Association said they firmed up a deal over the weekend to use the hotel as the site for the World Open in 2013 and 2014. The tournament will likely return to its typical venue of Philadelphia in 2015, they said. (Update: CCA president Bill Goichberg clarified that the World Open will also take place in Philadelphia in 2012.)

Enkhbat, a chess instructor in the Baltimore area, attributed his success at the Continental Class Championships to a combination of factors, including luck and oversight by his opponents in some instances.
IM Enkhbat
The event fielded six GMs, eight IMs and six FMs. Tournament directors also said not enough foreign players showed up for competitors to achieve norms. On a positive note the entry fees, are cheaper this year than last year, $220 on site versus $250 on site last year.

14-year-old Sarah Chiang (1981), captured some serious attention at the tournament after she upset several higher-rated players in the masters section to score a total of 4.5 points.

“I didn’t expect it at all,” Chiang said of her results afterward. “I just went in with a cool head, trying not to worry about winning or losing. I just tried to play my best.”

Among those that Chiang bested were Glenn Bady, (2184), of Pennsylvania; Erik Santarius, (2301), of Wisconsin; and Majur Juac (2178), of Virginia. She drew against FM Teddy Coleman, (2314) of New York. According to the USCF MSA rating report from this event, Sarah earned exactly enough points to achieve a master ranking.

Chiang, of Dallas, Texas, said whereas over the summer she studies chess almost exclusively, during the school year her studies are limited to three hours a day.

The reason, the high school freshman says, is because she is taking a series of tough courses, including AP Biology, AP World History, and Algebra 2, that demand her time. She takes karate lessons as well.

Like Enkhbat, Chiang, attributed some of her success at the tournament to oversights by her opponents. For instance, when Chiang used a computer-based analyzer after her game against Santarius to examine a maneuver that she thought would lead to checkmate, the system showed that Santarius could have forced a draw through a perpetual check.

“I could have played more accurately,” she said of her game against Santarius.

All the top players who won first place seemed to be just a few such factors away from clear first, or, contrarily, something less than what they got.

Ramirez, for instance, said he struggled with the flu, which is partially why he ended his last round game in a draw. He also said he was down on time.

“I just didn’t feel good about it,” Ramirez said of his last round game, which led him to draw and essentially abandon his chances of securing a spot as clear first place winner, although he won an extra $133 on the tie-break.

Ramirez said one of his best games at the tournament was this one, a Bogo-Indian Defense with IM Shahade.


Kudrin might have scored higher -- or lower -- had he not taken a first-round bye, but said he took the bye so he could meet his commitments as a chess instructor at one of his private school clients in New York.

In his last game, Kudrin managed and endgame win against GM Mikheil Kekelidze.

“I just remember seeing a similar endgame by Kasparov,” Kudrin said of his game against Kekelidze. “That gave me the confidence that I could win.”


Enkhbat said he thought he was going to lose his Round 6 game to IM Greg Shahade, who was up a pawn.

“I was clearly losing,” Enkhbat said of his game against Shahade. But then, Enkhbat said, Shahade “missed just one move." Enkhbat managed to gain ample counterplay with 23...Be5, and the game ended in a draw by perpetual soon after.


Find final standings on the official site, continentalchess.net and find USCF rated results on MSA. Also coming soon to CLO: a personal account of the Continental Class by IM Greg Shahade.

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