Bermuda Open Begins
By Carol Jarecki   
February 6, 2010
Jorge Vega, Bermuda minister Michael J. Scott and Nigel Freeman
There were no upsets in the first round of the 2010 Bermuda International Open in Southampton at the Fairmont Resort, the beautiful pink hotel on the top of a hill overlooking the Atlantic and well-manicured golf course.  GM Alexander Ivanov and WIM Esther Epstein spent the day at the beach and going for a swim in the ocean.  Many of the players gladly accepted organizer Nigel Freeman's invitation to a home-cooked 4-hour lunch at his house.  His backyard, surrounded by lush greenery, was the sunny focus of the afternoon and some came away with sunburned faces.
Joel Salman, of Long Island, was a welcome returnee after a few absent years, and he had a long, tough game against Westchester's Alexander Reis.  Toronto resident Andrei Moffat's was the longest game, lasting the full 6 hours and keeping the arbiter up until the middle of the night.  Since the Friday game begins at 8 pm that meant after 2 am.  He noted that his young son, Anthony, was the first to finish and he the last.  Nevertheless, everyone was back at the boards by the 9 am start time of round 2.  The players' breakfast buffet of pastry and unlimited coffee and tea outside the playing ballroom is always looked forward to by the participants and their companions.
GMs Christiansen, de Firmian, Ivanov and Charbonneau, IM David Cummings, FMs Adnan Kobas and Joel Salman and CMs Nick Faulks and Aleksandr Ostrovskiy are the titled players at the tournament.  The overall winner's prize includes return airfare and hotel to next year's event.  The top scoring nontitled player receives the same award.  Ties for these are broken by Blitz playoff at the closing party and dinner at the Somerset Country Squire after the last round on Sunday.  Of course, the SuperBowl on the giant screen TV will be somewhat of a distraction.
The Blitz tournament on Thursday night, after the cocktail party reception, was won by Larry Christensian and Alexander Ivanov, each winning $325.  Anne Marie Charbonneau was next followed by Andrei Moffatt and local player Moses Mufandaedza.  Top U2000 was Gordon Ritchie, second Natasha Christiansen, top U1800 was Guilbert Cancino, second Alexander Reis, top U1600 was Daniel Iwaloye, second Steve Siggins.

Look for the full story on Bermuda from defending champion GM Pascal Charbonneau.