Van Wely Wins in Chicago as Norm Season Begins
June 1, 2010
GM Loek Van Wely, Photo Betsy Dynako
At the Chicago Open (May 27-31), Loek Van Wely of the Netherlands won clear first with the excellent score of 7.5/9. Going into Monday morning, Loek was half a point behind GM Giorgi Kacheishvili, but won in fine style with black to take the lead going into the last round, along with Akobian and Shankland.

To stake sole claim to the top prize of $10,000, Loek had to play dream crusher in the final round against IM Sam Shankland, who needed a draw for his final GM norm.

Van Wely was also helped by GM Michael Adams, who dispatched GM Varuzhan Akobian in the final round. Adams was half a point behind the leaders, so this was only enough to put the famous British GM in a tie for 2nd-5th with GMs Evgeny Najer, Victor Mikhalevski and Jiri Stocek.

Despite the disappointment to Shankland fans, the season of hunting and fishing kicked off in style, with Tatev Abrahamyan, Jake Kleiman and Timur Aliyev all earning IM norms. Viktorija Ni scored a WIM norm. For the record, Tatev also earned a WGM norm, though she has made clear in the past that her interest lies in gaining IM norms.
WIMs Iryna Zenyuk and Tatev Abrahamyan, Photo Betsy Dynako

This was Kleiman's final IM norm. With 6.5/9, Kleiman took home the $3000 Under 2450 (FIDE) prize uncontested.
IM-elect Jake Kleiman with the Zepeda sisters, both of whom are WIMs, Photo Betsy Dynako

Tatev's round five win over Alexander Shabalov kick-started her excellent result, which puts her USCF rating just over 2400 for the first time ever.

Abrahamyan also tied for first with Raymond Kaufman for the Under 2300 prize, netting them each $2250.

See complete standings in all seven sections, games and more on the official website. Stay tuned to CLO for more from the Chicago Open, including a story by popular chess dad blogger, Mark Schein.

Chicago Open Photo Gallery

WIM Evelyn Moncayo, Moira Kamgar and GM Aleksandr Lenderman, Photo Betsy Dynako

GM Dmitry Gurevich, facing off against the eventual tournament winner, GM Loek Van Wely, Photo Betsy Dynako

CCA president Bill Goichberg presents GM Ben Finegold with his certificate, Photo Betsy Dynako

Sometimes standing gives you a better view of the board, Photo Betsy Dynako

In deep thought, Photo Betsy Dynako

The tiedye variation? Photo Betsy Dynako

IM Sam Shankland and GM Varuzhan Akobian both came close to the winning the event, Photo Betsy Dynako

Tatev Abrahamyan, here pictured at the closing ceremony of the 2010 US Chess Championships, Photo Betsy Dynako

Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis executive director, Tony Rich, Photo Betsy Dynako

Leo Donofrio, Photo Betsy Dynako

GM Megsen Amanov, Betsy Dynako