The Scoop on the World Open
By Jennifer Shahade with Dim Mak Films   
July 6, 2010
The Top Guns
At the World Open, Czech GM Viktor Laznicka took home the first place prize of $17,413.

Luke McShane, Ilya Smirin and Pentala Harikrishna tied for 2nd-4th with 7/9, for a payday of $5028.67 each. Tied for 5th-8th were GMs Loek Van Wely, Jan Gustafsson, Vladimir Potkin and Aleksandr Lenderman. See final standings on
Lenderman talked about his result, his favorite win over GM Mark Paragua and his plans for the US Open.

Norms Past and Present

Conrad Holt earned the only norm of the World Open, his second IM norm.

Conrad also had a great win against GM Evgeny Najer.

Too bad Najer didn't play 41...Ka3, allowing Conrad to execute the final blow over the board.


Show Solution

Despite this flashy finish, Holt's favorite game was a slow grind against GM Kazhgalayev. 

Although brutal, we also include Holt's loss against the top seed of the tournament, Paco Vallejo (2703 FIDE). Testing his lines against such opposition must be good for Holt's development.

IM-elect+two GM norms Mackenzie Molner talked to CLO about his nonstop summer of chess and how he made a recent jump in his playing strength.

Victor Nicked Only by Women in the Under 2400

In the highly competitive Under 2400 section, another "Victor" took first place, Victor Shen of New Jersey. The US Chess Scoop caught up with Shen just before the final round, when he had clinched at least a tie for first place.

In the final round, Shen was paired with WIM Alisa Melekhina. Needing only a draw for clear first, Shen offered one a few moves into the game. Melekhina, playing with Black, agreed, though only a win would give her a chance at the big first place money, or a guarantee of second place money. After the game, Shen told CLO he estimated there was a 50% chance his draw offer would be accepted. He took home over $11,000.

IM-elect Farai Mandizha
won his final round game to earn clear second for over $6,000. Melekhina tied for 3rd-6th with IM Chandrashhekhar Gokhale, Oladapo Adu, and WIM Iryna Zenyuk, good for a little over $1700 each. See complete Under 2400 crosstable. WIM Iryna Zenyuk talked to the Scoop about her tournament and her preparation for the US Women's Championship coming up in Saint Louis.

On the topic of women in chess, check out additional footage from our Amanda Mateer interview, where she talks about what it's like to be one of the only girls in chess and her work with 9queens.

A Chess Life Magazine Preview

Author and college student Jonathan Hilton also played in the Under 2400, and despite a year away from the board, came into the final day with great chances for a major cash. He talked to CLO about his play, his upcoming Chess Life Magazine article and the series of books he is co-authoring with IM Dean Ippolito, Wojo's Weapons.

The Next Generation

Youngsters stormed the World Open in search of upsets and prize money. One of the strongest was NM Kayden Troff of Utah. Troff, the top 11-year-old in the country, will represent the US in the World Youth this fall. Kayden was recently featured on the Little Chocolatiers, but took a step down from the major networks to join the US Chess Scoop.

Philadelphia high schooler Dwayne Darby won the Under 900 section, good for $862. In an excited mood, Dwayne, talked about his win.

The polite and talented Nieto brothers of Colombia provided a pleasant contrast to the screaming children aiming soccer balls at our equipment. Guillermo and Manuel both played up a few sections in the Under 2400, scoring 3 and 2.5 points respectively. Manuel gives some advice to aspiring chess whizzes:

You can watch our first batch of videos from Valley Forge here. For results in all sections and a pgn file from the Open, see the official website. Also look for Jonathan Hilton's upcoming Chess Life Magazine article on the event.