Ramirez Still Perfect at the US Open as Six-Day Heats Up
By Randy Hough   
August 5, 2010
The winnowing-out process continues at the Hyatt Regency in Irvine, California, with two of the three schedules of the 111th Annual U.S. Open/Jerry Hanken Memorial now in full throttle.

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GM Alejandro Ramirez, the leader at the traditional schedule of the US Open, Photo courtesy Monroi.com

GM Alejandro Ramirez is now alone atop the Traditional (nine-day) group after five rounds, having dispatched local FM Michael Casella.



Ramirez’s perfect score leaves him a half-point ahead of GM Melik Khachiyan (who beat veteran IM Walter Shipman), GM Larry Kaufman (a victor over NM Al-Addin Moussa), FM Matthew Beelby (who took the measure of young Alex Balkum, who drew with Khachiyan in the fourth round), and IM Michael Mulyar and FM Jim Dean (who split the point in an interesting three minor pieces vs. queen position).




And a big surprise in that 4 ½ group is 1874-rated Californian John Harwell, who won a tricky bishop and pawn vs. bishop ending against Master Robin Cunningham.

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GM Mark Paragua, Photo courtesy Monroi.com

The six-day schedule has now completed three rounds. The perfect 3-0 scores include GM Mark Paragua and IMs Julio Sadorra, Salvijus Bercys, Max Cornejo and Mark Ginsburg, whose third round opponents were all in the low Master/high Expert range.











FM John Bryant, the third seed, downed local Master Christian Tanaka.
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Christian Tanaka and John Bryant, Photo courtesy Monroi.com

One favorite, IM Enrico Sevillano, was happy to accept a draw with Hawaii Master Cornelius Rubsamen in a bad position, and FM Daniel Naroditsky couldn’t make sufficient headway against Arizona Master Joseph Kruml.

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FM Daniel Naroditsky, Photo courtesy Monroi.com

Two strong Masters in that schedule have suffered major upsets. Mihail Bantic (2344) of Texas lost to 1874-rated Kesav Viswanadha of California in the first round, and in the second round WFM Tatev Abrahamyan was the victim of Joshua Mu (2075) from North Carolina.






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WFM Tatev Abrahamyan, Photo courtesy Monroi.com

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Tournament of College Champions winner GM Timur Gareyev, Photo courtesy Monroi.com
The sharply accelerated four-day schedule begins at 2 pm PDT Thursday, with the anticipated participation of GMs Alex Shabalov and the recent Tournament of College champions winner, Timur Gareyev (who is sporting hair in an unusual shade of red, reportedly the result of a lost bet).  The tournament overall still seems on track to draw at least 460 players. And speaking of numbers in the 400s, several players learned the hard way of the need to allow extra time when driving on the notorious 405 Freeway, which runs from the San Fernando Valley through Irvine all the way to San Diego.

Some efforts to enhance participation were successful; staff succeeded in finding a player who was looking for a roommate, enabling the participation of one local master who (lacking a car) wouldn’t otherwise have been able to play. One young player and his parents are graciously hosting two strong masters; alas, the player was paired with one of the masters and lost. Sometimes virtue just has to be its own reward!

You can watch the top boards of the US Open live on Monroi.com.

Follow the US Open standings and pairings here.