North American Amateur Closed
By Sevan Muradian   
November 29, 2010
tourneyhallNAAC.jpgThe 1st North American Amateur Closed was held over Thanksgiving weekend to provide an opportunity for amateur class players to achieve their international (FIDE) ratings. The schedule was grueling, 9 rounds over 3 days with a time control of G/60 + 30/sec increment. When the dust settled 11 players joined the ranks of internationally rated players.

The event was divided into 2, 10-person round robin groups with 4 FIDE rated players and 6 non-FIDE (but USCF) rated players. Matt Pullin, a local expert, ran away with first place in Group A with 7.5/9 points and was chastising himself over giving up the three draws in the event. Here is one of his wins:


Group B was dominated by youngsters who are Illinois Chess Association Warren Junior Scholars. James Wei, Sam Schmakel, and Aakaash Meduri tied for first place with a score of 6/9.

Vito Vitkauskas rests before the game begins

Recently returned to the chess board, south suburban chess player Vito Vitkauskas, was giddy after the tournament was over. He said that since he was a kid, he wanted to get an international rating for no other reason to have a tick mark on his chess accomplishments. His commitment to chess and the North Shore Chess Center is duly noted, taking public transport both ways each day (that's a 2 hour trip each way!)
...and switches to his game face.

The event marked a who's-who of the local chess community and what their non-chess lives are about. We had 2 options traders, a CEO, a doctor, a physicist, 2 engineers, a Chicago Police Officer, a 6-Sigma Black Belt, and many others. We also got to see the devoted chess parents who hung out and caught up on their reading or brought office work to do as well, providing the moral support to their children. Then of course we had the local community chess fans show up to watch the games, hang out and partake in the grub provided by local restaurants!

Of course we saw some interesting chess as well. The beauty of class players is that you'll see every opening in the book. Sure the majority of openings were dominated by the traditional ones but we also saw some Wing Gambits and a number of Budapest Gambits.




This event will be the first of many events of a similar nature designed for the purpose of providing opportunities for amateur players to achieve FIDE ratings. Keep up-to-date on these events at