The Las Vegas National Open – Back to the “Strip”
By Fred Gruenberg   
May 3, 2012
PUT THE FUN BACK IN CHESS at the 2012 Las Vegas International Chess Festival - June 14th through June 18th - and the USCF National Open Championship  - June 15th through June 17th.  This year's National Open and International Chess Festival really promise to be more than just a chess spectacular!  With a newly remodeled Riviera - on the strip - an $80,000 GUARANTEED prize fund, mucho side events and an appearance, and simul, by former World Champion Anatoly Karpov, the chess festival will be one of your all-time favorite chess vacations.

Visit the tournament website at for all the details.

Grandmaster Karpov's Simul is Thursday evening at 7pm.  A drawing will be held at 2:30 that afternoon to choose 22 of his opponents from among those who pre-registered.  Sign up early and you have more chances to be seated.  The remaining 2 seats will be auctioned right after the drawing, with proceeds going to the U.S. Chess Trust.  Players who are not drawn have priority seating at the other simuls by National Open Champions GM Varuzhan Akobian or GM Timur Gareev.

In addition to GM Karpov there will be chess camps, lectures, the U. S. Game/10 Championship, FREE raffles, some special surprises and even a poker tournament on Monday morning.  Don't miss Grandmaster Karpov's free lecture on Friday afternoon at 3pm.  There is no charge to attend but it is first-come first-served and I expect it to be SRO.

The International Youth Championship, on Saturday and Sunday, will be hosted this year by Grandmaster Karpov.  Youngsters 14 and under can compete in four separate sections for the chance to win chess computers and other chess prizes as well as team and individual trophies.

Chess Kids have Talent!  For the second year in a row I'm donating the FREDDIE trophy along with $200 to the best-played game by a youngster (age 14 and under) in the National Open.  Grandmasters Melik Khachiyan and Ron Henley will judge the competition, and each player who submits a game for consideration will receive a medal!

When is the last time you received chess lessons from four grandmasters in one day?  Well, it might have been at the Grandmaster Chess Camp last year!  This year's camp, on Thursday, includes a faculty of Grandmasters Ben Finegold, Ron Henley, Melik Khachiyan, and Sergey Kudrin.  Six 50-minute sessions gives you a day of chess ideas you won't soon forget!  Both adults and youngsters, with a wide range of ratings, enjoy the camp each year.

This is one chess experience you just don't want to miss.  Come in Thursday and be a part of a truly fabulous chess experience, play in the two day or three day schedule, but don't miss this chess spectacular.  Mark your calendar:  June 14th through June 18th in the fun capital of the world - LAS VEGAS, NEVADA!!!

Take a walk on the strip or take the monorail that will whisk you all over the strip for some dazzling sites.  Go after the last game each day and see the strip lit up in all its glory!  There are many new shows on the strip too, so it's worth coming in a day or two early or staying a day or two later.

The newly remodeled Riviera Hotel and Casino is the place to be this June. 

After investing more than $20 million in renovations, the Riv is providing our tournament guests with newly remodeled rooms in the non-smoking Monaco tower (closest to the tournament area) as well as other towers.  Free WI-FI is included:  be sure to specify the group code, CHESSIB, when you register (you'll also avoid the "resort fee" add-on).  You can call 800-634-6753 or 702-734-5110 and ask for our special chess rates.

Before or after your game, enjoy the outdoor pool or enjoy one of the marvelous affordable restaurants.  For an affordable scrumptious quick meal just go to the international buffet or food court.  The Riviera is one of Las Vegas' friendliest hotels with so many player benefits such as cash back, free slot play, discounts on shopping and dining and much more.  Bring your family and your dog. Yep, rooms are available where you can bring your dog too at the Riv - as long as your pet weighs less than 50 pounds.  You really never have to leave the hotel, but if you do...


Just for fun come and try your luck at the Riviera casino with hordes of slot machines, blackjack, keno, craps, roulette and all the other games of chance.  Or visit the Riviera race and sports book and bet your favorite horses or your favorite baseball teams.  Whatever your choices, the fun is contagious!

Bring your family and friends for an enjoyable and unforgettable weekend at the 2012 Las Vegas International Chess Festival and The National Open. 

I will be there too:  after twenty-five years as organizer and later co-organizer with Alan Losoff, I'm finally playing in my first National Open.  Come and say "hello".  Alan and Janelle Losoff, Bill Snead, and their staff assure the smoothest, best run chess tournament in the U.S.!