Sargissian Wins in Chicago; Norms for Ludwig & Troff
By Jamaal Abdul-Alim   
May 29, 2012
GM Gabriel Sargissian
Chicago – Since he was already in the United States to help a fellow grandmaster train for the 2012 US Chess Championship, Armenian GM Gabriel Sargissian figured he might as well play in the Chicago Open (May 24-28).

That decision paid off in a major way over the Memorial Day weekend after Sargissian amassed five wins and four draws for a total of 7 points in the nine-round open section of tournament.

The victories netted Sargissian clear first place and a $10,000 prize. The wins also earned Sargissian the proud distinction of two-time winner of the Chicago Open, one of the most competitive high-stakes tournaments in the nation.

“I expected that I will play good but the clear first you never can expect,” Sargissian, who split first place with GM Jaan Ehlvest in the 2009 Chicago Open, told Chess Life Online.

“You try to play well, your best, because in this type of tournament you never know if you will win or not,” Sargissian said.

Sargissian, a member of Amernia’s Olympic chess team, said he was primarily in the United States to train GM Varuzhan Akobian, who also hails from Armenia, for the US Chess Championship that took place earlier this month in Saint Louis.

GM Akobian also played in the Chicago Open, scoring 6 points and splitting third place with several others.

Among the games that Sargissian said he is most proud of is this Round 8 game against GM Tamaz Gelsashvili, in which he played the Ragozin Variation of Queen’s Gambit Declined.

Sargissian said the middle game got interesting after 22. g4, adding that his bishops posted on the h-file are “important because they control a lot of space.”


Sargissian also counted his Round 6 game against GM Alexander Shabalov as another game that stood out, not because he played well, but because it was “full of mistakes.”


“It was a very nervous game,” Sargissian said. “I had a winning position but then I played bad."

He counted 41. … Bd7 as a mistake, “because after (42.) g5, it’s close to a draw.”

The tournament drew an estimated 770 players from throughout the nation and, as the winner’s circle showed, the world.

Sargissian, who heads back for his home in the capital city of Yerevan, Armenia, later this week, said his next big tournament will be this August as a member of the Armenian Team for the 2012 Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey.

IM Daniel Ludwig finished in joint 2nd-8th with 6½/9, scoring a GM norm, as well as taking the top U2500 prize. Also tied for second were GMs Robert Hess, Tamaz Gelashvili, Alejandro Ramirez, Milos Perunovic, Nikola Mitkov and Mesgen Amanov.

FM Kayden Troff finished with 5/9, scoring an IM norm.

Ludwig, 22, an economics major at Texas Christian University, said earning the GM norm felt all the more meaningful because it took place among the fierce battles that characterize the tournament.

“Everyone is fighting harder,” Ludwig said. “It’s harder to get (a GM norm) at a tournament like this.”
Ludwig had a key win against British GM Michael Adams:

Find full standings and pgn files on and check back for a link to USCF rated results on MSA.