Upsets Abound at the Washington International
By Michael Regan   
July 30, 2012
Jared Defibaugh
Update 8/1/12: Kamsky wins the event--full story coming soon. The 1st Annual Washington International kicked off this Saturday just outside of Washington, DC.   The strong field is led by Gata Kamsky, Alexander Onischuk, and Timur Gareev.  A total of 55 players are particpating in the nine-round tournament that runs through Wednesday, August 1st. The first two rounds had a large number of upsets. The highest rated to lose was GM Sergi Azarov from Belarus. He lost to local untitled player Jared Defibaugh.


Another upset was the defeat of GM Kidambi Sundararajan (IND) by WIM Mihaelea Foisor (ROU) in Round 1. Four memembers of the Foisor family are playing in the tournament: IMs Ovidu-Doru and Cristina-Adela and WGM Sabria-Francesca. After two rounds, the Foisor clan was at plus six having won six out of eight games with two draws!

Aleksandr Ostrovskiy
In Round 2, FM Aleksandr Ostrovskiy (2351) drew GM Gata Kamsky (2744). Alex was under time pressure from move 30 with around one minute on his clock until they reached the time control. He was able to trade into an even endgame and then sack his knight for the second to last pawn, forcing Kamsky to have a rook pawn with the wrong bishop against a king.


In Round 3, most of the GMs won except for the big upset when World U-8 Champion Awonder Liang defeated local GM Larry Kaufman. The clock was a big factor at the end of this game.


Awonder Liang

Entering Round 4, only two players had perfect scores: GM Timur Gareev and IM Justin Sarkar. They played an 88-move game that Justin drew after repeating a position that had also occurred on moves 82 and 86. In the final position Timur had a queen, bishop, and three pawns against a queen and four pawns.


In round 5 Gata Kamsky defeated Timur Gareev in a queen and pawn endgame. Gata was only up a pawn but was able to turn it into a win.


In the other top game of round 5 Alex Onishuck won a very nice game against Justin Sarkar.


At the end of Round 5, two players are tied for 1st at 4.5 - Kamsky and Onischuk. Alex Shabalov is alone at 4.0.

Several players are having outstanding tournaments and are within reach of IM norms. Two players have met their non-US player requirement and are at 3-2, FM Aleksandr Ostrovskiy (2351) has a 2510 performance and Francsico Guadalupe II (2214) has a 2460 performance. Three players need one more non-US player and are playing quite well. Christopher Gu (2225) is at 3.5 with a 2585 performance, Jared Defibaugh (2263) is 3-2 and has a 2480 performace, while FM Michael Bodek (2324)is also 3-2 and has a 2473 performace. Finally, Mihaela Foisor (ROU) is 3-2 and is also well on the way to a IM norm with her 2459 performace.

Nine-year-old Awonder Liang (1922 FIDE) is even at 2.5 and has a performance rating over 2400 with the above win against Kaufman and a draw against GM Joel Benjamin. His FIDE rating is clearly far from his current playing strength.

The tournament runs through Wednesday August 1st. Rounds are at 11am and 6pm local time except round 9 starts at 10am. The top four boards can be followed live at

Running concurrently with the Washington International is the Platonov Memorial Tournament. GMs Lev Alburt, Sam Palatnik, Boris Gulko, Gerory Kaidanov, Adrian Mikhalchishin and Mikhail Gerevich are playing. In the first three rounds there was only one decisive game when Boris Gulko beat Lev Alburt.


The Platonov rounds are at 2pm each day except on August 1st when the game will be at 10am. All the games can be followed live at