A Chess Finale to 2013 in Vegas: 8-Way Tie at North American Open
By Jamaal Abdul-Alim   
December 30, 2013
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GM Giorgi Kacheishvili , Photo Chris Bird 09
LAS VEGAS – Seven grandmasters and one international master tied for first place in the 23rd annual North American Open, which drew 670 players here to Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel and Casino.

The winner on tiebreaks was GM Giorgi Kacheishvili, who admitted he missed a “beginner’s problem” that could have enabled him to win clear first place in his final round game against GM Timur Gareev, who also tied for first.

“I just didn’t see it,” Kacheisvili said of move in which Gareev blundered his rook by playing Kh2 and Kacheisvili responded with Kh4 instead of Qh8.

“I was very tired,” he said.

Kachheisvili, who runs the Grandmaster School at the Marshall Chess Club in New York City, also credited Bf6 and Ne7 as critical moves in his game against Gareev.



Besides GMs Kacheishvili and Gareev, other first place winners in the nine-round open section included: GMs Varuzhan Akobian, Sergey Erenburg, Yi Wei, Alex Shimanov, Aleksandr Lenderman, and IM Chen Wang.

Each scored 6.5 out of a possible 9 points and won approximately $2,500, except Kacheisvili, who won a little more than $2800 for winning first place on tiebreaks.

Shimanov traveled from St. Petersburg in Russia to compete in the North American Open and also to visit Miami and New York City.

Shimanov said he actually won more money playing poker every evening of the five-day tournament, which he said he did “just to have some fun and relax” after each round.

“I got lucky and made some money” he said of his poker winnings, which he counted as approximately $6,500.

As for his chess games, Shimanov said one of his most important games was his Round 5 game against IM Roman Yankovsky, in which he sacrificed two pawns in the opening and a rook for a bishop.

“Was it worth it?” Shimanov asked of the early sacrifice. “I think so.

“I didn’t get a forced mate but I got a really dangerous attack on his king,” Shimanov said. “He got a lot of extra material.”


Update 1/5/2014: Norms were earned by the following players: 

GM
Chen Wang, China

IM
Ryan Goldenberg, CT
Razvan Preotu, Canada
Roman Sapozhnikov, Canada
Arthur Shen, NJ
Gregory Young, CA 

Find crosstables with prize breakdowns and a pgn file on http://northamericanopen.com/ and look for an update to this article with a link to USCF MSA.

Jamaal Abdul-Alim is the Chess Journalist of the Year. Look for his next CLO piece in January on the ground-breaking Millionaire Chess Open (set for October 2014 in Vegas.)