Eidemiller First Among Equals In Pittsburgh Open
By Steve Immitt   
May 10, 2014
Former Pennsylvania State Champion Mark Eidemiller finished at the top of this year’s Pittsburgh Open, winning his first two games while drawing his final three encounters over the weekend.  The evenly matched level of competition was evidenced by a logjam of four other players, Jeffrey Quirke, Gaibo Yan, Johnson Moore and 13-year-old Maggie Feng, which also shared the Winners’ Circle with 3½ points.  Each received $380 in prize money, but Mark also took the $100 First Place bonus prize by virtue of one half tiebreak point.

The top of the Under 2100 Section was a bit less crowded, with four players sharing the spotlight at 4 points: Ryan Xu, Justin Paul, Sean Senft and Eric Luce each won $250, as did Maxim Yaskolko, the sole winner of the Under 1900 prize at 3-2.

Michael Spece ended up with the largest payout of the weekend, as no one else was able to match his 4½ points in his quest for the $500 First prize in the Under 1800 Section.  John Caliguire finished a half point back, winning $250 for clear Second.  Emily Hu and Michael Porcelli each won $125 for tying for 3rd with 3½ points.

Joseph Pleso captured the $400 First prize in the Under 1500 Section with 4½ points while Richard Hayes followed up with 4 points to win the $200 Second prize. Three players were tied with 3½-1½: Bill Beilstein won the $120 Third prize; Dean Moore and Vashista Malisetty instead each received $150 in Under 1300 prizes.

It was one, two, three in the Under 1200 Section as well:  George Jones finished with 4½ and the $200 First prize, Sujit Nair won the $100 Second prize with 4 points and Stephen Plato received the $60 Third prize for his 3½ score.

Two sisters won the Mixed Doubles competition, although they had to play on different teams.  11-year-old Akshita Gorti, the third highest-rated girl in the U.S. under age 13, played in the Open Section, but she teamed up with Ryan Xu, who tied for 1st in the Under 2100 Section.  They were leading the team standings after four rounds, and a last-round draw for each player gave them a combined total of 7 points. 

Gorti’s 6-year-old sister Atmika also drew her Round 5 game in the Under 1200 Section to share in the Mixed Doubles prize fest, but her teammate, Michael Spece, kept everyone in suspense until the end of the tournament.  His final win not only clinched the $500 First prize in the Under 1800 Section for himself, it also threw them both into a tie for First Place in the Mixed Doubles competition.  Each team won $300 as a bonus prize for their combined victories.

Akshita played an interesting game in Round One against a seasoned Pennsylvania Master, Thomas Magar.  Though down the Exchange, her marauding Knights were running amok on the Kingside, and White ended up giving back the Exchange to reach a Rook ending down a pawn.



The tournament winner played the tournament’s top-seed in Round 3, and an exciting middle game see-saw fizzled into a drawn Rook and opposite-color Bishop ending on move 48. 



Thanks to Boyd Reed for reviewing and inputting games from the tournament into Chessbase.







 This year’s Pittsburgh Open took place May 2nd-4th, not in the Steel City, but in the town of Greensburg, a smaller city about 35 miles to the southeast.  The turnout was also smaller, with 102 entries plus one re-entry.  Steve Immitt and Boyd Reed directed for Continental Chess.