Erenburg and Stripunsky Take Atlantic
August 25, 2008
Sergey Erenburg. Photo Betsy Dynako
GMs Sergey Erenburg and Alexander Stripunsky took first place in the Atlantic Open (D.C, August 22-24) with 4.5/5 each. Erenburg defeated Senior Open Champion Larry Kaufman in the penultimate round and drew with Leonid Kritz to clinch a tie. Stripunsky gave up a draw in round three to Japanese-American Shinsaku Uesugi but won his final two games against Raymond Kaufman and Zlotnikov to slide into a tie for first.

TD Michael Atkins told CLO: "This is probably the all-time high turnout for the Atlantic Open, at least for as long as it has been at this hotel since 1995. 405 players (394 plus 11 re-entries) are competing along with GMs Kritz, Shabalov, Kudrin, Erenburg and Stripunsky." We had to use all the boards in one of the skittles rooms and before dropouts started, most of the boards in the second skittles room. The increased turnout may be because unrateds were allowed to play for free in any section with prize limitations, sections were done at the mid-class level (2100, 1900, 1700, 1500, 1300 and 1000), and the final section is mainly for trophies and has lots of kids."

Here are two of co-champ Stripunsky's games, the first against Shinsaku Uesugi. Shinsaku will be representing Japan at the Dresden Olympiad, but is a permanent resident of the US. He is 17 years old and hopes to make FM soon. You can read an article about him in the Potomoc Almanac.



Continental co-champion Alexander Stripunsky faces off against Shinsaku Uesugi. Photo courtesy Masako Uesugi

The highest rated GM at the Atlantic Open was Alexander Shabalov. The New york Knights board one couldn't make it through the Friday afternoon traffic in time for the 7 PM round 1 start time- despite leaving NYC at 1 PM! After attending a Saturday morning wedding in the area, he took two byes for rounds 1-2. He defeated Abby Marshall in round three but dropped out after another half point down (to Zhi-Ya Hu) took him out of prize money contention. Elizabeth Vicary was observing the Marshall-Shabalov post-mortem pictured below and she told CLO that Abby had good winning chances if she sacked with 29.Rxe6! and then took on d5 instead of 29.Qc6. Even more winning, she added, was another exchange sack, 29.Bxd5 Bxd5 Rxf6! For those interested in Sveshnikov theory, you should pay close attention to the following notes from the post game analysis: Instead of 12.Bxd3, the game De Firmian-A.Balasubramanian continued 12. exf5 Bxf5 13.Nc2 0-0 14.Nce3 Be6 15.Bd3 f5 16.0-0 when Ne7? is a mistake because 17.Nxe7+ Qxe7 18.Bxf5! In Marshall-Shabalov, the position after 17...Ne7 is similar to the game from the note except the position of the rook on c8, which prevents the sack on f5. To justify the rook on c8, Black should play energetically on the queenside with a5 and b4.


Alexander Shabalov analyzes with Abby Marshall.
Photo Elizabeth Vicary

 Check out complete results and prize winner info and for results and rating changes in all sections, check out the 2008 Atlantic Open MSA link.