Shabalov Wins Cleveland Open
October 26, 2009
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Alex Shabalov, Photo Betsy Dynako
At the 2nd Cleveland Open (October 23-25), top seeds GM Alexander Shabalov and new GM Ben Finegold started with 3-0. In round three, both GMs scored miniatures over NM Evan Rosenberg and WIM Iryna Zenyuk. Shabalov beat Finegold by two moves!

The two heavy-hitters played in round four to a draw.  

Also in round four, GM Anthony Lein won over IM Mladen Vucic to reach a perfect 4-0. In the final round, Lein, the sole tournament leader faced Alexander Shabalov, who knows how to play for a win with Black.  In this game, Shabalov played an unusual Benoni with 1...c5 and 2...f5 to gain an imbalanced position.  

Shabalov told CLO that he was surprised by Lein's resignation since after 26. Qxd5 in the final position, White is only slightly worse. However, Lein had only two minutes left at that point, and overestimated 26...Qh4 with scary ideas of Rd8 and g3. "He did not see the good defensive move 27.Qe4," Shabalov said.

Next door on board two, Finegold could not break through NM Scott Ramer's defenses.

The split point put Ramer and Finegold into a five-way tie for second (with Trevor Magness, Kris Meekins and Lein) and $500 a piece.  Shabalov picked up clear first and the $1,200 prize.

Check out the MSA rated results and crosstables here and see the prize payouts on the CCA websiteDavid Friedman, who has written articles for CLO including a piece on chess and basketball, won clear first in the Under 2000, for a prize of $1000.

Games provided by Steve Immitt and Joseph Yun of CCA. Keep checking CLO for a final report by Randy Hough on the other major Grand Prix of the weekend, the Western States Open in Reno. See Hough's first Reno update here.