Newsflash: Results in for Thanksgiving Tourneys
November 30, 2009
At the National Chess Congress, four tied for first with 5/6: IMs Bryan Smith, Irina Krush, GM-elect Alex Lenderman and GM Alex Stripunsky. Darwin Yang and Alexander Katz (only 1968!) shared Under 2400 honors with 4.5/6. GM Jesse Kraai and IM Sam Shankland tied for 1st at the CalState Champs with 4.5/6. Julian Landaw, Andranik Matikozyan and Melikset Khachiyan topped the American Open with 6/8.

This week, look for many exciting stories on the winners and by the winners. Video coverage from the Congress will include interviews with Lenderman (who won a bonus $100 on tiebreak), Bryan Smith and young stars Kassa Korley and Darwin Yang.  IM Irina Krush showed great psychological strength by winning five in a row despite being upset in round 1 by Andrew Shvartsman. Krush will write her own story on the event which culminated in a win over GM Sergey Kudrin. Irina told CLO, "It's the first time I ever tied for first at one of these big U.S. open tournaments!" 

Randy Hough will wrap up the action from the American Open. See his first report here and see final standings here.

Also read about the Thanksgiving Open at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. The one day Open held on November 28, drew a 59-player field, the largest in the club's history. Jialin Ding and Ron Luther topped the Master/Expert section. See USCF rated results and complete crosstables on MSA.

IM Sam Shankland, Photo from Michael Aigner's Twitter gallery 
Michael Aigner blogged and copied on the Chess Life forums his impressions of the Cal State Championship:

IM Sam Shankland and GM Jesse Kraai shared first at 4.5/6 in the CalChess State Championship, held at a new venue in Santa Clara. Shankland had superior tiebreaks and earned the title for the second year in a row. Still a teenager, "Shanky" now has two adult trophies at home; although in a bit of an irony, he never won the state scholastic championships!

The winners faced stiff competition from IM Ricardo DeGuzman, IM Dmitry Zilberstein and two teenagers: FM Steven Zierk and NM Greg Young. DeGuzman, Zierk and Young tied for third at 4.0/6, with Young claiming top U2300 honors as well. One interesting tidbit: Shankland, Kraai, DeGuzman and Zierk completed a quad amongst themselves, drawing every single game. With a performance over 2600 for his last 12 rated games, Zierk will break 2400 USCF.

The Northern California tournament attracted about 150 players, almost all from the San Francisco Bay Area. Organizer Salman Azhar of paid out 100% of the $8,100 prize fund, even though it was based on 166 paid entries. In a sure sign of the future, at least 60% of the players were kids, including a majority of the prize winners. And here's one unusual sight: a WIM and a FM played *up* in the Expert section!?
See final standings and prize pay-outs here.