Merab Gagunhasvili and Elisabeth Paehtz, visiting Coney Island, NY on their way to the World Open. Photo Elizabeth Vicary
The Open section of the World Open (June 28-July 4, King of Prussia, PA) is more top heavy and smaller than usual this year. The Under 2400 section ($20,000 first prize!) drew many of the usual participants rated 2200-2400 away from the Open. Consequently, the five day schedule saw some extremely tough match-ups in round one. (More on the seven-day, which had fewer than 15 entries, soon.) Georgian GM Merab Gagunashvili, visiting the States with his German girlfriend, WGM Elisabeth Paehtz, beat Memphis talent Jake Kleiman.
Merab finished off with the pretty 32.Rh5!
Varuzhan Akobian won against Ray Robson, defending well against Robson's piece sacrifice, 14.Nxc4:
In the biggest upset of the round, Thomas Bartell beat GM Yury Shulman. as Shulman was never able to get enough compensation for his pawn sacrifice 24...d5. 32...f5 got Shulman into a deeper hole as 33.Nc5 threatens both Nxa6 and Ne6. After winning the second pawn, Bartell calmly coverted the endgame.
Between rounds, players visit the King of Prussia mall for shopping, lunch and java.
Left to Right: IM Alan Stein,IM Josh Friedel, FM Elliot Liu, IM Igor Schneider, FM Matthew Hoekstra, IM Elisabeth Paehtz, and GM Merab Gagunashvili.
Future CLO World Open updates will include information on the class sections and lots more photos and games. Check back every day!