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Tamaz Wins as Luke Wows in Philly Open Print E-mail
By Jamaal Abdul-Alim   
April 25, 2011
Tamaz250wiki.jpgPhiladelphia -- If you ask GM Tamaz Gelashvili how he played April 20 - 24 at the Philadelphia Open, he’ll tell you that his games were “horrible.”

If that self-criticism is to be taken at face value, then it would have been interesting to see the outcome if Gelashvili had executed his moves in manner more to his liking.

Gelashvili -- who journeyed from his home country of Georgia last month in order to start competing in U.S. tournaments -- emerged as the sole top victor in the Philadelphia Open with 7.5 points based on six wins and three draws, including a first round draw with IM Jay Bonin, a quick draw with GM Julio J Becerra, who placed second, and draw in the last round with GM Jiri Stocek, who placed third. Here are two of Gelashvili's supposedly "horrible" wins. 



In a 9-round match that fielded a total of 23 seniors, 10 GMs and one foreign IM, Gelashvili defeated IM Ilye Figler, FM Arthur Shen, GM Niola Mitkov, GM Eugene Perelshteyn, IM John Batholomew and GM Mesgen Amanov.

The performance netted Gelashvili a $7,260 prize and gives contenders a sense of the tenacity and strength of at least one player they might be up against in upcoming open tournaments that Gelashvili says he plans to enter in Chicago and Las Vegas, respectively.

Asked what he did to prepare for the Philadelphia Open, Gelashvili said that he studied openings but then purposefully played “strange lines” to avoid conventional play. He said he also ran some basic onsite reconnaissance on his competitors’ matches.

 “My preparation was just checking the games,” Gelashvili told Chess Life Online after the open. “I always do this preparation. I am just watching the games, what they play, what they like, what they don’t like.”

For Gelashvili -- who is technically unrated in the USCF -- the Philadelphia Open represented his first tournament in the U.S. Online records reveal since last month he’s won all but one of the 12 rated games that he’s played in recent weeks at either the historic Marshall Chess Club in Greenwich Village or the Chess Center of New York. The only person to defeat Gelashvili in a rated game since he’s been in the United States is IM Irina Krush.

Gelashvili -- who has been staying with friend and fellow Georgian Giorgi Kacheisvili --- says he found the Philadelphia match grueling at points because of the number of games within a day and the lack of a substantial break in between them. However, he said he liked the environs of the hotel and hoped for a similar atmosphere at the opens in Chicago and Las Vegas.

 “I can’t wait to see Las Vegas,” Gelashvili said.

The other big story in the Open section was 12-year-old Luke Harmon-Vellotti. Luke earned his first IM norm, defeating GMs Nick DeFirmian and GM Mikheil Kekelidze along the way.




Follow this rising star’s progress on his website, http://sponsorluke.com/


Luke Harmon-Vellotti

The Philadelphia Open drew 435 prize- and victory-seeking competitors from around the country to the Loews Philadelphia Hotel in the city’s downtown.

Among those who left the event just a little bit richer was 9-year-old Ryan Xu, a third grader at Greenbriar West Elementary School in Fairfax, Va., who pocketed a check for $393 after scoring five points in a six-way tie for third place (along with this writer) in the Under 1200 section.


Ryan Xu

Xu, who started playing chess when his father, IT specialist Jay Xu, introduced him to the game three years ago, said he studied 1001 Winning Chess Sacrifices and Combinations in order to improve his game. He said he also enjoys playing on chesstempo.com

Asked what he planned to do with his prize money, Xu said simply: “I don’t know.” His father said the game of chess has benefited his son in a number of ways.

 “It’s good for many aspects, like building of character, dealing with victory and defeat,” the elder Xu said. “He loves math so it’s kind of by nature he seems to be interested in chess.”

Visit philadelphiaopen.net for full standings in all sections, pgn files and more. Also look for news later this week on the other big Easter weekend Open in Reno-- World Under 18 Champ IM Steven Zierk took clear first in that one. 

The US Chess Scoop also visited the Philadelphia Open and interviewed some young stars--watch the video below and look for an extended piece with acclaimed author Dr. Frank Brady next week. 


April - Chess Life Online 2011

Getz and Kekelidze Claim Top Honors in Maryland Open National High School Champs Heats Up in Nashville IM Steven Zierk Wins in Reno Anna Zatonskih Wins Fourth US Women's Championship Title! Jen and Maurice Recap Finals (VIDEO)Kamsky Repeats, Women Head to TiebreakKamsky Edges Shulman; Zatonskih, Abrahamyan DrawFinals Tickets Punched for Shulman, Zatonskih and Abrahamyan Tamaz Wins as Luke Wows in Philly Open Jen and Maurice Recap Semifinals Action (VIDEO)Kamsky Advances, Others Need TiebreakWomen's Games Decisive, Men Decide NothingThe US Chess Scoop on the Philadelphia Open Shankland Pulls Off Upset; Zatonskih's Comeback Continues Semifinals Still Murky, Tiebreaks AwaitJen and Maurice Recap Rounds 6-7 (VIDEO)Easter Weekend Opens Begin in Philly and RenoHess and Krush Ride Winning Streaks to QualificationJen and Maurice Recap Rounds 4-5 (VIDEO)Youth Movement Continues at U.S. ChampionshipsIS 318 and John Hughes Among Winners in Columbus Jen and Maurice Recap Rounds 2-3 (VIDEO) Banner Year for Bradys as Cramer Awards Best Books AnnouncedShankland and Foisor Surprise Leaders in Saint Louis Foisor and Christiansen Remain Perfect in US Champs Junior High Champs Heat Up US Championship: Video 1 Recap Foisor Upsets Krush, Onischuk and Christiansen Win2011 Samford Fellowship Awarded to GM Lenderman US Champs and US Women's Open in Saint Louis!National Junior High Champs Kick Off with Blitz and BugInterview with the Youngest Contender, Daniel Naroditsky Women in Chess from the Screen to Saint LouisTime for Fantasy Chess!GM Josh Friedel Simul in North Shore Chess Center Kudrin, Ivanov, Kekelidze and Hungaski Tie at Hartford OpenBotez on Top at the All-Girls Nationals All Girls Nationals Contested this Weekend Counterplay: An Interview with Robert Desjarlais Former Chess Life Editor & Author, Larry Parr Dies 1946-2011Saint Louis Blues: GM Joel on the STL Invitational GM Maurice Ashley to Appear at National High School and Elementary IM Ippolito to Attempt World Record on April 9th Four-Way Tie at the Southern OpenTexas Tech Prevails in Final Four of ChessFinal Four of College Chess UnderwayThe April Check is in the Mail