|Manuel Leon Hoyos Holds Half-Point Lead in Vancouver|
|By Al Lawrence|
|August 12, 2012|
With one round to go and eight in the books at the 113th U.S. Open Chess Championship in Vancouver, Washington, GM Manuel Leon Hoyos stands by himself at the top of the long, 500-plus-player wall chart with 7.5 points. Seven hopefuls are on Hoyos’ heels with 7.0, including four-time U.S. Champion and former World Youth Champion GM Yasser Seirawan. GM Dmitry Gurevich of Illinois has rejoined the hunt in the 7.0-pack after giving up two draws early in the fight. Seven more are just one more half-step behind the pack at 6.5, including 2012 U.S. Championship competitor Alejandro GM Alejandro Ramirez of Texas and former U.S. Champion Alexander Shabalov of Pennsylvania.
Round seven saw Leon Hoyos, who is champion of Mexico, set back Ramirez.
The U.S. Open was first played in Excelsior, Minnesota, in 1900. Twenty-five years ago the event was held at the Portland, Oregon, Hilton just across the Columbia River from its current location at the Vancouver Hilton. Seirawan, although he was then honorary organizing co-chairman along with Arthur Dake, was unable to participate because he was playing in the Interzonal Tournament in Yugoslavia. GM Lev Alburt won the event.
Saturday afternoon before the main tournament’s eighth round, more than $3,000 in prizes drew 129 players to the U.S. Open Blitz Championship. GM Andre Diamant of Brazil took first with 12 out of 14. GM Anatoly Bykhovsky of Israel won second with 11.5. Diamant and Bykhovsky, former teammates on the Texas Tech University championship team, will in the upcoming school year help represent Webster University near St. Louis.