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Chess Holiday in Vegas: North American Open Begins Print E-mail
By Kostya Kavutskiy   
December 28, 2011
ballys.jpgThe 2011 North American Open is currently underway at the sparkling Bally's Casino and Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada. After three rounds of exciting chess, the 4-day and 3-day schedules in all sections have merged. Although the total turnout has not yet been counted, tournament organizer Bill Goichberg felt optimistic about this year's numbers. So far the tournament has been proceeding normally-- everyone is quite hopeful to win big in the tournament, as well as in the casino!

The Open section is once again brutally tough, with seven Grandmasters playing: GM Francisco Vallejo Pons, GM Varuzhan Akobian, GM Ivan Sokolov, GM Alexander Shabalov, GM Joshua Friedel, GM Nikola Mitkov, GM Mikheil Kekelidze, as well as many more titled players. Lastly, in tradition with most of the open tournaments held in the United States, starting the rounds on time is proving to be very difficult! However in all fairness so far the organization/direction of the tournament has been very efficient.

Leading the tournament after three rounds with a perfect score are GM Francisco Vallejo Pons and GM Ivan Sokolov. The other five grandmasters trail with 2.5 as well as IM Enrico Sevillano, IM Mackenzie Molner, and FM Robby Adamson. Here are a few games from round three:

GM Vallejo Pons won a pawn early in the opening but only broke through with a mating attack after 60 moves against IM Adam Hunt.


GM Sokolov smoothly gained a large advantage before winning a piece against IM Roman Yankovsky in a positional Blumenfeld Gambit.


GM Akobian also made quick work of a gambit opening, quickly defeating FM Eric Rodriguez in a Benko.


GM Shabalov slowly ground down IM Ricardo De Guzman to get to 2.5/3.


Round four will feature GM Vallejo Pons with the white pieces against GM Sokolov.

Follow all the action live on monroi.com and check northamericanopen.com for standings.
Kostya Kavutskiy recently contributed the popular article "Breaking 2366" to CLO. Stay tuned for his Vegas wrap-up.