Home Page arrow Chess Life Online arrow 2011 arrow Kaidanov Ends 2011 with a Win at Eastern Open
Kaidanov Ends 2011 with a Win at Eastern Open Print E-mail
By Jamaal Abdul-Alim   
December 31, 2011
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GM Kaidanov, Photo CCSCSL
Washington, D.C. -- When GM Gregory Kaidanov found himself playing against GM Alexander Ivanov at the 39th Eastern Open here during the final days of 2011, Kaianov seized the opportunity to make a novel move against the Nimzo-Indian that he had been analyzing through prior study.

 “I played a rare move, which was played only in two games, so I assume this move was not played more often because it was considered to be bad,” Kaidanov said of 14.Nxf5, which he used a computer program to analyze.

 “But after digging into that,” Kaidanov said, “I realized that it’s actually very good.”

The game, which is featured below, lasted 32 moves, “and 22 of them were my preparation,” Kaidanov said.

The preparation evidently paid off.

Kaidanov, the highest-rated GM at the tournament at 2630, used the same Knight he used to make the rare move to defeat Ivanov, the third-highest rated GM at the tournament at 2563, later in the game to fork Ivanov’s King and Rook.


The Round 5 game ultimately enabled Kaidanov to finish undefeated in the Open Section with 6 out of 7 points based on five wins and two draws, making him the sole winner of the $2,000 cash prize.

Kaidanov said the prize had little to do with his performance.

 “I don’t pay too much attention to prizes,” said Kaidanov, a Lexington, Kentucky-based chess instructor. “I make a good living teaching chess, so playing in tournaments now is pretty much having fun.”

Kaidanov was one of 170 entrants at this year’s Eastern Open, an increase of 29 from last year.

 “Good total for an event spanning four work days, although the event traditionally draws just over 200,” said assistant tournament director Brennan T. Price.

The tournament only featured four sections: the Open, Under 2200, Under 1900 and Under 1600, although prizes were awarded in subcategories within each section.

This CLO writer, for instance, won a little over $100 for being the best Under 1300 player in the Under 1600 Section with 4.5 points.

Beyond the rating-based subcategory prizes within the various sections, the tournament stood out for the sheer variety and frequency of additional special prizes that it offered players.

For instance, in the coming days, organizers will determine the winners of first- through third-place prizes for the best played game, brilliancy and opening innovation. Be sure to check out the March issue of Chess Life magazine for coverage of those results.

The tournament also featured upset prizes for the four largest upsets in each round, giving players something to look forward to each round irrespective of their overall performance.

Price said it’s been the philosophy of tournament organizer Tom Beckman, a DC-based chess instructor, to encourage players to “play up and play well” ever since he started running the Eastern.

 “The upset prizes are an effort to reward that, and they do leave an impression,” Price said.

The upset prizes featured cash and book prizes.

Among those who won cash for an upset was 7-year-old Aasa Dommalapati (828),  after she defeated a player rated more than 400 points higher after he missed a Aasa’s Queen being backed up by a bishop on a long diagonal to achieve a checkmate.

Aasa said she was “surprised” to achieve the upset, which netted her $50. So was her father, Anand Dommalapati, who runs a chess program at his daughter’s school in Fairfax, Virginia.

“I was surprised she won,” Dommalapati said. “It was equal until the end of the game.”

In the Under 1600 Section, Leo Keats, 38, a D.C.-based policy analyst, finished in clear first with 6.5 points -- a redemptive finish following his two-win performance at the 43rd Atlantic Open held in DC back in August, which sent him plunging into chess study.

 “You don’t learn unless you lose,” Keats said. “And when you win, you’re demonstrating that you’ve learned something.”

Among other things, Keats attributed his success to the study of “How to Reassess Your Chess 4th Edition: Chess Mastery Through Chess Imbalances,” by Jeremy Silman.

While Keats apologized for sounding like an advertisement for the book, this writer has found that the book is often mentioned by players who are victorious in tournament play.

In that regard, Keats’ endorsement of the book is not unusual.

 “Every student has a preference for a different book,” Keats said. “For me, what works is Silman’s. The imbalances. What you do is try to create weakness in the opponent’s position, and then you hammer on that weakness the entire time until the guy’s totally focused on protecting that one weakness. Then you look at creating another weakness, and he can’t hold his position together because he can only make one move at a time.”

Still, Keats said the Eastern Open was no cake walk.

 “Every player made me earn this,” Keats said of his prize. “Some of the people I went up against, it would have been anybody’s game. It’s a real fight and a good challenge.”

Find full results and rating changes on MSA. You can buy a limited edition signed copy of Silman's Reassess Your Chess with a T-shirt at USCF Sales or just the book.