Four Way Tie in Eastern Open Print E-mail
By Michael Atkins and Jennifer Shahade   
January 4, 2007
Fabiano Caruana. Photo Carlos Menendez

The Eastern Open brought over 200 players in the nation's capital during the Holiday break. Less than a mile walk from the Pan American Championships, we shared several blitz players for those events and one Open player took five byes, managing to win back twice his entry fee in the Eastern Open and first place in the Pan-Am Closed. One of the two section winners in the U1900, Solomon Verbitsky was 80 years old!

The Open section ended in a 4-way tie at 6-2 among GMs Ehlvest and Kudrin, 14-year-old IM Fabiano Caruana and Atlanta's Kazim Gulamali.

Critical Endgame

Ehlvest defeated Stripunsky in the final round in an exciting endgame.

Stripunsky-Ehlvest Eastern Open 2006
Black to Play and Win

Ehvlest uncorked an unusual distraction tactic with 1...a4! 2. Bxa4 d5! after which White resigned in view of cd5 g3, when the c6 square is no longer available for White to stop the g-pawn with his bishop.

There is no stopping the g-pawn.

American-Italian Talent

Caruana was very impressive, playing all four Grandmasters with three draws and a win. He has been living in Spain and playing for Italy (His mother is a native Italian). He still has dual citizenship, so he is eligible to one day play for the U.S again. There are clear advantages to playing for and living in Italy, besides the art and the food: In Italy, Fabiano is already the fourth ranked player (FIDE 2492), qualifying him to play on the Olympic Team.

Bruce Pandolfini, Fabiano's first coach, said: " I first started teaching Fabiano when he was 5, at which point it was clear that he was incredibly intuitive and a courageous attacker, probably among the four or five most gifted natural players that age I have ever seen."

Here is Fabiano's impressively patient attacking game against Alexander Ivanov.


1-4- GM Jaan Ehlvest, GM Sergei Kudrin, Kazim Gulamali
and IM Fabiano Caruana- 6/8
5-9- GM Alexander Ivanov, GM Alexander Stripunsky, Stanislau Smetankin, Zhi-Ya Hu and Gary C. De Fotis 5.5/8

Complete MSA Crosstables
Go to the Official Eastern Open website for more games and photos.