World Open ends with many bangs Print E-mail
By Jennifer Shahade   
July 5, 2006
Fourth of July fireworks were best seen a few blocks from the hotel. Photo JS

This year, the last round of the World Open coincided with the independence day celebration and a dazzling firework show. A few blocks away, nine names were at the top of the World Open crosstable. Only one could take home the title of World Open champion: Gata Kamsky.

World Open Final Standings:

1-9- 7.0- Gata Kamsky, Ildar Ibragimov, Jaan Ehlvest, Vadim Milov, Leonid Yudasin , Alexander Ivanov, Georgi Kacheishvili, Alexander Wojtkiewicz , Joel Benjamin

6.5 Chanda, Moiseenko, Yusupov, Nakamura, Izoria, Shabalov, Shulman, Stocek ,LB.Hansen and Ganguly

Complete Open standings

U2200 standings-U2000 standings-U1800 standings-U1600 standings-U1400 standings-U1200 standings

On Wednesday morning, there were just three players tied for first in the Open. By Wednesday evening, there were five. By Wednesday late night, there were nine. In the final round first board matchup, Gata Kamsky and Leonid Yudasin drew within five minutes. Gata, playing Black,vacated the tournament hall while Yudasin explained to spectators why he wanted a quick draw with White; Leonid had asked a famous rabbi under what conditions was it acceptable for him to play on the Sabbath. The rabbi responded that it was permitted if playing on the Sabbath was essential to having a chance to win the tournament. In this case, that mandated Yudasin to play in the three day schedule, which began on Sunday night and is traditionally the toughest schedule. He played seven GMs in eight rounds and explained that he was so tired he couldn't drum up the energy to go for a win against the legendary Kasmky.

GM Leonid Yudasin tied for first in the World Open. Photo JS

Meanwhile, on board two Kachieshvili and Milov drew after five hours, in an exciting game that finished in perpetual check. On board three, Benjamin played for a win against the Indian player GM Chanda Sandipan. If he had managed, he would have won clear first place. Despite drumming up a scary attack in a Grand Prix attack, he had a terrible light squared bishop (as is typical for that variation), which made the draw inevitable. The draws on board 1-3 allowed four other players catch up to first place.

Final Round
1K Blitz game- which color would you choose?

The biggest Open tournament of the year doesn't tolerate ties, so there was a blitz playoff between the two with the highest tiebreaks, in this case Vadim Milov and Gata Kamsky. Kamsky had the highest tiebreaks of all, so he got to choose between playing

1. Black with draw odds and five minutes
2. White with seven minutes.

At first he tried to get the T.D to choose for him, and then gave in and chose White.Then the T.D informed them that 1000$ was on the line.

Here is the game. Check out the technique! Pretty amazing for a blitz game.

Gata Kamsky, World Open champion, setting up the pieces for his last round game against Yudasin.


With more money at stake in the World Open than ever, it was inevitable that alleged cheating scandals would arise. After all, if you were a cheater, wouldn't you wait till the World Open to pull out all the stops?

In the Open section, a 2200 player had a surprising result, starting with 4/5. In round seven, he defeated Smirin with black in a flawless game. However, this spectacular performance was broken up with some weird patterns. Against Kachieshvili, he played terribly, losing a piece in 15 moves. After his game against Israeli Ilya Smirin, he joked with the world class GM: "Grandmaster, don't you know that doubled pawns are bad?" Check out this game for yourself. Do the pawns on b3 and b2 even count as doubled?


He was searched by Tournament Directors after round 7. They were particularly suspicious of his omnipresent hat, but they did not find anything. He lost his final two games, and finished on 5/9.

Another scandal came about in the U2000 section, in which an alert TD noticed a suspicious looking hearing aid. The player was called out of the tourament hall, and the hearing aid was removed. A web address printed on it pointed TDs to a website for small radio transmission devices. The player was forfeited and his opponent guaranteed a share of the U2000 prize.

These cases are still being examined after the tournament. Such stories keep conversations going. But there's a lot more to it than gossip. As gadgets get smaller and smaller, it is more and more essential to think up adamant ways and harsh penalties to prevent cheating before it happens.

Norm Fest

On a happier note, IM norm winners included: Emory Tate (third norm), Jake Kleiman, Nicholas Yap, Moulthun Ly, Yoshiharu Habu, Salvijus Bercys, Igor Schneider, Bryan Smith and James Critelli. Batchimeg Tuvshintugs earned a WGM norm. Kazim Gulamali from Atlanta, Georgia had a 2600+ performance, but he played in the 3-day schedule. Because rapid games can't count toward norms, this sadly disqualified him from what otherwise would have been his first GM norm.

Photo Gallery

WIM Batchimeg "Chimi" Tuvshintugs defeated three IMs at the World Open, proving her U.S Championship performance was not a fluke. Photo JS

IM Almira Skripchenko visiting from France was the strongest female player on the premises but she was not playing. Photo JS

Independence day fireworks on the Parkway. Photo JS

Grandmaster Artur Yusupov was visiting from Germany. He almost created a ten way tie for first but in the last round, his flag fell in a won position. His opponent's (Stocek) flag fell too, so at least he didn't lose the game.

The tournament was held just blocks away from
Philadelphia's city hall. In this shot, lovely trees
obscure a statue of William Penn. Photo Jacob Okada