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Labor Day Madness 2011: Part I Print E-mail
By Klein, Guadalupe, Immitt & Tichenor   
September 6, 2011
Labor Day weekend is host to dozens of Grand Prix chess tournaments and State Championships across the United States resulting in what the late Jerry Hanken coined "Labor Day Madness." Each year, CLO posts Labor Day round-ups to offer insight into some of America's most vibrant chess communities.  Our first labor day round-up features tournaments from North Carolina, New York, Texas and Maryland. We'll be posting more stories from the grand weekend of State Championships so if you're an organizer or player, be sure to send your stories games to [email protected] in for possible publication.

North Carolina

by FM Mike Klein
Esserman and Kacheishvili face off
More than 230 players gathered in Charlotte for the NC Open this Labor Day weekend, making it one of the largest non-scholastic tournaments in the state's history. It was also one of the strongest. No competition in the past two decades of the Old North State could come close to the six GMs, ten IMs, one WIM, and slew of FMs, LMs and NMs that were attracted to this five-round Swiss. Seven of the titled players finished with four points to share first place.

Tournament organizers Gary Newsom and Walter High are in their second year of overhauling the event, and the organizational efforts that produced such a quality turnout will be the subject of a lengthier article in Chess Life.

The sprint for the $2,000 guaranteed first place prize culminated with two grandmaster versus grandmaster matchups in the final round.  GMs Giorgi Kacheishvili and Sergey Kudrin matched up on board one, while Alex Shabalov and Lubomir Ftacnik paired on board two. IM Irina Krush joined the GMs on 3.5/4 and took white versus GM Alonso Zapata (3/4) on board three.

GM Ftacnik and IM Krush

Board two was actually a repeat of an earlier game. Shabalov and Ftacnik arrived in Charlotte a day early to play a consultation game at the Queen City Chess Association (Charlotte became an aptly-named chess city just before the Revolutionary War, thanks to the German Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg, wife of King George III). Shabalov shepherded his group in one room, while the other half of the audience consulted with Ftacnik.

In that game, Shabalov put his first move to a vote, and the group was split evenly between 1. e4 and 1. d4. The tiebreaker came from the grandmaster's pocket. "Here we have a grandmaster coming for his expertise, and here he goes flipping a coin on move one!" Newsom joked. Fittingly for the club, the queen's pawn won, and produced an exciting encounter.

Shabalov,Alexander (2529) - Ftacnik,Lubomir (2570) [D98]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Qb3 dxc4 6.Qxc4 0-0 7.e4 Bg4 8.Bg5 Nfd7 9.0-0-0 Nc6 10.e5 Nb6 11.Qc5
11...Qd7 12.h4 Rfe8 13.Be2 e6 14.h5 Bxh5 15.Rh4 h6 16.Bf6 Bxf3 17.Bxf3 Bf8 18.Qxf8+ Kxf8 19.Rxh6 Ne7 20.Rh8+ Ng8 1-0 Epishin,V (2610)-Ernst,T (2464)/Cutro 2004
12.Be3 fxe5 13.dxe5 Qc8
13...Qe8 14.Bd3 Bxf3 15.gxf3 Nxe5 16.Be4
14.h4 Qe6 15.Ng5 Qxe5 16.f3 Qxc5
16...Bc8 17.Bc4+ e6 18.Bb3 Na5=
17.Bxc5 Bc8
18.Bb5 h6 19.Nge4 Be6 20.Bxc6 bxc6 21.Bxe7 Rf7 22.Bc5 Rd7 23.Rxd7 Nxd7 24.Be3 a5 25.Rd1 Kf7 26.b3 c5 27.Bf4 c4 28.bxc4 Ne5 ½-½ Epishin,V (2599)-Ftacnik,L (2574)/Deizisau 2002 (35)
18...Rf5 19.Nce4?!
19.Bxb6 Rxg5 20.Bxc7 Be6 21.hxg6 hxg6=
19...h6! 20.Bxb6 axb6 21.Bc4+ Kf8 22.Nh7+ Ke8 23.hxg6 Ne5 24.Bb3 Nxg6µ
20.Kxb2 Na4+ 21.Ka1 Nxc5 22.Bc4+ e6
22...Kg7 23.h6+ Kh8 24.Nf7+ Rxf7 25.Bxf7 Nxe4 26.fxe4±
23.hxg6 hxg6 24.Rh6 Nxe4 25.Rxg6+ Kf8 26.fxe4
26...Rf2 27.Rh1 Ne5 28.Rh8+ Ke7 29.Rg7+ Kd6 30.Bxe6 Nd3 31.Rd8+ Ke5 32.Rd5+ Kf6 33.Rf7+ Kg6 34.Rxd3 Rxf7 35.Bxf7+ Kxg5 36.Rd8 Kf6 37.Bh5±
27.Rf1+ Ke7 28.Rg7+ Kd6
28...Ke8 29.Bd5 exd5 30.Rff7+-
29.Nf7+ Ke7 30.e5
30.Nd8+ Kd6 31.Rd1+ Ke5 32.Rg5++-
30...Ke8 31.Be2 Nxe5 32.Nxe5 Rxe5 33.Bd3

In their last-round rematch, students did not factor. Shabalov, known for his willingness to play uncompromising chess in the money round, threw a bunch of center pawns forward quickly, but Ftacnik found a way to get the queens traded. Sensing danger, Shabalov then agreed to a draw.

GMs Shabalov and Ftacnik

Board one went much longer, with Kudrin leaving the notorious b-pawn unprotected. Kacheishvili took the bait and after much struggle consolidated to a pawn-up ending. Still, Kudrin maintained enough activity to liquidate and the game was also agreed drawn.


Krush could then take clear first on board three. She played nearly the full time, trying to prove her exchange sacrifice was sound. A better position eventually soured, and Zapata took the full point to join his fellow GMs with 4/5. IMs Justin Sarkar and Yury Lapshun also won to join them as co-champions. With the large tie, each player took home $715 in prize money.

Krush joined fellow IMs John Bartholomew, Oladapu Adu, Carlos Perdomo and local IM Alexander Matros for a tie for 8th place. Charlottean teenager Josh Mu, fresh off winning the World Open Under-2200 section, became a master at the NC Open and shared first place under-2200 with Dominique Myers.

Sulia Mason won the Under 2000 section, Charles Coleman won the Under 1700, and Kapish Potula won the Under 1400.

Jeffery Xiong
Texas: The Southwest Open--A Tale of Three Players
by Franc Guadalupe

The first half of the 77th Annual Southwest Open clearly belonged to 10-year old Jeffery Xiong.   He entered the event with a lofty 2279 rating and quickly disposed of his lower-rated first round opponent. He then proceeded to take advantage of a miscalculation by his second round opponent, GM Denes Boros, and skillfully converted it into a win.  He followed that victory with draws in the next two rounds against two more opponents rated over 2500...


Going into the last round, the star of the second half of the tournament was UTD freshman Patrycja Labedz from Poland.  She entered the tournament with a USCF provisional rating of 2126 and a FIDE rating of 2091.  After losing her first round game against GM Ioan Chirila, she put up a string of five consecutive wins, including victories against GM Boros and GM Milos Pavlovic in Rounds 5 and 6.  That earned her a spot at the top board against the only other player with five points:


Julio Sadorra was awarded the GM title only three months ago.  He is a very quiet and unassuming sophomore at UTD.  You could not meet a nicer guy...unless you are at the opposite side of the chess board.     After an exciting victory against Chirila in Round 5 and a draw against the top seed, GM Valentin Yotov, in Round 6, Julio was the only other player with five points. He faced WFM Patrycja Labedz in the final round.

WFM Labedz and GM Sadorra

Twenty-nine moves after the game commenced, the title was his.


Through his outstanding performance, Jeffery's rating increased to 2309, now the top in the Nation for a 10-year old.  Patrycja's incredible performance earned her 261 rating points, to 2387, and a check for $700!  Sadorra?  Well, he went home with the Champion's Plaque and the $1,000 first place prize.

The clear winner in the Reserve Division was Anthony Guerra who finished with six points, claiming $800 for first place.  In the Novice Division, there was a two-way tie for first place between Sowmithri Jagadeeshi and Soham Daptardar, and both received $450 for their efforts. 

With 175 players, this year's edition of the event was the biggest in over 20 years.  And, with five GMs, six IMs and one WIM among the 53 players in the Championship Division, it was also the strongest during the same period.    The 77th Southwest Open was organized by Luis Salinas and Barbara Swafford of the Dallas Chess Club, and directed by Franc Guadalupe and Susan Breeding.  For standings and prize winners please visit the Dallas Chess Club website. For rated results, see the USCF MSA.      

New York

by Steve Immitt

Alex Ostrovskiy
The 133rd edition of America's longest-running chess tournament, the New York State Championship, held in Albany over Labor Day Weekend, ended as it frequently has done in years before-- in a tie for first.  What set this year's finish apart, however, was the lack of any out-of-staters in the Winners' Circle.

Three New York State teenagers, seasoned veterans all, divvied up the $3,000 in top prizes three ways:  17-year-old Michael Chiang of Scarsdale, 17-year-old Deepak Aaron of Glenvile (fresh from the just-concluded World Junior Championship in India), and the 2010 defending New York State Champion, 15-year-old Alex Ostrovskiy of Brooklyn each finished with 4½ points after six rounds. 

Deepak Aaron
Michael Chiang, Photo Shaun Smith 2010
Michael Chiang finished with one half tiebreak point more than Alex, wresting the State Championship title away from him in the process and winning the $100 additional First Place Bonus prize to boot.

Tied for 4th-5th with 4 points and winning $300 each were Venezuelan IM Rafael Prasca Sosa and another Brooklyn veteran, Yefim Treger.  Treger's path to glory included probably the most amazing game of the tournament:


Treger was by all accounts completely lost against his last-round opponent, 12-year-old Kapil Chandan for quite some time.  But Treger is one player who literally does not ever resign, and his determination certainly was rewarded this time when he uncorked 43... Nd3 against his unsuspecting opponent, leaving his own Queen unguarded while he went in search of something better.

By snatching victory from the jaws of defeat in the last round, not only did Yefim manage to secure a share of the prize fund, he also affected the tiebreak order of finish of the three winners, leaving his own imprint on the annals of New York State Chess.

Viktor Levine of upstate Fayeteville swept the first five rounds of the Under 2200 Section, then secured a last-round draw with Brooklyn's Sam Barsky to win the $1,000 First Prize.

Robert Campbell of Western Massachusetts and 18-year-old Malik Perry of the Bronx each won their last-round game to finish with 5 points and $750 atop the Under 2000 Section.

David Finnerman of Albany was the sole victor with 5 points and $1,000 in the Under 1800 Section.

David Brodsky of New York City ceded but one draw and five wins to win the $800 First Prize in the Under 1600 Section.

The Under 1300 Section also witnessed three players at the top, this time with five points and $417 in prize money a piece: Brian Bongiovanni of Massachusetts and New Yorkers Hong Jin and Jonah Klemper, whose uncle, GM Joel Benjamin, already has his own name engraved on the Winners' List of the New York State Championship trophy.

See full results and prize payouts on the official site and USCF rated results on MSA.


by Andy Tichenor

A hallmark of the Maryland chess calendar is the Maryland Action and Blitz Championships which provides exciting and fast games throughout the weekend.  In the action event, Jared Defibaugh captured the Maryland Action Title by defeating IM Tegshsuren Enkhbat in the final round.  Tying for second place were Jared's DC Chess League teammates Ian Schoch and Andrew Tichenor.  Notable performances by players in the action event included Jerry Wu, Jeffrey Heavener, William Moore and Joseph Chen among others.  In the Blitz event, GM Larry Kaufman repeated as MD Blitz Champion in convincing fashion while Quentin Moore of Virginia tied for first with Larry by winning several crucial games.  The event was run by Wilbert Brown and Sathish Nath and all enjoyed this annual event in Rockville. 

September - Chess Life Online 2011

Nakamura in Brazil: From Fighting Anand to Miss USA Hilton on Chess CosmopolitanismUS Chess League: Week Four Highlights Nakamura Psyched for Bilbao Masters Gata Kamsky Hits Top Ten on New FIDE List The U.S. Chess School Comes to Saint LouisVera Menchik Becomes First Woman to Join World Chess Hall of Fame G/30 and G/60 Champs Set for Santa ClaraPeter Svidler World Cup Champion US Chess League: Week Three HighlightsK v Q Ends in Triumph for Nakamura, Finegold and Kings Team Kalev Pehme, Former Chess Life Editor, DiesU.S. Class Set for Houston, Sept 30-Oct.2Chevrolet Fireball Run Southern Excursion 2011 is coming to Crossville Kings Steamroll Queens in Saint Louis US Chess League: Week Two Highlights Labor Day Madness 2011: Part II Boy Scouts Merit Badge Unveiled [VIDEO]Kings Crush in Day 1 of K v Q: A Battle of the Sexes World Chess Hall of Fame Opens [VIDEO] A Chess Board in Memory of 9/11 Merit Badge & Hall of Fame Opening Mark Big Week for Chess in St. Louis Karpov, Polgar out of Kings vs. Queens Shankland on the World Cup: Making the Most of Luck Ruth Haring New USCF President Labor Day Madness 2011: Part I Timur Gareev Wins 11th Metropolitan Invitational Kamsky Advances to Top 16 in World Cup US Chess League: Week One Highlights American Chess Weekend: Labor Day Madness Kicks OffJennifer on 960 aka Fischer Random & K v.Q Ivanov Eliminated in World Cup; Kamsky Gears Up for Round ThreeThe September Check is in the Mail Kamsky Advances to Round Three; Ivanov Off to Tiebreak