Ivanov Wins Eastern Open
By Michael Atkins, NTD   
January 2, 2008
Alexander Ivanov, 2007 Eastern Open Champion. Photo David Mehler
More than 200 players came to the Nation's Capital for the 34th annual Eastern Open, played Dec 27-30 at the Washington Westin, formerly the Wyndham. $30 million in improvements were put into the hotel since it changed hands this past year. Everything looks fantastic in the classy hotel, except the lighting in the playing room.

David Mehler of the US Chess Center organized for the 19th year in a row. In connection with the Center's primary mission of teaching kids to play chess, juniors playing up a section receive a discount, and that always produces a higher proportion of younger entries than normally seen in adult tournaments. This year, young people made substantial marks in the tournament, winning many of the prizes and taking first place in two of the five sections.

The Eastern Open lasts eight rounds over four days. At a time control of 40/2, SD/1, it takes stamina and perseverance to win the tournament. 

Grandmaster Alex Ivanov has a special affinity for this event. In 1989 he defeated four GMs and two IMs en route to his 7.5/8 result. He has won the Eastern Open many years and did so again, this time a full point ahead of the field. He was nicked for a draw by GM Sergey Kudrin (this was no GM draw; this was a hard-fought game and lasted well into the 4th round) and a final round draw against IM Bryan Smith to finish 7/8.

Here is Ivanov's 7th round win against Anton Del Mundo, the game that clinched the title for him. Del Mundo had defeated Ivanov in a tactical slugfest the night before in the Grand Prix Blitz Tournament, but with the longer time control, Ivanov had enough time to see through the shots Del Mundo offered.


Trailing close behind were Kudrin, FMs Andrew Boekhoff. Sharing 4th/5th and Top U2400 and Top U2300 pooled prizes were Smith, WFM Alisa Melekhina, Anton Del Mundo, Ilye Figler, Okechukwu Iwu, FM Rodion Rubenchik, FM Ralph Zimmer, Alex Betaneli and junior Scott Low.
Below is Low's game against NM Yu Zhong Lu:


 FM Andrew Boekhoff deserves mention as the clear winner of a very strong Blitz event. His 8.5/10 took first over Grandmasters Ivanov and Kudrin, both of whom who finished with 8 points. More than half of the players in the Blitz were rated over 2000, and over half of those were masters.

A near-calamity struck towards the beginning of round three. Shortly after the round started Friday morning, my six-month-old laptop was stolen from the director's room. Fortunately, I was able to rush home to retrieve an old laptop. After a couple of hours I was able to reconstruct the tournament, which continued without much of a hitch. However, let no one ever say that chess players are selfish, unconcerned people. Even though it was clearly not their fault, players contributed $600, which was matched by a generous donor. Faced with the loss of a nice new laptop, it can now even be upgraded a little, this time with a laptop lojack, so thieves beware! It says a lot about the players and parents in the area that they did this. Thank you!
Section Winners:

U2200 - Erik Santarius took clear first with 6.5
U1900 - Five split at 6/8: Nikita Panasenko, Hubert Neumaier (trivia question: In this past fall's Armed Forces Open, Neumaier was the only Colonel playing for the Navy, and he wasn't a marine??), Anatoly Treger, Youri Loboda and Sherwin Rugless
U1600 - Adonis Turner 6.5/8
Clear first in the Under 1600, Adonis Turner. Photo David Mehler

U1300 - Ramanaj Sreenivasan, the only perfect score with 8. Rating nuts out there will enjoy his improvement. The pre-tournament official rating was 998 and his post-tournament rating was 1400! Impossible you say? Probably, were it not for his unofficial rating over 1100.

Ramanajd Sreenivasan scored 8/8 in the Under 1300. He won't be playing in that section again!Photo David Mehler