Thanksgiving Open draws record turnout

The Thanksgiving Open, held Saturday, Nov. 28 at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, was a resounding success. The 59-player field was the largest in club history, and the $2,000 prize fund drew players from all over the state.

Kansas City delivered a large contingent of players to help fill out the field. A few players even traveled from as far as Indiana to take part in the post-holiday event. The field was broken up into Master/Expert, A, B, C, D and U1200.

Master Ron Luther and Expert Jialin Ding split first place in the Master/Expert class. Each player took home $125. Despite Jialin's impressive performance, he actually lost a rating point to fall to 2095. 

Steve Bange (1880) drew Masters Ron Luther (2246) and Bob Holliman (2204). Despite his solid performance during the Thanksgiving Open (two wins and two draws), Bange did not qualify for a prize in Class A. His performance rating during the tournament was 2078.

Nick Karlow won his decisive Round 4 game against Josh Frank to take first place in Class A. Karlow's perfect 4.0/4.0 score earned him $200 and also secured first place overall in the tournament. His performance will push him back up into the Expert class. The second place prize was split between William Tong and Kansas City resident James Pollitt, who each took home $25.

A four-way tie atop Class D resulted in $62.50 for each player. Paul Jordan, Andrew Latham, Troy Krimminger and Vikram Arun all finished with a score of 3.0/4.0.

Alex Esposito (1500) delivered a solid performance as he finished with a score of 3.0/4.0 to take home the $200 prize outright. His biggest victory came against Class A player Randy Giminez (1800) in a clutch Round 4 performance. Alex Vergilesov secured second place in Class C and took home $50.

Five players tied for second place in Class D as each posted a score of 2.0/4.0. Nathaniel Johnson, Andrew Schatz, Vishal Bharadwaj, William Bunyan and Nathan Phan each earned $10. Ansar Lemon made the trip from Kansas City to take clear first in Class D with a score of 2.5/4.0. His performance earned him $200. His sister, nine-year-old Zoe Lemon, took second place in the U1200 division and earned $50.

In his first tournament ever, Leonardo Severino took first place and $200 in the U1200 division. His last-round draw against Mike Kummer secured his spot atop the podium.