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2010 Las Vegas Chess Festival

[imagefield_assist|fid=5552|preset=frontpage_200x200|title=|desc=|link=none|origsize=|align=left|width=200|height=200]Wednesday, June 16

The 2010 National Open is one of the big events each year on the chess calendar. I play every year, and this is the second consecutive year the tournament was held at the South Point Hotel. For many years, the tournament was held at the Riviera Hotel. The South Point is much nicer, but, unfortunately, it is not on “The Strip.”

As usual, the tournament had over 15 GMs, and there were over 700 players in the National Open. There was also a scholastic event which drew around 250 kids! The reason this is a “Chess Festival” is due to the myriad of events, not just the National Open. There were GM simuls, a blitz tournament, a quick tournament, free GM lectures, a chess camp, and free game analysis by GM Arthur Bisguier!

I had a so-so event, winning 3 games and drawing 3, to tie for 6th place. I needed to win in my last round against IM Irina Krush, but her solid play in the opening and my dull repertoire made the position too boring for both of our tastes. Irina was able to win the U2500 prize alone, so she must have been happy to draw with black so easily.

The winner of the event was GM Timur Gareev, who needed to win against GM Varuzhan Akobian in the last round, and was able to do so. Akobian was the only perfect score and Gareev had 4.5-0.5 going into the last round. Three GMs tied for 2nd-5th, Ale-Ale-Jandro Ramirez, Artur Kogan, and Aleksandr Lenderman.

Unlike previous years, I made a last minute decision to play in the blitz tournament Sunday night, and was somewhat surprised that it lasted until 3AM! I scored 8-2, to tie for 2nd place, but only won $100!

Las Vegas is fun, and I had a great time, but I think I will spend more time on chess and less on blackjack next trip!