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IM Kannappan wins 2014 Saint Louis Thanksgiving Open

IM Priyadharshan Kannappan (center, facing left) scored 4.5/5 to beat out 17 other titles, including three GMs, and win the Saint Louis Thanksgiving Open.

IM Priyadharshan Kannappan overcame a strong field to win the 6th Annual Saint Louis Thanksgiving Open at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis on November 7-9. This year’s event featured a 47-player Open section with 17 titles, including Grandmasters Walter Browne, Ben Finegold and Fidel Corrales; along with two lower sections for a tournament total 91 players.

Kannappan scored early wins against NM Nolan Hendrickson and WIM Viktorija Ni, though a draw against IM Ashwin Jayaram left him in a four-way tie at the top entering the fifth and final round. There, Jayaram drew his game with Corrales, as did Finegold vs. Browne, with only Kannappan finding victory over WGM Anna Sharevich, leapfrogging the field with 4.5/5 and the clear $1,000 prize. Kannappan currently holds two GM norms and and will compete in the GM-norm tournament at the CCSCSL on Nov. 21.

The highlights started early with a first round upset. Top board and highest-rated player GM Fidel Corrales was defeated with the White pieces by Matt Hosler in an upset of more than 600 points. By the end of day two, however, consecutive victories had Corrales working his way back toward the top of the tournament leaderboard. After three straight wins against David Sayler, Will Nesham and NM Alex Richter, Corrales played the fifth round mathematically able to tie for first overall. His draw against Jayaram, however, clustered him with Sharevich, Richter, NM Matthew Larson, NM Doug Eckert and NM Nicholas Rosenthal in a tie for third with 3.5 points.

Behrooz Vakil scored 4.5/5 in the U1800 section for its $250 top prize, and Jared Howard won the U1400 section, also scoring 4.5/5 after overtaking Adam Eubanks in the final round. A month ago, Howard won the $5 Thanksgiving Satellite tournament which earned him free entry into the Thanksgiving Open -- he was able to parlay his $5 satellite entry into a cool $200 prize at the Thanksgiving Open. Howard credits his success to the Beginner Breakdown classes held Tuesday nights at the CCSCSL, of which he is a regular.