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Master Larson Goes 3-for-3 to Win Thanksgiving Open Satellite

National Master Matt Larson (right) scored a perfect three wins across three games to win the Thanksgiving Open's $5 Satellite Tournament. Larson won a free entry into the November $4,000 tournament.

Players gathered at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis on Saturday, September 27 with thoughts of Thanksgiving. Saturday’s $5 Satellite Tournament brought out 30 players to compete across three sections for prizes of pride, ratings points -- and the chance to earn free entry into the Thanksgiving Open and its $4,000 prize fund on November 7.

In the Satellite’s Open division, National Master Matt Larson (2260) scored a perfect three wins in three games to win the one-day Swiss tournament, which featured a time control of 85 minutes with a five-second increment. Larson, a recent participant in the 2014 U.S. Junior Championship, defeated Thalia Cervantes in the third round after defeating Julian Proleiko (1982) and Jason Zhou (1997) in the first two. The three victories gave Larson’s ever-climbing rating another nine-point boost.

Cervantes, an 11-year-old Women’s Candidate Master, came into the Satellite after an extremely active summer, where she won the DKC Summer Scholastic tournament in Texas in July and later earned a seventh-place finish out of 56 in the 2014 SPF Girls Invitational in Webster Groves.  Despite her loss to Larson on Saturday, Cervantes finished in 4th place and still saw her rating increase by 32 points -- now at 1961.

Erik Tkachenko took top prize in the 1400-1799 division by defeating Senad Smajlagic in round three. Bill Thompson earned second place with 2 points (1 win, 2 draws) and Harold Hadman finished in third.

The U1400 division was won by Jared Howard (1253) who defeated Ken West in round three. Howard finished with 3 wins in 3 games. Samuel Chen and Jonathan R. Gollapudi rounded out the top three.

Each section winner received entry to the Thanksgiving Open on November 7 at the CCSCSL. The regional event is a FIDE rated, 5SS G/90 +30 sec increment event. Registration is $60 at the door ($50 with preregistration) with a guaranteed prize fund of $4,000.