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Round by Round Recaps

[imagefield_assist|fid=14267|preset=fullsize|lightbox=true|title=GM Sam Shankland contemplates his next move against his round-one opponent, Luke Hellwig.|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=700|height=467]



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Games from the Open Section (download | replay)



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*The fields for the 2-day and 3-day sections merged for round four.

Round Six Recap:

GM Alexander Shabalov took a draw vs. fellow GM Sam Shankland to take clear 1st and $1,600. Shankland ending up tying 2nd-3rd with GM Ray Robson. Spencer Finegold drew WIM Zeynuk and Nick Karlow defeated Expert James McLaughlin to split the U2400 prize four ways with Mark Ferber and Alexander Velikanov. CCSCSL Scholastic Coordinator Alex Vergilesov took home $175 in a four-way split for the U2000 prize with a nice win to cap a strong tourney.

In the U1800 Section, Matt Larson hung mate in one against Behrooz Vakil, but once again no one else in the section could step up to take advantage of Larson's missteps. Larson's 4.5 took clear first place and $1,000, while Nathan Phan drew to win the U1600 prize of $450.

In the U1400 Section, Chess Club regular Mike Buckley shocked everyone by winning his section with 5.5/6. "I just played boring chess, making sure I didn't drop any pieces, then picked my spots," he said.  He has been playing at the Chess Club every Tuesday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoon for the past year. He has played GM Ben Finegold in ladder games and he said he has been learning from his mistakes in the post-game analysis. Going into the tourney with a rating of just 595, Mike was paired up every round and never backed down. Mike started playing less than two years ago and all his hard work finally paid off as he earned a $1,000 payday.

A total of 82 players participated in the event, and the $10,050 prize fund was paid out in full. Congratulations to all the winners!

Round Five Recap:

In the Open, GM Alexander Shabalov defeated GM Gregory Kaidanov to remain perfect.  GM Timur Gareyev and GM Andre Diamant battled wits for 146 moves before settling on a draw. Gareyev had a rook, bishop, and a "c" pawn vs. Diamant's two rooks. In the U1800 section, Matt Larson took a draw but nobody stepped up to close the gap on him, so he leads the field by a full point going into round five. In the U1400 section, Cinderella Man himself Mike Buckley upset Matt Flint to go into the final round with 4.5 points, tied for 1st with Andrew Margrabe. Because both players had the black pieces in the past two rounds, there will be no titanic match-up for the $1,000 first-place prize.

Round Four Recap:

In the Open section, GMs Shankland and Kaidanov drew on board one while Shabalov scored a victory over the lowest-rated player in the section, Matt Hosler (1701), on board two to advance his score to 4-0.

In the U1800 section, Ben Finegold's superstar student, Matthew Larson, remains a perfect 4-0 with a rook-and-pawn endgame victory over Vishal Baharadawaj. In the U1400 section, Matt Flint drew Mike Reitz in a bishops of opposite color ending. Andrew Margrabe again proved that his $5 Satellite victory was no fluke as he improved to 3.5-.5, setting up a four-way tie for 1st and ensuring an exciting Sunday finish.

3-Day Section/Round Three Recap:

Round three featured some long-awaited GM-vs.-GM match-ups. Some club members expected three quick draws from these grandmasters, however the GMs surprised everyone with three decisive results. GM Ray Robson played the Richter-Rauzer attack against GM Alex Shabalov's Classical Sicilian. They played quite a bit of theory, and then Shabalov began to get the upper hand after outplaying Robson in a complicated endgame. Shabalov finished the game with a nice mating attack against Robson's King. Another GM-vs.-GM match-up was that of GM Diamant vs GM Kaidanov. Diamant declined Kaidanov's offer of taking the game into the Botvinnik Semi-Slav variation--one of the most complicated systems in all of chess. They soon ended up in a novel position where Diamant played a surprising blunder, 14. Nxb5??. Kaidanov made the rest of the game look simple. Sam Shankland, white, vs. Timur Gareyev, Black, came down to the wire with Shankland having to blitz out his last several moves. Shankland was up a pawn, however the doom of time forfeiture was looming. Gareyev made a further inaccuracy in the time scramble and Shankland was able to gain the full point. Margaret Hua, rated 2002 and the strongest female chess player in Saint Louis, was able to hold the tactical monster that is NM Kevin Cao, also of St. Louis, to a draw. The Club's Scholastic Coordinator, Alex Vergilesov, upset NM John Veech with his pet opening weapon, the Albin Counter Gambit. Check back next round for more exciting updates of the 2011 Thanksgiving Open.

2-Day Section/Round Three Recap:

In the Open, IM Angelo Young continued his streak by defeating GM Mesgen Amanov. Asked why he didn't play a stronger move in the endgame, he joked that he was in time pressure despite having seven minutes to Mesgen's four seconds. In the U1800 section, Vishal flagged Vakil to advance to 2.5 points and a spot on board one in Round four vs. Matt Larson. Larson defeated long shot Peter Harris in Round 3. Rybka had Harris +3 until his human mind failed him.

In the U1400 section, world-beater Mike Buckley contiued his dominant ways by defeating a much higher-rated player. Mike had the foresight to take a half-point bye in round four to come back Sunday charged up to make a run at the $1,000 1st-place prize.

2-Day Section/Round Two Recap:

Due to color equalization, GM Amanov got to dodge a titled player, making the game to watch the battle of the IMs. IM Young managed to get a huge seven-minute to 14-second time advantage on IM Rensch. But with the five-second delay, anything can happen. After just a few moves, Rensch had nine seconds remaining while Young was under a minute himself. Eventually, Young consolidated the position into a winning queen-and-pawn endgame.

In the U1800 section, Vishal was nicked for a draw setting up a pivotal game vs. No. 1 seed Behrooz Vakil. Nathan Phan struggled mightily to convert a King and rook vs. lone King ending to get on the scoreboard.

In the U1400 section, Chess Club favorite Mike Buckley is already having the tourney of his life off to an impressive 2-0 start.

2-Day Section/Round One Recap:

The three titled players in the 2-day Open held serve in round 1 and will have to start facing each other in the subsequent rounds. GM Amanov, IM Rensch, and IM Young had no problems in the faster time control. Robert Taras received the full point bye in round 1 and will have his hands full in round 2.

In the U1800 section, Vishal Bharadwaj made his presence known as despite being down an exchange in the endgame got his opponent to resign as Vishal's lone rook gobbled up pawns, creating 4 connected passers for himself.

In the U1400 Section, $5 Satellite winner Andrew Margrabe was thrown for a loop as his opponent started with 1. B4!? Margabe eventually settled for a 3 fold repetition.

3-Day Section/Round Two Recap:

NM Kevin Cao got up an exchange early vs. GM Ray Robson when Ray gave
up a rook for a minor piece and a pawn to kill Kevin's attack. Kevin
battled on and eventually gave the exchange back to go into an equal
endgame. However, Ray's expertise paid off and brought the full point
home. The lowest rated player in the Open section, Matt Hosler (1701) has
1.5 points after a round 1 half-point bye and a victory over Expert Josh
Frank in a suspect rook-and-pawn ending. The second lowest rated Joseph
Stafford (1730) also has 1.5 points after a first round bye and a draw
vs, WIM Irina Zenyuk.

In the U1800 section, GM Finegold's star pupil Matt Larson continues
to shine. Peter Harris won the pivotal match in a strange game vs.
Jonathan Schrantz.

In the U1400 section, it was good to be the
black pieces as it was a clean 6-0 sweep for the players moving second.
Matt Flint proved that he is way better than his rating by defeating the
#1 seed. A big match-up ensues vs. FAQ regular Torin Hylan.

3-Day Section/Round One Recap:

Louis Arch Bishop Nick Karlow (2085) nearly upset the No. 1 seed Timur
Gareyev (2718) in Round 1. Nick Karlow utilized his opening preparation
that IM Goran Vojinovic helped him with before the Arch Bishops match
vs. Chicago Blaze. Nick got the advantage with white out of Catalan
Opening and consolidated the position into a better rook and pawn
ending. Nick had a passed "a" pawn and the rest of the pawns were on the
kingside. Unfortuantly, Nick, in despereate time pressure, failed to
get his rook behind the pawn, instead protecting it from the side.
TImur's rook was more active and cracked white's 2nd rank, forcing
Nick's King to stay on the back row. Eventually, the Grand Master
created a passed "e" pawn with his active king and marched it to
victory. Nick was "definitively better" according to Timur. Iowa "A"
player Thomas Gaul drew WIM Irina Zeynuk in round 1.

In the U1800 section, #1 seed Matt Larson defeated Bill Thompson
forcing him to re-enter the tourney for $60. Bill will have a half-point
going into round 2. Peter Harris plays Jonathan Schrantz in round II
with the winner being the dark horse to win the U1800 section.

In the U1400 section, two players that went 3-0 in the November
Unrated Beginner Tourney showed up to play in the U1400 Section. Dmitry
Marakov played Chess Club regular Dell Betton. Dell facing a checkmate
threat sacrificed the exchange to keep the game going. Dmitry was
winning in the endgame with 2 rooks deep in Dell's camp. Dmitry decided
not to go for the kill and instead perpetually checked Dell for the
draw. Dmitry got the full point in round II. The other 3-0 finisher Gary
Kagan got on the board with round II victory over Iris Zhou.