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Tournament Blog: Thanksgiving Open 2016

By Dennis La Rue


Over 100 chess players gathered this past Thanksgiving weekend at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint louis to compete in the Club’s annual Thanksgiving Open tournament.  The six round(G/90 + 30), FIDE rated tournament was held at the Club from Friday, November 25, to Sunday, November 27.  With a prize fund of $10,000, it is no surprise that the turnout was so large. The field of 102 players was split into two sections, an open section and a U2000 section.


With six Grandmasters registered, it was going to be an uphill battle for anyone hoping to place in the open section. Ten players emerged from the six-round struggle with a check waiting for them.  GM Alex Shimanov(2705) dominated the open section with five wins and a draw, ensuring his claim to first place and a $1,500 payday.  Four wins and two draws secured second place and $1,000 for GM Ashwin Jayaram(2562).  Three players tied for third place, splitting the prize money for third, fourth, and fifth place.  GM Illia Nyzhnyk(2705), FM Justus Williams(2406), and IM Cemil Can Ali Marandi(2515), earned four and a half points and $580 respectively.  NM Christopher Shen(2233), claimed the top U2300 prize with three wins and two draws. FM Doug Eckert(2252) tied with NM Loal Davis(2235) for the U2300 second place prize. WCM Thalia Cervantes(2077) and Harry Le(1825) tied for the U2100 first place prize.


A total of fifty-seven players competed in the U2000 section, but only thirteen battle-worn competitors walked away with a share of the prize money.  Dritan Nerhati(1956) won first place and $1,000 with a score of five and a half.  Five points were all Brian Jerauld(1706) and Brad Schmidt needed to tie for second place in the U2000 section. Robert Taras(1925), Iris Zhou(1835), Behrooz Vakil(1833), Benjamin Shoykhet(1761), and Ryan Deering(1885) earned four and a half points each, tying for third overall in the U2000 section, and winning prizes in their respective rating categories.  Taneli Korhonen(1439) and Rita Joseph(1558) earned four points each and prizes in the U1600 category.  Aaron Lin(1326) and Reginald Jackson Jr.(1148) were the prizewinners in the U1400 category with three points apiece.


Congratulations to the winners, and a big thank you to all the players who came out to compete.  The next batch of tournaments is just around the corner, so be sure to register for your chance to win.  The Winter Wonderland Extravaganza, a three round G/65; d5 with a $20 entry fee($25 after12/16) and a $800 prize fund, will be held on December 17, 2016.  Register, and find information about our upcoming tournaments at