6th Annual Fairfield County Open

By: NM Daniel Lowinger

Staggeringly strong speed tournament brings a bevy of chess masters, some retired or semi-retired, out of the woodwork!
Connecticut speed tournament is a mix of World Open and USATE!

IM Jay Bonin holds the unofficial world's record for participating in the most chess tournaments of any human being ever (nearly 3,500 since 1991 alone, when the USCF began keeping records of such things, though Jay had been participating in tournaments probably for at least twenty years prior). He has seen it all, so when I heard him holding forth on the strength of this year's Fairfield County Open, rhetorically asking "What is this, the US Championship?", I knew what we were in for. With 6 GMs, not including our current and many times US Woman's Champion IM Irina Krush, as well as 11 masters and 8 experts, the tournament was an unparalleled sensation of Connecticut chess. 

I acquitted myself respectably, finishing with 5/7, losing only to GMs Tamaz Gelashvili and Mikheil Kekelidze. With 5/7, I shared my friend FM Dan Shapiro's expectations for a cut of the staggering newly heightened prize fund of $2000 (what other tournament in the world guarantees $2k in prizes for one afternoon of playing time?). But once again we were to be reminded of the ferocity of the competition as we both found ourselves penniless as prizes were doled out to a massive 5-way tie for first that included U2400 winner FM Leif Pressman along with GMs Tamaz Gelashvili, Mikheil Kekelidze, Alexander Stripunsky, and Giorgi Kacheishvili. 

Perhaps I shouldn't have felt so bad as I found myself sharing prize impoverishment with such notables as former world's top 50 player and clear first place winner of the 2005 HB Global Chess Challenge (the largest open tournament prize in world history), GM Zviad Izoria, as well as new member of the USCF 2700+ club, GM Alex Lenderman. Zviad has been retired from chess the past few years but is making a bit of a comeback, attracted by the glamor of the event. He wasn't the only retired chess master who came flocking out of the woodwork to get a glimpse of this event, including NM Oktay Kurbanov who hadn't played in a chess tournament in 10 years. Even Kurbanov was almost topped, though, as NY master David Quinn tried to squeeze the event into his schedule but failed, settling for a bit of spectating. His last recorded event was a couple quick events at the World Open in 1992!

Octogenarian and elder statesman of Connecticut chess, expert Oswaldo Fernandez turned out for the event alongside junior super-talents Josh Colas and Kapil Chandran, fresh off representing the US in the world youth championships in Slovenia. William Graif, a 2047 rated player in 7th grade took top U2200 honors. U2000, U1800 and U1600 went to Barry Hammons, Rohan Suryawanshi and Lawrence Moy who all tied with 3.5 points. In total, 47 participated in this 7-round G/10 event.

In addition to cash prizes for placement, prizes in the form of CCFC mugs, t-shirts, and other gear were distributed to participants in different categories who registered early, thus reinforcing the first and primary rule of the tournament, announced by CCFC Director Melvin Patrick at the start of round 1: "Rule 1: Have fun!" As players headed to the exits 1/2 hour earlier than anticipated, many deserved thanks for the professionalism and efficiency of the running of the event were offered to Melvin and tournament director Ian Harris. As one participant said, it's not an event you want to miss! We hope to see everyone again next year and if you're reading this now, be sure to mark it on your chess calendar for 2013!


Final Crosstable

Rd 1
Rd 2
Rd 3
Rd 4
Rd 5
Rd 6
Rd 7
Tot Prize
3GM TAMAZ GELASHVILI 2684W31W16W7D2D6W14D1 5.5 $240
4GM MIKHEIL KEKELIDZE 2576H---W47D13W10W7D1W11 5.5 $240
5FM LEIF A PRESSMAN 2320W35W21L2W19W16D11W13 5.5 $240
6GM ZVIAD IZORIA 2610W37W17W20D1D3W13L2 5.0  
7NM DANIEL LOWINGER 2312W40W22L3W20L4W12W15 5.0  
8FM DANIEL SHAPIRO 2304W25L10W24W28L11W19W16 5.0  
9NM KAPIL CHANDRAN 2279W26L1W38W27L13W20W14 5.0  
11IM IRINA KRUSH 2521W32W18D10D23W8D5L4 4.5  
12WILLIAM GRAIF 2047H---L28W29W24W18L7W23 4.5 $200
13NM JOSHUA COLAS 2365W34D24D4W18W9L6L5 4.0  
14NM TIMUR ANNAYEV 2354W38L20W33W17W15L3L9 4.0  
15NM OKTAY KURBANOV 2266W36L2W32W37L14W21L7 4.0  
16NM OLIVER CHERNIN 2243W27L3W34W22L5W30L8 4.0  
17NM JOEL SALMAN 2206W41L6W35L14W31L22W27 4.0  
18SAM ALEX BARSKY 2125W42L11W26L13L12W33W28 4.0  
19ALEX EYDELMAN 2080W43L23W25L5W33L8W32 4.0  
20CHOKETSU UGA 2024W39W14L6L7W37L9W35 4.0  
21SEBASTIAN BENDER 2021W45L5L27W25W34L15W30 4.0  
22HANON W RUSSELL 2008W46L7W39L16W32W17L10 4.0  
23IM JAY RICHARD BONIN 2488W33W19L1D11L10W38L12 3.5  
24ZACHARY CHEN TANENBAUM 2025W44D13L8L12L27W39W34 3.5  
25BARRY HAMMONS 1661L8W30L19L21D39W46W37 3.5 $200
26ROHAN SURYAWANSHI 1606L9W29L18L31W45D37W38 3.5 $200
27LAWRENCE MOY 1498L16W31W21L9W24D28L17 3.5 $200
28ALAN LASSER 2002L10W12W46L8D38D27L18 3.0  
29OSWALDO FERNANDEZ 2000L1L26L12W41W43L35X44 3.0  
30DOUGLAS PACCHIANA 1904L2L25W41W36W35L16L21 3.0  
31LAZAR VILOTIJEVIC 1898L3L27W42W26L17L34W43 3.0  
32HUBERT HERRING 1826L11W42L15W46L22W44L19 3.0  
33MELVIN B PATRICK 1808L23W41L14W43L19L18W45 3.0  
34LEO BYKHOVSKY 1782L13W44L16W39L21W31L24 3.0  
35GUY COLAS 1699L5W45L17W47L30W29L20 3.0  
36DENNIS FAN LI 1517L15L37W44L30L46W47W41 3.0  
37MENNO POOT 1868L6W36W47L15L20D26L25 2.5  
38SAIFULLAH KHAN 1700L14W43L9W45D28L23L26 2.5  
39TYRELL STAPLES-SANTOS 1099L20W40L22L34D25L24W46 2.5  
40ROBERT KOZLOWSKI 1685L7L39L43W42L44L45B--- 2.0  
41ZACHARY REIG FILLER 1482L17L33L30L29W47W42L36 2.0  
42RICH TANENBAUM 1372L18L32L31L40B---L41W47 2.0  
43VINCENT XU 1251L19L38W40L33L29B---L31 2.0  
44HENRY STRATAKIS-ALLEN 1237L24L34L36B---W40L32F29 2.0  
45CARL JAMES SCOVENS 1070L21L35B---L38L26W40L33 2.0  
46ALAN P PINTO JR 1017L22B---L28L32W36L25L39 2.0