martes, 29 de junio de 2010


June 28, 2010, 8:15 pm

Two Weeks in Philadelphia

For some chess players, July 4th is more than a holiday, it is the time of year for the World Open, which has been held in Philadelphia, or the surrounding area, every year since 1983.
The World Open, which is run by the Continental Chess Association, is usually the largest tournament of the year, mostly because it has the biggest prize fund. This year’s is guaranteed to be $175,000 and could be as much as $250,000, depending on how many people play. That is less than in some previous years (the record was $358,000 in 2006), but the economic downturn has probably had an impact. Every year, more than 1,000 players compete; last year there were 1,350.
The tournament lasts for up to 7 days (there are 3-, 4- and 5-day options, where competitors initially play faster games before merging with the slower schedule).
For years, the World Open stood alone. But a couple of years ago, Bill Goichberg, the founder of the Continental Chess Association, added an international tournament the week before the World Open.
Called the Philadelphia International, the tournament is smaller than the World Open, but for players coming from overseas to play in the bigger tournament, it makes their trip more worthwhile by offering them a second event to play in.
By attracting a group of international players, it also gives American players another opportunity to earn the performance norms needed for international titles (players seeking norms have to play at least three competitors from other countries, as well as have a good result).
In this year’s tournament, Bryan G. Smith, an international master who lives in Philadelphia, was leading after seven rounds with 6 points, a full point ahead of the rest of the field. Seven players were tied for second, including Magesh Panchanathan and Sundarajan Kidambi, two Indian grandmasters, Anthony Bellaiche and Gabriel Battaglini, two French international masters, Samuel Shankland, Salvijus Bercys and Mackenzie Molner, three American international masters (Molner has not officially been awarded the title, but that should just be a formality as he has satisfied the requirements) and Farai Mandizha, a master from Zimbabwe who earned an international master norm last week at the New York International at the Marshall Chess Club in Manhattan.
Bryan got off to a good start by beating Bercys and Thomas Bartell, a strong master, in the first two rounds. The games are on the Web site of the United States Chess Federation.
The international ends Tuesday and then the World Open begins.

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