Foxwoods sees seven-way tie as GM Ashley impresses!
Connecticut drew all the big guns to the world's largest gambling depot, the Foxwoods Resort Casino & Hotel. Among the big guns was GM Maurice Ashley, who finished in a five-way tie for 1st in last year's Foxwoods tourney. However, this one was even stronger and GM Ashley was sure to face the strongest competition. Going into the third round, there were a slew of 2-0 scores among the GMs. However, the bloodletting would begin as the top players would jockey for position in quest of the US$10,000 prize. In round 3, GM Ashley would draw with the Russia's GM Ildar Ibragimov, but in round 4, would score a resounding victory by forcing Russian GM Vladimir Kosyrev to shed material after his king was forced to run a sprint across the board. . . Ashley's pieces in pursuit. After GM Kosyrev was forced to trade queens, he resigned.
After neutralizing GM Alex Yermolinsky in round 5, GM Ashley would continue his Russian demolition by defeating GM Alexander Goldin, the tourney's #3 ranked player. In this game, another Ashley mating onslaught was repelled only to result in a lost ending for Goldin. Maurice closed out the tourney drawing with the Polish GM, Aleksander Wojtkiewicz and leaving the fate of the tournament in the hands of the GM Alexander Stripunsky-GM Dmitry Gurevich duel. That game ended in a draw leaving a seven-way tie for first with 5½-1½.
GM Ashley clearly had the strongest opposition, playing five of the tournaments top players to arrive at a share of 1st (and 2690 performance rating). NM Jerald Times also brought "Black Thunder" to Connecticut by winning the under-2400 prize with 4½-2½. In the process, he beat the ever-dangerous FM Emory Tate in round 1, another strong National Master, an IM, and drew a 2600+ GM for a 2526 performance rating! Neither FM Tate, nor NM Norman Rogers were in a position to give headaches to GMs or IMs. However, NM Rogers tied with seven others for 2nd under-2400 (4 points) and FM Tate got a chance to play one of his characteristic "slash and mate" games against NM Alexander Beltre. . . an attacker's dream.
What makes these performances so remarkable was the strength of the tournament by FIDE standards. NM Times FIDE debut should net him at least a 2300 rating (according to International Arbiter Jerome Bibuld) and GM Ashley will pick up a boatload of ELO points for his hard-earned victory. Congratulations Maurice and Jerald on your fine performances!!
Games from Foxwoods. . . hold on tight!!
Posted by The Chess Drum: 16 April 2001