Hotly-contested Georgia State Championship brings a few surprises!
The Georgia State Championship is held every year in Atlanta and has had many notable champions in its history including the late IM Boris Kogan. Columbian IM Carlos Perdomo and three-time champion FM Stephen Muhammad were the odds-on favorites to win the tournament. The Open section of the tournament featured 25 players, the Amateur section (under 2000) had 13 players and Reserve section (under 1600) drew 31 players.
This tournament also featured a strong contingent of Black players, most having reached Master or Expert level. FM Muhammad was joined by NM Elvin Wilson (who was visiting from Philadelphia), NM Terrence DePeaza (originally from Trinidad and Tobago), Damon Baldwin, Leonard Dickerson (drove from Tennessee), Sulaiman Smith, Daaim Shabazz (drove from Florida), and Frank Johnson. NM David Allen of Ohio decided not to enter the tournament (due to work obligations), but was on hand to watch the games.
The tournament went almost as expected as the #1 player (IM Perdomo) and #3 player (NM Knut Loeken) were on board one. A draw was agreed giving both 4-1 and a guaranteed share of first. IM Perdomo ended with three wins and also drew with FM Muhammad in an earlier round. On board two, the second-seeded FM Muhammad battled Adam Caveney on board two for a share of first. . . the game culminated in intense time pressure, and in the scramble, Muhammad made an uncharacteristic blunder giving Caveney the upset, a share of the state title, and clear first Expert prize.
Visiting from Philly, NM Elvin Wilson loss two tough games to co-champions (IM Perdomo and Caveney), scored 2-2 and chose not to play the last round. NM Terrance DePeaza, who had taken a hiatus from active tournament play, finished with 2½. Damon Baldwin won 2nd Expert with 3½ beating Leonard Dickerson of Tennessee in the last round. Sulaiman Smith won his last game and scored an undefeated 3. Daaim Shabazz, who in the previous round, defeated NM Matthew Noble from an inferior position, lost to NM Jerry Wheeler in the last round to finish with 3. MyEmailChess.com creator, Frank Johnson scored 1 point, but did not play the last round.
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Posted by The Chess Drum: 23 May 2001