The 2001 World Open turns out to be historic!!
The World Open has become the premier tournament in the U.S. with its attractive prize fund, favorable conditions, and a sociable atmosphere. The tournament now draw upwards of 1500 players from around the world. The World Open was truly an exciting event as the tournament ended in a seven-way tie (GMs Alexander Goldin, Joel Benjamin, Leonid Yudasin, Alexander Onischuk, Yuri Shulman, Alexander Ivanov, Ilya Smirin). The declared winner was decided by a blitz playoff with GM Alexander Goldin winning in convincing fashion.
This World Open saw the presence of many strong Black players gracing the top boards in the Open section. This event will be memorable in that NM Norman Rogers, a Philadelphia native, earned his first IM norm by beating three IMs (Nikolay Andrianov, Amon Simutowe, John Donaldson) enroute to a strong 6½-2½ performance. FM Emory Tate also scorched the field with an identical 6½-2½ score which included a demoralizing 24-move crush of GM Sergey Kudrin in round eight! GM Maurice Ashley, who has been somewhat dominant of late, lost a tough last round game to GM Alexander Ivanov. . . he ended with 6 points. A win would've put GM Ashley in a tie for 1st place.
There were many results worth note among the contingent of Black players in the week-long tournament. In the Open section, South African FM Kenny Solomon scored an impressive 6 points. Fresh off his IM performance at St. John's, FM William Morrison had 5½ points with only one loss to GM Pavel Blatny in last round; IM Oladapo Adu, a Nigerian native, had 5; IM Amon Simutowe of Zambia had 4½; Ugandan NM Grace Nsubuga had 4 points as did NM Ernest Colding of New York. Glenn Umstead, who was not in top form scored 1½ points in the four rounds he played.
Other results. . . in the under-2200 section, Okechukwu Iwu scored 7 points and tied for 2nd; Drum editor Daaim Shabazz scored 5½ (one loss) as did Nigerian national, Thomas Oparaugo. Ahmoad Ware of Buffalo, New York and Billy Turner of Columbus, Ohio scored 5 points. Nigerians Paul Obiamiwe and Adekunle Ogunmefun had 4½ and 4 points, respectively. Sulaiman Smith of Atlanta ended with 3½ points. Vance Williams of Buffalo, New York scored 3 points in seven rounds played. In the under-2000 section, Philly native Herb Carswell tied for 3rd with 7 points. Atlanta resident Frank Johnson, Cleveland resident David Allen, Jr. and Anthony Crawley (former U.S. Chess Federation executive) scored 4 points (Frank did not play the last round). The Liguanea Chess Club of Jamaica were represented as club President NM Geoffrey Byfield brought juniors Ras Malaku Lorne (4), Alain Morais (2½) compete in under-2000 section; Christopher Buchanan (4) to compete in under-1800 section; Scott Jones (2½) and Stephen Hall (2½) to compete in the under-1400 section.
The World Open was graced by the presence of NM Frank Street, one of the pioneers in Black chess, being the second (to Walter Harris) to receive his Master's title. Jerry Bibuld and Frank Johnson took historic group photos which included NM Street, GM Ashley, FM Tate, FM Morrison, FM Solomon, NM Charles Covington, NM Rogers, NM Colding, NM Nsubuga, and NM David Allen Sr. (who accompanied his son, David Jr.), Jones Murphy, Sulaiman Smith and Daaim Shabazz. There were also other Masters who came to visit such as NM Elvin Wilson and NM Glenn Bady. Of course there were spirited blitz chess sessions in the skittles room as hustlers were buzzing around like bees taking on all comers in blitz chess, backgammon and blackjack. If you wanted to see some action, then the World Open was definitely the place to be! Look forward to 2002 when there will probably be a few more titled players of African descent to make their marks!
World Open Website
Games from the World Open... Open Section
Posted by The Chess Drum: 10 July 2001