Seven-Way Gridlock at "Stormy" U.S. Open

Tournaments in the U.S. have a dubious distinction of being competitive, yet often marred by results of joint 1st by as many as ten players! This year's U.S. Open was no different as seven players tied for first including Alexander Onishuk, Rodrigo Vasquez, Aleks Wojtkiewicz, Ildar Ibragimov, Andran Marikozyan, Renier Gonzalez, and Marcel Martinez each had 7 ˝ points. Martinez, a former U.S. Junior Champion, had since gotten married and is resuming play after several years. Martinez (along with FM Bruci Lopez) qualified to compete in the U.S. Championship and will join other Cuban émigrés in Julio Becerra, Renier Gonzalez and Blas Lugo (who qualified at earlier tournaments). A group of distinguished players came in 12-way tie (!) for joint second led by Hikaru Nakamura and Alexandra Kosteniuk who delighted fans with an impressive simultaneous exhibition.

The tournament was held in Fort Lauderdale's Wyndham Bonaventure's Spa and Resort, a truly scenic and comfortable playing venue. As the tournament wore on, violent storms and hurricanes blazed a trail from the Gulf of Mexico and ripped into Orlando (further north) resulting in damages assessed in the billions. The tournament was spared!
(Note: After visiting the tournament for one day, I headed north on the Florida Turnpike through Orlando and was met with violent torrential rains… sheets of rain blanketed the roads and cars had to crawl. I beat the hurricane by a day or two.) 

Despite the fact that the U.S. Open serves as the annual convention for conducting the affairs of the Federation, not enough is done in the way of providing timely coverage and commentary of the tournament.  It is only possible to find the crosstables which do not tell the entire story. Let us hope that one of the items on the agenda was how to better publicize what is billed as one of America's important tournaments.


Posted by The Chess Drum: 18 August 2004