2006 World Open: Gata Kamsky wins!

Gata Kamsky has been on a mission since coming out of his hiatus and has begun to put together some impressive results.  The former world championship contender has had some notable results which includes a solid result on board #1 for the bronze medallist USA team at the 2006 Chess Olympiad.

In perhaps the strongest World Open in history, nine players tied for 1st place at the 34th World Open with 7-2. They were: Kamsky,
Vadim MilovIldar Ibragimov, Jaan EhlvestLeonid Yudasin, Alexander Ivanov, Giorgi Kacheishvili, Aleksander Wojtkiewicz and Joel Benjamin.

Kamsky had a key win over Milov in the 7th round and was camped into joint 1st going into the 8th round. He was held by both another front-runner in Benjamin (8th round) and Yudasin (9th round), but was ahead on tiebreaks.

Gata Kamsky was declared the winner of the 2006 World Open after winning a tiebreak blitz match against Vadim Milov. Nine players in total lead the field with 7-2. Leonid Yudasin (background) shared joint 1st. Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

Gata Kamsky was declared the winner of the 2006 World Open after winning a tiebreak blitz match against Vadim Milov. Nine players in total lead the field with 7-2. Leonid Yudasin (background) shared joint 1st. Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

Kamsky and Milov were set to play a tiebreaker with draw odds for black. Kamsky, playing white, won the encounter against Milov's French Defense and was declared the champion. Each of the 1st prize recipients pocketed $6000.00.  To show how strong the tournament was there were a record 49 GMs including a strong contingent of ten Indian players. Another ten players scored 6˝-2˝ including some of the world's strongest competitors. Laurent Fressinet who helped France to a stellar result at the Olympiad was upended by FMs Gregory Markzon and Emory Tate and held by teen phenom Ray Robson. Fressinet was never able to mount much of a challenge for the lead in his US debut.

Laurent Fressinet of France (right) was toppled by Emory Tate in an exciting 5th round battle. The French star was not able to gain momentum after early struggles. Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

Laurent Fressinet of France (right) was toppled by Emory Tate in an exciting 5th round battle. The French star was not able to gain momentum after early struggles. Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

Faces in the Crowd

Speaking of ever-dangerous
Emory Tate,  he scored his 3rd and final IM norm after beating Columbia's Alonso Zapata in the last round. Tate has long been thought to be IM strength and has beaten an impressive list of Grandmasters over the years. These wins include crushing mating attacks and blazing sacrifices. Tate seemed a bit at ease at the end of the tournament and gave an interesting introspective interview about his accomplishment and his future.  (interview - 8:17 minutes)

There were some interesting stories in the tournament including the appearance of
Yoshiru Habu, the famous shogi player. The world strongest shogi player took up chess six years ago and was playing in his second World Open tournament. He scored a respectable 6-3 defeating Gildardo Garcia in the final round to tie for 1st in the 2300-2499 category. Habu told The Chess Drum in an interview that he once felt that chess could help his shogi, but realizes that the two games are quite different.  (interview - 7:37 minutes) The first "7 Crowns" title holder and has written a book called Habu's Words which is a compilation of annotated games of players outside of Japan.

Kazim Gulamali, 18,  is perhaps best known as the world's strongest bughouse player.  Gulamali had a sterling scholastic career with many national titles and will now start his studies at Georgia State University.  In this tournament he lost his first two games in a "Swiss Gambit" and proceeded to win six games in a row including wins over Grandmasters  Gildardo Garcia, Gennadi Zaitshik and Eugene Perelshteyn and a win over scholastic star Alexander Lenderman.  He lost to Alexander Moissenko in the last round to miss becoming a part of chess trivia. Nevertheless, he tied for 1st under 2300 and had the tournament of his life. He would have earned an IM norm, but played five rounds in the G/45 schedule.

A formidable Indian contingent came for the second year in a row, but did not enjoy as much success as last year. Sandipan Chanda and Surya Ganguly led the charge with a solid 6˝-2˝ points followed by Abhijit Kunte and last year's co-champion Magesh Panchanathan with 5˝-3˝.

In an interview with The Chess Drum, Panchanathan discussed his misfortunes in the last three rounds where he was only able to garner one point and the tournament ended in disappointing fashion. Panchanathan shares the hometown of Madras with
Viswanathan Anand and became the 12th Indian Grandmaster after winning the World Open last year. He hopes to complete his studies in computer science at the University of Texas-Dallas.  (interview - 11:07 minutes)

India traveled Women Grandmasters quintet of
Subbarawan Vijayalakshmi (5-4), Subbaraman Meenakshi (5-4), Nisha Mohota (5-4), Dronavali Harika (4˝-3˝) and Swati Ghate (5-4). The Indian contingent has found North America a hospitable place to display their talents and a couple of players were

Yoshiru Habu is the world’s strongest shogi player and is a national celebrity in his native Japan. He played in his second World Open and scored a prize-winning 6-3. Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

Yoshiru Habu is the world's strongest shogi player and is a national celebrity in his native Japan. He played in his second World Open and scored a prize-winning 6-3. Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

On to Valley Forge!

The World Open will change venues next year and will relocate to Valley Forge, a previous site for the tournament. This year the playing venue was plagued by poor lighting and inadequate space for analysis. The under-1200 section had perhaps the best view of Philadelphia from the top floor, but of course this arrangement is not conducive for competitions of this magnitude. While the Adams Mark is no longer the traditional site for the tournament and the downtown venue is changing after only two years, it is with great hope that the World Open magic will continue!

Standings

Drum Coverage (stories, interviews, photos)

Posted by The Chess Drum: 6 July 2006