2006 Eastern Open (Washington, DC)

The Eastern Open had a number of twists and turns before Jaan Ehlvest emerged victorious. The first twist in the event was that Ehlvest was toppled in the first round by rising scholastic star Kayin Barclay (pictured right). This was a momentous victory for the 16-year old star, but one that should not be too surprising for those who understand Barclay's work ethic and determination. (see game)

However, the loss was potentially tragic for the Estonian GM. Undeterred, Ehlvest reeled off four straight wins, earned two draws (
Sergey Kudrin and Fabiano Caruana) and finished the tourney with a win over Alexander Stripunsky. This was good  for a joint tie for 1st place with Kudrin, Caruana and Kazim Gulamali. All ended on 6-2.

Kayin Barclay

The second twist was Gulamali's blitzing his way to a 4-0 score in his first four rounds. Many may remember that  he also impressed at the 2006 World Open by winning six games in a row at one stretch including three Grandmasters. After a bye, he lost to Stripunsky, drew with Caruana  and beat  Yu Zhong Lu for his 6-2 tally. His performance is certain get him near the 2400 mark.  Gulamali, has been one of the nation's brightest talents and had a storied scholastic career. He is currently a student at Clayton State College.

The third twist was the reemergence of Caruana. Many remember Caruana as the quiet and diminutive player from Brooklyn who was breaking American records and was developing into a promising player. In order to fully realize his son's talent, his father
Lou Caruana decided to settle in his ancestral home of Italy. This turned out well for Fabiano who has since earned the IM title and has played in a number of strong events throughout Europe. In the Eastern Open, Caruana upended Alexander Ivanov and drew with the other three first-place finishers.  He also held Stripunsky in a 79-move thriller.

In the under-2200 section, David Paulina (pictured right) ran through his opposition with an undefeated 6-1. Winning his first four games, he never relinquished his lead and coasted to victory. Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, the Maryland resident has been a regular in Expert section of major events, but told The Chess Drum that he plans to compete in the open sections in quest of the Grandmaster title.

Eastern Open results

David Paulina. Photo from Challenging Heads Chess, http://www.cheadschess.com/.

(Photo from  Challenging Heads Chess)

Posted by The Chess Drum: 3 January 2007