IM Ron Burnett of Tennessee won the Georgia State Championship outpacing both IM Stephen Muhammad and FM Kazim Gulamali. Since Burnett is not a Georgia native both Muhammad and Gulamali were declared are co-champions after tallying 4-2. The went to a blitz playoff to determine the winner. According to Frank Johnson, here is how things went:
"In the blitz play off, Kazim won the first game, Muhammad the second. The first game was a Sicilian by transposition that seemed to make Muhammad uncomfortable and he burned a lot of time. However, Kazim seemed to burn time in later moves to get the time within less than a minute. The second game Muhammad was in a must win situation for the trophy and he chose the Dutch to do it with. Kazim didn't appear to be prepared for such a closed position and quickly lost critical minutes looking for the best moves."
With the tiebreaker still tied, the went to a sudden-death playoff. Johnson recalls,
"Muhammad chose heads in the coin flip and was given the white pieces with 7 minutes and Kazim black with 5 minutes and draw odds. This was a very good game that ended when Muhammad missed a tactical shot and then got his queen taken by one of Kazim's own tactical shots. He kinda laughed when his queen got taken. He seemed to be in good spirits anyway."
Gulamali has recently eclipsed the 2400-rating barrier and continues to improve. The Clayton State student will no doubt play in major tournaments in quest of title norms. In other news, Frank Johnson took the under-2000 section with a convincing 4½-½ after a long hiatus. This was redemption after a showing at Foxwoods, "Studying and preparation has paid off in my last two tourneys, says Johnson. He also placed joint 1st with 3½-½ at the Marietta Chess Place and his next tournament is the Chicago Open later this month.
Note: Thanks to Frank Johnson for sending in details of tournament.