The first half of the World Open sees a tight race for the $30,000 prize fund. Hikaru Nakamura, Leonid Yudasin and Varuzhan Akobian top the charts with 4½ followed by a sextet of players on 4-1 (Vadim Milov, Evgeny Najer, Daniel Fridman, Alexander Stripunsky, Julio Becerra, Darmen Sadvakasov).
Nakamura, who won the National Open, appears focused and driven and showed a combination of power and speed in his games. Milov, who won the Chicago Open, drew with Fridman and Becerra to fall off the pace. With 34 Grandmasters competing in the Open section, the competition is tough and will come to a head when the schedule merges on today.
While there have been no breakthrough performances by up-and-coming players, the main story of the first half may be the performance of IM Calvin Blocker (2472). He lost his first four games to players with ratings of 2200, 2258, 2019 and 1872(!). That has to be a statistical anomaly if there ever was one.