2008 Chicago Open


The Chicago Open is kicking off on May 23rd during the Memorial Day weekend. The tournament is a 7-round Swiss format with ten sections and a modest $100,000 prize fund. This will mark the first of the major summertime tournaments on the U.S. circuit. However, many of the top U.S. players will be competing in the U.S. Championship and thus the field is significantly weakened. The tournament moves to a new home in Wheeling after being in Oakbrook for a number of years. These venues have traditionally been staged in the outlying areas of Chicago.

(Note: The U.S. Championship ended just before the Chicago Open and many of the players are competing.)

17th annual CHICAGO OPEN

May 23-26, 24-26 or 25-26, 2008

7 rounds, 10 sections, Memorial Day weekend
Fabulous new site, Westin Chicago North Shore Hotel

You play only those in your section.
Anti-sandbagging prize limits! New Under 1000 & Under 700 Sections!

NOTE CHANGE (see below)- special USCF dues rates!

7 round Swiss, 40/2, SD/1 (3-day option, rds 1-2 G/75. 2-day option, rds 1-4 G/45.) Under 1000, Under 700 and Unrated Sections play separate 2-day schedule only, G/45.

At Westin Chicago North Shore Hotel, 601 North Milwaukee Ave, Wheeling IL 60090. From Chicago, take I-294 north to US-45 north; from Milwaukee, I-94 east to Lake Cook Rd to US-45 south. Free parking; restaurants within walking distance.

Free analysis of your games each day by IM John Donaldson! All are invited to submit games or ask questions.

In 10 sections (unrated eligible only for Open, U2300 or Unrated, except Unrated age 13/below may enter Under 1000, Unrated age 10/below may enter Under 700).

Open Section: $10000-5000-2500-1200-800-600-500-500-400-400, clear first bonus $300, top Under 2500/Unr $2000-1000. If tie for first, top 2 on tiebreak play speed game 5/26 10:30 pm (white 7 minutes, black 5 minutes & gets draw odds) for title & bonus prize. FIDE rated, 200 Grand Prix Points (enhanced).

Under 2300 Section: $5000-3000-1500-1000-700-500-400-300-300-300. FIDE rated.

Under 2100 Section: $5000-3000-1500-1000-700-500-400-300-300-300.

Under 1900 Section: $5000-3000-1500-1000-700-500-400-300-300-300.

Under 1700 Section: $5000-3000-1500-1000-700-500-400-300-300-300.

Under 1500 Section: $5000-3000-1500-1000-700-500-400-300-300-300.

Under 1300 Section: $3000-1500-1000-800-600-500-400-300-300-300.

Under 1000 Section: $300-200-100, trophies to top 10.

Under 700 Section: Trophies to top 10.

Unrated Section: $300-200-100, trophies to top 10.

Prize limits: 1) If under 26 total games as of 5/08 list, limit $1500 U1300, $2000 U1500, $2500 U1700. Games rated too late for 5/08 list not counted. 2) Players who were rated more than 30 points over section maximum on any list 5/07-4/08 have a prize limit of $1500. 3) Balance of any limited prize goes to next player(s) in line.

Mailed entry fee: 4-day $199, 3-day $198, 2-day $197 mailed by 3/17, 4-day $219, 3-day $218, 2-day $217 mailed by 5/14, all $250 at site. No checks at site, credit cards OK.

ONLINE entry fee at chesstour.com: $200 by 3/17, $220 by 5/20, $250 after 5/20 until 2 hours before rd 1.

Phoned entry fee (406-896-2038, entries only, no questions): $205 by 3/17, $225 by 5/20. No phone entry after 5/20.

Special entry fee: $70 less to all in Under 1300 Section and to seniors over 65 in Under 1500 & above sections. GMs $150 from prize. WGMs $100; another $100 from prize. Re-entry $100; not available in Open Section.

Under 1000, Under 700, or Unrated Section entry fee: $24 if mailed by 5/14, $25 ONLINE at chesstour.com by 5/20, $30 phoned to 406-896-2038 by 5/20 (entry only, no questions), $40 at site.

SPECIAL! (note change): 1 year USCF dues with Chess Life if paid with entry: if paid ONLINE, unrated $20, rated $30. By mail, phone or at site, unrated $30, rated $40. Cost of reduced dues borne by CCA. USCF membership required. Please tell your chess friends about these bargain dues rates!

Mailed EF $5 less to ICA members. $20 fee for switching section after 5/20.

US player ratings: May rating list used (usually same as May CHESS LIFE label); June list may be used if otherwise unrated. FIDE ratings not used. CCA ratings used if above USCF.

4-day schedule: Late entries end Fri 6 pm, rds. Fri 7 pm, Sat 12 & 7, Sun 12 & 7, Mon 10 & 4:30.

3-day schedule: Late entries end Sat 11 am, rds. Sat 12, 3:30 & 7, Sun 12 & 7, Mon 10 & 4:30.

2-day schedule (U1300 & up): Late entries end Sun 9 am; rds. Sun 10, 12:30, 2:30, 4:30 & 7, Mon 10 & 4:30.

2-day schedule (U1000, U700, Unr): Late entries end Sun 9 am, Rds. Sun 10, 12:30, 2:30, 4:30, Mon 10, 12:30, 2:30.

Half point byes OK all rounds, limit 3; Open must commit before round 2, others before round 4.

All schedules merge & compete for same prizes.

Hotel rates: $90 for 1-4/room, 800-223-3000, 847-777-6500; reserve by 5/9 or rate may increase or hotel sell out.

Car rental: Avis (800-331-1600), use AWD #D657633 or reserve car online at chesstour.com.

Bring set, board, clock if possible- none supplied.


In round 3 or after, players with scores of 80% or more in U1300/up and their opponents may not use unauthorized headphones, earphones, cellphones, or hearing aids, or go to a different floor of the building, without Director permission. They must also submit to a search for electronic devices if requested by Director; refusal to be searched is grounds for expulsion from the tournament, with no refund.

Writing move before playing it is allowed, unless you are using an electronic scoresheet.

Foreign player ratings: Usually 100 points added to FIDE or FQE, 200/more to most foreign, no points added to CFC or Jamaica. Most foreign ratings other than CFC, FQE or Jamaica not accepted for U2000/below. High of multiple ratings usually used. Players who fail to disclose foreign or FIDE ratings may be expelled. More foreign player rating info.

US player ratings: May rating list used (usually same as May CHESS LIFE label); June list may be used if otherwise unrated. FIDE ratings not used. CCA ratings used if above USCF.

Entry: Continental Chess, PO Box 249, Salisbury Mills NY 12577. $10 service charge for refunds. Advance entries posted at chesstour.com. Questions: www.chesstour.com, 845-496-9658. You may request “lowest possible section” if May rating unknown. No smoking. JGP (Junior Grand Prix Points available)


  1. Tate should show up after he is done playing in a Fide Invitational in Chicago. It is hosted by the NACA.

  2. Thanks KB! Tate also sent an e-mail from the Netherlands stating that he is playing in Chicago.

    “6th round loss with white against GM Luther of Germany derailed the train. 6 points took first. (shared).
    Chicago open is next. Tate”

    What section are you playing in… Open or u2300?

  3. Hikaru Nakamura

    is playing. His stepfather Sunil Weeramantry stated that he did not play in the U.S. championship because of other engagements including the graduation of his brother Asuka Nakamura from the prestigious University of Pennsylvania (Wharton School of Business).

    I also saw Yury Shulman (new U.S. Champion), Alexander Shabalov, Josh Friedel (new GM-elect) and of course Emory Tate. The tournament is at the Westin in Wheeling and the facilities are ideal. Lighting is good and there is adequate spacing in between aisles. The games are being carried at http://www.monroi.com. There will also be reports given at http://www.uschess.org.

  4. Round Five

    IM Emory Tate was on the losing side of this exciting game against University of Texas-Dallas, IM Jacek Stopa.

    Hikaru Nakamura edges out Mexican GM Gilberto Hernandez. Look at the instructive ending!

    In the final position, white has to push his pawn but has to give way after 63. h4 h6! 64. h5 Kg3 or 63. h3 h5! 64.h4 Kg3. This certainly will make it into some endgame books. According to the official website, Nakamura won a game against Benjamin in the same matter. Study your endings! 😉

    Alexander Shabalov employs Vadim Zviagintsev’s 1.e5 c5 2.Na3!? to beat GM Jan van Mortel.

    Tied joint 1st on 4/5: GMs Hikaru Nakamura, Tigran Petrosian, Atanas Kolev, Nikola Mitkov, Alexander Yermolinsky and Alonso Zapata.

  5. Varuzhan Akobian

    won the 2008 Chicago Open! There was actually a tiebreak between Akobian and Armenia’s Tigran Petrosian. No… he is not any relation to the former world champion, but he is a chess Grandmaster. Varuzhan won a nice game in the Armeggedon match and pocketed an extra $300.00 Hikaru Nakamura also tied for 1st with 5½ points, but only the highest two tiebreaks would vie for a chance at the tiebreak. The Chess Drum conducted a brief interview with Nakamura in which he revealed he would be moving to Vancouver, Canada!

    Nakamura Interview… listen!

    Story: https://main.uschess.org/content/view/8469/456/

    Varuzhan Akobian vs. Tigran Petrosian (Blitz playoff)

    Varuzhan Akobian and Tigran Petrosian in blitz playoff.

    Varuzhan Akobian and Tigran Petrosian in blitz playoff.

    Photos by Daaim Shabazz.

  6. Yury Shulman vs. Josh Friedel

    Emory Tate vs. Paul Fricano

    Tate played 1.f4 in this game. In my opinion, he will have to refine his opening choices. He has opened with every pawn on the second rank (except the a- and h-pawn) and plays 1.Nf3 on occassion (he crushed Akobian with this). Here he had to struggle against a much weaker player (1900+). He should play openings that will allow his tactical abilities to shine. Neverthless, Tate appears to show that his is a universal player… his endgame strength is already well-known.

  7. Anyone have any games from the Chicago Open they’d like to post?? I have one game I’d like to post… a loss. Actually I may have two losses to post. I had a bad tournament despite starting decently. The commuting back and forth was too much.

    Many of your comment on how “wild” my games are. 🙂 My fifth round loss had educational value… it was mayhem! I’ll post it later.

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