The U.S. Open was severely depleted with only two Grandmasters and a handful of IMs in perhaps the most drastic shortfall in recent memory. Formerly the marquis tournament in America, the tournament small prize fund has encouraged strongest players to look elsewhere for greener pastures and stronger competition. However, the U.S. Open is where the big ideas are hatched for the United States Chess Federation. There are a series of workshops and committee meetings along with the awards banquet.
Despite the weakened field, the tournament featured inspired play from IMs and other Masters. In the end, GM Alexander Shabalov shared the crown with IM Enrico Sevillano (pictured left) and IM Rade Milovanovic all ending on top at 8/9. Actually Sevillano had the best tiebreaks but there is no undisputed champion in the U.S. Open. IM Dr. Douglas Root, a professor at U. North Texas, scored 7.5/9 which is wonderful considering his limited tournament play over the years. Photo by Ola Osanyinjobi.
The other GM Alexander Yermolinksky was upset in the last round by Chaitanya Vaidya to end on 7-2 with (13 others). IM Emory Tate got 19th-34th place with 6.5/9, but could have had a higher score if he had not faltered against a young and determined Michael Yang in the last round. There were many young scholastic Experts and Masters participating due to the Denker and Polgar tournaments.