The “Exterminator” annotates!

FM William Morrison (right) facing NM William Wright.
Photo by Daaim Shabazz/The Chess Drum

The World Open is perhaps the largest stage of American chess. The tournament has been in Philadelphia for the past 39 years but after its 40th anniversary in 2012, it will find a new home in Virginia for the 2013 edition. William “The Exterminator” Morrison is not as active as he was was, but still participates in the World Open to capture some old magic. With two IM norms, he frequently competes in the Open section, but this in 2011 World Open, he was slated in the under-2400 section and finished with 6/9. He sent the following game in from the World Open (official site).

Robert Plunkett vs. FM William Morrison


  1. A well played high quality game by both sides! Lots of dynamic things happening. I wonder what things Black weighed in the decision between giving up the exchange for two pieces or going into the endgame. How much did intuition and/or experience factor into that decision. By the way that little mini-combination starting with 22…Bxf3! was cute! (Little things like this make a master.)

    I had the pleasure of knowing Robert as a one-time Houston resident. (He now lives in Minnesota.) I bumped into him at this year’s World Open in which he just demolished a 2250 player -and made it look easy. We sat down and analyzed it afterward. Quoting Robert’s Facebook page:

    My result at the world open was even. 3 win 3 losses and 3 draws. The whole tournament was draining and rocky, I feel like I could have just as easily gone 9-0 as 4.5 out of nine. I threw away a lot of opportunities throughout the tournament, it is not often that I get to play 9 rounds against only my peers…

    The U2400 section is no joke.

  2. Plunkett V Morrison is a good game and I like Morrison’s analysis. I’m going to see what my computer (on supposed super-GM settings) says about this game.

  3. The tournament has been in Philadelphia for the past 39 years but after its 40th anniversary in 2012, it will find a new home in Virginia for the 2013 edition.

    The World Open has actually been in a few different places.

    It has been held in New York five times, including its first four years. It has also been in New Paltz, NY (once). It has been in either Philadelphia (25x) or Valley Forge, PA (3x) for the last 28 years.

      1. No…the nine non-Philly instances I listed were the only ones. It has been in Philadelphia the other 30 times.

    1. I did have 25x next to Philly. I specified that was for the last 28 years in the same sentence. (Sorry for the response delay.)

  4. Morrison is one doozie of a blitz player! I’ve just seen that historically, Morrison’s quick rating has been higher than his regular rating for the most part. I’m sure there are others like him, but I haven’t seen those records yet. In Feb 1993 his USCF quick rating was 2425 and his reg was 2380. in Feb ’96 he reached a peak regular rating of 2509. From that point on, his regular fell and got below his quick rating again as of April 1998. For the most part it has remained below it ever since.

    1. Morrison doesn’t play consistently like many of the top Black players. It is very difficult to keep the level high against such tough opposition. Morrison keeps some activity through playing offhand blitz battles and his own self-study.

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