Sokolov wins 2012 World Open!

GM Abhijeet Gupta (India) - GM Ivan Sokolov (Netherlands), 1/2. Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

GM Ivan Sokolov (right) drawing with GM Abhijeet Gupta in round #5.

Ivan Sokolov of the Netherlands was declared the winner of the 2012 World Open after beating Alexander Shabalov in a Armageddon tiebreak. Both topped the field with 7/9 ahead of seven players which included top-seed Wesley So. America’s marquee tournament drew more than 1000 competitors with just over a 100 players in the Open Section. There were approximately 30 GMs representing a variety of countries looking or a piece of the $200,000 prize fund. India brought a strong contingent of players.

Sokolov’s performance was noted by his first round forfeit win and two half-point byes. He certainly had an easier schedule and the byes encouraged other front-runners to try to catch him. Shabalov had a strong tournament with a couple of his trademark wins including a beautiful mating attack against NM Alex Fikiet.

Shabalov also beat GMs Alexander Evdokimov and Abhijeet Gupta before drawing out with So and Sokolov. Aleksandr Lenderman put together a string of four wins and nearly caught the leaders after a slow start. The top Indian performer was second-seed Abhijeet Gupta who lost to fellow Asian Wesley So effectively putting him out of contention.

Perhaps the sensation was IM Marc Arnold who scored his final GM norm and could have caught the leaders with a win in the final round. He drew with GM Eduardo Iturrizaga of Venzuela. Indian IM Eesha Karavade also scored a GM norm as well as FM John Bryant.

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