2015 Chicago Open (Wheeling, IL)

The 2015 edition of the Chicago Open will kick off the summer circuit of U.S. tournaments. Approximately, 600-700 players will trek across the U.S. to compete in eight sections for a combined $100,000 prize fund. This tournament will host a mish-mash of professional players, strong amateurs and club players.

Chicago has long been one of the hotbeds of chess before the emergence of St. Louis, the nation’s “chess capitol”. In fact, we can expect an invasion of St. Louis chessers to make the four-hour trek north. The city still boasts one of the largest chess profile in the Midwest.

These days, the Chicago Open remains as its marquee tournament, a distant memory from the events once held at the posh Chicago Palmer House on Wabash Avenue. The tournament will take place in Wheeling Westin which lies about an hour outside of downtown Chicago.

Official Site: https://chicagoopen.net/
Tournament Details: https://www.chesstour.com/chio15.htm


  1. Stars are shining as Bruzon and Kamsky star at Chicago Open

    U.S.-Cuba relations may have taken a turn for the better and more is expected as Cubans have become a mainstay in American tournaments the past year. Lazaro Bruzon is the top seed but he can expect opposition from a coterie of strong GMs. What is apparent is that a good portion of the players in the open section consist of young, talented junior players. They will be hunting for ELO points and norms. The first couple of rounds will see the GMs tested and we can expect a couple of upsets.

    Photos of the 2015 Chicago Open
    (21 May 2015)

    Site of Chicago Open

    FM Sean Vibbert vs. GM Lazaro Bruzon, 0-1
    GM Gata Kamsky vs. Walker Kyle Griggs, 1-0

    Tops Boards

    GM Isan Reynaldo Ortiz Suarez vs. FM Kevin Wasiluk, 1-0
    FM Sam Schmakel falling to Poland’s GM Bartlomiej Macieja.

    Josh Colas on the move against Polish opponent GM Andrey Stukopin.
    GM Samuel Sevian playing Tigran Ishkhanov in background.

    GM Kayden Troff vs. Michael Patrick Corallo
    FM Robby Adamson vs. GM Vladimir Georgiev

    Sanjay Ghatti vs. IM Andrey Gorovets, 0-1

    NM Marvin Dandridge playing GM Robert Hungaski, 0-1

    FM Ryan Harper (Trinidad & Tobago)

    IM Luke Harmon-Velotti with his trademark UCLA attire!

    IM Farai Mandizha (Zimbabwe)

    Tournament Director Jon Haskel

    * * *

  2. Photos of the 2015 Chicago Open
    (22 May 2015)

    Illia Nyzhnyk versus Alonso Zapata, 1-0

    Top boards at battle!

    GM Kayden Troff

    Josh Colas… desiring to enroll in M.I.T.

    Nigeria’s Kenneth Odeh (near right) is a commercial airline pilot. You never know the “double life” chess players lead. Lots of prominent people in the room… rating notwithstanding.

    GM Lazaro Bruzon with his trademark pursed lips.

    WIM Nadya Ortiz (Columbia)

    Karthik Ramachandran analyzing first-round game with Darrian Robinson.

    * * *

  3. Photos of the 2015 Chicago Open
    (23 May 2015)

    Pairings room is usually zoo-like before the round. Exciting, but there has to be a better way.


    Can you name any players in this photo? (click to enlarge)

    Darrian Robinson… a junior at University of Chicago…
    interested in environmental studies!

    Jeffery “grim reaper” Xiong with Awonder Liang

    Blitz Battle @ 1:00am

    Mbugua Bo Githoro, Josh Colas and Adia Onyango

    * * *

  4. Photos of the 2015 Chicago Open
    (24 May 2015)

    Westin Chicago North Shore Hotel
    601 North Milwaukee Avenue
    Wheeling, Illinois

    Nearby scenery… “Twin Peaks” has earned infamy past weeks
    for biker shootout in Texas.

    GM Samuel Sevian

    Illia Nyzhnyk playing Vladimir Dobrov
    while Daniel Naroditsky on the move against IM Filip Panchevski.

    FM Awonder Liang

    FM Fabio LaRota

    Billy Turner vs. Nigeria’s Aigboje Aregbeyen in the under-2100 section.

    GM Conrad Holt vs. GM Daniel Naroditsky
    GM Isan Suarez Ortiz vs. IM Jeffery Xiong

    Photo bombed!

    * * *

  5. Photos of the 2015 Chicago Open
    (25 May 2015)

    Ready to battle!

    Dr. Vijay Raghavan, one of my earlier opponents.

    GM Daniel Naroditsky

    IM Luke Harmon-Velotti

    Ashritha Eswaran playing in the under-2100 section.
    She competed in the 2014 U.S. Women’s Championship.

    Pairings are up!

    Adia Onyango

    Announcements before the last round.

    IM Jeffery Xiong playing GM Lazaro Bruzon Batista. Xiong would get the upset win and take the 2015 Chicago Open title.

    IM Ashwin Jayaram playing FM Eric Rosen.
    After drawing they both earned GM and IM norms, respectively.

    In this under-1900 battle Adia Onyango is victorious over Alex Stiger, who is a competitive mountain climber and breakdancer. Onyango ended on 5.5/7 and came in 6th-8th.

    In the under-2300 section Michael Perkins faces Gordon Randall.

    FM Ryan Harper

    IM Ron Burnett vs. IM Angelo Young

    Play like a girl!

    Arthur Guo (2058) playing in under-2300.

    NM Okechukwu Iwu playing friendly blitz battle with fellow Minnesota resident Tiger Worku (1671).

    Kamsky-Dobrov battle was one of the last to finish.


    * * *

  6. IM Jeffery Xiong shocks Chicago Open field!

    IM Jeffery Xiong
    Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

    The 2015 Chicago Open attracted nearly 900 entrants from around the continental U.S. and players from dozens of countries. There was Cuban maestro Lazaro Bruzon Batista along with Gata Kamsky leading the field of over 100 players in the Open section (including 24 GMs). There were eight sections in all and nearly half of the participants appeared to be scholastic players.

    The surprise winner of this year’s event was 14-year old Jeffery Xiong (pronounced shi-ong) who scored his third GM-norm and has passed the 2500 FIDE rating. Once his title is conferred he would only be second to Samuel Sevian as the youngest GM in U.S. history. There were ten norms earned in the tournament.

    What appears to be the beginning of a new renaissance in U.S. chess with both Hikaru Nakamura and Fabiano Caruana qualifying for the World Championship, Xiong’s victory as well as the success of Sevian, Kayden Troff, Ray Robson, Daniel Naroditsky, Conrad Holt, Alex Lenderman and Sam Shankland means that there is a healthy stream of talent emerging.

    Xiong entering a complex Berlin Ruy Lopez and beating a world-class GM.
    Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

    Xiong resides in Texas and will try to earn a spot in the U.S. Championship by winning the U.S. Junior Closed in July. This victory is by far his biggest win to date and will give him loads of confidence in his next tournament. Xiong defeated Boris Avrukh of Israel (undefeated in five tournaments) and Cuba’s Bruzon in the last two rounds to score the shocking result. Here is his win over Bruzon in a theoretical Berlin…

    With this win Xiong won Open Section finishing with 7/9 netting him a $10,300 prize and his 3rd GM norm. Xiong also won the “mixed pairs” 1st prize of $1,500 with Adia Onyango who scored 5.5/7 in the under-1900 section. He bested a coterie of eight GMs who tallied 6.5/9: Gata Kamsky, Illia Nyzhnyk (Ukraine), Daniel Naroditsky, Sergei Azarov (Belarus), Samuel Sevian, Vladimir Georgiev (Macedonia) and Vladimir Dobrov (Russia).

    Xiong favors the hoodie as part of his regular chess attire. Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

    All chess players have a story of their chess beginnings. How did this improbable journey began for Jeffery Xiong? After noticing his friend’s playing at a birthday party, 4-year old Jeffery became fascinated at the piece movements. He played in his first tournament at age seven. However, he is on a fast-track to success and is one of the brightest stars in U.S. Residing in the Dallas county, he is home-schooled by his mother Jennifer Li and father Wayne Xiong and takes online courses so that he can immerse himself in chess.

    To those who have not watched Xiong, he has been improving for quite sometime often challenging himself to the strongest opportunities in the U.S. circuit. He has been coached by GM Babakuli Annakov and currently retains GM Yaro Zherebukh. He may remind one of a young Fabiano Caruana with his diminutive size and a cool, confident demeanor. The future is indeed bright for the scholastic chess All-American and young GM-elect. Look forward to seeing him in future U.S. Championships!

    Listen to Bill Zeeble’s 2014 interview with Xiong

    * * *

    FIDE Title Norms at 2015 Chicago Open

    GM – Jeffery Xiong, Ashwin Jayaram
    IM – Eric Rosen, Atulya Shetty, Sean Vibbert, Gauri Shankar, Kyron Griffith, Qibiao Wang
    WIM – Rachel Ulrich, Akshita Gorti

    Official Site: https://chicagoopen.net/
    Tournament Details: https://www.chesstour.com/chio15.htm
    Drum Coverage: https://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2015/05/20/2015-chicago-open-wheeling-il/

  7. Wow, this ked must be pretty good i just checked the U.S. facebook page and its the same kid that won th U.S. Jr. lol not bad atall! OPPS missed his play so gotta check his stuff out to see what hes LEARNIN!!! lol ULTRAMODERNIST.

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