One of the marquee tournaments starts today in Wheeling, Illinois a quiet town just outside of Chicago. The Chicago Open is in its 27th year and once drew the likes of Hikaru Nakamura and top tier players from overseas. These days the tournament is a hot ticket for hungry norm seekers, top scholastic players and college students from elite chess programs. This Memorial Day weekend has 773 players registered, but will probably closer to the 984 players attending last year.
Site of Chicago Open
Anton Kovalyov, a student at University of Texas-Dallas, tops the charts along with Daniel Fridman, Alex Shimanov (Webster University) and Illia Nyzhnyk (Webster University) and Vasif Durabayli (Webster University). A number of young American Grandmasters will dot the field such as Samuel Sevian (defending Chicago Open champion), Ruifeng Li and Awonder Liang. One of the most intriguing players in the field is the legendary James Tarjan who came out of retirement a couple of years ago and created a wave by beating Vladimir Kramnik.