Ragin' Cajuns hit Atlanta! 

Richard Crespo (pictured right) has been running Cajun Chess tournaments for about three years, but the real break-through has come of late as his tournaments continue to grow. The Georgia Peach Open was scheduled to be held at the exclusive Atlanta Doubletree Hotel, but a scheduling conflict (by the hotel) resulted in a change of venue to the Buckhead Hyatt. This hotel turned out to be a better choice with its ample space and more aesthetically-pleasing décor.

The tournament drew more than 200 participants and all those who pre-registered
received a free board, set, and score pad!! Play in the Open section was intense and top-seed GM Ildar Ibragimov nearly dropped his encounter to reigning K-9 National Champion, Kazim Gulamali (featured in "whiz kid" article below), but the game ended in a draw. It would be the only blemish in Ibragimov's record as he beat both FM Todd Andrews and NM Richard Francisco and took home 1st place.

Richard Crespo

There were a total of 29 participants in the Open section including four Masters (one GM, IM, FM, NM each), and 13 Experts. Although scholastic standout Xiao Cheng did not participate, the youth was well represented with 15-year old Gulamali and 12-year old Aleksander Dementiev (1913). Andrew Boekhoff won 2nd place overall (4 points) winning against The Chess Drum's Daaim Shabazz in the last round. Boekhoff told The Chess Drum that it was partial redemption for his last-round "meltdown" in the 2003 World Open.

Andrews, who is rumored to be moving to Atlanta, and Francisco, a student at William and Mary College, tied for 3rd overall with 3˝ points.  There was a contingent of players that diced up the under-2200 prizes. They were: Gulamali,
Negash Bezaleel, Issac Hinch, and Dementiev. All scored 3˝ points.

Interesting highlights of the tournament were the "Cajun Knockout" blitz tournament (won by Kazim Gulamali) and Saturday's Scholastic tournament which attracted more than 70 participants (including 31 K-3 participants). It is custom at Richard Crespo's tournaments that all rounds start on time and his staff (Haidee Crespo, Lissa Crespo, and Jean Troendle) performed an exemplary job in realizing this goal. He credits Justin Morrison (Kid Chess) with inspiring him to bring chess with Cajun flavor to Georgia. Next stop… World Amateur Championship in Orlando!


Photo Gallery

Read Renuka Rayasum's "Global Whiz Kids Rule Chess Board,"
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 30 July 2003.

Cajun Chess
(Tournaments, Wholesale Supplies)

Posted by The Chess Drum: 31 July 2003