GM Shabalov keeps winning… Muhammad solid

After GM Alexander Shabalov's winning of the U.S. Championship in January, he has put together an impressive résumé of tournament wins. The six-round 2003 North American Open in Las Vegas drew a strong cadre of Grandmasters including GM Evgeny Agrest of  Sweden. After being nicked for a draw by scholastic player Daniel Rensch, Shabalov coasted in the next five rounds defeating Russian GM Valerij Filippov in the finalé.  He ended with 5½-½ and took home clear 1st and US$10,000. 

Five GMs tied for joint 2nd with 5-1; GMs
Jaan Ehlvest (Estonia), Vadim Milov (Switzerland), Yury Shulman (US), Giorgiy Kacheishvili (Georgia),  and Evgeny Najer (Russia). IM-elect Stephen Muhammad had a solid 3½-2½ performance, beating GM Petr Kiriakov, holding GMs Gregory Serper, Julio Becerra and Alexander Yermolinsky, and losing only to Kacheishvili. His performance was good enough for joint 2nd in the 2300-2449 category and is a good sign of the increased focus and his determination to elevate his game.

Final Standings

Posted by The Chess Drum: 31 December 2003