Results from the 2003 World Open

The World Open drew the big guns, many having become a fixture in the American  circuit. Ten players would tie for 1st place with 7-2! They were: GM Jaan Ehlvest, GM Ilya Smirin, GM Alexander Onischuk, GM Alek Wojtkiewicz, GM Leonid Yudasin, GM Alexander Goldin, GM Alexander Shabalov, GM Gennadi Zaitshek, IM Nazar Firman, GM Babacouly Annakov. Each player took home $3050.00. The first four players also shared 1st place last year. For the tiebreak, Ehlvest chose the "disadvantage" of the black pieces and 5:6 time odds against Smirin in blitz tiebreak! Ehlvest held and has declared the champion… with the tiebreak win came a $500.00 bonus.

GM Ilya Smirin vs. IM Alexandra Kosteniuk. Copyright © 2003, Daaim Shabazz.

GM Ilya Smirin (ISR)
WGM Alexandra Kosteniuk (RUS)

Other notable prize winners were in the under-2450 group. At 6-3 the following players tied for 1st: Romanian IM Adrian Negulescu, IM-elect Stephen Muhammad, FM Matthew Hoekstra, FM David Vigorito, NM John Rouleau, IM Dean Ippolito, FM Slava Mikhailuk. Each player took home $642.86.

In this year's competition for qualification, only two spots were awarded (as opposed to five last year). The new format has been stretched over a two-year period and players will actually have several chances to earn a berth. Those qualifying for a spot at the U.S. Championship as a result of paying the $75.00 qualification fee were
IM Yury Lapshun and FM Matthew Hoekstra. Both scored 6-3 and had the best tiebreaks. Also in the running with 6-3 were:  IM Jesse Kraai, IM Dean Ippolito, FM Slava Mikhailuk, IM-elect Stephen Muhammad and IM Anthony Saidy. In other news, WGM Anna Zatonskih earned an IM norm and was the only player to norm the tournament.

There weren't many new chess faces in the Open Section other than GM Sarunas Sulskis of Lithiuania and WGM Alexandra Kosteniuk, who has been touring the American circuit since the early part of the year.  Perhaps the most intriguing player in the tournament is actually noted for playing another board game called Shogi.

World Champion
Yoshiharu Habu of Japan competed in the World Open and by looking at his piece play during his chess games, one can see the strong of influence of Shogi. Yoshiharu is considered the greatest Shogi player of all time and is said to be close to IM strength in chess.

GM Joel Lautier did an interesting interview with the Shogi Master which appeared at In the World Open, Yoshiharu scored a respectable +1  including a draw with GM Joel Benjamin.  In the interview, Yoshiharu noted the differences between Shogi and chess.

Yoshiharu Habu, World Champion Shogi player

"Having to switch from fast play to a slower one and vice versa is the most unsettling for me. In Shogi, the rhythm of a game is much more stable. The opening is usually rather slow, whereas endgames are always a speed race. The rhythm of Shogi never slows down, it only accelerates.

~ Yoshiharu Habu, World Champion Shogi player ~

Players of African descent were in the mix in the Open section. Despite the conspicuous absence of GM Maurice Ashley, FM Emory Tate (2437), Muhammad (2421), FM William Morrison (2384), IM Oladapo Adu (2288), and FM Norman Rogers (2220) came to do battle.

In the super-tough
Open Section, here are players in the order of points scored: Muhammad scored 6-3 and shared 1st under-2450; Tate tallied 5˝ points; both Rogers and Adu scored 5; Morrison scored 3˝-3˝ before withdrawing.

FM 'Pete' Rogers and IM-elect Stephen Muhammad do battle while FM William Morrison is four boards down. Copyright © 2003, Daaim Shabazz.

FM "Pete" Rogers and IM-elect Stephen Muhammad do battle while FM William Morrison is four boards down.

Expert Kimani Stancil (2132) had a stellar tournament toppling IM Richard K Delaune, three other Masters, and drawing two others to end with 5 points and a performance rating of close to 2500. Having received his Ph.D. in physics from M.I.T. last year, Stancil is seeking to break the ranks of National Master! Other players included former Jamaican Olympiad player Abiodun Nelson (2248) who flew in from England to compete in his 1st World Open. He scored 3-6 in his debut.

Kimani Stancil beating FM Andrew Karklins. Copyright © 2003, Daaim Shabazz.

Kimani Stancil beating FM Andrew Karklins

In the under-2200 (Expert) Section, Jamaican national and New York resident Devlin Sinclair won his last four games to score 6˝-2˝ to tie for 8th-12th. Ervin (Maliq) Matthew, who played in the under-2000 section last year scored 6-3. Peter Roberts scored 5˝ points; Nigerian native Sylvester Smarty tallied 5-4;  Lawyer Times, Everest Tucker Jr. and Thomas Oparaugo, who lives in Germany, scored 4˝ as did blitz demon, Thomas Murphy; Daaim Shabazz and Zachary Perry scored 4 points with Perry sitting out the last round. Boyd Cook (1794) scored 3˝ points; Bernard Parham Sr., Sinclair Gray and Rodney Thomas ended with 3 points.

In the
Under-2000 Section, Calvin Marshall of Cleveland, Ohio redeemed last year's poor showing with 7˝ points and tie for 3rd-5th.  Jerome Mitchell scored 6-3, but tragically lost his last two games. Other notable performances occurred in the under-1800 section with Nigeria's  Abdlaji Ogunshola in six-way tie for 1st place with 7˝ points.

In other news,
Severine Wamala, a Ugandan national, brought his clan to the tournament… Jessica (3-3), Yowana (2-7) played in the under-1200 section. They could be seen milling around his board and Jessica was helping him take score! The elder Wamala scored 5˝ points in the under-1800 section. NM Geoffrey Byfield brought six junior players with him from Jamaica.

World Open Website

Download PGN games from the World Open... Open Section

Photo Gallery

Selected Games


IM-elect Stephen Muhammad-GM Larry Christiansen, 1-0
IM Oladapo Adu-GM Alexander Stripunsky, 1-0
FM Emory Tate-NM Yefim Treger, 1-0
NM William Wright-Kimani Stancil, 0-1
Kimani Stancil-IM Richard Delaune, 1-0
FM Orest Popovych-GM Pavel Blatny, 0-1
Yoshiharu Habu (JPN)-Nelson Balbutin, 1-0
GM Joel Benjamin-Yoshiharu Habu (JPN), ˝-˝
GM Ilya Smirin-WGM Alexandra Kosteniuk, ˝-˝
FM Georgios Alexopoulous-GM Hikaru Nakamura, 0-1


Daaim Shabazz-Scott Webster, 1-0
Robert J. Fischer-Daaim Shabazz, 1-0

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Posted by The Chess Drum: 10 July 2003