Results from the 2004 World Open

As opposed to ten players sharing joint 1st last year, this year's World Open had one sole winner: GM-elect Varuzhan Akobian (7-1). The 20-year old Armenian immigrant and winner of the prestigious Samford Fellowship played solid chess to outpace 10 players by -point. Key wins over GMs Aleks Wojtkiewicz (Poland) and Vitali Golod (Israel) helped pave the way.

The final standings were still in doubt and relied heavily on the
Nakamura-Stocek game. This game was played until the last seconds and a large crowd hung around the tense battle. Nakamura stood slightly worse, but was far ahead on time. The game ended in a tense draw and received generous applause. What's amazing is Nakamura's performance after having just returned from Libya.

Akobian-Wojtkiewicz (foreground), Nakamura-Shabalov (background). Copyright  2004, Daaim Shabazz.

Important 7th Round Battles!

Akobian-Wojtkiewicz, 1-0 (foreground)
Nakamura-Shabalov, - (background)

Ten players would tie for 2nd place with 7-2! They were: GMs Nakamura, Evgeny Najer, Jaan Ehlvest (Estonia), Ilya Smirin (Israel), Jiri Stocek (Czech Republic), Igor Novikov, Alexander Ivanov, Alexander Onischuk, and Abhijit Kunte (India). Other notable prize winners were in the under-2450 group. At 6-3 the following players tied for 1st: Dymtro Kedyk (Ukraine), FM Dmitry Zilberstein, FM Stephen Muhammad, FM Daniel Fernandez and FM Emory Tate.

Muhammad qualified to compete in the 2004 U.S. Championship along with Zilberstein,
IM Jesse KraaiFM Enkhbat Tegshsuren and women qualifiers WIM Battestseg Tsagaan and WFM Laura Ross. Tegshsuren and Tsagaan will return as a husband-wife duo.  IM norms were earned by the ever-improving FM John Bartholomew, Salvijus Bercys (Lithuania), Zilberstein and Kedyk.

One story of the tournament may have been the appearance of GM Abhijit Kunte of India. Winner of the 2003 British Open, Kunte got his orientation to the World Open with a shocking loss to NM Andrew Boekhoff, but rebounded to win four in a row. He finished the tournament on a high note by beating GM Julio Becerra and a tie for joint 2nd on 7-2. Let's hope more Indian players will find their way to American tournaments.

Players of African descent were in the mix inthe Open section. Due to other engagements,
GM Maurice Ashley was unable to make the tournament, but Muhammad (2429), Tate (2368), FM William Morrison (2365), FM Norman Rogers (2314) and IM Oladapo Adu (2271), came to do battle. Muhammad and Tate scored 6-3; Rogers tallied 5 points; Adu scored 4-4; Morrison scored 3-3 before withdrawing.

Medina Parrilla (right) with her mother, Lucy. Copyright  2004, Daaim Shabazz.

Medina Parrilla (right) with her mother, Lucy.

Expert Dr. Kimani Stancil (2154) had a stellar tournament with 4-4, beating Tate, WGM Rusudan Goletiani, IM Mikhail Zlotnikov, FM Fabiano Caruana and drawing IM Jay Bonin. While his score did not match his last year's 5-4 score, he played with boundless energy and executed some beautiful tactical motifs (See Chess Crackers - July/August).  His performance will no doubt make him a new National Master as his rating will soar over 2200.  (Read more!)

Scholastic star Medina Parrilla (above right) competed in the Open Section and sought to earn a women's berth for the U.S. Championship. Parrilla got draws with one Master and two Experts and while she ended with 2 points overall, gained valuable experience. Parrilla is a talented 13-year old and could very well become the first African-American female to make National Master. She has already been quoted as saying she wanted to be the "first African-American female Grandmaster."

Selected Games


IM Oladapo Adu - IM Blas Lugo, 1-0
FM Emory Tate - GM Miron Sher, 1-0
IM Larry Kaufman - GM Jiri Stocek, 0-1
FM Josh Friedel - FM Norman Rogers, 0-1
GM Abhijit Kunte - FM Bruce Leverett, 1-0
FM John Bartholomew - Michael Thaler, 1-0
Kimani Stancil - WGM Rusudan Goletlani, 1-0
FM Lev Milman - GM Alexander Shabalov, 0-1
GM John Fedorowicz - NM Kazim Gulamali, 1-0
WGM Rusudan Goletlani - WIM Tsagaan Battsetseg, 1-0
GM Dashze Sharavdorj - GM Alexander Onischuk, 1-0
GM Hikaru Nakamura - GM Alexander Shabalov, -

(World Open Resources)

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Posted by The Chess Drum: 7 July 2004