Milov, Shulman top field; Paulina scores upset

David Paulina told The Chess Drum's Daaim Shabazz in an e-mail that he plans to become a Grandmaster. After the first round of the Chicago Open, not many would argue with him given his impressive win over Israeli GM Sergey Erenburg. The Maryland-based Expert outplayed his opponent in a Closed Sicilian and blasted open the position for a winning kingside attack. Paulina's 1st round win would be the highlight of his tournament. He also managed to split a point with strong Master Elliottt Liu and finished with 2˝-4˝.

Vadim Milov and Yury Shulman bested the field of 16 GMs with six points before a tie break decided the overall winner.  In a blitz tiebreaker Milov emerged when Shulman resigned. After surviving a scare from Marc Esserman in round one before grabbing the full point.  Both he and Shulman won their first four games before drawing each other in round five. Milov beat Ukrainian Valeriy Aveskulov while Shulman beat the always competitive Jaan Ehlvest. In the latter Ehlvest fell for a nice parting tactic in the end and resigned immediately.

David Paulina

David Paulina
(Photo Betsy Dynako)

There was a four-way tie for 2nd featuring the GM quartet of  Merab Gagunashvili (GEO), Valeriy Aveskulov (UKR), Sergey Erenburg (ISR), Zviad Izoria (GEO). Besides the Paulina scalp, there were several upsets in the tournament including Canadian junior Raja Panjwani's win over GM Varuzhan Akobian. Akobian withdrew after the loss and was seen in the skittles room learning a new form of chess from IM Ben Finefold (see slideshow below).

Amon Simutowe of Zambia had an interesting tournament as he forced U.S. Champion Alexander Shabalov to fight for a draw in a fierce tactical battle. Simutowe also beat GM Emil Anka amidst a touch move controversy. He then got a free point against GM Anatoly Lein as the Russian veteran refused to play two blacks in a row against "Grandmasters." Simutowe stated that he was not a Grandmaster, but Lein insisted that Simutowe was still quite strong.

The Chicago Open had a new format which allowed players a better chance at class prizes. There was an under-2300, under-2100 and under-1900, under-1700, under-1500, under-1200 and under-800.  Normally, the players rated over 2200 would have to compete in the Open section with little chance for prize winnings. In this format, players are only required to play within 100 points over their  rating class… instead of 200.


(Photos by Daaim Shabazz)

Posted by The Chess Drum: 12 June 2007