The 86th Massachusetts Open concluded Memorial Day weekend with a surprise winner, Lawyer Times of Dorchester, who defeated Alexander Ivanov in the last round (as well as last year’s champ, David Vigorito in the fourth round) to take the title with a score of 5-1. In second and third were Farzad Abdi and Carissa Yip. After four rounds, Yip was tied with Andrew Liu for first with 3.5 points, but she had to take two byes in the last two rounds, giving her 4.5 points for the event, while Liu drew Times in the fifth and lost in the sixth to Abdi.
The big news is the decline of Ivanov, a grandmaster who, until recently, seemed invincible in New England. At this year’s event, he drew two games and loss an all-important last round one. At last year’s Mass Open, he lost three games. In the not too distant past, you would have had to wait several years for him to lose that many games.
The event was a big success with 172 players in the championship event and 77 children in the scholastic events. The tournament was directed by Bob Messenger, Frank Vogel, Jeff Caruso, Benjamin Swiszcz, Paul Around, Dmitriy Barash, Oleg Poliannikov, and Nathan Smolensky.
In other news, Southborough’s Sam Sevian was the clear winner of the Continental Chess’ Chicago Open. He had a very convincing undefeated score of the 7.5-1.5 to take home $10,400. Other players with New England connections included Massachusetts’ Eugene Perelshteyn (6.5 points) and Denys Shmelov (5.5 ppoints). Connecticut’s Han Niemann (5.0 points) and Josh Friedel, formerly of New Hampshire, finished in second and fourth with 7 points. A bit of good news from Chicago was that young Awonder Liang earned his final GM norm and will be awarded the title shortly. He is the second-youngest player in US history, at 14 years, 1 month, and 20 days, to do so. Sevian is still the youngest at 13 years, 10 months, 27 days.
Coming Events: June 10, “In Memory of International Master Dr. Danny Kopec,” Congregation Ahavas Achim, 84 Hastings Avenue, Keene, N.H., www.nhchess.org; June 10, 2017 RI State Chess Championship, Rhode Island College, Donovan Cafeteria, 600 Mt. Pleasant Ave., Providence, senecachess.org.
Recent results: 86th Massachusetts Open, Championship: 1st: Lawyer Times, 5-1, 2nd-3rd: Carissa Yip, Farzad Abdi, 4.5-1.5, U2100, 1st; Ilya Figelman, 5-1, U1800, 1st: Joseph Bennett, 5.5-.5, U1500, 1st: Ranjan Dey, 5.5-.5, Blitz; 1st: Farzad Abdi, 8-2,
Answer to Today’s Problem: 1.Bf7+ Ke7 2.Qxf6+! (Everyone loves a queen sacrifice!) 2…Kxf6 (2…gxf6 3.Nd5#) 3.Nd5+ Ke5 4.Nf3+ Kxe4 5.Nc3#