2011 Western States Open — The Results Show

by admin on October 23, 2011

Extra! Read all about it!

The Western States Open concluded tonight in relatively predictable fashion. Sergei Kudrin, who was leading after round four (see my previous post) played two draws that must have lasted about twenty minutes total. That gave him a 5-1 score. Would coasting to the finish line be good enough?

The answer was yes. On board two David Pruess used the King’s Gambit (hooray!) to defeat Alexander Kretchetov, the only person who had a chance to catch Kudrin. Pruess tied for second at 4½-1½ with three other people: Michael Pearson, Konstantin Kavutskiy, and Howard Chen.

As for me, I was down at the other end of the scoreboard. In round five they finally found someone I could beat, a class-A player named Carl Harmon-Vellotti. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because his younger brother Luke is a master. (Luke in fact did very well in this tournament, with a score of 4-2.) In round six I played a master named Roger Poehlmann. As I did too many times this weekend, I played a basically good game but made one terrible move, and I lost. Final result: 2-4.

It was disappointing, but there were a few positives. I got to play four masters, and I was competitive in all four games. Time trouble was never a factor. I didn’t hang any pieces or walk into any two-movers. So I didn’t have any of the horrible defeats that make you want to tear your hair out.

Before the last round, TD Jerry Weikel made a few announcements. The total number of players was only 214, a very low turnout for this tournament. In the past the Western States Open drew as many as 400 people several times, and you could always count on at least 300. Jerry blames it on the economy, and maybe he’s right. But I have to wonder if chess — the long, slow tournament variety at least — is experiencing a permanent contraction of its player base. People are playing online chess instead, because it’s faster and cheaper and more convenient.

Is this how the dinosaurs felt?

But the good news is that the Sands Regency gave Jerry the green light to run the Western States Open next year, for the 30th time.  Also, Jerry’s traditional Easter tournament will also be held in 2012, but with a new name: it will now be called the 1st Annual Larry Evans Memorial Tournament.

And that’s all for tonight!

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Caleb Kircher March 1, 2012 at 7:57 pm

Would it be possible to get the copy of your game between Carl over email? I am preparing a friend for a tournament of which Carl will be the clear cut favorite if he shows up. Carls games are unavailable to people even though I lives in his home state of Idaho since they show up only to national level tournaments and very rarely to local events( Of which I am very active in and would know if they showed up to them). You would be doing my friend and I a great service as I try to help prepare him for a likely battle with Carl here in a few weeks on March 17. Thank you in advance if you do decide to do this.

Your Chess Friend,

Caleb Kircher


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