The Southeast Chess November Open was held at Emory University’s Winship Ballroom this past weekend. It was the second large open event sponsored by Southeast Chess. I was very happy to see many of my chess friends from around the region. We were very lucky to again welcome GM Alonso Zapata, the highest rated player in Georgia, leading the Open section once again.
In total, 84 players came to play the 3-day event (there was a 2-day schedule available as well) to fight for $4,000 in guaranteed prizes. Throughout the Open, U2000, U1700, and U1400 sections, we had players from Georgia, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee, and North Carolina.
In the Open section, GM Zapata was able to perform a clean sweep to take the first place prize of $600 in addition to 12 USCF Grand Prix Points for his 5/5 score. Although some of the top players who pre-registered had to withdraw at the last moment, many of the state’s top 10 highest rated players have already shown interest in playing the Southeast December Open.
Entering as a house player to even out the section, I was able to tie for second with local master Sanjay Ghatti after we drew each other in the last round. I was happy to play an interesting Sicilian battle with Alonso in round 4. This game, along with a couple others from the Open section, is included below.
The only other sweep of the weekend was Eli Karp’s perfect score in the U2000 section. Karp, who flew in from New Orleans to play the event, earned $500 for his efforts and should be happy to earn his peak rating of 2041. Local players Vignesh Sekar and Saad Khan tied for second place with 3.5/5, each leaving Emory with a check for $250 and a healthy gain in rating.
The most exciting section in terms of round 5 duels was the U1700 section. Sagan Hartley and Anand Srinivasan made a relatively quick draw in a bishop endgame to guarantee themselves a tie for first place. On boards 2 and 3 of the section, both games continued for many hours. In the end, Kenneth Moody and Jason Wright were both able to outplay their opponents in dead equal positions to make the money. Srinivasan scored nearly 75 rating points for his undefeated effort, while Hartley boosted his rating over 100 points. Jason Wright played well above his rating to pick up 188 points. In fifth place was local chess parent Sudhakar Avirneni, who picked up 165 rating for his 3.5/5 score.
Finally, in the U1400 section, there were many players with strong scores. Monish Jampala and Patrick Leary both won their last rounds to earn $250 each in a tie for first. There was a logjam of players tying for 3rd-8th with 3.5/5: Thomas Blair, Adnan Kadragic, Triyakshari Venkataraja (top U1200), Ted Davis, Nikhel Krishna (top U1000), and Henry Winter.
Overall the tournament went extraordinarily smoothly, with pairings up about an hour before each round, allowing for a prompt start. Prize checks were issued immediately as round 5 games started to conclude. Many players and parents were happy with the playing hall’s location, as there is no shortage of food options in Emory’s Dobbs University Center and free wireless Internet connection is available.
Pictures, up-to-date pairings, and standings were posted on our Facebook page throughout the event. Many players also mentioned their gratitude towards the good value of the event; each player was able to play 5 serious tournament games throughout the weekend while competing for hundreds of dollars in place and class prizes in every section.
Please enjoy some of the Open section’s games below. We hope that you will join us for the Southeast Chess December Open, which features the same prizes, sections, and location as the November Open. It is over the December 5-7 weekend at Emory University. Discounted pre-registration is available online now at www.southeastchess.com.
Grant Oen is a Junior at Emory University studying Political Science. He is a long time chess player and organizer for tournaments in both New Jersey and Atlanta. He is the owner and director of Southeast Chess. An expert chess player, he is the reigning two-time Georgia Collegiate Chess Champion. He is the Manager for the Atlanta Kings.