By Grant Oen
The Southeast Chess December Open was held at Emory University on December 5-7. In addition to GM Alonso Zapata, who is a regular Southeast Chess fixture, we welcomed IM Ronald Burnett from Tennessee and IM Emory Tate from California.
In total, 78 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, Tennessee, California, Michigan, Alabama, and South Carolina.
In the Open section, GM Zapata once again took clear first, defeating IM Burnett in the penultimate round. He ended with 4.5/5 after drawing IM Tate in round 3. He won $600 in addition to 12 USCF Grand Prix Points. Lawrence White made a serious step towards becoming Georgia’s next National Master, tying for 2nd with Burnett. Lawrence, a member of the Atlanta Kings, lost only to Zapata and drew Burnett to finish on 3.5/5, good for $300. IM Tate finished just out of the money after giving a draw to Zapata in round 2, taking a half-point bye in round 3, and losing to Burnett in the last round. Surya Parasuraman from Michigan won the U2300 prize and Rachelle Pascua from the Philippines won the U2150 prize.
There was a tie among three high school players atop the U2000 section. Top seed Shanmukha Meruga started with three wins and ended with two draws on the final day to cruise to a tie for first place. Saithanusri Avirneni took full advantage of the re-entry option to also score 4.0/5. Saad Khan, who tied for 2nd U2000 in the November Open last month, upgraded to a tie for 1st this month. Each of these three players earned $333.34. Vedic Panda, Kaleb Gosdin, Advaith Sekharan, and Lawrence Zhou tied for the top U1850 prize.
In the U1700 section, 4 points was once again plenty for first place. Kelvin Montgomery, a longtime supporter of Southeast Chess tournaments, tied with Daniel Geller (who gained 150 points) for first place. Both earned $300. Sujay Jagadeesh and Richard Jones tied for third with 3.5 points.
Cyrus Pascua, an unrated player from the Phillipines, achieved the only perfect score of the weekend. He scored 5 points in the U1400 section, and received his first rating of 1741. Cyrus and Rachelle (who played in the Open section) Pascua were told about the tournament by local chess enthusiast Herky del Mundo, and it seems that their efforts were rewarded. While Cyrus won $300 for his perfect score, Rachelle won the U2150 prize in Open and was very happy to be able to play her last round game against GM Zapata. Monish Jampala, Aafreen Anjum, and Robert Steen also had very good weekends, tying for 2nd place with 4 points.
Southeast Chess has also posted many Open section Games on our website at www.southeastchess.com. Pictures, pairings, and standings were also posted on our Facebook page throughout the event. USCF results are available here.
Please play through some of the Open section’s games on our website at www.southeastchess.com. We hope that you will join us for future Southeast Chess tournaments.