IM Michael Brooks from Missouri and IM Sean Nagle from Minnesota each scored 4.5 out of 5 to tie for the 62nd Iowa Open title. Nagle received the plaque on tiebreaks. The tournament’s Open section drew in 71 players from 11 states and as far away as New Hampshire, Washington and Virginia.
The weekend included three other events: Friday night Quick Chess, Saturday Reserve (U1600) and an RBO (U1200). Over all the attendance for the weekend was 208 players representing 14 states (the RBO had 9 states represented, this almost has to be a record of some kind).
The 41-player Reserve section also ended in a tie. Newcomer John Trunnell and Joseph Pregon each went 4/4. John ended up with an 1884 rating and Joseph gained over 300 points to push him over the 1400 mark. Studying has paid off for both of these players. Third place in the Reserve went to Abhishek Raut (3.5/4). The U1200 prize was snatched by Walaa Alkholy who added 333 points to his rating. With a perfect 5/5 Issay Niki won the 54 player Rated Beginner’s section. All scoring 4/5 Ysef Alaya, Eddy Xu, Puwit Moerlien, Arun Dixit took 2nd -5th, respectively. Aman Reddy won the U600 category scoring 4/5. Also scoring 4/5 and U1000 was Kyros Wu. Worth mentioning were Adil Oryspayev and Daniel Xiang who each scored 4/5, but unfortunately found themselves without a trophy after the tiebreaks. Other winners were Aaron Thomasson U800, Evan Xiang 1st unrated, Lisa Acherkan U400, and Thanvee Paga Second Unrated.
Top Iowan in the Open section went to NM Valeriy Kosokin (4/5). Kosokin and IM Young from Illinois tied for 3rd Place. Kosokin’s first round game had to be adjourned. Upon resumption Kosokin had cracked the Knight and Bishop vs. Rook ending and finished off his opponent in 11 moves.
Other Open prize winners were: U2200 James Neal (Iowa’s newest master), NM Robert Keating (IA), Arshaq Saleem (IA), and Matthew Stevens (IL) all scoring 3.5/5. U2000 Michael Takahashi (IA) and Harry Le (NE) each scoring 3.5/5. U1800 Anish Lodh (IA), Eric Simmons (MO), Nathan Chen (IA), and Tony Thompson (IA) each scoring 3/5. U1600 First went to Morgan Lu (IA) and U1600 Second went to Dan Killian (VA). Upset prizes went to Round 1, Clark Potter , Round 2 and Round 4 Anish Lodh, Round 3 Kevin Banas, and Round 5 Abhyudaya Shukla.
The tournament had to overcome a scarcity of Hotel rooms. There were very few rooms to be had at the last moment due to a large Country Music Festival held at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday. People who made reservations early on had no issues, but those procrastinators had to stay in surrounding towns such as Riverside, Mt. Vernon and Cedar Rapids. The Iowa Open also was competing for players in the surrounding states with the Indianapolis Open. In the end Indianapolis had 183 players. I am sure we both would have had a few more players if we were not on the same weekend.
The tournament was directed by the team of Teresa Knecht, Crissy Vigil, Bill Feldman (IL), Eric Vigil and Mark Capron. Teresa, Crissy and Bill handled the RBO section and Eric and Mark were on the Reserve and Open. This was Eric’s first FIDE event after taking his test to be a FIDE Arbiter. Thanks goes out to Jim Hodina and the Chess In Iowa group for the donation of the chess sets and clocks that were used during the tournament.