Four Players Secure Berths to Closed, Four Others in Contention
With the 2017 Port of Burlington Open in the books, only the Cedar Rapids Leather Jackets tournament remains left to play in the 2016-2017 Qualifying Cycle.
Four players have secured berths to the 6-player State Closed Championship. Defending state champion Dan Brashaw secured his automatic berth by playing in two tournaments: the Drake Chess Club Open and the Port of Burlington Open. Among those competing for qualifying points, James Neal II, Valeriy Kosokin, and Joseph Wan can no longer be bumped from the top five and hence have secured berths.
Robert Keating and Michael Takahashi are currently in position to take the last two slots. Either one of them still could be bumped by Tom Gaul or Arshaq Saleem, who are the only two other players still left in mathematical contention. However, Keating and Takahashi cannot both be bumped, because while one of Gaul or Saleem could overtake Keating, there is no way for both to do so. Hence, Keating can only be in danger if Takahashi overtakes him, in which case Takahashi would be safe. Acquisition of 2 qualifying points at Cedar Rapids would secure Keating his berth, while 4 points would secure one for Takahashi.
Of course, all positions in the QP standings are still up for grabs, with James Neal II leading the way. Neal also leads the way in terms of number of tournaments played, with 9 events under his belt. If he plays in Cedar Rapids, he will secure sole first place for Iowa chess patronage.