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Port of Burlington IV

GM Yaroslav Zerabukh thrilled the audience at the Mississippi Manor bed and breakfast with his recounting the story of how two girls rated in the 1200s each (a combined 2512 rating!) almost defeated him in a simul at a chess camp he taught last summer. Yaro took their queen on instinct, as he thought the girls had blundered it but then found himself fighting for his chess life as the girls even had mating chances against him but didn’t see it.

Yaro went on to win the 4th Annual Port of Burlington Open with an undefeated 5-0 score! GM Zerabukh is the tenth highest rated player in the United States, perhaps the highest rated player to attend a tournament in Iowa. Despite the cold weather, the tournament attracted a record attendance of 84 players. Iowa player NM Arshaq Saleem probably tested GM Zerabukh the most and I do hope to see the annotations of the game printed in the next issue of the Iowa Chess News En Passant.

Players came from Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Minnesota, Kansas, and Nebraska. 17 new players joined the US Chess federation thanks in big part to Holy Trinity of Ft Madison’s chess coach Taylor Fernholz who brought 12 players. Taylor has worked hard with his students over the last year. His students from Holy Trinity won second and third places in the RBO.

In the RBO Jewels Alvis swept the section going 5-0 taking home the hardware. Jewels has been really studying this past year and her efforts have paid off. Great job! Rounding out the top five were Brandon Delany, Mitchell Pothitakis (great smile!) Taylor Fernholz and Krishna Bharadwaj. It was very exciting to fill the hall with 30 RBO players at the Loft in Downtown Burlington.

In the reserve section Kian Thompson won first, Josiah Power second, and Siva Mannengi repeated his third place performance from last year’s tournament.

In the Open section second place was a tie between Steven Cusumano from Nebraska and NM Arshaq Saleem (Iowa). The largest upset, 305 points, was accomplished by Ajun Palaniappan! The U2000 prize was a four-way tie between Luke Ye (MO), Tim Crouse (IA), Michael Takahashi (IA), and Anish Lodh (IA). Sean Baker (NE) in his first tournament in quite a while came out on top for the U1800 prize.

Thank you goes out to the Greater Burlington Partnership for their Sponsorship of our record breaking event. The Loft in Downtown Burlington of the FUMC, for their support in our event. Micheal Barkdoll (president of the Southern Illinois Chess Club Go Salukis!) and Mark Capron for their expert TD assistance. Dane Mattson and Eva Harrison for helping set up the playing hall, and Anish and Ming Lodh for staying late and putting the room back to the way we found it. Anish is learning how to be a TD and moving the tables back and cleaning the playing hall is part of the job. So Anish got TD 101 training! Also it was my Birthday! I turned 52, and what better way to spend it by having cake with chess players!

Sadly this will be our last year having lectures at the Mississippi Manor Bed and Breakfast. Flo the owner is going into retirement and closing our venue. I have to say she has been so gracious with her hospitality and the 1880's grand house overlooking the Mississippi River was the perfect spot to have Grandmaster chess lectures. You never know, maybe even Louis Paulson came and gave a lecture there back in the day? I will certainly miss you Mississippi Manor. P. S. I forgot my olives and cheese in the fridge again Doh!

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