Johnson & Young Dominate Wellsburg Open; Carson Crushes Reserve
By Bethany Carson
In what may well have been the greatest convergence of brain-power in Wellsburg, Iowa in over a year, thirty-five scheming, determined chess players from five states met at the Wellsburg Open and Reserve on May 7th.
First place in the Open (with 3.5 out of 4) was shared by IM Angelo Young of Chicago, who took a half-point bye in the first round, and FM Leonard Johnson of Minnesota. Johnson yielded his only draw to Seth Koenig in an exciting second-round battle, which ended with both players under time pressure.
First place: Leonard Johnson and Angelo Young
William Polzin (Top U2000) and John Herr (3rd place)
Third place was won by Dr. John Herr of Ames, who finished with 3 points. Herr's only loss was to FM Johnson in the first round.
William Polzin pulled a 269-point upset over Roger Alexander in the final round to snag the U2000 prize with 2.5 points. But perhaps the biggest surprise of the Open came in the first round when Michael Mills scored a 545-point upset to beat Satvik Shah. With 1.5 points each, Mills and Mark Capron split the U1800 prize.
Although Iowa favorites NM Joseph Wan and CM James Neal finished out of the money, during the tournament they were anything but out of the picture. After drawing their third-round game, Neal was paired against Angelo Young and Wan against Leonard Johnson for the championship. Had the games both been drawn, we could have ended up with a 5-way tie for first at 3 points! After long struggles, the skills of IM Young and FM Johnson prevailed.
U1800 Co-champ Mark Capron
U1800 Co-champ Michael Mills
In the Reserve, Daniel Carson began the tournament on board 1 as top seed--and he stayed there, crushing one opponent after another to finish with a perfect 4/4.
Second place went to Emmanuel Pabustan, who travelled with IM Young from Chicago. Pabustan took a half-point bye in the first round and won three games, finishing with 3.5.
Vlad Tivanski captured the U1400 prize with 2.5 points. Brien Behling, competing in only his 4th tournament, scored a 578-point upset (the greatest upset of the entire tournament). Behling's provisional rating gained 199 points.
Emmanuel Pabustan (2nd) & Daniel Carson (1st)
U1400 Champ Vlad Tivanski
Many thanks to Daniel Carson for acting as assistant TD. Thanks to my mom, Betty Carson, for serving and helping prepare lunch, to my sisters for taking photos, to James Neal for his SwissSys insights, to our former mayor, Jim Daggs, for extra tables, to my father, Tim Carson, for loading/unloading tables in his pickup, and to my whole family for helping with set-up/clean-up.
Once again, everyone who attended brightened my day. Clean-up afterwards wasn't hard. I did find one peanut M&M on the floor. Here's hoping the unknown culprit who dropped the sunflower seed last year hasn't retrogressed to an unhealthy diet of M&M's.