2020 Pacific Coast Open: Better Late Than Never! | US Chess.org – uschess.org

Grandmaster Chess

Before theCOVID-19pandemic occurred, the Pacific Coast Open was scheduledto be held lastJuly in California.Unfortunately, the current situation precludes that, and theContinental Chess Association (CCA)madethedecisiontomovemostof their canceledover-the-boardevents online.The dates for many of those events have beendifferent, as well as formats(time control, rounds, prize fund), but at least these events were held to continuethetournaments tradition.In order to keep the regional flavor, entry fees weresignificantly discounted for those who live in the region where the OTB event would have been held.

With that backdrop, the 2020Pacific Coast Open was held September 26-27and hosted on the Internet Chess Club (ICC).The eventdidnot quitematchthe size of itsOTB tradition,thoughit did have an $8,000 prize fund and drew 165 playersacrossfour sections. The top section had 29 players and drew 5grandmasters,as well as aninternational master and womens fide master.

Upsets started occurring as early as round one,andtitled players were not exempt:IM John Watson lost to Derek Chen,FM Matthew Casella lost to Thomas Li, andGM Michael Rohde surrendered a draw to Iris Zhou.Not surprisingly,the names ofthese playerswould come up againin the prize calculations!

Round twobroughteven more surprises.Top-seededGMGusirGuseinov, playing fromAzerbaijan,faced rounds at hoursin the middle of the night.Heattempteda nap after his first game, but unfortunately did not wake up in time for round two, forfeitingto Derek Chen.

An evenmore-surprising result occurred when Donald Johnson defeated Rohdein this second-round game.On move 10,Johnson made a thematic piece sacrificewhichcorrectlyneeded to be accepted.Rohdes decision todecline the sacrifice, however, left him quicklyin a losing position.

Only four perfect scores remained after two rounds:GMs Aleksej Aleksandrov, Timur Gareyev, andJakhongir Vakhidov; as well asChen.Aleksandrov, playing through the night fromBelarus,opted for athird-round bye,which broughtGareyev and Vakhidovtobe paired on board one.Vakhidov had a nice combination to defeat Gareyevafter 17. g4 --can you spot the tactic?

Solution:17. Rad818. Qe2 Ng5 (Gareyev needs to accept that he is much worse and play 19. e4 Be6 20.bcf621. Bg3 Rd222. Qe3 Nxf323. Qxf3 Rxa2)19. gf Rd220. Rxc4 Rxe2 21. Bxe2

Board two also featuredthisexciting gamebetweenChenandJohnson.The players castled on opposite sides,and a tactical melee ensued.

After thecarnageof the first day, three of thefiveGMs had withdrawn!Onlytwo perfect scoresremainedat the halfway point:VakhodovandChen, who had entered as the 24thseed. On Sunday morning the two facedoff, withVakhidov emergingvictoriousandthe only player at 4-0.He was closely followed byAleksandrov who stood at 3.5/4,andLiandChen at 3/4.These four players were matched in the penultimatefifthround:Vakhidov and Aleksandrov were contentplaying toasix-move draw, whileLi suffered a tactical oversight and dropped his game withChen.

Going into the last round,Vakhidovmaintained clear first with 4.5/5.Only Aleksandrov and Chenwere within range at 4/5each,thoughVakhidov had already played them both, and he was paired down a full point to Ethan Sheehanin the final round.Vakhidovswin there secured him inclear first place, finishing with5.5/6 and winning $1,200.

Aleksandrov defeated Chenin this gameto finishclear second with5/6. Aleksandrov won$600.

Tommy Wenfinished 4.5/6 in clear third and won $400. Hesqueezed outthiswinoverKenneth Thomasin the final round.

Derek Chen and Ryo Chen (no relation) finished at 4/6, tying for fourth place overall, as well as the top U2200players.Both won $350.Sheehan, Li, Zoey Tang,as well asWFM Ellen Wangallfinished at 3.5/6 and tiedforsecond place U2200, witheachplayerwinning $50.

Other sectionwinners wereAdithya Sharma, SurenMikoyen, and Ruthvik Singireddy going 5/6 in the U2100 section and winning $433apiece; as well as Young Cui playing to 5.5/6 in the U1700 section to win $500. Luca Fischbein and Jaswant Ambati also scored 5.5/6 inthe U1300 section and won $325.

The 2020 Pacific Coast Open was directed by NTD SteveImmittand assisted by David Hater, Tom Brownscombe, Harold Scott, Al Losoff, Martha Underwood, Bob Messenger, Marty Grund, Ruy Mora, Charles Darnell, Terry Winchester, Bill Scott, Marvin Martzell, Daniel Bell, and Alonzo Barrow.

Crosstablesand all games for the online event can be found here. Previous CCA tournaments can be found here.

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2020 Pacific Coast Open: Better Late Than Never! | US Chess.org - uschess.org

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