Wednesday, September 9, 2009

2009 Iowa Open

  Iowa Chess champion Pete Karagianis won the 2009 Iowa Open with a score of 4.5/5. He beat master and 6 time Iowa champ Mitch Weiss in round 4 and had a short draw in the last round with his training partner and fellow master Tim Mc Entee, who had previously surrendered a draw to TD and tournament organizer Jim Hodina. Weiss and Mc Entee tied for 2nd-3rd with 4.0. Hodina and Matt Anzis tied for 4th and 5th with 3.5. Pete hasn't lost in an Iowa tournament since Dan Brashaw beat him in the Cedar Rapids LeatherJackets in January of 2009 and has gained 70 rating points since then.

  The reserve (U1500) section had a 3 way tie for first between Dan Medrano, Yuzhou Zhang, and John Flores with 3.5/4, Medrano taking the handsome trophy on tie break.

  The open and reserve had a combined 49 players, which is well within historical norms. I hung out in the cafeteria with the fathers of scholastic stars Kushan Tyagi and Venkat Iyer watching the US Open tennis tournament while our sons battled it out. Bob Long of Thinkers Press was selling books on Saturday. I bought a copy of his autobiography/business treatsie, 'The Chess Assassin's Handbook', which I hope to review within a week.

  Word has it that Hodina was quite upset at the short final round draw. Tim and Pete always play a short draw when they meet in Iowa tournaments, no matter which of them is battling for first place, so it could have hardly been unexpected.
  As a TD and player, I can understand their point. They are training partners and feel their trust will be broken if they compete. I was paired against my training partner Pete Protyvniak in a quad in 1982 and while I won, our relations were strained for quite some time.
  As a tournament organizer that this has happened to, I feel like it is not worth my time to attempt to hold a tournament when the top players draw in a couple of minutes in the final round and leave. I'll direct a tournament where this may happen (like the 2009 Iowa Closed Championship), but I won't organize one.
  As a father, it bothers me that my son Matt has also taken up this habit.

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