IM Vladimir Romanenko first in Manhattan

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Romanenko & Shabalob share first in ManhattanAt the Manhattan Open in New York IM Vladimir Romanenko and GM Alex Shabalov finished tied at the top of the Open Section. Scoring his third GM norm, Romanenko was declared winner on tie-break after both players finished with an unbeaten 7/9. Despite a US $70,000 guaranteed prize fund, few European players participated.

The playing hall during the first round of the Manhattan Open | Photo © Heleen Schut The Manhattan Open took place August 17-21 at the New Yorker Hotel in Manhattan, New York. There were different rating sections and day schedules, but the big event was the 'Open', a 9-round Swiss played over five days.

'Big money chess returns to the Big Apple!' This is how the organizers advertised their event, referring to the strong New York Open tournaments from the 80s and early 90s. However, for some reason this attracted a relatively low number of strong European players.

German GM Jan Gustafsson entered, and was the top seed. Besides, there were the Georgians Giorgi Kacheishvili, Tamaz Gelashvili and Mikheil Kekelidze, and Azerbaijani Eltaj Safarli. American GM Maurice Ashley played his first major tournament since the 2003 U.S. Championship.

No doubt the participants list would have looked more impressive if there hadn't been a strong open in Los Angeles at the same time. We'll have a separate report about that tournament.

Heleen Schut, whose husband Han and daughter Lisa played in the open, told us the following about the start of the tournament:

"It started with a speech by the tournament director. She said that instead of the USCF rules, the FIDE rules were in effect, which meant that you couldn't touch your rook first when castling. A lot of players didn't like this.

Because everyone had to bring his own board, pieces and clock, there was a lot of hassle to get all the clocks set right. [The time control in the Open was, for the first time, 40 moves in 90 minutes plus 30 minutes to finish the game with 30 seconds increment from move 1, because FIDE norms are no longer possible using a 5-second delay - CV.]

Suddenly the tournament had started. A typical, American tournament. In the last decade, nothing has changed."


IM Vladimir Romanenko and GM Alex Shabalov eventually finished in a tie for first place, both staying undefeated and scoring 7/9. As the official website writes, Romanenko led the tournament from start to finish and was only caught by Shabalov after he drew his final game with GM Giorgi Kacheishvili and Shabalov beat GM Alex Lenderman.

Romanenko was declared winner having a better tie-break. The strong Belorussian IM also secured his third GM norm, and will be declared grandmaster at the next FIDE Congress as his rating went over 2500 back in 2009.

Selection of games



Game viewer by ChessTempo


Manhattan Open 2011 | Round 9 (Final) Standings (top 30)
# Name Rtng St Tot TB[M] Prize
1 IM Vladimir Romanenko 2454 BLR 7.0 43.5 $5390.00
2 GM Alexander Shabalov 2577 PA 7.0 40 $5250.00
3 GM Jan Gustafsson 2634 GER 6.5 42 $1016.67
4 GM Giorgi Kacheishvili 2582 GEO 6.5 38 $1016.67
5 GM Tamaz Gelashvili 2616 GEO 6.5 37 $1016.67
6 IM Zhe Quan 2412 CAN 6.5 35.5 $2100.00
7 Parker B Zhao 2382 NY 6.0 40.5 $380.00
8 GM Sergey Kudrin 2547 CT 6.0 39.5 $380.00
9 IM Michael A Mulyar 2410 CO 6.0 39.5 $380.00
10 GM Alexander Stripunsky 2568 NJ 6.0 37.5 $380.00
11 GM Aleksandr Lenderman 2525 NY 6.0 37 $380.00
12 GM Gildardo J Garcia 2368 COL 6.0 31.5 $380.00
13 GM Eltaj Safarli 2622 AZE 6.0 23.5 $380.00
14 IM Irina Krush 2486 NY 5.5 41 $70.00
15 IM Jake Kleiman 2375 TN 5.5 37.5 $70.00
16 GM Joel Benjamin 2553 NJ 5.5 33 $70.00
17 FM Louie Jiang 2348 QU 5.5 31 $70.00
18 IM Greg Shahade 2446 PA 5.0 41.5 41.5
19 IM John Bartholomew 2442 MN 5.0 39.5 39.5
20 GM Mikheil Kekelidze 2452 GEO 5.0 38 38
21 FM Sean M Nagle 2379 MN 5.0 37 37
22 FM Kassa Korley 2326 NY 5.0 37 37
23 GM Maurice A Ashley 2465 NY 5.0 36 36
24 IM Jay Bonin 2323 NY 5.0 35.5 35.5
25 WIM Iryna Zenyuk 2222 PA 5.0 34 34
26 GM Nick E De Firmian 2522 5.0 28 28
27 Matan Prilleltensky 2090 NY 5.0 26.5 26.5
28 IM Yury Lapshun 2444 NY 4.5 27.5 27.5
29 FM Aleksandr Ostrovskiy 2294 NY 4.5 25 25
30 FM Alec Getz 2313 NY 4.5 24.5 24.5



Top seeded German GM Jan Gustafsson finished third

Top seeded German GM Jan Gustafsson finished shared third



Tamaz Gelashvili

Tamaz Gelashvili, third seeded, also shared third



GM Joel Benjamin pocketed only $70

GM Joel Benjamin pocketed only $70



The famous New Yorker hotel, where the tournament took place

The famous New Yorker hotel, where the tournament took place



Photos © Heleen Schut



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