Ruifeng Li, Fridman Tie For First At National Open

Ruifeng Li, Fridman Tie For First At National Open

| 6 | Chess Event Coverage

IM Ruifeng Li of Texas and GM Daniel Fridman of Germany tied for first with 5.0/6 at the 2016 National Open in Las Vegas. The 15-year-old, Li, won the Edmondson Cup on tiebreak.

The National Open took place as part of the International Chess Festival, which featured youth camps, G/5 and G/10 Championships, the U.S. Women's Open, and many side events including simuls, lectures, and game analysis by various grandmasters. The tournament was quite strong; 18 grandmasters and many titled players fought for their share of the guaranteed $22,600 prize fund.

Li has recently been on a tear in the open tournament circuit. He also tied for first at the Philadelphia Open where he earned his first GM norm.

The two winners had very different routes to the top. Li started off with 4.0/4. He defeated GM Ehsan Ghaem Maghami with Black in fine technical style in round three.

In round four, Li faced IM Keaton Kiewra, who emerged from the two-day section with 3.0/3 after back-to-back upset victories over GMs Tigran Petrosian and Alexander Shimanov. Li showed nice tactical awareness to seize the lead with 4.0/4:

15-year-old Ruifeng Li of Texas. | Photo: Tim Hanks

In the two final rounds, Li held off GM Gata Kamsky and then drew with GM Axel Bachmann to secure at least shared first place.

While Bachmann could have won first place had he won in the final round, he was never able to create anything serious and the players started repeating moves shortly before move 30.

The critical last round: Bachmann vs. Li. | Photo: Tim Hanks

Meanwhile, Fridman had 3.0/4 going into the final two rounds and played decisively to defeat Webster University teammates Shimanov and GM Vasif Durarbeyli

Daniel Fridman, three-time German Champion. | Photo: Tim Hanks

Chasing Li going into the last few rounds were top seeds Kamsky and GM Alexey Dreev, who were each held to three draws and had 3.5/5 entering the final round. Both players scored nice victories against tough competition. Kamsky outplayed GM Yaroslav Zherebukh in a complicated Dutch, and Dreev slowly squeezed GM Kayden Troff in Karpovian style.

Kamsky looked determined to win the event but had to settle for shared third place. | Photo: Tim Hanks

Alexey Dreev of Russia. | Photo: Tim Hanks

Joining Kamsky, Dreev, and Bachmann with 4.5/6 points was Tigran Petrosian. Tying for 7th place with 4.0/6 were grandmasters Illya Nyzhnyk, Durarbayli, Ghaem Maghami, Zherebukh, Elshan Moradiabadi, Joshua Friedel, and IM Raymond Kaufman, who took down the top U2500 prize. Sharing the U2400 prize with 3.5/6, was FM Pedram Atoufi and WGM Sabina-Francesca Foisor.

For full standings and more information about the International Chess Festival, check out the official tournament site.

IM Kostya Kavutskiy

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IM Kostya Kavutskiy is a professional chess author, journalist, coach, commentator, and player. As a part of's content team since 2009, Kostya has recorded many video lectures, covered elite tournaments, written instructive articles & blogs, and has done many live commentary shows for Chess TV. Kostya has also written a number of articles for Chess Life magazine and Chess Life Online, and is currently an instructor for Chess University. In 2015, Modernized: The Open Sicilian was released, which Kostya co-authored with IM Zhanibek Amanov. Kostya's tournament accomplishments include winning the 2014 Southern California Closed Championship, as well as achieving his IM title in November 2016. In April 2017, he placed 6th in the star-studded 2017 Reykjavik Open. He currently resides in Mountain View, CA, and his plans are to pursue the GM title while working actively as a coach.



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