Millionaire Open extravaganza!

From October 9-13, 2014, the highest stakes open chess tournament took place at the Planet Hollywood. A total of 548 players entered what would be the biggest ever payout for an open chess tournament. In the Open Section, GM Wesley So went 6/7 and then mowed down everyone in the playoffs to take the first prize of $100,000. He also moved into the top ten on the live ratings list. Special mention should be made of the second place showing by GM Ray Robson. His slash and sturm style earned $50,000.
There was big money paid in the Under sections as well. Here are some scores of Nevada players I know played. U1600 Yoseph Debesai 1.5/7, U1800 Joseph Hubler 5/7 (and he won his first four games!) Jonathon Luong 2.5/7 Chris Reynolds 2/7 U2200
Ryan Phillips 4.5/7 Barry Lazarus 3/7 Open Timur Gareev 6.5/9 (5/7 before the playoffs) Mike Zaloznyy 3.5/9 Elliot Liu 3/7.
In the aftermath, I spoke to several players about the event and they all said dispite their results this was the best tournament they ever played in, with the best conditions. One of these players even said Maurice Ashley and Amy Lee gave individual attention to all concerned.

For round by round coverage, here are highlights from the Millionaire Chess website.

The Millionaire Chess Open in underway!

by Sabrina Chevannes
“the moment we have all been waiting for; the Millionaire Chess Open has finally
kicked off in Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas and over 550 competitors have
travelled from all over the world to try and grab a piece of that $1 million
guaranteed prize fund. Never in the history of chess has an open tournament
guaranteed that kind of prize fund but International Grandmaster Maurice and
self-made millionaire Amy Lee have exceeded all expectations.
Forget everything you think you know about chess tournaments; this is a proper
sports event. The top players in the tournament are picked up from the airport
and chauffeured in a limousine to the hotel, where they receive free massages
whenever they want. Chess should be no different to any other sport and the
competitors should be looked after. Water is even brought to the players during
the games by a server.
The dress code for the tournament has definitely made for better viewing. Not
only does the tournament hall look gorgeous and professional, but now, so do the

Stunning Playing Hall
Players have come far and wide for this tournament; 42 countries are being
represented proudly by their players battling it out with their country’s flag
behind them. The diversity of the tournament does not stop there – not only is
the tournament highly international, but there are players of all different
ages, races and gender.

Stage with flags
The Open section is looking extremely strong with GM Wesley So, USA’s new
recruit as top seed in the competition. Olympic gold medallist GM Yu is also
competing alongside his fellow Chinese teammate GM Bu. With the top 14 all over
2600 FIDE, it is bound to be an exciting battle for that $100,000 top prize.
However, the generous prize fund of nearly half a million dollars just for the
Open section means that everyone is in for a chance of a prize.”

“Day 2 at the MCOMILLIONAIRE CHESS > Day 2 at the MCO
Millionaire Chess Open: Day Two

Four rounds gone already!! With such a tight schedule, this tournament moves
really fast! So much has happened and the tournament is nearly halfway gone!

So, in the Open, as it stands, only one player has a chance for that Hawaii trip
– GM Yu. Today he beat GM Holt and GM Margvelashvili to get a perfect score
after 4 rounds. If he wins tomorrow morning, he gets put in the draw for the
trip to Hawaii.

Wesley So and Jeffery Xiong
No one managed a perfect score in the U2200, but in all the other amateur
sections, there is a sole leader who is half a point clear of everyone else on
4/4. In the U2000, the guy to watch is Aderemi Adekola (1865); U1800 – Zhiji Li
(1700), U1600 – George Terarakelian (1455), U1400 – Christian Silvestre (1342).

Meanwhile, Jeffery Xiong continued his ridiculous streak to 3/3 by beating GM
Zhou (2580) from China, only to be stopped by GM So in round 4. Now, on 3 out of
4, he will face GM Ramirez tomorrow morning.

Today we learnt a lot more about Lawrence Trent’s ex-girlfriends in the
commentary and there’s a surprising correspondence between them and chess! The
commentary was clearly as entertaining as usual and an interesting debate about
women in chess came up. In this tournament, we have a great selection of strong
female players in the event, many having represented their countries in the
There is no top female prize in the event, but yet, so many women have turned up
for this wonderful event to compete equally with the men. However, the women are
still a commodity in this tournament with the $1000 mixed doubles prize up for
grabs. Teams must have an average rating of 2200 and their combined score is
what counts, regardless of what section they are in. Therefore, the women can
carefully select their partners. What is interesting, is that there are so many
strong female players in the Open section, that most mixed doubles team will
consist of a stronger female and weaker male, breaking the stereotype of women
being weaker than men at chess.

WIM Ioulia Makka (GRE)
WGM Atousa Pourkashiyan (IRI)
GM Irina Krush (USA)
WFM Camille de Seroux (SUI)
FM Alisa Melekhina (USA)
We spoke to several chess parents today and the enthusiasm was incredible; they
are all so honoured to be part of Millionaire Chess and what it is doing for the
world of chess. Again, there is no special junior prize for the event and they
are competing equally against all the adults, but yet there is still such a
strong junior turnout for the event.

It’s been a very busy day here today at the Millionaire Chess Open, but we have
an extremely exciting day tomorrow as the sole leader of the Open section, GM Yu
takes on GM Ray Robson as black, who is half a point behind him on 3.5/4. Others
on 3.5 are GM Lenderman, GM So, GM Nairoditsky and GM Matamoros.

Everyone still has that chance to get into the qualifying rounds.

For some of our top players, it has been more stressful than others – try to
work out which top players are relaxing with massages!”

“Day Three Excitement!MILLIONAIRE CHESS > Day Three Excitement!
Millionaire Chess Open: Day 3
Today was the last full day for most of the amateurs as they will only be
playing 7 rounds, unless they make the top 4 places. Therefore, some serious
fighting chess was seen today. Those players who were on perfect 4/4 scores in
the U2000/U1800/U1600/U1400 sections, all made it to 5/5 – an incredible
performance by all! It is remarkable that all the sections have sole leaders on
perfect scores. This also means that all 4 players (Aderemi Adekola, Zhiji Li,
George Terarakelian, Christian Silvestre) are in the draw for the Hawaii 5-0
prize and could potentially win an all expenses paid trip to Hawaii!
However, GM Yu did not make it into the draw as, in round 5, GM Robson managed
to put an end to his winning streak by holding him to a draw. This gave the
other guys a chance to catch up, as they were half a point behind. Wesley So
spent several hours grinding down Alex Lenderman in a tough game, but every
effort he put in, helped him bring home the full point. Meanwhile, the game
between Nairoditsky and Matamoros looked like a draw for the most part, much to
the frustration of the players. However, Matamoros made a grave mistake and
traded into a losing king and pawn ending, thereby making Nairoditsky joint
leader at the end of round 5.
Meanwhile, in the U2200 section, a surprise leader has appeared. Mekhtar Kaken
has come up from the 4 day competition, to take the lead with 4.5/5. Despite
being unrated, he has proven that he certainly deserves a master rating by
dominating his opponents.
The tension in the room could really be felt today as the players get closer and
closer to that record-breaking prize fund. There was some intense concentration;
check out some of the thinking poses!
Round 6 was certainly extremely exciting with Wesley So getting his second black
against Yangyi Yu on top board and Nairoditsky getting the downfloat. However,
it didn’t really feel like a downfloat to him, considering he was paired against
second seed GM Bu Xiangzhi. GMs So, Yu and Nairoditsky were leading with 4.5/5,
but all faced with extremely tough games. But it’s not just about those guys as
there were 8 other guys just half a point behind.
After an amazing day of battling, 6 players are now leading with 5/6 and there
is everything to play for in round 7.
Mekhtar Kaken, joint leader of the U2200, continued his fine performance and was
victorious over co-leader CM Benjamin Katz. Nicolas Varley, who was also on
4.5/5 went down to Mbugua Bo Githoro, who was on 4/5, therefore making Mekhtar
the sole leader going into the last round.
In all the other sections, all of the Hawaii winners continued their perfect
games and strolled on to 6/6. They are all looking extremely convincing to
taking home that first place prize of $40,000 each.”

Here are some great games from this historic event. There was a lot of great games played here.

[Event “Millionaire Open Semi Finals”]
[Site “Las Vegas, NV”]
[Date “2014.10.13”]
[Round “1.2”]
[White “Yu, Yangyi”]
[Black “Robson, Ray”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “B96”]
[PlyCount “86”]
[EventDate “2014.??.??”]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 h6 8. Bh4
Qb6 9. Qd2 Qxb2 10. Rb1 Qa3 11. e5 dxe5 12. fxe5 g5 13. exf6 gxh4 14. Be2 Nd7
15. O-O Qa5 16. Kh1 Qg5 17. Qe1 Nxf6 18. Nf3 Qc5 19. Na4 Qc7 20. Nb6 Rb8 21.
Qxh4 Be7 22. Qd4 Rg8 23. Ne5 Rg5 24. Ng4 Nxg4 25. Bxg4 f5 26. Bxf5 exf5 27.
Rbe1 Kf8 28. Qh8+ Rg8 29. Qxh6+ Rg7 30. Nxc8 Qxc2 31. Qh8+ Rg8 32. Qh3 Rxc8 33.
Rxf5+ Ke8 34. Qh5+ Kd8 35. Rd5+ Kc7 36. Qe5+ Kb6 37. Re2 Qb1+ 38. Re1 Qxa2 39.
Qe4 Qc2 40. Rb1+ Ka7 41. Rxb7+ Ka8 42. Qf3 Qxg2+ 43. Qxg2 Rc1+ 0-1

[Event “Millionaire Open Finals”]
[Site “Las Vegas, NV”]
[Date “2014.10.13”]
[Round “2.1”]
[White “So, Wesley”]
[Black “Robson, Ray”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “D71”]
[PlyCount “55”]
[EventDate “2014.??.??”]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. g3 c6 4. Bg2 d5 5. cxd5 cxd5 6. Nf3 Bg7 7. Nc3 Ne4 8.
Qa4+ Nc6 9. Ne5 Nxc3 10. bxc3 Bd7 11. Nxd7 Qxd7 12. Rb1 b6 13. Rxb6 Rc8 14. Rb1
O-O 15. O-O Rfd8 16. Rd1 Qc7 17. Rb5 e6 18. Bg5 Ne7 19. Rdb1 f6 20. Bd2 Qd7 21.
Qa6 Rc6 22. Qa5 Qd6 23. Bf4 e5 24. dxe5 fxe5 25. Bg5 e4 26. Ra6 27. Qb4 Nc6
28. Rxg7+ 1-0

[Event “Millionaire Open Semi Finals”]
[Site “Las Vegas, NV”]
[Date “2014.10.13”]
[Round “3.1”]
[White “Zhou, Jianchao”]
[Black “So, Wesley”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “D45”]
[PlyCount “38”]
[EventDate “2014.??.??”]

1. c4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. e3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. d4 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Bd6 7. Bd3 O-O 8. O-O
dxc4 9. Bxc4 b5 10. Bd3 Bb7 11. a3 Rc8 12. e4 c5 13. Nxb5 Bb8 14. d5 exd5 15.
exd5 Bxd5 16. Rd1 Qb6 17. Bc4 Bxf3 18. gxf3 Ne5 19. Qb3 Qc6 0-1

[Event “Millionaire Open Semi Finals”]
[Site “Las Vegas, NV”]
[Date “2014.10.13”]
[Round “4.1”]
[White “So, Wesley”]
[Black “Zhou, Jianchao”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “A50”]
[PlyCount “69”]
[EventDate “2014.??.??”]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 b6 3. Nc3 Bb7 4. Qc2 d5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. e4 Nxc3 7. bxc3 e6 8.
Nf3 Be7 9. Bb5+ c6 10. Bd3 O-O 11. O-O Nd7 12. c4 Qc7 13. Bb2 c5 14. d5 e5 15.
Rae1 Rae8 16. g3 Bc8 17. Kh1 Bd6 18. Bc1 Nf6 19. Ng1 Kh8 20. f4 b5 21. cxb5
exf4 22. Bxf4 Bxf4 23. gxf4 Bb7 24. Qc4 Nd7 25. f5 Nb6 26. Qc1 Nxd5 27. exd5
Bxd5+ 28. Nf3 Rxe1 29. Qxe1 Qf4 30. Kg2 g5 31. fxg6 fxg6 32. Be2 g5 33. Kg1 g4
34. Qc3+ Kg8 35. Ne5 1-0

[Event “Millionaire Open Finals”]
[Site “Las Vegas, NV”]
[Date “2014.10.15”]
[Round “7.2”]
[White “Yu, Yangyi”]
[Black “Zhou, Jianchao”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “B94”]
[PlyCount “47”]
[EventDate “2014.??.??”]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 Nbd7 7. Qe2 h6 8.
Bh4 g6 9. O-O-O e5 10. Nb3 Be7 11. f3 b5 12. Qd2 Bb7 13. Kb1 b4 14. Na4 a5 15.
Bb5 g5 16. Bf2 Qc7 17. h4 g4 18. Bb6 Qc8 19. Nxa5 Ba6 20. Bc6 Rb8 21. Ba7 Bb5
22. Bxb8 Bxc6 23. Bxd6 Bxa4 24. Bxe7 1-0

[Event “Millionaire Chess TB 2014”]
[Site “Las Vegas USA”]
[Date “2014.10.12”]
[Round “3.2”]
[White “Yu, Yangyi”]
[Black “Azarov, Sergei”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “C77”]
[WhiteElo “2697”]
[BlackElo “2639”]
[PlyCount “117”]
[EventDate “2014.10.12”]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. d3 d6 6. c4 Be7 7. h3 O-O 8. Be3
Nd7 9. Nc3 Nb6 10. Bb3 Kh8 11. O-O f5 12. exf5 Bxf5 13. d4 Na5 14. Qe2 Nxb3 15.
axb3 e4 16. Nd2 d5 17. c5 Nc8 18. f3 exf3 19. Rxf3 Na7 20. Raf1 Bg6 21. Rxf8+
Bxf8 22. Qf3 c6 23. Bf4 Nb5 24. Be5 Kg8 25. Qg3 Qd7 26. Nf3 Re8 27. Nh4 Nxc3
28. bxc3 Be4 29. b4 Re7 30. Bd6 Rf7 31. Rxf7 Qxf7 32. Bxf8 Qxf8 33. Qc7 g5 34.
Nf3 Bxf3 35. gxf3 Qxf3 36. Qc8+ Qf8 37. Qxb7 Qe8 38. Qxa6 Qe3+ 39. Kg2 Qe4+ 40.
Kf2 Qf4+ 41. Ke2 Qh2+ 42. Kd1 Qxh3 43. Qa8+ Kg7 44. Qb7+ Kg8 45. Qb8+ Kf7 46.
Qc7+ Kf8 47. Kc2 Qf5+ 48. Kb2 Qf2+ 49. Kb3 Qd2 50. Qxc6 Qd1+ 51. Kb2 Qd2+ 52.
Ka3 Qxc3+ 53. Ka4 Qa1+ 54. Kb5 Qxd4 55. Qh6+ Ke8 56. Qe6+ Kf8 57. Qd6+ Ke8 58.
c6 Qc4+ 59. Kb6 1-0

[Event “Millionaire Chess Open 2014”]
[Site “Las Vegas USA”]
[Date “2014.10.12”]
[Round “7.3”]
[White “Robson, Ray”]
[Black “Berczes, David”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “C96”]
[WhiteElo “2628”]
[BlackElo “2471”]
[PlyCount “123”]
[EventDate “2014.10.09”]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3
O-O 9. h3 Na5 10. Bc2 c5 11. d4 Nd7 12. Nbd2 exd4 13. cxd4 Re8 14. d5 Bf6 15.
Rb1 Ra7 16. Nf1 Nc4 17. Ng3 g6 18. b3 Ncb6 19. a4 Ne5 20. Nh2 Bh4 21. Nhf1 f6
22. f4 Nf7 23. Be3 b4 24. a5 Na8 25. Ra1 Nc7 26. Qd2 Nb5 27. Bf2 Rae7 28. Bd3
Nc3 29. Re3 Nh6 30. Rae1 Nf7 31. Bc2 Qxa5 32. Nh2 Qa2 33. Nf3 Bxg3 34. Bxg3
Nxd5 35. Rd3 Nc7 36. f5 Nb5 37. fxg6 hxg6 38. Qf2 Na3 39. Re2 Nxc2 40. Rxc2
Qb1+ 41. Kh2 Rxe4 42. Bxd6 Bf5 43. Rcd2 R4e6 44. Rd1 Qxd3 45. Rxd3 Bxd3 46.
Bxc5 Rc6 47. Bxb4 Re2 48. Qa7 Be4 49. Qe7 Ne5 50. Qf8+ Kh7 51. Qe7+ Kg8 52. Kg3
Rcc2 53. Qf8+ Kh7 54. Qe7+ Kh6 55. Qxf6 Rxg2+ 56. Kf4 Kh7 57. Qe7+ Kg8 58. Nxe5
Bf5 59. Ng4 Bxg4 60. hxg4 Rcf2+ 61. Kg5 Rf5+ 62. Kxg6 1-0

[Event “Millionaire Chess Open 2014”]
[Site “Las Vegas USA”]
[Date “2014.10.11”]
[Round “5.10”]
[White “Shabalov, Alexander”]
[Black “Gareev, Timur”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “E15”]
[WhiteElo “2499”]
[BlackElo “2612”]
[PlyCount “76”]
[EventDate “2014.10.09”]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Ba6 5. Qb3 Nc6 6. Nbd2 Na5 7. Qa4 Bb7 8. Bg2
c5 9. dxc5 bxc5 10. O-O Bd6 11. Rd1 O-O 12. Qc2 h6 13. b3 Be7 14. Bb2 d6 15.
Ne1 Qc7 16. Bc3 Nc6 17. Ne4 Ne8 18. g4 Rc8 19. Nf3 Nb4 20. Qb1 Bxe4 21. Qxe4
Nf6 22. Qf4 e5 23. Qd2 Ne4 24. Qb2 Nxc3 25. Qxc3 e4 26. Nd2 Bf6 27. Qg3 Be5 28.
Qh3 e3 29. fxe3 Nc2 30. Rab1 Nxe3 31. Rdc1 Rce8 32. Bf3 Qa5 33. Ne4 Qxa2 34.
Kh1 Re6 35. Rg1 g5 36. Nf2 Bd4 37. Qg3 Rb8 38. Ne4 Rxb3 0-1

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