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MACA Chess Horizons Magazine Article
 70th New England Open
 Bob Messenger
  October 2010
Massachusetts grandmasters Alexander Ivanov and Eugene Perelshteyn became New England co-champions by tying for first place in the Championship section of the 70th New England Open. They each scored four wins and two draws, including a draw against each other in round four. In the last round Ivanov was held to a draw by the young Connecticut master/expert Alex Fikiet, allowing Perelshteyn to catch up with a win against FM Chris Chase, a former New England champion and MACA president who lives in Somerville, Mass.
This was the second time Perelshteyn has won the New England Open, having finished clear first in 1997. Ivanov has been clear first or tied for first many times, most recently at the 2009 event in Nashua, N.H., where he tied for first with SM Denys Shmelov of Pepperell, Mass.
The tournament was held at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, over Labor Day weekend, September 4th to 6th. A total of 106 entrants competed in the various sections, with 49 players in the three day main event. Because of the unexpectedly low turnout it was necessary to combine several of the lower sections.
Connecticut A-player Christopher Potts won the combined U2100/U1900/U1500 section with a score of five out of six, half a point ahead of Morris Lainer of Easthampton, Mass. 14-year-old Tian Rossi of West Newton, Mass. won the top U1900 prize, and Brian Smith, a B-player from Connecticut, won the U1700 prize, both scoring four points.
In the combined U1500/U1300 section Connecticut middle schooler Joseph Han, with an official pre-tournament rating of only 966, finished first with five points and gained over 300 rating points. Ian Lomeli and Richard Takasumi, both of Connecticut, tied for second with four points, Takasumi winning the top U1300 prize.
There were side events on all three days of the tournament. Derek Meredith and Kevin Zimmerman won the Saturday quads, and Salvatore Leone won the Sunday Swiss, all with perfect scores. On Sunday night GM Alexander Ivanov won the New England Blitz Championship with a near-perfect nine out of ten points. On Monday New Hampshire expert Pat Sciacca won an 11-player Swiss with a score of 4.5 out of 5.
From a tournament organizer's point of view, the big story of the tournament was the low turnout. With an $8,000 guaranteed prize fund the event was a financial disaster for the organizers, Alex Relyea and his wife Nita Patel of Bedford N.H. Many theories have been suggested for why so few players entered this year's New England Open. The most obvious reason was that the tournament was held on the same weekend as the New York State Championship, which was held in Albany and drew 199 players, all in the main tournament. However, since both events have been held on Labor Day weekend for many years, other factors must be involved.
The New England Open has been held in Connecticut three other times within the last 30 years: in 2004, 1995 and 1986. Joe Sparks organized the 2004 event, held at the same site, and the event drew 91 players in the main tournament, 112 overall. In 1995 Ernie Schlich and I held the tournament in Waterbury and got 118 players in the main event, 125 overall. Stephen Dann organized the NEO in Cromwell in 1986 and the event had a record attendance of 262 players, all in the main tournament.
Bill Goichberg, the organizer of the New York championship, suggested three reasons for the low turnout at this year's New England Open: the numerous side events, which may have drawn players who otherwise would have played in the main tournament; the lack of a two day schedule; and the unusual time control (increment instead of time delay). Other organizers have suggested that it no longer makes sense to hold the New England Open on Labor Day weekend, or that it should be held in eastern Massachusetts, away from New York. Alex and Nita should be commended for having tried to rotate this traditional tournament among the New England states, but this year's event was a very expensive loss for them.
The chief tournament director was Alex Relyea, assisted by Nita Patel, Ken Ballou and Bob Messenger.