World Open Stories - All Years

Stories or Experiences by or about those who've attended the World Open in the Past.

John Curdo

1979, 1981, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999

John says his best result was in 1979.   It was a ten round event and he scored a 7 - 3.  A score of 8 - 2 won the event.  John earned the whopping amount of  $18.19 for his efforts.

In 1997 John didn't play.  He got married on July 5th with a honeymoon in Pittsburgh, PA.  John says "to quote W.C. Fields: On the whole I'd rather be in Philadelphia (his epitaph)"

This year his wife Carol and Stepson Geoffrey will spend July 5th at the World Open together!

Ed Epp 1992
Larry Eldridge
1992 (U2000): 4-4
1997 (U1800): 7-2
1998 (U1800): 5-3-1
1999 (U1800): 5-3-1
1992: Rating at its then-floor of 1800, so I was a "fish" in the U2000 section. The tournament was eight rounds. I went 0-3, but stormed back to finish 4-4 -- a good result considering my rating and section. I gained a lot of rating points, but no money.

1997: Rating 1785, so I was a contender in the U1800 section. The tournament was nine rounds. I started 2-0, lost the next two, then won five straight games to finish 7-2 and in the money. Two guys won the section at 8-1 each, there were a couple of 7 1/2s, then about five or six of us tied at 7. I got $467 in prize money.

1998: I started off even better than the previous year with 2.5 points after four rounds (two wins, a loss, and a draw). Of course I knew I wasn't likely to go 5-0 down the stretch as I had a year earlier, but if I could, I'd be in the big money. And indeed, I reeled off three in a row to reach the final day with 5.5 out of 7. But alas, I lost my last two games to finish out of
the money with that same 5.5 score.

1999: For the third year in a row, I won my first two games -- and then instead of the third-round loss that had been my pattern, I won again. 3-0! First time I had done that. I came down to earth quickly, though, with two straight losses. A win in Round 6 put me at 4-2, but a loss in Round 7 quickly snuffed out all the dreams. A win and a loss on the last day closed it out with exactly the same score as that of a year ago, 5.5.

"Wait till next year!"

Ross Eldridge 1998
Joel Johnson I attended the First, Fourth, Seventh, and Eighth World Opens.

The First World Open was held in the McAlpin Hotel right across from Madison Square garden in New York City. It was the summer of 1973, I had just graduated from High School and was only 17 years old. To this day, I'm still not sure why my parents let me go to the tournament all by myself.  Anyway, I really thought that I had done a great job in advance of figuring out everything that I would need and how much money that I would need. I really learned a lot on this trip. Those cartons of milk that we got in school for a nickel (I'm really dating myself) cost 75 cents in the Hotel coffee shop. What a shock! In the tournament, I finished 5-4-1 in the Under 1800 section. I was rated about 1600. At the end of the event, everything started to unravel. First of all, I didn't realize that they charged tax on the hotel room. Oooppps, there goes almost all my extra cash (all but two bucks). Then, I show up at the Bus Terminal in Times Square and find out that the next bus to Lowell, Mass wasn't until the next morning because I was leaving on a holiday (July 4th) and they were using the holiday schedule. Oooopps. Needless to say, I stayed awake all night in the Port Authority Bus Terminal till I could board my bus back to Lowell. I was so exhausted when I got on the bus, that I fell asleep and didn't wake up until the bus driver woke me up at the last bus stop in Lawrence, Mass. My aunt had to come get me at the bus terminal and drive me to Lowell. What a learning experience! As for the event, GMs Pal Benko and Walter Browne really left an impression on me. Walter Browne would get into time pressure every game, then proceed to dismantle every opponent.

My best performance was in the 7th World Open (Open Section) where I scored 6-3 (5-2-2). The winners tied with 8-1. In the first round, I beat IM Larry Kaufman in 19 moves.   Larry went on to win 7 straight games before drawing with Norman Weinstein in the last round which cost him a share of first.  Six of my nine games were against the top thirty players and I went 3-3. My rating went from 2100 to 2320, as a result of this tournament and two other events around the same time.

My worst performance was in the 8th World Open where I withdrew after 4 rounds with a 1-3 score in the Open Section. My rating was about 2320 and I had only lost 3 games in the entire last year, finishing first or second in nearly every event. My roommate for the event was Jim Rizzitano. He was also rated around 2300 (probably 2290). We were up nearly every night till very late. Our room was a 24 hour chess/backgammon play house! Jim also withdrew from the tournament after about 4 rounds. Jim was young and very small. However, he was (and still is) a phenomenal blitz chess player. GM Roman Dzinji offers to play him with 5 to 1 time odds and Rizz totally dismantled him for some serious money. Roman could not believe that this little and very young looking kid could be whipping him so badly. A lot of people have learned that lesson over the years.
Mark Kaprielian
1986: (U1600) 4-4-0
1996: (U1800) 0-6-0
1998: (U1600) 5-3-1
1999: (U1800) 5-4-0
1986: I had been averaging about ten rated games a year for the previous 5 years but had been teaching and playing during lunch at work for several months.  I figured, hey, I've got some vacation time.  I think it would be neat to say that I once played in the World open, so I went.  My rating was 1542 and I had a grand total of 45 rated games under my belt.  I remember well that all I did after every game was go to sleep, get up and eat and go play another game.  It was brutal.  It didn't matter if it was day or night, morning or evening.  Gotta eat, gotta sleep, get up and play.  Well, I beat everyone from NewEngland and lost to everyone else.   I got 4 1/2 points.  Not too shabby.

1998: Rating of 1534.  I've always considered my play better at the short time controls but this event changed my thinking around.  I played in the three day event.  The first five games were game 50.  I won one game that should have been a loss and lost two games that should have been win to end up with 1.5 for five rounds.  Not a very good showing at this point.  The next four games were all at 40/2, SD/1, a time control that normally drives me to boredom.  Well, I managed to win all four games to give me a 5.5 out of 9 rounds.  In the end, not too bad a showing.  I finished half a point out of the money.1996: Rating of 1625.  I figured it had been ten years since I last went, I've been playing regularly at the club and I've got 179 games under the belt now.  Well, for a 9 round tournament, I lost 10 games.  The first 5 games were G/75.  I prefer the shorter time controls but it didn't help.  I played some good games but just couldn't manage a win.  So, I figure I'm out of the running and faced with only long time controls so I withdrew after round 6 and entered a four round-robin.  Some of the worse chess I've ever played and all in the space of a few hours.  The end result, tanked my rating but good.  The first time I ever need a rating floor and they move the floor to 200 points.  Great, thanks a lot.

Despite my poor performance, I decided to return every other year to see how I'm doing and take another shot at the big bucks.  It's 1998 and time to go back.  This time will be different, I've already got my rating near my floor.

1999: Rating of 1612.  I was very excited about this years World Open until I got a rude surprise in the June supplement.  It seems that a tournament I had played in was not sent to the USCF within the required time which in turn made it miss the June supplement.  So, instead of having an 1585 rating for the World Open, I ended up with 1612.  The section break was at 1600 so in stead of being at the top of the lower section, I'm at the bottom of the upper section.  Oh well.

Here's the round by round story: 
Round 1: Win   1 - 0 - 0
Very calm, possessing inner peace, I grind out a win.  4 hours
Round 2: Lose   1 - 1 - 0
10:00 am, noticeably not in a peaceful state of mind, surprisingly tired, just plain played badly, lost it in the opening and continued to throw away pieces.  Really bad play.  Only played an hour to lose this game.  1
Round 3: Win   2 - 1 - 0
Great attack and position working for me but I get to critical point and do a deep think for a half hour.  Can't find a sure line that works so I select the one good set-up move.  Ugh.  The whole game turns against me.  I manage to trade off his attackers after he misses a killer move.  While I do have a passed protected pawn in the center of the board, one correct move by my opponent and he solidifies his position and I have no play.  He has a rook to my bishop.  Ahh, he make a very natural looking move of the King to the center of the board.  Wrong move buddy.  I'm on the attack and I roll down the center of the board using my King, bishop and pawn to squeeze him and keep him from any counter play.  I win this game.  3
Round 4: Lose   2 - 2 - 0
Playing a little kid who looks like he's going to cry every few moves.  Remember though that he is rated about 150 points higher than me.  Had a nice attack from the opening going, putting the squeeze on, still searching each move for the mate combination.   Can't find the mate.  Opponent finally gets some space and wiggles out.   Only choice is to go into a tricky bishop Vs same colored bishop end game with a small advantage.  Things going ok until I played one inaccurate bishop move.   First loss of a won endgame in the last year of so.  3
Round 5: Lose   2 - 3 - 0
I now come up a little old lady with a bad hand.  I'm crushing her in the opening.  She's taking so long on each move I get a little tired and I misplay a simple move order on two pawns that will driver her only developed pieces back.  My position is completely busted.  I'm pretty sure that she has a mate coming up in my messy position.  My only chance I figure is to go into the endgame even though I'll be on the wrong side of two pawn majorities, 6 Vs 4 on one side and 2 Vs 1 on the other with each of us having a Rook and Knight.  I play endgames, even ones I'm losing like I'm the one who winning and go on the attack.  She's eating up gobs of time.  I manage to hold on for another 60 moves.  Several times she could have misplayed and I would be on the winning side but it was not to be.  5
Round 6: Win   3 - 3 - 0
My opponent plays a book Kings Indian defense for the first 12 moves and then makes a weak pawn move followed by a badly placed bishop, all with the intent of winning my center pawn.  I play my rook on an open file that doesn't support my endangered pawn.  What he didn't realize that he can not move any of 5 pieces.  He wins the pawn and I win the game with a series of exchanges on the back rank, or rather would have but he resigned when he saw the obvious continuation of my rook to his back rank.  This game takes only 25 minutes.  1/2 hour
Round 7: Lose   3 - 4 - 0
I thought I found someone who was slightly worse than me in tactics.  It turns out that I was slightly worse than him.  Not a pretty game.   3 hours
Round 8: Win   4 - 4 - 0  
This time I am slightly better with tactics and win a punch and counter punch fight.  4 hours
Round 9: Win   5 - 4 - 0  
My opponent plays something I have no idea about in the opening.   I see opportunities to develop while I harass his pieces.  I do make a weak move that should lose for me but he reacts the move I made and not the one I missed.   I push on into a RRB Vs RRB endgame and out play him there.    2 hours

Considering that the total game time could have been 6 hours x 9 rounds to total 54 hours of play, due to some quick wins and losses, I only took about 25 hours over the course of 5 days of play.

At least I finish with a plus score and a gain of about 70 rating points.

Geoffrey Polizoti
Peter Pfiffner Peter was a regular attendee at the club while he was here going to Babson College.  Just after the 1996 World Open he returned home to join in the family business in Switzerland.
Al Schaefer   
Al Ward Al has been a pretty faithful attendee.  I think he once said he hasn't missed going for 15 years.  Others confirm Al played in 1992, 1996, 1997
James Williams