I authored the following tournament report from the Eastern Class Championships in Sturbridge, which was published at Chess Life Online.
In weekend Swiss tournaments, so often the final round is anticlimactic with the top board, and one or two others, agreeing to peacefully end their weekend and secure some prize money for their efforts. The CCA’s Eastern Class Championships held in the old rural village of Sturbridge, Massachusetts, this past weekend, March 6-8, was anything but your typical finish. It produced one of the most thrilling conclusions to a tournament I have had the pleasure to watch.
After all the excitement GM Darmen Sadvakasov and local fan favorite Marc Esserman, who has all his IM norms but not the necessary 2400 FIDE rating to receive the title, shared first place and pocketed around $1,200 each.
The 5th and final round saw six players tied at the top with 3 points. Local Senior Master, Denys Shmelov, had already requested a half-point bye which left five players battling it out for the money. On board one was the all GM match-up of Giorgi Kacheisvili and Sadvakasov, board two saw Esserman against GM Alex Shabalov while on board three another local player, FM Paul MacIntyre got “dropped” a score group to play the highest player on 2½, GM Sergey Kudrin.