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National Closed

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The current format of the US Championship still has a few kinks to be worked out. Having most of the players come as qualifiers from the major Open tournaments is great because it encourages the top GMs to play in US events and it also allows for surprises to make it to the big show. To qualify you have to play a $75 fee before the event begins, all the money from these fees going to the Championship. (That is, even if your score is good enough, if you didn't play the fee, no qualification.)

So far, so good. Another rule is that you can't take any byes if you want to qualify. You have to play all your games. (In many big opens titled players are allowed full-point and half-point byes in the early rounds.) Sounds fine, take away the freebies. But what happens if you pay your fee, qualify, but it comes to light that your first round opponent didn't show up for your game, disqualifying you? In that case your name is Michael Casella. That's what just happened to the American FIDE Master at the National Open in Las Vegas.

After some debate it was decided that Casella will get his ticket to the Championship due to a precedent, especially since the forfeit win wasn't in the last round. It's up to the tournament director to find him an opponent but there's not much they can do if the clocks have been started and someone doesn't show up at the board.

Quite a few people finished ahead of him in the standings but all of them except for GM Joel Benjamin were either already qualified, not eligible, and/or didn't pay the $75 before the event. So Benjamin and Casella get the two spots. (Trivia: 21 players paid the qualifying fee.)

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    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on June 19, 2003 4:32 AM.

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