... along with the absentee Hikaru Nakamura, who exhibited the highest possible efficiency in reaching his 7/9 score. He played the three-day schedule, which means the first five games are 45 minutes per player, all played on the same day. For some reason this year the three-day schedule was relatively weak and except for a draw with GM Yudasin Nakamura buzzed through his heavily outrated opponents to reach 4.5/5. Then he played two regular games Saturday: a 14-move draw against Smirin and an insane win with black over Najer, who must have wondered if the rules of the game had been repealed as his excellent position came crashing down around him. And then he was gone! Nakamura is playing in the Donostia San Sebastian tournament that begins on the 7th in Spain and so had asked in advance for two half-point byes in the final two rounds of the World Open! Wild.
That left the rest of the field starting Sunday knowing they'd have to reach his 7/9 score and only Najer, making an admirable comeback, managed to do it. He beat Shabalov in round eight and then he beat Ehlvest's dreary opening into the dirt in the final round to take his second consecutive title by default since Nakamura wasn't around for the traditional blitz playoff, something he no doubt would have enjoyed. But he'll enjoy his half of the first prize ($15,000) for two day's work! Mikhailevski was tied with Nakamura going into the final day with 6/7 but lost his last two games. He beat Kamsky in the 7th round in an fine game.
Akobian had white and six points going into the final round but played just 16 moves against Smirin. All of them theory (from an old game by... Smirin). Strange. It looks like five players finished with 6.5: Kamsky, Akobian, Smirin, Stocek, Yudasin. Alex Lenderman got a GM norm, apparently his final one. Congrats!