Tucson Open, January 24-25, 2010:

To me, the Tucson Open is one of the most enjoyable tournaments of the year. It is also one of the several Tucson tournaments that adult players’ participation is truly encouraged. For the last 2 years (before the 2010 AZ. State Championship tournament at Scottsdale) Tucson Open was also the tournament that had the power to determine the next Arizona State Champion. That is how I won the 2008 and 2009 Arizona State Championship titles. This tournament always drew a fair amount of titled players, along the side of retirees and young talents. In the past, IMs R.Barcenilla, M.Ginsburg, N.Adrianov, D.Rensch, D.Aldama were always amongst the “usual suspects” of the Tucson Open participants. Couple of years ago the tournament added another branch- a Scholastic Tournament. That proved to be a very popular event that not only made the Tucson Open one of the biggest tournaments of the year, but also helped add to the revenues. According to the organizers Kiki Huerta and Karen Pennock, this time Tucson Open came very close to breaking the past record. That is great news for Tucson chess and all the players here. The Scholastic section this time was once again packed with both experienced (Under 1000 USCF) and brand new players. The fact that this year the tournament hosted GM Alex Yermolinsky (together with IM Danny Rensch), who organized a mini group analysis session, added extra flavor to the tournament.
After 3 nice wins I had a minor hiccup- drew the 4th game. To the credit of Jason Mueller (who I tied with for the 1st place), he had a super solid tournament and played for a win every game. At some point in a better position I rushed with a move and Jason literally scared me by making about 12 “computer moves” and ending the game in a perpetual check. His last round with against a Master Brian Hu was also a very impressive show of his calculative ability.
My last round against my teammate and usual tournament opponent Robby Adamson was full of small mistakes, time pressure issues and clash of Opening wits. I really like when my opponents are not only good players but are able to prepare for individual games. Robby surprised me with a superior opening preparation, got a nice game but then made a mistake. I had a better game after that.The upcoming complications proved to be in my favor and after passing the dangers of time pressures, I was able to win and hence the 1st place trophy.
Great job everyone!
Here is the link to the tournament result page on the USCF website.