The 2009 U. S. Senior Open Chess Championship was held over the Labor Day weekend in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Fifty-two chess players age 50 or older participated in the six round event.  My record of four wins and two losses topped those rated Under 1900 and paid $200.  I won both rounds on the last day against higher rated opponents.  My win in the morning session featured my favorite opening, the King’s Gambit.  Although most chess players consider the advantage to be with the player of the White pieces, all of my other contests ended with Black victories.  In my last round game, my opponent spurned my draw offer only to later blunder and lose.  To win in competitive chess usually requires a little luck.  Fortunately, I was the recipient of some luck this time.    My opponents were from the following states: New Jersey, Oklahoma, Florida, Indiana, Texas, and Ohio. Grandmaster Larry Christiansen, the top rated player, qualified for the U. S. Closed by winning with five games and drawing once.  Grandmaster Larry Kaufman was clear second with five points, four wins and two draws.  He is the defending World Senior Chess Champion and qualified, by reason of being the top finisher age 60 or older, to defend his title in Italy in October.  Interestingly, my high finish put me in the succession list for this honor to represent the U.S.  Several other chess tournaments were held simultaneously, including the first U. S. Women’s Chess Championship, the Okie Open, and the Okie Master’s Invitational.  It has been two years since my last over-the-board chess tournament.  What a great return and first Senior Open!

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