The South Jersey Innovation Center (SJIC) was proud to host the annual South Jersey Open/Dr. Leroy Dubeck Cup on December 4, 2022.  Fifty-nine players participated in the fast-paced five-round tournament, including 24 in the top Open Section.  The Open Section was extremely strong, led by Grandmasters (GM) Abhimanyu Mishra and Fidel Corrales Jimenez, International Masters Eddy Tian and Nikoloz Managadze, and eight other masters, including the venerable South Jersey master (and former President of the U.S. Chess Federation), Dr. Leroy Dubeck.

Thirteen-year-old GM Mishra (famous for becoming the youngest-ever grandmaster last year at age 12) took first place in the Open Section (and a $500 prize) with 4.5 points out of 5, ceding a draw only to fellow GM Corrales Jimenez. Second-place finisher National Master Matthew O’Brien, ranked sixth in the field with a pre-tournament rating of 2248, had a strong performance with 4 points, losing only to GM Mishra. Four masters tied for third place with 3.5 points.

Other notable performances in the Open Section included 7-year-old Liam Jesunas, rated only 989 before the tournament, who defeated a player rated 1988, 999 points higher! Kudos also to Eitan Ben Koppelman, age 16, rated 1198, who drew a master rated over 800 points higher.

Eric J. Falco swept the Under-1800 Section, posting the tournament’s only perfect 5-0 score and pocketing a $400 prize. Four players tied for second with 3 points, including 12-year-old Shyla Rana. Shyla did not lose a game and her rating skyrocketed from 1360 to 1476.

Alessandro Zipoli won the Under-1400 Section with 4.5 points and a $400 prize. Pawan Patel, Alicia Baylock, and Ardit Pranvoku tied for second place with 4 points. Zipoli also won the prize for top senior player, and shared the “mixed-doubles” prize with Baylock. Pranvoku’s excellent performance also gave him the distinction of being the player who gained the most rating points at the tournament; his rating soared from 1106 to 1232.

A leading center for STEM instruction (including math, computing, and robotics), SJIC offers superb chess instructional programs for both children and adults. SJIC hosts official rated chess tournaments every other Sunday and rated rapid tournaments every Wednesday night.