The University Chess Club at MSU-Bozeman hosted the Midwinter Open on February 3rd. This year's one-day format was a 4-round Swiss at Game/1 hr. Players from the Bozeman-Livingston area were joined by Jim Skovron of Great Falls, and Murray Strong of Helena.
Jan Johansson, fresh from his win at the January Thaw, emerged unscathed to claim the $60 first prize, though several of his opponents made valiant efforts against him. Those observing Jan's demeanor saw no indication of trouble as he calmly won game after game. Skovron, though obviously disappointed by his 2nd round loss to Johansson, went on to claim 2nd, just as he had at the January Thaw.
The surprise performance of the tournament was turned in by Mike Shuyler of Livingston. His 3 points earned him a tie for 2nd, gave him the $25 Under 1600 prize, and included the biggest upset (vs Murray Strong in round 3). Round 2 saw the only other upsets of the tournament: MCA newcomer Devin Gray over Strong (see photo), and TD Steve Scarff over Michael Long (who dared decline the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit). Finishing 4th at 2.0 were Scarff, Long, Gray, and Strong. The $10 unrated prize was determined by Colter Pearson's 3rd round win over fellow MSU student Robbie Petersen. Stephen Rasmussen of Livingston tied with Pearson at one win apiece.
The players were happy with the fast pace of the tournament. There were no draws, no byes, and everyone could head for home by 7:00 Saturday night. Although victimized twice, Strong reported enjoying his return to tournament chess after an absence of several years. We're glad to have you back, Murray! Special thanks to Colter for taking photos.