The 2011 Berkeley International was wrapped up yesterday morning, and GM Loek Van Wely took clear first with 8.0/10. Arun Sharma did a great job in organizing the event, putting together a bigger, stronger, and better-designed event than the ones I was involved with in 2005, 2006 (only marginally), and 2008.
The tournament was also notable for the large number of norms that were achieved. Two Bay Area talents made what appear to be their final norms: IM Sam Shankland made his 3rd GM norm and FM Daniel Naroditsky made his 3rd IM norm. Congrats to them, and to the other norm winners.
One interesting game I noticed was between GM Davorin Kuljasevic and now IM-elect Conrad Holt in round 5 (Holt won the encounter on his way to his final IM norm). The game was a Slav, and Holt had just played 16…Nc8 to reach the position below:
At first glance, this may not seem like much of an opening success for Black, but White is also somewhat overextended and uncoordinated. The game continued 17.d5 Qxa5 18.dxe6 Nc6. Technically, this last move will enter the database as a novelty (I think, I haven’t updated my databases since August, so maybe it’s been played in the interim), but actually, I beat Van Wely with this move at the US Championship blitz tournament back in May. And to roll things back even further, it’s not even my novelty, having been published by FM James Vigus during the summer of 2008!