Playing in the "world's largest casino" didn't tempt GM Julio Becerra to play much poker this past weekend where he tied for 1st place in the 10th annual Foxwoods Open at the Foxwoods Resort Casino & Hotel in Mashantucket, CT. The purse was a projected $100,000 and guaranteed $70,000 in prize money. Julio tied with GM Yury Shulman who beat GM Ivanov in a blitz armegeddon along with US Champ GM Alex Shabalov and IM Robert Hess who earned his first GM norm.
Becerra played his student, Eric Rodriguez, in the first round. He said, "Obviously, I know him very well which gave me a big advantage. It is always difficult to play a friend." Did you expect to do so well?," I always expect to win. I was very confident." Becerra's ELO rose 8 points inching him closer to the 2600 mark. He heads for Oklahoma which will hold a qualifier for the US Open ( http://www.okchess.org/qualifier.htm ) which aims to select seven players for the U.S. Championship in May with a special seven-round Swiss, in Tulsa, March 28-30.
Julio says, " My goal is to win the US Open and represent the US in the Olympics." Biggest comp? "Shabalov, he plays to win."
Above is his game against GM Eugene Perelshteyn he played a Ruy Lopez variation in which he says "was well played" and after 19. Rc3... "I felt I had a clear advantage."