New Jersey has been holding state championships since 1886, but none as strong as the 2015 NJ Open Championship held at the Hyatt Hotel in Morristown. Ten grandmasters and four international masters headed the field of over 240 players (including class and scholastic sections) for the three day Labor Day event.
GM Magesh Panchanathan, a New Jersey resident, and GM Sergei Azarov, of Belarus, with 5-1 scores, edged out last year?s defending state champions GM Joel Benjamin and GM Alex Stripunsky, who, a half-point back, shared third place honors with fellow GMs Mackenzie Molner, Arun Subramanian, Sergey Kudrin, Alex Fishbein and John Fedorowicz.
Spectators were thrilled that there were no short ?grandmaster draws.? The games were characterized by uncompromising efforts on the part of the titled players. Stripunsky pulled off what was easily the ?save of the tournament? in a losing position against Panchanathan. Up and coming young players benefitted greatly by the experience of trying their skills against the professionals, with some being very successful. Seventeen year old and national master Jeremy Glassman upset IM Yaacov Norowitz in the second round.
The New Jersey State Chess Federation made a conscious effort to attract the grandmasters by providing free rooms at the hotel and free entry with no EF deduction if you won money. The town of Morristown was also an attraction for their families. Instead of a hotel site by a strip mall off an interstate, Morristown provided the players in their off-time and patiently waiting family members with parks, many restaurants, retail stores, movie theater, historic sites and spa all within easy walking distances. Noreen Davisson and Jim Mullanaphy directed the event.