The 2019 NJ Senior Open was held December 28-29 at the beautiful Crowne Plaza Philadelphia-Cherry Hill Hotel, home of the upcoming 2021 U.S. Open. 

The tournament was an official NJSCF tournament to determine the state representative to the U.S. Senior championship. The field consisted of 22 players, including one IM and four Masters in two sections, Open and Reserve.

The 2-day, five round schedule was rather physically and mentally demanding, and is likely to change in future event.  Nevertheless, many of the matches featured tense, hard-fought battles that went down to the wire making this tournament fun to watch.  The winner of the Open section was decided in the last game while there was a three-way tie in the Reserve section.

International Master Leonid Sokolin won the open section in a convincing positional style with 4 points outr of 5 games.  Sokolin started slow drawing Leroy Hill and gained steam as the tournament progressed.  IM Sokolin has been slightly active in the past few years and his comeback is greatly welcome.  We are sure that NJ has gained a worthy representative.   His game with runner-up FIDE Master Karl Dehmelt is analyzed by him assisted by Sokolin ’s friend ex-World Champion GM Alexander Khalifman.

The Reserve section was very competitive.  There were a couple of surprising game results and lead changes.   The final standing was a three-way tie for first with four points between Ronald Stokes, Ed MCDonald and Robert Colucci.

We expected an exciting tournament and it delivered!  Congratulations to the winners.  We are looking forward to continuing this event in 2020 and beyond.

NM Michael Katz vs. tournament winner IM Leonid Sokolin


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