Computer science and mathematics senior David Brodsky, finance freshman Koustav Chatterjee and economics sophomore Ivan Schitco placed first, second and third respectively in the 89th Annual Southwest Open Chess Championships in Houston during Labor Day weekend.
The Southwest Open was an individual tournament, meaning UTD Chess Team players competed against each other and 120 other chess players for individual standing. GM Brodsky became the champion of the Southwest Open, winning five and drawing two of his games, for a final score of 6.0. GM Chatterjee came in second, winning four and drawing three of his games, for a final score of 5.5. GM Schitco came in third, winning four, drawing one and losing one of his games, for a final score of 5.5.
This year was Chatterjee’s first time playing in the Southwest Open. Despite normally playing ten-day tournaments in other countries, rather than three days for this specific tournament, he managed to make it to second place.
“The American system was very different because they have so many double rounds every day,” Chatterjee said. “It’s very tiring and stressful, but it was also very fun.”
Brodsky had a time advantage, as he did not spend much time deciding on moves compared to his opponents, enabling him to win four rounds in a row while his opponents struggled to keep up. He said he was confident he would become the champion of the tournament, as he was one of the highest-rated players.
“David is a very deserving champion, and he’s a really good player,” Chatterjee said.
Chatterjee held first place throughout his first four games, but in his fifth game, he blundered a pawn on move 39, which made Brodsky infiltrate his position just enough to draw.
“Honestly, I was a bit disappointed, because I was playing really well especially against David, but I messed up, and second [place] is still fine,” Chatterjee said.
Due to the team’s tight schedule, the three members mainly practiced for their games with each other. Brodsky and Chatterjee prepared for each other’s game, as they are the top two rated chess players in UTD’s chess team, with Chatterjee having a USCF rating of 2606 and Brodsky having a rating of 2584. Chatterjee and Brodsky tied with a score of 4.0 before they went against each other in round five, meaning they won every other game before that. As a result of their preparations, their game ended in a draw.
“The game with David, I was winning, like I had a very good position, but I ended up messing it up,” Chatterjee said. “It was challenging because the way he defended was amazing. And once he started to defend, I sort of lost the plot, and in the end it was a draw.”
Out of all the games Brodsky played, he found his round six against GM Schitco to be the most impressive, as Schitco competed till round three of the FIDE World Cup in 2023. Brodsky said that there was a lot of pressure in this game, as neither he nor Schitco had time; however, Brodsky gained an advantage after Schitco made a key mistake and let his king in for an attack.
“I wanted to open up the position and make something … the position is pretty closed and black is very safe,” Brodsky said. “After c4 I started opening up … I can take on d5, then I’ll have a weakness [the pawn] to attack, and if he takes it then okay, I start to infiltrate his position.”
Chatterjee said that game he found most interesting in the tournament was his round six against FIDE Master Sharvesh Deviprasath, a high school student, who Chatterjee expects will be a grandmaster very soon.
“This was a very fun game. It started out very boring, but it was a morning round, and I wanted to spice it up,” Chatterjee said. “So, I played a random move — f5 — and suddenly the position got extremely chaotic. It was just a very insane game. It was full of dynamic possibilities.”
After becoming the champion of the 89th Annual Southwest Open, Brodsky’s next goals are to continue playing in tournaments and take on a more aggressive and tactile style by playing the Nimzowitsch Defense with White, an opening that helps White occupy the center and promotes easy development of the pieces.
“I’m still playing a few more tournaments this semester, and I hope to get good results there and try to gain more rating,” Brodsky said.
Both of them thanked the coach of the chess team, Julio Sadorra, for his help in preparing for the Southwest Open. They also look forward to competing in more tournaments, including the 2023 Collegiate Super Finals on Sept. 16 and 17.
“Coach Julio helped me with literally everything, [especially] before the tournament,” Chatterjee said. “In the future [referring to the next tournament], I want to be first.”