“Lawrence, there are only two kinds of creatures that amuse themselves in the desert: Bedouins and gods, and you are neither. Believe me, for ordinary men it is a hot, fiery furnace.~Lawrence of Arabia
A group of eight US Open participants braved the desert summer heat to play a two-hour tennis event at the Westin Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage, Calif., the event’s host hotel. The highest-rated chess player to ever participate joined the group: seven-time US Open champion and four-time United States champion GM Alexander Shabalov.
Here are the participants, listed in order from left to right from the photo above; the number in parentheses is their ranking in American chess:
Srikar Potharaju, AZ, plays varsity tennis for his high school and was our youngest participant (1788).
GM Alexander Shabalov, PA, seven-time US Open champion and four-time United States champion (2607). He is an active tennis player. While this event was playing, he had 4.5 out of 5.0 points at the Open.
Karen Aronian, Ed.D., Connecticut U.S. chess delegate, mother of representative Haring Laurel (1276) and U.S. Open participant Jack (1427). In high school, she played singles on her varsity tennis team.
Alex Glashausser, KS, US Open Quads participant (1050) and father of Open Sho participant (2177). He played tennis regularly as a teenager.
Dan Lucas, GA, Senior Director of Strategic Communications for US Chess and event organizer (1579). He is an active league tennis player back home in Atlanta. He learned tennis at the same age as chess – six – and played varsity tennis in high school.
Xiaoping Qin, CA, father of Vincent (2027). He is an active player in San Jose.
Jon Haskel, FL, chief TD for the US Open Invitationals (1,500). He plays regularly at his home in Florida.
Charles Miller, NJ, participant in the US Open (1751). Charles last played in our Indianapolis tennis tournament in 2016.
This tennis outing to our US Open began about a decade ago as a very casual response to the then popular golf outing. But the tennis event has grown and benefited from the support of US Chess Sales, which this year donated $85 in gift certificates to uscfsales.com. The event is open to anyone associated with the US Open in any way, whether staff, player, parent or sibling.
When all four rounds of four-game mini-sets were completed, the winners were:
Photo: Karen Aronian
1st: Jon Haskel, $50 (center)
2nd: Xiaoping Qin, $25 (right)
3rd: Srikar Potharaju, $10 (left)
It was Haskel’s second straight win at the event, notable as he was the oldest player competing.
GM Alexander Shabalov receives the serve.
Here is a video of a point being played:
We’ll see you next year in Grand Rapids, Michigan.