Favorites Prevail in Denker & TOC; Six-Day US Open Schedule Begins Print E-mail
By Randy Hough   
August 4, 2010
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2010  Denker Champion Steven Zierk, Photo courtesy Monroi.com
Form ultimately prevailed in the 26th Denker Tournament of High School Champions in Irvine, California. When the smoke cleared Tuesday afternoon, FM (and Senior Master) Steven Zierk of Northern California, anointed the favorite by this writer last week because of his rating, was indeed on top, though his 5½ -1/2 score was not achieved as easily as one might suspect.     

A round four draw with Matt Anzis of Iowa actually left Steven behind the leader, Colorado's Richard Herbst.



Steven came back from an admittedly dubious position to down Richard in the fifth round, and finished with what he considers his best game, a win (necessary for clear first) over NM Kevin Zhang of Arizona.



Steven's victory earned him a full scholarship to University of Texas at Dallas, which he expects to accept.

Alex Guo of Washington state, rated "only" 2116, achieved something of a trifecta: clear second place with 5-1, losing only to Zierk and earning $1500 in scholarship money from the Chess Trust; one of the best game prizes (judged by NM Tom Brownscombe) for his win over Quentin Moore in Round Five; and the Ursula Foster Memorial scholarship prize for players under age 16.



The other best game prize went to James Smith for his win over Adam Jiang in the fourth round.



NM Deepak Aaron (New York) and Kevin Mo (Pennsylvania) tied for third with 4 ½ points, each receiving $300 in scholarship money. A "logjam" at four points split fifth place among Zhang, Herbst, Anzis,  Andrew Shvartsman, Christian Tanaka, Bob Shao, Prashantha Amarasinghe, Albert Zhou, and Peter Suich. Austin Battles of North Dakota earned a special prize donated by organizer Dewain Barber's American Chess Equipment for a 422 point upset.

Both the opening and closing ceremonies of the Denker were marked by tributes to Barber, who is preparing to turn the reins over to Matt Lodge of Saint Louis. The opening also featured an inspirational talk by Ali Ellington of the local Chess Tutors, and a well thought out speech by former Denker participant Tyler Hughes, now a UTD student, about the importance of chess and the Denker tournament in particular in his life, as an example to others. (Tyler's remarks can be found on his Facebook page.)

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GM Timur Gareyev with a bright new hairstyle, Photo courtesy Monroi.com
The World Chess Live College Tournament of Champions attracted a disappointing tournament of 14 players - but virtually everybody won something! The favorite, GM Timur Gareyev of UTB (University of Texas at Brownsville), yielded only a first-round draw to teammate Artur Safin enroute to a 5 ½ - ½ win, ahead of teammates IMs Gergely Antyal (5),  Salvijius Bercys (4 ½) , and Max Cornejo (4).  



 
The inaugural U.S. Girls Junior Open had a more encouraging 25 players show up. Second seed Emily Tallo of Indiana defeated favorite WFM Simone Liao enroute to clear first place with 5 ½ - ½.


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Emily Tallo's critical game against Simone Liao, Photo courtesy Monroi.com


Margaret Hua of Missouri was second with 5, and Virginia's Ashley Xue took third with 4 ½. Many of the Denker, College, and Girls players are remaining for the six-day U.S. Open schedule.

Speaking of which - about 160 players are entered in the six-day Open, which began Tuesday night. (The total turnout for the Open stands at 440, and with more four-day entries on the way, will likely break Indianapolis's 455 players in 2009, without coming  close to this writer's hope that an Open in Southern California would draw at least 500.) GM Mark Paragua is joined by IMs Enrico Sevillano, Julio Sadorra, Salvijius Bercys, Max Cornejo, Mark Ginsburg, and Tim Taylor in that group. All won in Round One, along with such luminaries as FMs John Bryant and Daniel Naroditsky, and WFM (one of the most "under-titled players in the U.S.") Tatev Abrahamyan.
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Tatev Abrahamyan, Moira Kamgar and GM Alejandro Ramirez, Photo courtesy Monroi.com

The only perfect 4-0 scores atop the Traditional schedule belong to GM Alejandro Ramirez, IM Michael Mulyar and FMs Michael Casella and Jim Dean. GMs Melik Khachiyan and Larry Kaufman were held to draws by Alexander Balkum and Walter Shipman respectively.










 
You can watch the top boards of the Denker, the Tournament of College Champions and the US Open live on Monroi.com.

See complete standings for the Denker, the TOC and the Girls Juniors as well as side events and the US Open itself

 
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August - Chess Life Online 2010

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