|National Chess Day: From Chesscakes in Tucson to Blitz in Virginia|
|October 10, 2011|
Continental Class Championships in Arlington, VA. At the Grand Slam Final in Bilbao, GM Hikaru Nakamura marked the day special by defeating GM Levon Aronian in fine style. See how local chess communities from Los Angeles to Des Moines celebrated the big day.
Around the country, organizers, players and chess fans took advantage of special National Chess Day promotions this weekend. Some events are still underway, including the |
Continental Blitz in Arlington
by USCF Board Member Michael Atkins
The National Chess Day Blitz ended the way tournaments are supposed to end, with the top 4 players on Boards 1-2 in the final round. The tournament was held after most of the evening rounds were over at the Continental Class. 18 players showed up and for IM's Gabriel Battaglini and Justin Sarkar it was a tougher than expected Rd 1. Both came late, were the only two extra players, so the first and third ranked players tangled in Round 1.
The final round saw IM Ron Burnett and FM Kazim Gulamali join Battaglini in a 3-way tie for first with 6.5/8. It was however, A player Simon Slutsky who was the big money winner as clear U2100. Navid Bajoghli was clear winner of U1800 and the U1500/Unr prize was split 4 ways. One of the main tournament directors, new VCF President Andy Rea, asked me if I had threatened to deport any players because the tournament was very quiet for a blitz event. What else on National Chess Day!?
The main tournament can be followed at http://www.continentalclass.net/. Look for updates upon the event's conclusion by Jamaal Abdul-Alim and a personal account by IM Greg Shahade.
National Chess Day "Down South" in Memphis
by Arlene Kleiman of www.chesscamp.us/
National Chess Day touched down in the Land Of The Delta Blues for the 2011 edition in Memphis, TN. This year, Shelby County Chess hosted two special events: a party on Friday night and a public tournament with outreach events on Sunday. When chess players get together to celebrate NCD, chess isn't always the only activity on the menu. Shelby County's weekly Friday Knights Chess Club whipped out a royal crowned cake, face- painted, created origami figures, and handed out door prizes. All the festivities culminated in an exciting blitz tournament at the club.
Another goal of this year's National Chess Day was to take chess to the people: Sunday afternoon Centre Court at Wolfchase Galleria became Chess Central. Chess Central was filled with people stopping by for casual games, introductory lessons on how to play chess, information on further chess endeavors in the city, followed by the main event, a three-round Game/15 unrated tournament. In addition, special guest IM Jake Kleiman signed autographs, took pictures with chess players, and engaged in conversation with the crowd. I like to measure success in new awakenings, and this event was indeed a success in chess.
Khachiyan Tops in Los Angeles Grand Prix
by Steve Immitt
GM Melikset Khacyiyan briefly put on the brakes to slow down for a brief draw against IM Andranik Matikozyan in Round 2 of the Quick Schedule Saturday, then stepped back on the gas to win all four of his other games and clinch clear first in the Los Angeles Open on Columbus Day Weekend 2011. Melikset gave the wheel some sharp turns in his last round game against IM Larry Remlinger, and he even thought that he might have been lost at one point. For his part, Remlinger had already marked the occasion by returning to tournament competition after a fifteen year hiatus, apparently picking up right where he left off (his last tournament was the 1996 World Open), this time drawing with IM Sevillano in the first round. But the twisting, hairpin turns of the complications proved to be too much, and Khachiyan ended up crossing the finish line a whole point ahead of the field.
For his efforts Melikset won $1,600, plus the additional $80 bonus prize for finishing Clear First. FM John Bryant managed to stay out of Khacyiyan's path, and ended up right behind him in Clear Second Place, winning $800. IM Enrico Sevillano and Matikozyan both tied for 3rd-4th and each brought home $400, while Howard Chen once again made the familiar trip south from his home state of Washington to follow up on his award-winning performance from this past July's Pacific Coast Open (where he tied for 1st). This time Howard took $180 back to the Northwest, his own share of the 4-way split of the Under 2400 prizes, as did WGM Tatev Abrahamyan, Konstantin Kavutskiy and Varun Krishan.
FM Harutyun Akopyan took first place honors in the tournament's new Under 2300 Section (which, like the Open Section, was also FIDE-rated), winning $1,200 for scoring 4½ points. Romeo Reario and Dylan Quercia divvied up the first two prizes, giving them $920 each, for scoring 4½ in the Under 2000 Section. Fausto Oviedo tallied up another 4½ points, but his was worth $1,040 in the Under 1700 Section, giving him clear first.
Tom Chamberlain seemed to have no difficulty making the transition from only playing chess on the Internet, where he had been spending a lot of time of late (at least before his first child was born a few weeks ago). He swept the Under 1400 section with relative ease (maybe getting over a lot of stress from the aforementioned month), but was limited to $300 as an unrated-- not bad for his first tournament! Michael Belleville and Evan Anthopoulos each won their other four games, losing only to Chamberlain, but they still proceeded to split up the top two prizes anyway (due to the $300 unrated prize limit on Chamberlain), taking home $720 a piece for each scoring 4 points. Rick Sun and Richard Shu each received $50, while Arman Hairapetyan and Om Borkar each won $240 for tying for the Under 1200 prizes.
Cory Chen posted the tournament's only other perfect score, sweeping the Under 1000 Section on the way to his first place trophy (and $560). Stephen Shu (Rick's brother from the Under 1400 Section) received $320 and the second place trophy for finishing with 4 points, while Jerry Stone, Zohak Hartoonian and Ryan Yang finished with the 3rd, 4th and 5th place trophies, respectively, on tiebreaks, plus an additional $93.34 in prize money each. Christian Mercado won the Under 800 trophy with 3 points, while Toorge Keshishian did likewise with the Under 600 trophy.
Steve Immitt and Randy Hough directed the 146 players (and 4 re-entries) October 7-9th in sunny Southern California. Now time to re-attempt passing out again, this time on purpose-- perhaps by the pool this time! See full standings and prize payouts of the Los Angeles Open on the official website.
All Girls Chess Class in Philly
CLO editor Jennifer Shahade (this writer), FM Alisa Melekhina and Leteef Street taught a 9 Queens Chess Academy on National Chess Day. Twenty girls of a wide range of abilities attended the session. Some were refreshed on basic opening strategies while the talented 8-year-old Alara Balasaygun, got to play a tag-team chess game with Shahade and Melekhina.
The event was organized and sponsored by After-Schools-Activities-Parnterships (ASAP). The day concluded with a raffle for copies of ASAP and Play Like a Girl! Tactics by 9 Queens.
Free Chess in Iowa
by Hank Anzis
West Des Moines, Iowa celebrated National Chess day with free morning and afternoon tournaments that attracted 67 players (many who played chess all day!). St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School donated the playing site and my friends at Coggins Shoes in Marietta, GA underwrote the trophy and rating expenses, including commemorative National Chess Day medals for all participants.
The morning rated session had 28 players and a 5 way tie for first at 2.5/3 between Nick Leung, Sam Cole, Nathan Chen, Mathew Hintz, and Ana Denison. 22 players competed in an unrated tournament that was swept by Kevin Connor.
In the afternoon session, Nathan Chen, his brother Jason, and Sean Urban all tied for first with perfect 3-0 scores in the 22 player fields. Brogan Kilpatrick swept the 8 player unrated section to capture first place.
My longer tournament article can be found at iowachess.org and includes links to more pictures and crosstables.
9 Queens Cupcakes in Tucson
Tucson chess aficionados celebrated National Chess Day with a free, all ages chess extravaganza held at the Speedway Bookmans (Book Shop) Activities included beginner chess lessons, a chess simultaneous exhibit, face-painting, chess arts and crafts, and cupcakes for participants. The event was organized by 9 Queens, a Tucson-based non-profit founded by Jean Hoffman and CLO editor Jennifer Shahade.
Books and Upsets at Vassar
by Scott Strattner
The first annual National Chess Day tournament completed successfully on Saturday, with Vassar student Noah Kulick, sporting an amazingly low 680 provisional rating, taking first place. Noah has been playing online and is definitely better than his current rating would imply.
Ernie Johnson would likely have tested Noah in the later rounds, but had to leave for the 2nd half of the tournament. The door was left open, and Dan Rosa finished a successful run with sole 2nd place.
Mendez won third place on tiebreaks, and took home his choice of a chess book. Al Musumeci, Lee Brown, and Krishnan Ram also took home chess books for capturing the U1600, U1300 and U1000 prizes respectively. Slowly but surely my large and mostly neglected chess library will be whittled down to a manageable size!
Look for more on National Chess Day in an upcoming issue of Chess Life Magazine.