Juniors Excel in National Action Events
By Matan Prilleltensky   
October 25, 2010
G/30 Champ Michael Auger, Photo Betsy Dynako from Chicago Class
I traveled from New York City for the G/30 Championships (October 24), held a day after the G/60 Championships (October 23) in Skokie, Illinois. 39 players arrived to do battle, with the 20-man open section deciding the title of U.S. g/30 champion. International Arbiter and International Organizer Sevan Muradian ably directed proceedings, running a tight ship at the North Shore Holiday Inn.

Partly due to the time control, the tournament does not have the drawing power of other national championship events. It was a regional affair, attracting players in and around the Chicago area. FMs Albert Chow and Aleksandar Stamnov, stalwarts of Illinois chess, were the rating favorites heading in. Sevan Muradian, however, was skeptical of the idea the outcome could be handicapped. “In this time control you can’t say: It could have been a 1900 who caught some guys”.

It wasn’t a 1900 who took home the title, but it wasn’t one of the rating favorites either. Michael Auger, a young expert from the area, raced to 4-0 (knocking off Stamnov in the process) and then held off Albert Chow in the final round to reach the summit alone with 4.5/5. He earned it, scoring 2.5/3 against the top three seeds at the business end of the tournament.

Throw in his 64 point rating gain, a national title, and you have a good day at the chessboard! First place came with a scholarship to Texas Tech University: Big news, had Michael not already won one last year (when he also tied for first in the G/30).

At the G/60 Championship,
three young players Adarsh Jayakumar, Tommy Ulrich and Sam Schmakel tied for first. The three shared the title but Jayakumar earned the Texas Tech college scholarship on tiebreak.

Sevan Muradian, an outspoken and prolific organizer, shared some of his thoughts on US chess with me after the last round. He believes “money events have polluted amateur chess”, keeping casual players from weekend events. “They don’t want to deal with money tournaments, because money changes people, and not always in a good way!”

His vision for the future of Illinois chess is “more European in nature: Something where you walk into a tournament, I don’t care what size, whether it be ten or a thousand people, and all the equipment is provided. I’d also like to see it be not just the chess tournament, but also other things going on that allow to build that social network beyond ‘let’s go analyze our game.’” Keep an eye on further developments from these parts! I hope to make it back to Chicago next year. 

See the MSA crosstables from the G/60 here and the G/30 here.

Also see analysis and more thoughts on the tournament from last year's G/30 co-champ, Bill Brock on his website, Chicagochess.blogspot.com.