Home Page arrow Chess Life Online arrow Forfeit by Disconnection Connects at US Amateur Team West
Forfeit by Disconnection Connects at US Amateur Team West Print E-mail
By Kostya Kavutskiy   
February 24, 2012
The winners, Forfeit by Disconnection: FM Robin Cunningham, Dana Mackenzie, Steven Gaffagan, Julian Chan, Todd Rumph
The 2012 U.S. Amateur Team West was held in the Santa Clara Hyatt Regency Hotel, marking the first time the tournament had been held in Northern California in recent memory. Rumor has it that the location of the tournament will cycle between Southern California, Northern California, and Arizona in upcoming years. There were 40 teams in the main event, along with 23 scholastic teams, nowhere near the staggering numbers reached in the USATE, but tournament atmosphere was nevertheless fun and competitive

The winning team was Forfeit By Disconnection (FM Robin Cunningham, Julian Chan, Todd Rumph, Dana Mackenzie, Steven Gaffagan), who finished with 5.5/6, a full point ahead of the rest of the field.There was a large tie for 2nd place, which actually included my team, Metropolitan Chess (Kostya Kavutskiy, NM Mike Splane, Paulo Santanna, Udit Iyengar, Simon Rubinstein-salzedo), as well as NorCal House of Chess (IM Ricardo de Guzman, FM Ronald Cusi, Ted Castro, Jeffrey Tao, FM Tanuj Vasudeva), ###### (Neel Apte, Colin Chow, Siddharth Banik, Art Zhao), and Hemet Chess Club, (Jeffrey Arnold, Ken Arnold, Bill Arnold, Marcos Montes), all with 4.5/6. The tiebreaks were calculated and Metropolitan Chess was awarded second place while third went to NorCal House of Chess.

Other Prizes:
Top Board 1– Jeff Arnold – 5.5/6 (for the second straight year)
Top Board 2 – Barbara Goodkind – 5.5/6
Top Board 3 – NM John Langreck – 5.5/6
Top Board 4 – Art Zhao – 6/6

1st u2000 – Google # (Felix Hernandez-campos, Renjish Abraham, Armaan Kalyanpur, Mark Ruzon. Aaron Ball)

1st u1800 – USC Trojans (Arjun Shenoy, Nathan Porter, Joseph Timmer, Slo Setiadikurnia)

1st u1600 –
Silicon Valley Motherboards (FM Eric Schiller, Jeffrey Wei, Praveer Sharan, Kelvian Jiang, Prana Kakulumarri)

1st u1400 – Star Knighters (Ayush Athikayalya, Srihar Guduguntla, Jwalin Swah, Krishna Kurra)

Top Junior – ###### (Neel Apte, Colin Chow, Siddharth Banik, Art Zhao)

Top Family – Hui Family (Kevin Hui, Kyle Hui, Kory Hui, Ken Hui)

Top School – Mustangs ( Amit Sant, Alvin Kong, Eric Zhu, John Andrew Chan)

Best Team Names:

1st – White Tarrasch
2nd – Charlie Sheen: Up 2 Queens & Winning
3rd – Forfeit by Disconnection

The kids event was won by the NorCal House of Chess scholastic team (Seth Oprho Castro, William Sartorio, Rishabh Raj, Antara Garai), with a perfect 5/5 score.

Chief Organizer Salman Azhar took lots of photos of the event, of which I picked a select few to illustrate the many aspects of the tournament:
Hemet Chess Club vs. Forfeit by Disconnection

Post-mortems (often this involved entire teams!)


NM Samuel Sevian in deep concentration

Snacks! The yummiest aspect of any tournament

Nervous parents!

An enthusastic thumbs-up from Ted Castro, who put together the very formidable NorCal House of Chess team

Last year's winners, USC, with a completely different team that took down the u1800 prize: Slo Setiadikurnia, Joseph Timmer, Nathan Porter, Arjun Shenoy

The tournament directors: Senior TD Tom Langland, Senior TD Salman Azhar, National TD John McCumiskey (not pictured: TD Richard Koepcke)

My tournament went pretty smoothly, I led my team to second place with 5/6, stealing the only half-point from the all star board one SM Jeff Arnold. Our strategy was to have no strategy—I gave each team member full freedom to accept/decline any and all draw offers. After catching a few lucky breaks with the standings we somehow found ourselves with superb tiebreaks and finished in second place.

The tournament was really well organized and a lot of fun for everyone involved. Although there weren't very many titled players participating the event was still very competitive and the strong presence of Bay Area scholastics was intriguing to watch (there were so many rising stars in the tournament!). The location of the 2013 USATW is still yet to be announced, but one thing is certain: there will be teams and they'll have a great time.

Also see CLO reports on the US Amateur Team East, South and the video report, "Chess Openings: A Crash Course From the World Amateur Team."