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Labor Day Madness Part I: From San Diego to Tulsa Print E-mail
September 6, 2012
“Labor Day Madness” is CLO's yearly compilation of state Championships and Grand Prixs held over Labor Day Weekend. Our first installment includes reports from the Southern California Open, the Colorado Open, the Okie Chess Festival, the New Jersey Open and the New England Open. Look for the final installment early next week, including coverage of the US Masters, (which GM Giorgi Margveslashvili won), which was held in conjunction with the North Carolina Open. 

Southern California Open: Bryant on Top

By Randy Hough

Southern California again held its Open Championship, the 34th, at the beautiful Crown Plaza in San Diego’s Mission Valley (described by organizer Chuck Ensey in the August Chess Life). 160 total participants included players from the LA area, Arizona, a few Northern Californians, and even one from Connecticut.

The 46-player Open section was strong, but not so much as 2011’s. GMs Varuzhan Akobian and Melik Khachiyan are busy at the Olympiad, and IM Roman Yankovsky didn’t play this time.  FM John Bryant, who earned a norm at the World Open in July and tied for first in the US Open last month
emerged on top in an exciting finish.
John Bryant playing against Victor Shen in the 2011 US Junior,
Photo STL Chess Club

Leading with 4½ of 5, Bryant faced Kazakh IM Zhanibek Amanov, who lives in Los Angeles. A topical line of the Sozin Najdorf led to some sharp tactics in which Amanov may have made the wrong choice.


Bryant avoided the previously played 21…f6, but it appears that 23.Ne2 Qxd4+ 24.Nxd4 Kxg7 25.Nxc6 gives White great chances with two pieces for a rook. Instead, Amanov sacked the Exchange for three queenside passers, but doubled rooks on the seventh enabled Black to force a draw (41.Kh3 h5+ followed by …Rd8 stops the pawn and leaves only Black with winning chances).
Attention then turned to boards two and three to see if anyone could catch the leader.

IM Tim Taylor’s game against local high school star Kyron Griffith (who had earlier drawn with Bryant) evolved into a drawn rook versus knight and pawn ending. Local WFM Shirin Navabi, fresh off an upset of 2369-rated Ron Bruno, couldn’t hold a rook versus rook and bishop ending against IM Enrico Sevillano. This left Bryant $2600 richer and Sevillano, Amanov, Griffith, Taylor, and Varun Krishnan (the nation’s sixth-rated 14-year-old, who drew Sevillano in Round 2 and upset FM Alexander Kretchetov in the finale) tied for second.

Bryant’s favorite game was his Round 5 win over Taylor. Full disclosure: the computer finds it uneven at best, with White squandering an early advantage in an unusual variation of Alekhine’s Defense, getting the worst of it with a strange king maneuver, but finally cashing in on a time pressure blunder (31…Bd4 is equal) to weave a mating net.


Taylor’s favorite win, in Round 3, was in turn imperfect. 33.Rxf7 won the game in a time scramble, but should have lost to 33…Rh1+ 34.Kf2 Qc1!


A more smoothly contested game among the leaders featured Sevillano and Griffith in Round 4. Enrico, recently earned his third GM norm, and his title was just approved at the FIDE Congress in Istanbul (pending General Assembly approval). On a grimmer note, Enrico had his right arm in a sling and is facing surgery because of a recent auto accident. Young Griffith plays accurately against Sevillano’s favorite Alapin Sicilian and a perpetual is the fair result.


Incidentally, Kyron had faced the same opening in the first round game: 10.Nxa7+? Kb8, when best play is  11.Bxd4 Qe4+ 12.Be2 Rxd4 13.cxd4 Qxg2 14.Bf3 Bb4+ 15.Ke2 Bg4 and Black wins.

Among the also-rans was the second seed, Mexican IM Dionisio Aldama, winner of the 2nd LA International two weeks prior. He romped through the first three rounds in the Game/60 schedule, but then lost to Taylor and Griffith. Under 2300 and Under 2200 honors were split by Navabi, Romeo Ignacio, Marian Nick Nita, and Vanessa West. Class section winners included Kenneth Xu and Michael Taylor (Under 2000), Boris Kitapszyan (Under 1800), Dante Peterson and Jerry Cupat (Under 1600), and Darryl Woodson and 23rd-seeded Kevin Yang (Under 1400).

Thanks to Chuck Ensey and Chief TD Bruce Baker for another great Open! San Diego will be hosting another big tournament on Presidents Weekend in February; hope to see you there!

Alexander Katz Wins New Jersey Open

15-year-old Alexander Katz won clear first at the New Jersey Open. His pivotal win was his final round game against IM Dean Ippolito:


Katz told CLO “ An interesting moment occurred during the game when Ippolito offered me a draw on move 17, just out of the opening. Normally with black against a much higher-rated player, a draw would be a favorable result. However, given the tournament, I had to play for the win. Fortunately, due to the opposite-side castling, we had a double-edged position that gave both sides winning chances. After Ippolito's oversight of 22...Qe3, my position was already winning as I had a material advantage and his pieces were completely paralyzed. A few moves later, the game was won, and Shen lost his game to Rubenchik, giving me clear first and the title :)”
2012 Colorado Labor Day Chess Festival

By Jerry Maier, Chief TD
Yermolinksy with an enthusiastic simul participant

The 2012 Colorado Labor Day Chess Festival was held in Englewood, CO, at the newly renovated Sheraton in the Denver Tech Center -it was a huge success.  Comprised of three tournaments and a couple of side events, the festivities began Friday, August 31, with GM Alex Yermolinsky (a.k.a. “Yermo”) giving a 26-player Simul.

Three of Colorado’s Scholastic players drew GM Yermolinsky: Justin Alter, Jason Loving and Rhett Langseth. Here is Rhett Langseth 's game against Yermo.  


Rhett had mate in six (42. Rc8+ Kg7 43. Rxf7+ Kxg6 44. Rg8+ Kh5 45. Rxf5+ Nxf5 46. Bf7+ Kxh4 47. Rg4#), but with only a few players left, Yermo was coming around too quickly for Rhett to sort through it, so he took the perpetual.

Phillip Ponomarev went a perfect 6.0 to take the title of CO Quick Chess Champion. The CO Open was won by GM Yermolinsky with a score of 4.5.  However, since the title of CO State Champion goes to a Colorado resident, the title went to National Master Michael Ginat, who scored 4/5 and won the title on tie-breaks over Brian Wall and James McCarty. Find full crosstables on MSA.

There were three side events on Sunday: a Chess devotional with CSCA President Paul Covington who led a small group in reflection on spiritual matters and how it related to their chess activities, Yermo gave a lecture regarding stalemate and then fielded questions from the audience, and there was the annual Colorado State Chess Association membership meeting.  It was a full weekend and the highlight was our guest of honor, Yermo.  Players and staff were impressed by Yermo’s graciousness, humbleness, approachability and fun-loving spirit which shone through whether he was playing in an event, or just hanging out and relaxing.  

As the Chief TD, I am privy to some comments that players don’t always hear themselves, but sometimes they bear repeating.  For instance, Yermo, while pointing to a photo of him and Justin Alter, taken after the youngster drew the GM, commented quite succinctly and knowingly,   “That kid-is good!”  Master Ginat, while referencing a popular local player, said with deliberate pauses, “"He has a definite style...Pawn to c6… I love those slimy pawn moves."  I have never thought of pawns as slimy per se, but it does conjure an image.

The TD staff overcame obstacles as quickly as possible and provided an overall smooth experience for the players. Players commented that, “ It was a truly excellent tournament, and I had a blast! Excellent planning and execution! Loved the tournament site, playing location, great rates on the hotel rooms, great prizes, great advertising, and great special events (simul, side events, etc).”

It is that kind of positive feedback that makes it all worthwhile, and lets the Organizer and TD staff know that their hard work and sacrifice, much of which happens behind the scenes, really paid off.  We hope to see you next year at this annual event.  Please bring a friend or two!
Bughouse and A Round-Robin at the Okie Chess Festival

By Tom Braunlich

The 8th Annual Okie Chess Festival continued its tradition of experimenting with new combinations of formats, and this year featured an 8-player “open round robin” and a Bughouse Pizza Blitz along with the Swiss sections.

The round robin this time was not invitational. Instead, we opened it to the top eight rated players who came and who wanted to play for its separate prize fund rather than in the Swiss. Not all who were eligible choose to do so, because byes are not allowed in the RR, and thus all had to commit to the tough schedule of seven full rounds in three days. Still, it was a strong tournament with a 2130 average rating, hard-fought, and ably won by Texas FM Michael Langer.



The Bughouse tournament (replacing our usual Fischer-Random Blitz) was quite successful, with 10 teams, but what really surprised me was that several players came long distance — from as far away as Iowa — just to play in it alone, without also playing in the main tournament! From talking to them, it is clear that Bughouse isn’t just for kids; that there are many adults who enjoy the unique and lively challenges of good Bug matches, and it isn’t unusual for them to drive all day to play in relatively small Bug events if they can find some good competition there. The winners were teams from Kansas City and Iowa.

The enthusiasm of such players makes me wonder when someone will take the step of organizing a true stand-alone bughouse national championship (rather than piggybacking such an event onto a major regular tournament). The National Open and the U.S. Amateur East are currently two that are known for having the best Bug side-tournaments. But could a dedicated championship draw enough players — say, 100 teams — to make such an event stand by itself? After talking with these fanatical Bug Addicts, it seems to me it could work if the vision and planning matched the passion of the fans. Imagine a two-day 15-round double-Swiss among 100 or more hardcore teams! That would be a sight to see. (For more on the variant, see the popular CLO interview with bug wizard Kazim Gulamali.)

The Open Section of the Okie Chess Festival was won by expert Anthony Paolercio of Tulsa, with 6/7 points, who bested veteran NM Bill Orton of Arkansas in the key matchup. Kenny Lin was clear 2nd, while Class A prizes went to Dr. Michael Nugent, Chuck Johnson and Terry Wright; and Class B honors fell to 10-year-old Howard Zhong (who won the U.S. Open B-prize last month), and Jeff Colbert.

The Reserve Section was topped by Istvan Szabad, and Zile Cao, both with 5.5/7.  K. Nimkar, of Kansas, won the C prize and the D prize was split between two other Jayhawks: D. Fouard and A. Mishra.

Zile, a 10-year-old youngster from Norman, Oklahoma, gained over 250 points with this fine showing. Of course I attribute his success to the fact he was my Bughouse partner!
The Festival was organized by me, directed by Bill Broich of Iowa, with assistance by Frank K. Berry and Mike Crockett; at the Trade Winds Central Hotel in Tulsa.

Three-Way Tie at the New England Open

By Doc Kinne  

IM David Vigorito
Over the Labor Day weekend the New England Open, and associated side events, were held in Leominster, MA. After a tough battle lasting three days, the defending title holder, International Master Igor Foygel, was defeated by a triad of 2012 New England Champions: USCF Life Senior Master Denys Shmelov, International Master David Vigorito, and International Master Jonathan Yedidia - all Boylston Chess Club members!

Combined, the New England Open Championship had 162 players battling for the New England Open Championship title, class titles, scholastic titles, and the 2012 New England Blitz Championship title.   The Open Section  was FIDE-rated as the tournament was directed by FIDE Arbiter, and the New England Chess Association President, Robert Messenger. He was aided by National Tournament Director George Mirijanian.

Find full USCF rated results on MSA- Note that Woman Candidate Master Natasha Christiansen received her highest rating in 14 years and is on her way to breaking through the 2000 barrier  soon.

The 2012 New England Blitz Championship, a 10 round tournament drawing a respectable 18 players, was won by USCF Life Master Vadim Martirosov who gained a decisive 9/10 points, fully 1.5 points ahead of 2nd place winner 1st Category Frank Wang.  

All in all the 72nd New England Championship was a great success and a wonderful way for New England to start off its Fall chess season!

New England Chess Legend FIDE Master John Curdo plans his moves at the 72nd 2012 New England Open in Leominster, MA

See a version of this article on the Boylston Chess Club blog.

September - Chess Life Online 2012

Liao Represents in California Match PlayCaruana Dominating Grand Slam Final at HalftimePlaying Like a Girl at NorCal House of Chess Nakamura Even at the Grand Prix [VIDEO]Naroditsky and Shankland Top 3rd Imre Konig MemorialUS Chess League: Week Three Highlights Greg on Chess: Time Controls in the US World Chess Grand Prix London launched in grand styleThe September Check is in the Mail US Chess League: Week Two Highlights An Expert and a Chess Mom Tackle The US Masters Texas Tech University Computer Center Helps USA Chess Team2013 Annual Samford Fellowship Announced A Different Type of Grandmaster Analysis: The Sports Quotient Breakfast Like A Grandmaster in Istanbul Labor Day Madness Part II: From North Carolina to Illinois US Chess League 2012: Opening Week HighlightsPresident's Final Report from Istanbul American Olympiad Ends on High NoteCostly Penultimate Round for the U.S. in IstanbulZonal President’s Report from FIDE Congress in Istanbul – Part 2U.S. Wins Dramatic Match Over Russia to Tie For LeadUS Defeats Russia in Olympiad!Labor Day Madness Part I: From San Diego to Tulsa Ruth Haring on the 83rd FIDE Congress in Istanbul Americans on the Orient Express in Rounds 7 and 8Chess Life Bonus: Author Interview with Jennifer DuBois World Champ Viswanathan Anand Visits Los Angeles83rd FIDE Congress in Istanbul: A Perspective from Walter Brown Day Three at the FIDE Congress: From Chess-In-The-Schools to Ethics US at the Halfway Mark: Avoiding Death by 1000 Cuts in Istanbul Day Off at the Olympiad, Game On at the FIDE Congress83rd FIDE Congress Begins in Istanbul 2012 US Masters Underway in North Carolina