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Labor Day Madness, Part I Print E-mail
September 3, 2008
In a two-part series, CLO covers Labor Day chess Madness, with 15 Grand Prix tournaments from coast to coast. This part covers three of the most star-studded events, the Northern Californian State Champs, the New York State Champs and the New Jersey Open. Look for more from Jerry Hanken and Gary Kevin Ware from the Southern California Open tomorrow, and if you haven't already, check out Todd Andrews' report from the Tennessee Open and Tom Braunlich's from the Okie Chess Festival.

Sarkar and Lenderman on Top at New York State Champs

Steve Immitt, Alex Lenderman and Bill Townsend contributed material to this report.
Justin Sarkar and Alex Lenderman tied for first in the 130th Annual New York State Championships, held August 29th - September 1st in Albany. They both scored 5.5/6 but Alex edged Justin out on tiebreak for the trophy. Yefim Treger and Michael Thaler tied for 3rd-4th with 4.5 points.

Tournament Director Steve Immitt wrote: "This year's event was a big contrast to last year-- when we had six GMs and Hikaru played the Danish Gambit in the Big Money Game against Ibragimov!  This year, we had no GMs (there was also no 2-Day Schedule Option in the Open Section, which may have contributed to the reduction in GMs) and three IMs, among the 12 Masters in the Open Section."
Despite the less spectacular GM turn-out Sarkar and Lenderman both turned in some great wins, which you can play through below.





Check out New York State Champs final results with prize details , USCF rated tournament results and an article in the Schenectady Gazette.  

"Shanky" Takes North California State Champs
Michael Aigner gave CLO permission to print this material, originally from
fpawn.blogspot.com. Check out MSA standings and rating changes here.
Sam Shankland, Photo by Elizabeth Vicary, from her U.S. Chess School report.

The leaner and meaner FM Sam Shankland once again demonstrated that he is a primordial force to be reckoned with in Northern California chess. Although he has yet to win the CalChess Scholastics, "Shanky" can now call himself State Champion after his success over Labor Day weekend at the Golden Gateway Holiday Inn in San Francisco. He scored an undefeated 5.0 out of 6, including this refutation of the St. George's opening essayed by IM Andrei Florean. Shankland drew twice over the weekend against both of the players who tied for second place at 4.5: NM Daniel Schwarz and IM Dmitry Zilberstein. Congratulations to Sam on a successful summer that included an IM norm at the World Open, top honors at Agoura Hills, impressive wins against Grandmasters Shabalov and Erenburg, and last but not least a state title!


Final standings of Master section
  • 5.0 FM Sam Shankland
  • 4.5 NM Daniel Schwarz and IM Dmitry Zilberstein
  • 4.0 IM Andrei Florean, NM Drake Wang, NM Nicolas Yap
The weekend was marked by a slew of upsets by Northern California's pool of talented younger players against internationally titled masters. The two players that everyone expected to battle for top honors didn't even stay in contention!? GM-elect Vinay BhatSteven Zierk and Gregory Young before losing to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo sophomore NM Drake Wang. Joining the upset parade, the Bay Area's most active titled player, IM Ricardo DeGuzman, castled short against a pair of my students, losing to NM Schwarz for the second time this year before also losing to NM Zierk. Even 11 year old expert Yian Liou got into the act by beating veteran IM Walter Shipman for the first IM scalp of his young life! Considering all these upsets, perhaps the smartest person this weekend was two-time defending state champion GM-elect Josh Friedel, who wisely took a break from chess after a busy summer of tournaments. drew twice with teenage masters

The annual CalChess Labor Day Festival drew a total of 160 players in six sections and paid out the advertised prize fund of about $5,500. Organizer Richard Koepcke received assistance from CalChess President and Chief TD Tom Langland and NTD John McCumiskey. Thanks guys for a smooth and enjoyable weekend!

While I have concentrated on the Master section in this story, I wish to close by recognizing the various champions in lower divisions. Kudos to them as well!
  • Expert = Reynaldo Salvatierra and Dana Mackenzie
  • Class A = Daniel Zheng and Arun Gomatan
  • Class B = Chris Tsai
  • Class C = Harold Parker, Donovan Zhao, Albert Lin and Gabriel Ki
  • Class D/E/unr = Seid Seidov (only 6-0 score of the entire weekend)
Final standings: http://sacramentochessclub.org/weekend_events/2008laborday.htm
Photos by Richard Shorman on ChessDryad.
Photos by Michael Aigner on Flickr.

Molner cements 2400+ rating with victory at the New Jersey Open
James West and Steve Ferrero contributed to this report

The 62nd annual New Jersey Open was held at the Ramada Somerset on Labor Day weekend.  It was won by senior master Mackenzie Molner, with 5 points out of 6.  Mackenzie, who recently broke 2400 for the first time, defeated NM James West in the second round:


Steve Ferrero took a bunch of photos for CLO from the site, and also sent CLO the following game against Eve Zhurbinsky, who was one of the four young women featured on the cover of May 2008 Chess Life.

New Jersey Open Photo Gallery by Steve Ferrero
Molner holds the winner's trophy, alongside of tournament directors Ken Thomas, Noreen Davisson, and Aaron Kiede. Photo Steve Ferrero

Andrew Ding (back to camera) facing off with none other than longtime bookseller, Fred Wilson, in the Blitz Side Event (G/5) held also at the Ramada Inn in Somerset, NJ.

Mackenzie S. Molner (facing camera) vs NM James R. West. Peter Radomskyj (top)


IM Mikhail Zlotnikov vs Jennie S. Liu

Timothy Hall (hand on chin in white shirt), Victor Shen (blue shirt) playing the black pieces against Andrew Ng (looking at camera) while Alexander Ross Katz (pink shirt) watches. 

James R. West (blue striped shirt) vs David Hua. Sam Barsky (grey shirt) vs Victor Shen

Watch out for more Labor Day Madness, including reports from Jerry Hanken and Gary Kevin Ware from the Southern California Open