Schmakelers & Mating Specialists Top North
By Betsy Dynako   
February 18, 2013
The US Amateur Team North tournament saw its largest draw in twenty years with 53 teams this year.  No doubt the reputation of Chess Weekend organizers for providing a great playing environment and being generous with prizes helped to bring in the teams, who entered from six different states with players representing ten different countries.

Team events can be fun or frustrating. After a hard fought win on his board, Brian Villarreal, a member of Another Strong Team, stated in frustration about his cohorts, "I won! They don't want to win!" 

Michael Auger of The Illini Schmakelers enjoyed his weekend more.  Auger's team included two other members of the University of Illinois team, who tied for first in the Pan-Ams; FM Eric Rosen; and Akshay Indusekar.  The fourth player was an ex-high school teammate of Auger’s, NM Sam Schmakel.  
Michael Auger congratulates his team-mate Sam Schmakel

The climax of their round-four-match against Manti Te'o's Imaginery Chess Team reminded Auger of the last round of Illinois High School Association's Team Championship three years ago when, in which the State title for their school, Whitney Young of Chicago, pivoted on the outcome of Schmakel's game.  Unfortunately, for team Manti, Schmakel won again, taking the match and securing a perfect score for his team going into the final round.
Manti Te'o's Imaginery Chess Team

The Illini Schmakelers and the WI Chess Academy teams faced off in the last round with only a half a point separating them, while TMCC: Mating Specialists and Rachel’s Knights battled on table two, hoping for WI Chess Academy to win. This outcome would allow one of their teams to tie for first, leaving it to tie break points to determine the winner.
Rachel Ulrich of Rachel’s Knights
As the final round ticked to an end, The Illini Schmakelers and the WI Chess Academy match was tied, and the winner would be determined by FM Eric Rosen's and GM Josh Friedel's game.  Rosen says Friedel was destroying him the whole game but he kept holding. 
GM Josh Friedel & FM Eric Rosen
The TMCC: Mating Specialists and Rachel’s Knights match ended in a win for TMCC, giving them a score of 4.5. This meant The Illini Schmakelers only need a draw to tie for first place. 


He did in the end after Friedel suffered a blunder.

As the tournament ended and many tired faces took to the halls to head home, teammates leaned on one another to recount their victories and defeats.  Some planned to go for beers, some wanted sleep, and others were already talking about how much better their teams would be next year. . . because there is always next year.
Co-championship team TMCC (Mating Specialist) Bd1. IM Angelo Young 2. FM Albert Chow 3. Florentino Inumerable 4. Robert Loncarevic, Photo courtesy TMCC

Top three teams
The Illini Schmakelers  4.5
TMCC: Mating Specialist  4.5
The Gorlok Express 4.0
Oppan Gorlok Style 4.0
WI Chess Academy 4.0
Lions 4.0

Best Team Name
We Always Need a Board Four
Friday night Blitz winner 
GM Denes Boros of the Webster collegiate team

Photo Gallery

WGM Anna Sharevich of Lindenwood

Darrian Robinson of U of Chicago, interviewed in our Pan-Am Chess Scoop

IM Neimer of Webster
Rachel's Knights vs. TMCC (eventual co-champs) in the final round
Best Team Name: We Always Need A 4 board
Chelsea Harper of  South Suburban Chess Club of Oak Lawn, IL.

Betsy Dynako will also contribute a report on the US Amateur Team North for Chess Life Magazine. More coverage later this week including video coverage from the East and a report on the South by Melinda J. Matthews.