Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Twenty-five compete at 2011 Illinois Kick-Off

While the rest of Illinois sacked out on couches passively watching football games,  feeding their faces with re-gifted fruitcakes and nursing New Years' hangovers, 25 fearless combatants made their way to the competitive chessboard Sunday.

For the first time at a DeKalb Chess Club tournament, entrants were split into two sections and this made for some fierce competition and surprising upsets. Not an easy feat to accommodate a range of 1600 rating points as well as the various team affiliations, but it's a wonder what a little last-minute reconfiguration and modern software can do in the hands of a trained operator.

In the upper section, a four-way tie saw DeKalb club members Mark Peterson, James Freestrom and Phil Jarrette along with junior Vincent Do all wind up with 3.0 out of 4. With tie-breaking algorithms, Mark nudged out the other three and walked away with a valued copy of Van Perlo's Endgame Tactics. All four players were awarded Borders Gift Cards.

Jeremy Silman's review of Van Perlo's Endgame Tactics

Both Mark and James saw their ratings eclipse the 1700 mark and the sky is the limit for both players in 2011. The average rating of the Leaders section was a respectable 1655.

In the Legends section (under 1500), we were privileged to host a slew of talented junior players who traveled far and wide for this event. 10-year old phenom Shayna Provine eviscerated her peers with the lone perfect score of the day, 4.0/4. Shayna selected Silman's Complete Book of Chess Strategy as her prize along with a gift card.

Review of Silman's Complete Book of Chess Strategy

Not a bad day considering 1) Shayna was the first female participant in any of our four open tournaments and 2) Shayna was able to give her full energies to the all-afternoon event even after playing in a soccer game that morning (her team managed to win 8-0!).

Talented junior Hanson Ho and our own Dr. John Schaeffer tied for second, and were rewarded with gift cards for their 3.0 out of 4 efforts.

Juniors Nathan Kozinski and Niranjin Panneerselvam and stalwart Gary Sargent just missed the money with 2.5 out of 4 achievements in a fourth through sixth place tie.

Junior John Werkheiser was awarded the "keep at it" prize, a concise yet insightful tome, the Tao of Chess, to study before his next tournament. We expect great things from John down the road.

While the club tournament director's learning curve was tested, we're appreciative of the field's tolerance of his growth. We're hosting our first Saturday tournament, January 29 (same location, 30 minutes earlier for both registration and start time). Due to requests for longer time controls, the next tourney will feature three rounds of Game/60 play, which should draw some new faces. More time to ponder positions, more time to enjoy an afternoon of over the board challenges, and hopefully a few less time control jams.

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