Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day Quandary

With Memorial Day upon us the Chicago Open is in full swing with over 520 competing. Talking over the ground level of the Westin North Shore in Wheeling, the tournament features several interesting side events as well as a room for game analysis by the entertaining and informative Grandmaster John Fedorowicz.

The games in progress and results are being beamed to the world at:
Games can be viewed in real-time... and PGN's of completed games can be downloaded. And you don't even have to leave your house during these torrential rains and loud thunderstorms we're experiencing this blustery Sunday morning.

Speaking of leaving the house, the question is whether there will be casual play on Monday at the church? Rick has asked... and I promised to email all to find out what group sentiment is. We may actually have to find an alternate location because I'm not entirely sure if the church will be open. But that might give us a chance to strut our stuff in public. Who knows what other chess folks are out there who didn't know we existed!

I nominate Culvers in Sycamore... with some good sized tables and a friendly atmosphere. Same start time, but maybe we'll cut things short when their dinner rush starts to pick up.

So leave a message here... or drop me an email. And stay safe!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Aurora-Naperville Chess Club Profiled by Tribune Online

Our chess neighbor to the east has received a write up by the web edition of the Chicago Tribune. It quotes several of the occasional participants in the club, including Alex Ding, a Waubonsie Valley High School senior, who had an incredible USCF tournament debut recently.
The 17-year old Ding played in the Downers Grove club tournament in April and won three out of four amidst an impressively tough field. His victories came against players rated 2034, 1765 and 2210 -- along with a loss versus a 2226. This left Mr. Ding with a phenomenal provisional USCF rating of 2286. Not too shabby for a first tournament, huh?

I tried to plant the seed in the reporter's notebook regarding the club's upcoming tournament, but for emphasis, I'll provide a blatant plug here:

The ANCC hosts their very first tournament, Sunday, June 5. Club Director Darin Link promises to make this an event to remember with both a scholastic section and a section for the general population.

I'm getting the hybrid chess bus gassed up and I'll be rocking it down I-88 for the 9am start time. Might even grab brunch at the Turner Club beforehand. Anyone else wanna go?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Adams Takes Route 20 CC Reserve

Cliff Adams ran a perfect 4-0 record to first place in the Reserve Section at this weekend's Route 20 Chess Club's tournament.

Cliff prevailed over a dozen other competitors, including our own Rick Andersen, who did very well himself.

The tournament was officially called the Pecatonic Octads, held at Highland Community College in Freeport.

Of course, no tournament would be complete without Cliff playing Route 20's Gary Sargent. Both were undefeated going into the fourth round before Cliff's victory.

For his efforts, Cliff's USCF rating jumped above 1300 again... and he nabbed a nifty $20 check suitable for framing. It'll just about pay for the gas if he cashes it!

Andersen went 3-1 on the day participating in a three-way tie for second. He bumpied his ranking 23 points in his quest for 1000. A few more tournaments and he's likely to hit that milestone.

DeKalb Club member Phil Jarrette tied for second in the Octad section losing a tough but fascinating second round match to Expert Glen Gratz. Good to see Phil in action again... and good seeing Mr.Gratz playing another tournament!

The Jarrette-Gratz match is profiled at the Route 20 website: Route 20 CC .

Here are the first few moves with white threatening a nasty knight fork at c7 if he can distract the queen away... but black has his own threats!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Athos, Porthos, and Aramis Compete in Evanston

The Three Musketeers we were not, but we returned to the DeKalb/Sycamore area only slightly wounded, able to fight again another day.

Cliff Adams, Rick Andersen and myself all competed in the Evanston Tri-Level this weekend and represented the DeKalb club well. 32 competitors participated overall.

Rick notched his first tournament victory in almost 15 years!

Cliff prevailed over an up and coming chess prodigy without bringing the young lad to tears! The boy's father is a 2200-rated master who tied for first in the "Gold" section.

And I managed to avenge my last round loss from the recent Freeport tournament with a last round victory over the same opponent! Vengeance is sweet!

All for one and one for all, we garnered 5.5 out of 12 points... but that's five and a half more than those of you who stayed at home generated.

Ratings-wise, I dropped 6 points, Rick dropped 6 and Cliff dropped 7... essentially a half of one percent of our previous ratings. Hardly a blip on the radar.

Next week the hybrid "chess bus" will be traveling to Freeport for their exciting Octad event... and we'll be looking for D'Artagnan to join us. All aboard!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Reyes Takes Top Rung on Club Ladder

With a hard-fought victory this afternoon over John Schaeffer, Don Reyes finally took over the top spot on our fledgling club ladder. John had been atop the pack since its inception a couple weeks ago.

For those unaware of the ladder protocol, members are allowed to challenge up to three places above their current placement. The challenged player gets to choose color. If the challenger wins, he moves directly above the loser's spot. If the challenger should lose or draw, there is no change in position.

All challenge games are subject to the touch move rule and must be timed (Game/15).

Of course, most games at our Monday & Wednesday club sessions remain truly casual. Games only count towards the ladder if a formal challenge is issued and accepted.

Newcomers join the ladder at the bottom... but paralleling newcomer Rick A's experience today, one need not remain on the bottom rung for very long. Rick has already moved near the middle of the pack on his very first day. Welcome, Rick!

Of course many members lead busy lives outside of chess. But the ladder must go on. Therefore, as of 5pm every Monday, any ladder participants who were not present that day, or either of the two previous sessions will find themselves dropped a single ladder spot. No big deal for most to make up this demotion upon return, but essential to keep the ladder fluid.

Hopefully ladder play will add just one more wrinkle to the variety offered at our club's casual play sessions. Primarily, these sessions are structured to provide participants broad exposure to different styles and skill levels.

One thing is certain: no two games will be identical.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sweet 16 Enjoy Last Saturday Competition

This weekend past was a triumph for Illinois and regional chess.

Land of Lincolners competed well in multiple events here in Northern Illinois and in nearby states.

At the Milwaukee-area Arpad ELO, former "Last Saturday" winner Brian Villlarreal tied for first (4.5/5), while Illinois' Eric Rosen won the 2001 National High School Championship held this weekend in Tennessee (7.0/7).

Expert Lawrence Cohen defeated young Alex Bian in the upper section of the Joliet Junior College Spring Quads.

In DeKalb, and nearest and dearest to the readers of this blog, Joe Guth triumphed over Phil Jarrette in a fascinating third round match. This gave Joe the victory in the six-person "Royal Wedding' section and put him over the magic 1800-mark for the first time.

Congratulations to Joe for achieving that personal milestone! 2000 is around the corner!

And thank you Phil for returning to our boards amidst the cornfields -- you've been missed!

In the "Commoners" section, DeKalb's John Schaeffer was the sole undefeated entrant among a field of ten, while Sycamore's Don Reyes took a clear second with 2.5/3.

As much as we love attracting tournaments entrants from far and wide, it's great to see DeKalb Club members walking away with the prizes!

After a 3-month hiatus, Dr. Schaeffer returned above the 1400-level with a 51 point bolstering to his rating. This marks the forth time in his seven-year USCF tournament life that he's bobbed above "C-level" (1400-1599) and places him within 9 points of his all-time high. Keep it up, John!

Don Reyes is the most experienced tournament player amongst our regular club attendees with over 100 USCF events under his belt. By virtue of his terrific showing Saturday, he climbed to within 26 rating points of his all-time high, which he achieved in 2005. Is 1400 within Don's not-too-distant future?

As we all saw early Friday morning from across the pond, even commoners can become royalty! So keep at it, John and Don!

The Royal section fielded a respectable 1656 average rating while the Commoners minion averaged 1215.

By hitting 16 entrants, we were able to split the field into dual sections, allowing for closer-matched competition. As long as we're able to attract at least that amount in the future, we'll continue to host tournaments.

It was announced that the DeKalb club would host another "Last Saturday" event June 25. This drew applause from the tournament attendees, obviously looking for something to do with their hands after an afternoon of pushing pawns in reverential silence.

At this juncture, the DeKalb event is the only Illinois tournament scheduled for that day according to the Illinois Chess Association calendar. Here's hoping for a little cross-club cooperation and a demonstrable turn out.

After hosting 7 open events in four months, the DeKalb Club will take a well-earned break for May. Hope to see you June 25.