Monday, March 25, 2013

30 Find Liberty in the Cornfields


Time is our most fleeting resource. And despite a 2011 Justin Timberlake sci-fi movie which suggests to the contrary, it cannot be replenished.

Frequent cornfield participant Sam Henderson found himself in a winning position in the final round of this weekend's Give Me Liberty! Challenge. He had the upper hand against an expert rated 341 points higher. It was in the bag... until the chess gods decided to intervene. And with a digital tic-tocking that could be heard across the tournament room, poor Sam's failure to punch his clock at a critical juncture ate away a chunk of his 45-minute allocation, leading to a loss by flag, and altering the outcome of the five-round event.

Christopher McKinney and Jim Oberweis tied for first in the 8-player Open (Smyslov) section with 4.0/5 scores. Sam still managed to claim the Under 1800 prize with a 3.0/5 score.

Aurora's Mike Flynn and Rockford's Jonathan Gaenzle along with junior Ricky Wang split the 12-player Reserve (Korchnoi) section with 3.5/5 scores. Ricky pulled the Under 1400 prize fund into the pool. Mike and Jonathan drew in the fifth round, while Ricky drew against pesky Jake Zarris of Elgin.

In the 10-competitor Booster (Seirawan) section, Indian Creek High School's Colton Ewing claimed clear first in only his second rated tournament, with a 4.0/5 score. James Zhang and rated tournament-newcomer Stephen Leung split second place, with Siddharth Sridhar claiming the Under 1000 prize.

Upset prize winners included David Black, Bill Smythe, Cliff Adams, and Paul Schmitt.

The sections were named after historic chess players with birthdays over the weekend. Former World-Champion Vasily Smyslov would have been 92 on March 24. Currently the oldest active grandmaster, Viktor Korchnoi turned 82 on March 23. Four-time US Champion and prolific author Yasser Seirawan turned 53 on Sunday.
The DeKalb Chess Club hopes to continue the tradition of chess tournaments with the May 18 amidst the cornfields with the It's a Wonderful Life Classic, honoring Director Frank Capra's birthday.

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