Author Archives: Martin Stahl

2018 Missouri Class Championships

by Randy Merrell


It really began Friday night. We had a blitz (my first) and a lecture presented by Master Ken Jones. The lecture was about a position that falls outside the normal evaluation process. Something I confess I had never considered. I hope Ken will present the position on the website. Maybe all those position I misevaluated were really like this. Probably just my bad skills, but I’m blaming it on this anyway.

We had 8 entries in the blitz. Martin Stahl was nice enough to play the first round to even out the roster until Tim Blaco arrived for round 2. Tied for first and second were Ron Luther and Jason Wawrzaszek with 4.0. Wawrzaszek’s only loss was to Luther and Luther’s was to Kevin Swartz who finished in a tie for third with CJ Armenta. Everything went  smoothly.



We were almost an hour late starting the first round. Some of which (20 min) was due to the bulk of walk in registration. A lot had to do with errors, and players last minute decision to move up a class. Now my feelings about early registration discounts. Everyone benefits from early and accurate registration. Not just the tournament director. Not everyone can register early but if you can you should. I know of no tournament organizer or director that would not refund your entry fee if you notify them that you wish to withdraw the day before the tournament. Also accuracy is important. Please supply your
USCF ID number with your entry. This way identity mistakes are not likely to happen. Finally if your registering a child give the child’s name as the player with their USCF ID.
We had 74 entries about half were on site. This is a big success in a market that had been thought to max out at around 35. Many interesting and exciting games were played. The championship plaques went to the following.

In the Master Expert Section Michael Brooks and Ron Luther tied with 4.5. Brooks won the tie breaks but deferred the plaque to Luther.

Ron Luther (left). IM Michael Brooks (right), 2018 Class Master/Expert Champion

Aaron Z Lin was the top Missouri class A player and took home the plaque.


Class B had a clear first place and it was Missouri resident Matthew J Pratt.

Matthew Pratt, 2018 Class B Champion

Martin Stahl was the top class C finisher from the state.

Martin Stahl, 2018 Class C Champion

Class D also had a clear first from Missouri. Joshua Gollapudi won the plaque and the class.

Joshua Gollapudi, 2018 Class D Champion

In the U1200 section Benjamin Wenlo Xu had the only perfect 5 score of the tournament and took first and the plaque.

Benjamin Wenlo Xu, 2018 U1200 Champion



This tournament was also a success with 10 entries. A four way tie was settled on tie breaks in favor of Max Yang who took home the plaque and a gold medal, Silver went to Sachin D Kesarkar. Bronze was won by Felix Zhang. Just out of the medals but tied for first was Ramkumar Krishnan.

Max Yang, 2018 Novice Champion



Springfield Park Board Chess Club, 45 Years Strong

intro by Martin Stahl

While I only started going to events at the Springfield Park Board Chess club in 2008, I first encountered their involvement in chess during the early 90’s when attending some scholastic tourneys being ran by the club and Marty Phillips. That has only been part of a longer history of the club which has been having a resurgence in the past couple of years and looks to continue growing.

In 2011, I began helping run some events in partnership with the club and worked with them on holding a Springfield Open each year in the October time-frame (initially with a National Chess Day event in 2013). Starting in 2016 they began holding ladder games and in the latter part of 2017, Dylan Mounts resurrected the club newsletter, The Outpost.

The following comes from the October 2017 issue of the newsletter. PDF versions of The Outpost can be found on their website, which include games with annotations. You can keep track of events and happenings there or on their Facebook page:


by Roger Pagel
with editorial contributions
by Dylan Mounts

October 7 marked our second annual Senior Center Blitz Fundraiser. It’s a small way for us to show our appreciation to the Senior Center for allowing us use of their facilities. My understanding is that our club is the oldest in the state of Missouri, and for most of our history the Senior Center has been our home. It seems fitting, then, to provide a brief history of our club as told by our longest standing member, Roger Pagel:

Historically, for those who do not know, the Center was not always a Senior Center. When the Club was “given use” of this space in the 1980s at the Ray Kelly Park by the Spring-field Park Board—now called the Springfield-Greene County Park Board (note the Club has not changed its name)—it was only the back room that then dog legged to the left and was formally a police satellite station that was no longer being used.

It sometimes got crowded in such a small space. There were two window A/C units that would often blow the fuses and it had an exhaust fan the size of a large dinner plate that did little to cool the place off. It got hot excessively hot during the summer months, but we played anyway!

The Club over the years has waxed and waned in members. In the 70s chess teams were part of the club comprised of 4-6 teammates who would then play other teams. We even had team names! If memory serves, we had 6 or so teams and a small newsletter of the matches was distributed among the members.

Then in the late 80s Marty started our first ladder competition and created the newsletter, “The Informant,” later changed to “The Outpost,” which increased member-ship to well over 50 and the club thrived with members paying $1 each for each ladder game played to cover rating fees and operating expenses in addition to yearly dues, which if memory serves was $25/yr. Our treasurer then was Clarence Townsend who kept immaculate books and made sure everyone paid the $1. You knew when he app-roached you to get out your dollar! Clarence was a mainstay of the Club and should not be forgotten.

This saw our coffers soar to over $2000. This amount was used after many years of just sitting there in 2012 for a 40th anniversary tournament with 1st prize of $500 and class prizes of $100-$50. We were able to disburse enough funds to bring our account down to under $400. Since club participation then was very small it was time to disperse the funds to a more manageable size while giving back to the chess community.

And now, thanks to Afzal, who reintroduced the Ladder last year, the Club has grown to our present 40 paid members with many others showing up each week to play and/or learn the game. While the Club provides the Ladder, we like to think we provide fellowship and other forms of chess that welcomes anyone interested in the game.

Thus, we are overly grateful that when the large addition was added to the Senior Center, the Club was still welcomed to the use of the building. The Park Board still owns the park and the building, but only maintains the outside area and provides no funds to the interior maintenance. The Senior Foundation of the Ozarks (assuring seniors are provided food and community) works with the Park Board and in turn leases the building to the current Senior Center Administration. At least, that is our under-standing of the operation of the facility.

Prior to being located at the Ray Kelly Park, the Club used many Park Board facilities around the City, thus the reason the Club was named SPBCC to denote the Park Board giving the Club places to play by the founders, members of the Springfield News-Leader and SMSU faculty members. In fact, in the early 70s the Club used to meet on Saturday mornings at the Meador Park Bath House. Not the best facility to say the least, but even worse than the bath house, the Club met at Fassnight Park in an open pavilion—not ideal in bad weather or during the winter in addition to having to contend with the pigeons and their droppings!

Thus, after this lengthy recollection—most of which is accurate though some might remember it differently or explain the history with a different point of view—we have a long and rich history and wish to support the facility where we currently play.

This year’s Blitz fundraiser was a great success with first place shared by Ed Rysal, Matthew Pratt, and Roger Pagel, each with a score of 6-1. Nearly $200 was raised for the Senior Center.

2017 Class Championships Report

Student Center on the campus of St. Louis University. It is the first tournament of its kind to be held at SLU, but unlikely to be the last as the university has embraced chess with a passion. The University started a chess team in 2015, and it is already a top notch program. Under the watchful eye of coach GM Alejandro Ramirez, the team has already qualified for the collegiate chess final four.
Players squared off in 8 separate categories; Master, Expert, Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D, Under 1200, and a one day novice event for Under 1000.

Grandmaster Priyadharshan Kannappan (2595), scored 4.5 to win the Master section. It is the first time he has played in the state Class Championships despite competing for Webster’s Championship winning University team for several years running. GM Kannappan attended the event as a warm up for a grueling schedule of events ahead. “ I have a bunch of tournaments coming up”, he said, “I wanted to test out some new openings” The GM is planning on playing in six tournaments through Mid-August, including the Aviator Open in Dayton and a 10 player closed tournament, among others.


Benjamin Shoyket (1963) (pictured left with TD), scored 3.5 to win first place in the expert section. With a single loss to GM Kannappan, and a draw to Susanna Ulrich, Benjamin “played up” and scored several upsets to be able to grab the section championship.







Will Nesham (1950) (pictured right) won the Class A section with 4.5 points. Will’s performance was so dominant, that his only draw came against Iris Zhou (1894), who ended up taking clear 2nd in the section. Nesham said the tournament featured a change in his opening selection. “I actually played some queen pawn openings and I have never played queen pawn in tournaments. I played online to get practice in case of transpositions. I want to play d4, but I really like e4”, he said.





Coming in just behind Nesham in the Class A section was local Iris Zhou. Zhou credited her success to following her instincts. “I was trusting my calculations”, she said. “I also worked on my openings. In my games in this tournament I worked on paying more attention to my pawn structure.”

Aleksey Kazakevich, (1777) won the B Class State Championship with 4.0/5.0. After winning three straight games on Saturday, Kazakevich held on to his lead Sunday with two hard fought draws. The victory boosts him back in Class A. “I’ve been doing tactics every day for the last five months”, he said. “I beat Paul Goddard thanks to tactics. It was looking completely drawn but I was able to find something.”
Also notable in B class was 2nd place finisher Kevin Banas. Kevin entered near the bottom of the rating chart at (1554) due to playing up. His 3.5/5 effort gave him a share of 2nd place money and nearly 100 rating points!


Chris Shelton, a second year law student at Mizzou, broke away from his studies to play some chess, and took home the Class C plaque and title. After a first round draw, Chris (pictured right), ran off four consecutive wins to end 4.5/5 and take the title. “I’ve been studying openings a lot lately”, said Chris, “and didn’t get any of them on the board this weekend!” One of his games featured a rare, under promoted knight, that pulled a losing game back to even. He went on to win that game on his way to the title.
Matthew Manley (1508) took clear 2nd in that section. Matthew sat in a tie for 1st going into the last round, but a family event meant he had to accept a planned 1/2pt bye and leave his final standing to fate. While it cost him the chance for the state title, his final score of 4/5 remains something to be proud of.


The Class D tournament ended with the most drama. As the final round started, literally all 6 players in the round robin section still had a chance at a prize! It would be Randy Engleby (1205) from Kansas that ended up atop the pack. Randy enjoyed the 1st place prize money, but as he wasn’t a Missouri resident, the State Title remained up for grabs. Ken West (1200) and Anuraag Pujari (1030) ended with 3 points each and were named Co-Champions for Class D. Ken West (pictured left), got the honor and glory of hoisting the plaque, as his tiebreaks and head to head victory over Pujari granted him the hardware.



Vishnu Aran of Columbia (pictured right) won the final section in the two day main event. With 4.5 points, he boosted his rating from 1112 to 1239 while grabbing the Under 1200 title. Jacob Sanders, one of the lowest rated players in the section, came from the bottom of the rating chart to score 4.0 and gain over 100 rating points and the 2nd place prize money as well.







The Missouri Chess Association also hosted the one day Novice Championship. This shorter time control event was perfect for new and lower rated players looking for serious tournament chess against equal competition. The section drew 43 players, including an amazing 17 new players! We hope many of those go on to play in future events around Missouri.

The section ended with two perfect scores. Joshua Fundler and Jason Woolem each ended perfect, with 4/4. Fundler improved his pretournament rating of 989 to 1054, while Woolem jumped from 998 to 1036. Both players earned the Missouri Novice Championship title, but it was Fundler who got to take home the plaque thanks to better final tiebreaks.

2017 Missouri Open Results

by Randy Merrell

Eighty chess players attended the 2017 Missouri Open Chess Championship held at Unity Village Missouri. Amazingly exactly forty in each section.Thanks to a $500 donated guaranteed first place prize the tournament qualified for the Grand Prix circuit with 6 Grand Prix points. All rounds started within just a few minutes of the advertised time. The Unity Village Hotel was praised as a wonderful venue. The only problem I’m aware of was the proximity of the tables to the air conditioning vents. We eventually found a way to correct the issue.



Boards one and two in the open section held everyone’s attention. In the fourth round a draw with Abhishek Mallela put IM Michael Brooks within reach. Master Ken Jones win over Ron Luther setup the final board one match. However a win by Brooks over Jones, and Ron Luther’s draw with Abhishek Mallela on board two put Brooks over the top for the championship.



Ryan Duan dominated the Reserve section. Finishing a half point out front with a perfect 5.0. Because he elected to enter ineligible for prizes 1st place money went to Xueyi Chen. The first Missouri player was Wesley Willis who won the championship plaque and a share of second place with 4.0 score. Losing only to Cael Province who also took part of the 2nd place prize, along with Charles Carlson.


Pairing Number Name Cash Non-Cash Prize Prize Credited to Pool
1 MICHAEL A BROOKS (4.5/2390) 500 Plaque Place: 1 – $500
20 JONATHA GOLLAPUDI (4.0/1810) 125 U2000/1 – $125
2 ABHISHEK MALLELA (4.0/2228) 125 Place: 2 – $250
6 SAMUEL ISA FOWLER (4.0/2091) 125
30 BRYCEN M PARKER (3.0/1693) 100 U1800/1 – $100
Pairing Number Name Cash Non-Cash Prize Prize Credited to Pool
13 XUEYI CHEN (4.5/1450) 200 Place: 1 – $200
8 CAEL DOU PROVINCE (4.0/1491) 34 Place: 2 – $100
7 WESLEY DAL WILLIS (4.0/1506) 34 Plaque
10 CHARLES W CARLSON (4.0/1472) 34
18 KEN WEST (3.0/1200) 100 Class D/1 – $100
20 ACHILLES B MILLER (3.0/1158) 34 Class E/1 – $100
19 CELINA ZHOU (3.0/1183) 34
29 THOMAS WEI (3.0/1036) 34
38 CRAIG A GUSTAFSON (2.5/0) 100 U1000-Unr/1 – $100

USCF Tournament Crosstable (link)

Here are some games from the event:

Round 4: NM Kenneth Jones (annotator) vs NM Ron Luther

Round 5: IM Michael Brooks vs NM Kenneth Jones (annotator)

2017 MCA BOD Election Results

Election results are in. Here are the BOD representatives for each region, effective September 1st, 2017 until August 31st 2019.


Region I:

  • Ken West
  • Bob Howe
  • Thomas Rehmeier

Region II:

  • Ken Jones
  • Randy Merrell
  • Bruce Cantwell

Region III:

  • Martin Stahl
  • Nick Beatty
  • Jonathan Cannon

Full election details will be posted under Governance Reports in the near future.

2017 Mid-America Open — Hunter Hunted

Below is a game and a couple of game snippets presented by NM Ron Luther from the 2017 Mid-America Open in Saint Louis


Round 1: NM Ron Luther vs GM Elshan Moradiabadi


Round 2: FM Tansel Turgut vs NM Ron Luther


Round 4: NM Ron Luther vs Gopal Menon

2017 MCA Board of Directors Election

The ballots to select board members for for 2017-2019 have been mailed out. Please keep an eye out and be sure to return your selections to the Election Commissioner, postmarked by June 26th, 2017.


Remember to only vote for board members in your region and up to three members can be selected; write-ins welcome.  Your mailing label will include the region for your address:

  • Region 1: ZIP Codes 630xx, 631xx and 633xx
  • Region 2: ZIP Codes 640xx, 641xx
  • Region 3: The remaining Zip Codes in the state


One candidate was accidentally left off the ballot for Region 3, so if you would like to vote for that candidate you can use the write-in option. Below are the registered candidates, along with a short statement, if one was provided.


Region 1

  • Bob Howe
  • Thomas Rehmeier
  • Ken West
  • Jason Clark

Region 2

  • Randy Merrell: “I have served the MCA as Election commissioner, Treasurer, Bulletin Editor, and Tournament Organizer / Director* during the years leading up to 2003. In 2003 I was promoted to Sr. Engineering Technician for Honeywell FM&T and transferred to Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos NM. Then in 2009 I retired with 30 years of service to Honeywell. I have returned to Lee’s Summit, MO and am currently serving on the Board. I am the organizer for 2017 Missouri Open in the Kansas City area. *(Assistant TD 2001 & 2003 Missouri Class, 2002 Missouri Open, 2002″
  • Ken Jones: “I have served on the Board for the last 2 years and believe we are making progress in our goal  of promoting chess throughout the state and would like to continue that mission.”

Region 3

  • Nick Beatty: “Thank you for considering me for the MCA Board. If selected, I’ll do my best to foster a positive environment for chess to thrive in the Springfield area.”
  • Martin Stahl: “Hello, I’m Martin Stahl from Joplin, MO. Over the past few years I have been running tournaments in the Joplin and Springfield areas. I look forward to continuing to promote chess in Region III and the rest of the state by continuing to serve on the MCA board. Thank you for your support.”

2017 Board of Directors Nominations

Missouri Chess Association members are invited to submit nominations for the election for the MCA Board of Directors. Nominees must be residents of the state of Missouri, 16 years or older (as of April 15th) and current MCA members.


If elected, nominees would serve a two year term, beginning on September 1, 2017. Self-nominations are welcomed and encouraged.


Board Members are expected to be current MCA members, attend board meetings (currently 4 times per year, most via Skype, but potentially in Columbia) and the general membership meeting at the Missouri Open.


The deadline for nominations is May 1, 2017. Election ballots will be mailed out by June 1 to MCA members in good standing as of May 1, 2017.


Send your nominations, along with a short bio and picture to: Ed Baur, Election Commissioner, 7138 Lindenwood, Saint Louis, MO 63109 or email them to moc.o1550513886ohay@1550513886ssehc1550513886om.se1550513886nojne1550513886k1550513886 (MCA Secretary) . Nominations must include the nominee’s name and region (or mailing address).

The Dread of Discovered Checks

by Ken Jones

One of the most powerful and most feared weapons in chess is the discovered check.  I suspect the fear comes from the helplessness one feels as the rampaging piece does its business to destroy your position.  A extreme example of this is the “windmill” series of discovered checks from this famous game:

C. Torres Repetto-Em. Lasker, Moscow 1925

White had just played 1. Bg5-f6! uncovering an attack on the Queen, which gave Black no choice:

1…Qxh5 2. Rxg7+ Kh8 3. Rxf7+ Kg8 4. Rg7+ Kh8 5. Rxb7+ Kg8 6. Rg7+ Kh8 7. Rg5+ Kh7 8. Rxh5

 and White soon converted his material advantage.  One would not have to endure very many of these situations to develop a natural aversion to the discovered check!  But, as Reti noted, in chess we value the exception rather than the rule.  In the following examples, by reacting instinctively (fearfully) to the threat of discovered check, the opportunity to show an exception was missed.

M. Adams (2751)-S. Sethuraman (2637), Gibraltar 2017

White had just captured a N on d7, expecting (due to the threat of discovered check) to pick up the now loose Be5 (and this is in fact what happened in the game.)  Later Black pointed out what both Grandmasters had missed:


The exquisite point being that while White can win the Queen, he will lose the game:

2. Rc7+ Bd7! 3. Rxc8+ Rxc8


and White cannot save his Queen and meet the threat of 4…Rc1+.

N. Vardan (2079)-M. Gomes (2302), London 2016

Black has been trying to find a way to promote the b2-pawn for over 60 moves but the lack of protection around her King has made it problematic.  She just played 1…Be5, setting up the discovered check.  White stepped out of it with the obvious 2. Kh1 and soon had to resign.  The missed opportunity was:


2. Qxe5! b1=Q 3. Qh5+!


when Black will have to acquiesce to either perpetual check or stalemate.


The final example is from one of my own games:

K. Jones (2213)-R. Haring Orton (1954), US Open 2016

After the correct 1. bxc4! Re2+ 2. Kg3?? I was unable to win the game.  Given the theme of this article, can you see what I missed?


I should’ve walked into the discovered check with 2. Kf1!!

Position after 2. Kf1!!

Black’s Bishop is doubly attacked, so that after a discovered check I can capture it with one Rook while protecting the other.  Meanwhile, the Bishop cannot move away from guarding his own Rook, so it is lost anyway.


I hope this article will encourage you to look beyond the obvious in your own games!

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