Author Archives: Martin Stahl

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.

 

Open

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.

 

Reserve

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.o1513073317ohay@1513073317ssehc1513073317om.se1513073317nojne1513073317k1513073317 (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:

1…Bxf4!!

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!

Ray Gatten vs Ken Jones, 10th USCCC Prelim

Game and annotations courtesy of NM Ken Jones

Marty Phillips vs Ken Jones, 2016 Springfield Open

Game and annotations courtesy of NM Ken Jones. Round 4 of the 2016 Springfield Open held at Missouri State University.

2016 General Membership Meeting

The 2016 General Membership meeting will be held in conjunction with the Missouri Open. The meeting will be from 9:30 until 10:00 AM, prior to round 4, on December 11th, at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center, 4657 Maryland Ave., Saint Louis, MO 63108.

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