Category Archives: Tournament Reports

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)

2016 CCSCSL Championship

Used by permission of Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis; originally posted at http://saintlouischessclub.org/blog/2016-club-championship-five-survive

2016 CCSCSL Championship

2016 Club Championship: Five Survive

by Jonathan Schrantz

The 2016 Club Championship was the biggest Championship in Club history in every way imaginable with a record number of participants, a record number of Grandmasters, and a record number of Club Champions! Fifty-six players, including five Grandmasters (GM) and six other titled players, came out this year to compete for the title of Club Champion. All five Grandmasters that came had hopes of becoming the Champion, but nobody had expected that all five of them would be crowned this year in an unprecedented five-way tie. The five winners were Alex Shimanov, Illia Nyzhnyk, Yaroslav Zherebukh, Priyadharshan Kannappan, and Denes Boros.

The winner of the Club Championship is forever immortalized at the Club by having their name engraved on the prestigious Club Championship trophy. The trophy sits on the second floor of the Chess Club  on the trophy case and towers in size over the other trophies on display. The Club Championship also comes with a prize fund of $3,000 unconditionally guaranteed.

Heading into the final round the chief arbiter, FA Mike Kummer, joked about the possibility of a five-way tie but it required a series of improbable results that all came to fruition. There were draws on boards one and two between the Grandmasters entering the fourth and final round with three points. Kannappan and Shimanov drew as did Boros and Shimanov. Nyzhnyk, who was trailing the leaders by half a point coming into the last round, was able to beat IM Michael Brooks in the final round bringing the five tournament favorites to a score of 3.5/4 each.

While it may not come as a surprise to many that the Grandmasters had the best tournament result, more than one GM had to struggle in the early rounds against significantly lower-rated opponents. Of note, Ben Shoykhet (rated 1783) had a winning position against GM Priyadharshan Kannappan in the first round and, after the game, the Grandmaster admitted that he was spending a lot of time during the game deciding if he should offer a draw. Unfortunately for Shoykhet, the crafty and resourceful GM was able to pull off a major comeback and win the game.

Congratulations to all of the winners this year and thank you to everyone that came out and made the event so successful and entertaining. Our next tournament will take place on National Chess Day, which falls on October 8 this year.

2-On-2 Team Championship 2016

No team had a perfect 3.0 score and three teams tied for first with 2.5 points in the 2-on-2 Team Championship Saturday, June 18 at the Chess Club & Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.

Under the set-up both players would have to win for a complete point for the team. However several individual players did have perfect scores but the team score determined the final standings.

The three teams taking the top spot and $83.33 (to be split by the team members) were the Kansas City Chess Club (Kenneth Fee Jr., 1865, and Franklin Whitsell, 1777), Space Monkey Mafia (Danny Machuca, 1858, and Iris Zhou, 1718), and Baby Bears (Tom Polgar Shutzman, 2134, and Rakshana Sundara, 1314).

Kansas City Chess Club and Space Monkey Mafia faced off in the final round. Zhou beat Whitsell but Fee beat Machuca as the teams tied.

“Iris sacked her queen and got one rook and two knights,” Whitsell said. “And her two knights had outposts in the middle of the board.”

Asked why the two made the journey to the River City to play, Fee said, “It’s a happening place.”

“We like the team concept,” Fee said. “Franklin and I travel a lot to tournaments and we don’t like to play each other.”

Mike Kummer (1799) performed double duty directing the tournament and playing with Teo Quijada (1758) on the team Mega Men.

Kummer called it a “fun tournament.”

“It’s good to see the camaraderie between the team mates,” he said.

Among the clever team names was Al About That Bass, featuring Al Howlett and Keith Bass. Honwlett said Bass didn’t get it until he played the song “All About That Bass” for him. They also split $60 for their winning effort. The Naples Knights were a team from Florida, presumably Naples (Tony Burrus, 1878, and Dylan Flegel, 841). Michael Pugachev, 1082, and Leonardo Ludaescher, 828, comprised the team, Turtle Power! (Two of the Teenage Mutant Teenage Turtles are named Michelangelo and Leonardo.)

Three teams each won $13.33. Those teams were the Terrible Toddlers (Grant Johnson, 1293, and Aidan Johnson, 1292), Cloud Nine (Steven Evans, 1684, and Jason Woolem, 540), and Booooooo (Santosh Ramakrishnan, 683, and Prakash Ramakrishnan, 614).


Full tournament crosstable: http://www.uschess.org/msa/XtblMain.php?201606184582

Show Me Classic 2016

Three players scored a perfect 4.0 to tie for first in the Show Me Classic at the Chess Club & Scholastic Center Saturday, May 28.

However, one of the three stands out. Corey Axelson of St. Louis played in his first classic tournament and went undefeated to go from unrated to a provisional rating of 2253.

Axelson, 24, said he played high school chess at Parkway Central a few years ago but has been coming to the chess club the past two months. He has been taking lessons from club chess instructor Danny Machuco (1859). Student beat teacher in the third round. Axelson also took down Tim Nesham (1751) in the second round.

Also tying for first were Bob Holliman (2205) of Kansas City and Tom Gaul, of Iowa. Gaul beat William Nesham (1994) in the last round to tie for the top spot.

Kansas City master Ron Luther (2200) finished just behind them at 3.5 in another teacher vs. pupil match. Vikram Arun (1962) and Luther battled to a draw in the last round and a tie in the standings. Arun won the class A section with the draw. For Arun it was his first tournament in two years.

“My play is better than it has been,” Holliman said. “I did a better job of making my opponents come up with bad ideas, which I usually do,” he said, laughing.

Tournament Director Jonathan Schrantz had been shooting for 50 players for the one-day tournament over the holiday weekend. When Saturday morning hit, he more than surpassed that number.

“It was a frenzy,” he said. “We had 25 people show up at the last minute. We weren’t sure we would be able to get everyone in the tournament hall.”

The reason for the numbers: Several young players. Of the 73 players, 24 had triple digit ratings. And many did not just roll over. Praveen Chakinala of Missouri scored three points, good for 17th place, and boosted his rating from 818 to 992.


Full tournament crosstable: http://www.uschess.org/msa/XtblMain.php?201605285892

2015 CCSCSL Thanksgiving Open Recap

Grandmaster Alex Shimanov (2639) came into the Thanksgiving Open as the top-rated player and ended it with 5.5 points out of six games and first-place prize money of $1,500. GM Ashwin Jayaram (2614) and Shimanov drew in the third round and Jayaram came in second with 5, good for the $1,000 second-place prize. Jayaram and GM Benjamin Finegold (2588) drew in round 5. Finegold finished with 4.5 points, good for third place and $800.

However, in the under 2000 section the top rated player did not come in first. Eric Hoffner (1653 before the event began) swept the field winning all six of his games to pick up first place, $1,000 and a post-tournament rating of 1871. He took out three players rated higher than 1800 and two rated higher than 1900.

Hoffner, of St. Louis, said it was his best result in a standard tournament although he has gone undefeated in quad tournaments. Playing white he focused on e4 openings.

“I was trying to play more gambits this time,” Hoffner said. One line included the delayed wing gambit against the Sicilian. “As black I played the Dragon and in the last game I played the center counter.”

For his e4 and Dragon lines he said he watched videos on chess.com.

“I played the center counter because that’s what my computer plays against me,” he said.

This year’s tournament format changed this year to only two sections, the Open and Under 2000.

“We figured with the Open being FIDE rated more of those players would want higher quality games,” said Mike Kummer, the tournament director.

He also said the turnout of just under 100 players was nearly perfect.

“If we had over 100 not everybody would have got to play in the tournament hall and boardroom,” Kummer said. “It was a good turnout with a lot of prize winners. Over a third of the field won prizes.”

A time control of an hour and 30 minutes with a 30-second increment created several exciting games. One such game was Saturday nights round 4 matchup between Kansas City IM Michael Brooks (2437) and IM Priyadharshan Kannappan (2564). Kannappan tried to win with his rook and bishop against the rook and pawn held by Brooks. The game lasted nearly six hours before the game ended in a draw.

Kannappan also posted on Facebook about one of his other games, his round 5 game against WFM Hulkar Tohirjonova (2250), which he lost. He said he played the rating more than the board and that it cost him. Tohirjonova came in fourth and pocketed $625.

NM Matt Larson (2319) of St. Louis tied for fourth and also scored $625.

In the Under 2000 section following Hoffner were Harper Evan Smith (1928) of St. Louis and Joshua Arden Campbell (1885) who each finished with 5 and each won $475. Tying for for fourth were Behrooz Vakil (1880) and Todd Plagemann (1981) with 4.5 points good for $100 each.

2015 Missouri Class Championships

Used by permission of Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis; originally posted at http://saintlouischessclub.org/blog/state-championships-break-century-mark-1st-time

State Championships Break Century Mark for 1st Time

Attendance at the Missouri Novice and Class Championship broke the century mark for the first time this year as 124 players competed for the chance to become a state champion between the two events. The winner of each class was awarded a plaque and earned the right to call themselves a Missouri State Champion. The extra participants meant exciting chess, a blitz playoff, and a controversial last round ruling in the Class E section.

The Missouri Novice Championship, a four round tournament, took place on Saturday, June 7. Two players tied for first with a perfect 4/4 score and there was a remarkable nine way tie for third. Owen Hill (unrated) and Austin Roth (950) were the only two to win all of their games and a blitz tiebreaker was used to determine who would go home with a plaque and the title of Missouri Novice Champion.

Roth won the coin toss and selected the White pieces for the five minute blitz game. It was the first time either player had ever sat down to play an over-the-board blitz game and they were both anxious and excited. The game was an up and down affair that could have gone either way until White hung mate in one and Hill became the 2015 Missouri Novice Champion.

“That was pretty intense,” Hill said after the game.

Hill played a nice attacking game in the third round as seen below:

The Missouri Class Championship took place over the same weekend as the Novice Championship but was a five round two day affair with longer time control.

Only two players that qualified for the Master section attended the tournament – NM Iskandar Aripov (2326) and FM Doug Eckert (2294) – so the section was combined with ten players in the Expert section.

Master/Expert Class Winner, Tomislav Juricic // photo: Austin Fuller

Master/Expert Class Winner, Tomislav Juricic // photo: Austin Fuller

Ultimately, it was an expert that took first place in the Master / Expert section. Tomislav Juricic (2144) scored an impressive 4.5/5 points in his first standard rated game since 1999. Juricic had good results against the tournament’s top players, recording a draw against Aripov and a win against Eckert.

Juricic was losing for most his game against Eckert, but he accomplished the surprising idea of trapping the White queen in the center of the board with 44. … Rd5. Eckert assumed he was losing at that point but was stunned to learn after the game that White should still be playing for a win; Eckert’s coordination of his pieces and very strong passed pawn trumped his huge material deficiency.

In Class A, Steven Bange (1910) took first place with a 4/5 score. Bange took down the top two highest rated players in the section with his typical solid style of play. In second place was Kaleb Gosdin (1916), who drove up from Georgia to play at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis for the first time. Gosdin enjoyed his stay and promises to return to the chess club in the future.

Class B Winner, Darian Turner // photo: Austin Fuller

Class B Winner, Darian Turner // photo: Austin Fuller

In Class B, Darian Turner (1719) had an exceptionally strong performance and won the section with 4.5/5 points. Turner didn’t seem to make any mistakes in any of his games and he made winning his section look easy. His was the first game to finish in the last round due to an unfortunate opening blunder by his opponent.

Eric Hoffner (1523) won the Class C section with 4/5 points followed by a three way tie for second. In round four, Hoffner played the very unorthodox rook maneuver Rh8-h5-h8-h5. The peculiar rook moves turned out to be a game winner after 24. … Nxe3 as the White queen was unable to take the knight in view of 25. Qxe3 Re5, making sense of the position of the rook on h5.

Class D was won by the section’s highest rated player, Sacchin Milli (1357). Milli scored 4.5/5 points with his only draw coming in the last round to the second place winner David Dong (853). Dong had a phenomenally strong performance as the section’s second lowest rated player by scoring 4/5 points and winning clear second. Dong received an impressive 246 rating point boost for his effort.

In Class E, a very controversial ruling in the final round may have determined the winner of the section. Aaradhya Diwan (1165) had the White pieces against Brandon Stanfield (1050) in round 5 and both players had a chance to compete for first place.

Early in the game, Diwan reported to the tournament directors that Stanfield had touched his queen. Stanfield claimed that he only brushed the piece and never intended to move it, but a witness confirmed that the Black queen was grasped with his fingers and Stanfield was forced to make an undesirable queen move.

Stanfield was on the back foot for the remainder of the game but managed to draw a king and pawn verses king endgame. The draw meant Diwan and Stanfield were guaranteed second place. Kevin Powell (1189) won the section with a score of 4/5.

Join us next month on July 18 as the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis celebrates their seventh anniversary with the Saint Louis Premiere and Amateur – a one day, four round tournament with a prize fund of $1,600 unconditionally guaranteed. Select items will be on sale throughout the Club and members will be treated to free cupcakes.

Bill Wright Saint Louis Open

By Ken West
MCA Bulletin Editor

Upsets, draws and more highlighted The Bill Wright Saint Louis Open at the Chess Center and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis April 17-19. In the Open section, 21 players faced off, with 13 of them holding master’s titles. IM Ashwin Jayaram (2552), GM Alejandro Ramirez (2675) and GM Vladimir Georgiev (2598) to the top three spots, each taking home just over $1,500. But none had a perfect five rounds as they each finished with four points.

NM Nick Karlow, a name familiar to Missouri chess players, had a tournament to remember scoring draws against Ramirez and IM Priyadharshan Kannappan,both times with the black pieces, and finished with three points. Karlow said they were his strongest draws.

“I was better in the final position (against Ramirez), but chess is hard,” he said. “It was very complex. I saw the three-fold and took it.”

He has had tournaments with perfect scores but he said those results were against weaker fields. “This is definitely my strongest performance, I think so,” Karlow said. “I was completely outclassed in the last game. Georgiev just strangled my King’s Indian.”

CCSCSL Manager Alex Marler had a strong follow-up to his Mid-America Open results. In the opening round he beat IM Angelo Young (2426) and finished with 2.5 points. “I should be at my all-time rating high around 2140,” he said. Marler said Young kept finding moves to hold off his eventual victory.

Joey Michael Kelly (2101) broke the string of titled players at the top, finishing sixth. He finished with 3.5 points, scoring draws against NM Alex Richter (2273) and NM Spencer Finegold (2197). He won his final round game against a regular on the Missouri chess scene, FM Doug Eckert (2294).

Young Julian Proleiko (2001) of Saint Louis scored a draw against NM Richter on his way to 2.5 points and a $275 payoff.

Adil Skuka (1993) won the Under 2000 section with 4.5 points, good for $1,000. He won his first four rounds and drew second place finisher Leo Poppante (1828) in the final game. A name everyone will recognize, Selden Trimble (1943) came in third with four points. He and Poppante each won $475. Out-of-state player Alex Stiger (1745) took fourth place with 3.5 points, which earned her $500.

Scott Anderson (1397), followed up his Mid-America performance with three points, good for $300. His first round game was a win over Micah Losee (1901).

James Ivy (1543) also pocketed $300 with three points. He credited his success to an opening he began studying about three months ago.

“I played the Colle everytime I had white,” he said. It was good for two wins, with a loss in the system to Robert Taras (1947).

“I get good results with it,” Ivy said. “They are simple lines to memorize. Yeah, I’ve been playing it in the quads, everything.”

Dylan Mize (1235) grabbed the upset prize with a win over Nicholas Naylor (1874). He also held Jeffrey Schragin (1864), Jason Joseph Clark (1839) and Paul Goddard (1828) to draws on his way to 2.5 points.

MCA Secretary Bob Howe returned to over-the-board play and cited his personal history with the event as one reason.

“The St. Louis Open was the first tournament I ever played, and I always look forward to coming back and playing in it again,” Howe said. “I believe this is my tenth time playing it.  My results weren’t as good as hoped, but I enjoyed spending the weekend with so many chess lovers.”

Howe (1731) knocked the dust off his chess game with 2.5 points.

Tournament Crosstable

19th Annual Mid America Open

By Ken West
MCA Bulletin Editor

The 19th Annual Mid America Open returned to the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Clayton for three days in mid-March. The popular event again drew a large field and Missouri chess players scored well, racking up rating points.

Players affiliated with Missouri took three of the top four spots in the Open section and the chess connection with universities in the Saint Louis area played a role. GM Illia Nyzhnk, 2748, scored 4.5 out of the five games to take first and $2100. He plays for the Webster University team. IM Pryadarshan Kannapan, 2559, took second with four points. He has played for Lindenwood University. GM-elect and IM Ashwin Jayawaran, 2561, placed fourth with 3.5 points. He plays for the Webster University team and is playing in the U.S. Chess Championships now underway at the Chess Club & Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.

Alex Marler, assistant manager of the Saint Louis chess club, not only tied for first to pocket $1050 but also broke the 2100 mark, a goal he said he set in January.

“I had no byes and no plan to win any money,” Marler, the 2010 Missouri Amateur champion said, “so I just showed up to play and have fun.”

In his last round game he beat the young Aden Turget to tie for the top spot. But it did not look so promising at the start.

“I felt like I was losing,” he said. “I was able to force an ending and outplay him in the endgame.”

The wins boosted his rating to 2116. It also was the most money he has won in a tournament.

Thalia Cervantes, a sixth grader in the Affton School District, took first in the Under 1900 section with 4.5 points to win $1400. She moved with her family from Cuba to the Saint Louis area last summer and spoke little English. She has since picked up the language and has been a constant at the Saint Louis chess club. She said this was not her best tournament result but she was happy about the prize money she pocketed.

Missourians Behrooz Vakil placed third in that section and Serdar Aykent took fourth.

In the Under 1700 section, Missouri resident Jonathan Orsay scored 4.5 to tie for first and nabbed a check for $1050. Luke Majeske of Missouri had four points to tie for third, good for $300.

Nathan Summerville tied for first in the Under 1500 section with four points, winning $460. Missourian Peter Immer finished in sixth just out of the money with 3.5 points. Scott Anderson came in 13th and did not win any money with his three points but said he was pleased with his result.

“This was the first time I was playing where I had to make time control,” Anderson said. “Overall I was pleased with my performance.”

Anderson played the French defense with three games as black and against it once.

Five Missouri players tied for second through sixth in the Under 1300 section. Those players were Jeffrey Ying, Todd Lifka, Kyle Neese, Nigina Aripova and Nathan Mittenzwey. Each pocketed $200 for their efforts.

Neese credited a change in his opening repertoire as black from the French to the Pirc.

“I think a lot of players were not familiar with it, D6 against E4. I think they were not as prepared as they are against the French.”

He also credited Jeremy Silman’s endgame book. “In one game I got my opponent into zugzwang. I learned that from his book.”

Nigina Aripova, 11, also had a strong performance in that rating section, scoring four points with two draws and no losses.

“I studied tactics, some endings and some openings,” she said. She stuck with E4 as white and E5 as black.

In one game she said she was up a pawn but gave up the draw because she misplaced her rook in front of her pawns and her opponent’s rook captured a pawn “and my king was helpless.”

In the Under 1000 section Sushen Kolakaletti took first, winning $500. Lucas Alvarez of Missouri came in second to win $120 along with Andrew Voelker, son of long-time chess player Jim Voelker. Voelker also took first in the Under 800 group that was part of the Under 1000 section. Voelker, 10, is a member of the Clark School chess team in the Webster Groves School District. His father is the coach.

“I did read some books and played a lot of chess on-line,” the young Voelker said.

When asked about any chess goals, he said, “I don’t know, maybe to become a grandmaster. My goal is now to get to 2000 and to beat my dad.”

His father carries a 2100 rating.

When asked what advice he would give young players, Andrew said, “I like playing a lot of chess games against people who are better than me. I don’t like losing unless I learn something. It also depends if it’s a rated game or a practice game. Dad always says to do a lot of puzzles and play a lot on line.