Monthly Archives: July 2011

Top 25 List Updated

The list of the 25 highest-rated Oregon scholastic players has now been updated. Alexandra Botez of Clackamas tops the list at 2036, Corvallis has four players in the top eight, and several new names have moved onto the list as a bunch of seniors graduated.

Number two (David Wen) is representing Oregon in the Barber Tournament of Champions in Florida this weekend (July 30 – August 2).

2011 All-Stars Invitational

Oregon All-Stars Invade the Capitol

The 4th Annual Oregon All-Stars Invitational tournament is scheduled for October 14, 2011 in Salem. The event is held in the grandeur of State Capitol building and is specially designed to celebrate the accomplishments of the strongest scholastic players in the state. All participants will be recognized in a special awards ceremony in the Capitol Galleria to receive All-Stars pins and a special All-Stars gift and will then have the chance to compete for cash prizes in small, evenly-matched sections.

Participation is by invitation only for players who either: i. were among the top ten highest rated, active players in their grade during one of year’s trimesters September-December, January-April, or May-August are invited, or ii. have demonstrated long-term commitment and have appeared on a “Lifetime Achievement” list of the top 25 most active NWSRS players.

If you aren’t on one of this year’s lists yet, summer offers a great opportunity to make it onto the Fall All-Stars list, published at the beginning of September. Many players don’t play during the summer, but only players that are active during the summer are eligible. A smaller pool of eligible players makes it easier to make it onto the list. Be sure to check the NWSRS calendar for rated events this summer.

Some scholastic events, appropriate for K-12 players of all skill levels:
August 20: Corvallis Dog Days
August 27: August Albany Open

Events for adults and more experienced scholastic players:
July 30: Portland Chess Club G/60
August 12-14: Portland Chess Club Centennial Open
August 27: Portland Chess Club G/60

Portland Chess Club Summer Open

The seasonal opens at PCC are serious, two-day events with long time-controls. Clocks, notation, USCF membership, a sizable entry fee, and a great deal of patience and stamina are required. Each year a majority of the players are adults, but this year a substantial fraction of the players were K-12 students, and they made a strong showing.

Players rated over 1800 must play in the Open section, but others are welcome to “play up” if they want tougher competition. All but one of the eleven adults in the section were rated over 1800, and all but one (David Wen) of the six scholastic players was rated below 1800. Calvin Parnon, Matthew Stevens, Matt Dalthorp, Austin Nguyen, and Maxwell Sun all elected to play up.

Calvin (10th grade, Corvallis) finished with 3.5/5 and at the top of the heap among the scholastic players, tying for second overall. Calvin has been working hard and playing well, but he’d been stuck on a frustrating plateau for the past year. His play has looked great recently, though, and he’s picked up over 150 ratings points in two events in the past month to burst over 1800 for the first time. Calvin is a great, versatile player and probably still under-rated. In his first round, he played a solid, positional game and slowly built up winning advantage, outplaying the eventual tournament winner, chess Expert Brian Esler. Unfortunately, he ended up losing the game on a blunder, but it was still an impressive piece of work put together by a rising star. After nearly winning a quiet positional game against an Expert, he tore apart a class A player in a wild tactical melee. In the final round, he found himself down a pawn in the endgame against National Master Mike Janniro. Demonstrating great endgame knowledge, he sacrificed his bishop for a pawn to leave Mike with a bishop of the “wrong color.” He could not force Calvin’s king out of the corner — draw!

David Wen (9th grade, Corvallis) moved to Oregon from Ohio last year and immediately made an impact on scholastic chess in the state. When he arrived last summer, he was the highest-rated eighth-grader in the state at 1740. Since then, he’s been playing a lot and improving rapidly. In April he won the title of Oregon Middle School Co-Champion at the OSCF State Championships in Seaside and will represent Oregon in the first-ever national “Barber Tournament of K-8 Champions” in Orlando, Florida, July 30-August 2. Only one player from each state may attend, and Oregon is proud to have David as the state’s representative. In the past month and a half, David has added over 100 points to his rating, and his play looks great as he prepares to go to Florida.

Starting the tournament with a rating of 1371, Matthew Stevens (11th grade, Portland) was by far the lowest-rated player in the section. Before the tournament began, someone whispered, “Yeah, his rating is in the 1300s, but he plays like a 1700.” 1700?! No, not last weekend. His tournament performance rating was 1849 as he scored 2.5/5. Expect to see him near the top of the strong 11th grade All-Stars soon.

Matt (10th grade, Corvallis) always seems to elect to play in the upper section even when he’s eligible for a lower section. Not only does he enjoy the challenge, but he also understands that players tend to get better when they play tougher opponents and weaker when they play weaker opponents. Like Calvin, Matt was stuck on a plateau (1500s) for about a year, but he’s picked up over 200 points since January and has broken through the 1700 barrier.

Last year Austin Nguyen (10th grade, Beaverton) was involved in a lot of activities last year and didn’t go to nearly as many chess tournaments as in previous years. This year he’s back in style, taking on the challenge of playing in the Open section at the Summer Open and scoring 2/5.

Maxwell Sun (6th grade, Corvallis) was by far the youngest player in the open section, but his chess is phenomenal. Max likes sharp, tactical games, but somehow his pieces always seem to be exactly where they need to be for quieter, strategic maneuvering as well. Scoring 1.5/5, Max had a great result for his first foray into the brutal Open section at a PCC event.

In the Reserve Section (U1800), Steven Witt, one of the top 11th graders in the state, took sole first with 4.5/5.0 after salvaging a draw in the final round. Other Oregon scholastic players included Dillon Murray (9th grade, Gresham), Clemen Deng (8th grade, Portland), Praveer Sharan (2nd grade, Lake Oswego), Pranav Sharan (8th grade, Lake Oswego), Rahul Majmudar (7th grade, Portland), and Seth Talyanksy (5th grade, Portland).

Full results can be found here.

Coquille: Rain Does Not Deter

By Nancy Keller.

Saturday it was raining, it was pouring but there were no chess players snoring as they intensely battled over the chess boards at the July LaVerne Park Chess Tournament and Water Fest.

Apparently rain does not scare chess players away as this tournament had one of the largest turn outs seen so far at the LaVerne Park Summer Chess Tournaments. Vincent Robertson, a fifth grader from Texas, was visiting grandparents and after hearing about the tournament on the radio, wanted to play. David Chung, an adult from Albany was attending a family reunion. Family members knew of his interest in chess and informed him about the chess tournament. Philip McNiel, a college student from Powers had only played chess on the computer and was looking forward to playing chess “live”. Colton Hinman, 10th grade from Myrtle Point, knew of the Coquille Chess players reputation for being tough players to beat but was looking forward to the challenge.

With rain pouring from the skies, picnic tables were huddled under two shelters to stay dry. But between rounds, kids were in the river exploring, catching crawdads and salamanders, and enjoying the warm rain.

Six players were selected for the elite division with their ratings over 1000. Adult brothers Jeff and James Sperling had to battle against each other in the third round, with Jeff the victor (this time at least). Aaron Grabinsky, Coquuille eighth grade, was paired against Mark Claiborne (adult and toughest known chess player in Coos County), in the first round and it was a brutal war. They eventually ended in a draw. Then both beat all their other opponents and tied for first place to win the cash prize.

The other seventeen players were pitting against each other in a five round non elimination swiss sys system. Philip McNiel ( adults from Powers) was undefeated but was impressed at the tough “live” opponents that made him work hard for that success. Judah Avery (adult from Bandon) won second place and Colton Hinman (10th grader from Myrtle Point) showed he could take on the challenge of Coquille players as he placed third. Coquille first grader, Mackenzie Collard showed her possible prodigy skills as she placed sixth behind three adults and two older kids. Prizes of squirt guns, bubble wands, frisbees etc were distributed and the park was quickly deserted as wet kids and adults figured that was enough rain for one day.