Monthly Archives: October 2011

Eugene Wins (Sigh)

In the recent Civil War match between Eugene and Corvallis/Albany, Eugene was gloriously triumphant, with a sound drubbing of their rivals, 10-7 in the top two sections.

The win was in doubt until the very last moments. Eugene was clinging to a two point lead with two games still going on. In both games, Corvallis/Albany players seemed to have winning advantages. However, the positions were complicated and time was short. First, Jack Dale (Eugene) was able to turn the tables against Dan Rogers (Albany) and pull out a miraculous win from a losing position. Then, in a time scramble Matt Dalthorp (Albany) was unable to find the win against Rob Fisette (Eugene) and had to settle for a draw.

In the Power Section, the top three players from each team played a Scheveningen match (all-play-all from the opposing club), with Eugene winning 7-2. Nick Proudfoot (Eugene) had not played a rated game for two and a half years, but he showed little sign of rust as he ripped through his Corvallis opponents with a perfect 3/3 score. In his first USCF event, the Israeli Moshe Rachmuth (Eugene) scored 2/3 to register a healthy initial provisional rating of 1971. Between rounds Moshe showed off his encyclopedic knowledge of chess openings [loosely paraphrased]: “Oh, yeah. I’ve seen that version of the French advance before. Check out the game between Whozit and Whatsizname in 1987. And you? Your game started out like Blusterov and Strumbanjosky 1945, except instead of Nd4, Blusterov played c4 for an attack on the queenside. The line is interesting but never gained much popularity.” Bryant Brownell (Albany) hadn’t played a rated game in over four years but came out of retirement for the event. Although he played great chess 99% of the time, rust made appearances at the most inopportune 1% of the time. Matt Dalthorp (Albany) was down a piece against Moshe but found a way to sneak in a perpetual check for a draw in the first round. In the third round Matt faced Rob Fisette, who crushed him in his only loss at the Portland Chess Club’s Centennial Open in August. This time, Matt had a strong advantage but was unable to find the win and settled for a draw. David Wen (Corvallis) also scored draws against Moshe and Rob, but, like Matt and Bryant, he struggled against Nick, who was on fire.

Section B featured the next three highest-rated players from each team playing a Scheveningen match. Alex Mueller-Warrant (Corvallis) had to leave early but scored 2/2 before leaving and Harry Demarest (Corvallis) scored 2/3 to lead the Corvallis team to a 5-3 victory in the section. Also scoring 2/3 was Jason Ellis (Eugene). The lowest rated player in the section by over 200 points, Jack Dale (Eugene), scored a great win against Dan Rogers (Albany) in the final round.

Eugene had home court and was able to field a larger team than Corvallis, 10-8, and the Other Section featured four Eugenies against two Corvallis players in a three-round Swiss with team block for Corvallis. The Corvallis players were substantially higher-rated than their Eugene counterparts, but Eugene was not going to give up without a fight. Particularly impressive was Roy Toll (Eugene). He had not played a rated event in nearly ten years and even then only had a provisional rating of 1223 (P22). He came out of chess retirement in style, dismantling Dan Dalthorp (1610) in the first round and Stan Taylor (1459) in the second round. In the head-to-head matchups in the section, Corvallis/Albany came out on top 4-2. Unrated AC Scott was the highest scorer in the section with 2.5/3.

All-Stars Behind the Scenes: A Few Statistics

The 2011 All-Stars Invitational at the State Capitol was a wonderful kickoff to a new chess season. With 117 players, this year’s All-Stars tournament was the biggest and most energetic ever. Record turnout despite having about 10% fewer eligible players this year is a great sign for upcoming chess season.

Especially encouraging was the great turnout in the Rising Stars division. Several months prior to the event, we used some fancy statistical modeling to estimate how many players would participate in each section on tournament day. We were pretty close with the Super Stars and Bright Stars but WAY underestimated how many Rising Stars there’d be:
Super Stars (rating >= 1400): 22 expected, 23 actual
Bright Stars (1100-1399): 43 expected, 42 actual
Rising Stars (U1100): 41 expected, 52 actual
This is a sign that interest among new players is stronger than it has been in previous years, while interest among the more experienced players has not diminished.

In addition to unexpectedly large turnout among Rising Stars, the event was the strongest All-Stars yet. There were more players rated above 1400 than there were last year (23 vs. 19), the average rating of players was significantly higher than last year (1098 vs. 1130), and the number of players rated above 1700 was also a record.

Coquille All-Stars

By Nancy Keller

Most of the Coos County representatives at the All Stars Chess Tournament Matthew Crim, Jennifer Ross, Dane Ramirez, Lane Putas, Jessica Ross, Josiah Perkins, Kaden Johnson, Sarai Perkins, Hailey Riley, Michael Schrader, Tanner Flood, Mackenzie Collard, JJ Newman and Kyle Bowman

A four day weekend from school but the best chess players of Coquille were up at 4:30 a.m. on Friday to drive to the Capitol Building in Salem for the All Stars Invitational Chess Tournament.

Nineteen Coquille chess players, one Coos Bay and one Myrtle Point (now North Bend) players were invited. They had to place in the top ten of their grade during the last year to be invited. Room on the bus and car pools only allowed seventeen to go. An early morning leaving time followed by a delay due to the bus not starting during a rest stop left the kids as sleep deprived frazzled bundle of nerves but they arrived in the nick of time as the first round started. Experience in tournament settings allowed them to quickly settle into play despite the late arrival.

Aaron Grabinsky in front of the state capitol, where he scored two big upsets to take second place in the top section at All-Stars

Aaron Grabinsky, an eighth grade homeschooled student who plays for the Coquille Valley Middle School, placed second in the state overall, competing with the older and higher rated players in the Super Stars Section. He had previously been ranked as number 13 in the state. He started playing with the Coquille Chess Club two years ago and with his serious studying of chess, has even surpassed his coach in his skills. He now teaches other members of his team and hopes to help his K-9 team win at Nationals this year.

Lane Putas, twelth grader from Marshfield, placed second in his division of Bright Stars. In the Rising Stars, Sarai Perkins, ninth grade homeschool student for Coquille High School placed sixth while Matthew Crim, tenth grade of Coquille High School placed seventh. In a lower divion of Rising Stars, Michael Schrader (eighth grade of North Bend formally Myrtle Point) placed sixth and JJ Newman (sixth grade of Coquille) placed fifth.

It was a tough tournament and all the attendees received All Stars shirts for just being invited which was a major accomplishment. Coach Keller feels sleep deprivation had some definite contribution to her players results. Most other schools are within an hour of Salem.

“It is just one of the sacrifices to live in a gorgeous small town, to have to travel long distances and pay the costs to attend events” she says. With plans to attend Nationals this year, a hotel stay prior to the event could not be afforded as has been done in previous years.

The Coquille Chess Club is currently selling World’s Finest Candy Bars and planning another car wash at Les Schwab on October 22nd to finance their trips to state and national competitions.

All-Stars: Thank-You!

A huge thank-you to the small army of volunteers who made the 2011 Oregon All-Stars Invitational chess celebration and tournament such a success:

Lisa Still: patient, thorough, careful and cheerful registrar; forms, certificates, board numbers

Raven Winter: invitations, T-shirts, awards ceremony, chief TD for Bright Stars

Jeff Risher: facilities coordinator

Design and production of program and signs: Ellissa Parnon

TDs: Katrina Halverson, Bing Sun, Jeff Dobbins, Nick Beleiciks, Elizabeth Sheiman, Raven Winter, Luke Robson, Rustam Kocher

Safety and Decorum Team: Steve Cousineau, with help from Chris Allen, Forest Tomlinson, Galina Golant, and John Hutchinson

Check-in: Leanne Schuetze (coordinator), Siew Yau, Roza Kotlyar

T-shirt distribution: Andrea Burnett

Prize distribution: Siew Yau, April Lutz and her sister, Herma Ornes, Evgeny Semenov, Max Booth, Tia Politi

Setup: Jeff Dobbins, Matt Dalthorp, Steven Witt, Noah Schuetze, Craig Still, and others

Cleanup: Tia Politi, Jacob Moch, Luke Robson, Matt Dalthorp, Craig Still, Lisa Still, Raven Winter, Max Booth, Elizabeth Sheiman, Herma Ornes, and many others.

Parents and Coaches: What a great group of kids! Thank-you parents and coaches for all your support. Special high-fives to Nancy Keller for getting on the road with 17 kids from Coquille at 4:30 in the morning, breaking down on the way, and still managing to make it on time (barely). Also, thank-you to coaches who came to support their students: Ed Addis, Jerry Ramey, Luke Robson, Mike Terrill, and Pete Prochaska.

A special thank-you to Juliene Popinga and the rest of the capitol staff who were enormously helpful both in the days and weeks leading up to the event, in setting up the rooms according to our specifications, in patient tolerance of hordes of kids, and in putting everything back in order after our chaotic exit.

Others: There are many unnamed parents and supporters who helped with various tasks in the weeks and days before the event and throughout the day. Thank-you, thank-you!

All-Stars: Express Report

Participants in the 2011 Oregon All-Stars Invitational

The Fourth Annual Oregon All-Stars Invitational chess tournament was held at the state capitol building in Salem on October 14, 2011. The event has grown every year since the inaugural version in 2008, nearly doubling from 61 players the first year to 117 this year.

Full results are posted and games rated at
Section winners include:
Super Stars A: Austin Nguyen 3/3
Super Stars B: Takuma Sato-Duncan 2.5/3
Super Stars C: Seth Talyansky, Pranav Sharan 2.5/3
Bright Stars D: Rory Soiffer 4.5/5
Bright Stars E: Rahul Majmudar 4.5/5
Bright Stars F: Venkat Doddapaneni 5/5
Rising Stars G: Keshav Siddhartha 5/5
Rising Stars H: Simon Chow 4.5/5
Rising Stars I: Fedor Semenov, Jimmy Wang, Sean Uan-Zo-Li 4/5
Rising Stars J: Aiden Gardner O’Kearny 5/5

All-Stars Emergency Number

If you have registered for All-Stars but are running late Friday morning or have an emergency and cannot come, please call 503-871-9197 to let us know.

NOTE: This number is different from the number on the All-Stars details page. Our designated emergency phone person had to attend to an emergency and cannot make it to the event.

National Chess Day at Coquille

by Nancy Keller
In Coquille, there were knights mobilizing with musical interludes from their trusty steeds, kings running for their lives and dramatic sword fights to the death.

Tyler Overby, the white king, conquers Mason Collard who plays a black pawn.

Saturday, October 8th, the chess clubs of Coquille, Myrtle Point, Coos Bay and North Bend celebrated National Chess Day with a “living chess board.” Coquille’s Figaro Pizza kindly loaned out their parking lot for the day. The chess club members arrived several hours early to draw out a “life size” chess board with chalk.

Loaned costumes were handed out and pawns were dressed in black or white garbage bags. With permanent markers, the garbage bags were labeled “I am a pawn”, “Coos County Celebrities” Dian Courtright of the Coquille Sentinel and John Gunther of the World were given cardboard boxes decorated by the CREATE art students to represent rooks. Coquille Police Chief Janice Blue wore a black sweatsuit and was given her Dollar Tree shield and balloon sword to become a simple pawn. Tim Novotny of KCBY was assisted into his Queen of Hearts dress and wig so he could represent the white queen. He was instructed to boldly cry out “off with their heads” as pieces are captured.

The first game was between arch rivals Jessi Ross, the lead board of the Coquille Varsity team and Shawn Putas, the lead board of the Marshfield Varsity team. They were the masters to move the living pieces. Misty Huffman was the chess board traffic cop making sure the pieces moved to the appropriate square. Pawns were the first to move and take control of the center. As Chief Blue was moved opposite Johnathon Huffman and they eyed each other, announcer Nancy Keller reminded Johnathon that he would not be arrested for assaulting a police officer if he had to capture her. Rapidly pawns were put to their dramatic fight and death scenes as they fought with their balloon swords valliantly. Brendon Thrash as “Dr. Remove the Captured Pieces” rolled the captured pieces off the board in a wheelchair as the “pieces” feigned grevious injuries. Many pieces had their chance to win emmy’s for dramatic death scenes but in the end, the king, represented by Tyler Overby, was captured and all the remaining pieces ganged up on him to send him onto his royal feigned death. Shawn Putas, the master of the board accepted the defeat from Jessi Ross.

John Gunther (sports editor for The World) playing the white queen fights off vicious first grader Mackenzie Collard playing the black queen

The second game was between the two best players of Coquille, Jessi Ross and Josiah Perkins who plays second board of the Coquille Junior Varsity team. Quickly the queens were put into action and first grader Mackenzie Collard had to take down the Queen of Hearts, now represented by John Gunther. Showing size does not matter in balloon sword fights (and with a little help from John impaling himself on her sword), John was defeated, arms and legs quivering in the air. CPR was attempted but Nancy Keller refused to perform mouth to mouth. He was rolled off the board. As pieces rapidly were sent to the captured piece box, Josiah raced his pawn represented by Devin Johnson to the other end of the board. As Devin was promoted, Sarai Perkins performed ceremonial taps to his shoulders with a plastic sword and awarded him a pink tiara as he became a queen. Then the king (Samantha Huffman) and queen (Devin) boxed the black king (Mason Collard) into the corner and Mason finally succumbed with many pieces helping him with his demise. Josiah had won the game.

Many of the “pieces” are heading to the All Stars Invitational only Chess tournament at the Salem Capitol building this Friday. To be invited, players had to place in the top ten for their grade during the last year. Coquille had twenty invited, Coos Bay had two and Myrtle Point had one.

November 5th, at the Coquille High School, Coquille will host an the Byron Massey Memorial Adult and Scholastic Chess Tournament. Everyone is invited. Chess practice is also every Tuesday nights from 5 to 8 at the Downtown Studio and is open to all ages including adults.

The Coquille Chess club is selling World’s Finest Candy Bars to help finance their many state competitions. The junior varsity team also have big plans to attend the K-9 Nationals once again in April. They won fourth place two years ago and have high hopes for getting first this year!

John Gunther (sports editor for The World) playing the rook is in the midst of defeat as Kaden Johnson playing the knight whittles him down with a balloon sword.

Coquille Police Chief Janice Blue appears to be intimidating second grader Johnathon Huffman as they face off as opposite pawns.

“Playing Up” at All-Stars

At All-Stars, players may elect to play in a stronger division than the lowest one they are eligible for. Rising Stars (U1100) may choose to play with the Bright Stars (1100-1399), and Bright Stars have the option to play with the Super Stars (1400+).*

If you are just below the cutoff for a higher-rated division, playing up would mean somewhat stronger competition (around 100 rating points on average), which a lot of players prefer. It also means longer time controls. Rising Stars will play five rounds at G/30 and will finish all their games by 3:30. Bright Stars will play five rounds at G/45 and will finish at 5:30 or 6:00. Super Stars will play G/75 but will only play three rounds and will finish at 5:30 or 6:00 like the Bright Stars. However, playing up would definitely make it harder to win your section.

*NOTE: If playing up would result in odd numbers of players in both affected divisions, then the move will not be allowed. Also, because the Super Stars division is only three rounds, requests to “play up” into the Super Stars section will be denied if adding another player to the section would result in an odd number of players in the Super Stars division.

Parking at the Capitol

Two options for parking at state capitol for All-Stars:

1. City Parking Passes are sold in Room 49 at the State Capitol for $8. These passes may be used in any 10 hour metered parking spaces within the area defined on the back of the pass. They allow you to park all day.

2. Metered Parking: 10-hour visitor meters are located on Court Street. They require approximately $0.75/per hour.

Corvallis vs. Eugene

Not exactly a scholastic event (adults are welcome to play too) and definitely not an OSCF qualifier (players must be from Eugene or Corvallis/Albany), but a Corvallis vs. Eugene “Civil War” match will be fought on October 22. Players ranging from unrated intermediates and U1200s to strong experts will be playing. The format is three rounds G/90. To the greatest extent possible, players will be paired against opponents near their own playing strength and teammates will not paired against each other. If you are comfortable playing G/90 and live in (or near) Corvallis or Eugene, join the team for the camaraderie, great chess, and civic pride. Contact Dan Dalthorp ( for Corvallis/Albany) or Rob Fisette ( for Eugene) for more info or to register.