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.