Portland Chess Club Centennial Open

Celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, the Portland Chess Club is one of the oldest living chess clubs in the US. Festivities at the Lloyd Center Hilton Doubletree Hotel August 12-14 included a three-day chess tournament, a 14-round blitz tournament, and a 10-board simul with Susan Polgar, former Women’s World Champion and first female grandmaster.

Overall 180 players participated, including 22 Oregon scholastic players. Alexandra Botez (Clackamas) and Calvin Parnon (Corvallis) played in the championship section. The section ended with a four-way tie for first at 5/6, including IM Georgi Orlov (2541), FM Bindi Cheng, FM Nick Raptis, and Loren Laceste. Alexandra scored an impressive 3/6, tying with National Master and two-time defending Oregon champion Radu Roua (and winner or co-winner four of the past five years) and several other players. Calvin was one of a handful of brave souls rated below 2000 who elected to play in the championship section.  His play has improved tremendously the past two years by virtue of his hard work and his custom of always seeking out the strongest competition he can find. He played well and got a strong advantage in several of his games but had trouble converting his advantages to wins — a good tournament and frustratingly close to a great result. Expect to see Calvin at the top of the cross tables in strong tournaments in the not-too-distant future.

Top Scoring Oregon Juniors Alexandra Botez and Matt Dalthorp

Of the 20 Oregon scholastic scholastic players in the U2000 section, Matt Dalthorp (Corvallis) scored the highest with 4.5/6, tying for sixth overall and winning the 1st place U1800 prize ($500).  Maxwell Sun (Corvallis) and Steven Witt (Hillsboro) scored 4/6 in a 16-way tie for 16th-32nd place and a four-way tie for 2nd-5th among U1800s, winning $125 each.  Collin Goldman (Eagle Point) and Dhruva Chatterjee (Wilsonville) finished at 3.5/6, with Dhruva tying for third among U1600 players.  David Wen (Corvallis), Austin Nguyen (Portland), Dillon Murray (Gresham), and Nathan Jewell (Portland) scored 3/6. Nathan’s result was particularly notable. Of the 68 players scoring 3 or better, he was the lowest-rated by over 200 points!

Summary of the Oregon scholastic players’ results (full results here) :

Name Grade City Score Place
Championship Section
Alexandra Botez 11 Clackamas 3.0 Tied 22-33
Calvin Parnon 10 Corvallis 1.0 Tied 49-52
Amateur Section (U2000)
Matt Dalthorp 10 Corvallis 4.5 Tied 6-15
Max Sun 6 Corvallis 4.0 Tied 16-31
Steven Witt 11 Hillsboro 4.0 Tied 16-31
Collin Goldman 11 Eagle Point 3.5 Tied 32-48
Dhruva Chatterjee 8 Wilsonville 3.5 Tied 32-48
David Wen 9 Corvallis 3.0 Tied 49-68
Austin Nguyen 10 Beaverton 3.0 Tied 49-68
Dillon T Murray 9 Gresham 3.0 Tied 49-68
Nathan Jewell 7 Portland 3.0 Tied 49-68
Ethan Allison 5 Bend 2.5 Tied 69-90
Clemen Deng 8 Portland 2.5 Tied 69-90
Matthew Stevens 11 Portland 2.5 Tied 69-90
Gabe Skoro 7 Portland 2.5 Tied 69-90
Liam Booth 5 Portland 2.0 Tied 91-109
Leo Deng 6 Portland 2.0 Tied 91-109
Andrew Sheiman 5 Portland 2.0 Tied 91-109
Venkat Doddapaneni 7 Portland 1.5 Tied 110-118
Marjorie Sheiman 8 Portland 1.5 Tied 110-118
John Ornes 6 Corvallis 1.0 Tied 119-123
Hansen Lian 5 Portland 0.5 Tied 124-125

A number of Oregon scholastic players also played in the blitz tournament on Saturday between rounds of the Centennial Open: Collin Goldman, Gabe Skoro, Austin Nguyen, Clemen Deng, Matt Dalthorp, and Leo Deng. Full results here.

Corvallis League

There is a brand new Corvallis Chess League. We meet once per week to play one  USCF-rated G/90 game. The league is open to all USCF members but because of the long time-controls, it is well-suited for more mature scholastic players and adults. There is no cost to join and no awards given out. It is just a good opportunity to keep sharp, prepare for other events (like the PCC Centennial Open, the August Albany Open, Oregon Open, etc.), or just to enjoy one high-quality rated game per week with chess friends.

We meet Tuesday evenings at 7:00 in the Community Room upstairs at the Corvallis Market of Choice on the corner of 9th and Circle.

Contact onco111@yahoo.com for more info.

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.

Summer Chess in Oregon

It looks like an exciting summer of chess lies ahead for Oregon players…

June 18, July 16: Coquille. The always energetic and fun Nancy Keller and Coquille players are hosting a pair of OSCF qualifier tournaments in a park near Coquille with plenty of fun activities between rounds. Bring your squirt gun, towel, and other outdoor summer toys. Entry fee only $5 (+ $2 parking fee). Not to be missed if you are from the southern half of the state!

June 18-19: Newport. June is a beautiful time to visit the Oregon coast, and the friendly Newport Open attracts players not just from the coast but also Corvallis, Eugene, Bend, Portland, and elsewhere. Long time controls and strong players make this event especially well-suited for more mature and experienced scholastic players and adults. [Not an OSCF qualifier.]

July 16-17: Portland. The Summer Open is another two-day event with long time controls and is an OSCF qualifier as well. The Open section regularly attracts many chess Masters and Experts, while the Reserve Section is limited to players rated below 1800.

July 16-17: Gresham. A free, rated tournament will be held at the Gresham library on July 16-17. Details TBA.

August 12-14: Portland. Has it already been 100 years since the Portland Chess Club was founded?! Congratulations PCC! Join in the celebration in the Centennial Open at the Lloyd Center Doubletree Hotel. Six round tournament with long time controls, big cash awards, Saturday afternoon blitz tournament, etc. [Not a qualifier]

August: Albany/Corvallis. The Corvallis Dog Days and August Albany tournaments will be held again in August. Details TBA.

June-August: Portland. Check the calendar periodically for other tournaments, like the as the ever-popular Chess Odyssey Friday night quads (qualifiers), the PCC G/60s (qualifiers), the PCC Saturday Quads (not qualifiers), and events that haven’t yet been announced.

Elementary School Nationals

Nearly 2000 chess players converged on Dallas, Texas to compete in the National Elementary School Championships in Dallas, Texas, May 6-8. Fifteen Oregonians were among the masses of players, and, as we’ve come to expect from these kids, they performed extremely well.

In the K-5 Open section, Oregon Elementary school co-champion Maxwell Sun scored 5/7 and tied for 20th out of 276 players. He finished tied or ahead of 21 higher-rated players, and only one lower-rated player placed higher than Max. Also playing in the K-5 open section were Liam Booth, Seth Talyansky, and John Ornes. They all scored a number of huge upsets and harvested a bunch of ratings points. For example, John went to Texas with a USCF rating of 777. He faced such strong competition that the Elo ratings model predicts he’d only score a total of 0.23 in seven games. In theory, the Elo rating model would predict that he would not even draw a single game. John obviously doesn’t care what the statistical models say — he ended up winning four! Three of John’s wins were against players rated over 500 points higher than him. His fourth win was against someone “only” 251 points higher rated. As a result, he increased his USCF rating by 303 points. Similarly, Liam picked up over 100 points, and Seth picked up over 200 points. Great work, guys!

The strong performances didn’t end there. In the K-3 Open section, Leo Sun scored 3/7, but the lineup of players was so strong that he still raised his rating by 59 points. Oregon primary school co-champion and last year’s primary school National Champion Praveer Sharan and Ankur Moolky both scored an impressive 5/7 in the K-1 Open section to tie with several others for 24th place (out of 294). Great job!

For the second straight year, Oregon has a section winner. This year it is Preston Fenimore, winning clear first in the unrated K-6 section with 6.5/7. He debuts on the USCF rating list at 1315. He also made his debut appearance on the Oregon All-Stars list this spring. Keep it up, Preston! Also playing in the unrated K-6 section were Sophia Dossin (4/7) from Eugene and Preston’s classmates from Astor Elementary: Grayson Robbins (4.5/7), Henry Hochstatter (4.5/7), and Harry Blanton (3.5/7). Thanks for representing the state so well, Sophia, Grayson, Henry, and Harry!

Marshal Xu (4.5/7) and Everett Carstens (4/7) both performed admirably and finished in the top 30% of players in the U1000 K-6 section. Finally, Neal Ornes scored a fantastic 5/7 in the U800 K-3 section, despite starting with a rating of only 400. It’s hard to fathom how good of a performance that was. All 20 players who scored higher than Neal were higher rated, as were all 31 of the players who tied with him, all 20 of the players who were half-point behind him, and 51 of the 54 who were one point behind! He finished tied for 20th, but most others with similar ratings finished around 200th place. Fantastic work, Neal, Marshal, and Everett!

Spring 2011 All-Stars List

The spring All-Stars list has been published. The list includes the ten highest-rated, active players in each grade. To be eligible for the list, players must have and played at least one NWSRS or USCF rated game between January 1 and April 30, 2011. Rankings are based on players’ highest established ratings during the trimester.