All-Stars: October 14 at the State Capitol

The Fourth Annual Oregon All-Stars Invitational is scheduled for October 14 at the state capitol in Salem. The 14th is a Friday, but it is a state-wide “in-service” day, which means no school for K-12 students in Oregon public schools.

If your name is on one of the 2011 All-Stars lists (winter, spring, or fall) or on the Lifetime Achievement list, you are invited. For more information, visit the links on the “Oregon All-Stars” menu on the left sidebar at

Portland League Now An OSCF Qualifier

The Portland League offers a fantastic opportunity to play great chess in a fun, energetic team setting.  , Each team plays one match per week against another league team every Wednesday after school from November 2 through February 29. All matches are played at Lincoln High School in downtown Portland. Teams are normally comprised of five players from the same high school, but the league is open to individuals (grades 6-12) as well. Teams may register as a unit; individuals can petition the league to be placed on a team.

Registration deadline is September 30 for individuals and October 15 for teams.

For the first time, playing in the Portland league counts as an OSCF qualifier. The season lasts for 14 weeks, but it is only necessary to play in four games to get credit for your qualifier. Visit the NWSRS calendar announcement for more information.

Oregon Juniors at the Oregon Open

The Oregon Open is a strong three-day tournament held each year over Labor Day weekend. This year, there were 90 players divided into two sections: Open and Reserve (U1800). Most of the players were adults, but twenty Oregon juniors braved the long days and tough competition on their last weekend of summer.

Over the years, Oregon juniors have earned the respect of the adult players by performing very well in events like the Oregon Open. This year the tradition continues.

Five Oregon juniors played in the Open Section. Calvin Parnon (Corvallis), Steven Witt (Hillsboro), David Wen (Corvallis), Maxwell Sun (Corvallis) and Ben Pikus (Beaverton). David, Max, and Ben were eligible to play in the lower-rated Reserve section but opted to “play up”. It takes guts to “play up” when you know that there’s a good chance that all your opponents will be higher-rated than you. You may not win as many games as you would in a lower section, but your play will improve faster than it would playing weaker opponents. And by playing up, you may well beat some very strong players — a taste of things to come as you continue to improve. Exhibit A at this year’s Oregon Open is Maxwell Sun (Corvallis). He beat Life Master and 2009 Oregon state champion Carl Haessler. Great job, Max! He finished with 2.5/6, tied with Steven Witt (Hillsboro, 11th grade) for first place among Oregon juniors. David Wen (Corvallis, 9th grade) had a rough first day. In the first two rounds, he had to face two opponents who were each rated about 300 points higher than him. After starting out 0/2, he finished with four draws against four higher-rated players for a final score of 2/6, just a half point behind Max and Steven. At USCF 1442, Ben Pikus (Beaverton, 9th grade) was by far the lowest-rated player in the Open Section, so he knew he was in for a difficult tournament, but he played great and scored a 527 point upset. Calvin Parnon (Corvallis, 10th grade) has gone from unrated novice to #2 junior in the state in just a few short years. On Saturday he notched his first win against a chess Master.

A total of 47 players competed in the  Reserve Section, including 15 Oregon juniors, whose results are summarized in the table below.

Name Score Rating Before Rating After
Dillon Murray
Aaron Pikus
Gabe Skoro
Jeremy Coste
Dhruva Chatterjee
Liam Booth
Venkat Doddapaneni
Leo Sun
Hansen Lian
Praveer Sharan
Pranav Sharan
Marshal Xu
John Mitchell
Abhinav Brahmarouthu
Neal Aditya

Most notable performances include a breakout tournament for Dillon Murray (Gresham, 9th grade), who tied for second at 4.5/6.0 and has been on a tear this summer.  Oregon HS champ Aaron Pikus also tied for second.

Gabe Skoro (Portland, 7th grade) had been less active the past year or so than in previous years, but he had great performances at both the Centennial Open and the Oregon Open this summer.

Jeremy Coste (Portland, 7th grade) has not played in Oregon scholastic events, but he has now earned his initial established USCF rating of 1477, which puts him near the top of Oregon middle school players.

Venkat Doddapaneni (Portland, 7th grade) is one player who understands that the quickest path to improvement involves playing against strong competition. That path can be frustrating at times, but Venkat’s courage is now showing up in his rating — he scored 3/6 and picked up nearly 200 points!

John Mitchell (Klamath Falls, 5th grade) and Abhinay Brahmarouthu (Portland, 7th grade) both picked a very tough event for their first USCF-rated tournament, and both won games against strong opponents.

Oregon at Denker and Barber

Each year each state nominates one high school player to play in the Denker Tournament of High School Champions held in conjunction with the US Open. This year’s Oregon representative was Aaron Pikus (School of Science and Technology, Beaverton), winner of the high school elite section at the OSCF State Championship. The Denker is perhaps the strongest scholastic tournament in the USA. Nearly a third of this year’s players were Masters (rated 2200+) and about half were rated above 2000. Despite being 500 points lower-rated than the average, Aaron played great chess, scoring 2.5/6 and tied for 32nd-36th. All but one of the players finishing ahead of Aaron or tied with him were at least 100 points higher-rated. Excellent work, Aaron!

Beginning this year, each state can also nominate one K-8 player to compete in the Dewain Barber Tournament of K-8 Champions, also in conjunction with the US Open. This year’s nominee was David Wen (Cheldelin Middle School, Corvallis), co-champion in the middle school division at the OSCF State championships. David was chosen over the other co-champion, Erik Skalnes (Roosevelt Middle School, Eugene), because Erik had a schedule conflict with the Barber. Otherwise, they’d have had to play a match to determine the Oregon representative. David was a great Oregon representative and ended up with a respectable 2.5/6, tying for 27th-33rd. Congratulations, David!

Corvallis Dog Days

Eighteen players came to Corvallis on a scorching hot day to play some cool chess at Zion Lutheran School. All earned an enamel dog print pin while battling it out for the “full dog” trophies awarded to the top three finishers in each section. In addition to chess, players engaged in some basketball, dodge ball, video games, and celebration of Marjorie Sheiman’s birthday with cupcakes, grapes, and strawberries. Full results at NWSRS.

Open Section (clockwise): Marshall Xu, Alex Petersen, Matt Dalthorp, Tu

Marshall Xu, Alex Petersen, Matt Dalthorp, and Tucker Price played a double round-robin in the open section. Matt had a substantial rating advantage over the others and ended up with a perfect 6/6 after getting a scare in the final round against Marshall. Alex hadn’t played a single game in many months but showed little rust in scoring 3/6 for second place. Although much younger than the rest of the players in his section, Marshall was not at all intimidated and scored 2/6 for third place. After losing the final game and scoring only one point overall, Tucker was upbeat and pleasant and earned himself a “full dog” for Good Sportsmanship.

Open section winners: Marshall (3rd), Alex (2nd), Matt (1st)

The six players in the advanced section, played a 5-round round robin. The results were as clear as possible: no ties for any place.
Casey Ford 5/5
Margie Sheiman 4/5
Alex Schoen 3/5
Grant Chen 2/5
Lance Roy 1/5
Andrew Sheiman 0/5

Marjorie Sheiman begins the B-day celebration by taking on Casey Ford in the first round

The intermediate section was a five-round Swiss with eight players. The day ended with high drama in the final round. Max Franklin had a perfect 4/4 going into the final round but he was slated to meet Jeff Wang (3/4) for first place. Max’s position fell apart early, and Jeff was able to clinch a tie for first by winning in short order. That left four players in contention for third place. Kevin Dai and Adrian Camero won their games early to finish at 3/5, while Fedor Semenov (2.5/4) played a long, close game against Atticus Crow (1/4). A win by Fedor would put him in clear 3rd, a draw would mean a three-way tie for third, and a loss would mean a tie for third between Kevin and Adrian. Fedor and Atticus played a well-balanced game and went into a rook and knight endgame with both players having several pawns. They traded off most of the pawns before Fedor won Atticus’ rook. Fedor then played like a grandmaster — confident and without hesitation — to checkmate with rook and king to win the final dog trophy.


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OSCF now offers discounted copies to OSCF-affiliated clubs and TDs for $59 (retail $99). Contact to order.

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 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).