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.

Girls Open National Champion: Alexandra!

Last weekend Alexandra Botez (Clackamas) won the Kasparov Foundation’s All-Girls Open National Championship. She went undefeated, scoring four wins and two draws against girls from Texas, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Florida, and Missouri. In the process, she won well-deserved national recognition, a huge trophy, and a $105,000 scholarship to University of Texas at Dallas.

With this result, Alexandra finally boosted her USCF rating to 2020 to break through the 2000 barrier, where she joins Daniel Gay as the only Expert class players among current Oregon scholastic players.

“Finally”? Alexandra has rocketed up the ratings chart recently, picking up 400 points in two years. She first cracked 1900 less than a year ago and quickly jumped to 1991. But the leap from over 1990 to 2000 was not easy. Five times she ended tournaments with a rating over 1990 before finishing above 2000.

A great victory. A great milestone. And a great girl. Congratulations, Alexandra!

Seaside Results


Full OSCF State Championship results are rated and posted at NWSRS. Pictures can be found by clicking the “Photos” link in the menu on the left sidebar.

Section Winners:
HS Elite: Aaron Pikus (3.5/4)
HS Advanced: Jonathan Yau (3.5/4)
HS Intermediate: Tucker Price & Ben Larson (4/5)
MS Elite: David Wen & Erik Skalnes (3.5/4)
MS Advanced: Aaron Grabinsky & Elena Allen (3.5/4)
MS Intermediate: Luke Hutchinson (5/5)
MS Prep: Noelani Daily (4.5/5)
ES Elite: Leo Deng & Maxwell Sun (3/4)
ES Advanced: Marshall Xu (5/5)
ES Intermediate: Tommy Eblen (5/5)
ES Prep: Ivan Jensen, Tapabrata Ghosh, & Denis Cristurean (5/6)
ES Novice: Enrique Villanueva-Noyes (4.5/5)
PS Elite: Colin Liu & Praveer Sharan (4/5)
PS Advanced: Harvey Beleiciks & Nikhil Samudrala (4/5)
PS Intermediate: Aaron Pinney (5/5)
Friends & Family: Alexander Uan-zo-li (4/4)

Notable performances among the section winners:

  • Aaron Pikus in the HS elite — lowest rated in the section, playing up
  • Luke Hutchinson (MS Int), Marshall Xu (ES Adv), Tommy Eblen (ES Int), Aaron Pinney (PS Int) — perfect 5/5
  • Maxwell Sun (ES Elite) wins his fifth straight title
  • Praveer Sharan and Colin Liu share the PS Elite title for the second straight year
  • Alexander Uan-zo-li in the F&F section — defeats Bob Allyn in final round to break Bob’s 15 game win streak and three year consecutive championship streak in F&F

Total participation for each age division for the entire history of OSCF is shown in the following table:

Year HS MS ES PS F&F Total
2006 19 46 76 35 0 176
2007 19 43 76 29 0 167
2008 14 73 87 33 14 207
2009 16 73 93 27 13 209
2010 24 73 114 40 18 251
2011 38 88 105 37 18 268

Seaside Blitz

Eighty-seven players competed in the blitz tournament at Seaside. In each game they had to bang out all their moves in five minutes or less. The field was divided by rating into 20 four-player quads playing double round-robins and one seven-player group that played a single round robin.

The top group featured four players all rated within 30 points of each other. High school elite section player, Alex Piatski, was crowned grand champion, scoring 5/6 and had the privilege of taking on Chess Master Steven Breckenridge in a blitz match immediately afterwards.

Other interesting side notes…

  • A rapidly increasing rating not only means that the player is rapidly improving, it is also a sign that he or she is underrated and would be expected to do well in ratings-based sections — and in the quads, the players on the “Greatest Ratings Increase” list dominated. Of the eight players on that list, five won their sections, including the winners of the strong C-F quads: Takuma Sato-Duncan, Collin Goldman, Clemen Deng, and Dillon Murray.  One that did not win (Nicholas Kapple) ended up losing to another player on “Greatest Ratings Increase” list (Jennifer Ross). A second that did not win (Jacob Slavik) ended up losing to a player who did not have an NWSRS rating (Ethan Allison) and was placed in his section based on his USCF rating.
  • Brothers Clemen and Leo Deng have been tearing apart their opponents all year, and — no surprise — they both won their blitz sections.
  • The Allison family from Bend has been a tremendous force in Oregon chess, but they did not learn about OSCF in time to play in this year’s championship. However, they were able to stop by Seaside Friday night to enjoy the blitz tournament.  Younger son Trevor played in the seven-player section U, elder son Ethan won section G, and father Rex filled in for a player who went missing in section I. We look forward to seeing them next year on Saturday too!
  • Alex Petersen and his dad Dennis Petersen have very similar ratings and ended up having to play in the same section. This time, Alex got the best of the dual and ended up winning the section.
  • Jake Winkler (section J) was the only player in any section with a perfect score.
Quad Ave. Rating Players (section winner boldfaced)
A 1743 Steven Witt, Calvin Parnon, Matt Dalthorp, Alex Piatski
B 1600 Erik Skalnes, Jack Dale, Jacob Hoglund, Dhruva Chatterjee
C 1528 Benjamin Pikus, Takuma Sato-Duncan, Caleb Kesey, Gabriel Skoro
D 1490 Collin Goldman, Jimmy Kelly, Dillon Winter, Liam Booth
E 1465 Dmitri Murphy, Clemen Deng, Brian Hoglund, Aaron Pikus
F 1422 Brian Yang, Dillon Murray, Cameron Kocher, Rory Soiffer
G 1321 Jacob Slavik, Ethan Allison, Torrey Gage-Tomlinson, Zach Koontz
H 1262 Leo Deng, Nathan Jewell, Valentin Molchanov, Quinn Stearns
I 1219 Dennis Petersen, Rex Allison, Craig Still, Alex Petersen
J 1156 Jake Winkler, John Ornes, Duncan Soiffer, Kaitlyn Davidson
K 1063 Colin Liu, Alex Schoen, Leo Barrios, Thomas Kneeland
L 1016 Devan Kruse, Everett Carstens, Gil Parnon, Riley Baney
M 960 Marino Santoro, David Kruse, Isaiah Lee, Zia Wiles
N 905 Ricardo Marroquin, Neal Ornes, Johannes Freischuetz, Evan Kooyman
O 865 Adrian Camero, Keshav Siddhartha, Tommy Eblen, Travis Albers
P 826 Nicholas Kapple, Sierra Bechdoldt, Erick Trujillo, Jennifer Ross
Q 769 Eric Gibbs, Harvey Beleiciks, Alexander Duley, Quinn Reynolds
R 684 Crystal Still, Colby Martinot, Collin Good, Jacob DeKlyen
S 656 Aidan Gardner-O’Kearny, Atticus Crow, Lane Crabtree, Jesse Norgren
T 631 Max Franklin, Kira Dobbins, Brandon Good, Farayah Martinot
U 551 Michael Schuff, Andrea Durdel, Edward Puls, Angelina Morones, Victoria Kapple, Logan Parrish, Trevor Allison