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2009 Washington State Invitational Player Introductions

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Invitational Section

Chris Kalina 1945

{2008} I first was intrigued by the game of chess around junior high when I was watching my brother Mike lose repeatedly to his friend Chuck. Not knowing anything about the game yet, I watched their every move trying to figure out how each piece moved, and then what it was they were trying to do with each of them. Of course, I never really figured out enough to be dangerous, and I myself was shown by those two how the pieces move, and was beaten senseless a few times.

I then didn't even think again about chess until another friend of mine - Mark from high school told me that he was on the chess team. Again I played him and lost many times when I began to ask myself why I played a game I could never win ..... Later that year in High School, I was tardy one too many times to my math class, and my teacher put me in after school detention. When I showed up to his class after school, I was given the choice of cleaning blackboards and filing papers or playing chess. Well, OK I figured that I could try and become frustrated again ...... I then lost to almost everyone on the chess team including Mark, until I played the weakest player on the team who I actually beat. I couldn't believe that I had finally won a game! After a couple of weeks, Mark approached me and asked why I had not been to chess club .....? Puzzled, I informed him that I was not aware that I was a member of the club. After being unknowingly recruited, I then showed up every week and was the 5th board of the team in my sophomore year.

By the following year, I had improved some by playing Mark over the spring and started the year anywhere between boards 1 and 3. Many challenges took place and as a result boars 1-3 were not settled until the league matches began. Our first match in my Junior year paired us against Eastside Catholic HS, where the highest rated High School player was going to school - Patrick Van Dyke. I was on board 2 in this particular match as Khanh Vu had won the last challenge for board 1 before the match, and Khanh was subject to Patrick's torture as a result. I just was amazed at how precise his game was compared to any game I had witnessed before. I soon found out that despite going to school in south Bellevue, he lived within a couple of miles of me, and we soon began playing each other casual practice games on a regular basis. This was the beginning of what was to be a long friendship, where by practicing chess, we both continued to strengthen our play, however my playing was mostly at the adult tournaments while Patrick continued a very long winning streak where there were some very close calls along the way.

While in the course of practicing with Patrick, I also learned his playing style, and that was to his downfall in my senior year as well. Patrick's streak was quite impressive up until the one time I played him in a High School event. I went on to be known as 'the streak ender' by many other jealous and also surprised High school players. This was to be my last High School event in fact, as I attempted to join the US Navy, and was not allowed to play in High School events once I had entered. This plan never did work out though as I was medically discharged.

I then returned to Seattle, where after a short period of working for a family friend, I began working for Inside Chess/International Chess enterprises. It was during this time that I was most active playing, where I played in a chess event every weekend that there was an event for quite some time. This continued until right before Inside Chess decided to downsize. This was also the year I got my baseball interest rekindled. Since that time, I still have been active in the NW Chess scene - more so in the winter months as Seattle is not a good place for winter baseball.

While the past two years my playing in tournaments has been minimal, my efforts in the local chess scene are the project I started in 2001 and had on the backburner - the Northwest Chess Center. The mission is to begin a new Chess Center that will better meet the needs of the local players.

2008 will mark the 12th year that I have participated in the WA State Championship and Premier.

Peter Watts 1935

Michael Wang 1932

Duane Polich 1913

Duane is the current Washington Chess Federation president.



Michael Hosford 1884

Nick Pazderic 1856

I learned chess from my dad while in the third grade in 1972. We played casually whenever we had the notion. We didn't take the game as anything more than an interesting way to pass the time. In 1975, as a fifth grader, our Tigard elementary team won the Oregon elementary championship. I wasn't a star, but none of us had a trainer and nobody had a computer. I didn't play again with any seriousness until 1987, when I took up the game again in Missoula, Montana. Starting from zero, I reached a 1900 rating and then left the country to begin an overseas odyssey. Eventually I earned a Ph.D. in Anthropology and taught at a number of universities in the U.S. and Taiwan. The chess bug never left me, and I played just enough over the board over the years to dribble away rating points (and I played enough computer chess to acquire many bad habits). Over the past year, I've returned to the game over the board, and I find it very enjoyable to meet new friends. I especially like the young players I encounter, such as Kate Tokareva, Michael Wang, Megan Lee, and Frank Qu to name but a few. They're all much better than I was at their ages, and they delight me with their dedication and improvement. I'm very honored to play in the invitational. I wish to thank the organizers and to wish my opponents good luck!

Eddie Chang 1832

{2008} I started playing chess at the end of my freshman year in high school. Instead of talking about how I got into chess, more importantly, this is what chess has given me. I have learned how to make better decisions. Because that is what chess is, one decision after the next. Do I castle now or later? Where do I want my bishop to develop? It also has increased my spatial memory and pattern recognition.

These skills are essential to the success I have at my job. When I help a client sell a house, I can recall different patterns I have noticed when I saw other people's listings. I remember how long those houses sat on the market for, and price that it was sold, so using pattern recognition, I can make suggestions and help my client get the most out of their sale. I love chess, not just the game itself, but everything that it has given me.

Sterling Kolde 1822

{2008} As a chess player I am focused and prepared. I enjoy the social and intellectual challenges of the game. I especially like teaching chess, studying different openings, and playing speed chess. I have the most fun playing against tough competition. I am excited to play in the Invitational this year.

Greg Prentice 1800

Casey Fleck 1764