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2009 Washington State Premier Player Introductions

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Premier Section

LM Viktors Pupols 2208

{2008} Chess rewards merit; it is more fair than life. National origin, age, sex, social status don't matter. Good ideas are rewarded; bad ones punished. There are no hole cards or luck; all assets are even and in plain view. Apples and oranges act in harmony; this skill is transferable to other life pursuits.

I call myself a Master Emeritus: I first played in a Washington State Championship in 1954. I play as my work allows: sometimes in Muskogee, Escanaba, or 29 Palms. I have won tournaments in 12 states and 2 foreign countries, e.g., Keres Memorial 1980 in B.C.; Chicago International 1993. I have played at least 30 opponents who were, or became, GM's at least 70 times, and scored at least 20 points. Yasser captured two of my Queens on successive moves, yet lost the endgame. I drew Malaniuk after foregoing the option of castling on move 50 (a world record which would have lost the game). I played Fischer when he was 12 (I won), and Korchnoi when he was 76 (I lost). I also lost to Michael Flatley (rated ~ 1950) in a Las Vegas tournament!

NM Michael MacGregor 2200

{2008} When my paternal grandfather passed away in the early 1970's I had salvaged Chess in a Nutshell and The Fireside Book of Chess from the fire. They still smell old and like smoke. I don't know why I had saved these books. I was about seven years old at the time. My father didn't even know his father had these chess books or that he had an interest in chess. When I told my dad about these books in 2007, 35 years later, he was in disbelief until he saw his father's hand writing in Fireside where he would write the solution to two-move tactical problems.

A few years after my grandfather's passing, my paternal grandmother bought my parents a chess set, which they never used. The gift seemed like a cruel joke to my mother because she didn't even know how to play chess (and still doesn't!). The gift seemed to be a symbol of the strained relationship between my mother and her mother-in-law. Historically, these chess items were purchased during the Fischer boom of the early 1970's.

I didn't touch a chess set until I was 10 or 11 years old. A neighborhood friend and I would engage in what we termed pawn wars. We each took turns marching our pawns to the center of the board for annihilation. The player with the last pawn standing won the game. My friend and I used only the pawns simply because we did not know how to use the pieces, despite placing them all on the first rank. Not knowing how to use those pieces planted a small desire in me to learn the game when the opportunity presented itself.

My high school appointed one hour a month for students to participate in an elective club held during the school day. That day in the tenth grade I had a substitute teacher who said he would be participating in the school's chess club in the class next to ours. I joined the club and quickly learned to accept defeat as normal. I was placed as an alternate for the chess team.

I coped with defeat because of an instant love for the game and because I knew that eventually I would win. My competitiveness drove me to studying books and buying a small chess computer. I fondly remember watching Bruce Lee movies and then learning to "kick the crap" out of my chess computer. Of course, this was back in the day when computers were about 1800. Within a short period of time I was winning. After losing, however, few of my opponents asked me to play them anymore. By the end of tenth grade, I was playing third board for the Federal Way High School chess team.

To improve, I needed to increase the caliber of my opponents. I joined the Tacoma Chess Club and began participating in rated tournaments. I competed and won the right to play first board for my high school early within the eleventh grade and maintained that privilege through graduation. I finished high school (1984) with an Expert rating of 2000+.

After high school, I enjoyed playing chess with some high school buddies for about a year. I then went on my church mission, returned, went to college, and did not participate in a rated chess tournament until 1996, a hiatus of more than ten years. Much to my surprise, my chess strength had not dissipated despite not having played or studied for so long, although it took some time to relearn the opening theories. After ten years of play my rating has slightly increased to just over 2200+.

I thank my wife in part for my reawakening to chess. We were on our honeymoon in 1995 to Washington, DC when we purchased this figurine and pewter chess set, which we both thought very visually appealing. We bought the set and forgot about it but in May 1996 I played in the Washington Open, restarting my chess tournament playing career. I live in Tacoma, work for Washington State, have served on the Tacoma Chess Club Board since the late 1990's, and have three children Victoria (9), Michael (7), and John (2) that keep us busy.

FM Paul Bartron 2131

{2008} When I was about 9 I got into chess, my best friend taught me. However, I was tired of losing to him so I became determined to improve my game and beat him. At my school in England I played board one for the six man team. I then went on to play board 2 for the six man team for the city of Peterborough and then board 1, After I moved to Cambridge I played board 2 and English master played board 1 we would play against the colleges. In Cambridge at a simul. I beat an English Master a Peter Clarke and won a book. According to Mike Macgregor I am the escape artist.

Dereque Kelley 2121

Alex Guo 2071

{2008} Alex is currently 13 yeas old, and started playing tournament chess around third grade. Alex does a lot of self-study. Besides chess, he also plays the piano and tennis. One of his favorite grandmasters of all time is Kasparov, as he is very tactical and is a fearsome attacker.

"Alex is a very tricky player. Last year he beat Ben Calpo in the Premier after losing his queen early in the game. In a later round, many pawns down, he confused the situation enough that he ended up beating Andy May. He qualified by winning the junior closed after scaring off all of the high rated players due to his known proficiency for tricks. Though the lowest rated player in the field by almost 200 points, I predict that he will take a scalp or two. His projected score is around 1.5 and I am guessing that he will get at least that, and not through draws! I myself lost to him last year." (written by Geoff Gale)

Geoffrey Gale 2038 (seed)

{2008} I learned to play chess as a child and was always good enough to beat my friends but I never really pursued chess until I was older. My grandfather was always the strongest player in the family and as Juan Jiminez once told me, "chess skips a generation," meaning that none of my grandfather's children took up chess because he was too strong. As an adult visiting him back East we played a game and I beat him. It was the first time he had ever lost to a family member. In his defense he was ninety-seven years old. As I found out later, he never played again.

When I returned home I was perusing a bookstore and came across a chess book, MCO 13. It never occurred to me that there might be books on chess. It was just a game to me, I had never seen a book on monopoly or tic-tac-toe. Armed with this opening book I wrote my grandfather and suggested that we play a correspondence game. He suggested instead that I join the local chess club. That was about ten years ago and I have been playing ever since.

Allen Smith 2025

{2008} My dad introduced me to chess when I was about seven. I played at the chess club at my elementary school. I remember playing in the main tournament going undefeated in the last round for the championship were I lost in 4 moves falling for the "scholar's mate." That was embarrassing!

It wasn't till high school until chess opened up a whole world for me. I was very fortunate to have a national master as a team captain and a chess expert for a coach at Wilson High School. I thought I was a good player until NM Corey Russell put me in my place beating me easily in several games. He even blindfolded himself and beat me very easily.

That gave me encouragement to get better so I started reading many books. Marvin Hayami my coach saw my interest in chess and the desire to improve, so he offered to take me to the Tacoma Chess Club. The first night at the club they were celebrating 100 year anniversary, at which they would be having GM Lubomir Ftacnik give a simul to the entire club over 20 boards. Lubo defeated everyone except NM John Graves. Lubo defeated several A players, a few experts and even my mentor and team captain NM Corey Russell in that simul. I was so amazed at the chess strength of the GM that he could beat all those players single-handedly that it grew my interest in chess even more. I became one of the strongest players in WA with a rating of over 1800, which was a very strong scholastic rating at the time (1993) before the days of Fritz and databases. I tied for first place in the high school state championship.

My passion now is to coach players of all ages, and see that same excitement for chess as I did.

Kerry Xing 1996 (seed)

{2008} My mother taught me how to play chess when I was age 5. I did not start to play chess at chess tournaments until four years ago, toward the end of 5th grade. Then I went to the Microsoft Chess Club every Friday night for around three years. At the club I made a lot of chess friends, who are strong chess players locally. They played chess with me and helped me improve my chess. I am lucky to be in the Premier this year. Chess is not only a game. It has helped me succeed in math competitions.

Elston Cloy 1961

{2008} I started playing chess my sophomore year of high school {age 16}. I was a normal 3-sport athlete reading a few books in the library. One of the chess club kids asked me if I wanted to play a game with him? After he beat me, he was so proud he had won that he gloated and told every one. I was very irritated about this since I barely knew how to play. Needless to say that my competitiveness had me go check out 4 or 5 chess books. The next year I practically took over the chess club. The members went from 7 to 42 in one year. I wanted every one to play chess. That summer I found the Spokane chess club where I could play adults. John Julian and Curt Collyer really helped me grow as a chess player. Studying as much as I could that year I found my chess rating soared. it went from 1250 one August to 1690 the next and 1910 the next August. After high school I found studying chess, while working a full time job and going to College, is not easy. So the amount of chess events slipped for me and my rating froze. This is an exciting year because I now own my own business and have time to study. Most of the players I've played have called me very resourceful and crafty. I tend to be the easy guy to spot at most events with my crazy hair and green sunglasses. This looks like a great event and I look forward to more like this in the future!

Nathan Lee 1855 (seed)