WFM Chouchanik Airapetian wins 2017 WA Women’s Championship!

A record 23 players took part in the 2017 WA State Women’s Championship, a 5-round Swiss held at the Seattle Chess Club September 15-17, 2017.  The tournament, which was dual US Chess and FIDE rated, attracted players from throughout the Northwest States including Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia.  The chief organizer of the event was WCF President Josh Sinanan and it was directed by Fred Kleist, a US Chess Senior TD and FIDE National Arbiter.

WFM Chouchanik Airapetian won the 2017 WA Women’s Championship with 4.5/5, taking home the $300 first place prize along with the title of 2017 WA State Women’s Champion!  For her victory, Chouchan will be seeded into the Premier Section of the 2018 WA State Championship.  Other winners include:

2nd Place: Andrea Botez, $200
=3rd/U1800: Minda Chen, Sophie Tien & Anne-Marie Velea, $60 each
=1st U1600: Melina Li & Sophie Szeto, $40 each
=1st U1400/U1200: Kate Jiang & Felicity Wang, $80 each
=1st U1000/Unr: Angela Agaian & Angela Chen, $40 each

Congratulations to all of the winners!

Photos from the tournament can be viewed on the WCF FB page
Here is a link to the US Chess rating report.

Seattle Chess Classic draws 75 players!

Seattle Chess Classic Open and Reserve Section players.

FM Roland Feng, the current WA State co-Champion, won the first Seattle Chess Classic with an undefeated 7/9 and took home the $1300 first place prize!  Roland finished half a point ahead of second place finishers IM Ray Kaufman, FM Tanraj Sohal and NM Daniel He.  Tying for 2nd U2300 with 6 points each were WIM Megan Lee, FM Ignacio Perez, and NM Derek Zhang.  Benjamin Mukumbya, who starred in the recent Disney film Queen of Katwe, and Naomi Bashkansky tied for first U2150/U2000, also with 6 points.  Vikram Ramasamy and David Rupel tied for 2nd U2150 with 5.5 points.  Travis Olson won clear 2nd U2000 with 5 points.  Nicholas Whale had an amazing tournament and took home the U1850 prize with 5.5 points, raising his rating by 200 points in the process!  Vignesh Anand and Thomas Taylor split 2nd U1850 honors with 4.5 points each.  Megan Lee and Naomi Bashkansky added to their prize winnings by splitting the Top Female prize, while Ignacio Perez, who just recently turned 50, took home the Top Senior prize.

In the Reserve section, two players dominated the 21-player field and both scored an amazing 8/9 – Jacob Mayer and Jeffrey Yan!  They each won $275.50 and picked up some bonus points along the way.  Robin Tu and Sophie Szeto tied for 3rd/U1600 with 5.5 points each.  They were half a point ahead of Lorenzo Patton and Melina Li, who tied for 2nd U1600.  Alison Xiao and Ajay Pai split first U1450/U1300 with 5.0 points each.  Half a point back were Harrison Toppen-Ryan and Ethan Su, who tied for 2nd U1450.  Young Anand Gupta won 2nd U1300 with 4.5 points, and Kabir Hotani took down the U1150 prize with the same score.  Raymond Zhang from Vancouver, B.C. won 2nd U1150 with 3.5 points.  Sophie Szeto won Top Female honors and August Piper took home the Top Senior Prize.  Congratulations to all of the winners!

The Seattle Chess Classic was directed by Fred Kleist, hosted by Seattle Chess Club, and organized by WCF President Josh Sinanan.

The US Chess crosstable can be found here.

Photos from the tournament can be viewed on the WCF Facebook Page.

IM Georgi Orlov Wins WA Open 6-0!

 

The 2017 WA Open was held at the Lynnwood Embassy Suites over Memorial Day weekend May 27-29. A strong attendance of about 205 players took part from throughout the Northwest, primarily from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia.

The event was hosted by Washington Chess Federation.

Organizers: WCF Tournament Coordinator Dan Mathews & WCF President Josh Sinanan.
Tournament Directors: Fred Kleist & Gary Dorfner.

WCF Scholastic Director David Hendricks ran the WA Open Scholastic on Saturday, which attracted 74 players.

International Master Georgi Orlov won clear first place in the open section with a perfect 6-0 score, defeating three FM’s along the way: Tian Sang, Roland Feng, and David Bragg.  A full point behind Orlov was a group of 4 players who tied for second place: FM Roland Feng, FM Tian Sang, FM Steven Breckenridge and Benjamin Mukumbya, who was featured in the recent Disney Film Queen of Katwe!

The US Chess tournament rating report is now available.
Photos from the tournament can be viewed here.

Other winners include:

=1st Place Reserve Section: Daniel Shubin, Jeffrey Yan, Joshua Lewis-Sandy, and Brandon Jiang

1st Place Booster Section: Northern Brown

=2-5th Place Booster Section: Drake Borden, Harrison Keyser, Michael Kuang, Erik Liu, Tommy Rodgers, and Ajay Pai

2017 Idaho Scholastic Champion of Champions

The players at the 2017 Idaho Scholastic Champion of Champions tournament. L-R: Forrest Zeng, Dylan Porth, Kevin Xu, Bryan Li, Seth Machakos. Photo credit: Jeffrey Roland.

The first-ever event of this kind in Idaho. Five players played for the Idaho Scholastic Championship title in downtown Boise, Idaho on May 27, 2017 at the Foerstel building at 249 South 16th Street in Boise, Idaho. These players qualified to play by being the top three finishers in both the Scholastic K-8 Championship (held in Boise, March 11, 2017) and the Scholastic 9-12 Championship (held in Boise, March 4, 2017), with one player from the 9-12 Championship, Thomas Connelly Reisig, not playing.

It was a round robin Game/45;d5 event, rated by US Chess Federation. Jeffrey Roland was Chief Tournament Director. Alise Pemsler and Adam Porth were assistant TD’s.

Seth Machakos won the event with a perfect score of 5.0/5 and is now officially the 38th Annual Idaho Scholastic Chess Champion.

http://www.uschess.org/msa/XtblMain.php?201705274692

Introducing the newbie NWC blogger

Hey!

So this is blogging. Hmm. It’s easy enough to share your news and opinion in a blog, I suppose. The real question is not whether you can write it, but whether anyone will read it. I like to write, and as an ego-inflated chessplayer, I know I’m pretty good at it. Judging by the quality of some rather successful internet writers I’ve seen, though, being good at it isn’t really necessary. The average reader doesn’t seem to care much about the quality of the writing or the coherence of the argument. (It’s not fair to pick on internet writers exclusively, of course. The quality of many best-sellers is also abysmal.)

Ah, that’s always a good way to start: insult your readers. Guaranteed to generate positive word of mouth. But of course you, dear reader, are not the average internet surfer, but rather are chess-blog readers of distinction and erudition (there, definitely getting back on track). So rather than shoveling any more, let me explain why I’m going to write the occasional post on the NWC blog, and why you should read it.

About two years ago, as I was winding down my most recent stint as editor of the print version of NWC magazine, I began working on an editorial. This was a labor based on one of my pet peeves (a fertile subject for bloggers in general), and in order to support my arguments I asked Rusty Miller to gather some data from back issues of NWC. He kindly took some time away from his genealogical research to dig into 30-year-old issues (probably stored in 30-year-old boxes, for all I know), and in general he confirmed my supposition.

In a nutshell: tournament prize funds and entry fees in Washington and Oregon today are substantially the same as they were 10, 20, and even 30 years ago. Chess money in the Pacific Northwest has not adjusted for inflation.

Well, that wasn’t very difficult. Why didn’t I write that editorial a couple years ago? What’s the trouble here? It doesn’t seem a very controversial conclusion — it’s really just a simple fact, right?

Yes… if that was all there is to it. It’s the side-effects, the unintended consequences, the well-meaning, knee-jerk, populist tournament organizers and chess clubs, the political repercussions… (Huh? What’s he going on about now?)

Here’s what’s been happening. Adult tournament participation has been declining. One reason for this is the internet, of course. You can go online to any number of free or fee sites to play games any time of the day or night. It’s mostly blitz, but there’s always someone there to play, more or less at your level, no driving to a club at hours of their convenience, no parking, no waiting for a game. Heck, if you want you can play naked, no one will know. Go ahead and scarf that pizza, you’ll only smear your own computer, and if you just want to watch there are probably some very strong players duking it out. It’s not exactly tournament chess. Prizes are rare and difficult to win, and you can’t go out to lunch with your buddies or your opponent to post-mortem the game. Every so often you get whomped by a computer cheat… But I digress.

The point is that when fewer people come out to play at the local club tournament, the state or regional championship, or what have you, the tournament organizers try to figure out how to get the numbers back up, or at least hold onto the players that they have. And the very first knee-jerk impulse is this: lower entry fees. Yes, by making it cheaper to play chess, it becomes more accessible to more players. More people will come, right?

Wrong. For two reasons.

First, lower entry fees means lower prizes. Second, if you lower the cost, you make it more accessible… to whom? People who have little money.

Not everyone plays for prize money, of course. A vast majority really can’t expect to win prize money at most tournaments, right? So, does it matter if there are prizes? Many chessplayers play for the love of the game. Yes, but many don’t want to invest a bunch of money as well as their time just for the love of the game. As it also pertains to the lack of inflation in entry fees and prizes at relatively high-end events, it’s important to note the principle is not the expectation of winning, but the reasonable (read: optimistic) possibility of winning. And the amount your inflated ego says you have a semi-realistic chance at must be about double, or at least more than, what it would take to cover all expenses including entry fee, travel, and lodging. More on this later, complete with actual tournament data, but suffice to say that tournaments that might have seemed worthwhile to travel to a few decades ago now fail the test due to inflation.

Second, if you lower the cost, you make it more accessible… to whom? People who have little money. Like, college students, the unemployed, the homeless. People who spend all their cash on alcohol and cigarettes… (Nope, no stereotyping here.) I’m not saying there should not be events that cater to people with no money. However, keep in mind that millionaires rarely socialize at soup kitchens. (Huh? Let me elucidate.) If your club or tournament is designed to attract the dregs, don’t expect a lot of cream. (Oh yeah, sure, that was much more clear.) One last try: rich people don’t hang out with the unwashed. (Oh. So?)

Despite the large number of chessplayers who never do really amount to much in the world of business outside of chess (such as myself), there’s a small subset of players who actually get, you know, jobs and careers and the like. They usually disappear from chess for years or even decades while they make their way in the world, then they find some leisure time or start taking some of their three years of accumulated vacation time, and they look at playing in tournaments again. They are not, repeat, not, going to end up playing in the free-entry-no-prizes special at the club with 10 members who all smoke and play pinochle.

In 2011 the Portland Chess Club with their Centennial celebration tournament showed the way to bring some of these successful-type semi-retired former players out of the woodwork. They ran an event with $10,000 in prizes. The total number of players was significantly larger than a standard Oregon Open, which is normally the biggest event of the year in the Portland area, and there were quite a few faces returning to chess after extended absence.

Woo hoo! That Centennial was big, right? Huge prizes, way more than regular tournaments… Well, no, actually. Yes, it was bigger than anything seen recently (this was the year before the US Open came to the greater Portland area). But… Consider the Oregon Open. Over 30 years ago, the Oregon Open prize fund was $3000. Today, the Oregon Open prize fund is… $3000. If it had kept up with inflation, the Oregon Open would be offering something like $11,000. In other words, the Centennial was what the Oregon Open should be every year. The Centennial, in order to really be a big contrast, should have offered prizes on the order of $35,000.

The only tournaments that have, in fact, adjusted prizes (and entry fees) upward in the last 30 years (I’m not kidding) are the ones that got brief corporate sponsorship from Inside Chess back in the 1990s. Not to toot my own horn (too much), but in fact these were all events that I organized, and the sponsorship was my idea. I was wearing multiple chess hats back then, serving as WCF President as well as working at International Chess Enterprises, the publisher of Inside Chess. Starting with the 1992 Washington Chess Convention (featuring the Washington Open), and continuing with the Washington Class Championships, we upgraded these events from rather tiny local tournaments to gatherings worth traveling to play. That was the good news. The bad news is that since the mid-1990s, these events have also stagnated.

So, what’s the problem? Why don’t organizers just increase the entry fees and prizes? The risk (and every tournament involves risk to the organizer) would be proportionately the same as it was decades ago, right? Why not just go for it?

Derek Zhang becomes National Master

National Master Derek Zhang

“After reaching 2100 USCF in 2015, my chess progress stagnated, but over these past few months I was able to put all the pieces together and reach 2200. My real breakthrough tournament was 3 months ago at the Golden State Open, where I scored 2.5/3 against FMs in the last 3 rounds to win the U2300 prize. After that, I knew it was just a matter of time until I reached NM, and in 2 more tournaments I had achieved my goal. It’s taken a while, but I’m glad I finally got there.”

-Derek

Congratulations to Derek Zhang of Bellevue, Washington, who achieved a 2200 U.S. Chess rating as a result of scoring 5 of 7 points in the U2200 section at the 11th Annual Philadelphia Open, Philadelphia, Pa., April 12-16.  Here is a link to the crosstable: http://www.uschess.org/msa/XtblMain.php?201704167042.2

Harmon Report from Portland CC website

11th Annual Clark Harmon Memorial Open (April 1-2): The Harmon Memorial currently rotates between Oregon and Washington each year and was in Oregon this year. Clark was one of the Northwest’s premier players and ambassadors of the game for many decades. See more information about Clark here and here. After the original Neil Dale Memorial Open was cancelled due to the weather, the unique features of that tournament (one section, G/120;d5, under prizes at U2100, U1900, U1700, U1500, and U1300/unrated, bonus upset prize) were transferred over to this year’s Harmon Memorial (the Neil Dale Memorial was rescheduled with the Portland Spring Open and used the Spring Open format). This year’s Harmon Memorial got thirty-five players. Micah Smith was the TD on Saturday and Mike Morris was the TD on Sunday. Mike Lilly helped with registration on Saturday. Mike Lilly and Mike Morris both gave a short remembrance of Clark before round 1. FM Corey Russell, a player from Medford, finished first with 4.5/5 and won $210. Corey also qualifies for the Oregon Invitational Tournament as the top Oregon finisher. However, he certainly would have qualified for the Invitational anyway based on rating and will almost certainly qualify for the higher level State Championship which runs alongside the Invitational. NM Matt Zavortink and NM William Lapham tied for second with 4/5 and split the second and third place prizes, each winning $114. H.G. Pitre, a player from the Seattle area, Gavin Zhang, and Scott Levin split the 1st U2100, 1st U1900, and 2nd U2100 prizes with 3.5/5, each winning $65. H.G. also gained around 70 rating points. Alan Rhoade and Isaac Vega split the 2nd U1900 prize, each winning $27. Alan graciously donated his winnings to the Harmon Memorial Fund which we use to have a higher prize fund for the Harmon Memorial. Isaac also gained around 50 rating points. Ralph Anthony, a player from the Seattle area, won the 1st U1700 prize of $70 with 3/5 and gained around 50 rating points. Roshen Nair, Brian Berger, and Abbie Wu split the 2nd U1700 prize with 2.5/5, each winning $18. Abbie also gained around 125 rating points, achieved a new peak rating, and achieved her 5th, 4th Category norm and thus was awarded the 4th Category Title (her performance was good enough that she achieved 3rd and 2nd Category norms as well). Roshen also achieved his 5th, 3rd Category norm and thus was awarded the 3rd Category Title. Zoey Tang won the 1st U1500 prize of $70 with 2.5/5 and gained around 85 rating points and a new peak rating. Jerrold Richards won the 2nd U1500 prize of $53 with 2/5. Harry Buerer won the 1st U1300/unrated prize of $70 with 2/5. Austin Tang won the 2nd U1300/unrated prize of $53 with 1.5/5. Micah Smith had the idea of adding a bonus upset prize to at least one of our tournaments and it makes the most sense to have an upset prize at a big one section tournament. Since it’s a bonus prize that players can win in addition to the other prizes, we decided we should be a little more restrictive as to who is eligible for the prize and we decided that you have to have an established US Chess rating (played at least 26 rated games) to be able to win the prize. We also decided not to count draws as half of an upset as is sometimes done. Arliss Dietz won the bonus upset prize of $50 by beating a player rated 356 points higher. There was one player playing in his first US Chess rated tournament, Ray Bourke from Corvallis.

Anthony He becomes FIDE Master

Anthony He became Washington State’s youngest ever FIDE Master on February 20, 2017 by scoring 5.5/9 at the 2017 WA State Chess Championship in Redmond. He gained 93.6 points to boost his FIDE rating over 2300. Anthony achieved the title 4 days after he turned age 12.  Anthony is currently the US number 1 FIDE rated player in his age group (U-12).  Congratulations, Anthony!

FM Anthony He Photo Credit: Xuhao He

Report on Portland CC March Quad 45

From Portland CC website. Report by the TD.

Quad 45 (March 18): This month the time control at the Quad 45 was changed from G/45;d15 to G/45;inc15. As far as we can tell, this is the first ever regular rated PCC tournament that used increment. There were several ideas behind switching from delay to increment. One reason is that increment is more fair than delay. For example, with a fifteen second delay, a player who uses one second on a move will have the same amount of time remaining for the game as a player who uses fifteen seconds, which doesn’t seem right. Another reason is that increment helps mitigate time pressure a lot better than delay. A third reason was simply to give players a little bit more overall time for their games. The round times for rounds 2 and 3 were pushed back slightly to accommodate expanding the time control as well as to give players a little bit more time off in between the rounds and the rounds are now scheduled at 10am, 12:30pm, and 3pm. This month’s Quad 45 was run by Micah Smith with assistance from Danny Phipps at registration, who also played in the event. It got a great turnout of twenty-eight players, tied for the second most ever at the Quad 45. Things worked out nicely this time in that we were able to simply have seven quads and didn’t have to adjust anything to avoid family members from having to play against each other and didn’t have to figure out where to put a five to seven player Swiss. One interesting thing that did crop up is that Jimmy Dee and Alex Gee had the exact same rating and one of them was going to have to be in Quad 5 and the other in Quad 6. Jimmy said he didn’t care which quad he was in and Alex said wanted to be in Quad 6 so he could be in the same quad as his two friends he came to the tournament with so Jimmy was put in Quad 5 and Alex was put in Quad 6. There was a clear winner in all seven sections. LM Carl Haessler won Quad 1 with 2/3 and won a book. Aaryan Deshpande, a player from the Seattle area, won Quad 2 with a perfect 3-0. He won a book and was also eligible to receive a trophy as a scholastic player who won his section with three points but declined. James Bean gained around 50 rating points in Quad 2. James Tsai won his quad at the Quad 45 for the second straight month, this time winning Quad 3 with 2.5/3. Quad 3 happened to be made up of the four players in the field who were rated in the 1500’s. James won a book and gained around 45 rating points. After gaining around 200 rating points from the 1st Annual Neil Dale Memorial Open, Zoey Tang added around 55 additional points to her rating by winning Quad 4 with 2.5/3. Quad 4 happened to be made up of the four players in the field who were rated in the 1400’s. She also won a book and a small trophy as a scholastic player who won her section with 2.5. Robert Bowden won Quad 5 with 2.5/3. He won a book, a small trophy as a scholastic player who won his section with 2.5, gained around 40 rating points, and achieved a new peak rating. Thomas Rolfs won Quad 6 with a perfect 3-0 and won a book. Max Alberhasky, who was playing in this first US Chess rated tournament, won Quad 7 with a perfect 3-0 and won a book. Henry Westlund added around 150 points to his provisional rating in Quad 7. There were three other players playing in their first US Chess rated tournament, Alex Gee, Benjamin Saunders, and James Hatch.

US Chess crosstables, CLICK HERE.

2016 Washington G/60 Results

Washington Chess Federation reports on Facebook.

The 2016 WA G/60 Championship was held at Seattle Chess Club over winter break December 27-28. The tournament was hosted by the Washington Chess Federation and directed by Fred Kleist. 50 players took part in one large open section, up slightly from last year. FM Ignacio Perez repeated as the clear winner with an impressive 6/6, claiming the $300 first place prize. Life Master Viktors Pupols and a new unrated player named Jinfei Sun tied for second, each with 5.0/6. Canadian Shin Yuan Tian, rated only 1461 USCF, captured clear 3rd with 4.5/6, losing only to Perez in the final round. Travis Elisara, WCF Scholastic Director David Hendricks, Steve Buck, and Dan Kramlich split U1800 honors with 4.0 each. Bellevue’s Andy Tien won the U1600 prize with a cool 4 points. The youngest Velea sister, Sophie, took home U1400 honors with 3.5 points. Here is the link to the US Chess rating report: CLICK HERE.