What internet chess doesn't provide is the intensity of the over the board game, or the camaraderie of the players before and between rounds.
With one exception, all the photos used in this report were taken by John Brezina. I took the liberty of applying a "Zeke" filter to the heading photo of the 3rd round in progress, and I hope it doesn't make John too mad :-) See all of Mr. Brezina's excellent photography at this event here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/h72bcAEaGC7MXjYU8
The attendance of 113 players at this years premier CSCA tournament was only down by a couple of players from last years attendance of 115 players. But down quite a bit from the 158 players at the 2014 Colorado Open.
It cannot be denied that internet chess has increased the popularity of chess, but at the same time, in my opinion, has no doubt affected attendance at weekend tournaments. In the comfort of your home, you can play any time of the day or night, against equal strength players, essentially for free. A weekend over the board tournament requires a time commitment, an entry fee, maybe a membership fee, food and travel expenses, and possibly the cost of a hotel room. Offset somewhat for the players who win the prize money, but just an expense for the rest of us. An expense we gladly pay, while we lament why we didn't play Nc6 instead of Qxa2. :-)
This John Brezina photo captures the intensity of the over the board game
What internet chess doesn't provide is the intensity of the over the board game, or the camaraderie of the players before and between rounds. Speaking with friends face to face, rather than texting anonymously with strangers. An internet rating is a gauge but it is not an accomplishment like moving to the next higher USCF or FIDE rating class. Another significant factor is you know who you are playing over the board, and not wondering if you are playing against an engine on somebody's phone.
Nobody can focus quite like a chess player.
Still, time and progress march on at a dizzying pace in the modern world. Computers and the Internet are here to stay. Artificial intelligence is coming. The timeless game of chess will survive the machines, but will we? There is a plethora of science fiction where intelligent robots or machines decide we are not only not necessary, but a hindrance to machine progress. Go ahead, say that could never happen :-)
Before getting to who won what, here is a brief summary of the annual CSCA membership meeting. Attended this year by about 25 people.
Todd Bardwick spoke about the new location for the Scholastic Championship tournament. Saying, "After many years of having the Tivoli on the Auraria campus for free, they are going to start charging for all events, even ones held by their student organizations - which we are not. Unfortunately the cost to rent the facility will be way too high for CSCA to continue holding the Scholastic State Championship there. We are very grateful for all the years we didn't have to pay rent to hold the tournament at the Tivoli - it is very expensive to rent a facility for an entire weekend for this huge event. Next year, the event will be held at the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds."
Earle Wikle, filling in as the CSCA President after Dean Clow resigned the position, reviewed the past years CSCA tournaments and mentioned why the Colorado - New Mexico match was canceled. Mr. Wikle also withdrew his proposed change to the CSCA by-laws. Generating some discussion about how to manage social media content to avoid risk to the CSCA. Mr. Wikle conducted the meeting in an efficient and proper manner. In his agenda for the meeting he reports the CSCA currently has 149 members.
Jeff Cohen reviewed CSCA financial matters, which generated discussion of how Tournament Directors could, and should, better report the financial details of CSCA tournaments. Dean Brown, as the new CSCA Treasurer, will be tasked with creating financial accountability worksheets for TD's to use.
Paul Covington, as the Colorado USCF delegate, reviewed new USCF rule changes and other topics of interest to all USCF members.
The election of the new CSCA Board went as follows:
For President, Buck Buchanan and Paul Covington where nominated. The vote by a show of hands was 10 to 9, with Mr. Buchanan being elected as the new President of the CSCA.
The former and the new CSCA President, Buck Buchanan, at the board.
Voted in by acclamation was: Kevin McConnell for Vice President; James LaMorgese for Secretary; Dean Brown for Treasurer; Jeff Cohen for Member at Large and Todd Bardwick, as the CSCA Scholastic Coordinator, remaining as the 2nd Member at Large.
Dean Brown making sure his pieces are just right. I am sure he will apply the same attention to detail as the new CSCA Treasurer.
Nominated for Junior Representative was Akshat Jain and Griffin McConnell and here is where the CSCA by-laws raised its ugly head. Ann Davies made the perfectly reasonable suggestion that they both be CSCA junior reps. Nope. The by-laws apparently say the CSCA can have only one. Both are dedicated to improving Colorado chess. Both are personable, smart, and well liked by all. Both would be conscientious of the responsibility of the position.
The new CSCA Vice President, Kevin McConnell, the "Worlds Geatest Dad", observing his son, Griffin, playing Robert Blaha,
So there we are with Griffin's dad and brother in the room, and expected to vote by a show of hands for one or the other. The vote ended in a tie and it was likely some of us voted twice. Once for Griffin and once for Akshat. Then they were going to pass out scraps of paper to have a re-vote, but weren't sure if that was allowed by the - carved in stone - CSCA by-laws. Mr. McConnell settled the issue by withdrawing Griffin's nomination. Akshat Jain will make a fine CSCA Junior Representative.
The new CSCA Junior Representative, Akshat Jain, at the board. Long time Colorado player, Larry Wutt, is on the right.
And that will be quite enough gripping about the CSCA by-laws. Here is who won a share of the very nice 3310 dollar prize fund. I like that the Colorado Open had 4 sections, since that means more players have a chance to win some money.
The Championship section was won by Gunnar Andersen with a 4.5 point score. Micheal Mulyar, where are you? Come out and play. Gunnar needs some competition :-) Mr. Andersen only allowed a draw to Richard Shtivelband in round 4. His excellent play won the sweet 1st place prize of 550 dollars. Not to mention the title of being the 2018 Champion of Colorado.
Gunnar Andersen running variations through his mind...
Long time Colorado player, Zach Bekkedahl, a superb chess instructor who runs the Chessmates Fort Collins school, and Alaa-Addin Moussa tied for 2nd - 3rd place with 4 points each. Mr. Moussa has recently moved to the Denver area from Michigan. He met Paul Covington at the National Senior Tournament of Champions, and here he is already winning money in Colorado. He and Zach share the combined 2nd and 3rd place prize of 600 dollars. Mr. Bekkedahl had draws with Griffin McConnell and Dean Clow. Mr. Moussa only lost to Mr. Shtivelband. Clearly it was a really tight race for the top 3 prizes. (see diagrams #2, #5, #7, #9, #10 below)
...and Zach Bekkedahl doing the same.
Alaa-Addin Moussa thinking about his interesting position. Welcome to Colorado. Mr. Moussa.
There was a 4-way for the U2100 prize. Sullivan McConnell, along with his brother, Griffin, were joined by Dean Clow and Sami Al-Adsani, to finish with 3 points. Mr. Al-Adsani can be quite proud of his score. Rated only 1722, here he is sharing the 200 dollar prize with 3 strong Experts. (diagrams #6, #8)
Sullivan McConnell, along with his brother Griffin, and all the young players around their age, are the future of Colorado chess.
The clear 1st place winner in the U1900 section was Joshua Samuel. Mr. Samuel only allowed a draw to Cory Kohler in the last round to finish with 4.5 points, and win 450 dollars for his fine play. I thought I had chances in my game against Mr. Samuel up until I didn't :-) (diagram #16)
Josh Samuel is wearing a gray hat in the left center of this picture.
The combined 2nd and 3rd place prize was won by Mr. Kohler, Dwight Sehler and Davin Yin. Cory and Dwight both had 2 draws and 3 wins, while Davin had 4 wins. The young tactical genius lost only to Mr. Samuel. Their 4 point scores earned 150 dollars each. (diagram #13)
Davin does not look happy with that Bishop in his position :-)
I am pleased to report that the current DCC Secretary and now the new CSCA Secretary, James LaMorgese, took clear 1st place in the U1600 section. Mr. LaMorgese took a 1st round bye then proceeded to win his next 3 games. Going into the last round, Ben Kester had had the benefit of a 1st round forfeit win and then also won his next 3 games to have 4 points to Mr. LaMorgese's 3.5 points. I win or draw for Mr. Kester and he would take the top prize. James was having none of that. Winning the last round game netted Mr. LaMorgese 340 dollars.
James LaMorgese, with the White pieces. playing the last round game against Ben Kester that won Mr. LaMorgese some big bucks.
The combined 2nd and 3rd place prize was shared by Mr. Kester, Andrew Roerty, and Aysuh Vispute. All ending up with 4 points and each winning 115 dollars. Aysuh lost to Mr. Roerty in round 1, had a forced bye in round 2, and a forfeit win in round 5. He did win his games in rounds 3 and 4 over the board. Mr. Roerty only lost to Mr. Kester in round 3 and won his other games. In Aysuh's case, points are points, and all three players won 115 dollars.
Andrew Roerty, Aysuh Vispute, and the winners in the U1300 section, Daniel Renauer and Thomas Ngo may, or may not, be in this photo somewhere. What can i say?
The winner of the U1300 section also finished with a 4.5 point score. 113 players in the tournament and not one of them could win all their games. Try to tell me chess is not a difficult game. Daniel Renauer only allowed a draw to Charles Zhang in round 2 to take clear first place and win 250 dollars. Thomas Ngo only lost to Mr., Renauer in round 3 to finish with 4 points and win the clear 2nd place prize of 125 dollars. (diagrams #14, #15)
The tournament was very well run by Todd Bardwick using Caissa Chess software developed by Dean Clow. A couple of years ago, when Mr. Clow begin directing the DCC Tuesday night tournaments using SwissSys, I distinctly remember one night hearing him say, "I can write something better than this" A few weeks later we had Caissa Chess and have been using it ever since. In my opinion it is far and away better than SwissSys. I can sure testify it makes writing these reports easier.
Thanks to the CSCA for organizing this great tournament every year. Thanks to all the players who participate and make it a competitive tournament. Congratulations to all the prize winners. It says here that next year I'm gonna be one of them :-)
Let's start off the games section with this photo of Tyler Thieszen.
Tyler proudly displaying his checkmate. I believe this photo was taken by Brad Lundstrom at the Chessmates Fort Collins school. Where Tyler is clearly improving his game.
1) Tyler Wishall vs. Tyler Thieszen. Round 2. White has just played 23. Qc4xb4. Can you find the mate in 2 as young Tyler did? No fair looking back at the picture :-) https://denverchess.com/games/view/17806
It seems appropriate to begin with the game that made Gunnar Andersen the newest Colorado State Champion. Mr. Andersen, along with Brad Lundstrom, teaches chess at Zach Bekkedahl's Chessmates school in Fort Collins. It is no wonder that Tyler found the mate in two above.
2) Ryan Swerdlin vs. Gunnar Andersen. Round 5. White's last move was 34. Ng5-f3. What does Gunnar play now to win a piece? https://denverchess.com/games/view/17788 Ryan is another player - in a long list - that I knew as a kid and who is now grown up and going off to college. I don't think there is any doubt the chess is good for young minds. They learn how to think and come to enjoy thinking. Leading to college and successful careers. More power to them.
Find game links to all of Mr.Andersen's games from the Colorado Open after the last diagram.
3) Chris Petersen vs, Brad Lundstrom. Round 5. Final position. Black resigns. I'm sure we all see that Black's only move is ... Ke8 and White would play Qd7 mate. But in your wildest imagination, how did this position arise on the board? Mr. Peterson sure plays some great games. https://denverchess.com/games/view/17778 See links to Chris' other games below.
4) Griffin McConnell vs. Brian Wall. Round 3. A typical Brian Wall Position. A pawn wave is rolling down the board. Griffin resigned. https://denverchess.com/games/view/17794 Unfortunately, after this game Mr. Wall became ill and was unable to play rounds 4 and 5. In Brian's words, "...I ended up in an emergency room and had to delay my dreams of a 10th State Championship and a first CSCA Presidency." See below for links to Mr. Wall's round 1 and 2 games.
5) Zach Bekkedahl vs. Griffin McConnell. Round 2. Griffin had played very well to reach this position against the considerably higher rated player. Draw agreed after a few more moves. https://denverchess.com/games/view/17781
6) Ryan Swerdlin vs. Sullivan McConnell. Round 3. Griffin's brother, Sullivan, also held a draw against a much higher rated player. After White played 42. h6-h7, what is the only move for Black? https://denverchess.com/games/view/17789 Both of these draws are well worth playing over.
7) Richard Shtivelband vs, Zach Bekkedahl. Round 5. After 40... h4-h3 the pawn can't be stopped. White resigns. A well played exciting game by Mr. Bekkedahl. https://denverchess.com/games/view/17809
Chris Peterson Game Links:
Rd. 5 vs. Brad Lundstrom https://denverchess.com/games/view/17778
Brian Wall's Game Links: