The international attention given to the recent World Chess Championship belies the claim that chess is not a spectator sport.
I imagine the heading photo to be a giant chessboard floating in space. Where alien star travelers occasionally stop to play a game. I am sure they consider chess to be an art, and also a science, as well as a sport. Chess is art because it is creative and has inspired countless works of art. Chess is science because it provides a field of study, and has a big part in the evolution of machine learning. There is an ongoing debate on whether chess is a sport. There is not any question in my mind. Chess may not require physical strength and coordination, but it absolutely requires mental agility and endurance. It cannot be denied that chess is competitive. The international attention given to the recent World Chess Championship belies the claim that chess is not a spectator sport.
Spectators at the World Championship match watching the the sport of chess.
That said, here in my opinion was what was so wrong about Magnus Carlsen's draw offer in a probably winning position in game 12. Worldwide, hundreds of thousands of chess players, amateurs and professionals alike, are engrossed in the fantastic position. The Chess.com team of IM Danny Rensch and GM Robert Hess, along with their special GM guests, were discussing the many ways Carlsen - with a big time advantage - could conduct a winning attack. All were eagerly awaiting GM Carlsen's next move and could GM Caruana, in severe time pressure, somehow hold a draw.
Then Hess suddenly says, "It's a draw...Are you kidding me." He turns and tells Rensch that Mike Klein - at the venue in Norway - has reported that the players have agreed to a draw. Rensch laughs and says something like, "Mike is trolling us. He is just having a little fun... joking around." Meanwhile Hess, looking off to the side at a monitor, really upset and irate, keeps repeating, are you kidding me?, are you kidding me?
Daniel King fielding questions. Maybe after Game 12.
It was not a joke. Carlsen really had offered a draw and Caruana, with the position and the clock as it was, really didn't have a choice but to accept. What had promised to be a slashing attack from GM Carlsen, or even better, a brilliant defense in time pressure from GM Caruana, was left off the board. A great game abandoned by the World Champion. Leaving a packed house watching the game live, and thousands of fans watching online, in the lurch.
Hard to call chess a sport when the worlds #1 player doesn't want to finish the fight. I admit the draw offer was a wise strategic decision by GM Carlsen, knowing he would have a big advantage with the quick chess time control. GM Caruana had fought tooth and nail for 12 games, only to then have the World Championship decided by quick chess games. Didn't seem fair or just to me.
Maybe not to GM Caruana either.
Here at the DCC, we finished the year with a 6 round tournament. Combining November and December due to the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Our average attendance over the course of 2018 was 70 players per month, with usually more than 50 players playing each week. I remember one Tuesday, I think in July, when we paired 64 players for the rated game!! If we had a giant chessboard on the floor we could have put a player on every square :-)
We paid out nearly 7400 dollars in Tuesday night prize money. In addition to over 5000 dollars at our weekend tournaments. Plus we awarded over 1600 dollars to the 2018 DCC Tour winners. We are very much looking forward to 2019. Especially to the 2019 Denver Open. We have plans to make it much more than just another weekend tournament. Details will be announced soon.... hopefully :-)
Griffin McConnell has Gunnar Andersen in deep thought.
Gunnar Andersen has moved to Denver and plans to play often at the DCC on Tuesday nights. Brian Wall and Richard Shtivelband most certainly welcome the competition, and we hope to attract other strong Denver area players to the DCC monthly tournament. Mr. Andersen played the last two rounds and I imagine he was surprised when Griffin McConnell held him to a draw. (diagram #19 below) Both Griffin and his brother, Sullivan, want all the strong competition they can get.
Gunnar Andersen's alter ego invites you to play a game.
Note: The prize amounts previously reported were incorrect and have now been corrected.
We had given Gunnar 4 byes for pairing purposes and that resulted in a last round pairing against Mr. Shtivelband. No draw in this game as Mr. Andersen took the full point. Nevertheless, NM Shtivelband took 1st place with a 4.5 point score. Taking a half point bye in round 4, and winning all his other games, to earn 100 dollars. (diagrams #5 thru #9)
NM Shtivelband observing Brian Wall's game while waiting for Neil Bhavikatti to move
Neil Bhavikatti is another youngster, among several playing at the DCC, who has a strong game. In this tournament he had a 4th round bye, lost to Mr. Shtivelband in round 2 but held Brian Wall to a draw in the last round to win the 2nd place prize of 59 dollars. with 4 points. NM Wall ended up with 3.5 points to share 3rd place with Mark Krowczyk and they each win 19 dollars and 50 cents. (diagrams #15 and #16)
Speaking of surprising results, I'm sure Sullivan McConnell did not expect to lose to Vibi Varghese. I'm also sure Mr. Varghese will be glad to receive the 20 dollar Open Upset prize check for his 444 point rating difference win. Vibi is the DCC Member- at-Large and publishes the DCC newsletter.
Vibi Varghese with the White pieces against Mark Krowczyk.
Ken Doykos and Randolph Schine share the combined 1st and 2nd place prize of 146 dollars in the U1900 section. Mr. Doykos had two big Upset wins to finish with 4.5 points. One against Ed Yasutake in round 5, and the other against Ben Gurka in round 6. Mr. Schine won his share of the money with a big upset win against yours truly in the last round. He capitalized on my unsound sacrifice that was followed by several at best dubious moves. Randolph also played very well to score two upset draws. One against Mr. Doykos and the other against Karthik Selva.
Ben Gurka playing White against Ken Doykos.
Mr. Gurka ended up tied for 3rd place with Phil Brown, Bill O'Neil, and Roger Redmond. They all finished with 4 points. Phil, Bill and Roger all earned their points with some upset wins and draws. Mr. O'Neil had a nice 144 point difference win against Aleks Bashtavenko in round 2, and also an upset draw against Mr. Gurka. They each win a whopping 9 dollars and 25 cents.
The actual 20 dollar U1900 Upset prize was awarded to Rob Cernich for his round 1 win over, once again, your reporter. Mr. Cernich was easily outplaying me, then jumped on a blunder to have no trouble winning with a Rook up. No excuses, but both Randolph and Rob are now on my list :-) (diagram #14)
George Peschke in the blue hat is playing Tyler Bowling.
George Peschke ruled the U1500 section. He played all 6 rounds and won every time he sat down at the board. His outstanding 6-0 performance took clear 1st place and won 91 dollars. Mr. Peschke is a steady DCC Tuesday night player and I'm glad to see him win prize money.
Coleman Hoyt also had an excellent tournament to gain 122 rating points. take clear 2nd place with 4.5 points, and win 55 dollars. He lost to Mr. Peschke in round 4 and won all his other games after a 1st round bye. I'd like to thank Mr. Hoyt for annotating and uploading his games to the DCC site. (diagrams #10 thru #13) I want to encourage other players to do the same. Doing so makes the Games section of the site better, as they are DCC players games. Plus, you are likely to get a diagram in these reports :-)
Alayne Wilinsky has the Black pieces against Coleman Hoyt.
I was also glad to see Alayne Wilinsky win the 3rd place prize of 37 dollars. (diagram #20) In addition to this game, she also had a nice upset win against Petra Lambert-Gorwyn, who had won Jack Woehr's Women's Best Game prize in October. (diagram #4) We are glad to see both of these young women playing regularly on Tuesday nights. What chess needs the most is more women playing serious tournament chess.
Petra Lambert-Gorwyn playing Black against Rithvik Ijju.
The 20 dollar U1500 Upset was won by Vyacheslav Pupko for his 285 rating point difference win over Kevin Reilley. Mr. Pupko, and his son David, are regular Tuesday night players. Always good to see a father and son playing chess together. More and more parents are realizing this is just a great game for their children to learn and to enjoy playing.
Finally let me list the 2018 DCC Tour prize winners. Prize money for each section was: 1st, $138. 2nd, $91. 3rd, $47. Which exceeds our guaranteed payout of 1500 dollars.
Open Section: 1st, Richard Shtivelband. 2nd, Brian Wall. 3rd, Neil Bhavikatti.
Class A Section: 1st, Sara Herman. 2nd, Ricardo Bogaert. 3rd, Calvin DeJong
Class B Section: 1st, J.C. MacNeil. 2nd, Bill O'Neil. 3rd, Steve Kovach.
Class C Section: 1st, George Peschke. 2nd, Karthik Selva. 3rd, Meint Olthof.
Class D Section: 1st, Nicolas Torres. 2nd, Mark Fischer. 3rd Harsh Mali.
Class E Section: 1st, Alayne Wilinsky. 2nd, Shirley Herman. 3rd, Ayush Vispute.
Congratulations to all the prize winners. Thanks to all of you who are making the DCC great. Let me remind everyone that we are on the Chess-site.com list of Best Chess Clubs. https://www.chess-site.com/chess-clubs/ If you happen to be thinking about where to go for a chess vacation, check out their excellent suggestions: https://www.chess-site.com/articles/chess-tourism/
We'll start out the games section with Jack Woehr's Best Game prize winners from the DCC October tournament.
1) Open Section: Richard Shtivelband vs. Kevin Seidler. After 18...Ne5-c4 Mr. Woehr's comment is: "A model for what we were looking for. Both players exhibit excellence, but Richard Shtivelband sees farther with 19. (?)" What would you play in this position? https://denverchess.com/games/view/17939
2) U1900 Section: Walter Lowe vs. Ken Doykos. After 30...Qg1-g5 " Neglect of the Black King position leads to Walter's close to winning 31. (?)" What did Mr. Lowe play? Jack continues, "which he manages to bring home in a wonderful demonstration of why passed pawns matter more in a Queen ending than mere pawn count." https://denverchess.com/games/view/17957
3) U1500 Section: Joe Aragon vs. Paul Kullback. After 35. f3-f4 "Black trades down into a favorable King and pawn ending and doesn't fall for any of White's tricks." What is he best move here for Black? https://denverchess.com/games/view/17979
4) Played by a Woman: Petra Lambert-Gorwyn vs. Nicolas Torres. "Black misses the threat posed by 20. Bd1-e2 and drops a Bishop. Ms. Lambert-Gorwyn carries through in excellent wrap up" Nicolas played 20...b5. Do you see how White wins a Bishop? https://denverchess.com/games/view/17989
Many thanks to Mr. Woehr for his time spent evaluating these games and for using his 104 dollar DCC prize check to award the winners. Unlike Jack, when i win a prize check I spend it on myself ;-)
I was glad to see that NM Richard Shtivelband posted all his Year End tournament games. And was kind enough to send me his comments. Enjoy.
5) Dean Clow vs. Richard Shtivelband. Round 1. White has just played 32. Be3-d2. How would you continue as Black to make a "... a nice attacking breakthrough." https://denverchess.com/games/view/18108
6) Richard Shtivelband vs. Neil Bhavikatti. Round 2. Final Position. As an indication of the respect that Mr. Shtivelband has for Neil he says, "Bhavikhatti is forcing me to spend 1.5 hours on Chessbase to prepare an opening line against him now." Clearly taking the youngsters game seriously. https://denverchess.com/games/view/18109
8) Richard Shtivelband vs. Kevin Seidler. Round 5. Final position. "My game against Seidler was pretty characteristic of my games. 1. My king doesn't get castled until very late in the game and 2. I often end up giving my opponent the bishop pair advantage and try to prove that the knight can fight back." And there sits the Knight on c6, Giving check and fighting back. https://denverchess.com/games/view/18111
9) Richard Shtivelband vs. Gunnar Andersen. Round 6. This position is after 15...axb4, capturing a Knight. Richard could not find his score sheet and comments, "... I just uploaded the first 15 moves up until Gunnar won the exchange and was clearly better if not already winning. There wasn't anything really noteworthy in the game after that point. All I can say is that Gunnar is just a tough match up for me and my hat goes off to him. After 10 games, he is +7=2-1 against me." I think it is safe to say that Gunnar is a tough match for anyone. https://denverchess.com/games/view/18130
The analysis in Coleman Hoyt's games is both instructive and amusing. I liked the nicknames he gave himself for each of the following games.
10) Maroczy Magician Coleman Hoyt vs. Kevin Reilley. Round 6. Do you see the sweet tactical shot that the Maroczy Magician plays in the position? https://denverchess.com/games/view/18121
11) Tyler Bowling vs. Bishop Blockader Coleman Hoyt. Round 5. White has just played 32. Bc1xh6. How does the Bishop Blockader defend? https://denverchess.com/games/view/18116
12) Brian Norris-Saucedo vs. Trojan Horse Torcher Coleman Hoyt. The Black King looks to be in a precarious position after 13. Rd1-d3. Somehow the Trojan Horse Torcher defends. https://denverchess.com/games/view/18067
13) Sicilian Silencer Coleman Hoyt vs, Alayne Wilinsky. Round 2. In this position Ms. Wilinsky played 27...b5. How does the Sicilian Silencer win material? https://denverchess.com/games/view/18066
14) Rob Cernich vs. J.C. MacNeil. Round 1. Atfer 26. Kb1-a1, I didn't know if I was winning with the extra pawn or not. I was sure not after I played the worst possible move for Black. https://denverchess.com/games/view/17982 I am consoled somewhat by the following game...
15) Eamon Montgomery vs. Brian Wall. Round 2. It seems as if all 3 results are still possible here for both players. That is until the real strong Eamon Montgomery plays the worst possible move. https://denverchess.com/games/view/18012 with computer analysis: https://denverchess.com/games/view/18013 We all know just one bad move can wipe out any number of previous good moves.
16) Brian Wall vs. Griffin McConnell. Round 1. After 35...Kf7-g6 Brian had played 36. Ra3- a6 and Griffin played 36... c4-c3. Before these moves Mr. Wall considered the position equal. After, "anatomy of a disaster" Now in the position on the board Brian plays 37. Ra6xe6 and wins quickly. But think like a computer and play a much better move. Without computer notes here: https://denverchess.com/games/view/17980 with here: https://denverchess.com/games/view/17981 (see also #21)
18) J.C. MacNeil vs. Aditya Krishna. Round 4. OK, I'm tooting my own horn. After 16. Ra1-d1, Adiyta played !6... Qd6-c7 and allows my Knights to dance. https://denverchess.com/games/view/18105 I like all my pieces but I like the Knights the best :-)
19) Gunnar Andersen vs. Griffin McConnell. Round 5. This is the position after White has played 49. Rd2-d1, At this point Griffin is under 5 minutes on his clock and stopped keeping score. https://denverchess.com/games/view/18106 60 moves later the players agreed to a draw went the Rooks where traded off and only the Kings where left on the board. Must have been a real battle. I saw the very end when Griffin, in time pressure, calmly just kept making good moves. Leaving Gunnar no choice but to allow the draw.
20) Alayne Wilinsky vs. David Pupko. Round 3. Position after 15... Qd8-e7. Black had dropped a piece the previous move and from here on out Ms. Wilinsky conducts a nice king side attack. https://denverchess.com/games/view/18136
21) Neil Bhavikatti vs. Brian Wall. Round 6. Final Position. If I understand it right, both players thought they were winning the whole game till it became a draw :-) https://denverchess.com/games/view/18123
Thanks again to all.