Sadly... it cannot be said that racism has been eradicated from the American conscience.
Once again the DCC staged a Tribute to Martin Luther King chess tournament. I am pleased that we say "Tribute to..." If anyone is deserving of gratitude, respect, and admiration, it is this man. The heading photo is from the Apple corporation homepage. As they have done in previous years, they chose to honor Martin Luther King's life and work in this way again.
Dr. King was a tireless advocate for civil rights for all Americans. In 1983, after years of political posturing, his birthday was finally recognized as a national holiday. Quoting then President Ronald Reagan, “This year marks the first observance of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a national holiday. It is a time for rejoicing and reflecting. We rejoice because, in his short life, Dr. King, by his preaching, his example, and his leadership, helped to move us closer to the ideals on which America was founded..."
Sadly in 2019, 35 years later, it cannot be said that racism has been eradicated from the American conscience. A recent controversial internet video clearly shows a smirking white teenager facing off an Indian tribal elder. The young man now says he was smiling and trying to defuse the situation. Perhaps the one picture I saw was taken out of context, but If you can't tell the difference between a smile and a smirk, then I pity you. If you think African-Americans, or any other minority in the United States, receives equal treatment under the law, then you are deluded. If you think racial hatred does not exist in America then you are delusional.
Quoting from a Denver Post guest opinion article by Steve Rendle, a Denver area businessman. "While America has clearly come a long way since the civil rights movement, we're reminded constantly in media and our daily interactions of how far we still have to go." He goes on to say his organization aims "to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace." This is a white CEO recognizing that would be good for business. More power to him, I say.
I'll never forget when I was a kid and saw two water fountains in a rural Alabama country store. The one labeled "Whites Only" was clean and set at a higher level than the one labeled "Coloreds" that was grungy and set lower. So a "colored" would have to stoop to drink. Made me sick to my stomach. We are all born on the same planet. Skin color or ethnic background should be the very last thing that defines us.
All of that said, I'll get off my high horse and get on to who won what at this years DCC Tribute to Martin Luther King chess tournament. We had an excellent turnout of 71 players, and a fantastic prize fund of 1700 dollars. Unfortunately my phone camera failed and didn't save any pictures I took at the tournament. So I selected random Google images of chess players. All are intended to show the incredibly wide range of people who enjoy playing chess. None of whom were at this tournament :-)
Not quite this many players were at the MLK, but we did exceed our expected number.
In the Open Section with Gunnar Andersen playing, who do you suppose took clear 1st place. Right, and with a 5-0 score to boot. Mr. Andersen wins 375 dollars for his excellent play. (See diagrams #1 thru #5 below) Both Alaa-Addin Moussa and Sullivan McConnell lost to Mr. Andersen but otherwise won all their other games. Each finishing with 4 points and sharing the combined 2nd and 3rd place prizes. They each take home 187 dollars and 50 cents. Brian Wall was left out of the money when he gave up a draw to Griffin McConnell in round 2, and then lost to Sullivan in round 3.
Many cities have an outdoor chess playing area.
Brad Lundstrom, Calvin DeJong, Joe Hubler, Edward Yasutake, and Wesley Woo all ended up with 3 points and they share the 100 dollar U2000 prize. Everybody knows Mr. Lundstrom can play and Brian Wall says the young Calvin "is clearly a future Chessmaster. A bright star with a serious demeanor."
An intense young chess player.
Wesley Woo is another young player who is likely to become really good at this game. Rated only 1612 He lost to Rhett Langseth in round 2, then had 4 upset wins or draws to achieve his score and he will probably gain over 100 rating points. Mr. Yasutake also earned his 20 dollars by upsetting much higher rated players; Richard Shtivelband in round 1, and Neil Bhavikatti in round 3.
Near the end of the game. Perhaps the one spectator didn't approve of the last move :-)
In the U1800 section, Haroun Mueller-Omar played like Gunnar Andersen and won all his games to finish with a perfect 5-0 score, and win the top prize of 300 dollars. I thought I had chances to take a point from Mr. Mueller-Omar in round 4... up until I blundered a piece. After which I dragged the game out as long as possible, but Haroun had no trouble "technique-ing" me till, as they say, resistance was futile. (diagrams #6 thru #10)
I don't know Andrew Roerty, but he is a young player that only lost to Mr. Mueller-Omar in round 2, and won all his other games. Finishing with 4 points to take clear 2nd place and win 150 dollars.
Sometimes we are more interested in another game than we are in our own.
Gary Bagstad, Steve Kovach, Phil Brown and your reporter, all ended up tied for 3rd place with 3.5 points, and we each win 25 dollars. Me, Gary, and Phil took a 3rd round bye, while Steve played all his games. Steve, Gary, and I all lost to the section winner. Mr. Brown lost to Mr. Bagstad, instead of losing to Mr. Muellar-Omar :-)
A break in a bike ride to play a game of chess.
The U1500 prize in this section was shared by Derek Isabelle, Shiven Sexena and Nathan Woo. All ending up with 3 points and each wins 25 dollars. I was most definitely lucky to win against Derek in Round 1. A touch move slip cost my opponent a Bishop, but gave him passed pawns that I didn't know if i could stop till I finally noticed that a check would win his Rook too. Both Shiven and Nathan had 4 big upset wins or draws. Shiven only lost to the 2nd place winner in the last round. Nathan lost to the higher rated Harsh Mali in round 1.
Nobody is taking my King. So there :-)
The U1400 section was won by Coleman Hoyt with 4.5 points. (diagrams #11 thru #15) Coleman is serious about improving his game, and it shows. He only allowed a draw to the higher rated, Andrew Eskenazi in round 3. His clear 1st place victory won 150 dollars. Paul DeJong won the 2nd place prize of 75 dollars with 3.5 points. He had took a 3rd round bye and also upset Mr. Eskenazi in the last round to earn the prize. Only 10 players registered to play in this section, consequently there was only these two prizes. (other game diagrams #16 thru #21.)
A small tournament being played who knows where.
Congratulations to all the prize winners, and thanks to all the players who passed up watching playoff football to make this tournament a success. We'll start off the Games section with the Open section winner's games. Gunnar Andersen's 5-0 score is quite an accomplishment.
1) Gunnar Andersen vs. Sami Al-Adsani. Round 1. Black has just played 21...g6-g5. After 22. e5xf6 can you find the "la petite combination" that Gunnar was ready to play if Black would have then played 22...gxf4. Mr. Andersen's in depth annotations to this and the following games are excellent. https://denverchess.com/games/view/18193
2) Neil Bhavikatti, vs. Gunnar Andersen. Round 2. White's last move was 21. Be2-g4 which earned a ?? from Mr. Andersen. Do you see why? https://denverchess.com/games/view/18194
3) Gunnar Andersen vs, Alaa-Addin Moussa. Round 3. Crediting Mr. Moussa, Gunnar says, "... by far, my most difficult game in this tournament." Black's last move was to capture a pawn with 52...Nc3xa2. Looks like a blunder since 53. Qe3-a7 is check and it wins the Knight. You'll be surprised to find that if Mr. Moussa's hadn't flagged a few moves later, he may have been able to draw the game despite dropping the Knight. Paraphrasing Mr. Andersen, "While the game is objectively speaking a draw, it would be VERY difficult for humans to find in time pressure" (Black only has 6 seconds and the 5 second delay) "It requires several precise only moves in a row, where there are a litany of attractive options for Black" Gunnar says he suspected the game was drawn after 54. Qxa2 but the clock ended the game. So here we have a high level endgame study for you to solve. https://denverchess.com/games/view/18192
4) Sullivan McConnell vs. Gunnar Andersen. Round 4. This was a games where both players were trading mistakes. But Gunnar got on track over the last few moves. After 40. Nc2-e3, how would play in this position to take the game to: "It was nice that 3 of my 5 games ended in pawn endings as these are things which I have studied religiously". Simplify like Gunnar Andersen... https://denverchess.com/games/view/18196
5) Gunnar Andersen vs. Kevin Seidler. Round 5. Mr. Seidler had played very well in this tournament to reach board 1 for the final round. Gunnar respects his opponent's game. Saying, "Kevin is a very good dynamic player...". In this position, Black has just played 20... g7-g5 and offered a draw. By accepting Mr. Andersen would have been assured of 1st place and most of us would have quickly took the draw and gone home. We can all be glad Mr. Andersen wanted to continue simply because he liked his position. https://denverchess.com/games/view/18197
In the U1900 section Haroun Mueller-Omar also masterly made a 5-0 score. Haroun is a serious player working hard on improving his game. He also occasionally gives instructive chess lectures at the DCC on Tuesday nights. Here are his games:
6) Norbert Martinez vs. Haroun Mueller-Omar. Round 1, In this position, after 52... Ke6-d5, both players had less than 5 minutes on the clock and stopped keeping score. Like Gunnar Andersen in diagram #4, "Black simplifies the advantage to a king and 2 connected pawns vs. king endgame." https://denverchess.com/games/view/18207
7) Haroun Mueller-Omar vs. Andrew Roarty. Round 2. Black has just played 20... Qd8-d4. Find the tactical shot Haroun plays in this position. https://denverchess.com/games/view/18195 Mr. Mueller-Omar provides extensive analysis for this game that is well worth your time to peruse.
8) Steve Kovach vs. Haroun Mueller-Omar. Round 3. In this equal position Mr. Kovach played 33. Re2-e5 attacking the Black Queen. Do you see why that was not a good move? https://denverchess.com/games/view/18208
9) Haroun Mueller-Omar vs. J.C. MacNeil. Round 4. I was thinking I had a good game going in this position, but being prone to blunders, I played 21... cxb3 failing to consider White's reply. https://denverchess.com/games/view/18209
10) Haroun Mueller-Omar vs. Gary Bagstad. Round 5. In this opening position, Black played 7... Ng8-f6 and immediately resigned. Do you see why? https://denverchess.com/games/view/18210 A frustrating end of tournament loss for Mr. Bagstad, who would not normally play such a move.
In the U1400 section, Coleman Arthur Hoyt did not hold up his end and make a 5-0 score. He only scored 4.5 points. :-) Coleman, like Haroun and Gunnar, is serious about improving his game, and I like that he posts most of them to the DCC site. Here are his games and the amusing nicknames he gives his self for each one.
11) Sleep Deprived Coleman vs. Adam Rodriguez. Round 1. Black has just played 19... g7-g6. Quoting Mr. Hoyt, "Recognizing the knight is intimidating on f5 but provoking it to transform from an issue to a nightmare! A...knightmare?" :-) it goes downhill from here for Black. https://denverchess.com/games/view/18200
12) Frank Atwood vs. Groovin' Coleman. Round 2. Final position. Whites last move was 31. Rc8-f8+ and he immediately resigned. No doubt prior to moving Mr. Atwood thought Black would have to take with the King. Unfortunately, that is not the case. https://denverchess.com/games/view/18201
13) Madman Coleman vs. Andrew Eskenazi. Round 3. Final position. Madman Coleman saved a lost position by forcing a nice perpetual check. https://denverchess.com/games/view/18202
14) Paul Delong Vs. Cool Cucumber Coleman. Round 4. What does the Cool Cucumber play In this position? Is it better to play 22... dxe3 or Nxe3? https://denverchess.com/games/view/18203
15) Scott Williams vs. Champion Coleman. Final position. Quoting Champion Coleman, "Nerves of steel and a beautiful knight won me a clear first place prize. Thanks to the organizers and everyone I had the pleasure of competing with. I look forward to many more games!" https://denverchess.com/games/view/18204
16) Rhett Langseth vs. Vedanth Sampath. Round 1. In this position, DuWayne Langseth's son, Rhett, has just captured a pawn with 26. fxe4. Do you see how Vedanth wins a piece? https://denverchess.com/games/view/18189 Vedanth is one of several young players who play regularly at the DCC on Tuesday nights.
17) Alayne Wilinsky vs. Paul Kullback. Round 1. Ms. Wilinsky dismisses Mr. Kullback's last move, 26... Bd7-c6, as an "idle threat" since there is no immediate way to force the White Queen off the 2nd rank. The remainder of the game proves that to be true. https://denverchess.com/games/view/18206
18) Karthik Selva vs. Griffin McConnell. Round 1. White has played 26. Rg1-f1. Did this move protect the f4 pawn? It guards the pawn twice, right? https://denverchess.com/games/view/18188 Griffin's annotations to this game are instructive. See also Griffin's round 2 draw against Brian Wall https://denverchess.com/games/view/18190
19) Sullivan McConnell vs. Brian Wall. Round 3. Black resigns. I am not making this position up. NM Brian Wall really was thoroughly trounced by Sullivan McConnell. https://denverchess.com/games/view/18212
I cannot show that and not show this. A much more typical Brian Wall game.
20) Calvin DeJong vs. Brian Wall. Round 5. Brian did not win any money at this tournament, but he did play a nice game in the last round. White finally develops his Knight with 21. Nc3, but there is no stopping the slashing attack from Mr. Colorado chess. https://denverchess.com/games/view/18187
21) The same game after NM Wall plays 25... Qg5-g2+ Brian of course gives this move two exclamation marks. I surprised he didn't give it at least three :-) Do you see the mate in 4?
Thanks again to all,