They come into the playing room and say, "Wow, I didn't expect this many people."
I started writing these monthly DCC reports with the 2014 Year End Tournament report. Generally I would start off by talking about DCC attendance. Quoting myself in that first Year End report: "...with the relatively low average turnout of 18 players...". Then, to show the growth of the DCC, I pulled a quote from each year going forward. "April 2015, "...our average for the month was still only 28... (players each week)". July 2016, ..."I am getting more and more encouraged that we will be able to reach and sustain our goal of 40 or more...". August 2017, "...our average attendance was "only" 46...", and May 2018, " ...we paired an average of 52...".
We are filling our excellent playing room up.
Now 4 years later, I am quite pleased to lead off the January 2019 report with this: For the first time we averaged over 60 players for each round. Over the course of the month 82 players played at least one game. We continue to see new players nearly every week. They come into the playing room and say, "Wow, I didn't expect this many people." Brian Wall says he doesn't recognize half the players in the room any more. In addition, we are seeing regular casual players who we hope will eventually step up to rated tournament chess.
Casual players table in the foreground. "House" casual player, Ira, in the maroon shirt
Unlike in years past, when the last rounds would have maybe only half the players from the 1st and 2nd rounds. The last couple of years we generally have nearly the same number of players for each week. Often with more players for the last round then for the first. Indicating that players are now coming to the DCC for a game even when they have no chance for prize money. Just wanting to play a rated game and looking for USCF rating points.
For the players who are playing for prize money, having 3 sections is great. Pairings are against players near their own strength. The players know they have a chance to win nearly as much prize money as the players in the Open section, since we have 1st, 2nd and 3rd place prizes for each section. I like to tell new players they can win money with just one point, or even a half point. All they have to do is have the biggest Upset win or draw in their section. Everyone likes the DCC Upset prize.
Speaking of prize money, with 62 of the 82 individual players playing each week, this month's prize fund is a whopping 902 dollars. Will we see a 1000 dollar prize fund for a Tuesday night monthly tournament this year? I certainly think it's possible. Will the DCC need to buy more tables? I hope so :-)
The leader of the pack has made his move.
In the Open section, Brian Wall now has a couple of players of equal or greater strength to rival his status as the alpha dog of the DCC; Richard Shtivelband and Gunnar Andersen. Mr. Shtivelband was unable to play this month after the 2nd round when life outside of chess got in his way. Mr. Andersen and the DCC President were paired for the last round with each having 3 points. Gunnar won a nice game to take the clear 1st place prize of 149 dollars. (see diagram #1 below)
Gunnar Andersen awaiting his opponents move. Richard Shtivelband is looking on.
Mr. Wall ended up in a tie for 2nd place with Kevin Seidler and Sullivan McConnell. (diagrams #5 and #9) They all finished with 3 points, and share the combined 2nd and 3rd place prize of 146 dollars. Mr. Seidler benefited from a 1st round forfeit win but finished with a hard fought win against the real strong Eamon Montgomery. Sullivan played a nice draw against Neil Bhavikatti in round 3. (diagram #8) Neil and Sullivan are both like 12 years old and already have nearly 2100 ratings. That is sure impressive to me. It's cool that Sullivan's brother, Griffin, is also a strong Expert. (see diagrams #6 and #11) Griffin and Neil missed winning prize money by just a half point.
Evan Helman making a move.
Evan Helman is new to the DCC and clearly stronger than his 1815 USCF rating. He upset both Richard Shtivelband and Neil Bhavikatti. Winning against Richard in round 2, and drawing Neil in the last round. Losing only to Mr. Wall in round 3. Mr. Helman wins the 20 dollar Open section Upset prize.
Ben Gurka with the White pieces against Justin Dounce.
Who do you suppose won the U1900 section. Right. Ben Gurka once again went 4-0 and claimed the 1st place prize of 136 dollars. He had won against the strong Haroun Mueller-Omar in round 3 and was paired against Justin Dounce for the last round. Mr. Dounce had played very well this month. Going into the last round with 2.5 points from upsetting higher rated players. Unfortunately, against Mr. Gurka he hung his Queen early and the game was over before it started.
Mr. Mueller-Omar, (diagram #2) Ken Doykos, and John Brezina all finished with 3 points and they share the combined 2nd and 3rd place prize of 137 dollars. Mr. Dounce won the U1900 upset prize of 20 dollars for his fine 266 point rating difference win over Ted Doykos, Was nice to see Ted at the DCC. Now if he'll just come back :-)
Ken Doykos with the Black pieces and me looking at his Knight fork. It went downhill from here :-) Walter Lowe, in the hat, is playing Haroun Mueller-Omar.
Unrated Jason McEwen is also new to the DCC, and he is off to a good start. After a 1st round bye he won all his games in the U1500 section to take clear 1st place. His wins included a nice last round win against Coleman Hoyt, a strong player who has been winning most of his games lately. (diagram #3) Due to being unrated, Mr. McEwen only wins the restricted unrated prize of 20 dollars for his fine performance.
Coleman Hoyt, in the hat, playing Jason McEwen.
In a way it doesn't seem fair to Mr. McEwen, but in the age of internet chess, a player can get real good without ever playing an over the board game. Therefore the restriction on an unrated players prize is necessary. I think Mr. McEwen will have a provisional rating in the next USCF supplement,
Thus, for this section, the remainder of the 1st place prize was combined with the 2nd and 3rd place prizes. Mr. Hoyt, Paul Kullback and Alayne Wilinsky all ended up with 3 points and they share 256 dollars. I'm always glad to see long time DCC players like Mr. Kullback winning money. Ms. Wilinsky finished with 2 big upset wins to earn her share of the prize. Alayne is the new DCC Secretary and we are glad to have her on the DCC board. Already she is learning back-up TD duties, and coming up with good ideas to promote the club. (diagrams #7 and #10)
Alayne Wilinsky with the Black pieces against Mark Fischer. Paul Kullback has White against Petra Lambert-Gorwyn
As mentioned above, a player can win prize money with just one point. Adam Rodriguez won the 20 dollar upset prize with his 1st round 350 point rating difference win over Jacob Zirin. Then didn't play the rest of the month. We hope Mr. Rodriguez is back in February, along with Mr. Zirin. (diagram #4) This is a game you don't want to skip over.
We would like to see all the players in January back for February, and we would like to see another Master or two in the Open section. We would be thrilled to have 70-80 players every week. I can't help myself from setting the attendance goal higher :-)
Congratulations to all the prize winners. Welcome to all the new players we are seeing. Thanks to all the long time DCC players who have stuck with the club. Thanks to players like Joel Senger and Phil Brown who have come back to the DCC.
Thanks to Meint Olthof for arranging the annual free to all DCC pizza party. Everyone clearly enjoyed what is becoming a DCC tradition.
Thanks to John Brezina for all the pictures used in this report. See all his great photos form this tournament here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/bboa19rY4F3Yqfou8 and here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/dZDDt1WqozMQaPfW7 and also here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/uyo31mhcW1YBNpT3A
Lets start off the game diagrams with the game that won clear 1st place in the Open section:
1) Gunnar Andersen vs. Brian Wall. Round. 4. This is a two part puzzle. Black's last move was to capture a pawn with 24... Qc6xe4. White replied 25. Ne5-g4. What was a better move? After Ng4 Brian played 25...h5. Why was that bad? No fair going to the game till you have the answers :-) https://denverchess.com/games/view/18237
2) Haroun Mueller-Omar vs Walter Lowe. Round 4. The 1st diagram is difficult. This one is not quite as hard. Black has just defended the h7 pawn with 33... Rg8-h8. What is White's best move? https://denverchess.com/games/view/18239 As always Mr. Muellerr-Omar's annotations are excellent.
3) Jason McEwen vs. Coleman Hoyt. Round 4. This game gave Mr. McEwen clear 1st place in the U1500 section. He has defended against what Mr. Hoyt called a premature attack. In this position, after 25... Nf6-g4, what does White play to win a piece? https://denverchess.com/games/view/18236
4) Adam Rodriguez vs. Jacob Zirin. Round 1. This game won the upset prize in the U1500 section. In this unbalanced position, Black has just played 26... Rd8-d2. Why can't White just take the b7 pawn? https://denverchess.com/games/view/18180 Wild tactics abound throughout this great game. To his credit, Mr. Zirin gave me this game to post even though he lost.
5) Evan Helman vs. Brian Wall. Round 3. White had sacrificed a Knight on h6 to set up this position. How does Black defend against the threat of Qg3+? Hint: not with ...Kh8, or with a piece going to g4. https://denverchess.com/games/view/18223
6) Aleks Bashtavenkov vs. Griffin McConnell. Round 4. From this position, after 21. Nf3-e1, Black conducts a relentless attack on the White King. https://denverchess.com/games/view/18238 Learn to attack like Griffin McConnell.
7) Rithvik Ijju vs. Alayne Wilnsky. Round 3. White has just played 21. Qd1-d2. What did one of the youngest players at the DCC overlook? https://denverchess.com/games/view/18215 Ms. Wilinsky's annotations make her games a story, that is both interesting and entertaining.
8) Sullivan McConnell vs. Neil Bhavikatti. Round 3. Final Position. I fighting draw between two young Experts that are playing regularly at the DCC. https://denverchess.com/games/view/18216
9) Brian Wall vs. Mark Krowczyk. Round 2. White's last move was 12. b2-b3. Mr. Krowczyk, after thinking for a considerable amount of time, played 12,.. Ne4xf3. Mr. Wall was astounded when he saw the computers alternative suggestion, realizing it led to fascinating possibilities. Can you see the machines idea? https://denverchess.com/games/view/18178 Computers are taking chess to a higher level. It is fascinating to me, and I'm sure to all of us, that the ocean of chess is even deeper than we thought.
10) The same game. After a tactical middle game, with the classic imbalance of two minor pieces against a Rook, it has come down to this position. White threatens Re7 and Ra7 mate. Can you find a way for the Black King to escape? Neither could Mr. Krowczyk. Black resigns.
11) Petra Lambert- Gorwyn vs. Coleman Hoyt. Round 2. As Mr. Hoyt says, this position is completely winning for Black, but the game goes on for another 15 moves. Do you see a much more efficient way to win? Interestingly, a hint is to think of the previous diagram. https://denverchess.com/games/view/18222
12) Neil Bhavikatti vs. Griffin McConnell. Round 2. Final position. Black resigns. I'm thinking there may have been some time trouble for Griffin in this game, but don't know. I do know it is not like Griffin to resign. White is winning but a lot of power pieces are still on the board. https://denverchess.com/games/view/18179
Thanks again to all,