DCC December 2021 Report

11:06am Thursday, December 30th, 2021

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"Brian was very gracious in the simul allowing unlimited passes and engaged the kids very well."

We'll start out this report with a John Brezina summary of a Brian Wall simul that was held at Mr. Brezina's Parker Chess Club. The DCC December report follows below. Without doubt chess in the United States is growing in popularity, and John's efforts to promote chess at his chess club is aiding that growth here in Colorado. I am privileged to select and caption the photos used in this report. See all of Mr. Brezina's excellent pictures from the event here. Also check out his new club website


"What's that Knight doing in my space?" :-)

Quoting John Brezina: "What a great simul event we had December 6 at the Parker Chess Club. Thank you to Life Master Brian Wall for visiting the club and playing a 15+1 board simul for many of our regular club members. Most had never been part of a simul before and what a great experience it is to play against such a strong Master.


"I'm just going to take that Rook"

I've known Brian for over 20 years and his passion for chess continues to amaze me. At 66 years old his play and analytical prowess is a treat to watch. A wealth of chess knowledge and a Colorado legend, he always has an interesting story to tell. In our short two hour window at the club, we planned to have 15 boards in order to finish on time.


Kris Littlejohn, longtime second for GM Hikaru Nakamura is about to move. I Imagine when Brian saw Mr. Littlejohn sitting at the board his first thought was uh-oh :-)

But we had another special guest join us so we added a board 16 for NM Kris Littlejohn to help slow Brian down a bit. We also had two other strong Colorado players visit to watch the simul, Dean Clow and Kevin Seidler, both who have helped with our Parker tournaments in the past. Brian was very gracious in the simul allowing unlimited passes and engaged the kids very well. We began with a short introduction before starting the simul and altered all the boards for him to play half with white and half with the black pieces. 


Moving - or should I say mowing - down the line.

Brian made his way around the boards and kept it entertaining while serious at the same time. His focus and attention at each board was great to see and the kids kept their eyes on him as he would approach. Some players kept score sheets and had them signed afterwards.


Alexey Stolpovskikh with his son, Iiya...


... and his younger son, Valdimir, with a "no worries, I got this" pose. 

The last three boards to finish belonged to Alexey and his two sons, Ilya & Vladimir. But after one and a half hours of total play time, they too would succumb to Mr. Wall. He would finish with 15 wins and 1 loss. In fairness to Brian, Kris Littlejohn does have some experience in studying deep lines and variations. 


This young lady has a "Yes, I have an excellent position, why do you ask?" expression. 

 All in all a great success as he finished 15-0 against our Parker Chess Club regulars. I received very positive feedback from players and parents alike. They very much appreciated the chance to play such a strong player and the experience of such a simul. Afterwards I treated Brian, Kris, Dean & Kevin to dinner at the local Tailgate Tavern. 


Brian Wall doing the tango with his friend Elana.

Luckily, we were able to keep Brian seated and not break out dancing as he did with Elena at the closing ceremony of the US Chess Championships. A very memorable evening for myself and others. Thank you, Denver Chess Club President Brian Wall." 

Thank you, Mr. Brezina. I and all Colorado chess players appreciate what you do to promote chess. 

Now we'll get to the DCC December 2021 Report:  

Unfortunately, once again I am having to start out a DCC tournament report by talking about COVID. Another frequent DCC player has tested positive. This time the player believes he contracted the virus on Friday (12/17) when he was at another location in a crowded room with many people not wearing masks. He was symptom free when he attended the DCC to play the 3rd round on Tuesday (12/21). He has stated that Wednesday morning he woke up with a congested nose, and as a precaution took a quick COVID test that was positive. The player is fully vaccinated and also has had the booster shot. He immediately quarantined himself and says the symptoms remain mild and that he is recovering without treatment. 

Room Shot #1

Due to the fact that all DCC players are vaccinated and have been wearing masks at all times while in the playing room, we decided to wait till players showed up for the last round to announce the positive test. Before the round started, we took a vote to see if players wanted to play the round, and if we should go ahead with the upcoming DCC January tournament. Everybody in the room voted yes to both. Nobody went home or criticized our decision. Thank you all for that. 

I believe that most DCC players have accepted that this is the new normal and they want to play live over the board tournament chess regardless. As I do. Still possible new COVID variants will remain a serious concern into the foreseeable future. I don't want to say forever, but who knows? Consequently, the DCC will continue to require the vaccine and mask wearing for all players at all times. 

Room Shot #2 

Anyway, all that said, maybe readers want to know who won what in the December tournament. First, attendance remains great with over 90 players this month playing at least one game. Although again the registration for the Premier section was pitiful, with only 9 players registering. This would not be bad if all nine played each week, but that was not the case. It pains me to relate the actual week by week Premier section attendance. 1st round, 8 players. but 1 no show. 2nd round, 5 players. NM Ray Haskins gets a forced bye again. A crying shame. (see diagram #3 below) 3rd round, 6 players. At least no forced byes. 4th round, 2 players. Yes 2. Did I say pitiful? Maybe abysmal is a better word. 


Clay Polk with the Black pieces on his way to an upset win against NM Ray Haskins

Consequently, Richard Shtivelband had no problem going 4-0 again to take clear 1st place and win $123.03. New to the DCC Reza Najafizada and Ray Haskins finished with 2 points and they share the combined 2nd and 3rd place prize of $123.04. Also new to the DCC, Clay Polk wins the $20.00 Open Upset prize for his round 1 upset of Mr. Haskins. (diagams #1thru #5)

The U1900 sections had a 42 player registration, with an average of 26 playing each week. Down a little from previous months. Probably due to the holiday, but certainly nothing to complain about. Alexander Huberts played very well to take clear 1st place in this section with a perfect 4-0 score to win $119.11. Craig Moffitt may have equaled that score if he had not had to take a last round bye. Mr. Moffitt - like usual - played well and took clear 2nd place with 3.5 points to earn $71.47


Alexander Huberts playing White against Randolph Schine. We'll have to instruct Randolph on proper mask wearing.

Five players tied for 3rd place. Alberto Medina, Turpana Molina, Luis Jimenez, Tyler Mandel (diagrams #6 and #7) and Jeff Nohrden all ended up with 3 points. Alberto, Turpana, Luis and Tyler all had big upset wins, Mr. Nohrden is unrated (and so upset wins can't be determined) but he completely outplayed yours truly in the last round to earn his share of the $47.65 3rd place prize. 

Kaavya Sakthisaravanan deserves special mention. This youngster I'm guessing is like 6 years old and she had two over 500 point upset wins this month. One against Trevor Mills, and the other over the long time strong DCC player, Bill O'Neil. I saw the end of her game against Bill and she played a Rook and pawns ending perfectly to take the full point. A well earned $20.00 Upset prize for the young lass. I should mention that Kaavya only lost to Grayson Manuel, another youngster who had a big upset of his own. Winning against the strong, experienced, and much higher rated Jason McEwen in the last round. 


First Kaavya cut off Bill's King then won his Rook with her passed pawn, and then with perfect technique mated his lone King without a single wasted move.

The U1500 section also had an excellent registration of 40 players. After taking a 1st round bye, Seth Fortinsky won his next 3 games to claim the clear 1st place prize of $119.11. (diagrams #8 and #9) The combined 2nd and 3rd place prize of $119.10 was shared by 6 players. Joe Aragon, Jeff ManueI, Ian Lieberman, Jackson Trust, Michael McNamara, and Michael Melcher who all finished with 3 points and each won 19.85. Mr. McNamara had a big upset win over Mr. Aragon. Mr. Melcher had a nice upset win against Mr. Lieberman and a small last round upset draw against Mr. Mcnamara. Mr. Manuel, along with a 1st round bye, had a nice upset draw in round 3 against Mark Zeringue. I'd say this indicates the competition between these players was really tight. 


Room Shot #3 Prize winners not pictured directly may be in one of these room shots. I don't have any excuse for not getting individual prizes winner photos. What can I say, other than they are wearing masks anyway :-)

The actual $20.00 U1500 Upset prize was won by Lian Newell for his 521 point rating difference win over Jaxon Cardenas-Gunny. Looking at all the upsets to me it's evident that regardless of a player's rating in any section the games at the DCC are competitive and hard fought. And that's as it should be. 

Congratulations to all the Prize winners, and thanks to all the players who are attending the DCC. The DCC is looking forward to the New Year in the hope that COVID will be brought under control somehow.



And a special thank you to Meint Olthof, shown playing the White pieces against Alberto Medina, in his last game at the DCC before recently moving to Cape Cod. The DCC would not be where it is today without all that Mr. Olthof did for the club over the last several years. Thanks again, Meint. You will be missed.

In the Games Section I admit that it is sometimes not so much to present tactical positions, but more for me to continue the commentary, or to try to make witty comments :-) 

1r2r1k1/bppqnpp1/p2p3p/5N2/2PP4/1P3QP1/PB3P1P/3R1RK1 w - - 20 40
1) Richard Shtivelband vs. Brian Wall. Round 2. Black has just played 20...Nc6-e7. Find the move that caused NM Wall to immediately resign. 

2r2bk1/1p1Q1ppp/pB6/2p1qP2/8/8/nP4PP/2RR2K1 b - - 26 51
2) Richard Shtivelband vs. Ray Haskins. Round 4. After 26. Qd2-d7 Black replied with ...Rc8-c6. What would have seen a much better reply? 

8/4N1p1/3p3p/3q2k1/6P1/4R2P/1b6/5RK1 b - - 45 89
3) Abhijay Balamurugan vs. Ray Haskins. Round 2, Extra Game. Final position. The young and much lower rated Abhijay played very well to reach this position where NM Haskins is pretty much forced to resign. My point is the game never would have occurred if the Premier section of the DCC had enough players so that Masters like Ray Haskins and Brian Wall are not having to take forced byes. And thus, end up playing rated extra games against players they would not normally be paired against. I certainly do not mean to take anything away from Abhijay with this comment. He did indeed play very well.

rnb1k2r/1q2bppp/p2ppn2/8/1p2PB2/1BN2N2/PP2QPPP/R2R2K1 w kq - 12 24
4) Brian Wall vs. Ray Haskins. Round 3. Black's last move was 12...b4 and I guess NM Wall thought... well I'll just attack Ray's knight with 13. e5, and he takes, I take. What is the flaw in this logic? As a USCF "B" player, I make this kind of mistake all the time, so in a way it's comforting that a player of Brian Wall's caliber does it too, if only rarely. 

8/6p1/2p4p/p1kn4/4K3/1P4PP/P7/1B6 b - - 36 71
5) Brian Wall vs. Evan Helman Round 1. First, in fairness to NM Wall, during this game he is also playing an Extra Game against Liam Newell. In this position Mr. Wall has deliberately allowed - by playing 36. Ke4 - the Knight fork that wins his Bishop. His idea is to win the game as Pawn Wave Guy.

8/8/2p3K1/p6n/7P/kP6/P7/8 b - - 45 89
5a) The same game. NM Wall's plan has utterly failed. Brian told me that the computer evaluation of this position is +100. Meaning Black cannot possibly lose with either 45...Ng3 or 45...Kxa2. Mr. Helman - in severe time trouble - did not find either one of those moves, and the game soon ended in a 4 fold repetition of the position. I suspect it was the Brian Wall intimidation factor that saved the game. 



NM Brian Wall playing another mini-simul. Liam Newell is notating his move. Evan Helman is about to move on the other board

4k2r/1p1n1pp1/4p3/p2pPnBP/PbqP4/1N3B2/1P3PK1/2Q4R w kq - 22 44
6) Tyler J. B. Mandel vs. Ken Doykos. Round 3. Mr. Mandel played a good game to win against the higher rated and hard to beat Ken Doykos. In this position after 22...Qa6-c4 I am quoting Tyler's comment: "On move 23, Tyler played the crushing (xxx)!!, forcing Kenneth to exchange Queens, activating Tyler’s rook. He threatens mate on the next move!” Note: the (xxx) is Tyler's move. What move did he play?

r2r2k1/p3R1pp/n2N1p2/8/3P4/B3P3/5PbP/4K2R w KQ - 19 38
7) Alberto Medina vs. Tyler Mandel. Mr Medina sent me this Round 2 game from the DCC November tournament. In this position after 19...Bd5xg2, Mr. Medina's comment is "...a textbook case of a poisoned pawn that brings my other rook into play and facilitates a blistering attack on the black king. In fact, after the bishop moves away it's already Mate in 6." Do you see the mate?

5r2/p1k3pp/1rn5/6N1/3p1P2/8/P5PP/R1R3K1 b - - 25 49
8) Seth Fortinsky vs. Liam Newell. Round 3. In this position Black plays 25...Rxf4. Why was that a bad move?

r5k1/4qr1p/1n1p3b/p1pPp1p1/P1P3B1/1P2Q2P/3B1PP1/R4RK1 b - - 31 61
9) Seth Fortinsky vs. Petra Lambert-Gorwyn. Round 2. After a trade of pieces with 31. Bxg4 Black played ...Nb6-d7. What did Ms. Lambert-Gorwyn overlook?

Thanks again to all,

J.C. MacNeil


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