The DCC provides the opportunity.
Last month I called the Tuesday night registration of 121 USCF rated players astounding. This month we exceeded that figure in the first two weeks and went on to have 144 players play at least one game. With an average weekly attendance of 87 players. So what am I going to call this level of DCC attendance? Phenomenal. Incredible. Breathtaking, Stunning. Astonishing. The polar opposite of insignificant. Take your pick. The heading photo is proof of these statements. Serious chess players filling the room from one end to the other.
Weekly social interaction at the DCC before the round starts.
Before the round starts the social atmosphere of the DCC is evident. Then when the pairings are posted, and the games have begun, the silence that falls over the room always surprises me. That many players suddenly totally focused on one thing. Winning to gain USCF rating points or earn a share of the substantial DCC monthly prize fund. The addition of a second Upset prize for each section means a few more players will win at least lunch money. The 1st place winners can buy a used car. Ok, that's a slight exaggeration :-) But at the current nearly $5/gallon at the pump price, you could actually buy like 60 gallons of gasoline for a car with 1st place prize money.
Players can chat or play some causal chess while waiting for the pairings to be posted.
It also seems true that many chess players are playing without any thought of winning prize money. But rather, just with fascination and love of the game, along with a desire to improve their level of skill. Perhaps this is why we typically have several players register for just the last round. Other than maybe winning an Upset prize, they are choosing to go to the club, I guess like going to a movie or some other recreational activity. Or to meet up with friends, or maybe to try out a new opening against a worthy opponent. Or possibly to play a brilliant sacrifice which leads to checkmate, and the big Upset win results in enough rating points to move you up to the next higher USCF rating class. We all know that is not at all easy, is indeed an accomplishment, and is within the realm of possibility. The DCC provides the opportunity. Prize money is just icing on the cake.
Vibi Varghese and other players waiting for the pairings to appear on the DCC TV.
So then, on to who had icing on their cake. Sorry, I couldn't resist :-) I'm most pleased to see the Premier section finally actually being worthy of the name. Of the 39 players in the section, we had five USCF Masters, six Experts, and ten players rated over 1800. Note: Daniel Herman's rating for this tournament was 2197, but the next official USCF rating list will show him as Colorado's newest Master level player, and therefore is included as one of Masters who played this month.
The beginning of a great game between Daniel Herman (b) and Matthw Wofford (w)
Daniel proved his rating increase is no fluke by returning to DCC Tuesday night chess and scoring four wins against strong opposition. Set 'em up, mow 'em down and take home 314 dollars and 75 cents. (see diagrams 1a,1b, and 1c below) I believe it is safe to say Brian Wall is getting his mojo back. He won all his games except for the Round 3 half point bye he took to lay on a San Diego beach and admire California beach girls :-) Clear 2nd place won Mr. Colorado Chess 188 dollars and 85 cents. Brian could give every player we had at the 2022 Denver Open a dollar and still have pocket change. :-) (diagrams 2,3 and 4)
Mr. Colorado Chess, Brian Wall, with his game face on.
Sara Herman is just as serious about her game as her brother. Check out zefcat on twitch. Sara has thousands of followers watching her chess streams. She upset Vedanth Sampath in the last round to tie for 3nd place, along with Mattew Wofford and Juan Brenes. They all finished with 3 points and each won 41 dollars and 97 cents.
Juan Brenes (w) against Jordan Edmonton (b). Sara Herman (b) against Vedanth Sampath (w)
The 30 dollar Best Upset prize was won by Evan Helman for his 426 rating point difference win against Jorge Rubio in round 1. Mr. - way stronger than his 1812 rating - Helman also upset Expert Nick Petersen. (diagrams 6, 7, 8, and 9) Also in Round 1, Sikandar Baker-Nagar won the 20 dollar Honorable Mention Upset prize for his big win over DCC President, Richard Shtivelband. (diagram 5)
Foreground: Sikander Baker-Nagar (b) is on his way to a big Upset win against Richard Shtivelband. (w) Background: Evan Helman (w) is Upsetting Jorge Rubio. (b)
The U1900 section had a 48 player registration. What's great about the terrific Tuesday night attendance is players are not playing the same people month after month. I also like that I am mentioning new, or returning to, the DCC players who are winning prize money. Such as Benjamin Twerskoi, who took clear 1st place and won 304 dollars and 75 cents, with a perfect 4 point score, that included 3 upset wins !! Notably a Round 1 win against the real strong, Ken Doykos.
Foreground is Adam Huber (w) against BenJamin Twerskoi (b). Other board is Sam Kravitz (w) playing Kenzie Moore (b)
After taking a round 1 bye, Jason McEwen won three games in a row and pockets the 2nd place prize of 182 dollars and 85 cents. In my opinion, Mr. McEwen's commentary on his games is excellent, and helpful. (diagrams 11, 12, and 13) He gives his instructive thought process during the game, instead of reams of computer analysis that no one can understand. Well, at least not that I can understand :-)
Jason McEwen (b) has made his move against Vladisa Twerskoi (w).
There was a 3 way tie for the 3rd place prize. Drew Tuck, Adam Huber, and Vibi Varghese all finished with 3 points and they each win 40 dollars and 63 cents. It's good to see Vibi back at the DCC. He and Mr. Huber both had to upset Luis Jimenez to earn their share of the prize money. Mr. Tuck only lost to the section winner. Alexander Zhang also had 3 points but that included 2 byes. DCC policy is only one bye counts towards winning prize money. As I've mentioned before, one point can win money at the DCC. Jaun Aparicio only played the 1st round but won the 30 dollar Best Upset for his win against Mr. Varghese. The 20 dollar Honorable Mention Upset was awarded to Mohan Gopal for his 315 point upset against David Diaz in Round 2.
Morgan Showen (b) playing against Madeleine Finch (w) for 1st place.
Have I mentioned the fabulous DCC attendance :-) The U1500 section had 57 players competing for the prize money. Morgan Showen took the 1st place prize away from Madeleine Finch, when he won their last round game. It came down to a King and pawn ending when, as so often happens, the player with the move losses. With a perfect 4-0 score Mr. Showen wins 304 dollars and 75 cents. AJ Blair won the 2nd place prize of 182 dollars and 85 cents. with 3 points and a 2nd round bye.
Karthika Sarathisaravanan with her daughter Kaavya showing something to john Brezina
Madeleine shares the 3rd place prize with Gnaneswar Doppalapudi, Mike Henchen, and Brandon Young. They each win 30 dollars and 48 cents. The 30 dollar Best Upset was won by Karthika Sakthisaravanan for her Round 3 win against Sarvesh Rajesh. Who then in turn won the 20 dollar Honorable Mention Upset for his win over Roger Morris in Round 2.
The DCC July tournament total prize money payout was 1389 dollars !! The DCC is paying out well over a 1000 dollars month after month. And you can take that to the bank :-)
A big THANK YOU to everyone in this picture, our tournament directors, and the DCC board members who are making the DCC one of the best chess clubs anywhere. We aim to please, and we are hitting the target :-) Note: The crisp clear pictures in this report are by John Brezina. Blurry out of focus photos are by your reporter.
19. Nf6+ gxf6?? 20. Qg4+ Kh8 21. Qxf5 threatens Be4, Qxh7# Rg8
22. Qxf6+ Rg7 23. Bh6 wins all the material back.
Luckily after 4 minutes I realized that Evan had nothing after 19 Nf6+ Kh8! +2