DCC August 2022 Report

1:39pm Monday, September 5th, 2022

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...the DCC Tour prize fund is already over 1800 dollars with four months of DCC tournaments still to go.

Referring to the heading cartoon: The DCC is here for you. Our Thursday night location (5250 Leetsdale Dr. Suite 135, Denver, CO 80246) is off to a good start with an average weekly attendance of 38 players. I'm pleased to say that Tuesday night participation was not affected at all. As again this month we averaged over 80 players each week. The dream of the DCC is to one day have our own building and thus be able to have a seven day a week club. Chess would of course be the main draw, but we could then invite other game playing groups to use our facility. 

If only we could have anything close to what they have in St. Louis here in Denver

More than anything I would like to have a two story building where we have a coffee franchise or a cafe open to the public on the first floor, with game playing space and tables throughout. St. Louis, Missouri, and Memphis, Tennessee Chess Clubs have shown this idea can be a successful enterprise. All we need is a like minded person with several million dollars to invest. That's all :-) 

There is no question that interest in chess is growing, as is DCC attendance. 

Anyway, till then, for chess players who are working on improving their game, or trying to win free money, the DCC as it is will be here for you. I say free money because, in my opinion, any prize amount over the entry fee is like money falling from the sky. Speaking of which, we have the annual DCC Tour year end prize payout. (Details have been updated) The Tour was designed to award players who play often and score well in DCC tournaments. From the start, the DCC guaranteed a 1500 dollar year end prize fund. In each of the previous years, we have far exceeded that amount. This year, the DCC Tour prize fund is already over 1800 dollars with four months of DCC tournaments still to go. This DCC extra added attraction is only possible due to tech genius Dean Clow making it part of his caissachess software. 

The playing room at the Thursday night location

So then, on to who won what in our separate DCC August tournaments. In the Thursday night Premier section, I bet when Brian Wall (see diagrams #8 thru #11 also #17 and 18 below) learned of the new Thursday night location he immediately thought - Oh joy, another revenue stream :-) And, as it turned out, he shares the combined 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes with Daniel Herman and Griffin McConnell. They each finished with 3 points, and each won 100 dollars. The 30 dollar Best Upset prize was won by Harsh Mali for his 236 point rating difference win against Juan Brenes in round 3. Jordan Edmondson held Sara Herman to a draw and won the 20 dollar Honorable Mention Upset prize. 

You don't get fine photography like this from John Brezina :-)

The Thursday night U1900 section was won with a perfect 4-0 score by Benjamin - way stronger than his rating - Twerskoi. His fine performance included two huge upset wins, and Mr. Twerskoi takes home 150 dollars. Vibi Varghese took clear 2nd place with a last round upset win over Luis Jimenez and won 90 dollars. Tying for 3rd place, Yosef Gross, Phil Brown, and Abhijay Balamurugan all ended up with 3 points and they each won 30 dollars. The U1900 30 dollar Best Upset prize was won by Tyler Poole for his last round win over Jordan Boucher. The 20 dollar Honorable Mention Upset prize goes to Glen Holguin for his round 2 win against Justin Moss. Ayrat Gaynullin took clear 1st place in the Thursday night U1500 section with 3.5 points and he won 150 dollars. Finishing in 2nd place with 3 points won Omar Gomez 90 dollars. 

The remainder of the playing area. We have room for 60 players. If, or should I say when, we need more space, we'll set up tablets in the hallway :-) 

Mr. Gomez had a huge 463 point win over the strong Jacob Zirin in the last round, that would have normally won the Best Upset prize, but his place prize was a greater amount. Mr. Zirin, Maxwell Banks, and Prajwal Hendre all finished with 2.5 points, and normally they would have each won 20 dollars. But Prajwal Hendre had the only other upset in the section, so he was awarded the 30 dollar U1500 Best Upset, leaving Mr. Zirin and Mr. Banks to share the 60 dollar 3rd place prize. 

Checkmate. Brian Ledsworth doesn't seem to upset by the White Queen landing on g7.

If that seems confusing to you, it was to me too. Many thanks to Brian Ledsworth for figuring out the fairest way to distribute the U1500 prizes. The DCC is also thankful to Mr. Ledsworth for calculating the monthly DCC prize fund and submitting the tournament to the USCF for rating purposes. Now he will be doing this for two tournaments each month, so we are doubly thankful. There is way more to running USCF rated, prize money tournaments than just getting the pairings right. 

We have room for a hundred or more players on Tuesday night. We have been over 90 players so it will not surprise me when we hit triple digits :-)

The Tuesday night Premier section was again outstanding. with 4 Masters, 6 Experts, and a slew of strong Class A players participating. Not all that long ago, it was nearly a given that NM Brian Wall was going to take 1st place and everyone else was playing for 2nd or 3rd place. I think Mr. Wall would agree that the addition of more high rated players has enhanced our reputation. All strong players want tough competition, and now they are finding it at the DCC. 

Sara Herman (b) and Chris Peterson (w) are recording their moves. The youngster in the background is Chris' daughter, visiting from I think Florida. 

So, speaking of strong players, Chris Peterson (diagrams #1 thru #6a) started out with 4 wins, and with his last round bye, won the 307 dollars and 86 cents 1st place prize. Juan Brenes lost to NM Peterson in round 4 but had a small 6 point upset win against Nick Petersen in round 3. Then a much more real 158 point upset win over Colorado's newest Master, Daniel Herman in round 5, to finish in clear 2nd place and win 184 dollars and 72 cents. Mr. Petersen also had an upset draw against Mr. Herman, which was helpful in allowing him to share 3rd place with NM Richard Shtivelband. (diagram #7) They both finished with 3.5 points and each won 61 dollars and 57cents, 

Juan Brenes (w) against Daniel Herman (b) Ray Haskins (b) against Richard Shtivelband (w) on board 2.

The actual 30 dollar Premier Best Upset was won by Sikander Baker-Nagar for his big win over Mr. Shtivelband. Sikander is making a habit of winning against the DCC President. The 20 dollar Honorable Mention Upset was shared by Mark Brown and Sara Herman. Both had 220 point rating difference wins. Mark won against Sara in round 5 and Sara won against Brian Wall in round 2. As mentioned above, strong players thrive on competition, and I believe Daniel and Sara would agree they are finding that at the DCC. Let me also mention that Ray Haskins held both Daniel and Brian Wall to a draw. Hopefully, this indicates that former National Master Haskins is getting his game back. 

Daniel Herman (b) versus Ray Haskins (w)

The Tuesday night U1900 section was won by Celeb Pena and Drew Tuck. They both ended up with 4.5 points and each player won 238 dollars and 46 cents. Mr. Pena's score is notable because he finished with 3 upset wins in a row. It's always good to win money by winning against higher rated players. Both Celeb and Drew had nice upset wins over the strong Jeff Nohrden. Three players tied for 3rd place. Luis Jimenez, Jeremy Roldan, and Benjamin Twerskoi all finished with 4 points, and each won 39 dollars and 46 cents. The 30 dollar Best Upset was won by Nathan Fraser. Actually, Mr. Fraser had 3 big upset wins totaling over 1700 points!! Therefore Mr. Fraser also won the Honorable Mention Upset prize. Win big over higher rated players at the DCC and it's profitable :-) 

On board 8, Nolan Ottele (w) is playing Drew Tuck (b). Caleb Pena (b) is against Luis Jimenez (w)

The Tuesday night U1500 section featured a three way tie for 1st place. Brandon Morris, Jacob Zirin, and Matthew Soliday all ended up with 4 points and they share the combined 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prizes. With each player winning 198 dollars and 71 cents. Mr. Soliday lost his round 1 game but benefited from a round 2 forfeit win to go with his three over the board wins. Mr. Morris and Mr. Zirin each had two draws and three wins to earn their share of the prize money.

Jacob Zirin - looking at the camera - is playing Hachary McClain. Other board is Brandon Morris (b) against Bhaskar Rajagopal (w)

I am pleased to report that the DCC Secretary, Madeleine Finch won the 30 dollar Best Upset prize for her 368 point rating difference win against AJ Blair in round 3. Madeleine also helps out at the Tuesday night registration table, and along with her brother Brandt, helps me set up the tables and chairs. I didn't ask for help, they both just started arriving early and pitching in. How cool is that? It's rad I say, proving that I'm hip :-) The 20 dollar Honorable Mention Upset prize was won by Oliver Hasselkus for his round 4 round win against Shirley Herman. The DCC is glad to have Ms. Herman back at the DCC. Shirley is a USCF Senior Tournament Director and her knowledge of and passion for chess is unparalleled, and she has passed her zeal onto her teenagers, Daniel and Sara. The world would be a better place if all parents inspired their children to play chess at an early age. 

The young lady with a smile is clearly happy to be at the DCC playing chess.

Finally, a big THANK YOU to all the players who registered for the inaugural DCC Thursday night tournament and to those who are making Tuesday night exceptional, prodigious, unsurpassed, unrivaled... sorry I can't help myself :-) 

We'll start the Games Section with an appropriate cartoon followed by more instructive analysis and comments by the Tuesday night Premier section winner, NM Chris Peterson. 

8/kp6/pq1p1p2/2r5/b4P2/3B4/PPP5/2KR2Q1 w - - 0 30

1) Chris Peterson vs. Sara Herman. Round 1. Thursday. Note: "Black played 29... Rc5 to avoid a queen trade, but what did Sara overlook?" See NM Peterson's answers to diagrams #1 thru #6a below after diagram #18

1k6/1p6/p2p1p2/1b1r4/2PQ1P2/1P1B1q2/P7/1K3R2 w - - 0 35

1a) the same game Note: "Black managed to trap their bishop but is trying to salvage the position with tricks. Can you navigate the complications after black's tricky 34... Rd5? What would you play as white?"

1rr4k/p2R2bp/4Q1p1/q7/2P5/5P2/PP5P/1KB4R b - - 0 23

2) Daniel Herman vs. Chris Peterson. Round 2. Thursday. Note: "White has been playing really well and has been dominating black all game. Here he slipped up with 23. gxf3. What would you play as black to turn the game around?" 

5r1k/p3R2p/4Q1p1/q7/2P5/5P2/Pr5P/1K1R4 w - - 0 27

2a) the same game  Note: "Here we are a couple of moves later. How does white escape the checks? More importantly, would you have the nerves to play on considering your master-rated opponent offers you a draw?"

r4rk1/pp1b2pp/1q2p3/3p4/1n1Pnb2/1P3N2/PB1NQPPP/1BR1R1K1 w - - 0 17

3) Chris Peterson vs. Kenzie Moore. Round 1. Tuesday. Note: "Black is playing very boldly in the center. Something feels awkward with Black's coordination and pawn structure. How can white take advantage?"

r4rk1/pp1q2p1/3bp2p/6N1/Pn1PB3/1P4P1/1B2QP1P/4R1K1 w - - 0 23

3a) the same game  Note: "White has sacrificed an exchange but has excellently placed bishops. How should white continue applying the pressure?"

5r1k/p7/1p4P1/1P1pb2p/7Q/4Pq1B/1P5P/4R1K1 b - - 0 30

4) Vedanth Sampath vs. Chris Peterson. Round 2. Tuesday. Note: "White just made a huge mistake with 30. axb5. How should black punish white's mistake?"

Q1b2br1/p2qkp2/5p1p/1p2p3/3n4/2N1B3/PPP2PPP/R4RK1 w - - 0 16

5) Chris Peterson vs. Sara Herman. Round 3. Tuesday. Note: "After 15... Ke7 white's queen is in danger of being trapped. Can you see through the complications to help the white queen escape?"

5b2/B4p2/b3kp1p/4p3/1p6/8/PPP3rn/R2RK1N1 b - - 0 24

5a) the same game  Note: "After a couple of egregious mistakes by me while navigating the opening and middle game, Sara has found herself in a completely winning position. She struggled to come up with a winning idea, though, and let the advantage slip away. Can you find a winning plan for black?"

r1bq1bk1/4rpp1/p6p/2pp4/3PnB2/2NB3P/PP3PP1/2RQ1RK1 w - - 0 18
6) Juan Brenes vs. Chris Peterson. Round 4. Tuesday. Note: "After 17... c5, we found ourselves in an oft-complicated queen's gambit declined middlegame. The pawn break felt natural, but it is a mistake. How should white dole out the punishment?"

5bk1/R7/7p/6p1/8/6PP/p4P2/2n1K3 b - - 0 38

6a) the same game Note: "Black has a winning ending here, but he must be careful. Trading the wrong way may allow white a sneaky drawing resource. Black can win the rook immediately with Bg7 and a1, or do it a few moves later with Nd3+ Kd2 Nb4 Kc3 a1=Q Rxa1 Bg7+ Kxb4 and Rxa1. Which one is better or is there another way?"  

3R4/1p2r2p/1p2P1kn/3PBpp1/8/2P5/P5PP/6K1 b - - 40 79

7) Sikander Baker-Nagar vs. Richard Shtivelband. Round 1, Tuesday. Final Position. I imagine when the DCC President saw this pairing, he may have broken out in a cold sweat. As he had already lost 2 in a row to Sikander's tactical acumen. But this game went his way. NM Shtivelband demonstrates that he is just as capable of a pawn wave as his rival Brian Wall is. 

5k2/8/8/R2bpPpB/pr6/4P1K1/1n3P2/8 b - - 44 87
8) Brian Wall vs. Earle Wikle. Round 1. Tuesday. This is a great back and forth game. Quoting Brian Wall "I was afraid of 11 ... e4" followed by "I was afraid of 12. Ne4!  Bxe4  13. dxe4  Rxd2  14. Kxd2  Bb4+ 15. Kc1 Rc8 16. Nf3  Nd4+ 17. Kd1 I was just praying Earle had not decided to sac a Rook." Then after 22. Bf3 "I was freaking out. Never looked at 22 Bc4+!!  Kh8  23 Bd5!!" And after 31. Rc3 "I looked around like an abandoned child in a supermarket for 7 minutes." Fritz 18 wants 31. g5!! or b5!! I was afraid of the a4-pawn." And after 33. g6 "More confusion and panic." And after 40. Nf5!? "Something to e2 is more sensible but I was desperate" Even a player as strong as Brian Wall... But all's well that ends well. In this position after 44. Ra5, Brian says. 44...Bf7 was "equivalent to dropping a Rook" do you see why? 

Q4rk1/p4p2/1q3n1p/n1b3p1/P2p4/2N1BBP1/1P2PP1P/R2R2K1 w - - 17 34
9) Brian Wall vs. Harsh Mali. Round 1, Thursday. Harsh has just surprised the Super GM with 17...Qd1-b6 leaving the White Queen with no moves. How does NM Wall save the game? 

1q3r1k/6p1/4p3/P7/4B2r/5P1P/4Q1P1/3R3K w - - 42 84
10) Brian Wall vs. Haroun Mueller-Omar. Round 3, Tuesday. NM Wall calls this game "rook pawn artistry", and it is instructive to observe the march of the "a" pawn throughout the game. In this position, after 42...Qf4xb8 -- capturing a Rook -- the Super GM's comment is: "Haroun is suffering from a lack of rook pawns while I have a surplus." Although I think Brian will admit that Haroun played very well until in severe time pressure, he dropped the Queen. 

8/8/8/5p2/4k3/R1p1r3/2K5/8 w - - 47 94
11) Juan Brenes vs. Brian Wall. Round 2, Thursday. Final position. NM Wall is in the midst of another 40 move challenge. Meaning he will play and win with every possible opening move with either color. This game began with 1.d4 a6!! 46 moves later we see that Pawn Wave Guy has struck again.

r5k1/8/p1p1b1pp/2B5/2P1N1P1/1Pbp1PK1/P7/5R2 b - - 35 69
12) Nick Petersen vs. Mark Brown. Round 1, Tuesday. In this position Black played 35... h5. What did Mr. Brown overlook?  

r6r/1pp1kp1p/3b2p1/1N2pb2/pPP5/PnK1PP2/RB4PP/5B1R b - - 17 33
13) Daniel Herman vs. Nick Petersen Round 2. Tuesday. In this position Black played 17...c6. What may have been a better move?

2b5/4k1p1/pB1bp3/1p6/4B2r/8/PPP3K1/5R2 w - - 26 52

14) Nick Petersen vs. Juan Brenes. Round 3. Tuesday. In this position after 26...Rh3-h4, White protected the Bishop with 27, Kg2-f3. Why was that not the best move?

3k4/3n1K2/7p/P4P2/6p1/6P1/7P/8 b - - 49 97

15) Turpana Molina vs. Nick Petersen. Round 4, Tuesday. Final position. This is a great game to play through. It appears that the White pawns are going to overwhelm the Black Knight. But as it is so often the case, the clock is the deciding factor. 

1n2r1k1/2q2ppp/4b3/1pp1P1N1/3p1Q2/1P1P2PP/2P3BK/4R3 b - - 28 55

16) Nick Petersen vs. Kenzie Moore Round 5. Tuesday. After 28. Qd2-f4 Black played in this position ...Nb8-c6. Why was that a bad move? 

rn1qk2r/pp2ppbp/2p3p1/8/3PQ3/P1P4P/1P3PP1/R1B1KB1R b KQkq - 10 19

17) Brian Wall vs. Griffin McConnell. Round 4, Thursday. Final Position. This game was an epic battle. It will no doubt go down in history as one of the best games ever played at the Denver Chess Club. After 10 brilliant moves, the players must have realized they had already exhausted every possibility of striving for an elusive win. Alas, there is just no play left in the position. Consequently, one of the combatants grudgingly offered a draw, which the other warrior had no choice but to reluctantly accept. :-)

r1bq1r1k/5p2/p2p3p/4bn2/2p1Q3/1PN1P3/PB2B2P/2KR2R1 b - - 20 39

18) Craig Wilcox vs. Brian Wall. Round 3 at the recent Colorado Open. It is only fair to show this game, as it is more like the Brian Wall we know, other than whoever offered or accepted the draw in the above game. After 20. Qh4-e4. What is the best move for Black in this position? Hint: It is not moving the attacked Rook. See NM Wall's answer below.

Chris Peterson's answers to Diagrams #1 thru #6a

1) "White can win a pawn with 30. Qd4 forking the a4 bishop and the f6 pawn. I dismissed this during the game because I wrongly assumed 30... Rxc2+ would win my queen. Of course, 31. Bxc2 would uncover the d1 rook."

1a) Taking the rook doesn't work: 35. cxd5?? runs into 35... Qxd3+ 36. Qxd3 Bxd3+ 37. Kb2 Bxf1. 35. Qxd5?? allows 35... Qxd5 36. cxd5 Bxd3 forking. Taking the bishop doesn't work: 35. cxb5?? Qxf1+ 36. Bxf1 Rxd4 and black is up an exchange. If we can't take the rook and we can't take the bishop, might as well take the queen. 35. Rxf3 will leave white up a piece.

2) "I played this idea a couple of moves too late. I did not see it in time. It works here because the white queen is undefended. Black has the flashy 23... Bxb2 leading to a winning position: 24. Bxb2+ Rxb2+ 25. Kxb2 Rb8+ 26. Kc2 Qxa2+ 27. Kd3 Rb3+ 28. Kd4 Qb2+ 29. Kc5 Qa3+ 30. Kd5 Rd3+ and the white king runs out of shelter. Black will win white's queen and more with precise play."

2a) "The escape is relatively straightforward. In situations like this, it is important to allow your extra pieces to shelter the king and open counterattacking possibilities. Look at the full game to see how Daniel sealed my fate."

3) "17. Nxe4! Bb5 (There are other continuations, but this move concerned me the most over the board) 18. Rc4! Bxc4 (It is complicated, but this is the computer's recommendation) 19. bxc4 dxe4 20. Qxe4 g6 (I got to here in my calculations but could not find a great move for white. The computer finds this:) 21. h4 Na6 22. Bc3 Rf6 23. c5 Qc6 24. Qxc6 bxc6 25. Bd3 and despite the exchange deficit, white has a fantastic position. The threat of d5-d6 will give white enough compensation for the material to claim a winning advantage."

3a) "23. Nxe6! snags a pawn, gains a tempo, and plants the knight on the extremely dangerous e6 square. The knight is invulnerable to the queen because of the x-ray down the e-file."

4) "During the game, I hallucinated Qf2+ was still possible after Rg8 Qg5, which made things really complicated. Much simpler is Rf6! and white cannot guard the g6 pawn and will have to give up a lot of material to prevent checkmate."

5) "I played 16. Qd5, which is tenable but much more effective, is: 16. Nd5+ Ke6 17. Nf4+  Kf5 18. Bxd4. Admittedly I missed this idea. The knight on f4 defends against Rxg2+ just long enough for white to close the a8-h1 diagonal with f3."

5a) "Sara tried to change strategy with 24... Rg4 which alleviates a lot of pressure. The simplest way to win the position is not to go for an immediate killing blow but to simply advance the pawns. e4 or f5-f4 will lead to a relatively quick victory. It is easy to miss the forest for the trees sometimes. Cold-blooded technique is often better than hot-blooded brilliance."

6) "Juan played quickly and intuitively with 18. dxc5, which I felt missed a big opportunity for him. Must better was 18. Bxe4 dxe4 19. dxc5 Bb7 20. b4 Rd7 21. Qg4. White is up a pawn with a dangerous passed c-pawn. As long as white avoids catastrophe from black's light-squared bishop, white should have a comfortable, winning advantage."

6a) "The important thing to note here is that white's drawing chance is to trade the rook for knight and a-pawn and attempt to force black to have a wrong-colored rook pawn. If black is only left with a dark-squared bishop and a single h-pawn, the game is drawn. 38... Nd3+ 39. Kd2 Nb4 40. Kc3 a1=Q would be a huge mistake. In the end, white has the 43. Kc4! taking away the key d4 square from the bishop. With some careful pawn play, white can force a theoretically drawn position. Black can avoid this by keeping the king far away from d4 by sacrificing the knight on c1 or by delaying the winning of the rook until the king can get into a better position. Endgames are so complicated."

And here, all along, I thought all you had to do in an endgame was count to see who would Queen first :-)

Brian Wall answer to diagram #18

18) 20...Qf6. "My move is best, ignoring my hanging a8-Rook and counterattacking c3-Knight and b3/e3 -pawns. The best move for White is to move the King with a clearly inferior game." Further saying, "If 21 Na4 Bxb2+!!, ... cxb3!!, ... Rb8!, ... c3! and If 21 Qxa8  Bxc3!! is nasty"

Thanks again to all,

J.C. MacNeil - Your official 2022 Chess Journalists of America, Best Chess Club Newsletter, Honorable Mention award winner :-) CSCA president, Brad Lindstrom submitted my name. Thank you kindly, Mr. Lundstrom. 

Last Modified: 9/22/2022 at 11:06am Views: 250