DCC 2022 Fall Classic

2:55pm Tuesday, October 18th, 2022

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An unprecedented prize money payout for a local Colorado tournament.

Once again Denver Chess Club tournament attendance proves that the DCC is providing what Colorado chess players want. We are staging organized, well run tournaments in a central location with a substantial prize fund, that is paid out fairly to players of all levels of ability. Previous DCC Fall Classic tournaments - going back to 2016 as tabulated by Dean Clow's caissachess software - averaged around 65 players. This year we more than doubled that figure with an excellent registration of 133 players. I can't help but mention this follows our record attendance of 188 players at the DCC 2022 Denver Open. The sound you hear is me tooting the Denver Chess Club horn :-)  

With that lead in serenade, I'll get on to who won what at this year's great tournament, which featured an innovation by the DCC President, Richard Shtivelband. He scheduled five sections instead of the usual three, meaning several more players than usual won prize money. Also, Mr. Shtivelband and the DCC board agreed to supplement the prize fund with money from the DCC Treasury if necessary.


DCC prize money checks put cash money in your pocket. 

The total prize money payout was - get ready for this number - five thousand, five hundred and seventy five dollars. Yes, you read that right, 5575 dollars. An unprecedented prize money payout for a local Colorado tournament. GM Jesse Kraai won a 1000 dollar prize check at the DCC 2022 Denver Open, and here at the DCC 2022 Fall Classic the winner of the Championship section - which would likely be a local Colorado player - could also have won a 1000 dollar prize by finishing in clear 1st place in the Championship section. Wow.


Newly minted USCF Master, Neil Bhavikatti (w) is playing Sullivan McConnell, who is perhaps Colorado's best player.  James Neal, with the blue hat, is against Richard Shtivelband. 

Okay, now on to who actually won a share of the enormous prize money pot. In the 25 player Championship section, as it turned out, NM Richard Shtivelband (see diagrams #1thru 4 below) and rising star Sullivan McConnell ended up sharing the combined 1st and 2nd place prize. Richard had lost to Sullivan in round 3, but otherwise won all his games. including a last round win against the strong 2229 rated James Neal. Sullivan started off with 3 wins but was held to a draw by both Mr. Neal and Neil Bhavikatti in rounds 4 and 5. Still, I don't think either Sullivan or Richard will complain about winning 750 dollars each. 


Front board is Greg Johnson (b) against Orgil Batsaikhan (w). Daniel Herman (diagrams #15 thru 17) is playing Brad Lundstrom (w) 

Six players tied for 3rd place with a final score of 3.5 points. Neil Bhavikatti, James Neal, Brian Wall (diagrams #5 thru 8) Orgil Batsaikhan, Brad Lundstrom, and notably Davin Yin. They each won 83 dollars and 33 cents. The young Davin lost to Vedanth Sampath (another young Colorado chess rising star) in round 1, then proceeded to upset his next four opponents. His total rating point difference against those - can I say - victims was 751 points. Mr. Lundstrom managed to hold Davin to a last round draw. 


Earle Wilke (w) has way to many pieces on Caravaca Aguirre's side of the board :-) Duwayne Langseth is picking up his pieces. 

The U2200 section was won by Caravaca Aguirre, who with a 2139 rating was the strongest player in this section. Mr. Aguirre only lost to the new CSCA President, Earle Wikle in the last round to finish with 4 points and win 600 dollars. Mr. Wilke along with Christopher Motley and Mike Maloney all ended up with 3.5 points and they share the combined 2nd and 3rd place prize of 750 dollars. 


Foreground is Chris Motley (w) playing Mike Maloney (b) Grayson Manuel (w) is against Mr. Aguirre.

There was a sparse registration for this section with only 10 players. That just meant nobody had an easy game as evidenced by the numerous upsets. Aside from Mr. Wikle's 270 point difference win, Grayson Manuel upset Tim Brennan, and Mr. Brennan in turn upset Kenzie Moore. Both were over 100 point difference wins, along with many lesser point difference wins by other players.


Foreground is Tim Brennan (w) (diagram #23) against Kenzie Moore (b). Next board is Turpana Molina (b) (diagrams #20 thru 22) vs. Daniel Marmer (w).

In the 20 player U1800 section Caleb Pena took clear 1st place with 4.5 points and won 450 dollars. Caleb only allowed a round 3 draw to Amitai Shebba. Jermany Roldan only lost to Mr. Pena, to finish with 4 points and win the 2nd place prize of 350 dollars. Amitai won the 200 dollar 3rd place prize with 2 wins and 3 upset draws. Phineas Hagg finished out of the money with 2.5 points, but those points were from upsetting much higher rated players, plus a round 3 bye. Had there been Upset prizes for this tournament, Phineas would have won it for his big 257 point win against Luis Jimenez. 


Board 27 is Eric Massey (w) playing George Peschke (b). William Wolfe (w) is against Sourabh Bhange (b)

The 25 player U1600 section was won by William Wolfe who only gave up a round 2 draw to Chris Burkhardt. Mr. Wolfe won 350 dollars for his undefeated performance. Eric Massy, Brian Miller, and David Aizenberg all scored 4 points and they share the combined 2nd and 3rd place 375 dollar prize. Hans Krull did not win any money, but he will gain plenty of rating points. his 3.5 point final score was from a combined upset rating point difference of 763 points. Mr. Krull only lost to Antony Brown in round 1. The biggest Upset in this section was Rocco Degreest's 754 point round 3 win over well known and long time Colorado chess player, Dean Brown. I doubt if there has ever been a tournament where Mr. Brown's only point was a forced bye. 


Dean Brown in his thinking pose. I have no excuse for not knowing who he is playing. 

52 players signing up for the U1400 and Unrated section was great. If this many players had signed up for the other sections we would have had to set up tables in the hallway :-) I think increasing DCC tournament attendance indicates that interest in chess as more than just a game is growing in the United States. As it should be. After all, wherever else you may go in the world you can find chess players. And that will be enough opinion. I'm supposed to be reporting who won what ;-) 


Jeff Baffo (lower right) is waiting for me to return to our round 1 game so he can finish wiping me off the board. Players mentioned below are no doubt in the this or the following photos. Yet again I have no excuse for not having individual photos.

Johnathan Jenkins and Seth Fortinsky (diagram #18) each scored 4.5 points and they share the combined 1st and 2nd place prize, with each player winning 200 dollars. Three players tied for 3rd place with 4 points. Levi Kaklauskas, Julian Medina (diagram #19) and Sarvesh Rajesh with each player winning 33 dollars and 33 cents. There was also a slew of upsets in this section. The largest was Caleb Weiler's 820 rating point difference over Stuart Simon. I should mention that Tyler Geonetta's 2.5 points were all from upset wins and draws. 


DCC President, Richard Shtivelband (standing on the right) and was most pleased with the participation at his year's Fall Classic.  

To me the prize payout for this section seemed low compared to the other sections. Mr. Shtivelband has indicated in future DCC tournaments the total prize payout will be distributed more equally between sections. The top sections will always earn more but maybe not so great of a difference. The DCC President has also said that future DCC weekend tournaments will include an Upset prize for each section. I'm all for that. It's only right that a player who wins big be rewarded as we do for our monthly Tuesday and Thursday night tournaments. There is more to tournament chess than USCF rating points. There is also winning money and bragging rights :-) 


Tom Nelson (standing in the center) getting the tournament started with instructions and a review of the rules.

The DCC is pleased and grateful that so many players are attending DCC tournaments. Thank you all kindly. Special thanks to FIDE Arbiter Tom Nelson for directing the tournament with his usual efficiency. Also, when we realized the DCC had scheduled too long of a gap between the 4th and 5th round, Mr. Nelson sent an email blast to every player we had an email address for. Saying they could start their last game at 3:30 instead of 4:30, if their opponent was in attendance. Resulting in at least some players not having to wait the extra hour. Thanks to Shirley Herman for some of the pictures used in this report. See all of her photos of the tournament , and here . Her photos are clear and crisp, whereas mine are of poor quality, to say the least.

We'll start off the 22 positions !! Games Section with the tied for 1st place winner Richard Shtivelband's games. Followed by his rival Brian Wall's games. In addition to other excellent DCC players games.  Note: All "see answer below" are after the inspirational Griffin McConnell photo, which is after the last diagram. I've also inserted a chess analysis photo. Both are I think appropriate to the games section.  

r3kb1r/1ppq1ppp/p3p3/n2pP3/P1PP4/4B3/2PNQPPP/R4RK1 b kq - 13 25

1) James Neal vs. Richard Shtivelband. Round 5. To have any hope of tying Sullivan McConnell for 1st place Mr. Shtivelband had to win this game. After 13. c3-c4, what move does Black play in this position? It is not a tactical move to win material, but instead a positional move as part of a plan. Frankly, NM Shtivelband's answer is not at all clear to me. But he's the Master and I'm the Class B player :-) See answer below.

r1b2rk1/ppp2pbp/2n2qp1/8/2B1P3/2P2N2/PP1N1PPP/R2QK2R b KQ - 10 19

2) Rhett Langseth vs. Richard Shtivelband. Round 2. After 10. Bf1-c4 what move does Black play to "...stoke the initiative" See answer below. Richard then says, "White collapsed shortly after..." Don't miss playing through a scintillating attack on the White King.


1r3k2/5pbp/6p1/p2NP3/P4P2/8/1rnRB1PP/2R3K1 b - - 23 45
3) Richard Shtivelband vs. Alex Steger Round 1. Final Position. Mr. Shtivelband's comment on this game is: "A classical Sicilian transposes into a dragon. But unfortunately the d6-d5 plan mixes systems with the accelerated dragon and goes down in flames. Better was a plan centered around Nc6-Ne5-Nc4." I sort of see the "goes down in flames" part, but I'm clueless about the rest of Richard's comment.

7k/1pp4p/1pn1p1R1/4p2Q/1P3q2/2PP3P/P5P1/6K1 w - - 31 62
4) Richard Shtivelband vs. Brian Wall . Round 4. These players have become true rivals. They respect each other, but both want to be known as the better player. As determined by who gets and keeps a higher USCF rating. Currently their ratings are 2206 against 2205. Which is not a significant difference. Anyway, after 31...Qf8-f4 what move does NM Shtivelband play that forces NM Wall to resign? Brian credited Mr. Shtivelband for playing great games in this tournament with this statement: "manhandled everyone like a gorilla throwing around rag dolls." :-)

r1bqkb1r/p3ppp1/2n2n1p/1pp5/2PpP1P1/1P1P3P/P4P2/RNBQKBNR w KQkq b6 7 14
5) Brian Wall vs. David Kassin. Round 1. Well known former Colorado player, Anthea Carson, coined the term "pushpawn-itis" for players who don't develop pieces, and only play pawn moves in the opening. NM Wall has apparently been infected :-) Ms. Carson is currently teaching chess, alongside WGM Tatev Abrahamyan, at the Los Angeles Chess Academy.

8/p1q3Q1/3k4/2p1n3/P1bp4/8/1r1B2B1/R4RK1 w - - 33 66
5a) the same game At move 22. Brian played hxg4. What is a better move? In the diagram position after 33...Kd7-d6, play to win the Black Queen. See NM Wall's answers below.

r3br2/1p3k2/p4qpQ/2pP4/P1P1p3/8/1P6/2K3RR w - - 27 54
6) Brian Wall vs. Griffin McConnell. Round 3. In this position after 27... Kh7-f7 Brian played 28. Rg1-f1 winning the Queen for the Rook. But can you find a much better way to win Griffin's Queen?

3kr1b1/Qp1r4/p1R5/3P2p1/P1P1p3/8/1P6/4K3 w - - 40 80

6a) the same game. In this position, once again NM Wall plays a sure not bad move, 41. Rc6-c8+, but can you find a quicker way to win? See answers below. Note: Both alternative moves for #6 and 6a were suggested to Brian after the game by Bob O'Donnell who spotted the moves while observing the game in progress. Mr. O'Donnell has recently moved to Colorado and has known Mr. Wall for years. See also this game that Brian played against Mr. O'Donnell back in the day. And the same game with Brian's comments and computer analysis


r3r2k/pppq2pp/5p2/3p1n2/2nP4/P1P1PNPP/2Q2PK1/R1BR4 b - - 19 37

7) Vedanth Sampath vs. Brian Wall. Round 2. After 19. e3 What is a nice tactical shot to give Vedanth a chance to go wrong? 


8/8/1P2k1r1/1KB5/p2P4/8/8/8 w - - 56 112

7a) the same game Mr. Wall has just played 56...Kf7-e6 leaving a winning move for Vedanth to find. What would you play? See NM Wall's answers below.


r3kbr1/ppq2p1p/5p2/2p4p/6B1/2NP4/PPP2PP1/R2QK2R b KQkq - 13 25
8) Brian Wall vs. Daniel Herman. Round 1. It is safe to say that Mr. Herman has not played the best opening moves. It is Black to move after 13. Bc1xg4, capturing a Bishop. 13... Rxg4 or hg4 is a difficult choice. NM Wall tells us why. Quoting Brian Wall: "13 ... Rxg4 14. Qf3 allows all my pieces great squares. - My King is equally comfortable on b1 or f1. - My Knight has juicy light squares everywhere. - Daniel's pawns are all doubled isolated exposed target practice. - 13... hxg4 looks very illogical. - Rookwise but it keeps my Queen back a bit. - Daniel took 10 minutes deciding." What would you play? 

4r1k1/1p3p2/p5p1/3p1r2/3P4/1Q6/PP2qBPP/5RK1 w - - 30 60

9) Nick Petersen vs. James Neal. Round 1. Mr. Petersen has been posting all his games to DCC Games  Win, lose. or draw. Thank you kindly, sir. After 30...Rxf5 - capturing a pawn - White played 31. Qb3xb7. Why was that a losing move?  


1kr4q/1p1n1p2/p3p3/Q2p2p1/P1r5/1NP1RP1P/1KP1R1P1/8 b - - 31 61

10) Greg Johnson vs. Nick Peterson. Round 2. In the diagram position Black played 31...Kb8-a7, setting a trap. White replied 32. Nb3- d2. What did Mr. Johnson overlook? 


2r2r1k/1p6/1N1p2pb/1P2pp1p/3nP2q/2NQ3P/R1P2PP1/5RK1 b - - 22 43

11) Nick Petersen vs. Henry Benaid. Round 3. Not many players rated as high as Mr. Petersen would post an upset loss to a much lower player. In this position  22. Nc4-b6 is given a ?? evaluation. Do you see why? Credit to Mr. Benaid for seeing the tactical refutation during the game. 


8/6p1/8/5k2/4n1p1/3K4/2P3PP/4N3 w - - 41 82

12) Nick Petersen vs. William Murray. Round 4. After 41. Nc3-e4, Mr. Petersen demonstrates excellent technique to promote the passed pawn. 


Chess players will analyze wherever they can find space :-) 

7R/8/8/5pk1/7p/5Kp1/8/8 b - - 54 107

13) Rhett Langseth vs. Nick Petersen. Round 5. Final position. Rhett's last move was 54. Rh7-h8 and according to NM Brian Wall, aka Pawn Wave Guy, all the Black pawns are going to be picked off. Mr. Petersen of course realized this and resigned. Aside from the ending, this game featured an interesting opening and a wild tactical back and forth middle game. 


3b1k1r/p1r3R1/1p1pB3/3Pn2p/PPP4P/4Bp2/8/5KR1 w - - 36 72

14) Sara Herman vs. Vedant Margle. Round 5. I and maybe most USCF under Class A players, only play for tactics. Having no clue as to how to play positionally. Sara's notes to this game are a positional lesson for us all. She also knows how to finish a game. Black has just played 36...Be7-d8. Find mate in 3.


2r4k/3Q2pp/b4r2/3Pp2q/N2bB3/1P1P2P1/3R3P/3R3K b - - 35 69

15) Sikander Baker-Nagar vs. Daniel Herman. Round 3. Sara, aka Zefcat, and her brother, Daniel, are like a dynamic chess duo. In this position after 35. Qe6-d7 do you see how Mr. Herman wins an exchange? Now do you also see why that is not the best move. See Mr. Herman's answer to this and the next diagram below.


2r3k1/7p/b5p1/3PQ3/N3B3/1P1P2PK/4qb1P/8 w - - 44 88

16) the same game In this position after 40...Kg8 White went for the perpetual. What would have been a better plan?  


r5k1/p2p1pp1/8/8/6P1/6P1/P1p1n2K/4RR2 b - - 34 67
17) Brad Lundstrom Vs. Daniel Herman. Round 1. Mr. Lundstrom has just played 34. Rb1-e1. I think everyone can see that Daniel can play 35. c8(Q) to regain the exchange and probably be winning. Forget all that and play Master level chess instead, as Mr. Herman does to force White to resign in four moves.

8/7p/8/p5P1/4k2P/2K3P1/8/8 b - h3 37 73

18) Seth Fortinsky vs. Trevor Bradford. Round 5. After a dubious pawn capture and consequent Rook trade on e4, Mr. Bradford may have thought he could go after the g3 pawn. Then realized that wasn't going to work, and played 37. Ke4-d5. That didn't work either. Mr. Fortinsky took full advantage of Black's Rook and pawn ending mistakes. 


6k1/5r2/P7/2p4p/8/1PK3pP/5p2/5R2 w - - 49 98

(19) Tyler Poole vs. Julian Medina. Round 3. Final Position. Mr. Medina has emulated Brian Wall by winning the game with a pawn wave. 


6r1/p1RNkpn1/bp2p1pB/8/3P2P1/3q1P2/5Q1P/4K3 b - - 26 51

20) Turpana Molina vs. Kenzie Moore. Round 1. In this position after 26. Ke1 it is NOT White to move. But if it was, what would you play? Or to put it another way, what does Black have to see? 


8/7p/1p1pk1p1/p1p1p3/P5PP/5K2/8/4N3 w - - 37 74

21) Turpana Molina vs. Mike Maloney. Round 3. At move 37...fxe5 we have a position that Brian Wall - aka Pawn Wave Guy - would be slobbering at the board over :-) Mr. Maloney demonstrates fine technique to overwhelm the helpless White Knight. 


r3r1k1/2R2nbp/p2pb1p1/1p1NPp2/3Q1P1q/8/PP1BB1PP/5RK1 b - - 27 53

22)  Earle Wilke vs. Turpana Molina. Round 2. In time pressure, Mr. Wikle has just played the dubious 27. e5. Mr. Molina plays the perfectly good ...Bxe5 winning the pawn. Think a while and find the move that Stockfish says is "much better." 


1rq1n1k1/p3r1pN/2nb4/1p1pNp2/3P1B2/2P4P/PP2QPR1/1K1R4 b - - 23 45

23) Tim Brennan vs. Kenzie Moore. Round 4. With 23. Ng5xh7 Mr. Brennan has just played what I think was an intuitive sacrifice, or Tim is seeing far into the future. In either case enjoy the King hunt that leads to an upset win against a strong player. Mr. Brennan replied to this diagram, saying: "Yeah it was an intuitive sacrifice. I didn't see a mate or a forced win, but I knew if he took it I was going to chase the King all over the board, and hoped there was going to be some tactics there somewhere, which there was. I didn't play the follow up quite right, but was "good enough for government work". " 



Griffin McConnell wearing a big smile and one of his inspirational T-shirts. 

Richard Shtivelband's answers to diagrams #1 and #2

1) "13... Bb4 was a good decision intending to trade bishop for knight leaving black with the superior minor piece."

2) "10... b5 sacrificing a second pawn to open lines and stoke the initiative was very nice.  White collapsed shortly after as all 5 of black's pieces point at the white king."

Brian Wall's answers to diagrams #5, 5a, #6, 6a, #7, and 7a.

5) Classic morality play, the automatic capture 22. hxg4 is +1,
22. e6!!  with the idea of Qe5 Rook fork, is +2.

5a) 34 ... Be6 35. Rxe6+ Kxe6 36. Qxc7 picks up a Queen and mates soon.

6) 28. Qh7+!!  Qg7 29. Rf1+ winning a whole Queen. 

6a) 41. d6!!  bxc6 42. Qa8# As mentioned above both alternative moves were suggested by Mr. O'Donnell. Who spotted the moves while observing the game in progress.  

7) 19 ... Rxe3 20 fxe3? Nxe3+!  wins the Queen. 19 ... Rxe3 20.  g4 Re4 21.  gxf5 Qxf5 with two pawns for a Knight about equal.19 ... Rxe3 20.  g4 Rxf3 21. Kxf3 Nh4+ 22. Kg5 23. Re1 slight advantage to Black. The problem is I already have a big positional advantage, so I didn't go for it.

7a. Only 57. b7!!  Rg8 58. Kc6!! wins +17

Daniel Herman's answer to diagram #15 and 16

15) Move 35... Rf2. black has many tempting moves but chose the only one that doesn't win, After the forcing line Qf5 and black can't avoid a perpetual.

16) Move 41 white gave a perpetual and was relieved as he knew he was losing but instead of Qe6+, d6 preparing Bd5 with a mating net wins.

Thanks again to all,

J.C. MacNeil


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