DCC February 2023 Tournaments Report

4:38pm Friday, March 3rd, 2023

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I doubt if any other local chess club anywhere is paying out this level of prize money to this many players.

First a note about the pictures used in this DCC report: The heading photo is from the Cottonbro Studio. Other pictures that are crisp, clear, and in focus are likely by Shirley Herman. Blurry out of focus pictures are by your reporter. And instead of identifying players, you get some "witty" captions. See game diagrams as usual following the written report. 


Thursday night attendance is looking better.

I am pleased to report that the DCC Thursday tournament location has shown a significant increase in attendance. This month 61 players registered with an average of 32 playing each week. Up from 37 registered and 20 playing each week in January. The best part is we are continuing to see new to the DCC and USCF rated tournament chess players at this location. 


TD Brian Ledsworth recording his move against an opponent who apparently has no worries :-)

Tournament Director, Brian Ledsworth's  prize payout structure with Place prizes, in addition to Under and Upset prizes in each section, means everyone has a chance to win prize money. Speaking of which, Brian Wall's dream of having DCC electronic prize money payments, has come true. Quoting Mr. Wall: "Hotshot new DCC Treasurer Luiz Jimenez has a system where DCC members can state their payment preference: Zelle, PayPal, Venmo, or paper check." 


Hoodie vs. earplug.

So then, who did put cash in their pocket by playing chess at the Denver Chess Club? In the Thursday night Premier section, I was glad to see DCC Vice President, Juan Brenes, take 1st place with 3.5 points. Ahead of both Brian Wall and Daniel Herman. Mr. Brenes won against Will Wolf, held Brian to a draw, took the full point from Daniel, and topped it off with a win against the strong Expert, Nick Petersen, in the last round. 


Stronger than you players, playing on a classy board.

This fine performance put 99 dollars and 30 cents in Juan's pocket. In addition Mr. Brenes also won the 20 dollar Premier Upset prize for his win against Mr. Herman. Beating out Sara Herman's big upset win over NM Richard Shtivelband.by just a 22 point rating difference margin.


Young vs. somewhat older.

Mr. Herman took away NM Wall's hope of tying for 1st place, by winning their last round game. Thus, they both ended up with 2.5 points and share the combined 2nd and 3rd place prize of 111dollar and 72 cents. The U1900 prize of 37 dollars and 24 cents was sharded by Luis Jimenez and Kristopher Zelkin, who each finished with 1.5 points. In the Thursday night U1600 section, Lev Shulman played excellent chess to finish with a perfect 4-0 score to win 99 dollars and 30 cents. Mr. Shulman won against the way underrated Alex Barraza in round 3, Then went on to also upset the strong Drew Tuck in round 4 to earn the 1st place prize.


Hoodie vs. hoodie. 

Mr. Tuck, Mr. Barraza, and Mitchell Beyer all ended up with 3 points and they share the combined 2nd and 3rd place prize, with each player winning 37 dollars and 24 cents. The U1300 prize was won by Tom Needham and Weston Taylor. They each finished with a final score of 2 points, and each player won 18 dollars and 62 cents. 


Hairstyle vs. hairstyle.

Many thanks are due to Mr. Taylor for assisting Brian Ledsworth and becoming a much needed backup DCC Tournament Director. Gera Cruz won't be rated 235 for long. He held Mr. Ledsworth to a last round draw and won the 20 dollar Upset prize. Tim Liu and Hayden Hollis each finished with 2.5 points, and they share the 20 dollar Unrated prize. 


The DCC U1800 tournament in progress

In cooperation with the Aurora Library system, and in particular with librarian Corina Iannaggi, Richard Shtivelband - after some arm twisting by Ann Davies - set up a DCC U1800 tournament at the Hoffman library. The 1st of a planned series of tournaments at Aurora library locations. Next up is Brian Wall's unique Clone Wars tournament at the Aurora central library. 


TD Andrew Starr on the job. 

Then I think a similar U1800 tournament is scheduled for April 1st. The TLA will be posted soon at DCC Tournaments.  For the inaugural event, we had a great room capacity registration of 52 players, who were all USCF rated under 1800, and who all were looking to win a share of an off the charts DCC prize fund of 1375 dollars, for a one day tournament !! 


Kids, adults, chess is for all ages.

With place and under prizes in each section 14 players won prize money at this innovative DCC event. In the U1800 section, Jordan Edmonson, Owen Christ, and Abhijay Balamurugan all finished with 3.5 points and each player won 175 dollars. All of Abhijay's points were upset wins and a last last round upset draw against Qwen. Mr. Christ had had the pleasure of upsetting both Ken Doykos and son, Ted Doykos.


Two players awake, one player taking a nap :-)

Daniel Aizenberg won the 150 dollar 1st U1600 prize by winning against three higher rated players and only losing to Mr. Christ in round 2. The 2nd U1600 prize was shared by Tanya Prabhui and Ann Davies, who both ended up with 2 points and each player won 37 dollars and 50 cents. Ms. Davies defeated yours truly in the last round by playing very well to recover from an opening trap that left her down the exchange and two pawns. The youngster, Tanya upset the strong Jeff Nohrden and long time Colorado chess player, Norbert Martinez to earn her share of the prize money. 


Young lass, young lad.

In the U1400 section Audrey Li was phenomenal. After a forced 1st round bye, she won three straight games to take 1st place and win 225 dollars. The rating difference between her and her opponents totaled 1441 points!! DCC Secretary, Madeleine Finch held higher rated Kamron Corriea to a last round draw and they share the combined 2nd and 3rd place prize of 200 dollars, with 3.5 points. 


One hoodie, three hairstyles.

Visant Sankaranarayanan is from India, and currently living in Fort Collins. He was kind enough to take me for coffee between rounds, and is the proud father of sons Shaurya and Shubh Misra, who were also playing in the tournament. Mr. Sankaranarayanan also finished with 3.5 points - that included two big upset wins - and consequently won the higher value 1st U1200  prize of 125 dollars. The 75 dollar 2nd U1200 prize was shared by Lan Truong and Weston Taylor. 


A DCC Tuesday night room shot.

And even more prize money was won at the DCC Tuesday night tournament. In the Premier section, Daniel Herman is proving his official USCF Master rating is no fluke. This month he finished with a perfect score by winning against none other than NM Brian Wall in the last round. 


Watch this!!

This fine performance earned Mr. Herman 188 dollars and 78 cents. Matthew Wofford took a 3rd round bye, but otherwise won all his games to take 2nd place and win 113 dollars and 27 cents. Mark Brown lost to NM Wall in round 1 then won his next three games to claim the 3rd place prize of 75 dollars and 51 cents. 


Look at that move.

Taylor Andrews only played one game, but that was enough to win the 30 dolar Best Upset prize for win over strong Expert, Rhett Langseth. Who everyone knows is not at all easy to beat. The 20 dollar Honorable Mention Upset prize goes to DCC Treasurer, Luis Jimenez for his win against Expert Alex Steger. Another significant Upset was Turpana Molina holding NM Brian Wall to a draw in round 2. 


Well now, this is interesting.

In the Tuesday night U1900 section Abhiram Palle also had a perfect 4-0 score to take 1st place and win 182 dollars and 49 cents. That included a nice last round win over the strong Cole Strong. Grayson Manuel played a great game against yours truly in the last round to take the 2nd place prize of 109 dollars and 49 cents, with 3.5 points.  


All ages play at the DCC.

Cole, along with Jason McEwen, Abhijay Balamurugan, Ryan Kearns, and Archer Murane all finished with 3 points and they each won 14 dollars and 60 cents. Niall Case won the 30 dollar U1900 Best Upset prize for his round 3 win over Stan Zborovski. The 20 dollar U1900 Honorable Mention Upset was won by Nathaniel Lasaga-Ivey for his against the upcoming  youngster, Kaavya Sakthisaravanan.


Yes, another Tuesday night room shot. I can't help myself :-)

The Tuesday night U1500 section The combined 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prize was shared by Seth Fortinsky, Landon Hershey, and Conner Mehler. They all ended up with 3.5 points and each player won 121 dollars and 66 cents. Mr. Fortinsky upset the higher rated, Mitcheal Toth in the last round to earn his share on the prize money. Brandt Finch - DCC Secretary Madeleine Finch's younger brother - won the 30 dollar U1500 Best Upset prize for his big 438 rating point difference win over Rob Jamison in round 2. All three of Brandt's points were upset wins. Tanay Kataru won the 20 dollar U1500 Honorable Mention Upset prize for her round 1 win against Mike Henchen. 


No DCC Report is complete without one of my completely out of focus photos :-) Here, players are waiting for the parings. 

As always, a big THANK YOU to all the players who are making the DCC great. DCC February total prize money payout was 3189 dollars!! With 47 prize checks being paid out. I doubt if any other local chess club anywhere is paying out this level of prize money to this many players. Next month I'll try to properly identify players and have no blurry pictures. Fat chance of that happening :-) 

The Games Section features great games from all three DCC February tournaments. 

rn2k2r/pp2bppp/2p1pn2/8/2NP4/1P3NP1/1Pb1PPBP/R1B2RK1 w kq - 10 20

1) Brian Wall vs. Mark Brown. Round 1. Tuesday. Brian opened this game with 1. Na3 As part of another 40 move challenge, where NM Wall intends to win with both colors after every possible opening move. In this position after 10...Bc2 NM Wall played a preplanned 11. Bf4. What is a much better move? See Brian Walls answers to diagrams #1, #2, #3, #3a #4 and #6 below after Diagram #19a.


rr3bk1/8/2q1p2p/p3Ppp1/1nPP4/2B2P1N/4Q1PP/RR4K1 w - - 30 60
2) Juan Brenes vs. Brian Wall Round 2. Thursday. Final position. Draw agreed. NM Wall says, "Juan Carlos had me on the ropes all game, every move felt like an only move. I offered a draw on Move 26 and then took Salgado's later offer in a nanosecond." When playing over this game at move 11...c4, instead of 12. Bc2 as played, what computer move prompts Brian to say, "You have to study Shirov's Fire on Board series before you can play like this?" Adding that Shirov's books "...changed my whole style at age 44."


1k1r4/p1p2p2/1p2p1r1/P2pPn2/1q1n1BN1/2N5/5PP1/R2Q1RK1 w - - 23 46

3) Turpana Molina vs. Brian Wall. Round 2. Tuesday. NM Wall has just played 23...Qb5xb4, capturing a pawn. What move does Brian say would have been "...twice as good"? It is not an easy answer :-)


8/3r4/2k1p3/1p2P3/2p3P1/2KpQ3/8/8 w - - 46 92

3a) the same game Black has just played 46...Kc5-c6 and offered a draw. This may be surprising to anyone who has seen Pawn Wave Guy easily win positions like this. What is the "impossible to find move" that would win for White?  Mr. Molina refused the offer and played 47. g5 but a few moves later he was forced to accept Brian's 2nd draw offer. 


r3k2r/1b1n1ppp/pq6/Np2p3/1B1pP3/3B4/PP3PPP/2R1Q1K1 b kq - 20 39

4) Alex Steger vs. Brian Wall. Round 3. Thursday. NM Wall credits his opponent in this game by saying, "Alex is a brave Tal-like tactician, always looking for a sacrifice. My position was shaky and my opponent was aggressive." Mr. Steger had sacrificed an exchange early to keep the Black King in the center. In this position after 20. Rd1-c1 what does NM Wall say is the "only winning move"?


8/1r6/4bk2/6p1/5p2/P3PK2/1R1B1PP1/6r1 w - - 48 96

5) Brian Wall vs. Daniel Herman. Round 4. Thursday. Now an official USCF Master, Daniel Herman wins a lot of games tactically. After a sweet kingside attack, he has just played 48...Rh7xb7 capturing a Bishop. Do you see why NM Wall resigned? If not, burn your chess card :-)


rn1qk2r/p2bnpbp/1p1pp1p1/1BpP4/4P3/2N2N2/PPP2PPP/R1BQ1RK1 w kq - 8 16

6) Daniel Herman vs. Brian Wall. Round 4. Tuesday. NM Wall has not been happy with his game lately. Saying, "I was in a weeklong slump where I lost all my rating points. I had some kind of atypical impatience running through my games." See his comment below to understand why he says, "I could have resigned on Move 8 but I dragged it out." In this position, Brian has just played 8...Bd7. 


5rk1/5ppp/6q1/2n5/1P2PPb1/6Q1/P2R1PBP/5RK1 b - b3 26 51

7) Sara Herman vs. Brian Wall. Round 1. Thursday. Final position. Pawn Wave Guy has three pawns and an extra Rook for a Knight. Sara lost on time. 


8/pQp3rk/2Pp1n2/1N1Pp1np/P3Pp1q/3N1PpP/6P1/5BK1 b - - 35 69

8) Nick Petersen vs. Juan Brenes. Round 4. Thursday. a few moves before this position after 35. Nc3-b5 Mr. Petersen's comment was "...now Blacks attack will crash through." and Mr. Brenes does just that :-)


8/8/8/5b1p/7P/1pBp2P1/k7/2K5 w - - 70 140

9) Kristopher Zelkin vs. Nick Petersen. Round 3. Thursday. Mr. Petersen's clear concise notes to his games are always like a free chess lesson. Prior to this position he gives a template for how to evaluate an opposite color Bishop ending. They are not all drawn :-) 


3rkn2/p4p2/2p1b1pp/4Q3/4P3/1PP1nP2/P4qPP/R1KB3R b - - 25 49

10) Bradford Blake vs. Jason McEwen. Round 2. DCC U1800 Tournament. Like Mr. Petersen's, Mr. McEwen's game analysis is also always informative and often entertaining. In this position after 23. b3, find "... a fun little checkmate to end it." 


4qrk1/5pbp/3B1np1/1N1p4/3P2PP/1P2P3/r1P1QP2/2KR3R b - - 19 37

11) Kristopher Zelkin vs. Jason McEwen. Round 4. DCC U1800 Tournament. Why did 19. Bh2xd6 - capturing a pawn - "...lead to a losing position..."


2R5/1p1r1pk1/1B2p2p/Pb1rP1p1/5P2/4R1PP/8/6K1 b - f3 37 73

12) Jason McEwen vs. Mark Weston. Round 3. DCC U1800 Tournament. White has just played 37. f2-f4. Mr. McEwen's comment is, "approximately 0.1 seconds after making this move I regretted it. He has a forced way to win my rook. Lucky for me he missed it" I can't realize it's my turn to move in 0.1 seconds, let alone see a six move combination :-)


2r3k1/5pp1/4p2p/p3P3/5Q2/2r3P1/2pR3P/2q3K1 w - - 37 74

13) Jason McEwen  vs. Don Wisdom Round 1. DCC U1800 Tournament. Final position. Mr. McEwen's only loss. Jason credits Mr. Wisdom by saying, "My opponent played well and never gave me a chance to get back in the game."


r2qnrk1/pp3ppp/3p2n1/3P4/PP2PB2/2NB3P/4Q3/R4RK1 b - - 19 37
14) Mitchell Beyer vs. Tom Needham. Round 4. Thursday. With 19. Bxf4, Black has just sacrificed a Bishop for a pawn to expose the White King. Without an immediate follow up attack, the remainder of the game shows it was an unsound sacrifice. Kind of thing I do over and over. Always hoping with the King that exposed, i'll be able to find a win somehow. Key word I just used is "hoping".  As in playing hope chess :-) 

8/6k1/8/5KP1/8/1p6/1P6/8 b - - 50 99

15) Lev Shulman vs. Gera Cruz. Round 1. Thursday. I believe this position is a draw if Black remembers the pawn ending rule of taking the opposition, then staying in front of the pawn. Instead Gera played 50...Kg7-g8. and the pawn Queens.


6RQ/npp2pp1/p5kp/4p3/6P1/1PP5/PPK2q1P/8 w - - 30 60
16) Gera Cruz vs. Brian Ledsworth. Roind 4. Thursday. Final position. Mr. Ledsworth has mate in one but can't escape the perpetual. I would have probably tried to run away then get mated by 31. Kd3 Qf3+ 32. Kc4 Qe4+ 33. Kc5 b6 checkmate.

rr4k1/3qbpp1/3p1n1p/p3p3/2B1P3/1Q1n1NB1/1R3PPP/R5K1 w - - 26 52
17) Don Henry vs. Seth Fortinsky. Round 3. Tuesday. In this position after 26...Nb4xd3, capturing a pawn, White passes up an opportunity to get both Rooks and the Knight for the Queen. Why would that be much better than 27. Qb3xd3 as played?

r3r1k1/p4ppp/2Q5/3p4/2pP1b1n/4BqN1/PP3P1P/R1R2K2 w - - 22 44
18) Parker Gauthier vs. Turpana Molina. Round 1. Tuesday. Mr. Molina has just played 22... Bc7xf4 capturing a pawn. Can't be a bad move, but the computer of course has a forced mate in 7 instead. Anyway, when White plays 23. Be3xf4, find mate in 1.

5B2/pr5p/5pk1/1p6/4bNnP/1B4P1/PPP5/2KR4 b - - 35 69
19) Ann Davies vs. J.C. MacNeil. Round 4. DCC U1800 Tournament. I have completely squandered a huge opening advantage, and in this position, I played 34...Kg6-h6. Ann immediately called out the illegal move, and embarrassed, I put the King back on g6 and played 34... Bc6-e4, which due to me having touched the King, is another illegal move. At his point Ann asks me if she could get time added to her clock for the illegal move. I said yes, pause the clock, and call the TD. Ann then inadvertently reset the clock to zero. Neither of us knew exactly what time we had remaining, and now we are both talking out loud and have attracted attention from other players. One of whom, thinking the game was over, remarked it didn't matter because after the forced 34. Kg6-f5, it was mate in 2 on the board. TD Andrew Starr has now joined the hubbub and before he can try to straighten out the mess, I knew and realized that Ann would get more time for the 2nd illegal move, but then the Bishop is back on c6 and it's not mate in 2. I can play 34...Kf5 and it is possible, but highly unlikely, that I could go on to win the game. So, I did the right thing and resigned.

5B2/pr5p/5p2/1p3k2/4bNnP/1B4P1/PPP5/2KR4 w - - 35 70
19a) the same game Hypothetical position if the illegal 34...Bc6-e4 had not been corrected. White to move and mate in 2.  

Brian Walls answers to diagrams #1, #2, #3, #3a #4 and #6

1) "To show the difference in class Daniel Herman saw 11 Nb6  after 8 ... dxc4,
I saw 11 Nb6 seconds after playing my preplanned 11 Bf4 after 28 seconds,
Mark Brown missed Nb6 twice after thinking for 20 minutes."

2) "Stuff like 12 Bxf5!!  exf5!  13 Nxd5!!  Qd8!!  14 Nf4 is all over the place this game."

3) "My move 23 ... Qxb4 wins but twice as good is forgetting I am down a piece with the gorgeous nongreedy 23 ... Qc4!! putting pressure on all of Turpana's hanging minors on g4, f4, c3. Loose pieces drop off. Two big threats are 24 ... Qxc3 or 24 ... Nxe2+ and 25 ... Nxf4. 23 ... Qc4 24 Rc1 is met by ... Nb3 which I had already seen. In the game I blundered horribly by a similar line 23 ... Qxb4 24 Bd2 Nb3??  25 Ra4 and I wanted to resign. Taking the b-pawn exposed my King to Ra4. I still could have won with 23 ... Qxb4 24 Bd2 Rdg8!! +3 or ... Qc5 +2. I was down 15 minutes on the clock and foolishly allowed that to rush me."

3a) "Turpana has missed 100 wins but now he is down to one - only 47 Qd2!!  works, impossible to find." Further saying "47 Kd2  fails to 47 ... b4  or ... c3+. After  47 Qd2  I was going to play ... Kc5 with the scary threat of 48 ... b4+
This fails to 48 Qf2+!!  Kc6  49 Qf8!! but still complicated with many Only Moves."

4) "20 ... f6! is the only winning move, giving my King some air."

6) "After 7 ... Ne7 there are three obstacles between Daniel's Qd1 and my protected Black pawn on d6. Therefore 10 Qxd6 came as quite a shock. I thought he was after my e6 pawn with Ng5 and Qg4 which didn't work at all. That distracted and confused me for 4 minutes."


Thanks again to all, 

J.C. MacNeil


Last Modified: 3/12/2023 at 12:33pm Views: 961