DCC March 2023 Tournaments Report

2:33pm Monday, April 3rd, 2023

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... but everyone wants icing on the cake :-)

The 5th edition of the unique DCC Clone Wars tournament was the result of an innovative idea thought up by Brian Wall, Kevin Seidler, and Chris Petersen, several years ago. The idea is a player can play in the tournament as his or herself, or also with one or two clones. Meaning each round a player is playing one, two or three games simultaneously, with all eligible for a share of the prize money. For this one day, 3 round tournament, a share was determined to be $3.41. I think this is derived by dividing the total number of games into the total entry fees, minus expenses. Then each win was worth 3 shares, and each draw earned 1 share.  


DCC TD Brian Ledsworth about to move in one of his games. Rhett Langseth is recoding his move. Score keeping was required, even when playing 3 games.

Thus every player would win something unless they and their clones ended up with zero points. The top prize winners - each playing with 2 clones - were Richard Shtivelband, who with 8 wins won 81 dollars and 84 cents. Brian Wall, with 7 wins and a draw, won 75 dollars and 2 cents, and Nikolas Thiess with 7 wins, won 71 dollars and 61 cents.


Brian Wall in the background - for this round - was fortunate to have all 3 of his games on the same table, and he just rolled his chair back and forth. In other rounds he and Richard were huffing and puffing from one board and the next :-)

It was definitely a fun tournament to watch. A player with two clones may have opponents in a row or nearby, but they also could be on the other side of the room. So, you'd see players moving in no discernable pattern from one board to another throughout the round, and all the while the clock is running on each game. 29 players registered for the event, but counting clones there were 66 players. If that makes sense :-)


Shirley Herman photobombing this picture of Tim Brennan :-)

You would think this would be a pairing nightmare for a Tournament Director. But while Tim Brennan not only played with 2 clones, he also had no trouble pairing each round so that no player ended up playing his own clone. This in addition to getting the rounds started on time. How Mr. Brennan was able to do that is beyond me. A lot of really smart people play chess, but I'm not one of them :-) See game diagrams below along with Tuesday and Thursday night games, and also Including a few games from the 2nd DCC U1800 tournament. A full report of that tournament will appear here next month. But let me just mention that I took 1st place with a 4-0 score, and yes, I'm tooting my own horn :-) 


A typical DCC Tuesday night attendance. The heading photo above is a Tuesday night casual game before the round starts with what looks like some "helpful" kibitzing going on :-)

The DCC Tuesday night March tournament had an outstanding registration of 110 players, with an average weekly attendance of 70 USCF rated tournament players along with the usual casual players and spectators. In the Premier section Daniel Herman, Juan Brenes, Sikandar Baker- Nagar, and Jason McEwen all ended up with 3 points And they share the combined 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prize of 403 dollars and 24 cents. Daniel was Upset by Sikandar in round 2. Juan lost in the last round to Daniel. Jason lost to Daniel in round 1. Sikandar lost to Juan in round 3. Was this a competitive section or what :-)


In the foreground Jason McEwen (b) vs. Daniel Herman (w). Other board is Nikolas Theiss vs. Tim Liu

Sikandar also won the 20 dollar Honorable Mention Upset prize for his win against Mr. Herman. Mr. McEwen earned his share of the prize money by upsetting the real strong Sara Herman and the slightly less strong Mike Malony. Everyone in the U1800 section is glad to see Mr. McEwen now running with the big dogs :-) The 30 dollar Best Upset prize was won by Kristopher Zelkin for his round 2 win against Alexander Steger.


Sikandar Baker-Nagar (w) vs. Kristopher Zelkin. On the other board, Daniel Herman is making a move against Juan Brenes.

In the Tuesday night U1800 section, Jeff Nohrden and Maxim Millan each finished with 3.5 points, and share the combined 1st and 2nd place prize of 312 dollars and 70 cents. Mr. Millan's points were all scored against higher rated players. Including a round 3 draw against Mr. Nohrden, who everyone knows is a strong player.


In the foreground, Benjamin Deguire is on the left. Jeff Nohrden is on the right.

Mark Weston, Drew Tuck, James Lamorgese, Jacob Zarin, and Benjamin Deguire all ended up with 3 points and they each won 15 dollars and 64 cents. Mr. Deguire only lost in the last round to Mr. Nohrden. Otherwise, all his points were huge upset wins. The 30 dollar Best Upset prize was won by Sarvesh Rajesh for his round 3 win against Kaavya Sakthisaravanan. Sarvesh also held the much higher rated Mr. Lamorgese to a draw, and won against the hard to beat, Phineas Hagg. The 20 dollar Honorable Mention Upset prize was won by Darshan Satishkumar for his round 1 win over Mr. Weston.


Jude Fee (w) vs. Mark Fischer (b). Other board is Mike Henchen (w) vs. Tanay Kataru. Men, women, and children of all ages are welcome to play chess at the DCC.

I don't know how old Jude Fee is but I'm thinking he is still in grade school. Nevertheless he won all his games in the Tuesday night U1500 section. with every game being a big Upset. Starting with a round 1 win against the experienced and longtime DCC player, Mark Fischer. The combined rating point difference total between him and his opponents was an astounding 1114 points. The youngster wins 195 dollars and 44 cents for this outstanding performance.


Michael Yoder (w) vs. Seth Fortinsky (b) Noah Segal in the background.

Michael Yoder won the 2nd place prize of 117 dollars and 26 cents with 3.5 points finishing with a draw and a win against higher rated opponents. Mike Henchen and Sumanth Kaja share the 3rd place prize of 78 dollars and 18 cents. Sumanth had a forced 2nd round bye, then two big upset wins in round 3 and 4. Jacob Segal won the 30 dollar Best Upset prize for his 694 point win over Brandt Finch in round 3. The 20 dollar Honorable Mention Upset prize went to Rebecca Gelfer for her 602 point win against Vedant Ratnakar.


We have room for at least double this many Thursday night players.

The DCC Thursday night location continues to attract new players, and that is reason enough to keep the location open. Even though attendance is not increasing as much as we would like, it is certainly not bad, but better would be an additional 10-20 players playing regularly. Then we wouldn't have to cut the prize fund to pay the rent.

Anyway, on to who won what. In the Thursday night Premier section Is anyone surprised that Daniel Herman won all his games and took home 99 dollars and 30 cents? With nearly a 500 point average rating difference over his opponents, his 5-0 score was nearly a given. 


Kristopher Zelkin (w) vs. Daniel Herman (b)

Which brings up another point about DCC attendance. More players would be good, but more Expert and Master level players at both locations would improve the prestige of the Denver Chess Club. I certainly don't mean to disparage lower rated players like myself. We are the bread and butter of the DCC, but everyone wants icing on the cake :-)


Christopher Motley with the White pieces, is playing Will Wolfe, who is under his hood somewhere :-)

Ok, not another word about DCC attendance, and back to the prize winners. Christopher Motley is sure to be an Expert soon. He finished with 3.5 points and won the 2nd place prize of 74 dollars and 34 cents. DCC Treasurer, Luis Jimenez, and Grayson Manuel tied for 3nd place with 3 points and they each won 37 dollars and 24 cents. Mr. Jimenez also won the 20 dollar Upset prize for his round 2 win against NM Richard Shtivelband. In addition, Luis also took the full point from strong Expert, Juan Brenes. Like Luis, Grayson's points were also all from upsetting higher rated players.


 Drew Tuck (b) vs. Jacob Zirin (w)

In the Thursday night U1600 and Unrated section Jacob Zirin took 1st place by winning against the hard to beat, Drew Tuck, in the last round. Mr. Zirin's final score of 4.5 points won 99 dollars and 30 cents. Andrew Bueche upset Alexander Barraza in the last round to take 2nd place and win 74 dollars and 48 cents with 4 points. 


Alexander Brazza (b) vs. Andrew Bueche (w)

Lev Shulman, Tyler Poole, along with Mr. Tuck and Mr. Brazza, all tied for 3rd place with 3 points and they each won 9 dollars and 31 cents. AJ Blair won the U1600, U1300 prize of 37 dollars and 24 cents with 2.5 points. The 20 dollar Upset prize went to Vedant Ratnakar for his round 2 draw against Mr. Tuck.


Thursday night Assistant TD, Weston Taylor (b) vs. AJ Blair (w)

Frankly, it's hard for me to keep up with all the additional tournaments that the DCC is arranging. The latest being the DCC Spring Classic to complement our Fall Classic. Without question, the opportunities for all levels of Colorado chess players to play USCF rated tournament chess, and for a chance to win significant prize money, has been greatly improved thanks to the Denver Chess Club,

I would be negligent if I did not mention the space that Corina Iannaggi, and the Aurora library system is providing for DCC tournaments is greatly appreciated. These additional tournaments like the Clone Wars and the U1800 series would not be possible without their support. Quoting Ms. Iannaggi: "The Aurora Public Library is thrilled to partner with the DCC. We look forward to hosting many more tournaments and chess related programming for years to come!" Is that a great attitude or what? Also of course, without chess players none of these tournaments would be taking place. As always, a big THANK YOU to everyone who plays in DCC tournaments. 

Games Section: Thanks to CSCA President, Earle Wikle bringing DGT boards to the Clone Wars tournament, all of Sara Herman's Clone Wars games can be found here . Click Round in the upper right corner and select the game you wish to view. Brian Wall has promised to provide Clone Wars game positions and commentary, when he finds time. 

8/8/6p1/5q2/6R1/6PK/2r4P/2k5 w KQkq - 0 1
1) Sandeep Mathew vs. Sara Herman  This link goes to all of Sara's Clone Wars games. Click Round in the upper right corner to find this specific game. Round 2. Board 1. Everyone sees that Sara can win the Rook on g4 with 73...Rc2-c4. Instead, find the slick move that Sara played instantly to force checkmate.  Hint: It is not 73...g6-g5. Why not? Another hint: It leaves White with an only move and mate next. I was watching the game and Sara's technique to reach this position was awesome.

3brrk1/3b2pp/pq2p3/1ppp1nP1/5P2/P2P2NP/1PPB4/R2BQR1K b - - 20 39
2) Brian Ledsworth vs. Nick Petersen Round 3. Clone Wars. In this position after 20. Ne2-g3 Black played the can't be bad ... Bd7-c6, but what would have been a better move?

q1r3k1/rb3ppp/1n1b4/2pp1Q2/8/PN4P1/1B2PPBP/R2R2K1 w - - 19 38
3) Caleb Koeller vs. Nick Petersen Round 3. Clone Wars. In this position White plays 20. Qf5-g5 threatening mate, which Mr. Petersen dismisses as easily defensible. Can you find a better move?

2r5/1q4k1/4pn1p/3pN1p1/Q2PnpP1/1P5P/P1R2PN1/6K1 w - - 35 70
4) Nick Petersen vs. Charles Larimer Round 3. Clone Wars. Here, why was 35...Rf8-c8 as Mr. Petersen says, "the final mistake"?

2n5/P3K3/8/4k3/8/1B6/3p4/8 w - - 53 106
5) Nick Petersen vs. Daniel Herman Round 2. Clone Wars. After 53... Nb6-c8 Black is winning the a7 pawn, and then Mr. Herman's far advanced d2 pawn will win the game. Right? As always, Mr. Petersen explanations of the position and the remaining 35 moves of the game are most instructive. 

r5k1/1pp3pp/3p1r2/1P2p3/2P5/3P4/4Q1Bq/1RB1K3 b - - 27 53
6) Caleb Koeller vs. Tim Brennan Round 3. Clone Wars. In this position after 27. Kf1-e1 White has 2 Bishops for a Rook. Find the move that Mr. Brennan plays that wins a Bishop and the game. 

2r3r1/pp2kp1p/1qn1p2b/3pP3/3P4/P1PB1NRb/1PQNK2P/R7 w - - 20 40
7) Tim Brennan vs. Nikolas Theiss Round 1. Clone Wars. Black has just played 20... Rh8-g8, and Mr. Brennan played 21. Rg3xh3 - and who wouldn't have - but it led to nice tactical play from Mr. Theiss. What would the computer have played instead of 21. Rxh3? 

3q2k1/1R2brpp/pp6/3ppNr1/PP6/5QP1/4PP1P/3R2K1 w - - 23 46
8) Grayson Manuel vs. Joe Aragon  Round 1. Tuesday. Grayson's notes in his games are along the lines of Nick Petersen and Jason McEwen's. More explanation than analysis. In this position after 23...Rg4-g5 Grayson had 10 minutes on his clock and thought for 9 minutes. What was he thinking?

3r1rk1/5p1p/bp2qb2/2pN2p1/2n5/1QB1P1P1/PP3PBP/2RR2K1 w - - 24 48
9) Grayson Manuel vs. Mike Maloney Round 1. Thursday. Final Position. After 24...Be7-f6. Grayson's amusing comment is: "He resigned immediately after playing this move and I cannot blame him" A big upset win for the youngster.

2k3r1/pb2qp1r/5n1p/8/3P4/1B3pQ1/PP4PP/RN3RK1 w - - 20 40
10) Jason McEwen vs. Vedant Margale Round 2 Tuesday. After 20... Rd8-g8 find mate in 3, then find the computer defense after Mr. McEwen's initial move. In his analysis, I like how Jason sort of talks back to the computer :-)

1r1qn1k1/5rpp/3P4/pp1Qp1b1/2p5/PB2NP2/1P4PP/3R1RK1 w - - 24 48
11) Jason McEwen vs. Sara Herman Round 3. Tuesday. After 24... Rf5-f7 - blocking the Queen check - what would you play in this position to end up with a +6.5 computer evaluation?

5rk1/1Q3p1p/2B1p1pb/3r4/1B1Pq3/4P1P1/7P/4R1K1 b - - 39 77
12) Drew Tuck vs. Alex Barraza Round 3. Thursday. Why was Mr. Tuck's 39. Bb5-c6 a bad move?

1rb2rk1/1p2ppbp/p4np1/2Pp4/1P1Q4/q3PN1P/P1P2PP1/RN2KB1R b KQ - 11 21
13) Jeremy Roldan vs. Turpana Molina Round 4 Tuesday. After 10... Qa5-a3, Mr. Roldan wanted the Queen out of his space and played 11. Nc3-b1. How does Mr. Molina win material?

2r3k1/pppR4/2n4p/5p1N/2P1b3/B5r1/P5PP/6K1 w - - 30 60
14) Andrew Robichaud vs. Emil Marinov Round 4. DCC U1800 Tournament. Black has just played 30... Rg6xg3, capturing a Rook. Find mate in 2.

5r2/R3pk2/3p4/2pP2p1/2PbPpPq/5P2/P1Q3K1/5R2 b - - 31 61

15) Andrew Nohrden vs. Andrew Robichaud Round 3.  DCC U1800 Tournament. After 31. hxg4 recapturing a pawn it's mate in 3.


1r3k2/1pp5/2np1n2/p1b1p1Q1/4P1p1/P1NPB3/BPP2PPq/2KR4 w - - 21 42

16) Andrew Robichaud vs. Sonya Zakarian Round 2. DCC U1800 Tournament. Black has moved out of check with 21... Kg7-f8. Find mate in 5.

4k3/5pp1/Q3p3/3p2P1/P2P4/5Pp1/2q5/4KB2 w KQkq - 27 54

17) James Corbett vs. Andrew Robichaud Round 1. DCC U1800 Tournament. Black kas just recaptured a Knight with 27...hxg3. Find mate in 3. As seen above Mr. Robichaud found some nice checkmates, then was on the receiving end of a nice checkmate. 

Thanks again to all,

J.C. MacNeil













Last Modified: 4/11/2023 at 12:29pm Views: 832