DCC April 2023 Tournaments Report

12:55pm Sunday, April 30th, 2023

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3581. A mysterious number. What do you suppose it means?

In light of a record Tuesday night attendance of 94 USCF rated tournament players for round 3 of the DCC April tournament, I'd like to start out this report with quotes from a Washington Post article by Hannah Natanson.  "Interviews with teachers and students in eight states paint a picture of captivated students squeezing games in wherever and whenever they can: at lunch, at recess and illicitly during lessons, a phenomenon that is at once bemusing, frustrating and delighting teachers." Guess what game Ms. Natanson is talking about :-)

"Justine Wewers, a high school geography teacher in Minnesota’s Anoka-Hennepin district, said she has seen a wearying number of student infatuations over the years, including video games, “Uno” and fidget spinners. By comparison, the chess craze strikes her as a healthy activity for young minds."

"James Brown, a New York high school teacher says "...chess helps students to develop critical thinking skills, strategic muscle and the ability to take calculated risks" Also saying, "It’s all things we want to instill in the student, If they’re doing that on their own, in a format that is fun for them, it ties right into what I’m trying to do. I don’t see it as a distraction; I see it as a benefit.”

"Another benefit of playing chess is its transcendence of social groups, said Maurine Seto" Further saying, "It pairs different sets of kids together that you don’t normally see,” Seto said. “They come up and say, ‘Hey, do you wanna play chess?’ and I normally would never see those two kids interact." To me that is an indication that chess breaks down social, demographic, and racial barriers, and that can only be a good thing.  

       Tuesday night photo by John Brezina.     

Matt Richtel in a New York Times article had this to say: "Since early November, the number of daily active users to Chess.com... jumped from 5.4 million to more than 11 million..." Further saying, "Many other teenagers and young adults said that they too had recently developed a regular chess habit, although they could not recall how it started. But by all accounts - from players, parents, teachers, website metrics - the game’s popularity has exploded."   

This and the heading photo are by Shirley Herman. Showing the Round 3 record 94 USCF tournament player Tuesday night attendance, along with regular casual players, Bob and Ira on the left.  

So then, who among all this many players took home DCC Tuesday night prize money. In the Premier section, I guess it is no surprise that 2303 rated Sullivan McConnell took 1st place with 3.5 points, and won 256 dollars and 18 cents. Only giving up a last round draw to his brother Griffin. 

After taking a 1st round bye, Griffin ended up tied for 2nd and 3rd place with Juan Brenes. .Mr. Brenes was upset by Grayson Manuel in Round 1. Thus Juan and Griffin each finished with 3 points, and they share the combined 2nd and 3rd place prize of 256  dollars and 18 cents. On top of that, Grayson wins the 20 dollar Honorable Mention Upset prize. He is among many DCC youngsters who are getting stronger game by game. 


  Sullivan McConnell (w) vs. Jason McEwen (b).  Other board is Turpana Molina (w) vs. Grayson Manuel (b) Photo by John Brezina.

Also improving his game is young adult Jason McEwen. Amongst several big upsets in this section, the 30 dollar Best Upset was won by Mr. McEwen for his 1st round win against USCF Master, and new to the DCC, Murat Erkan. I believe Mr. Erkan also has a FIDE rating, and we are certainly glad to have him playing at the DCC. The more Master level players the better. Notably, Turpana Molina also had to have played very well to win against NM Richard Shtivelband in round 4. As did Luis Jimenez by holding Daniel Herman to a 1st round draw. 

       Tuesday night photo by John Brezina.    

In the Tuesday night U1900 section, Unrated Evan McCormick, won all his games to finish in 1st place and win 247 dollars and 91cents. I think Mr. McCormick is also new to the DCC. As is Guillermo Lozano, who along with Micheal Toth, and with each having half point byes, finished with 3.5 points. They each win 123 dollars and 96 cents. Mr. Toth also wins the 30 dollar Best Upset prize for his round 2 win over Phineas Hagg, who I know is hard to beat. The 20 dollar Honorable Mention Upset prize was won by Niall Case for his round 2 win against a long time DCC player. James LaMorgese.

       Tuesday night photo by John Brezina. 

The Tuesday night U1500 section Richard Feit, along with father and son, Justin and Justin Jr. Moss, each ended up with 3.5 points. They share the combined 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prize of 495 dollars and 81cents. The younger Justin also wins the 20 dollar Honorable Mention Upset prize for his round 2 win over Conner Mehler. The 30 dollar Best Upset prize was won by Jacob Segal for his huge 728 rating point difference win against Glen Holguin. Rebecca Gelfer is making a habit of upsetting much higher rated players. This month all of her 2.5 points were from Upsets totaling over 1300 points!! Note: When it's a draw, the rating difference between the payers is halved.

Thursday night photo. Occasionally I take an in focus picture :-)

The attendance at the DCC Thursday night tournament is approaching a 40 player weekly attendance, while continuing to attract players we don't see on Tuesday night. As indicated by the above news articles, clearly interest in playing tournament chess is rising. In Denver, and the surrounding cities, the DCC is here for you. On a side note, Florence Lueng from New York was visiting Denver and very much enjoyed her games at both DCC locations. So we are here for New York players as well :-) 

Florence Lueng (b) from New York is ready to play.

That said, in the Thursday Night Premier section Daniel Herman was tied for 1st place by David Aizenburg, who I think is also a new DCC player, and he is off to a good start. His rating point difference totaled 725 points!! Proving once again you can't assume a win against a lower rated player. Daniel and David were both held to a draw by Chris Motley, to end up with 3.5 points, and they each won 89 dollars and 60 cents. Mr. Aizenburg also won the 20 dollar Upset prize for his win over Alexander Steger. Tying for 3nd place with 2.5 points was Mr. Steger and guess who, Grayson Manuel. They both won 38 dollars and 40 cents. 

Thursday night photo.

In the Thursday night U1600 section, Drew Tuck, Jacob Zirin, and Tyler Poole all finished with 3.5 points and they each won 72 dollars and 53 cents. The U1300 prize of 38 dollars and 40 cents was won by Brandon Muhlenbrunch, who also won the 20 dollar U1600 Upset prize for his Round 1 win against Shirley Herman.  

Long time Colorado players, Petra Lambert-Gorwyn (b) vs. Shirley Herman (w)

I am quite pleased to report that I won the 2nd DCC U1800 tournament with a 4-0 score, and I am even more pleased to have cashed a DCC prize check for 300 dollars. I'm not so pleased to say I haven't won a game since and am no doubt heading back on my 1600 floor. C'est la vie.  

Yours truly with the White pieces. TD Andrew Starr, center standing. Norbert Martinez, in a bright blue shirt. I am playing Rowen Orgel. Photo by Shirley Herman.

Rowen Orgel, and Jeff Nohrden tied for 2nd and 3rd place with 3 points, and they each won 112 dollars and 50 cents. The U1600 prize of 225 dollars was shared by Daniel Smith and Norbert Martinez, who both finished with 2.5 points. It was good to see Mr. Martinez back at the chess board.  I believe we have June 17th reserved for another U1800 tournament at the Aurora Hoffman branch library. Hopefully the DCC will get the TLA posted before the reserved date goes by  :-) 

The DCC U1800 tournament filling up the capacity of the room.

As always, a big THANK YOU to all the regular, new, and occasional players who are making the Denver Chess Club great. We may be the G.O.A.T. of chess clubs in the United States :-) As for the mystery number, 3581 dollars is the total DCC tournament prize money payout for the month of April. Yes, really. Three thousand, five hundred, and eighty one dollars!! Gaining USCF rating points is all well and good, but prize money pays for groceries :-) It is mostly room shot pictures in this report because... well just because DCC attendance is so good and getting better :-)

I am pleased to start out the Games Section with Grayson Manuel's games. A young DCC player who is getting better from one game to the next. Plus his annotations to the games are informative as well as instructive. 

8/2rpk1p1/4p2p/5p2/2P4P/6P1/8/1K1R4 w - - 31 62
1) Juan Brenes vs. Grayson Manuel  Tuesday. Round 1. Final position. With Grayson's annotations, this game is a lesson in how to not blunder away an advantage.

6r1/pbq1nk2/1p1b1n1p/2pp1B2/5B1N/3P2P1/PPP4P/R2Q1RK1 b - - 22 43
2) Mike Maloney vs. Grayson  Manuel Thursday. Round 1. In this position Mr. Maloney has just played 22. Bh3xf5, capturing a pawn. Which prompts Grayson to say, "A horrific mistake when he was very winning. These moves are stuff of nightmares." Do you see why?

r3k2r/pp1b1pp1/1q2p2p/2bpP3/1nP5/P4Nn1/3NRPP1/1RBQ1BK1 b kq - 19 37
3) Turpana Molina vs. Grayson Manuel Tuesday. Round 2. Grayson's games are well worth your time to play over. If for no other reason than to read his comments. Here after 19. a2-a3, he says "Annoying. I decided that I had nothing better to do than to give up the two pieces for the rook" Can you find anything better?

2kr3r/pp1nbpp1/1qp1p3/4Pn1p/Q2P4/4B1N1/P4PPN/1RR3K1 b - - 18 35

4) Jeff Nohrden vs. Guillermo Lozano Tuesday. Round1. After 18. Ra-b1White appears to have strong pressure on the Queenside. How does Mr. Lozano resolve the problem?

8/1b2kpp1/pp3b1p/3P4/1P1pBP2/P7/1B3KPP/8 w - - 29 58

5) Guillermo Lozano vs. Lev Shulman Tuesday. Round 3. Why was 29...Kf8-e7 a losing move for Mr. Shulman?

6k1/5ppp/2p5/3pb3/8/2P3P1/3q2PP/3N1QK1 w - - 28 56

6) Henry Kovacs vs. Guillermo Lozano Tuesday. Round 4. Mr. Kovacs has been outplayed and in this position, after 28... Bb8xe5, capturing a pawn, I think it's either give up another pawn or allow a forced Queen trade. White played 29. Qf1-f3 Can you find anything better?

r1bqk1nr/ppp2ppp/2n1p3/b2p4/Q2PP3/2P5/PP1N1PPP/R1B1KBNR w KQkq - 5 10
7) Mitchell Beyer vs. Jude Fee Thursday. Round 1. Once again GM John Nunn's adage, "Loose Pieces Drop Off" proves true. Did 5... Nb8-c6 protect the loose Bishop on a5? Why not?

8/2K2R2/8/8/8/1r4p1/5k2/8 b - - 58 115

8) Emil Marinov vs. Mitchell Beyer Thursday. Round 2. After 58. Re8-f8 how does Black force White to give up the Rook for the passed pawn? Endgame technique matters :-)

8/8/4k3/3n1p1K/7P/6P1/6P1/8 w - - 56 112

9) Cole Strong vs. Evan McCormick Tuesday. round 4. This final position is confusing to me. From caissachess, I know Mr. McCormick won the game, but  Stockfish gives 56...Ke5-e6 as a double ?? mark move, which I guess means White can Queen a pawn. So maybe it was a time loss. The only comments in the game - other than "Last book move" - are move by move Stockfish code like: Stockfish 15.1: 57:M-21. Whatever the hell that means :-) Anyway it was an interesting game to click through.

Thanks again to all, 

J.C. MacNeil

Last Modified: 5/8/2023 at 6:29pm Views: 286