DCC 2024 Spring Classic

11:27am Thursday, April 11th, 2024

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Given with a calm voice and never in any way demeaning to the player.  

Long time Colorado chess players will remember when 40-50 players at a chess tournament was a good attendance. The first DCC Spring Classic had a registration of 90 players. This year I am pleased to say we added 48 players to have a total of 138 players in the 2024 DCC Spring Classic. The best part is we are attracting new players to DCC tournaments. 


DCC President and Chief TD Earle Wikle getting the pairings right...


... with the assistance of assistant TD Peter Barlay

Frequently new players will say they got into chess after watching The Queen's Gambit movie, starring Beth Harmon, on Netflix. I am glad I now have something good to say about Hollywood :-) When I mention the movie was based on a book by Walter Tevis,  I'll often hear "I didn't know that" Mr. Tevis also wrote "The Hustler" which was also made into a movie, starring Paul Newman. Pool is another game that is all you. Your move. Your shot. In either game, you are under pressure with money on the line. Although I think with chess for most players, it's more about gaining USCF rating points. Going from one rating class to the next level up is well worth striving for and is a genuine accomplishment when done.   


An extra added attraction in this tournament was Mike Maloney's donation of a 100 dollar Best Game prize. Thank you kindly, Mr. Maloney. Of course, now we'll expect you to do that at all DCC weekend tournaments :-)

It was good to see two players at this tournament who were essential to the DCC becoming what it is today. Dean Clow created caissachess and thus we have a better than SwissSys pairing program, in addition to an accurate history of DCC tournaments going back to 2014. Chris Peterson built the DCC webpage "from flint and stone" as Chess Mom Nicole Harris said in her American Chess Magazine article, "Purveyors of Hope and Possibility". By all accounts, the DCC has an excellent webpage. Which I'm glad to say also makes these DCC Reports possible :-)

Mr. Peterson took a break from medical school in Idaho and came to this tournament to see friends and donate his time to analyzing players' games, to determine who would win the 100 dollar best game prize that was benevolently donated by Mike Maloney. See NM Peterson's analysis of the prize winning game, after John Brezina's photo links below.


NM Chris Peterson analyzing a player's game with spectators looking on... 


...and here reviewing a Dean Clow game. Even Expert players value NM Peterson's advice.

I was impressed by how Mr. Peterson interacted with players who brought him games. It was first rate instruction on how to think about chess positions and play better moves. Given with a calm voice and never in any way demeaning to the player.   


Some prize winners may be in this Sherley Herman photograph... 


... and here is Shirley Herman herself at the board. 

So then, who won prize money and gained rating points at the 2024 DCC Spring Classic? In the Championship section, Once again, Sullivan McConnell was once again paired against his brother, Griffin in the last round. I knew that they would play a few moves and call it a draw. So I went up to their board when the game had just started and said to Griffin, "Take one from your brother just this one time." They both smiled. I asked TD Peter Barlay if the pairing could have been tweaked to prevent the pairing. Mr. Barlay explained that USCF rules do not allow last round pairing "tweaks". I think occasional exceptions to all rules should be allowed. 


A dynamic duo. Griffin and Sullivan McConnell.

Anyway, the McConnell brothers and Suhaas Narayanan - the Colorado Closed Challenger winner - all ended up with 4.5 points and they share the combined 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prize, with each player winning 500 dollars. Matthew Wofford won the 250 dollar U2200 prize. I am sure Mr. Wofford's rating will be back over 2200 soon, if not from this tournament. DCC Treasurer, Luis Jimenez gets to write a 250 dollar check for himself by winning the U2000 prize with 3.5 points. I'm also sure Mr. Jimenez will be a USCF Expert before long. In addition to being sure he won't add anything extra to his prize check :-)


Matthew Wofford is ready to play...


... and the DCC Treasurer, Luis Jimenez has started his game.

In the U1800 section, Maxin Millan and long time Colorado player Ken Doykos both finished with 4.5 points. Mr. Millan played very well to have four upsets against higher rated players, including a draw against Mr. Doykos in round 4. They share the combined 1st and 2nd place prize with each player winning 350 dollars. I'm sure Mr. Doykos points were all just lucky. I'm also sure he will remind me I said that next time we play :-) Seth Lichtenstein and Leif McFadden tied for 3rd place with 3.5 points and they each won 100 dollars. 


Ken Doykos allowed one draw and otherwise won all his games.


Not knowing the following prize winners, I'm resorting to room shots. What can I say?

In the U1600 section Andrew Stolzmann and Rugal Thiyagarajan both ended up with 4 points. Both players had upset wins in rounds 3, 4, and 5 and they split the combined 1st and 2nd place prize of 575 dollars. Darshan Satishkumar and Mark Brando share the 3rd place prize of 125 dollars.  Unrated James Robertson ruled the U1400 section. His perfect 5-0 score put 325 dollars in his pocket. Brent Ranzi and Ashwin Mathimaran tied for 2nd and 3rd place and both players won 162 dollars and 50 cents. 


My bad for not being able to properly identify prize winners.   

In the U1200 section, Robert Konerth upset two higher rated players on his way to winning the 1st place prize of 300 dollars with 4.5 points. Then, tying for 2nd and 3rd place, Jason Wuu, Ariana Dani, and Kenny Weinreis each won 100 dollars with 4 points. The U1000 prize of 150 dollars was shared by Hansit Ravada, Connor Romero, Alison Walker, and Benjamin Smith.  

So many players, winning so much money. It can not be denied that the DCC spreads the wealth as wide as possible at DCC tournaments. It is also true that with our many sections and Under prizes, everyone - regardless of their USCF rating - has a chance of winning prize money. 


TD Earle Wikle trying to get the attention of the room. Thanks again to Chris Peterson - standing on the left - for analyzing player's games. I'm sure that was greatly appreciated by one and all.

A big THANK YOU to all the players who played in the DCC Spring Classic. It is you who makes DCC tournaments great. Thanks are also due to TD's Earle Wikle and Peter Barlay, who ran the tournament quite well. And also, many thanks to the DCC Treasurer, Luis Jimenez. I'm sure his hand gets tired when he is writing all those prize checks :-) Thanks to Rhett Langseth for in addition to playing his last round opponent, he also played a simul against another player, who otherwise would not have had a game. Thanks especially to John Brezina and Shirley Herman for most of the photos used in this report. 


Rhett Langseth is on the left playing against two players at once. 

See all of Mr. Brezina's photography of the tournament here:  

Round 3: https://photos.app.goo.gl/emrZt4NFmwpbnfuk7


Also, don't miss these John Brezina's Round 5 video clips:

See all the DGT board games here

And thanks to Chris Peterson we have the following excellent commentary and analysis of a player's game. Having a 100 dollar prize for the best game was an extra added attraction. Thank you, Mr. Maloney.

Best Game Prize Winner 

by NM Christofer Peterson

It was fun, exhilarating, and nostalgic being back at a chess tournament again. Seeing some of my chess-playing buddies again and rooting for them was great. It made me miss competing and I seriously considered joining the event and seeing if I still have what it takes. As it was, I decided to stick to the plan and help a little bit with the event, analyze games, and be the judge of this best game prize. Mike Maloney generously donated $100 to the game that I thought deserved the “best” game prize.

Considering the subjective nature of the “best” game, it falls on me to be as objective as possible. There were several characteristics that I wanted to see in the game that I considered the best of the tournament. Of course, I must caveat that I was given a severely limited game sample. I could only choose from the games submitted to me via email or recorded on the DGT boards. With that said here are the criteria I was looking for: 

  1. The game should be decisive. Especially if the game was not submitted to me, I cannot award a single prize to a game that ended in a draw.

  2. Being fond of tactical complexity, I want to see a game that has tactics.

  3. I also wanted to select an inspiring game. This means it can inspire people to better their play with the lessons learned in the game.

  4. I was not overly concerned with the accuracy of play as we are humans and the computer makes fools of us all.

  5. Finally, I was looking for a real struggle. A game where both players were putting their all into winning the game.


With these criteria in mind, I dove into the games and I found several that fit. It was difficult to select a single winning game but I believe this game deserves the best game prize. Not because it is the most precise tactical slugfest of the lot, but because it has qualities that can inspire people to play better chess. Please play through the game, read my analysis, and see if you agree.

Hide game details

Powers, Max (1053) - Konerth, Matthew (919)

Round 2.12 of DCC Spring Classic 2024

2024.04.06

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1. e4 d5Many of the games I analyzed over the weekend for people included the Scandinavian defense. The people on the white side hated it and the people on the black side snickered every time someone said that. 2. Nf3The Tennison Gambit is a relatively common attempt to catch Scandinavian players off guard. If you play the Scandinavian, I encourage you to look up the traps and pitfalls of this gambit as it can be a very dangerous weapon. 2... Bg4Often it is a good idea to decline a gambit when you are unfamiliar with the lines. Personally, I am a prove-it-to-me kind of player and will take your sacrificed pawns. As an avid gambiteer myself, I have a general feel for the complications.( 2... dxe4 3. Ng5 e5Usually the way to refute a gambit is to develop naturally and return the material. Attempting to hold onto the material will usually result in placing pieces on bad squares to defend bad pawns. Over the weekend I said many, many times that activity is more important than material. 4. Nxe4( 4. d3 exd3 5. Bxd3 Nc6 6. O-O Be7∓ ) 4... Nc6 5. Bc4 f5 6. Nec3 Nf6∓ ) 3. Be2 Nf6 4. e5I tried very hard to not dismiss games right away for poor opening play. Neither player is playing the opening particularly well. I do not have a great explanation for it other than they are both in unfamiliar territory. I am also purposely skipping over going into too much detail about the opening moves because the game gets a lot more interesting in the middle game. 4... Nfd7 5. d4 e6 6. O-O c5 7. c3So now we have acheived a so-called good French position. Black can build up the classic d4-pressure, and white can use his king-side space advantage to launch an attack. Of course, neither of those things really occur but that is the nature of games in the U1200 section. 7... cxd4 8. cxd4 Bb4 9. a3 Ba5 10. Qd3 a6 11. Ng5I remember looking over this game with Max, the white player, and chastizing him for this move. A well-known opening principle is to not move the same piece twice. It is much better to develop the queenside with moves like Nc3 or Bg5 than to go on a king hunting expedition with only two developed pieces. 11... Bf5 12. Qf3 h6?Neither side wants to develop!( 12... Nc6Would be much better here. It develops the knight, pressures the d4-pawn, and since white does not have a threat, we can safely ignore the Ng5. There are also tactics in the air given that white has overextended. 13. Be3 Nxd4 14. Bxd4 Qxg5for example. ) 13. Nxf7!!I like the gumption of not retreating. It is also brave of white to be willing to throw their g-pawn forward to recover the piece.( 13. Nh3Of course retreating is not really an option given the awkward placement of all of white's king-side pieces. ) 13... Kxf7 14. Bd3??Unfortunately, in the U1200 section every brilliancy is coupled with a blunder.( 14. g4! g6 15. gxf5 gxf5 16. Qh5+ Ke7Here black's king is exposed and in just a couple of moves white can mobilize some more forces to have a devastating attack. ) 14... g6 15. g4 Nc6?( 15... Qh4NM Brian Wall says all checkmate puzzles can be boiled down to getting the attacking queen closer to the defending king. In this case, Qh4 is necessary to prevent white's queen from getting too close to black's king. This move would quell white's play and give black just enough time to finish his development and launch a counterattack. ) 16. Be3??The initiative is one of the most difficult concepts in chess. The basic idea is that the side making threats forces the other side to respond to those threats. This means the attacker dictates the pace and character of the game. White throws away the initiative with Be3. Fortunately, black would need to see some killer sacrifices to take advantage.( 16. gxf5 gxf5 17. Qh5+ Ke7 18. Kh1+− ) 16... Bb6??Missing a big chance to seize the initiative and win material.( 16... Ncxe5!! 17. dxe5 Nxe5−+And the Bd3 drops with tempo. ) 17. gxf5 gxf5( 17... Ndxe5Unfortunately the double check means this doesn't work anymore. 18. fxg6+ Kg7 19. dxe5 Nxe5 20. Qg3 Nxd3 21. Bxb6 Qxb6 22. Qxd3+− ) 18. Qh5+ Ke7( 18... Kg7 19. Kh1 Rh7 20. Rg1+ Kh8Tucking the king in the corner away from the checks and out of the way of other black peices was the way to go. ) 19. Nd2I feel a little bad for consistently recommending to develop pieces all weekend only to choose a game where developing was the wrong way to go. Here white needs to pounce on the exposed black king as quickly as possible.( 19. Kh1 Qg8 20. Rg1 Qf7 21. Qh4+ Ke8 22. Nc3+− ) 19... Bxd4 20. Bxd4 Nxd4 21. Qh4+ Ke8??( 21... Kf7One of my favorite chess youtubers, GM Daniel King of PowerPlayChess, is always talking about the split rooks. It is important for black here to keep his rooks connected so he can respond to threats down the g-file. By playing Ke8, the rooks stay split. ) 22. Qxd4It is almost always better to defend using tactics. 22... Qg5+ 23. Kh1 Qxd2I remember Max saying he was disappointed that his trap did not work. I think it did work, however. Now black's queen is very far from the defense of the black king. 24. Rg1With black's rooks split, there is no way to respond to the threats down the g-file. 24... Rc8 25. Rg7?( 25. Rad1Black's best piece is the queen and there are not many squares it can go to. The only safe square is a5 which puts it miles away from the defense of the black king. 25... Qa5 26. Qh4 Qc5 27. Rg7 Qf8 28. Rdg1 Nxe5 29. Rxb7Suddenly the threat of Qa4+ and Rgg7 are unstoppable. ) 25... Rc4A clever shot to attempt to win the d3 bishop. Unfortunately, it abandons a key aspect of black's position that needs to be defended. Remember, every time you move a piece, you leave something behind. In this case, it is black's back rank. 26. Qa7!Suddenly there are checkmating threats against black's king. 26... Rc1+ 27. Rxc1??I remember when Max was showing me the game, he made this move very quickly. It is a serious blunder, though! There is a serious danger in playing "automatic" moves too quickly. With a time control like 90+30, there is absolutely no reason we cannot spend a couple minutes looking into alternatives.( 27. Kg2!I remember looking at this position in Max. I didn't want to get too in the weeds with him but I remember being fascinated by the possibilities. In an actual game, I probably would have spent at least 20 minutes calculating my options. 27... Kf8 28. Rxd7( 28. Qxb7 Kxg7 29. Qxd7+ Kf8 30. Qd8+ Kf7 31. Qf6+ Kg8 32. Qxe6+ Kg7 33. Qf6+ Kg8 34. Qg6+ Kf8 35. Qxf5+ Kg8 36. Qg6+ Kf8 37. Qf6+ Kg8 38. h4This is an absolutely beautiful zugzwang position. Black has no good moves and will be checkmated. There is a rook hanging on a1, a bishop hanging on d3, white's king is looking exposed, but there is absolutely nothing black can do. 38... Rc6( 38... a5What happens if black just waits? 39. Rxc1 Qxc1 40. e6And it is clear black is getting checkmated by the queen and pawn combination. ) 39. e6 Rc7 40. Rg1 Rhh7 41. Qd8+ Kg7 42. Kf3+ Qg5 43. hxg5 hxg5 44. Rxg5+ Kh6 45. Qf6#Is the best the computer can come up with. ) 28... Rg8+ )( 27. Bf1!!is even simpler than Kg2. 27... Rc8necessary to cover the checkmate. 28. Qxb7 Rd8 29. Qc7And now the queen is weaseling its way into checkmating the black king. Black will need to give up serious material to avoid the mate. ) 27... Qxc1+The rest of the game is a heartbreaking series of trades and mistakes that lead to black winning the game. 28. Kg2 Qc8 29. Qd4 Kf8 30. Rg6 Rg8 31. Rxg8+ Kxg8 32. Qh4 Nxe5 33. Qg3+ Ng4 34. h3 h5 35. hxg4 hxg4 36. f3 Qc6 37. fxg4 d4+ 38. Kh3 Qh1+ 39. Qh2 fxg4+ 40. Kg3 Qf3+ 41. Kh4 Qxd3 42. Kxg4 Qf5+ 43. Kg3 Qe5+ 44. Kg2 Qxh2+ 45. Kxh2 d3Despite losing the game, I believe Max deserves to win the best game prize. He found some excellent tactics, created fascinating positions on the board, showed a strong attacking intuition, and was not shy about sacrificing material.0-1

Max Powers finished the tournament with 2.5/5 in the U1200 section. A respectable performance given it is only his 6th tournament. His attacking intuition and willingness to sacrifice material indicate he will be a strong chess player. He should continue to hone his tactics and practice his over-the-board move technique. He will dazzle us all with his brilliant attacking play in no time.

Thank you kindly, Chris. We want to see you at the board for the 2024 Denver Open. Or, from my selfish point of view, a repeat of your excellent analysis of players games.

Thanks again to all,

J.C. MacNeil


Last Modified: 4/12/2024 at 12:51pm Views: 7,739