Wednesday, November 18, 2009

2009 Southern Idaho Open: Garrett scores Four!

Garrett Reynolds remained on board one throughout the short, but intense four-round ICA event, and cinched another perfect tournament with 4.0 pts. Round 4 featured U1400, Rick Weathers facing off with Garrett in a long duel that appeared to keep Garrett unusually focused and attentive to his game. In the end, Garrett asserted his championship status. However, Rick Weathers (1385) was also having a great tournament by beating Fred Bartell (1718) and Hugh Myers (1585) in previous rounds. A great finish for both competitors.

The last round featured upsets including Tom Booth (1500) over Jeff Roland (1794), and a draw with Caleb Kircher (1540) against Bartell. An exciting end occurred between Dan Looney and Jeff Baggett, where Dan, with pieces and pawns up, lost on time. In the U1400 section, one of the last games included chess newcomer, Joey (unr.) and Aaron Proferes (845). In the last game standing, Barry Eacker and Richard Cohen fought a very positional game that ended with a resignation on a rook combo that Barry set up on the back rank.

Prize winners included: 1st place was Garrett Reynolds (4.0), sharing 2nd & 3rd place were Jeff Baggett and Tom Booth (3.5), sharing 4th place was Jim Stark and Barry Eacker (3.0). Caleb Kircher and Jeff Roland received books donated by Glen Buckendorf, ten-time Idaho Champion. In the U1400 section: 1st place was Rick Weathers (3.0), and sharing the second place prize were 5 players (2.0) - Kevin Ness, Kevin Patterson, Michael Ye, Adam Porth, and Jamie Lang.

Besides the quality of the games (see Nick Bruck v. Dan Looney, Rnd1), the tournament featured a wide field of various abilities (range 621-1925) and ages (10- 80+), 33 opponents, and an average player rating of 1330. Kevin Patterson did an excellent job playing George Lundy for a win, while simultaneously posting the football score of the Broncos and Vandals games. I noticed many participants more concerned about that trouncing than their own. Maybe we should have paused the games for a few hours and headed to the pub!

My games were fair at best.  Against Fred Bartell, I was too "chicken" to execute a Knight sacrifice that would have snagged two pawns in front of his castled king.  In my game against Richard Cohen I did, however, have the gumption to try this with a future fork on a knight and bishop and a simultaneous discovered attack against a rook.  I won the rook, but tempo losses for me saved his bishop and knight.  These extra pieces were well-placed and I succombed soon afterward.  Play and learn!  Wood River was also represented by Jeff Baggett (3.5 pts.) and Erwin Kett (2.0 pts.). Five WRHS Chess team also played and decided long games are where it's at! Newcomer Andrew  (1.5 pts.) commented, "I beat an adult!" after reflecting on his game against Alexandr Vereshchagin. Shane  (1.0 pt.) thought these games were "radically" different from scholastics and wants to come again. We hope to see more students and newcomers in future tournaments. Please look forward to another ICA tournament in January, in Boise.

Thank you ICA and Barry Eacker providing such an enjoyable tournament.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thursday Chess Club

It was a bit serious tonight with Nick, Chris, Andrew, and Joey playing quiet, reflective games in preparation for the Southern Open in Twin Falls.  The evening was full, however with 28 kids piled into my room playing chess games.  Once again, I was too busy teaching openings and the chess rules to various individuals to really pay attention to how everyone's games were going, but I assume well after entering scores on TLAK.

A warm welcome to new members:  Salomon Baeza & Maxx Bates.

We now have a total of 27 kids!!  With each night attracting several guests, the chess club is growing and is one of the strongest organizations at WRHS. 

Jill Clark called from the middle school to find out about tournaments and I directed her to my website.  Maybe a more active middle school will follow?

In other news, there seems to be very good support of actually having a chess class offered in night school.  I have a four page proposed curriculum and will soon post it at The Chessnut Website.  Hopefully it will be a 1 credit humanities elective.  I think I will be able to move our team and the chess club further in their chess education, which is at the moment piece-meal at best, but with enormous enthusiasm.

The National Scholastic tournament in December will feature 3 Idaho kids from my chess club.  My very own Dylan and Desmond.

I am a bit nevous about tomorrow's Southern Open.  I have not played very well this week on the net or over the board.  We'll soon see. . .

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chess Club Tuesdays

I now need two computers going for all the "Think Like a Kingers".  Taylor, Shane and Andrew are now engaged in workout point battles.  It appears like Taylor is ahead with 2728 pts. and Nick has 2059.  Shane has 1862 and Andrew has 55.  Humpf!

A warm welcome to new chess clubbers:  Julia, Liam, Karla, and Rebecca.  Plus we had 5 guests that might be back.  It was rather funny opening my door after school to find two boys talking quietly and looking through my window.  They were hesitant and unsure, and each seemed to be trying to egg the other in.  With my face suddenly in theirs, I asked, "would you like to play some chess?"  They suddenly looked relieved, they sat down, and played for nearly an hour.

Chess Clubbers were given their very own WRHS Chess Rage membership cards.  Some scoffed, but took them anyway.  Curly wanted two since "he might lose one!"  Erwin looked confused.  And Shane pulled last years out of his wallet and exclaimed, "great improvement, Porth."  I am impressed that a couple others said they still had last years.  Maybe they will be selling them on e-bay someday as collector's items?

I did not have much time to play or observe other games as many new chess clubbers needed help with rules or had questions, or needed popcorn, or wanted to run the TLAK software, or needed new openings.  1. h4 .. 2. Rh3 just was not cutting it (LOL) with the regulars. Others would just keep moving pawns, while the experienced club members they were playing drooled with fantasies of easy prey and free points.  So I kept trying to persuade the regulars to play others of similar ability. 

I did play one game against Taylor.  I snaked  queen with a Bishop-Knight discovered check.  He never even saw it coming. 

For those not understanding what it is like to volunteer as a scholastic coach after a club night, I cleaned up my room in prep for tomorrow, returned the popcorn maker, talked to my Principal about the Southern Open, ordered a bus, filled a form for the bus out, created a code of conduct forms & a parent's permission slip, and compiled the emergency form for travel off campus.  I counseled a chess clubber that gets a bit feisty with other players.  I also registered a new USCF player; updated my websites and the TLAK software ratings; made my gameknot moves, typed an education foundation grant for a model skeleton, typed up a new worksheet for calculating mechanical advantage, checked school and personal e-mails, and got yelled at for not loading the dishwasher!  All after chess club which ended tonight at 6 pm.  It is now 11 pm.  Star Trek is on.  Goodnight!

Cancelled Speaker - Let's Play Chess!

Students were given the option to go to a study hall or to stay in my room and learn how to play chess after the cancellation of a speaker for the cohort english classes.  After shooting 2 L bottle rockets hundreds of feet into the air, students needed to "chill".  Many of these students played chess for the first time!  What an American tragedy!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chess Club Tuesday

What a great reprieve from the rigors of teaching!  I spent an enjoyable chess club night with about 18 kids engaged in chess.   It was good to see a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and enjoyment at playing chess.  Chris and Shane showed up (seemingly) as soon as the bell rung.  Were they waiting outside of my room?  Popcorn was popped, announcements made, executive chess bags were disseminated to the top team players, and games were under way.  It was like the start of a great horse race!

I spent the first part of the meeting helping a student relearn photysnthesis and then retake a quiz from class earlier in the day.  As her face showed curiosity at the chess spectacle, I couldn't resist . . ."Do you play chess?" "No" "Well, let me teach you."  She stayed for my introductory lesson while Andrew  poked fun at me for trying to establish chess-thinking by delving a bit too deep into the philosphy of the game.  Well she learned how to set the board up, how the pieces move, and what a basic checkmate looks like.  "The games you play will teach you the rest."  We then played her first ever game of chess. She moved well and even recognized an "en prise" and captured my bishop.  Feeling very proud, she quietly asked for a club registration form.  Maybe she will be back?

Welcome to (new club members):  Kamaron Davidott and Juve Ruiz

Kameron plays chess every lunch in my room and brought much enthusiasm to our club meeting tonight.  He nearly ran from game to game and seemed to be on a marathon to play the most games in one night! 

I am beginning to see the Christmas Challenge setting fire to the competitiveness of the players that are up for the Think Like a King chess workouts prize.  Nick is in the lead with 2059 points but Taylor has closed the gap and earned 2003.

Chris was man of the night with 7 wins.   I keep trying to counter his tendency to Blitz, but when the games all fall on your side, it is hard to keep from playing rapidly.  Shane made a comment while playing Joey, "Hey those chess workouts really do pay off" as he check-mated Joey with nearly all his major and minor pieces.  I love his frequent chess revelations.

I was able to start a game with Tyler and was about to unleash a devastating combo (like how I got burned in my on-line game with Jeff Roland) but the activity buses were arriving and Tyler needed to rush off.

Bughouse ended the very enjoyable evening.

In other chess news, I did some late night shopping at Wholesale Chess and bought Paul Morphy and the evolution of chess theory, some spinner medals for our next tournament, and some mouse pad boards.  I also purchased a great (and I mean GREAT!) wooden chess set that I instructed Lynnet to give me for a Christmas present.  I would like another Christmas present, someone should arrange a chess game for me with Bob Dylan at Hailey Coffee Company.  You don't need to wrap it.

Pumpkin 2009

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