Monday, December 28, 2009

New Look

I have been working hard to change the appearance to my website:
Go see and comment about it or offer suggestions.  Thanks.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Happy Holidays

Chess Mind

Here is a quick anecdote to share.  On the flight back from the National Tournament, the children were missing the activities and engagement at the tournament.  I noticed that Desmond was putting his airplane table back up and the latch wasn't quite straight.  He reached over to straighten it and said quietly, "I adjust".  The kids and I still are reflecting on that amazing experience.  Dylan is still focused on the event and is currently is "bend-a-rooing" chess pieces as we speak.  Chess brains are creative brains!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Thursday Chess Club

Tournament Board Raffle:  Congratulations Nick Wilson
Tournament Board Donation:  Congratulations Alex Aspuro
Chess Workouts Winner: Congratulations Taylor Walton
WRHS Bughouse Champions:  Congratulations Andrew Uriarte & Chris Ellis
WRHS Blitz Champion:  Congratulations Nick Bruck

It has been an active chess month for WRHS Chess Club and the momentum seems to be building.  Thirteen Blitz players competed for the WRHS Blitz Champion position on Thursday and the winner wasn't even going to sign up!  We played 10 rounds G/5 games in my classroom with two sections, K-6 and 7-12.  The first rounds were without much hoodoo, but as the night wore on, players were gradually crowding me and my computer more and more as they attempted to predict their next round opponents or to see where they were in the standings.

In the K-6 section, elementary students faced off with high schoolers and in numerous cases came out victorious.  Dylan Porth(4th grade, 4.0) began the tournament with a draw against Max (12th grade, 6.5) and then ended the night with a win against Andrew (11th grade, 7.0).  Her win against Andrew was just what Desmond Porth (7th grade, 7.0) needed to secure second place in the upper section.   Nathan (3rd grade, 5.0) earned a point against tournament newcommer Liam (11th grade, 6.0).  Nathan won 1st place and Dylan won 2nd place in the K-6 section.

The 7-12 section was very dynamic for the 2nd and 3rd place trophies.  Nick (11th grade, 9.5 pts.) was not going to enter but then in the last minute decided to.  He felt he played better long games than the time pressuring blitz games, but you can't win if you don't play, and he did.  In a surprise upset, Miles (11th grade, 6.5 pts.)  took a perfect tournament away from Nick and that proved to be his "trophy" that he went home with.  In the last round, Andrew  succombed to Dylan leaving both Andrew and Desmond tied with 7 points.  However, Desmond beat Andrew previously allowing for the head-to-head tie-breakers to work.  Without the head-to-head tie-breaker, Andrew would have won second place.  Other than the occasional illegal move, I only had to research what to do about a clock that broke during a game.  All participants received a Chess dogtag in addition to their earned hardware.  In addition, the Bughouse and Blitz Champions will have their names engraved on the perpetual plaque of WRHS Chess Champions.  Great job to all who participated!

The next tournament will be January 12 & 14, K-Adult Scotch Tournament.

Standings: 2009 WRHS Blitz Championship
1 Nick Bruck        W6 W11 W2 W3 W7 W5 D4 W8 W9 W10   9.5

2 Andrew Uriarte  W4 W8 L1 W11 L3 W7 W5 W6 W10 L9      7.0

3 Desmond Porth   W13 W7 W5 L1 W2 L4 W9 W10 W12 L6   7.0

4 Miles Hendrix      L2 B--- W8 L6 W11 W3 D1 W12 W7 L5    6.5

5 Max Bates          W10 D9 L3 W12 W6 L1 L2 B--- W8 W4     6.5

6 Liam Skye           L1 W10 L7 W4 L5 W8 W12 L2 B--- W3    6.0

7 Riley Neel            W12 L3 W6 W13 L1 L2 W10 W9 L4 W12 6.0

8 Nathan Stouffer     W9 L2 L4 W10 W12 L6 W13 L1 L5 B---  5.0

9 Dylan Porth            L8 D5 L10 B--- W13 D12 L3 L7 L1 W2  4.0

10 Garrett Stouffer    L5 L6 W9 L8 B--- W13 L7 L3 L2 L1       3.0

11 Taylor Walton       B--- L1 W13 L2 L4 U  U  U   U U           2.0

12 Jake Whitlock       L7 L13 B--- L5 L8 D9 L6 L4 L3 L7        1.5

13 Matt Lichtenberg    L3 W12 L11 L7 L9 L10 L8 U  U  U        1.0

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tuesday Chess Club

At tonight's chess club, 5 two-man teams competed for the WRHS G/5 Bughouse Championship:  Bruck-Bates, Uriarte-Ellis, Black-Broderick, Walton-Skye, and Poklemba-Lochard.  This was a very easy and relaxed tournament with a double-round-robin format and lot's of on-lookers.  The Uriarte-Ellis team was undeniably the top team with 8.0 pts.  Bruck-Bates scored 6.0, Walton-Skye 4.0, Poklemba-Lochard 1.0, and Black-Broderick 1.0.  Congratulations Andrew Uriarte and Chris Ellis!  The win a trophy and their name on the perpetual plaque.  In lieu of the trophy, Andrew Uriarte donated it to the Blitzkrieg tournament this Thursday night and instead received a mouse-pad board and pieces.  This Thursday is the G/5 Blitz.  Entry is $1 for participants of the Winter Tournament.

Monday, December 14, 2009

K-12 National Championship, Day 3

Dylan is now feeling very good and has discovered a herd of friends that she is running with.  I think she might have forgot why we were here as her last two games did not go so well and she was more concerned about finding her new friends from Louisiana and Texas after the games.  For round 6 & 7, she played against a 900 and a 310 from Texas and lost both games after an hour of play.  Upon retrospect, she does not feel like she was playing her best games against these kids.  Last night she could not sleep and kept waking me up to ask me questions about chess.  I think it sunk in that she passed up on an opportunity that she could have capitalized on.

Desmond, however, really had his game face on and struggled with Yue Chu (1372) from Texas and narrowly lost his first game of the day after a 2 1/2 hours.  In the end, we noticed a pawn push could have salvaged a draw and possibly a win in the end game of pawns and a rook each.  In fact, most of Desi's games went longer than 2 hours and he recorded the games allowing us to see other possibilities.  Going into round 7, Des was in second place for his section and  after another 2 1/2 hour game, Des won his section!  I am very glad it was a fun game for him.  Lorenzo Frati (823) from Florida and Des "laughed a lot" and "joked around" during the game, and while in the parent's play pen, I could see some of the craziness on their faces during play.  I was getting nervous about the game and Des spotted me and nodded.  He is bringing some well-earned hardware!  1st place, U800.

I am proud of my kids and I really enjoyed this event.  I know my children did too.  While at Aunt Sandy's house eating dinner with Aunt Marlene, Uncle Bobby, and Aunt Pat, Des and Dylan both suddenly were distant and commented that they missed being at the tournament and were sad that it was over.

My Aunt Sandy and Uncle Herbert deserve much appreciation for providing lodging, food, and transportation, and lot's of family love.  This morning was much craziness with my wallet and keys left on the floor of her car after Sandy dropped me off.  As it was dark at 5 am, I did not see them laying there!  Then my cell phone was dead and I couldn't call her to have her turn around, but this was a moot point anyway since she didn't have hers cell phone anyway.  Consequently, we are going to fly back to Boise and arrive at 11:30 pm, and then we will drive 3 hours to Sun Valley!  What an awesome trip!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

K-12 National Champioship, Day 2

I wish everyone could experience this the way I do.  I love looking at the energy that chess players seem to have.  Even the parents of chess players seem to always be engaged in something mentally productive.  Only at a chess tournament would you frequently see T-shirts that champion "Thinking".  I love it.  Today was a great day.

Dylan was feeling much better, however, Desmond came down with the crud that she had.  Thankfully, he only felt nauseous.  Both children were in great spirits and were very punch happy by the end of the day.  Desmond ended the day with 2 pts., and Dylan showed no mercy in her last game and also has 2 pts.

I even scored 2 pts. out of 4 rounds in the parents-friends tournament against 23 combatants.  Yes, there is never enough chess for me!  G/30 felt like Blitz to me after playing G/120 for so long.  I lost the first game with an 1800+ with only seconds left on the clock and only a king and pawn for each of us (well, at least my king to his king and pawn . . .I thoroughly enjoyed the game).  All of my games had me in time trouble near the end of them.  The Colle-Zuckertort for white-2 wins!  Flailing wildly as black-2 losses.  I really need help for black as nothing is really comfortable for me and I lost my two black games.  Maybe the Dutch will have some answers for me.  Any suggestions?

I met some nice people so far.  I was talking to Susan Polgar about the length and depth of analysis that parents and coaches offer their kids when they come out of the tournament room.  It was nice to see that I agreed with her that 5-10 minutes is enough.  After all, the kids just worked hard for hours!  I use my soccer coaching philosophy here:  a good coach gets the job done before the event and fixes problems discovered after the event.  George from Columbus, Ohio has twin boys (11th graders) in the tournament, and I have taken to conversing with him between rounds.  I also got to share stories with Cheryl Bruce Knight, the tournament organizer.  I think the organizers of such an event deserve much appreciation.  The magnitude and quality of the event, and the happiness, excitement, competitiveness, and the determination of the participants speaks to the success.  In life and chess, you get what you pay for.  And this is expensive!

Friday, December 11, 2009

K-12 National Championship, Day 1

The scene is very surreal - the Hilton Anatole is a very high end beast with authentic asian statues, glass chandeliers, vases, bronze and marble sculptures featuring Hindi and Budhist icons.  There are also a pair of slabs from the Berlin Wall featured in a private courtyard between the numerous buildings.  The room for the simul with Alexandra Kosteniuk was large enough for a Monsters of Rock concert and the 2-8 section room featured several chandeliers that are as large as my house (no joke!).  Now envision over 1200 kids and their families, teams, and chess boards in every nook and cranny of the grenogous structure and you might get an idea of the size of this event.  I saved a 10 ft. elephant statue that one middle school boy tried leaping on, and the father that I was talking to saved a vase from a football being launched from the other side of the room.  Kids were running everywhere, footballs, remote cars, chess, piles of parents, laptops, sodokus, webkins, card games, B.O., tennis balls, and much more.

The Porth's certainly contibuted to the menagerie.  We arrived early enough to chat with Alexandra Kosteniuk and her husband and to also have a private board signing and picture session.  However, the start was unlike any tournament start.  You see, Dylan woke up vomitting, arrived vomitting in the parking lot, and continued to vomit during her game with Alexandra Kosteniuk, and during her first round game.  I told Dylan that mountain girls are tough and that she might as well sit in front of a chess board and make a move every now and then, rather than sit in front of the tv feeling just as bad.  As I watched the spectacle, I was feeling lower by the minute, and by the end of the first round, I couldn't find a rock large enough to crawl under.  What was crazier was that the rooms were so big and the bathrooms were so far away, Dylan would literally run to the nearest garbage and throw her head into it and RALPH.  One mom even asked me if I did my daughters hair and then pointed out that I put her cute hair-piece upside-down.  People were rather impressed with her game against Alexandra, though.  Dylan was nearly 3/4 of the way into the game with even material but a crumbling position and I was as proud of her as I ever have been.  She played for 2 3/4 hours against Alexandra and had 15 min. break before her first round match began.   Desmond was very supportive of Dylan also and refrained from telling Dylan not to breath on anyone ("Dad, her breath smells like puke!").  Good boy.  The first game ended after 1/2 hr., thankfully.  A pediatric nurse was camped out near us and provided some medication that knocked her out for a good 2 1/2 - 3 hours and also her nausea.  She awoke disoriented and in time for me to throw some food at her, and rush her off to her second round game.  When I asked her how she played, she said flatly, "I didn't make any mistakes, dad, but he did.  So I took his queen, then his rooks, and the rest of his pieces.  Do you want me to show you the mate?  I used the ladder you taught me."  Through the exhausted tone, I could see the pride she felt after day 1.  What an absolute sweet heart.

Desi had a very tough day and faced a 1500 and a 1200 for his two rounds.  We played out his first game and I will post that here tomorrow.  As he explained his moves, he played out a recovering combination that I thought (and he during the game) was a winner, but then "What the . . ."   A bishop from the other side of the board equalized.   It was a very interesting game and he almost pulled a win out of it.  I think we will upon analysis at home.  I have not looked at the second game, yet.  I am happy about what he learned during the Kosteniuk game and the round 1 game.  I am just happy that he recorded all his games today and his games were over 2 1/2 hours each. 

This has already been a tournament that we will always remember and there are two more days!  Desi and Dylan want me to play in the parents-friends tournament tomorrow where my score will be combined with theirs for a composite score.  We all pulled together and supported each other, and spent a lot of the day laughing and playing with each other, despite the physical and mental anguish of the chess games.  Des and Dylan both look forward to what the next few days will bring.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

National K-12 Scholastic Championship!

The kids and I are excited to go to National K-12 Scholastic Championship in Dallas, Texas beginning Friday morning.  Desmond and Dylan, however, stayed home today due to fevers and colds!  This was going to be a grueling tournament anyway . . .now a cold on top of it!?  They will have fun and an educational time, in any event.  They will be the only 2 kids from Idaho according to the pre-registrations.

The tournament is 3 days and 7 rounds SS, G/90 with 160 kids in Dylan's 4th grade section and 103 kids pre-registered in Desmond's 7th grade section.  Bughouse and Blitz are Thursday night and we will miss this, but Friday morning at 10 am, both kids will get to play Alexandra Kosteniuk in a Simul featuring 40 kids!  I wish I got to play her. 

We will be staying at my Aunt's and Uncle's house and I am unsure about the internet connections there.  I will try to keep all of you posted about the progress at this site.  Pictures too?  Wish them luck and good play!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Winter Tournament Results

It snowed last night and quit about the time I woke up - 5:30 am.  Did I get everything?  Why weren't there pre-registrants?  How many kids are coming?  I forgot candy canes!  Where did I put my santa's hat?  Do I have enough prizes and gifts?  Will the kids enjoy themselves?  I have to remember my camera . . .it always works out in the end - just relax and drink your coffee.

Fourteen sleepy teens and children began arriving at 8:30 this morning for the 2009 Winter Tournament.  This is always a fun tournament, with door prizes, candy canes, hardware for all participants, and a visit from Santa (Erwin!!).  Despite the low turnout and the relaxed start, it soon whipped into a frenzy of games where anything could happen.  The message of the tournament:  in order to win, you must decide to play.  The kids that came certainly did that.

The sections were re-combined into a K-6 grade section and a 7th-12th grade section, however, the kids played for their grade prizes.  Desmond (2.0 pts.) agreed to play tougher games in the older group.  Darwin made his first chess debut and decidely won the K-3 trophy (being the only one in that group certainly didn't matter to him when he saw the trophy he won!).  Dylan (3.5 pts.) and Josh  (1.0 pt.) battled for 1st and 2nd place in the 4-5th grade section.  Jake (4.0 pts.) and Wesley  (2.5 pts.) took 1st and 2nd place, respectively.  I am very impressed with the improvement in Jake's games and it is apparent that attending the chess club nights at WRHS and being exposed to high school level play is certainly paying off.

Most of the excitement was in the older kids section.  There was a 3-way tie for 1st place that required a second level tie-break.   In the end, Andrew (1st place), Tyler (2nd place), and Curly (3rd place).  In round 5, Tyler (4.0 pts.) was set up to have a perfect tournament score and his buddy Nick was rooting for him.  Andrew (4.0 pts.) was heckling Curly (4.0 pts.) and threatened to end their friendship if Curly didn't beat Tyler in that round!  Earlier, Andrew beat Curly in round 1, and Tyler beat Andrew in round 3, and Andrew needed to beat Desmond and needed Curly to win against Tyler to place in the top 3.  Sweet Mother!  The players were agonizing over all the possible scenarios and I was having a hoot trying to follow each of their logics.

In other moments, Nick (2.5 pts.) claimed "touch move" after Desmond brushed a bishop while reaching for a pawn on move 4.  Nick was trying to pull a knight - queen mate on the f7 square.  I am glad that Nick's common sense prevailed and they were able to continue the game with better sportsmanship.  Shaken by the situation, Desmond lost.  It's hard to play against competitive high schoolers . . .duh!  Shane (2.5 pts.) narrowly lost as he had an "undefeatable mate" in one, but Tyler discovered his own mate in 1 and executed it immediately.  I thought Tyler might play a Black-eyed Peas song after the win - My Humps.

Miles (3.0 pts.) was a surprise newcomer to the tournament and also was banking on round 5 upsets to move up in the ranks.  He could have made 2nd place if Andrew and Curly lost.  So, he was rooting for Tyler and Desmond, as well.  He ended in 4th place.  Two other newcomers, Rebecca (1.0) and Jason (2.0), just began playing chess three weeks ago.  They spent most of the tournament with slack jaws and crinkled foreheads at the intensity by which the games were played because it certainly was different from club nights.

Erwin Kett arrived in a Santa outfit during round 3 and shook everyone's hand and wished them a Merry Christmas.  Everyone loves Erwin, our greatest supporter!  Door prizes were drawn between rounds and went to Rebecca (red/black pieces & board), Shane (mouse-pad board), Jason (wristband), and Wesley (t-shirt and travel chess wallet).  All non-placing contestants received a commemorative medal.

The fun continued . . .Jason, Rebecca, Tyler Walton, and I ran the girls basketball concessions and earned over $100 for our club.  This was very fortunate as we went into the red over $100 to run the tournament!  With the three unused trophies, we don't even have to charge for the Christmas Blitzkrieg and the Santa's Bughouse tournament in a few weeks.  Isn't it interesting how it all works out in the end?  If you, or anyone you know would like to sponsor ($) a tournament or a chess player, you should contact me.
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Curly shows Josh some opening moves.  This is why I like having the mixed age-levels in clubs and chess events.  The older kids really do take on leadership roles and pass on knowlege of the game.

Winter Tournament Today!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tuesday Chess Club

Another awesome night of new chess students and lot's of games being played.  We had 22 people and 8 were first-timers.  I actually got to play some games (3).  All e4 openings. 

A warm, fuzzy welcome to new member:  Lara Hobbs!

Shane is in the lead on the TLAK chess workouts.   He has attained the green tag (knight).  Taylor is now into the orange tag with Desmond almost an orange tagger.  I use the engraver to carve the student's names into the tags which gives them a more personal touch.  Remember that the student with the most points will earn an executive tournament bag, board, and pieces.

Julia came with a friend and we have a strong 9th grade girls contingent.  Julia and Karla  are becoming fast learners.  Rebecca is also understanding some of the complexities and beginning to gain confidence.  Maybe we can get a crew to come to girls state?  I think I will take them all to the Novice tournament in January.

This Saturday, Dec. 5 is our Winter Tournament.  Mason's did great chess trophies with a Santa Claus barrel.  A great collectable??  I hope we get a bunch of kids at this tournament.  I moved the tournament into the DLL so the girls basketball could start their games earlier.  In return, the basketball team is letting the chess club raise money by running the basketball concessions stand.  Come by for a burger and support both chess club and girls basketball.  I will pull out giant chess and also have boards available.  We will also raffle off a tournament chess board.

"Choose your Weapon"  with BCSD Chess Rage on the back will be available tomorrow.  I can only accept sweatshirt orders at the moment as our account is in the red!

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