Sunday, January 31, 2010

WR Wins for Second Time!

Wood River High School wins the West Jordan Scholastic Chess Tournament for the second year in a row.  The games and tournaments keep getting better.  Of eleven Wood River students, ten earned hardware and our team won first place.  The event is run by Douglas Duncan and has grown to a  larger event attracting over 200 players from the Salt Lake City area.  In fact, I counted 17 elementary schools, 11 middle schools, and 12 high schools represented.  The elementary section (4-6th grade) had 54 competitors, the middle school (6-9th grade) had 60 competitors and the high school section (9-12th grade) had 42 players.  The remaining numbers were in the K-3 section.

Round 1 began with eight wins for the Wood River group and it got serious pretty quick.  Desmond's aggressive attitude the previous day now clear - he was on a mission this tournament.  Nick Bruck and Max Bates made quick victories and showed no concern for where they were going to end up.  "How'd you do?" I asked.  "Euh" was the shrug.  Chris "Curly" Ellis came off his board quite disheveled and didn't quite know what happened to his game other than being completely destroyed by Matt Boren of Salt Lake.  Andrew Uriarte played out a long game and went down in the end game.

Round 2 produced seven more wins.  It was clear that Nick, Max, Raleigh Grossbaum, were going to be our top boards.  They were playing very well.  Curly, Shane Bruess, or Andrew would be our 4th.  Dylan played an even game against Vishwa Srinivasan and his MONROI scoresheet until the end game and she lost.  I began scouting the competition in the high school section and noticed that the SLC students tended to play very fast and so I began encouraging our group to play slower and disrupt their opponent's momentum.  Matt Boren was going to be a tough competitor, but he played too fast and usually got his opponent in a rhythm that he commanded.  Riley Neel was the first one off the board and won by advancing his pawn up to his opponent's pawn line and dropped his queen on the f7 square for a mate in the first 10 moves.  Andrew and Shane began asking about food.  I left to get a latte.  When I came back, there were four pizza boxes on our table.  In typical goom-ba fashion, when the pizzas arrived at the concessions, my boys bought all of them, leaving chips and candybars for the rest of the tournament folk!

Round 3 was our most entertaining round with ten wins.  Shane was the last one on the board as he opened by playing to fast and then slowed down to the point were the tournament director put a clock on their board.  Almost all the high schooler section was around the board to see Shane's end game.  In the opening, Shane dropped a queen, a rook, and two pawns with little to no compensation.  Shane's opponent must have become over confident.  The next time I looked Shane had equalized.  In the end game, I watched Shane skewer a rook and ooze confidence all over the board for a win.  Too bad his opponent didn't throw the king like Irina Krush.  It would have been dramatic.  Shane popped up and sailed over to our area with his arms waving around like long vines.  I was with Nick and Andrew and said, "Wow, look at Shane's arms flailing, he's playing out his game . . . no wait, that's pizza he is holding."  Andrew said, "you over-estimated Shane."  In a strong game (and the only recorded game), Raleigh played against Matt Boren who offered a draw in a pawn-bishop end game.  Raleigh took it. Matt latter told me he would have won.  Raleigh said to me latter he would have won.  Nick analyzed the game with Raleigh and provided a great piece of advice and made me very proud what my players are beginning to pay attention to.  "You needed to promote your dark-square pawn since he has a white-square bishop."  A subtle piece of advice but these players are thinking beyond tactics and developing strategic thinking.  Desmond solved the rubik's cube this round for the first time by himself.

In Round 4, Riley's opponent sat at the wrong board.  Riley was thrilled that the tournament director switched the boards and had them start over with the correct opponent.  "I was losing bad and down 14 pts. and then switched opponents and won in 8 moves."  How fortunate for Riley!  Shane's arms began flailing again as he described his checkmate to me with more pizza in hand.  Nick, Desmond, and Max earned 4 pts. and were all headed for perfect tournament scores.  Nick and Max will have to play one another in round 5 and Des watched and studied his round 5 opponent, whom he thought was the middle schooler with a beard and a deep voice.  It turned out to be the little 7th grader with 4 pts. instead.  Dylan finds friends everywhere and I found her playing with another little girl on the floor with her pink chess set.  "Let's go run," Dylan asked her buddy.  "Not in the tournament room," I reminded them. The high schoolers all began surmising and calculating possible outcomes to the tournament as they usually do in Round 4.  Meanwhile, I watched another high school team play x-box games on a flat screen television, they hauled into the skittles area.  Yes a flat screen television and modern warfare.  I hope my team doesn't get any ideas!  Nine wins and a sizable team lead, 4 points.

Our Prophet Mohammed Taylor Walton indicates "In life and in chess you must think like a king."  The final round was going to be exciting. Desmond is playing on the first middle school board, Nick is playing Max on the first board in the high school section.  The WRMS team needs three wins to secure 1st or 2nd place.  Raleigh will win first if he wins or if Shane wins against his 10th grade opponent.  Max, Nick, and Des could get on our "Perfect Tournament" plaque.   We have already won the high school trophy.  Going into the last round, we have players on the top 6 boards.  Collectively, we lost every fifth round game except for one!

WRHS (15.5) 1st Place Team
WRMS (9.0) 4th Place Team
Max Bates (5.0), Perfect Tournament, 1st Place 12th grade
Jake Whitlock (2.0), 1st Place 6th grade
Desmond Porth (4.0), 2nd Place 7th grade
Raleigh Grossbaum (3.5), 2nd Place 10th grade
Nick Bruck (4.0), 2nd Place, 11th grade

3pt. Trophies:
Andrew Uriarte
Chris Ellis
Shane Bruess (first trophy ever!)
Riley Neel
Dylan Porth

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