Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Idaho Open Results

The Coronal Mass Ejection reached a zenith at the 2012 Idaho Open held at the Student Union Building at Idaho State University in Pocatello over the weekend.  The Coronal Mass Ejection is a massive burst of electromagnetic energy and is highly associated with solar storms.  Although a causal relationship has not been established.  The solar cycle occurs every 10-11 years and the current CME is one of the most intense ones ever measured.  Doomsday Preppers are anticipating major effects to powergrids, satellite and radio-wave disruptions, and food supplies, and indirect affects to education, socio-political systems, and immigration patterns.  When the grids go down and governments begin to fail, I think chess will be a great tool for entertaining masses of people lacking their tvs, smart phones, ipads, and other technological devices.  Start storing and stashing chess boards and be ready to whip one out when strangers approach your house.  All I was concerned at this tournament was the heat and remaining hydrated.  This was the hottest tournament I have played in with the tournament room nearly as hot as a car on a sunny day!  Could the CME have something to do with it?  Probably not.

Me vs. Victor Watts, 2006 Idaho Open

The 2012 Idaho Open was a great success.  I am fond of playing in Pocatello as my first three tournaments  (2006) were played in the very room I found myself sitting in this past weekend!  Things are a bit different six years later, as I was undefeated in this go around and earned 1st place in the reserve section with 4.5 points (versus 0 points and last place in 2006).
I got mushed behind Fred
All the usual Idaho chess players were conspicuously present including Jeff Roland, Caleb Kircher, Barry Eacker, Kevin Patterson, Jay Simonson (TD), Fred Bartell.  Many were missing, but I was happy to be with friends this weekend.  It is the mere point of being around each other that matters as attending a chess tournament is as social as attending a movie with your friends.  How many times have you been in a room for hours with your friends and not spoken to them?

Kerry Shirts videoed the tournament(left) and Barry Eacker(right) sports a Buckendorf tie

For two years I was the Secretary/Treasurer of the Idaho Chess Association, but I resigned my position this week after discovering that my position was dysfunctional.  One of the ICA TDs refused to provide financial reconciliations of tournaments because they were "volunteers" and with allegations of financial mismanagement of the ICA pending, I thought it best to get out of that mess before it gets serious.  All of my ICA friends that are board members were upset, of course, but very understanding of the position I was in.  My goodbye was not a formal one and I hope to one day return to a board position when the climate has changed, but my mark has been a positive one.  I tried to institute fiscal responsibility by having a TD form, I began recording membership (which has never been done), I suggested tournament registration forms to track e-mails and information, instituted foot-noting to changes on original documents, suggested scans of important historical documents (rather than re-typing them all), and even inspired historical pictures of events like a large group photo at each event.  There have been other trivial items and I hope my help was appreciated by some, as resisted by others.
Jay Simonson, President and TD
The number of players registered for the Idaho Open was disappointingly low, nineteen, but the spirit was high.  Players from California, Montana, and around Idaho attended.  Kerry Shirts, the backyard professor, of sorts, entered the tournament for the first time and began filming a Youtube novelty to become a Chess Master.  Here is his Idaho Open film (I have a red and an orange soccer jersey on):

In order to play chess in Idaho, one must travel far and commit significant amount of time on the road and in hotels.  This trip I made alone and was fortunate to use a spare room of an old college friend and artist, Sky.  Desmond was scheduled to come this weekend but began his first job as a teenager and decided to make money rather than spend it this weekend.  Pocatello was a busy town this weekend and I spent Friday and Saturday night listening to the "Monster Truck" show at Holt Arena.  In between rounds, I took in the natural history, paleontology, and archaeology of Idaho at the Idaho Museum of Natural History which offered free admissions.  I also visited old haunts as I am an alumnist of Idaho State University as a Master's in Natural Science.  Dinner at Buddy's is always a welcomed treat when I visit.  I also climbed up red hill behind the SUB and got all sweaty before round 3.  It really did not matter much because the heat in the tournament room kept me sweating for another couple hours.
Fun between rounds

Pleistocene Bear

Scout Mountain at a distance

Pillars of Love

Idaho Open Chess Champion,
Ted Belanoff
The action started on Saturday morning with the "Octopus" - Greg Nowak, from Montana defending his title against an onslaught of eleven players in the open section (I played in the Reserve).  Ted Belanoff, of Woodside, California ended up winning the tournament with 5.0 points.  I hope he returns to Idaho next year to defend his title.  

My round 1 game was against an eleven year old, Isaac Blake.  Last year I played rough games against other children so I was determined to play better and not let my psychology wreck my game.  I was black and Isaac opened with the Fried Liver Attack which I diffused with d5.  In round 2 I was paired with Katie Patterson, who is a very good player in the opening and in the middle game.  I was white and used the Ponziani with success.  I was able to snag a knight early on and with frequent exchanges of major and minor pieces, I entered the endgame in great shape.  After dinner at Buddy's and a hike up red hill, Round 3 was not my best game.  I felt that I wrecked my position with a risky bishop sac against Kevin Patterson. After I determined how the prizes would be divvied up, I gladly accepted and hoped to get a good night's rest.

Kevin and Me
Round 3:  Move 11, I was thinking that Kevin would either take with pawn or save his Knight, but he found  a very good move, Nxb5.

Round 4:

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