Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Balrog of WRHS

With the hectic ending to the school year, a chess party to plan, a chess class tournament, and numerous other involvements, I am greatly disappointed at getting the results out so late, but here they are.
"A Balrog of Morgoth . . . a creature of flame come from the darkness"
Desmond Porth, 2011-12 WRHS Chess Champion
Des emerged from the darkness of his cave-like room like a Balrog of Morgoth.  The furnace-fire in his eyes and determination to become WRHS Champion.   His dominance swept into the tournament hall and his shadow spread across the board and the room.  His competitors grimmaced when they were called to play against him in the upcoming struggle.  (They really did groan or remark, "I might as well resign now!").  They had lost before a piece was moved on the board and Gandalf would have smite them with his staff for their defeatism.

On Saturday, May 12, five players from the WRHS Chess Club vied for the title and the prizes that I donated for the championship.  I was preparing for a Swiss System tournament, but after discussing with the contestants, we decided to use a double-round robin format where each player would play each other twice - once as white and once as black.  I like this format as it really gets to the root of who is the champion.

Before beginning the matches, I provided orange juice and blue berry muffins for the contestants, but Max ate them all while we were setting up like an innocent hobbit!  Shananigans are typical of the players in our chess club.  Desmond and Max were paired up for the first round and I secretly hoped Des would make him pay for eating all our "elven lamlas" muffins.  And he did.  I was impressed by Desmond's tactics as he seemingly gives up a knight for the f-pawn, and then suddenly Max is crushed by a royal fork!

Game 1:  ". . .suddenly it drew itself up to a great height, and its wings were spread from wall to wall . . ."

Game 2:  " . . This foe is beyond any of you. Run! . . . "
Game 2:  Max Mihalic v. Desmond Porth
In this position, 14. Nb5 challenges the queen and seems like a reasonable exchange of queens, but watch what happens.

Game 3:  " . . . What's this new devilry? . . ."
This game demonstrates an aggressive attack by black early in the game, with white patiently allowing the Colle-Zuckertort System to work for a solid endgame between pawn/bishop vs. pawns.

Game 5:  ". . .Not frightened enough.  I know what hunts you . . ."
In this game, our Danish Chessman, Christoffer Mauritzen, cooly takes a win home as Desmond plays too long in the first ten moves and comes under time trouble.  Christoffer Mauritzen is a foreign exchange student at WRHS and took the Integrating Chess Class because "it looked interesting."  He also commented when asked, "I really don't think I knew anything before this."   I consider Christoffer our most improved chess player.  He proved to be one of the toughest players to beat by the end of the school year and developed a relaxed and confident playing style of his own.  I still wish he would stick to openings that I taught him!

Game 5:  Desmond attacks the h7 square and threatens mate.  Christoffer might have fallen for this earlier in the year but catches it  "like a g6".

While our tournament was being conducted, we live-streamed the US Championships on the Promethean.  The whole room exuded chess and by the end of the day,  everyone had fun and some success.

Desmond Porth is the WRHS Chess Champion for 2011-12 school year and he dominated all the school tournaments.  This was naturally expected by Desmond, his peers, and his dad (me!).  Not only did Desmond cap the WRHS Championship, he also dominated the school Blitz Championship and the Bughouse Championship earlier in the year.  He won the Challenger section at the MVCC in March. And, he also was 3rd place in the State Scholastics and 2nd place in West Jordan.  I wonder what would have happened if we held a Chess 960 Championship in our club?

2012 WRHS Championship crosstable
des max chase christoffer riley Total
desmond porth x 2 2 1 1.5 6.5
max mihalic 0 x 0 1 0 1
chase hutchinson 0 2 x 1 2 5
christoffer mauritzen 1 1 1 x 1.5 4.5
riley clark 0.5 2 0 0.5 x 3

Desmond - cherry/walnut folding chess board, trophy, and perpetual plaque engraving
Chase - executive chess set and trophy
Christoffer - diamond analog clock and trophy
Riley - 12 inch analysis board and pieces

Other Pictures:


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