Sunday, August 25, 2013

2013 Summer Chess-boxing Classic

Summer Chess-boxing Classic
            The 2013 ICA Summer Classic, held at Boise State University Student Union Building, lived up to its name and will be remembered as the tournament that almost turned into chess boxing.  Chess boxing is a rage in European countries where combatants alternate between rounds of chess and actual boxing.  The winner is either knocked out or checkmated.  Only one match from the 37 contestants nearly came to blows during round 3.  The Summer Classic, G/120 d5, contained two sections, an open section with 24 players and an U1400 section with 13 players.  The larger numbers of players, including five players rated over 1800 and from other states (Montana, California, Washington, Oregon, and of course Idaho) was in fact due to the larger prize monies. 
            Round 1 began a bit late and was a exercise in conservative, defensive-oriented games that contained no surprises except numerous draws.  There were six draws as opponents sought to familiarize themselves with each other's style of play.  It is a rare occurrence in Idaho tournaments to host players from other states.  Carmen Pemsler (1635), fifteen and from Boise, Idaho, notably drew a close game with Hanniegn Pitre (1839), sixty-seven and from Seattle, Washington, and demonstrated the tentative nature of the games.  Attack was not in the air during round 1. 
            Round 2 was similar to the previous round as players ruminated their lunches and played slow, methodical games with few upsets.  Cody Gorman (1657), of Idaho, played full time against Michael Hosford (1882) from Bellevue, Washington.   The tournament was progressing as expected.  But the quiet room would soon boil with competiveness in round 3.  Games were suddenly aggressive for both black and white players and the air could be thinly cut with a knife.  Sharp lines suddenly "wowed" spectators and the tournament hall was about to erupt.
            Round 3.  Viktors Pupols (2214), from Kingston, Washington was engaged in mindful warfare with Michael Vaughn (1754), from Eugene, Oregon.  Mumbles, seat adjustments, sighs, and suddenly,   "Shhhhuut Up" broke the silent plotting of the players in the room.  I looked up from my board to see a man threatening to "punch him [Viktors] in the face."  Quickly, a wide-eyed but determined TD, Jeff Roland, rushed to usher the gentleman to the corridor.  The argument  continued to reverberate through the tournament hall as the players continued their game verbally.  Jeff effectively defused the bomb and after a time the players respectably returned to their boards and quietly finished without a round of boxing.  The spectators were not disappointed  as Jeff was about to add chess boxing referee to his tournament directing experiences.  Viktors Pupols eventually won the tournament, but his subsequent game against Caleb Kircher (1823), from Nampa would end in a draw and they would both share the prize money with 4.5 points each at the end of the tournament ($375 each).

            Third and fourth place ($50) went to Michael Hosford and Hanniegn Pitre with 3.5 points each.  Cody Gorman won first place ($200) in lower half.  George Lundy (1584) and Alex Machin (1569) won 2nd and 3rd prize with 3.0 points each.  In the Reserve Section (U1400), Adam Porth (1287) decisively won first place ($200) with 4.5 points, Kyle Schwab (944) won second place ($100) with 4.0 points, and Desmond Porth (1036) won third place ($50) with 3.5 points.  Prizes were awarded by Jeff Roland.  

More to follow.