Sunday, January 5, 2014

December Chess Report for the Wood River Valley

It's cold but all the snow has melted away
The month of December is a busy month for the BCSD Chess Rage with many tournaments including the chess club’s Blitz (fast chess) and Bughouse (team chess) Championships.  Last week, the Blitz Championship, called the Christmas Blitzkrieg, de-throned two time winner Desmond Porth with Co-champions, Keegan Crowson (Silver Creek High School) and Andre Murphy (Wood River High School) tying for first place and Desmond left a half a point out.  Both Andre and Keegan scored 6.5 points from an eight round tournament that attracted nearly 30 players ranging in grade from pre-school to 12th grade.  Keegan won the 1st place trophy due to tie-breaker points.  The elementary school champions included, Quentin Van Law (1st place), Darwin Porth (2nd place), and Luke Baker (3rd place).   Blitz chess is fast chess  where each player gets 5 minutes to make all their moves.  The rules are slightly different from normal chess rules in that an illegal move immediately ends the game with a loss for the offender.
Santa's Bughouse champs, Desmond Porth and Tyler Avila.

Santa's Bughouse.
Chess is a sport where experience pays dividends and Santa’s Bughouse tournament was another venue that demonstrated this principle.  In bughouse, teams of two players play another team with partners playing opposite colors with 5 minutes allocated to each team.  After a piece was captured in one game, it can enter the other game by simply being placed on the board during the teammates turn.  Again, an illegal move ends the game.  Twelve teams showed up for the fast paced event and boisterous event;  teammates are allowed to help one another and to strategize while the game is in progress which makes the chess playing loud and full of energy.  Most of the teams have never played bughouse before and it was clear that players were hooked on this fun chess variant afterwards.  The 2013 Bughouse Champions were Desmond Porth (Community School) and Tyler Avila(SCHS) and ended with a perfect score – 5.0 points.
Antonio wins a door prize at the Bughouse!

Jeff Roland is always going to get the right shot (with lot's of pixels! LOL).

Dylan wins her first $$$-ola in chess (presented by Jeff Roland, ICA President).
The Idaho Chess Association also sponsored the Western Idaho Open in Boise during  weekend of the 14th.  Chess Club members Adam Porth, Desmond Porth, and Dylan Porth played against players from Boise and Idaho Falls.  In Round 5, Dylan(Wood River Middle School) played against Boise State University student, Zane Roberts, in a match that would decide 1st place.  Zane needed only a draw in order to earn 1st and Dylan was playing to win a placement for the first time in a tournament of this type and needed a win or a draw to place in the tournament.  Games were nearly 4 hours long and after about 2 hours of play, Dylan secured a draw and second place ahead of other club members, including her coach!
Dylan plays on Board 1 in final round (against Zane Roberts) in WIO.
One of my favorite "How to focus?" pictures (courtesy of Jeff Roland).
The winter break Family & Friends tournament drew 16 players with family members and close friends working together by combining scores.  One game ended with only 1 second left on the clock after a player made 6 moves within five seconds to secure a win.  "Wow!"  exclaimed chess coach, Adam Porth.  Though the games were competitive, the emotions and attitude of the participants was fun and light-hearted.  Playing in local tournaments supports the BCSD Chess Rage (chess club), is an eye-opening experience for newcomers, and strongly educational for all.  Tournament play is different from social play and individuals get to face internal struggles that normally don't occur in casual play or games with the randomness of cards or dice.   Desmond Porth and brother, Darwin Porth combined 7.5 points to win 1st place, Andre Murphy and Wesley Brimstein earned 2nd place with 7.0 points, and Dylan and Lynnet Porth won 3rd place with 7.0 points .  Prizes included chess books, bags, boards, clocks and other chess swag.  Extra or rejected prizes were offered as door prizes to all participants.
Billy Olson and Melissa Dodds are a bit stumped by chess kids in the Family & Friends tournament.
"Mr. Porth, is this checkmate?"
"Wow," I exclaimed, "Oops!"  Only 1 second on the clock for Des.

(left) Darwin doesn't like recording and (right) newcommer, Billy Olson, ponders his opening (moving the f-pawn creates weaknesses.
Dan Looney plays Bill Mabry while Steve Hinton looks on at the Winter Solstice Tournament sponsored by the ICU.
At the Winter Solstice tournament, the BCSD Chess Rage played against older, more experienced players and they fared well .  As there were 16 participants in this annual round-robin event, two sections were created for the G/15 event.  These are fast matches that require close monitoring of time and many a queen was offered en prise to willing opponents.  Steve Hinton and Fred Bartell, both experienced chess players in the Twin Falls area won the sections and a book from the Glen Buckendorf Library.  Chess is an activity that builds confidence, exercises decision centers in the brain, and provides a feast of  pleasure for participants regardless of the outcomes.  Our contingent left feeling good and happy with our results.
In other chess news, Norman Friedman, founding member of the Right Move and officer in the  Manhattan Chess Club , donated nearly 30 chess books to the chess classes and chess club at Silver Creek High School.  The books were well-received and appreciated by club members and were eagerly thumbed through. 

The next tournament is the Mountain Home Open, January 11, and contact Adam Porth to reserve a seat on the bus, or to find out details. 
Luke Baker proves to be a worthy opponent during the Family & Friends tournament.
The Family & Friends tournament was a success
                  (School Board member Kathy Baker looks on in background).

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