|River Shepard plays Coach Porth. I'm wearing my new Christmas shirt!|
The Magic Valley Chess Club and the Blaine County School District Chess Club are partnering to bring southern Idaho more chess events. To Kick off the new year, the MVCC hosted a Winter Solstice G/15 0d tournament on January 2 and then hosted a Blitz Kickoff on January 12 to begin 2016 with chess excitement. The Idaho Chess Union rate the events using the Rocky Mountain Rating System. The BCSD Chess Club attended both events and then followed up by hosting a G/15 Sicilian Dragon Theme Tournament on January 14 to recognize National Dragon Day.
|2016 Winter Solstice|
All the events drew a fair crowd with 18 in all three events, 10 from the BCSD Chess Club. The Winter Solstice was billed as a round robin event, so organizers divided up players into two sections with similar ratings and abilities to ensure a balanced tournament. Barry Eacker, MVCC, was chief TD with assistance from Adam Porth, BCSD Chess Club. Kona Coffee & Cakes donated space to play and the players enjoyed being able to munch on Spam Sammies and Spam Musubi between rounds.
|Barry Eacker, Dewayne Derryberry, Fred Bartell|
Dewayne Derryberry and Fred Bartell were winners and each won a book, Weapons of Chess and Taps and Zaps 2, respectively. Fred handedly scored a perfect tournament (8.0 points) while Dewayne (7.0 points) drew two games against fellow MVCC players. Barry Eacker drew Dewayne in a technical game and a surprising blunder by Dewayne. Barry also enjoyed a Philidor endgame position in a game with me. I should have watched this video before the tournament. Barry (6.5 points) earned second place. Steve Hinton commented on how difficult the games are against the kids and even chagrined that he should have lost some. Steve would make a point of showing kids better moves, and Fred spent nearly a half hour providing lessons!
|Easy to lose a game like this in a G/15 tournament. Adam Porth v. Barry Eacker 0-1|
It is clear that the younger players learned much while playing all the experienced players and Adam quipped, “These tournaments are important for the older players to pass their knowledge onto the younger generation as these kids will eventually be running clubs like the MVCC after we’re all gone.” Therefore, sharing and analyzing games for the kids is critical after a match. And, it must be fun for them. Despite the solstice actually being over, the new year began the way all chess players want it to.
|2016 Barnes & Noble Blitz Kickoff|
The following week featured the BCSD Chess Club traveling to Barnes & Noble for a G/5 Blitz round robin tournament, however, organizers switched to a 7-round swiss due to time constraints. Players here are more concerned with playing a variety of players and maximizing the number of games they can play. Barry and Adam worked efficiently to keep the rounds moving, but the stacks of books frequently drew players attention in between rounds.
|Foreign Exchange Student, Chanisara Tongsiri (Yayee) from Thailand plays Donald Shouse.|
|2016 Barnes & Noble Blitz Kickoff|
More than half of the players were scholastic and there were some new faces. Peter Clark clearly enjoyed his games and was very competitive - he will return for more games. David Zaklan made Peter exclaim loudly after a surprise checkmate caught him off guard. Blitz does that to players! Each match was actually a double in that players played opponents as white and as black, so there were 14 games total. WinTD doesn’t work well with this type of format: 2 wins = 1.0 point, 1.5 wins = 1.0, 1 win each = 0.5 points. In the end it all works out well and Fred Bartell was again on the top (6.0 points).
On January 14, eighteen players visited the BCSD Chess Club for a Sicilian Dragon theme tournament in which a pre-determined opening was played. White begins after, 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.NC3 g6. In this tournament, players were granted 15 minutes each (G/15 0d) and instruction by youtube chess teacher, NM Dereque Kelley. Each player was also provided a handout.
|Sicilian Dragon starting position|
|2016 Sicilian Dragon Theme|
Organizer, Adam Porth also collects data on the success of the openings during theme tournaments. It is clear that amateur chess players struggle with the Sicilian Dragon Defense as white won 56 times against 29 wins for black. The fianchettoed bishop has a great diagonal and strong, queen-side attacking opportunities, but I noticed the novice players destroying their defenses once the king was castled by moving their pawns!
Interestingly, the top players were 50:50 as white and black. Four players each scored 4.0 points and Dylan Porth won 1st place. Larry Schwartz earned 2nd place but declined his trophy to a scholastic player, Zac McStay. This allowed Levi Catangcatang the 3rd place trophy. Dave Walters won an 11th ed., Modern Chess Openings book from the Library of Dan Mayers from a drawing and Jasmine Boeddiker, excitedly, won a chess set (she does not have one at home).
The next tournament will be a Chess960 Tournament at Silver Creek High School in Hailey (Thursday, Feb. 4, at 4 pm) with an away trip for the BCSD Chess Club to West Jordan, Utah on Jan. 30. The Idaho Closed will be on February 13-15, at the Shilo Inn, Twin Falls. There will definitely be more chess news this next month.