Monday, February 28, 2011

State Warmup K-12 Open Chess Tournament

This Saturday, March 5 8:30 am (reg.) at WRHS Common Room, 5SS G/30, sections:  K-3, 4-5, 6-8, 9-12th grade, prizes:  trophies 1st-3rd each section, cost:  $5 pre-reg. or $8 at door.  Pizza available and door prize.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

From one Tournament to another!

The first Wood River Valley Elementary School Chess Championship came off with the usual hitches, but was a great success for the participants.  Five valley schools competed for the top elementary school and individual grade prizes.  The concept was developed by Nick Bruck and me as a senior project for one of Nick's classes, and I mentored him thoughout.  He did a great job of TDing the event and I am sure he learned plenty.  Organizing, ordering, putting trophies together, running the pairing software, talking to large crowds, advertising and soliciting, learning tournament rules, teaching children, and essentially hosting a chess party for 22 kids, their parents, and siblings.  We had popcorn, pizza, giant chess, and of course lot's of chess for the kids.
The Bellevue Bears
The event attracted 22 elementary students and was held in the DLL of Wood River High School and the Bellevue Bears came out on top.  Garrett Stouffer of the Belleuvue Bears won first place 4th grader and a perfect tournament score of 5.0 pts.  The top three players for a school were scored in the G/15 event and continued for 5 rounds beginning at 4:00 and lasting until 7:30 pm.  I am sure the event was harder on the new-to-chess parents than it was on the players.  This tournament was more of a learning experience aimed at teaching tournament etiquette, how to read crosstables, pairing sheets, and even elements of the game.  But, the kids sure played their hearts out.
Darwin has the chess look
Darwin, my kindergardner, is getting better and more competitive.  Against one opponent that kept jeering "checkmate? checkmate? checkmate?"  while they were playing, Darwin had his opponent's king restrained on the h-file with his rook.  He then slammed his queen on h5 and loudly exclaimed, "Now that's checkmate!" You gotta love the humor, vigor, and playfulness of elementary school chess.
Nick and Colten set up the boards
Club members were eager to participate in helping Nick's project success and deserve appreciation.  Miles Hendrix helped with checkmates, and Max Mihalic stayed for two hours to help answer questions and set up.  The middle schoolers including Desmond, Riley Clark, and Real Weatherly really deserve some credit for taking lot's of pictures, helping players find their boards, helping players with clocks, and gophering everything from popcorn to chess clocks from my classroom.

All but four of the players have never participated in a chess tournament before and in those few hours, we got to see tremendous growth in independence, etiquette, and ability.  The first round was a bit sketchy with kids even struggling to read the pairing sheets.  But by the end of the tournament, the amount of independence that the kids displayed in round four and five, shows how chess positively affects children growth.  I noticed some surprised parents that got to sit back and watch their children run their games.  As TDs we occasionally had to gently nudge participants and parents away from boards to refrain from affecting the games.
It is hard to observe illegal moves and then not try to correct them, but that is the business of the players.  By round 5 I heard numerous, "illegal moves", or "you can't do that."  Touch move also was a factor and several kids learned some valuable lessons about what to touch or not to touch.  My own daughter with her experience did not properly recognize using the cheap club clock and did not monitor her time or her opponent's time.  Her clock kept ticking while his wasn't moving!  She lost on time while having a 12 pt. advantage.  Only afterwards did I show her that she wasn't pushing the clock all the way down, so she was essentially using time while her opponent was not.

Bellevue Elementary School      12.0 pts.
Hailey Elementary School           9.0
Woodside Elementary School     5.5
Montesori School                       4.0
Hemingway                                3.0

Photos by Real Weatherly






Good things come to those that wait







Name/Team
Grade
School
Score
Prize
Stouffer, Garrett (19)
4
Belle
5
1st 4th gr.
Porth, Dylan (14)
5
Belle
4
1st 5th gr.
Slanetz, Shea (18)
3
Montesori
4
1st 3rd gr.
Martin, Michael (5)
2
Hail
3.5
1st 2nd gr.
Weatherly, Colten (21)
5
Belle
3
2nd 5th gr.
Baker, Alex (1)
2
Hail
3
2nd 2nd gr.
Routh, Steven (16)
5
Hail
3
3rd 5th gr.
Worst, Luke (22)
3
Hem
3
2nd 3rd gr.
Porth, Darwin (13)
k
Belle
3
1st Kinder
Saldivia, Victor (17)
5
Belle
2.5
medal
Van Law, Quentin (20)
1
Belle
2.5
1st 1st gr.
Neel, Spencer (10)
5
Belle
2.5
medal
Richcreek, Jayden (15)
2
Belle
2
3rd 3rd gr.
Mungall, Heidi (9)
4
Belle
2
2nd 4th gr.
Montes, Rigoberto (8)
4
Wood
2
3rd 4th gr.
Kettleband, Emmet (4)
2
Wood
2
medal
Baker, Luke (2)
k
hail
2
2nd Kinder
Organist, Jordan (12)
2
Hail
2
medal
Gardner, Fisher (3)
1
Hail
1.5
2nd 2nd gr.
Montes, Kevin (7)
4
Wood
1.5
medal
Meeks, Carson (6)
2
Hail
1
medal
Organist, Christopher (11)
k
Hail
0
3rd Kinder.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

2011 ICA Idaho Closed Chess Championship Day 3

Idaho State Champion, Caleb Abernathy
This is certainly a day that many of us will want to forget, and some of us will want to remember, but most certainly a historic day for Idaho chess.  The second (we believe) youngest chess champion in the history of Idaho was crowned at age 16 is Caleb Abernathy (1609) with a great tournament score of 5.0.  The youngest player to snag the championship was Gregory Perryman in 1975.  In a last round battle that endured over 5 hours, it was seemingly going to be a draw between Caleb and Kurt Douglas (1671), and would provide 4 Co-champions, each with 4.5 pts.  But it was not their day either! The deciding game was down to rook and pawn versus rook and 2 pawns.  Caleb began the slow and methodical process of advancing down the board with his two pawns.  Kurt kept Caleb's king at bay and his own pawn began the slow trek to block.  Indeed, a very drawn game that Caleb would not concede.  The dreariness of my own losses of the day vaporized upon seeing Kurt plop his rook down . . . en prise!  Kurt gracefully shook hands and then left, never to return for his award.  Caleb,  happily held his trophy and the confidence of a champion.
Larry Parsons versus John Carr
Larry Parsons (2005) and John Carr (1732) were destined to draw after there was negligible material off the board after 4 hours of play.  It still looked like they were in the opening.  Both played very positionally and passively.  Their game lasted the longest with an agreed draw after the results of Caleb and Kurt were known.
32 move draw
Other notable games included Jay Simonson (565) and Michael Healy (188).  These boys made 32 moves without a piece taken off the board!  Some advice from Dad, "poop or get off the pot,"   They both got off the pot and decided a draw was adequate.
Michael Healy and Jay Simonson

The day was not with out headaches.  After two days of play, long hours of contemplation, and the realization of not being a contender for the big prize, it was difficult to not blunder.  In fact, many of us did including me in my last two rounds.  Katie Abderhalden (1741) was very happy to pin my queen, bishop, and rook with a very simple but elegant attack that I never considered.  The game was not that complicated and it seemed like a large exchange of pieces was inevitable and coming up soon.  I was looking forward and expecting to only be a pawn down but positionally sound enough for a draw.  What a bummer not moving a pawn to secure a critical square could be!
Play chess online



In the second game, I was aggressive and clearly won the opening and middle game against Johnny Seakamp (786) who was struggling, coughing, and even got a bloody nose suddenly.  I was expecting an endgame that would be full of mistakes on his half and I would win with my three to two pawn advantage on the king side.  Chess has subtle moments that can determine the course of a game in unsuspecting ways.  For example,  during the game I had a choice of turning my king toward a lone undefended pawn or two guarded pawns.  I should have turned to the later.  Why?  My king would have been closer where the action was about to be, I would be threatening mate, and I could protect my own pawns.  There were other moments of poor choice, giving up two pawns, sacking my bishop for an advancing pawn, but I still was feeling strong enough to over whelm my opposition.  I shifted from an aggressive game to a defensive game and that ultimately was my loss.  Pressure can mean a lot in long games.

To get out of check Kd6 or Kf6?  (I lost moving Kd6)

Rickie Abderhalden plays Tom Booth
The players in this tournament are super individuals with interesting and unique personalities and ideas.  They are welders, clerks, salesman, artists, students, contractors, teachers, et al.   I have gotten to know many of them over the years and look forward to playing them.   I wish to play my best games out of respect for who they are and all that they have taught me.  Plus there is nothing better than ponning someone you know!  In Desmond's ill-begotten pairing yesterday with Brett Hamiton, Brett shared with me some observations about Desi's games.  He then encouraged Desmond.  Jeff Roland  shared some post-game analysis with me.  Barry Eacker gave me some words of encouragement - and knew right where jibe.  At the ICA business meeting, I proposed that the President shouldn't have to pay entrance fees to ICA tournaments.  Everyone indicated that it would violate ethics and by-laws, but then an un-named member (that voted the idea down) that wished to be anonymous gave me a check for $100 to help defer costs for the President, Jay Simonson.  What a wonderful gesture!  Everyone looks after everyone.

Jeff Baggett plays John Carr (draw)
Jeff wins 3rd place overall
Jeff Baggett (1696) is a masonary man in Ketchum and is a long-time chess player from the Wood River Valley.  He is friend and chess buddy to Norman Friedman of the Manhattan Chess Club.  Jeff started playing in tournaments this last year and is a very strong contender for the Idaho State Championship in the future.  He earned 4.5 pts. and drew many observers during his game with John Carr.  Had Caleb and Kurt drawn, he would have been co-champion with Larry Parsons, Caleb Abernathy, and Kurt Douglas.  The game with John Carr was another very drawn game but Jeff was trying to force a decision on time since he had nearly twice as much as Carr at one point.  In the end, no "whoopsies" and a respectable draw.  It is important to use tactics, but also to have strategies at achieving your objectives.

This chess table was made by Jeff for the Ketchum Town Plaza and was dedicated to Norman Friedman, a teacher of chess and friend of Baggett's (photo:  Idaho Mountain Express)
The ICA Board and Tournament Directors figuring prizes.  Two books were donated by Glen Buckendorf as prizes, and a marble chess board was donated by the late Hosea Bradbury.
Top Junior Desmond
Class D Second Place - Me
Second Place Woman Dylan
After the awards were given out, most people with long drives fled, but many of us helped cleanup and organize the equipment.  It then dawned on me . . .we're done?  Let's stay and play one more day . . . just one more!  The Times-News wrote a nice piece about the championship and more results are pouring out of Jeff's computer each day for the ICA.

The next tournament is this Wednesday starting at 4:00 pm in the DLL of WRHS for the Wood River Valley Elementary School Chess Championship and is run by Nick Bruck for his senior project.  On Saturday, Feb. 26, the ICA Girl's Scholastic Championship will take place at Washington Elementary School in Boise.  See my Calendar for details.
##PlayerSr./Jr.USCF123456ScorePrize
1Caleb P. AbernathyJunior1609W20W3W4L2W9W651st Overall
2Larry R. Parsons2005W14D15W11W1D6D42-3 Overall
3Jeff M. Baggett1696W26L1W20W16D4W102-3 Overall
4John CarrSenior1732W25W13L1  W8D3D241st B
5Ricky AbderhaldenJunior1503W21D6L8W13D7W1241st C
6Kurt P. Douglas1671W28D5W23W15D2L142nd B
7Tom R. BoothSenior1618W17L11W26D12D5W1641st Senior
8Jim Stark1595D9W22W5L4L10W212nd C
9Brett B. HamiltonSenior1951D8D12D13W24L1W151st A
10Caleb Paul Kircher1760D22L19W18W11W8L31st Book*
11Michael YeJunior1354W16W7L2L10D14D1331st D
12Jeffrey T. Roland1703D19D9W25D7D15L532nd Book*
13Hugh S. MyersSenior1617W24L4D9L5W17D1132nd Senior
14Fred BartellSenior1604L2W17L16W23D11D183
15Barry D. Eacker1609W27D2W19L6D12L93
16Katie AbderhaldenJunior1741L11W28W14L3W19L731st Woman
17John Seekamp IIIJunior786L7L14W24W26L13W1931st F
18Daniel S. LooneySenior1593-H--N-L10W28W23D143
19Adam Porth1244D12W10L15W22L16L172nd D
20Michael Healy188L1-B-L3L21W27D232nd F
21Glen BuckendorfSenior1800L5L23-H-W20W22L82nd A
22Chris Pentico1459D10L8W28L19L21-B-
23Jay L. SimonsonSenior565-H-W21L6L14L18D202Top Upset**
24Desmond PorthJunior714L13L25L17L9-B-W2721st Junior
25Kevin R. Patterson1247L4W24L12W27-U--U-2
26Kitt D. Connor1021L3W27L7L17-H--U-
27Dylan PorthJunior592L15L26-B-L25L20L2412nd Woman
28Katie Rae PattersonJunior947L6L16L22L18-U--U-0