3rd Annual Neil Dale Memorial Open (January 5-6): Neil volunteered countless hours to chess, including running hundreds of tournaments over many decades. See more information about Neil here and here. Neil started and ran the Gresham Open on the first weekend in January many times. We now run a tournament on the first weekend in January each year at the Portland Chess Club in a format similar to the Gresham Open in his honor. We changed some of our two-day tournaments from five to four rounds over the past year but wanted to keep this one at five rounds for several reasons. 1) There are some players who prefer five rounds so we want to have a couple of of two-day tournaments remain five rounds to accommodate their preference (and it makes sense to choose this tournament as one to keep five rounds due to the next two reasons). 2) With it being a one section tournament, there is a much greater chance of their being multiple perfect scores if there are only four rounds, something we would prefer to avoid. 3) With it being a one section tournament, some players likely wouldn’t get that many competitive games if it’s only four rounds. We have also changed from using delay to increment at most of our tournaments over the last few years but we want to keep using delay at a few to accommodate the players who prefer delay and we decided to keep using delay at this tournament. The time control on the first round was changed from G/120;d10 to G/60;d10 so the first day wouldn’t be as grueling. First rounds games, especially at a one section tournament, are usually the least competitive so if the time control is going to be reduced for one of the rounds, it makes the most sense to do it for round one. Mike Janniro ran the tournament on Saturday with assistance at registration from Mike Lilly, and Mike Morris ran the tournament on Sunday. It got an outstanding turnout of fifty-four players! This is the largest turnout ever for a tournament at the current Portland Chess Club facility, which the club has been at for around twenty-years! We thank Sophie Beauchet for playing an extra rated game against the player who received a full point bye in round two. FM Steven Breckenridge swept the field with a perfect 5-0 and won $324. NM Joshua Grabinsky (from Coquille), Ryan Richardson, Josiah Perkins (from Coquille), Brent Baxter (from Olympia), and Zoey Tang tied for second with 4/5. They split the 2nd and 3rd overall, 1st and 2nd U2100, and 1st U1900 prizes, each winning $129.60. The Neil Dale Memorial is one of the qualifiers for the second section of the Oregon Closed. The Oregon Chess Federation changed the qualifying rules for the second section of the Oregon Closed, renamed from the Invitational to the Challengers, this year to make the qualifying tournaments more meaningful. In the past the qualifying tournaments were essentially meaningless as each qualifier essentially just took the top Oregon finisher but these players almost always either ended up qualifying for the Championship section (the top section) by rating or would have gotten into the second section anyway based on rating. The new rules make it so the top Oregon finisher at each qualifier who doesn’t end up qualifying for the Championship section (on tiebreaks if necessary) qualifies for the Challengers section. See the complete new rules for the Oregon Closed here. If Zoey doesn’t end up qualifying for the Championship section through some means, she will very likely be the highest finishing Oregon resident (on tiebreaks) from the Neil Dale Memorial who doesn’t which means she would qualify for the Challengers section. Sean Uan-Zo-Li and Isaac Vega split the 2nd U1900 prize with 3.5/5, each winning $40.50. Yu-Cheng Liang and Silas Lainson (from Bellingham, WA) split the 1st and 2nd U1700 prizes, each winning $94.50. Yu-Cheng also won the $54 bonus upset prize by beating a player rated 442 points higher than him, gained around 85 rating points, and achieved a new peak rating. Silas gained around 120 rating points, achieved a new peak rating, and achieved his 5th, 4th Category norm and thus was awarded the 4th Category title (his performance was good enough that he achieved a 3rd, 2nd, and 1st Category norm as well). Jerrold Richards (from Lyle, WA) won the 1st U1500 prize of $108 with 3/5 and gained around 95 rating points. Cleve Johnson (from Pasco, WA) won the 2nd U1500 prize of $81 with 2.5/5 and gained around 85 rating points. Ben Barnes, who was playing in his first US Chess rated tournament, Sudarshan Gokul, Jason Jacobsen, and Anisha Sripada split the 1st and 2nd U1300/unrated prizes with 2/5, each winning $47.25. Sudarshan also gained around 35 rating points and achieved a new peak rating. Other big rating gains were achieved by Moises Buckner (around 80 points and a new peak provisional rating) and Austin Yeo (around 55 points and a new peak rating). There was one other player playing in his first US Chess rated tournament, Richard Duffy.
Unrated Rapid (January 12): This month’s edition was run by Greg Markowski, his first tournament as Chief TD. He also played in the event. William Holloran and Dubier Matos Castillo tied for first with 5/6, with Dubier winning their matchup in round 3. They both won a book. Due to the spread in ratings, a book was also awarded to the top finisher Under 1700 and this turned out to be Yu-Cheng Liang with 3/6.
Sunday Quads (January 20): This month’s edition was run by Micah Smith with assistance at registration from Mike Lilly. It got a good turnout of twenty-two players and was split into four quads and a six player Swiss among the six lowest rated players. The Swiss was put at the bottom to try and avoid two family members from having to play each other. William Holloran swept quad 1 with a perfect 3-0 and won a book. Egan Wong swept quad 2 with a perfect 3-0, winning a book as well as a trophy as a scholastic player who won his section with 3 points and gained around 70 rating points and achieved a new peak rating. Ishaan Rao swept quad 3 with a perfect 3-0, winning a book and trophy and gained around 60 rating points and achieved a new peak rating. Michael Schuff gained around 35 rating points in quad 3. Ishaan Kodarapu won quad 4 with 2.5/3, winning a book as well as a small trophy as a scholastic player who won his section with 2.5 points and gained around 55 rating points and achieved a new peak rating. In quad 4, Mark Wang gained around 40 rating points and achieved a new peak rating in his fifth straight tournament. Vimal Adiraju swept the Swiss with a perfect 3-0, winning a book and trophy and gained around 55 rating points and achieved a new peak rating. Anisha Sripada finished second in the Swiss with 2/3. There were two players playing in their first US Chess rated tournament, Simon and Benjamin Springall (father and son). Note that next month’s Sunday Quads is on February 24, a week later than usual.
Game in 60 (January 26): This month’s edition achieved a record attendance of forty-six players! The previous record for the Game in 60, which has essentially been taking place every month for around twenty years, was thirty-nine players which occurred three times (coincidentally in March of 2014, 2015, and 2016). We thank Subramanyam Sripada for playing as a house player in the two rounds where there were an odd number of players in the U1650 section (and he gained around 65 rating points and achieved a new peak provisional rating in the process). This month’s Game in 60 was run by Mike Hasuike with assistance at registration from Mike Lilly. Zoey Tang won the fourteen player Open section with 3.5/4, winning $94, gaining around 50 rating points, and achieving a new peak rating. Michael Moore, from Corvallis, William Holloran, and Sean Uan-Zo-Li tied for second with 3/4. Michael and William split the second place prize, each winning $32 while Sean won the 1st U1850/unrated prize of $55. Havish Sripada gained around 40 rating points and achieved a new peak rating in the Open section. Ryan Lu and Ishaan Rao tied for first in the thirty-two player U1650 section with 3.5/4. They drew their matchup in round 4. They split the first and second place prizes, each winning $79. Nathan Wonder, Ishaan Kodarapu, Andrei Stancescu, and Jacob Tran split the 1st U1450/unrated and 1st U1250/unrated prizes with 3/4, each winning $26. Nathan also gained around 175 rating points and achieved a new peak rating while Ishaan gained around 90 rating points and achieved a new peak rating. Other big rating gains in the U1650 section were achieved by Thomas Schuff (around 215 points and a new peak rating), Lokesh Hariharan (around 205 points and a new peak rating), Charlie Gulling (around 185 points and a new peak provisional rating), Leo Zhao (around 175 points and a new peak provisional rating) Jason Jacobsen (around 155 points and a new peak rating), Victor Diego (around 80 points), Zachary Song (around 60 points and a new peak rating), and Andrew Uan-Zo-Li (around 55 rating points and a new peak rating).
Portland Chess Club Annual Membership Meeting (January 26): The annual membership meeting elects the club’s board of directors for the current year and allows anyone to propose ideas on improving the club. This year’s meeting took place after the Game in 60. Around ten people attended the meeting. Everyone on the board agreed to continue in their current position and no one else volunteered to be on the board so the board remains the same with Lennart Bjorksten as President, Micah Smith as Vice-President, Mike Morris as Treasurer and Secretary, Mike Janniro as Post 1, and Mike Hasuike as Post 2. Mike Lilly was unable to attend the meeting but reported to the board beforehand that he has dropped his effort for now to bring a national event to the Portland area, which he proposed at last year’s annual meeting, due to not having enough volunteers. Micah Smith proposed eliminating the state membership requirement at the Game in 60 but requiring it at the 2-day tournaments it’s not currently required at, which are the Rose City Sectionals and Penguin Extravaganza. He reasoning was as follows: 1) Since the Game in 60 is a one day tournament with a faster time control and lower entry fee, it has more potential than the 2-day PCC tournaments to get more new players, casual players, kids, and players who want to pay less to play in a tournament and all these groups of players are more likely to be deterred from playing if they are required to pay extra for state membership. 2) Requiring state membership at the Sectionals and Extravaganza would make these tournaments qualifiers for the Challengers section of the Oregon Closed. 3) This proposal also makes the PCC tournaments more consistent in that all of the monthly tournaments (Sunday Quads, Game in 60, Tuesday Quads/Club Championship, and the Unrated Rapid/Portland Rapid and Blitz Championships) would not require state membership while all of the annual tournaments would. The proposal passed with no one opposed and takes effect immediately. There was also discussion on how to lessen the noise in the skittles room during tournaments.
Tuesday Quads (January 8-29):This month’s edition started a week later than usual to avoid playing on New Year’s Day. The tournament was run by Mike Morris and got a good turnout of fourteen players who were split into two quads and a 3-round Swiss among the bottom six players. NM Jason Cigan and Karl Cosner tied for first in quad 1 with 2/3, with Jason winning their matchup in round 2. Sean O’Connell won quad 2 with 2.5/3. Dashiell Shulman swept the Swiss with a perfect 3-0, gaining around 150 rating points and achieving a new peak rating. Brian Berger and Arliss Dietz tied for second in the Swiss with 2/3. There was one player playing in his first US Chess rated tournament, Alexander Buckner.