66th Annual Oregon Open (September 3-5)
This year’s Oregon Open got a record 179 players! Excluding national events, this is the largest tournament ever sponsored by the Oregon Chess Federation and only one player short of tying the PCC Centennial Open back in 2011 for the largest tournament ever sponsored by the Portland Chess Club. The field included players from as far as Massachusetts, New York, Colorado, Nevada, California, Idaho, and British Columbia. The field included local GM Jim Tarjan and IM Justin Sarkar from New York, the highest rated player in the field with a US Chess rating of 2511.
For the fourth straight year the tournament was held at the Lloyd Center DoubleTree hotel in Portland. The chief TD for the tournament was US Chess Senior TD and FIDE National Arbiter Grisha Alpernas. He was assisted at on-site registration on the first day by Mike Morris, Micah Smith, Danny Phipps, Andrei Botez, and Mike Janniro. He was assisted at on-site registration on the second day by Mike Morris and Micah Smith. Andrei also played as a house player for some of the rounds in the Open and U2000 sections.
A number of new features were incorporated into this year’s Oregon Open. Mike Morris had the idea of having a $10,000 guaranteed prize fund, the same as the prize fund for the highly successful PCC Centennial. The prize fund for the last several Oregon Open’s was $3600 guaranteed. Most players don’t play chess for the money but having the $10,000 guaranteed prize fund added to the prestige of the event. We essentially used the same prize allocation that was used at the PCC Centennial. Micah Smith suggested adding a third section to encourage more lower rated players to play. In the past the Oregon Open generally hasn’t gotten nearly as high of a percentage of lower rated players as other big tournaments and we thought one of the main reasons was the fact that it only had Open and U1800 sections while most of the other big tournaments have some lower rating based sections. We decided to have the sections at Open, U2000, and U1600. It appeared the U1600 section did help encourage a lot more lower rated players to play. Micah also suggested using a time control that could roughly last around 5-hours instead of the traditional 6-hour time control used in the past (and we decided to use 40/120;SD/30;d5). All of the major open tournaments in the US (and even some of the top tournaments in the world) have switched from using a 6-hour time control to a 5-hour time control since playing a 6-hour game can be quite grueling, especially if there are two rounds in one day. Using 5-hour games also allows for a much better schedule. The morning rounds on the last two days are able to have a later start time, there is more time off in-between the rounds for players whose games go the full time, and the evening rounds don’t go as late for players whose games went the full time. Micah also had the idea of having trophy prizes for the juniors under 19 in the U1600 section (if they did well enough) who chose not be eligible for money prizes by paying a lower entry fee. Lennart Bjorksten brought up the idea of having a 2-day schedule in addition to the normal 3-day schedule. The 2-day schedule accommodates players who can’t play on the first day (including scholastic players who played in the scholastic side event on the first day that was run by the Oregon Scholastic Chess Federation), players from out-of-town who don’t want to pay for an extra night at a hotel, and players who like faster time controls. It appears the 2-day schedule was successful in getting more players, especially lower rated scholastic players. We also thought having a blitz side event would be a good idea, as we had at the Cenntennial. Micah Smith set all the details for the blitz.
FM Chris Chase (from Massachusetts) won the sixty-three player, FIDE and US Chess rated Open section with 5.5/6 and won $2000. Jason Cigan finished second with 5/6, winning $1000 and gaining around 50 rating points which was enough to put his rating over 2200 for the first time. For getting to 2200, Jason receives the National Master title, which had been a goal of his for a long time. As the top Oregon finisher, Jason also qualifies for the Oregon State Championship (however, he likely would have qualified based on rating anyway). IM Justin Sarkar, GM Jim Tarjan, FM Nick Raptis, NM John Doknjas (from British Columbia), and LM Josh Sinanan tied for third with 4.5/6. John took the 1st U2200 prize of $500 while the other four split the third place prize, each winning $125. As the second highest finishing Oregon resident, Jim qualifies for the Oregon Invitational Tournament but he will definitely qualify for the higher level Oregon State Championship, which runs alongside the Invitational, based on rating. NM Cale McCormick, Seth Talyansky, Dakota Dixon, and Ryan Richardson split the 2nd and 3rd U2200 prizes, each winning $125. Seth also achieved his 5th, Candidate Master norm and thus was awarded the Candidate master title. Other Big rating gains and titles were achieved in the Open section by Anshul Ahluwalia (around 100 points) Samuel Deng (around 75 points), Alex Grom (around 50 points), Danny Phipps (around 40 points), Sridhar Seshadri (around 40 points), Arjun Thomas (1st Category title), Ray Lipin, (1st Category title), and Davey Jones (2nd Category title).
Neil Doknjas (from British Columbia) won the fifty-one player U2000 section with 5.5/6, winning $1000 and gaining around 90 rating points. Brent Baxter and Aaron Nicoski tied for second with 5/6. They split the 2nd overall and 1st U1800 prizes, each winning $550 and gaining around 55 rating points. This was enough to give Aaron a new peak peak rating. Moshe Rachmuth, Steven Merwin, and Dave Murray split the 3rd place prize with 4.5/6, each winning $133.33. Dave also gained around 50 rating points. David Yoshinaga and Numan Abdul-Mujeeb split the 2nd and 3rd U1800 prizes, each winning $250. David also gained around 55 rating points. Other big rating gains and titles were achieved in the U2000 section by Sean Uan-Zo-LI (around 90 points), Kerry Van Veen (around 85 points), Andrew Jiang (around 85 points), Ari Bluffstone (around 80 points), Robert Malone (around 60 points and the 2nd Category title), Bill Gagnon (around 45 points), Jake Winkler (around 45 points), Kevin Xu (3rd Category title), and James Tsai (4th Category title).
Harry Demarest, Anne-Marie Velea, and Roshen Nair tied for first in the sixty-six player U1600 section with 5/6. Harry and Anne-Marie split the 1st and 2nd place prizes, each winning $400. Roshen had chosen the lower entry option and thus won a trophy instead of money. He also gained around 120 rating points and has now gained rating points in the last six US Chess rated tournaments he has played in. Eric Erard, Jeremy Harlin, Rohan Vora, Curtis Ware, and Hristo Arabadjiev were the next best finishers, all with 4.5/6. Eric and Jeremy split the 3rd place prize, each wnning $100. Jeremy also achieved the 4th Category title. Rohan and Curtis split the 1st and 2nd U1400 prizes, each winning $400. Rohan also gained around 90 rating points while Curtis gained around 60. Hristo won the unrated prize of $200 (unrated players were limited to the place prizes in the Open section and the unrated prize in the U1600 section). Sophie Velea and Brian Lee split the 3rd U1400 prize with 4/6, each winning $100. Sophie also gained around 170 rating points while Brian gained around 60. Fedor Semenov won the U1200 prize with 3.5/6, winning $300 and gaining around 145 rating points. Other big rating gains and titles were achieved in the U1600 section by Abbie Wu (over 500 points to her provisional rating), Kevin Wu (around 230 points to his provisional rating), Nikhil Samudrala (around 185 points) Elden Burns (around 120 points to his provisional rating), Ian Vo (around 110 points), Neena Feldman (around 110 rating poinst), Brian Morris (around 105 points and the 3rd Category title), Clifton Harris (around 100 points), Cassandra Roshu (around 90 points) Jerid Harlin (around 90 points), James Wei (around 80 points), Ethan Pogrebinsky (around 70 points), David Merrikin (around 55 points), Ethan Truong (around 40 points), and Jordan Henderson (around 40 points). Besides Hristo, there were three other players playing in their first US Chess rated event, Jacob Newhall, and sister and brother Zoey Tang and Austin Tang.
The blitz side event was held in-between rounds 3 and 4 of the 3-day schedule. We thought this would be the best time to schedule the blitz since there was already going to be extra time in-between rounds 3 and 4 for the annual Oregon Chess Federation membership meeting. Very few players attend the OCF meeting so we didn’t think there would be much conflict in scheduling the blitz around the same time. There were under prizes at U1900 and U1500 (with eligibility geberally being based on the higher of a players regular and blitz rating) so the blitz would have different under prizes from the main tournament. The blitz was run by Mike Janniro with assistance from Mike Morris at registration. It got a nice turnout of twenty-two players. FM Nick Raptis won the blitz with 9/10 and won $154. Joshua Grabinsky finished second with 7.5/10 and won $88. Michael Moore won the U1900 prize of $66 with 6/10. Eric Erard won the U1500 prize of $44 with 5.5/10. Big rating gains in the blitz were achieved by Jason Yu (around 75 points), Dakota Dixon (around 70 points), and Jordan Henderson (around 55 points).
Quad 45 (September 17): This month’s edition was run by Micah Smith with assistance from Mike Janniro at registration. It got a nice turnout of twenty-two players and was split into four quads and a six player Swiss. The bottom six ranked players was made the Swiss in an attempt to avoid brother and sister Kevin and Abbie Wu from having to play each other. For the second straight month (and only times at the Quad 45) there were three players in the top quad who were 2000+. Ryan Richardson won Quad 1 with 2.5/3 and won a book. Andrea Botez won quad 2 with 2/3. She was eligible to select a book as well as a medal as a scholastic player who won with 2/3 but declined. Roshen Nair and Praveer Sharan tied for first in quad 3 with 2/3, with Praveer winning their matchup in round 3. They both won a book and medal. Praveer also gained around 40 rating points while Roshen added to his peak rating and has now gained rating points in the last seven US Chess rated tournaments he has played in. David Roshu won quad 4 with a perfect 3-0. He gained around 115 rating points and won a book as well as a trophy as a scholastic player who went 3-0. Kevin Wu won the Swiss with a perfect 3-0. He added around 75 points to his provisional rating and won a book and trophy. Abbie Wu and Pierre-Hadrien Beauchet tied for second in the Swiss with 2/3. Pierre added around 220 points to his provisional rating. There were two players playing in their first US Chess rated tournament, Emma Gurcan and Laxmisri Reddy. The blitz side event did not get enough players to be held. Due to the lack of players, we have decided to stop holding the blitz for the foreseeable future.
Tuesday Quads (September 6-20): This month’s edition was run by Mike Morris and got ten players. This is decent turnout for the Tuesday Quads, especially considering the tournament started the day after the Oregon Open ended. Due to the spread in ratings, it was split into a quad with the top four rated players and a six-player Swiss with the bottom six rated players. Due to the Club Championship starting on the last Tuesday in September, this month’s Tuesday Quads were limited to three rounds with there only being three available Tuesdays in the month. NM Steen Deeth won the quad with 2.5/3. Steve Surak gained around 40 rating points in the quad. Brian Berger won the Swiss with a perfect 3-0 and gained around 135 rating points. Dave Murray and Ari Bluffstone tied for second with 2/3. Note there are no Tuesday Quads in October due to the Club Championship.
Game in 60 (September 24): This month’s edition was run by Lennart Bjorksten with assistance at registration from Danny Phipps. Danny also played in the event while Lennart agreed to play an extra game in round three against the player who received a full point bye. Rusty Miller generously donated an extra $15 to the winner of the lowest rating based prize. There were twenty-seven players so it was run in one section. Matt Zavortink finished first with a perfect 4-0 and won $81. FM Nick Raptis finished second with 3.5/4 and won $54. Steven Witt, Dave Murray, Andrea Botez, and Will Holloran tied for third with 3/4. Steven and Dave split the third place prize, each winning $20.25. Andrea won the U1800/unrated prize of $47.25, and Will won the U1500/unrated prize of $62.25 and added around 80 points to his provisional rating. Other big rating gains were achieved by Kevin Wu (around 190 points to his provisional rating), William Nobles (around 170 points to his provisional rating), Abbie Wu (around 105 points to her provisional rating), Cassandra Roshu (around 115 points), Kushal Pai (around 60 points), and Brian Lee (around 50 points).