Some Final Thoughts The Greensboro international Chess Festival Blog by Gary Newssom
Left to Right Thad Rogers, Alex Relyea, Rudy Abate, Bill Broich
Left to Right Alex Relyea, Kevin Hyde, Thad Rogers, Walter High, Gary Newsom, Bill Broich
The 2014 Greensboro International Chess Festival was a big undertaking and it took a great team to make it happen. The group you see above, with a couple of omissions I will share below, were responsible the event's success.. Most of us knew each other and had worked together or many occasions in the past. A couple hadn't. But this group started out good and only got better as the tournament progressed. I think all had a great time working such a prestigious event in reasonably low stress conditions. I got the impression that all were disappointed when it was over. Another day would have been fun. This is the best group I have ever worked with. There is already talk of "getting the band back together" for next year's event. Thad Rogers was the International Arbiter. He has been involved in chess for 40+ years and is always around the tournament scene in the Southeastern US. He was recently elected into the USCF Hall of Fame. Kevin Hyde is a FIDE Arbiter and served as pairings TD. This guy has a wonderful style. He is always in control. When he says something you can take it to the bank. He exudes authority but he delivers it with a soft touch. Alex Relyea is a seasoned TD from New Hampshire who is always ready with a witty one liner to keep things light in the TD room. Bill Broich came from Iowa to help us. He is just a solid guy who did everything right all weekend. Always where he was supposed to be. Very conscientious and authoritative but, much like Kevin, pulls it off without being overbearing. Rudy Abate is the North Carolina Chess Association president. He ran the NC Open and did his usual excellent job. There were a few more people who didn't get pictured here who were big contributors over the weekend. First I will mention Chacha DeJava, as he likes to be called. He worked morning noon and night as the tech guy, broadcasting games and testing his new camera system, which seemed to me to work very well. His website, chessstream.com, is already a very valuable one. Chacha is a talented guy who does great work for the chess community. Keith Hooker has stepped up a couple of years in a row now to be a floor TD in the NC Open room. This is a big help, since there were approximately 115 games going on in this room per round. It's hard to be available as much as needed. Keith did his usual solid job and was a pleasure to spend time with over the weekend. Finally, I can't leave out the ladies. Nita Patel (Alex Relyea's better half) jumped in and took control of some organizational duties in the Masters room, including keeping noise down when it starting building up in the hallway and making sure everyone's name plate was placed properly prior to the game. It's the little things like this that turn a reasonable event into a great one. Also, the wives of the organizerrs, Karen High and Jana Newsom have to put up with a lot out of us all year long as we plan for the event. Then, when Labor Day weekend finally arrives, they are front and center doing whatever it takes to make things run smoothly. Building this event and working with Dr Walter High has been one of the highlights of my chess "career". He is quite a guy and I am honored to work with him. Signing off for now. I think Walter and I have an appointment later this month to start planning for next year's event. Round and round we go!
My Game at the US Masters The Greensboro International Chess Tournament Blog by Gary Newsom Since this is my blog and I presumably get to write about things that I find interesting, I will do this post on...me. I hoped the opportunity would arise to play a game in the US Masters and sure enough I got my chance. My duties were mostly over after Sunday night. The tournament is on cruise control the mobs of people from the NC Open have gone home, and we get to take a breath, get a good night's sleep and enjoy it a bit on Monday. At about 11:30 this morning, the call I had been waiting for came in...we have a late withdrawal and a bye. Mark Ashland, receiver of the bye , wants to play a game. I am happy to oblige! Mark is a guy who I became Facebook friends with last year when he started inquiring about the event. He actually entered last years' event but had to withdraw before he came. Though we know each other via Facebook, we had never met until the pickup from the train station on Thursday when he came in along with GM Shimanov, a story I related early in this blog. Mark is a typical "garden-variety" (for lack of a better term) National Master. Guys like him are part of the old base of US Chess. A master level player in his younger days, so he qualifies for the US Masters, but probably due to life commitments, etc, etc, doesn't quite play at master strength on a day in day out basis anymore. ( I'm guessing and stereotyping a bit, Mark...hope you consider that a fair representation) I know * a lot* of guys like Mark and they usually can still play Master strength chess if you catch them on the right day. These guys are a big part of our event and deserve to be recognized for their achievements in the game. So I am going to show you our game....without notes, just a couple of quick comments. I played my pet line vs his Benko Gambit. A real struggle ensued in which there were quite a few small errors by both sides. Play went into a Knight and Pawn ending, where I am sure Mark thought he was going to have winning chances, but I almost turned the tables on him. Finally I went into a line that I thought was just going to dissolve all of the pieces, but I missed that Mark had a winning move. Fortunately for me, he missed it also and I hung on to the draw by the skin of my teeth. The winning move Mark missed was 54...Ke7 and I can't stop the pawn. I enjoyed my playing experience. Back to the real tournament in my next post.
Round 8 is complete Polish GM Maceija is 1/2 point ahead of the filed going into the last round, with the Croatian GM Zherebukh (who just ground down Kayden Troff in a Q + NP vs Q endgame) a half point behind. Those two will play in the last round. Three others are in the next group at 6. But you can see all of that on the chessstream page, so no use taking a lot of time with that here. The other race besides the one for 1st is the race for title norms. Here I can do some useful reporting...we seem to have four norm possibilities brewing. Canadian FM Preotu seems to be a lock for an IM norm...he may even get a GM norm with a last round win. He is paired with Troff. Should be a great struggle between two young guns. David Hua is in great shape for an IM norm...he may have it already secured based on his getting a high rated last round opponant which he did get as he is paired with Nyzhnyk. A draw would certainly lock down the norm. Atlanta master Michael Corallo is in a similar situation as he may have already clinched but could leave no doubt with a draw vs Romanenko. We also have Viswanadha going for an IM norm against Awonder Liang. Plenty of excitement and intrigue in the last round of what has been a great tournament.
Crunch Time Begins
The Greensboro International Chess Festival Blog by Gary Newsom The action heats up on Sunday afternoons as it is the money round for the NC Open and also the round where the contenders have started to separate themselves from the pretenders in the US Masters. Going into the last round of the NC Open, we have three players in with 3.5, Bozkurt, Fernando, Holmes and Schroer. Fernando was the recipient of a gift point from Patrick McCartney in round 4, with Patrick unable to close out a winning position in time trouble...A heartbreaking result being that Patrick is knocking on the door of that elusive 2200 rating. In the U2000, we have Zilburter in with a perfect 4.0 Newcombe, Chanda and Walsh are close on his heels with 3.5 The U1700 also has a perfect score, Mateli with 4.0 followed by McInnis, Ray, Shelton, Feng , Bounds and Snodgrass with 3.5 There will be a one on one battle for 1st in the U1400 sectioin as Palmer and Goldenfyer are both in with 4.0 and playing each other this round. After 5 rounds in the US Masters, we have a three way tie for 1st at 4.5 amongst GM's Macieja, Huschenbath and Troff. Sixth round pairings are Maceija-Huschenbath and Troff-Nyzhnik. There are a couple of players who are now officially on "Norm watch". NM David Hua is having an outstanding tournament with 3.5 including wins over GM's Jankovic and Moradiabadi. NM Michael Corallo of Georgia (that's the Georgia in the US of A...go South!) is also in at 3.5 with a win over IM Perdomo and a draw with GM Bosiocic. More to come as Sunday afternoon results come in.
Hangin' in the VIP Greensboro International Chess Festival Blog by Gary Newsom
I will let you guys in on a little secret. Some of you have heard rumors and wondered if they were true. Some have commented about the pulsating bass beat coming from a random room on the second floor. Others have commented on the large security guards standing at the door, only allowing an occasional entrant. Well, now after three years I will reveal the secret. There is a special VIP room for our GM guests. A place they can go after their games and chill out with the other A list types. Thought I would give you a sneak peek at the room, so I managed to slip a camera past the security guys before opening...couldn't do it once people started arriving because of course, what happens in the VIP stays in the VIP....
Saturday Scholastic Saturday is the day of the U1000 Greensboro International Scholastic.A total of twenty children participated in two sections. The "Kings" section, for players over 700 and the "Kinghts" section for those under. As it turned out we were perfectly split with 10 in each section. A good competition ensued with all players displaying good sportsmanship and having a good time. Every child went home with a trophy or a prize. The top winners of hardware were: In the Kings Section Thomas Shundi, who won the first lace trophy on tiebreak over Ross Guinen; and in the Knights Section Tate Aycock, who won the first place trophy on tiebreak over William Martin.
NC Open in Full Swing Greensboro International Chess Torunament Blog by Gary Newsom
It's been a while...I got tied up in organizational duties including directing the scholastic event. Even with our superstar team of directors and the decision Walter and I made to remove ourselves from chess related directing duites, we still have a pile of stuff to do in order to put on this event. As I write this, round three of the NC Open is underway. As you can see from the room shot provided here, we had a nice turnout. The tournament is running smoothly. Chacha was able to put a couple of his new camera game relayers in the Open room so you are enjoying some NC Open action live on the website. In addition to running the scholastic, I managed to couple of trips around the venue to see what was up. One of the noteworthy moments of my day is when a group of guys in Greensboro Chess Club shirts were congregated in front of the big screen game display. "Gary Newsom" I heard called from across the room...."Come over here ahd take a picture for us", There were literally 15 guys in their club shirts laughing and having a good time. The energy and camaraderie exuded was palpable. There is a lot of energy in the Greensboro chess scene. I think Scott McInniss can be singled out as the leader behind it, though it takes more than one guy to make it happen. I hear that Andrew Wall and Jens Kopeling are the other guys who help make Greensboro chess happen.
Signing off for now...more soon.
South Carolina NM Sam Copeland with WIM Alisa Melekhina in the background
Dual Events Greensboro International Chess Festival Blog by Gary Newsom We now have two of the three events going. Along with Round 3 of the US Masters, Round 1 of the NC Open began tonight. In the Open, Patrick McCartney reported a nice win over Schmuggerow.. Also of interest...to me anyway :-) ....is a good battle in the U1400 section between two of my peeps from the CLT (that's Charlotte, NC if you are not a gangsta) Kellie Smith and Rich Trela. They are battling it out in an even looking position. In the US Masters, early results include Lenderman over Sevian, an early victroy by Troff. IM Perdomo began a new win streak and IM Cox got a victory. I ran into Frank Johnson in the hallway tonight. It was interesting to hear him relate his experiences in getting to the tournament...first by bus from Atlanta to Greensboro and then by Uber from the bus station to the event. The Uber trip apparently included a ride down the railroad tracks. I enjoyed hearing the story. Being in the ground transportation business...running a professional company, I take delight in passing on Frank's experience with the random Uber driver that didn't know where he was going and literally drove them down the railroad track at one point. That absolutely *would not* happen if a real transportation outfit (like mine) was used/ :Let that be a lesson to all. It was good to see International Arbiter Thad Rogers get in the US Chess Hall of Fame. That is a well deserved which is the result of many years of serving the chess community. Walter High presented him the award tonight. I am sure I speak for Walter in saying that we were honored to be able to present this award and in doing so make many more people aware of this honor. More to come later.
Early in the action Sevian-Shimanov
Mid Afternoon Update Greensboro International Chess Festival Blog by Gary Newsom
Players are starting to arrive for the NC Open. The playing room is set. This being the third year we've done the event at the same hotel, we have got this thing down to a science. I have already seen many regular North Carolina weekend tournament warriors and a few old friends who I haven't seen in years. This event is a good way to bring players out of the woodwork! Round two is underway in the US Masters. Sevian is giving Shimalov all he can handle on one of the top boards. Rook and pawn ending looks to me like Sevian has really good winning chances. Down the line a bit, our hero from last night, Kenny Thomas, continued his strong play with a draw against Columbian GM Alonzo Zapata. That's 1.5 out of two for Kenny against the Columbian contingent. Maybe he should consider moving south! Things are about to get intense as the big crowd is about to come in for NC Open round 1. I will report back around 9PM when the dust settles! ...
First Round Roundup It was pretty much chalk in the first round, with a few notable exceptions. Two GM's gave up draws, with Kesav Viswanada putting up his 1/2 point early against GM Macieja, and veteran Virginia Master Steve Grenias holding tough against Hungarian GM Denes Boros. It looked like NM Burgess had IM Mulyar on the ropes, but the latter player was able to hold a tough endgame. IM Sarkar gave up a draw to Josh Colas. The upset of the night however, belonged to Kenny Thomas, who defeated IM Carlos Perdomo in a nice game in which Kenny was Black in an English opening. Kenny is a veteran player with dual residences in St Louis and Greenville, NC. Kenny is also an alumnus of the Pillsbury Chess Club, which thrived during the heydey of chess in Memphis, TN, a club in which I was also privileged to be a part of (Maybe there are a dozen or so readers out there....if I am lucky...who know the club and era I am referring to) Anyway, great job, old friend; you beat a very good player in IM Perdomo. Much appreciation goes to my better half (in the chess world) Dr Walter High, who did his usual outstanding job in putting together this field. And of course our better halves in the real world (Karen High and Jana Newsom) who work hard and sacrifice their Labor Day weekends in order to help us put on this event. The directing staff this year is first rate, with Thad Rogers, Kevin Hyde, Alex Relyea, Bill Broich, Rudy Abate and Keith Hooker. Thanks to all who helped get the event up and running. Checkin out for tonight. Look for a new update when something noteworthy happens. ---Gary Newsom
And they're off.... Greensboro International Chess Festival Blog by Gary Newsom
The 2014 US Masters is underway. A grand total of 82 players from 12 countries including 18 Grandmasters have begun play in the 2014 US Masters. Round 1 usually features some of the most lopsided pairings of the event and this year is no exception. So far the young guns are not faring well against the big horses. Noteworthy was giant killer Dominique Myers fairly quick loss to Kevin Wang. After his remarkable first round upset from last year's event, many were expecting something similar tonight, but, though he played in his usual swashbuckling style, his piece sac proved to be insufficient for the upset. Also, Richard Francisco was looking good early against GM Zherebukh, but an untimely blunder led to his ultimate demise. Pre tournament preparations went smoothly and the round got kicked off promptly. The only drama was provided by GM Alex Shimanov, who had some trouble getting here. He traveled all the way from St Petersburg (that's Russia, not Florida) , but when he reached the US his plane reservation from DC to Greensboro got messed up and he had to get on a train. Complicating the matter was that we *really* needed him to play round 1, as we need to have 20 foreign players competing in each round in order for the event to be classified as a super swiss. We have 23 total, but with some first round requested byes we were teetering on the edge. The round started at 7PM...his train arrived at 7:15PM. I was waiting for him at the Greensboro train station along with Maryland NM Mark Ashland. I whisked them both to the hotel. Shiminov got to his board at about 7:35 and as I write this is ahead on time now in his game. In our brief discussion on the way to the hotel, Alex related that he had left Russia 24 hours ago, flew to Frankfurt, then to DC before he got on the train. Twenty-four hours of travel and then he walks straight into the playing room and throws out 1.d4 against Gulimali. Live games, pairings and completed games are available from the link above. Keep watching this page for tournament updates, hopefully several times daily.