Wednesday, June 17, 2009

National Open - Pictures and Recap

I'm finally catching up on my National Open reports, and I wanted share some pictures and last thoughts. Despite not playing very good chess, I did have fun. I also learned that I can't do the el cheapo variation and play a short schedule without being properly adjusted to the time change. Jet lag sucks, and does impact one's ability to see threats and come up with a decent plan.

The National Open draws from all over the country, though it definitely has a California flavor to it. 5 out of my 6 opponents were from Southern California. My last round opponent was from Virginia. My section alone had players from lots of different states including Hawaii. We even had players from Germany, United Kingdom and the Philippines.

USCF Executive Director
Bill Hall

Tom Nelson
Bowling buddy, and 6-0 in Under 1200!

As mentioned in a previous post I went bowling with Tom Nelson and his daughter. I also mentioned that he was had gotten off to a much better start then I had playing the two day schedule. He's from Colorado, so he did not have quite the jet lag problems I did. I did not want to jinx him by mentioning that he was kicking butt in the Under 1200 section starting off 4-0 as opposed to my staggering through the under 1800 section going 1-3. Sunday he was able to complete the sweep by winning both games. He had a very handsome pay day for a weekend's worth of chess. It was a heck of lot more then he gets for working at the scholastic nationals as the volunteer coordinator.

Rex Sinquefield
Founder St. Louis Chess Club and Scholastic Center

Rex Sinquefield was playing in my section, however I did not get a chance to play him. I definitely would like to make a trip to St. Louis sometime so that I can play at the chess club. I've seen pictures of it, and it looks amazing! I wish there was someone like him in New York to spiff up the Marshall Chess Club.

Grandmaster Row!!
GM Jaan Elvist checking on the competition.

Going into the last round there were 13 players sitting at the top with identical 4-1 scores. I was wondering if there were be all draws and a 13 way tie for first place. Nope. GM Varuzhan Akobian and IM Enrico Sevillano would win their sixth round games and tie for first. Those wins were good for a $4,641 pay day.

The tournament draws young, old and in between. The oldest player was Daniel Litowski, 92 years young! He's from San Francisco. He was playing in my section, and we were sitting near each other for much of the tournament. He has a better excuse for having the same 1700 rating as me. I hope at 92 I'm still alert and healthy enough to be travelling to tournaments.

Daniel Litowski
Oldest player at 92!

Jason Zhou and Al Losoff

My eight year old opponent from round two was not the youngest player. Jason Zhou of St. Louis is seven years old. He scored 4 points in the under 1200 section and took home the chess backpack he's holding in the picture and $78 for tying for 6th-13th place. Maybe I'll play him next year!

Michael La Budda of Alto Loma, CA
Why is this guy smiling?

Every year before the last round starts they have a raffle for various prizes. The grand prize is airfare and entry fee to next year's National Open. Michael La Budda had a damn good weekend. 4-2 score in the under 1400 section and winner of the grand prize. Heck I would been willing to go 0-6 if that guaranteed me the grand prize. I suppose I can't be too greedy. After all I won a trip to Seville, Spain last year and a really nice chess set at the 2007 US Open.

In addition to main tournament, Susan Polgar runs two events for girls and boys. There are different sections by age. One of my fellow New Yorkers, and some time opponent Linda Diaz won the girls under 19. She scored a perfect 5-0. In addition to the nice trophy she won, she received a Mon Roi and a digital clock. She also qualified for the Polgar Girls' Tournament of Champions in Texas this summer. Nice job Linda!

Linda Diaz
Girl's Under 1900 Champion

I will end this National Open report with my one win in the tournament. This was my fourth game on Saturday and the first one at the more civilized time limit of 40 moves in 2 hours, followed by game in 1 hour. All that time and we still were done in about two hours. It would have taken even less time if I had not kept overlooking killer moves. Fortunately this poor jet lagged soul came across someone who was having just as bad a start. It's not pretty, but it's a win.



chesstiger said...

It seems an intresting tournament so its a pity i cannot compete in it since i would take two weeks of at work. But who knows, maybe when i am old and have only free time i will compete in this super tournament.

Sam Sloan said...

You forgot to tell us your name.

Who wrote this?

Polly said...

Sam: The same person who has written everything on this blog, and who included you in one of her first posts.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy your blog. Your blog's name is cool.


Polly said...

Historian: Good luck to Claudia this weekend. I enjoyed reading the interviews.

TimmyBx said...

Polly, thanks for checking out the National Open post on my blog, - and leaving comments - they were really great. I liked your article a lot! Great pictures!!

Polly said...

Thanks Timmy. I always enjoy seeing other people's take on a tournament I play in, especially someone who was in the same section.