Author: John Wright, SGVCC President

2022 San Gabriel Valley Open Chess Tournament
Chess Feature
Exciting Finish to SGVCC Open!

The SGVCC Open drew 40 players and concluded on June 14, 2022. NM Karl Tolentino was the winner, but it took a last round win over front runner Alam LaCombe to seal the deal. The early story was the outstanding performances of Leo Wang (1849) and Manu Prasad (1590), who both upset higher-rated players and found themselves leading the field with perfect 3-0 scores. Leo Wang is the younger brother of local legend IM Annie Wang and had upset Tolentino while Prasad took down two strong 1900 players. Their Round 4 battle (Photo 1) ended in a draw, leaving them in a three-way tie with LaCombe at 3.5.

2022 San Gabriel Valley Open Chess Tournament
Karl Tolentino (L) and Alan LaCombe (R) battle for first place in Round 6

 But never count out the top players! Round 5 saw LaCombe beat Wang and Tolentino stop Prasad, setting up a last round game between them. Fittingly, it was the last game of the night and hard fought (see photo).

All eyes were on Leo Wang (foreground) and Manu Prasad (background) after they starred 3-0 and faced each other on Board 1.

So it was Tolentino clear first at 5, LaCombe, Wang and Craig Vierregg tied for second at 4.5. Vierreg continues to turn in good results and improve his rating, having risen to 1764 since first coming to SGVCC last October with an old 1517 rating. Other notable results were Rohan Daftuar, best U1400 with 4 and new members Neel Deshpande and Omkar Kanse winning best U1000 with 2 points each. 

Our latest event, Summer Fun, is currently underway and attracted a new record 51 players. Check out the standings at https://caissachess.net/live/1625.

Chess Match
Chess Club News
King of the Mountain!

Top rated Karl Tolentino won the Echo Mountain Open, a five round event that concluded on February 1, 2022. He went an undefeated 5-0 but had to fend off a last round challenge that made things interesting. It’s the National Master’s second clear first in just three events. Expert (and 5 time NM) Randall Hough was clear second at 4-1, only losing to Tolentino. Thirty-one players participated.

If you follow the results for our events you’ll notice that “fighting chess” is a hallmark of SGVCC and there are usually very few draws. With an ever increasing number of talented youngsters and under-rated adults, the top players get no rest. This event was no exception when in Round 1 twelve year old Benjamin Teng (1689) took down Will Webster (2165), who barely got a chance to savor the fruits of his recent Holiday Open Championship. Always the realist about his play, Will took it in stride and almost managed to climb back into contention but for needing a second round bye (check out Will’s blog on this game and others at this site).

As usual there were a number of good storylines. David Faulkner continued his good play from our last event and was 2.5 in his first three rounds, having defeated a player 300 points above his own rating and also drawing one 500 points higher. This landed him on Board 1 in Round 4 against Tolentino. Did we say Karl was undefeated?! Also, ten year old Ashley Lin (1303) put together a three game winning streak in Rounds 2 through 4, setting her up for a last round showdown with Hough where she put up a tough fight.

As has been the case, we continue to pick up new members and appreciate the continued support of all who have been playing. The Millard Falls Open is currently underway and you can track the results at this website. Our next event will start March 15th, so stay tuned for details!

Chess Tournaments
Aleksenko Perfect in Euwe Open!

Artem Aleksenko went an undefeated 5-0 to win the Euwe Open, our most recent Friday  night online event. He finished in style with a nice game against NM John Wright where he delivered  a knockout blow after Black snatched a pawn with Qxd4.

NM  Larry Stevens took second with 3.5, his only loss also by Artem. Special kudos to Russel Keating who won his last 3 games, including a win over the always tough Arturo Armagnac.

A new Friday online event starts October 29, sign up here

https://caissachess.net/online-registration/index/1241

Chess Tournaments
Decisive Results in Euwe Open

Round 1 combatants gave no quarter to their fellow SGVCC members—all five matches were decisive and three ended in checkmate. Newcomer Jason Nicholson had a strong debut, Larry played a nice endgame, and Artem and Arturo showed off their tactics. Your humble author got s break from Russel, who had the better game. Check out the games and comments below.

Chess Tournaments
Larry Stevens Wins Capa Open

Congrats to NM Larry Stevens who only gave up a draw in his march to first place in the Capablanca Open. “Mr. e4” scores a nice win over top seed NM Axel Müller along the way. The event only had 8 participants and we are hoping more of you will join us for the 5 round Euwe Open that starts on September 17th. It will be played at our usual LiChess SGVCC Site. You need to join SGVCC at that site and let us know if you need any assistance.

Sign up here:
https://caissachess.net/online-registration/index/1174

We will also hold The Cardano Open, a 6 minute +1 Arena Blitz event on September 10th. Join the fun!

Join us here: https://lichess.org/tournament/gZDPksxW. The password is:

sgv

Chess Club News
Sierra Madre YMCA Update

We had hoped to return to the YMCA in August for in-person chess but the site is not yet available. After a shutdown during much of the last year, the YMCA is currently only open until 8:00 p.m. Also , the space we were using is only being used for summer camps at present. We have been in contact with YMCA management and they are certainly open to having us return when circumstances allow. Like many organizations they lost revenue and staff during the pandemic. We are still hopeful we will be able to return in the Fall and will keep everyone informed .

But we also think it wise to have a back-up plan. So we are in the process of looking for another site, even if it is just a temporary one until we can get back to the YMCA. Unfortunately the new rise in COVID cases due to the Delta variant might complicate things. If any member has a specific site they think may be interested in working with us please let us know. In the meantime all memberships that we’re paid last year remain valid and will be extended for whatever period you signed up for. So were we to be able to start in-person meetings again in September of this year, that membership would now be valid until September 2022.

We truly appreciate the patience and support you have all shown. We are continuing to host online events so check the SGVCC Website for details. Hoping to have everyone back together soon!

Chess Tournaments
Club League Round 5

Our upcoming match against Borba Gato Chess Club of Brazil is tentatively set for Friday, July 16, at 7:00 p.m. The match is played on Chess.com and you can find updated info on Season 3 of Club League at our Chess.com San Gabriel Valley CC site. Just click on the Club link and then “ News.”