The Holiday Swiss concluded on December 21st and saw Wilton “Will” Webster and Craig Vieregg go 3.5 out of 4 to share first place. It was a Tale of Two Tournaments due to the accelerated pairing format and it would have been fun to see the two winners play each other had there been one more round. This was Craig’s second strong showing and no one is likely fooled anymore by his old 1517 rating from yesteryear. In only nine games over two SGVCC events he has gained 163 rating points!
Webster, on the other hand, was playing in his first SGVCC event and a bit of a chess enigma. A check of his USCF profile showed a near Master rating of 2143 based on only 23 games. Quite the affable fellow upon meeting him, the mystery became a bit clearer when he shared that he had a British Chess Federation rating from his days in college at Sussex and had put in a lot of work playing online games. Nevertheless, quite impressive. But his path to victory was anything but smooth. As he himself put it:
“One could also argue that the story line of my tournament was fighting on until things broke my way (drawing a losing position, winning a forcibly drawn position, and then winning two completely lost positions), but anyone who’s read my previous write-ups will already know that my proclivity toward swindling people after blundering is the rule, rather than the exception.”
Indeed! The two “completely lost positions” were in rounds 3 & 4, first against Raymond Armagnac (2159) and then NM Karl Tolentino. Raymond sacrificed material for a vicious attack but Will found a saving perpetual with his Queen. Never one to settle for the half point the “Big A” refused it and pushed on only to blunder later. In the final round Tolentino was up the exchange and again had what looked like an unstoppable mating attack. But Karl missed the one lone shot Black had with a knight check and resigned immediately. Such is chess.
A few other notable performances were David Faulkner, who won his last three games to finish at 3 points and 10 year old Ashley Lin. Lin went an undefeated 2.5 and earned draws against Class A player Nathan Gan and 1700+ rated David Munoz, raising her own rating from 1139 to 1320. Twenty eight players competed and not a bad turnout for an event in December. The Echo Mountain Open is currently underway.
Top rated Karl Tolentino won the five round Altadena Open with a score of 4.5 holding off several young challengers along the way. He took one bye and won the rest of his games. Learn from Karl’s instructive comments:
Sharing second were “veteran” players Raymond Armagnac and Tim Thompson at 4-1. With so many events dominated by young players these days our winners likely boosted the confidence of their peers.
Still, youth definitely made its presence felt. The Champ had to hold off Nathan Gan (see game) and Benjamin Teng to close the deal. Teng had beaten strong Expert Hamlet Tovmasyan in the penultimate round to set up a showdown with Tolentino. The 12 year old appeared to have a promising position as Black but got in time trouble and the National Master showed his mettle. Also deserving recognition were youngsters Ashley Lin (10) and Evelyn “Evie” Hsing (8), who both scored wins over higher rated opponents and netted over 100 rating points each.
But the early surprise was Craig Vieregg, who entered with an old 1517 rating form the year 1998. And after three rounds he had beaten one Expert, drawn another, and was tied for first! In Round 4 he faced Arturo Armagnac and had two passed pawns in a Queen ending. Never one to give up, Arturo found a perpetual check with his Queen and split the point. Thompson handed Vieregg his only loss in Round 5 but it was hard fought and quite a performance by Craig. Beware of old ratings! Online chess has shown that you can make big improvements without playing over the board chess.
This was our first event at our new location in Altadena and a pleasant surprise was the addition of 17 new SGVCC members. The event also had a number of unrated adults playing their very first rated event. So thank you to everyone for participating and getting us off to a good start! Our next event will be the Holiday Swiss, a four rounder starting November 30 and you can sign up here:
The pairings will be finalized on Tuesday evening, so for the moment these pairings you find there are preliminary.
The winner and the top <1800 player will get prizes. Since we might resume over the board chess games soon again we probably won’t have time for a tiebreaker this time.
Some of the players joining our online tournaments live too far away to join us for OTB tournaments and some players might not be ready yet for indoor meetings. If there is some demand I am more than happy to continue to offer online tournaments. We might have to opt for another time though. Please let me know what you think and send an email to: [email protected]
The first two rounds of the Louis Pasteur Memorial saw some exciting chess and some upsets. In round 1 David Faulkner narrowly missed a win and allowed Kevin Zhang to escape with a draw. In round 2 Kevin’s brother Arthur Zhang played a beautiful Italian and beat me quite convincingly.
Things obviously went wrong for me. How did Arthur finish the game in style?
Artem Aleksenko showed some good fighting spirit in both of his games. In his game against John Wright Artem kept pushing in a drawn rook ending and John, under time pressure, went wrong. In the second round Artem defended with a minute left against Gerald Ruiz assault and the game ended in a draw. Earlier Gerald, true to his name, sacrificed his queen and got very close to winning the game. Artem’s active defense muddied the waters enough to escape with a draw.
Larry Stevens is faithfully sticking to the Queen’s Gambit Accepted. Manu Prasad went for 3. Nc3
This is an inaccuracy. Larry treats us to a masterclass on how to exploit this.
The pairings for round three will be published on Tuesday evening at the usual place:
We are in trying to sort out things with the YMCA. But it seems they need some time to get up and running again. We will let you know when we can resume over the board tournaments. If there is sufficient interest we could have another G60 online tournament, perhaps three rounds in two segments. Let me know what you think.
The fight for first place was decided in the last round. Ariel came close to getting a big advantage against me on board one and catching me before the finish line. Gerald and Arthur are shared second and third. You can check out the final standings here: https://caissachess.net/live/995
The prize fund for this tournament is:
This time we will also have a $20 prize for the winner of the Blitz Arena (Players that won money in the main event are not eligible for this).
The annotated games of the last round can be found here:
Stay tuned for updates. L.A. county is entering the yellow tier, hence the Mark Rothko picture. We are in contact with the YMCA to figure out what the next steps are.
This is a private tournament and it is password protected. After clicking join a pop-up window will appear and ask for a password. The password is
On the tournament site you will also be able to see all the rules. It’s a 2h arena tournament. After your game you are paired as quickly as possible, so no need to wait too long, games are G5+5. The winner is whoever collects most points at the end of the 2h period. A win yields 2 points, a draw 1 point and a loss 0 points. While on a winning streak the points are doubled. In addition to this rule which we know from chess.com already. Players also have the option to go Berserk at the beginning of the game. This reduces their time to half of the initial time and the player also won’t get any time increment. In return a win yields an extra point.
Now, head over to lichess and sign up for the team and tournament: