Category: Chess Club News

LA Chess Social
Chess Club News
Social Chess at Odyssey Games in Pasadena

For those looking for casual and a social atmosphere, come to Odyssey Games Sat. night in Pasadena — 1795 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91106 (formerly Game Empire). All ages welcome. This is unrated, social play, no membership required. Meetups are planned for Sat. Feb. 26th, March 5th, March 12th, March 19th and March 26th. Bring your board and clock. Hosted courtesy of Odyssey Games and administered by Jimmy D via Meetup.com at: https://www.meetup.com/odyssey-games/events/283784823 I went Saturday Feb. 19th and it was pretty fun. Come meet new friends!

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 Club News
Webster and Vieregg Share First at the Holiday Swiss

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.

Enjoy Will’s annotations:

Chess Club News
Experience Prevails at Altadena Open

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:

https://caissachess.net/online-registration/index/1263

Alta Dena Community Church
Chess Club News
In-Person Chess Returns to San Gabriel Valley Chess Club October 19th!

New Site – New Night!

We are very pleased to announce that we will hold “The Altadena Open,” a five round Swiss starting Tuesday, October 19, 2021, at the Altadena Community Church located at 943 East Altadena Drive in Altadena, CA 91001, our new meeting site. All existing Club memberships will be honored and reset anew. You may register in advance here:
https://caissachess.net/online-registration/index/1214

It has been 17 months since our last event at the Sierra Madre YMCA, a site we truly loved but unable to reopen for our needs since the pandemic.  We also know that Friday night chess has a long tradition in our area, but it is not a night where we can find an available site.  So, like the Arcadia Chess Club–which met on a work/school night for years with great success–we will do the same. 

Play will take place at the Church’s Heicher Hall, a large building that can seat 200 people with a stage, kitchen and private parking lot. Heicher Hall sits to the back and the right of the Church building. 

OTB Chess Club Altadena

The Church has two parking lots. The closest to the playing site entrance is the upper lot that you access by the driveway on the right. PLEASE DO NOT PARK IN ANY NUMBERED SPACE AS THEY ARE RESERVED FOR TENANTS. There is also a lower level lot off the street and street parking is available.

src=”https://sgvchess.club/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/SGVCC-Parking-Lot-A-2-rotated.jpeg” alt=””> src=”https://sgvchess.club/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/SGVCC-Parking-Lot-B-rotated.jpeg” alt=”Alta Dena Church Parking”>

Doors will open at 6:30 pm. and will close by 10:00pm.  As a result, we will have a single time control game each round like Game/85 with 5-second delay.  Games will start around 6:50.  Again, we understand this is not the time control some are used to, but we we either adapt to the situation or remain closed—something we have endured far too long. Register for the tournament here: https://caissachess.net/online-registration/index/1214

In Los Angeles County, everyone must still wear a mask in all indoor public settings, venues, gatherings, public and private businesses and at outdoor Mega Events, regardless of their vaccination status. When people wear a mask correctly, they protect others as well as themselves. Don’t make us ask, wear a mask.

So this is a new chapter in San Gabriel Valley Chess Club’s young story and one we hope you will share with us. 

Who could have known when we had our grand opening in March of 2020 what was forthcoming. Nor can anyone predict what is still in store. But as chess players, we do best in our games when we can adapt and respond to the unexpected. And so it is here.  We have found an opportunity to meet and play again in person during a most challenging time and that says a lot.

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!

Clubs League Season 3
Chess Club News
Clubs League Season 3 Returns June 12!

We are pleased to announce that SGVCC will once again participate in Club match play on the Chess.com site. This is your chance to show your club pride and share in the thrill of team match play.

Each match consist of two segments: a Rapid game at 15 plus 2 second increment followed by a Blitz game at  3/2. All games count the same and you can play in both segments or just one if you prefer.

The event will consist of seven matches played over  seven Saturdays starting June 12 thru July 31. July 10 is set aside for a makeup day if necessary. The match starts at 10:00 a.m. PST and generally ends by 11:30. Registration is open 1 hour before the start time and you can play as few or many matches as you like. We are asked to let the other team know how many players we expect each week and you can send that message to Team Administrator John Wright at JRWright on the Chess.com site. Again, it is fine if you can’t play at the last minute and this is just a way to let the team captains organize things so everyone hopefully gets a game.

Our first two seasons in Club League have been great fun and it is one of Chess.com’s most popular events. We have played clubs from all across the U.S., Mexico and South America. We hope to see many of you there!

Chess Club News
End of Year Events and First Birthday Tournament

With the Steinitz Open concluded we have two Fridays left before the holiday break.

We will hold two 2h G3+2 events. The person with the highest score (not cumulative) wins $50. Registration is free. However, if you feel the need for a donation you are welcome to do so:

paypal.me/sgvchessclub

You can register for the two blitz arenas here:

https://lichess.org/tournament/deYrR0nj

and here:

https://lichess.org/tournament/LF4cxem3

The password for both is:

sgv

There won’t be any tournaments on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1 but I’m happy to arrange something if there is demand.

On 01/08/2021 we will have the second edition of our Sierra Madre Open. Which will also mark the first anniversary of the San Gabriel Valley Chess Club. The tournament will be a 5 round Swiss held on Lichess with G60+10 games. As with our previous tournaments ties will be broken in a 2h G6+1 blitz arena which will take place on 02/120/2021.

You can register for the Sierra Madre open here:

https://caissachess.net/online-registration/index/910

Online registration requires a USCF ID. Your membership does not need to be active for this. If you don’t have a membership ID please contact me and I can sign you up.

Chess Club News
Mieses Arena Blitz Tournament

On Friday, Sept 11 at 7.10pm, we will be having our first blitz tournament on Lichess. Participation is restricted to members of our lichess team. So, make sure you request membership asap.

https://lichess.org/team/san-gabriel-valley-chess-club

Once a member of our team you can see the link for the tournament on the team site, see link above. Alternatively use the following link to join the tournament:

https://lichess.org/tournament/LVdxP3Um

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

SGVCC

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:

https://lichess.org/team/san-gabriel-valley-chess-club

Chess Club News
Instructive moments from our first online Swiss

We managed to play 56 games in our first online event. I’m very pleased that we got to see some very interesting fighting chess. The lower rated players certainly made their higher rated opponents work for every half point. I certainly got lucky more than once.

Below you can find some of the interesting positions that occured. You can find the solutions to the questions and more here on lichess.

Black took command of the position. What’s the best way to proceed?

In the next game black got a very good position out of the opening unfortunately the tide turned and we reached this position:

How should white proceede?

After a tough struggle we reach the following position. White to move and win:

White didn’t go for the kill in the previous position and a few moves later we reach this point:

Can black escape his fate?

In my game against Raphael I got a better position but suddenly we reached this position:

Raphael just played Qd4 threatening everything. Should white resign?

I just took a pawn on e4

Which knight should black take? Or should he play something different all together

There were many more interesting games played in this tournament. If you want to see one of your games published here please let me know. For more analysis head over to lichess. Once there become a member if you aren’t already and join our San Gabriel Valley Chess Club lichess team.

You can also play through the complete annotated games here.

Don’t forget next Friday we will have a 2h Arena blitz tournament on lichess. More on this soon.