Congratulations to Raymond Armagnac for winning the second edition of the Sierra Madre Open. Starting with three wins it was enough to draw the last two games to cruise to first place. Lawrence Stevens, Arthur Shao Zhang, and Arturo Armagnac tied for second and thus giving us an exciting tiebreaker this Friday.
As in our last tournament we have cash prizes for the top two players overall ($50 and $30) and the top two players under 1800 ($30 and $20).
The battle for second prize will decide how many under 1800 prizes will be available. If Arturo Armagnac repeats his fantastic blitz performance Rafi Andranigan will clinch first in the under 1800 category and Artem Aleksenko second.
It might be a good idea not to wait till the last minute for sign up. I might not be there for the start of the arena to help out. It might also be a good idea to read the rules for the arena, if not you might be surprised why some people only get half of the time playing you.
In round two we were treated to a couple of miniatures and some topsy turvy games. You can play through all the games below. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to annotate all the games. But I had a closer look at Timothy Bogan vs John Wright and Russel Keating vs Artem Aleksenko. Both games are very instructive.
The Steinitz Open concluded with a dramatic finish that saw Larry Stevens, Gerald Ruiz, and Kyan Hsu tying for first. A 2h blitz arena was needed to break the ties.
Kyan took an early lead with three early wins while Gerald and Larry each started their tournament with a loss. Kyan took full advantage of the Lichess regulations by collecting bonus points with his winning streaks as well as going into Berserk mode. Kyan also managed to play 15 games in the allotted time while Gerald and Larry only completed ten and nine games respectively. Kyan’s aggressive play and tactical acumen were also essential ingredients for his win. Congratulations! Gerald finished 4th with a respectable 24 points and secured his second place overall. After playing a fantastic tournament in the open Larry was not able to adjust to his first Arena tiebreaker. But I’m sure he learned a valuable lesson and is a contender for first in our next tournament.
Thanks to Kyan winning the tournament a prize in the under 1800 category became available. Arturo Armagnac, thanks to his performance in the Open, took first and Lisa Willis, thanks to her blitz skills came in second.
You can find the results of the Steinitz Arena Tiebreakers here:
It took some effort, but we managed to get back to an even score after our win over Billiards’s Chess Club in Round 3. We had faced a very strong SoCal rival, LA Fortress in Round 1, which we lost, but then drew our Round 2 match against the Boyleston Chess Club of Boston. Our biggest problem had been in the Blitz portion for the matches–which count the same as the Rapid. The 3 minute with 2 second increment t/c had been brutal. After winning the Rapid section against Boyleston, we only managed one draw out of 10 games in the Blitz section. And against basically the same players we had just beat!
So Co-Team Admin Laura Nyström put out an APB for Blitz help (remember you can play in only one section if you prefer). We also had a later 4:00 pm start time, which might have helped as we had our biggest turnout with seven players. Unfortunately not everyone got a game as the other team did not have as many players, so sorry to those that were affected. But we did have some new faces in the Blitz section, including NM and Club Treasurer Axel Müller, Chris “Dr. Nimzo” Stychinsky, and Arturo Armagnac.
After winning the Rapid Section 5-3, it looked like we were in for our usual heartache in the Blitz. We were down a full point after the first set of games. But then Axel, Chris, and Arturo combined to score 3 out of 4 points in the second set of games and the comeback was complete! Axel won both his blitz games on Board 1 and Arturo did a great job on Board 4 with a win and a draw. Your reporter declined to play the blitz section and is glad he did!
But, like all team matches, every win or draw is critical, so kudos to all. A couple of games from the Rapid Section of Round 3 that caught my attention were Capatal 2’s nice handling of the Torre Attack:
Also take a look at Richard “Rippapawnoff’” Reid’s 83-move win with the French Defense. Who knew you could play this many moves in a 15 minute game!
You can check out the Round 3 games and all the matches from Season 2 below. If you like the later start time please let us know in the comments and we will do our best to work it out with our future opponents. Hope we see many of you back for Round 4 this Saturday!
Disaster struck early on boards 1 and 4. Larry Stevens showed his deep understanding of the French. The subtle 8. Bd3 gave him a great position against John Hale, a lifetime French player. John erred a few moves later and the game was over. Chris Stychinsky got steamrolled by Gerald Ruiz Morra gambit:
Chris just played 6 … Nf6. How does Gerald punish him?
Hamlet Tovmasyan found himself in a difficult position against me. The opening clearly didn’t go his way. But he defended tenaciously and we reached the following position:
How should black proceed?
Artem Aleksenko and Arturo Armagnac fought a battle with many ups and downs. But it was Artem who made the last mistake
Black has a huge advantage, how can he finish the game?
Russel played a fantastic game against Lisa but stumbled just before forcing Lisa to resign.
Kyan Hsu mounted a ferocious attack against Manu Prasad weakened dark squares and delivered a picturesque checkmate.
David Faulkner and Patrick van Haeren chose the queen’s gambit accepted as their battle ground. David didn’t allow much counterplay by skillfully exploited black’s queenside weaknesses.
Randy Hough and John Wright had one of their ongoing discussions in the exchange Slav which ended in John’s favor this time.
Here are the games with some annotations. Feel free to comment.
Standings and pairings for round 4 can be found here:
John Hale and Larry Stevens took the lead after winning their round two games. Gerald Ruiz unleashed a ferocious attack against John Hale’s king and chased him all across the board but with Gerald’s time running low John was able to get in a tactical shot that reversed the course of the game. Against Arturo Armagnac Larry opted for a romantic version of the King’s Gambit with 3. Bc4 and soon he got a dream position, total central control, the bishop pair and no queens to harass the misplaced white king. Arturo made good use of his two knights to launch a counter attack which Larry was able to fend off. Eventually, the players reached an equal knight ending that was a bit easier to play for white and eventually Larry reached a winning pawn ending.
Chris Stychinsky knew that my protected passed pawn was not enough for me to win the pawn ending with a couple of accurate moves he shut my king out and soon afterwards we had a threefold repetition.
Hamlet Tovmasyan sacrificed an exchange early in his game against Randy Hough. Eventually, his pair of bishops and an advanced passed d-pawn proofed to be sufficient compensation. Randy acknowledged this and returned the exchange for the d-pawn to reach a dead-drawn rook and minor piece ending. The evaluation didn’t change after the minor pieces came off. But after trading the rooks Randy was suddenly lost.
Feeling that he didn’t deserve the full point Hamlet played 67. Kf5 to draw the game.
Patrick van Haeren got a great position against Artem Aleksenko’s Alekhine Defense. But after winning the e4 pawn Artem was able to throw all his pieces against Patrick’s castled king and eventually broke through.
Stanley Zezotarski kindly agreed to play Manu Prasad as the house player. Stanley opted for a King’s Indian Attack setup against the Manu’s Pirc Defense. Manu eventually won the e4 pawn at the cost of piece coordination. In the ensuing struggle to reactivate his pieces Manu missed a tactical shot and resigned soon afterwards.
Kyan Hsu played the somewhate offbeat 2. b3 variation against David Faulkner’s Sicilian. But after a dozen moves we reached a relatively normal looking Sicilian position. Kyan was able to tempt David to weaken the d5 square. Kyan used this square as the launchpad for his irresistible attack.
Here are the games with some annotations:
As usual, the pairings for the next round can be found here:
First round match starts this Saturday, November 7, at 10:00 a.m. PST, against LA Fortress. There is an important change from Season 1: There are now two segments to the match, a Rapid 15/2 time control and a Blitz 3/2 time control. You can play in both or just one if you prefer. The Blitz match will start at 11:15, following the conclusion of the Rapid segment. Both segments count the same for total score. So, if the Rapid is a tie, then the Blitz could decide, and vice-versa. We are expecting about six players on the LA Fortess side. Registration for each segment starts one hour before the start of that segment. Again, you can join in for the Rapid, Blitz or BOTH segments. Hope to see many of you join us!
The first round of the Steinitz Open is in the books and the rating favorites prevailed. Russel and Kyan each came in striking distance of an upset. They outplayed their higher rated opponents but stumbled in their endgames. Gerald reminded everyone why his Lichess username is Gambit_Guy by winning a very nice Morra Gambit game.
Below are the games with some annotation.
The second round Hamlet Tovmasyan and John Hale will join us. The games start Friday, November 6th at 7.10pm.