Category: Chess Tournaments

    Chess Tournaments
    Lasker Open: Striking Gold with Quirky Lines

    Mikhael Tal quipped “You must take your opponent into a deep dark forest where 2+2=5, and the path leading out is only wide enough for one.”

    This round we saw a number of games in which white invited black into the deep dark forest by choosing a provocative opening. We were treated to the Trompowski, the Jobova and the “regular” London, as well as the Bird Opening.

    David decided to go for a no-nonsense approach when confronted with the Trompowski

    and went for 2. … e6 and didn’t face any problems.

    Russel went for his trusted Jobava London again and was rewarded with a quick victory.

    Arturo got a fantastic attacking position by starting with 1. f4. The Bird is generally considered to be somewhat dubious, Stockfish NNUE actually prefers the moves a3, a4, or h3 to 1. f4. But if things go white’s way it’s easy to see why people like this opening.

    John and Chris picked established openings to fight their battles. Here is their King’s Indian/Benoni game.

    Randy showed again his versatility in positions arising from 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6. This time he picked the Bogo-Indian Defense and equalized without too much trouble.

    The other games played in round two can be found here.

    Chess Tournaments
    Close calls dominate the start of the Lasker Open

    The first round of a Swiss tournament is always special. The upper half of the field plays the lower half and the resulting pairings can be quite lopsided. Be that as it may, the rating favorites still need to win their games. And so they did, but some of the matches could have gone easily the other way.

    On board one Arturo Armagnac with the black pieces completely outplayed yours truly. Arturo punished me for mishandling his Leningrad Dutch and was rewarded with the following position:

    White’s position is pretty hopeless here. After 22 … b5 white will perish. (Un-)Fortunately, Arturo took on d5 and allowed counterplay on the b1-h7 diagonal.

    On board two David Faulkner put up a good fight against John Wright. A Caro Kann yielded the following situation:

    The bishop on b2 looks pretty sad. David had the chance here to transfer the bishop to the g1-a7 diagonal. Once the bishop appears on e3 black needs to watch out for sacrifices on b6. 26. Bc1 would have given white the upper hand.

    On board three Russel Keating faced Randy Hough. Russel stayed faithful to his Jobova London and could have wiped the black pieces off the board:

    Randy just played 15. … e5 hoping for 16. dxe5 Nxe5 which would solve all of black’s problems and this is what happened in the game. Can you spot how white could have punished black for opening up the position while being far behind in development? (You find the solution at the end of the post.)

    When you saw this post you might have wondered why I picked a picture of an old Latin book. This book is actually a chess book from 1500 (give or take a couple of decades) and one of the openings it discusses features in our game of the week played on board four between Chris Stychinsky and Patric van Haeren, a truly epic battle.

    It’s not too late to join us for round 2 this Friday.

    Solution for the Russel-Randy game:

    Chess Tournaments
    5 Round Lasker Tournament Starts Friday, September 18

    Our second 5 round double Swiss starts September 18. Each Friday we will play one double round. The players face each other in a two game minimatch with a time control of G25 and a 10 second increment starting at move 1.

    The rounds start Fridays at 7.10 pm. All games will be played on Lichess and players are required to join our Lichess team. Prior to the start of the match all players must log on to lichess, visit our team site and make their presence known in the team chat.

    If you haven’t already done so, submit a join request here:

    The registration fee for this tournament is $20. Families can contact us for a reduced entrance fee. 50% of the collected registration fees will be paid out in prize money.

    To register head over to

    or contact us by email and provide your name, email address, lichess username, and USCF ID (if available). Your most recent USCF rating will be used for pairing purposes only. The tournament will not be USCF rated.

    Update 9/15/20: You can pay the registration fee at the link above, or via Paypal by clicking the “Buy Now” button below

    or make a cheque payable to the San Gabriel Valley Chess Club and send it to our HQ at:

    1010 N Chester Street, Pasadena, CA 91104

    The deadline for registration is Friday, Sept. 18 at 5 pm.

    First round pairings will be announced by 6.30 pm.

    Chess Tournaments
    Member Analysis: The Son of Sorrow

    Our first online Swiss tournament produced a lot of interesting games. I went over a few games in my last post already. This post features one of the games played in the Randy-Lisa match.

    Randy, the rating-favorite, started the game with 1.d4 and Lisa immediately started to fight back by choosing the King’s Indian Defense. Randy killed any hopes of a black pawn storm against the white king by picking the fianchetto system and soon afterwards the game entered Benoni territory.

    The game offers a number of instructive moments. Randy was determined to show why this opening is called “Son of Sorrow”, hurled his d, e, and f pawns forward, and eventually crushed through black’s defenses. But in the process the white king got pretty exposed himself and black was not without counter chances.

    Anybody who would like to learn more about counter chances in the Benoni should have a look at the games of the late Vugar Gashimov. One of the few elite players that consistently played the Benoni.

    I hope you find my comments somewhat useful. If you want to see one of your games featured here, please let me know.

    But now without further ado

    Chess Cuisinart
    Chess Tournaments
    The ‘Chess Cuisinart’ of Daily Play

    SGVCC member “Wandering Knight” (aka Randall Hough) sets an early blazing trail with four straight wins against international Daily Club competition. Not beginners luck! Randy has more chess experience than most of us put together: National Master, National Tournament Director, International Arbiter and more. But what made him into the “Chess Cuisinart” of Daily Play? Let’s look and learn:

    Black opts for the ultra sharp Najdorf Sicilian defense and White plays a theoretical novelty (TN) on move 10 with f4, opening dark square weaknesses. Black hops on these weaknesses with 13)…Qb6!, Qa7, and follows with b5, then b4, picking up a pawn. After 20)…Nf2+ (again a dark square!) picking up more material and leading to the exposing of Whites’s king. A satisfying mate on g2 ends the game. Well done Randy!

    Chess Tournaments

    Please, use the following link to register:

    Standings at: 


    We are pleased to announce our first 5 round event starting August 7th and concluding on September 4th.

    Entry is free and rounds will start each Friday at 7:10 p.m. The games will be 25 minute + 10 sec. with two games against the same opponent per round. will be the playing site and’s rapid ratings will be used.

    We will also have a Prize Fund! Overall 1st-3rd is $60/40/30. Best Junior (u16), Senior (60 and over) and Best Female player are all $25 each. Registration ends on August 7th at 5pm. So sign up early!

    To join, use the Contact Form to send a message with your full name, USCF ID, and username before 4pm on Friday, August 7th.

    Games will start Fridays at 7:10 pm. To play, please log into the Live server a few minutes before the start of the round, and challenge your assigned opponent to a G25+10 game. After the game is finished, play a second game with reversed colors. Finally, download the PGN for both games and email them to Mention the round, players, and result in the subject.

    Clubs League
    Chess Tournaments
    SGVCC Goes International!

    We may all be physically stuck at home but your fellow Club members are making their presence felt abroad—online that is! We are presently in team matches against clubs from Scotland, France, and Singapore. We also have our old foes the Reno Chess Club. The matches started on July 15th and are what is called “Daily Play” by, who organized the event. But in fact it is more like old school correspondence chess as you have three days to make a move. Each participant plays two games against the same player in each match.

    The match against Singapore has the most players, with seven on each team. But someone may have forgotten to remind our opponents of the time control as Randy Hough won his first game in record time—-a mere 3 days! Randy was surprised at the speed of his opponent’s moves but certainly took advantage of it.  His e6 pawn push was a nice way to pick up the errant Black Bishop on g4. It is our featured game:

    In fact, we are now up 4-0 against the team from Bishan, Randy also won his second game and Chris Stychinsky, not to be outdone, also finished 2-0.

    But, it is much more likely that the matches are going to take many months to finish. We are still waiting for our match against Thousand Oaks Chess Club to conclude, which started last March and is 93% done, with @ObedientRunner playing the clock out in a lost position. We will be providing periodic updates but you can check out the games yourself by following these links:

    United Kingdom:





    Chess Tournaments Clubs League Concludes!

    After an ignominious start, losing 9-1 in our first match, SGVCC won three of its last four matches to finish 4-4 over 8 rounds. Matches were played on Saturdays with a game 15|2 sec t/c. The League was sponsored by and many thanks go to our own Laura Nyström for serving as our club administrator.

    In Round 8 we faced the Huntsville Club of Alabama. The city of Huntsville is nicknamed “Rocket City” for its NASA facility that employs over 6,000 people. And it looked like they were trying to send us into orbit early as we were down after the first round of games. But two wins in round two and a half-point forfeit gave us the victory.

    Clubs League Final Results

    Like traditional in-person team events there was a lot of excitement each match. It all comes down to how the team does and so even if you lost your own games you could cheer on your teammates. The playing site was ideal as you could see other games in real time and we had some amazing comeback games in the last round that had us fixated on our screens!

    The only downside we ran into were teams not having an even number of players, which meant some people did not always get a game. We apologize if this happened to you. It was never clear how many players would show for each team until the time of the event, so hopefully that improves.

    To see the full match results, including any game played during the match, visit:

    Thanks as well to all our members who participated! It was great fun meeting people from other clubs and checking out their club websites. Keep watching for the next rapid play Clubs League.

    Featured Game

    Standings After Round 8 (Final Round)
    1Chess Club ZebraW45W17W2W10W3W7W9W88.0401st
    2GROP Chess ClubW49W51L1W14W10W4W3W97.0402nd
    3Exeter Chess ClubW39W35W11W40L1W28L2W76.039.53rd
    4Chess Long IslandW8L15W29W19W21L2W20W126.0384th
    5Club Scacchi CesenaW13W16L40W18W11L9W17W106.0385th
    6Galeria de Xadrez Borba GatoL7L27W34W30W36W21W14W156.031.56th
    7Gill Saint Bernard’s KnightsW6W25W30W15W12L1D8L35.5427th
    8Cercle D’Echecs De HullL4W23W25W36W20W12D7L15.5398th
    9Chess Projects Club MilanoH—W24W51W17W40W5L1L25.5379th
    10Noble Park Chess ClubW33W14W28L1L2W18W32L55.04110th
    11Stockport Chess ClubW26W29L3W35L5W16W15L135.036.5
    12The Secret Dark Knight SocietyW34W42W20W46L7L8W25L45.036
    13Club Atletismo HuescaL5W39L24W29L16W33W31W115.033
    14TJ Valasska Bystrice – SachyW55L10W16L2W24W37L6X325.031
    15Saint Petersburg CC FloridaW44W4W46L7D42W19L11L64.537
    16TJ Bohemians PrahaW50L5L14W26W13L11W35D244.535
    17Aatos Chess ClubW52L1W33L9W39X40L5D184.533
    18SK Povazske PodhradieW47L40W48L5W35L10W28D174.533
    19Burlington Ambush Chess ClubW36L46W27L4W23L15W38D204.532
    20Los Pujamaderas Chess ClubW22W21L12W44L8X42L4D194.531
    21Los Angeles Chess FortressW41L20W53B—L4L6W23D254.529.5
    22San Gabriel Valley Chess ClubL20L44D41W53L37W30W36W384.524
    23Columbia SC Chess ClubL25L8W38W27L19W43L21W374.029
    24Airbus Chess ClubL51L9W13W49L14H—W29D164.028
    25ChessEmpire [Case Western Univ.]W23L7L8W37X46H—L12D214.027
    26Eagle and Child ChessL11D43D31L16W52L32W45W284.026.5
    27Aurora CC 2012L46W6L19L23W30L35D34W413.531
    28Schachclub Hochstadt a.d. AischW48H—L10W50W32L3L18L263.530.5
    29Badgers Brook Chess ClubW43L11L4L13D31W49L24W353.530
    30Club Depor. Esp. de Buenos AiresD37W38L7L6L27L22W44W433.529
    31Wimbledon Chess ClubL35W49D26L32D29W39L13D333.527.5
    32Circolo Scacchistico ForliveseL40W52D50W31L28W26L10F143.526.5
    33Hobart Chess ClubL10W45L17L41W44L13W49D313.525
    34Villages Chess Club of FloridaL12L36L6L38B—W44D27W453.523.5
    35Warley QuinborneW31L3W43L11L18W27L16L293.032.5
    36Billiards Cafe Chess ClubL19W34W37L8L6L38L22W493.031
    37Club Mariano MorenoD30W54L36L25W22L14D41L233.029.5
    38Huntsville Chess ClubD54L30L23W34D41W36L19L223.029
    39Echiquier du Grand AlesL3L13W52W47L17L31D43H—3.026.5
    40Club Ajedrez Puerta ElviraW32W18W5L3L9F173.026
    41Lincoln High School Chess ClubL21L53D22W33D38H—D37L273.024.5
    42Coachella Chess ClubW53L12W44H—D15F203.014
    43Lycee Francais D’Agadir CCL29D26L35D45X50L23D39L302.522.5
    44Reno Chess ClubL15W22L42L20L33L34L30B—2.027.5
    46IHOP Chess ClubW27W19L15L12F252.017.5
    47SK Ceska LipaL18L48W45L39U—U—W552.014
    48Schaakclub’t Ros DendermondeL28W47L18X512.011.5
    49Hermanus Chess ClubL2L31W55L24D45L29L33L361.527.5
    50Val Parisis Echecs- FranconvilleL16W55D32L28F431.513.5
    51A.D. Scacchi FoggiaW24L2L9F481.016.5
    52Phoenix Chess ClubL17L32L39W55L26F451.016.5
    53Highland High School Chess ClubL42W41L21L22U—1.016
    54Jacksonville Chess Club NCD38L370.56
    55Gazmag Sakk SzakosztalyL14L50L49L52U—U—L470.015.5



    Chess Tournaments
    SGVCC Wins Dramatic Round 7 Match Against Billiards Café Chess Club!

    After coasting to victory last week in Round 6, SGVCC needed heroic efforts in our match versus the Club from Ayer, Massachusetts. It all came down to the final two games on Boards 2 and 3, where Chris Stychinsky and Richard Reid had to overcome very difficult potions to help us win 4.5 to 3.5, by just a single game.

    It seemed we were coming from behind the entire match.  First, John Wright on Board 1 went down quickly losing both games. But then @Capital2 on Board 4 got us back even with strong play, taking both games. Chris had lost his first game and Richard had won his, so the match was tied at 3 points each going into the last two games.

    But no sooner did we get a reprieve we were fighting for our lives again.  Richard was Black against the London System and White had broken through on the Kingside, first by sacrificing a piece, then getting the piece back plus all three of Black’s Kingside pawns! Chris was White against the Black Lion Defense and the “Lion” was roaring! Our opponents meet at a pool hall and it looked like they were going to run the table! Later computer evaluations have both our hero’s lost, but it’s people–not machines–that finish chess games.

    In a time scramble Richard was able to create his own passed pawn and the players agreed to a draw with seconds remaining. At that point, the match was still tied and it was all up to Chris. Appropriately, we have made this our featured game this week:

    If you look at White’s position after Black played #33…Rh8, it is hard to see how White avoids getting checkmated in short order. Chris’s solution on move #34 seemed to rattle Black, who was still winning, but likely frustrated by White’s stubborn resistance. And “Nimzotech” was starting to make some threats of his own too.  Sure enough, five moves later Black dropped a piece and the Lion had been tamed!

    Black Lion

    Chess Tournaments
    Clubs League: Round 6 (We Won!)

    Round 6 was played against Deportivo Español de Buenos Aires of Argentina on 4th of July. Randy Hough, Richard Reid and John Wright played on 3 boards, and the team from Argentina forfeited 2 points.  San Gabriel won with 5.5 points vs. Buenos Aires’ .5.

    Round 6 Results

    Featured Game:

    “It was an interesting game because he had the Bishop pair. But after I traded off the white-square Bishop, I think my Knight was superior” — John R. Wright

    Standings After Round 6
    #PlaceNameRd 1Rd 2Rd 3Rd 4Rd 5Rd 6Rd 7Tot
    11Chess Club ZebraW44W8W6W13W4W56.0
    22Chess Projects Club MilanoH—W31W49W8W21W105.5
    33-6Cercle D’Echecs De HullL9W24W17W37W12W155.0
    4Exeter Chess ClubW39W29W14W21L1W195.0
    5Gill Saint Bernard’s KnightsW11W17W46W7W15L15.0
    6GROP Chess ClubW47W49L1W16W13W95.0
    77Saint Petersburg CC FloridaW52W9W41L5D23W204.5
    88-16Aatos Chess ClubW51L1W40L2W39X214.0
    9Chess Long IslandW3L7W32W20W26L64.0
    10Club Scacchi CesenaW22W28L21W27W14L24.0
    11Galeria de Xadrez Borba GatoL5L36W45W46W37W264.0
    12Los Pujamaderas Chess ClubW35W26L15W52L3X234.0
    13Noble Park Chess ClubW40W16W19L1L6W274.0
    14Stockport Chess ClubW38W32L4W29L10W284.0
    15The Secret Dark Knight SocietyW45W23W12W41L5L34.0
    16TJ Valasska Bystrice – SachyW55L13W28L6W31W334.0
    1717-19ChessEmpire [Case Western Univ.]W24L5L3W33X41H—3.5
    18Circolo Scacchistico ForliveseL21W51D48W30L19W383.5
    19Schachclub Hochstadt a.d. AischW43H—L13W48W18L43.5
    2020-30Burlington Ambush Chess ClubW37L41W36L9W24L73.0
    21Club Ajedrez Puerta ElviraW18W27W10L4L2F8U—3.0
    22Club Atletismo HuescaL10W39L31W32L28W403.0
    23Coachella Chess ClubW50L15W52H—D7F12U—3.0
    24Columbia SC Chess ClubL17L3W25W36L20W423.0
    25Huntsville Chess ClubD54L46L24W45D34W373.0
    26Los Angeles Chess FortressW34L12W50B—L9L113.0
    27SK Povazske PodhradieW53L21W43L10W29L133.0
    28TJ Bohemians PrahaW48L10L16W38W22L143.0
    29Warley QuinborneW30L4W42L14L27W363.0
    30Wimbledon Chess ClubL29W47D38L18D32W393.0
    3131-35Airbus Chess ClubL49L2W22W47L16H—2.5
    32Badgers Brook Chess ClubW42L14L9L22D30W472.5
    33Club Mariano MorenoD46W54L37L17W35L162.5
    34Lincoln High School Chess ClubL26L50D35W40D25H—2.5
    35San Gabriel Valley Chess ClubL12L52D34W50L33W462.5
    3636-45Aurora CC 2012L41W11L20L24W46L292.0
    37Billiards Cafe Chess ClubL20W45W33L3L11L252.0
    38Eagle and Child ChessL14D42D30L28W51L182.0
    39Echiquier du Grand AlesL4L22W51W53L8L302.0
    40Hobart Chess ClubL13W44L8L34W52L222.0
    41IHOP Chess ClubW36W20L7L15F17U—2.0
    42Lycee Francais D’Agadir CCL32D38L29D44X48L242.0
    43Schaakclub’t Ros DendermondeL19W53L27X49U—2.0
    45Villages Chess Club of FloridaL15L37L11L25B—W522.0
    4646-48Club Depor. Esp. de Buenos AiresD33W25L5L11L36L351.5
    47Hermanus Chess ClubL6L30W55L31D44L321.5
    48Val Parisis Echecs- FranconvilleL28W55D18L19F421.5
    4949-53A.D. Scacchi FoggiaW31L6L2F43U—1.0
    50Highland High School Chess ClubL23W34L26L35U—1.0
    51Phoenix Chess ClubL8L18L39W55L38F44U—1.0
    52Reno Chess ClubL7W35L23L12L40L451.0
    53SK Ceska LipaL27L43W44L39U—U—1.0
    5454Jacksonville Chess Club NCD25L33U—0.5
    5555Gazmag Sakk SzakosztalyL16L48L47L51U—U—0.0