On behalf of the SGVCC I wanted to share the games that I had played in the somewhat recent Echo Mountain Open (January 2022), along with annotations denoting my thought process and post-mortem analysis. This is my first post on the site, so any criticism is more than welcome! I intend to be semi-regular about this as far as unorthodox hobbies go.
I was more than lucky to win that last one! Ryan sure gave me a run for my money. I can’t promise that all my subsequent posts will be this detailed as I was working off a backlog. I also fully intend to post my losses as well. Regardless, I hope that analysis was some combination of entertaining / instructive. Good luck to all participants in the upcoming Bunny Hop Open!
The grand return of the LA Chess Social last month was spectacular! It was great to see everyone after so long! This month’s event will be at Griffins of Kinsale in South Pasadena, where the original Chess Social was established in 2017. There will be live music on both floors throughout the night!
1007 Mission St. South Pasadena CA 91030
Free & Plentiful Parking
Very close / half-block from South Pasadena station (Gold Line)
(via @chess_social) — Ready to show off your chess ability and make some friends? Get ready for the grand return of Los Angeles Chess Social. An incredible live music lineup at Old Towne Pub, located at 66 N Fair Oaks Ave. in Pasadena. For those unfamiliar, Old Towne Pub is located in a courtyard within the block between Fair Oaks and Raymond Street, accessible from an ally off Holly Street. Event starts at 8pm; $10 at the door; 21+
An incredible live music lineup!
8-9pm Squid and the Elephant (IG @squidandtheelephant) 9-10pm Sugar Rum Tantrum (IG @sugarrumtantrum) 10-12am The Flamenco Souls (IG @theflamencosouls)
Additionally, there will be a Philly Cheesesteak stand with food available for purchase in the courtyard.
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!
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!
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:
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
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.
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.