Simmons takes first tournament of 2021

You can never be sure how things will turn out after a long absence. Have players moved on during the pandemic, more used to playing online than in person? Will other pursuits grab their attention or have Monday nights just become not available? Some of those questions were answered at the conclusion of the first tournament of 2021 that ended on Monday.

Fifteen players – including some new faces! – made the trek to Vassar and played some real in person chess. With a long time control. For real rating points. What a great turnout!

Another surprising result – if only on paper – was the winner and how he did it – three wins, no losses, no draws. While coming in as the 5th seed by rating, Bob Simmons took no prisoners (or byes) and took down the 1 and 2 seed in the process. I hope the trophy for this one is made of real gold, because he deserves it. Perhaps this is a yin and yang thing, where the bad situations in life (being a Vikings fan) are balanced by the good. In any case, good job Bob!

Second place (and perhaps only because he took a bye in round 2) was Trevor Brooks, our young powerhouse who (if he doesn’t jet to Hollywood) might be the only one able to take down Ernie’s record of Dutchess County Chess Championships (coming soon btw!).

Booster prize goes to James Reap, a relative newcomer (joining us in 2019, before the troubles), but sports a healthy 1500 rating. After losing the first game to the top seed he recorded two wins to close it out.

Reminder that next Monday is unrated blitz, perfect for those who aren’t sure if paying USCF dues and rated tournament chess is right for you, or who are just used to playing very fast online. Note to those players, nothing beats the thrill of smashing a chess clock 30 times a minute during the end of an over the board blitz game. Online chess can’t compete with that.

After that is the premier event of the year, the Dutchess County Chess Championship! Five round event, G/90, this is the big one. Will Ernie add another jewel to his crown? Will Matan come back to defend his title? Or will Bob run undefeated through the gauntlet while wearing some gaudy purple Vikings uniform? Since we are not televised, there’s only one way to find out – join us!

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