Grand Prix Standings so far

V-C Grand PrixWinsDrawsLossesTOTAL
Courtney, Mark192465
Johnson, Ernie1321053
Jafary, Darius64834
Reap, James511532
Fisher, Craig 61727
Marvullo, Thomas52625
Evans, Ken62224
Simmons, Robert A60523
Mendez, Mike43321
Barkman, Peter60220
Brooks, Trevor51118
Prilleltensky, Matt51017
Haoula, Ayman30312
Topaloglu, Rasit11510
Ray, Barbara20410
Oracz, J.J.2119
Guse, Mike0168
Colleluori, Keith1138
Wright, David0157
Eschel, Adam1047
Landsman, Tyler1036
O’Connor, Mike0146
Stenger, Harold1025
Hussey, Ed0033

A USATE game from Simmons

Bob Simmons has shared his first round game. It was a draw, but as Black against an opponent that was rated 230 points higher. In the final position Black has the advantage (he can win the d-pawn due to tactics), but as Bob’s team had already lost the round might as well take the points you can get and save up for round 2.

[Event “USATE 2020”]
[Site “?”]
[Date “????.??.??”]
[Round “1”]
[White “Sokolovsky, Eugene “]
[Black “Simmons, Robert”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[WhiteELO “2077”]
[BlackELO “1848”]

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 c6 5. e3 Be7 6. b3 Nbd7 7. Bd3 O-O 8. O-O b6 9. Bb2 Bb7 10. Qe2 Rc8 11. Rfd1 Qc7 12. Rac1 Qb8 13. e4 dxe4 14. Nxe4 Nxe4 15. Bxe4 Nf6 16. Bb1 Rfd8 17. Ng5 Qf4 18. Nh3 Qh4 19. f3 Bd6 20. Be4 g5 21. d5 Nxe4 22. Qxe4 Qxe4 23. fxe4 1/2-1/2

White’s last mistake was 22. Qxe4; the computer prefers dxe6 first, but that is a hard move for a human to make – in in-between move to grab a pawn while down a piece.

Vassar-Chadwick at USATE

Why is Valentine’s Day the most important holiday for a chess player? Because it means it is USATE time again!

This year our club fielded two teams (members listed in board order):

Vassar-Chadwick AAAA, consisting of Robert Sulman, Mark Courtney, Al Lawrence, and Dr. Craig Fisher

Vassar-Chadwick Earth Wind and Skewer (this wins the unofficial best Vassar-Chadwick themed name), consisting of Ernie Johnson, Peter Barkman, Bob Simmons, and Darius Jafary

Team AAAA had an average rating of 2023 and finished with 3 points, while EWaS had an average rating of 1838 and finished with 4 points. It appears AAAA did not play the last round; anyone who has played in USATE well understands the pull of home after 5 long and stressful rounds packed into 3 long days.

At the individual level, team AAAA: Sulman and Fisher ended with 3.5 points, Courtney had 3 and Lawrence ended with 2.5.

Team EWaS: Johnson, Barkman and Jafary all had 3 points, while the star of the team, Simmons, ended with 5 points! If only the Vikings were as good as their biggest fan…

Final Wall Chart HERE

USCF Rating Crosstable HERE

Those who were there, please share your games. So far I have one game from Ernie, but what a game it is – a last round draw against IM Eugene Meyer!

[Event “USATE 2020”]
[Date “2020.2.17”]
[Round “6”]
[White “Johnson, Ernest”]
[Black “Meyer, Eugene”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.g3 O-O 5.Bg2 d6 6.e4 Nbd7 7.Nge2 a6 8.O-O Rb8 9.a4 c6 10.b4 a5 11.b5 c5 12.dxc5 Nxc5 13.Be3 Nfd7 14.Qc2 Ne5 15.Rad1 Qe8 16.Nd5 f5 17.f4 Ng4 18.Bxc5 dxc5 19.h3 Nf6 20.Nc7 Qf7 21.e5 Ne4 22.Kh2

Club Champion Strikes Again

Eleven players competed in the Deep Freeze Swiss, held over 3 Mondays – a three round, G/60 + 5/sec delay tournament. Ernie Johnson was the TD.

With three class A players and two Experts, it was a strong field, and the winner was the pre-tournament favorite (rating-wise), Mark Courtney, with 2.5 points. Mark was held to a draw in the first round by consistently improving JJ Oracz, who also defeated Ayman Haoula in the final round to take 2nd place with 2 points. Also with 2 points (but who did not play in the last round, as TD duties come first) was Ernie Johnson.

Full USCF crosstable is HERE.

Van the man in Unrated Blitz

Jan 20th featured an unrated blitz event at the club, where the pressure of holding on to precious rating points could be set aside, if only for one night. Nine players participated, with Mark Courtney helping to run the event.

In the end, Rudy Van Dommele (no rated blitz rating!) took clear first, with 7 out of 8. Tied for second were Archie Dore (2066 rated blitz) and Eric Hosboll (1870 rated blitz), with 5 points, followed by a tie for third with Mark Courtney and Robert Fanshel with 4.5 points.

Winter and Spring Schedule published, and USATE teams

Check the Event Schedule page for list of events through the middle of May. Plenty of chess action, including the Dutchess County Chess Championship and the club’s favorite out of state event, the United States Amateur Team East (USATE). This year is special, being the 50th anniversary of the tournament.

Speaking of which, there are currently two planned teams:

Team 1 (average rating at the time of this post: 2014)

  • Robbie Sulman (2229)
  • Mark Courtney (2045)
  • Trevor Brooks (1982)
  • Craig Fisher (1800)

Team 2 (average rating at the time of this post: 1840)

  • Ernie Johnson (2040)
  • Peter Barkman (1893)
  • Bob Simmons (1848)
  • Darius Jafary (1579)

Club cancelled today

Due to the inclement weather, the club will not be meeting and the first round of the December Swiss will not take place tonight. Please do not come to Vassar, stay off the roads unless you need to travel for other reasons – but not for the chess club.

As to whether the tournament will remain 3 rounds or be compacted to 2 (and/or the time control changed), will be determined later – the decision will be posted here when it is.

Ernie erases all competition in November action

Nine players participated in the 4 round, 2 day event (11/11, 11/18), a G/25 + d4 affair (quick rated).

Ernie, acting as the TD and being the highest rated player, directed his own domination of the event, winning all 4 rounds and capturing sole first.

Mark Courtney (3/4) took second, losing only to Ernie. Michael Mendez (2.5/4) was alone in third place.

CLICK HERE for the full crosstable.

Courtney captures Club Championship

One of the premier club tournaments was held over October and early November, 5 rounds of G/90 + 5d to determine the Vassar-Chadwick club champion.

Twenty-one players battled it out over the course of 5 weeks, and when the dust had settled two players found themselves at the top of the hill with 4 points – Mark Courtney and Trevor Brooks.

But tournament chess is a harsh mistress and friendly ties is not part of her domain. Although Trevor defeated Mark in their head-to-head matchup, Mark played all 5 rounds (while Trevor took a bye in round 3) and due to the tiebreak factors ended up on top.

Congratulations to the 2019 Vassar-Chadwick Club Champion, Mark Courtney!

CLICK HERE for the full results.

Sheppard and Courtney tie atop Memorial

Eight players competed in this year’s Memorial tournament, held in Coldenham on October 19th.

While there were less than 10 participants, the field was very strong, with 3 players over 2000 and 3 others rated at least 1800.

After three rounds, Dore Sheppard and Mark Courtney topped the field with 2.5 points apiece. They both had their perfect tournament spoiled by Ernie Johnson, who was able to get a draw from both winners, and ended with 2 points.

Click HERE for full crosstable results.

I should also mention that Dore Sheppard recently won the under 2100 section of the NY State Championship, and had his picture and tournament-clinching game featured in the latest Empire Chess.