Action Swiss and a tale of four tiebreaks

Ten players competed in the dual-rated (G/30 + 10 sec delay) Action Swiss. While the playing area at Vassar was hotter than a Native American sweat lodge, the action at the boards was even hotter. Well, at least that’s what I imagine a professional journalist writing. I’ll keep the hyperbole to a minimum from here on out.

When the dust and humidity had settled, two players shared the top spot with 3 out of 4 points: Mark Courtney and Scott Strattner.

Shared? What do you mean? This is chess, there is no sharing, there must be a winner!

When I created the event in the tournament software (, I configured it to use three tiebreaks, the type and order specified by USCF. Specifically:

  • Modified Median (also known as Bulchholz Median)
  • Solkoff (also known as Bulcholz)
  • Cumulative

Unfortunately, the application of these tiebreaks did not determine a winner:

There is a fourth tiebreak – Cumulative of the opponents scores. This tiebreak is not listed in Vega (hey, it is free, what can you expect). And calculating it is a pain in the neck. You have to take each person’s opponent, and calculate their round-by-round score, then adding them all together. With 1/2 point subtracted from the sum for each 1/2 point bye taken by the player. So let’s do the math together:

Mark’s opponents:

  1. Mendez: 0 + 0 + 0 + 1 = 1
  2. Strattner: 1 + 1.5 + 2.5 + 3 = 8
  3. Leo: .5 + 1.5 + 1.5 + 2.5 = 6
  4. Johnson: .5 + 1 + 2 + 2.5 = 6 – 1  = 5

Total: 1 + 8 + 6 + 5 = 20

Scott’s opponents:

  1. Ferrier: 0 + 0 + 1 + 1 = 2
  2. Courtney: 1 + 1.5 + 2.5 + 3 = 8
  3. Evans: .5 + 1.5 + 1.5 + 2.5 = 6
  4. Fisher: .5 + 1 + 2 + 2.5 = 6 – 1 = 5

Total: 2 + 8 + 6 + 5 = 21

So, there we have it. Scott edges out Mark in the 4th tiebreak, 21 – 20. Writing this post was more grueling than facing Craig’s French defense (and that was grueling!).

As listed in the event schedule, a trophy is also given to the top Booster (best score in bottom half of participants by rating).

So who is the top player in the bottom half? Although it is close, the answer is Ken Evans!

Craig Fisher (2.5): Regular = 1810, Quick = 1805

Ken Evans (2.5): Regular = 1800, Quick = 1731

Finally, while appreciative, the winner and TD will not accept a trophy, thus providing more money to the club (and getting us that much closer to hosting another GM simul, hopefully).

References (for those who wish to learn more about tiebreaks and do not have access to the USCF rulebook):


Quick Chess

Leo Freyvert won last week’s quick chess event with a perfect 3/3!  Ernie Johnson, Mark Courtney and Trevor Brooks finshed with 2/3 apiece.  We move on to an action event, details on results coming soon!

World Open, etc

Several club members played in this past weekend’s World Open.  A breakdown as to what occurred follows:

  • Chris Brooks (u2200): Hampered by a recent injury to his playing hand and wrist – lost three heart-breakers in the final seconds early on in the event and finished 3-1-5, including a reentry after the first loss.
  • John Weigand (u1800): After flirting with drama in the early rounds, faltered a bit mid-tournament and ended up with a very respectable 6/9 in his first “major”.
  • JJ Oracz (u1800): JJ was up and down all tournament long and finished with a decent 5/8.
  • Darius Jafary (u1800): Darius was also up and down, finished with 4/9.
  • Michael Mendez (u1800): Mendez had a tough tournament saying the least, only scoring 2.5/9.

Better luck next year 😉

The club reopens tonight for business after a break for the holiday with a short three round quick event.

Independence Day

There is no meeting at Vassar College due to the holiday on Wednesday!  Also, Trevor Brooks recently completed a clean sweep at a simultaneous exhibition at Immanuel Church, replicating the feat done by (no relation) Chris Brooks last year.  Congratulations to him!  Also, good luck to our club members playing in the World Open starting up on Thursday – Chris Brooks (u2200), John Weigand (u1800), Darius Jafary (u1800).

Unrated Blitz

Ten (technically eleven) players decided to put aside concerns for rating points and compete for the love of chess (plus some bragging rights) in Monday’s Unrated Blitz event. Being unrated, the nine round event did feature a highly illegal mid-tournament substitution, making any truly fair ranking impossible. Still, regardless of objectivity, people want to know – who won?

Well, in the last two rounds Trevor Brooks went 0.5/2, drawing Craig Fisher and losing to Ernie Johnson. Trevor must have had an awful tournament, finishing near the bottom…just kidding! He triumphed in every other game, and won the event with a round to spare. Trevor takes it with 7.5/9.

Tied for 2nd place, John Weigand and the aforementioned Ernie Johnson finished with 7 points. Eric Horsboll had 6, and Craig ended with a respectable 5.5 out of 9.

A few pictures will be posted to the club’s Facebook page.

Reminder – NO CHESS next Monday (4th of July week).

Poughkeepsie Summer Solstice

Ernie Johnson and Mark Courtney tied on top of our Summer Solstice tournament with 2.5/3 each.  JJ Oracz and Darius scored 2/3 apiece.  Up next on June 25 is an unrated blitz, all are welcome to play, no USCF membership required!

NYS Open

Bob Simmons, director at the Millerton Chess Club, scored 3.5/5 in the Senior section, which was good enough for a 3-way tie for 2nd.  He’s also hosting an unrated chess tournament on June 9 (9 AM), with a possible rated section if enough people show.

East Coast Open

John Weigand easily swept through the field at the inaugural East Coast Open just west of Philadelphia with a perfect 7-0 in the u1300, netting $1200 in the process!  Chris Brooks recovered from a rough 1-2 start in the u2200 to end up with a respectable 4/7, drawing former NM Chris Welcome and the section winner in the last round.  Congratulations to the pair (especially John) for their fine performances.

Poughkeepsie May Action

Four players tied for 1st in the Poughkeepsie May Action.  2018 DCC Champion Rudy Van Dommele, Ayman Haoula, JJ Oracz and John Weigand all scored 3/4.  Trevor Brooks and Darius Jafary followed with 2/4.  John Weigand’s rating jumped 114 points from 1517 to 1631.  Thanks to all who participated, and to Craig Fisher and Michael O’Connor who directed the event.  We now move to our Summer Schedule, which begins June 4.