Michigan Chess Festival

IM Fins0905
Nov 5, 2011, 10:01 PM |

Hey all.  October was an incredibly busy month for me - tournaments in D.C., Texas, and Michigan, plus teaching, writing, and other obligations.  I wrote about the Continental Class Championship and SPICE Cup in this post.  Rounding out my month was the Michigan Chess Festival in Dearborn, MI.

The Michigan Chess Festival (Oct. 28-30) is the pet project of Alan Kaufman.  I met Alan in Philly this past April when his tournament was still in the planning stages.  A very selfless guy, Alan said that he wanted to create a strong tournament in Michigan to give the state's many talented juniors a chance to "cut their teeth" against titled competition.  Fantastic!  He asked if I would play, and naturally I agreed.

Alan proved to be an excellent first-time organizer.  He secured a great site (the Hyatt Regency in Dearborn), offered 2-day and 3-day options for the players, and flew in well-known author/publisher FM Graham Burgess to lecture and analyze games.  The Open was quite strong: 8 GMs, 4 IM - unbelievable for a first-annual 5-round Swiss!

The tournament was won by GM Atanas Kolev with a perfect 5/5.  I scored 4/5 (+3, =2) and tied for second.  I had to finish some work on Friday, so I elected to play the 2-day schedule.  After a 2/2 start, I drew GM Kaidanov in round 3:

With White against GM Kudrin the next morning, I messed up the move order in a standard line and we quickly agreed a draw in a symmetric position.  I could no longer win the tournament, but a last-round victory would probably win some money ($450, as it turned out).  I achieved the goal against FM Aleksandar Stamnov:

I had a great time in Michigan.  Thanks for inviting me, Alan!  Like Walter High and Gary Newsom of the NCO, Alan has some exciting plans in the works for future Michigan Chess Festivals.  I have no doubt he'll succeed.

By the way, I just recorded a video for chess.com ("Sensing the Critical Moment - Part 1") based on the above game against Stamnov.  Check for it in the next couple days.

Mingling with some patzers (just kidding!). That's GM Sam Shankland(l) and GM Yury Shulman(r)
I played 23 rated games in October (plus one unrated USCL game).  My final score was +8, =13, -2...yeah, I play exciting chess Laughing.  I broke even on FIDE points and gained some USCF.  Not too bad, but nothing spectacular.
The holidays are approaching.  I'll be back in Minnesota visiting my family for Thanskgiving/Christmas and taking a break from bigger tournaments (might play something local).  I've got a lot to work on chess-wise, so I want to put this time to good use.
Oh - finally, I want to mention that my USCL team - the Manhattan Applesauce - is in the playoffs!  Watch us take on the Philadelphia Inventors this Wednesday at 7:00 pm EST (games on ICC).