Tournament Adventures: Hopscotch Quads - Games and Thoughts
The Hopscotch Quads, run over two Thursday nights in Buffalo, NY, was a first for me in several ways. Most notably, it was the first tournament that I have directed and played in. In the previous weeknight tournament that I directed for the newly formed Amateur Chess Association of Western New York, I had restricted myself to the directing role. The work was very light both because the players were experienced and professional and because I only had to pair one game a night. Based on that experience, I felt comfortable mixing playing and directing in the Hopscotch Quads.
Secondly, this was the first quad tournament I have ever played in. Of course, quads are a very well established format, but I have played almost exclusively swisses. I really enjoyed the quad format, and I heard alot of positive things from other players as well. We had an outstanding sign up with 26 players. We were able to accomodate everyone by using a three round swiss format for 6 players in the last group. Due to the excellent sign up, all of the quads were competitive with the top and bottom seeds in each quad mostly about 200 points apart.
There have been alot of good chess gatherings in Buffalo for awhile now, and a special thanks should go out to Michael McDuffie for all of the events and monthly tournaments that he has run over the years, but I think Gary Boye and Brian Sayers are really adding something special with the organizing they are doing through the Amateur Chess Association of Western New York. Their Thursday night meeting is really thriving, and the two tournaments they have run on Thursday night have been very well received. Next up, National Master Barry Davis is doing a month long lecture series and there has been a very robust sign up for that. If on the off chance, you are in the area, you should definitely come out. Also, if you are in the larger region, I really encourage you to consider coming out to the Tree Doctor International they are running with Michael McDuffie June 7th and 8th. They have secured sponsors and are fully guaranteeing $4,000 in prizes. I have included the full TLA at bottom.
Anyways, on to the chess The four players in my quad were myself (NM Sam Copeland), NM Barry Davis, Marijan Procyk, and Erik Lubas. I was very fortunate to win all three of my games to win the quad. I thoroughly enjoyed the competition, and I hope my competitors enjoyed it equally. All of the games were very competitive and filled with fighting chess.
Erik is a very talented junior in the Buffalo area. He is also very active on chess.com; you have probably seen hime on Tactics Trainer For this tournament, Erik's official rating was 1964, but his unofficial rating was 2005. This was the first time Erik crossed 2000, but I don't expect him to drop below again. If you see him, digitally or physically, be sure to congratulate him! Also, Erik deserves congratulations for a nice win in round 2 over NM Barry Davis in a pawn up endgame. In the quad format, we all knew who were we playing and what the colors were several days ahead so I was able to select my opening in advance. I decided to meet Erik with the Budapest defense; I have played the Budapest off and on for awhile, and I was just reading Moskalenko's The Fabulous Budapest Gambit so I was in the mood to give it a go. The opening was typical and then I think we traded some inaccuracies at an interesting point. Erik missed an intermezzo forking two pieces and after that I seemed to be winning comfortable before I allowed a resource in Qxc6! There were some really beautiful ideas there, but fortunately for me, Erik missed it (we were both very low on time), and I won in a couple more moves.
Marijan Procyk is a staple in the Buffalo area. He plays alot of chess and is one of the most even-tempered players I have ever met. Win or lose against any player, he is always courteous and happy to discuss the game. I have had lots of interesting battles with Marijan, and I usually struggle to get anything in the opening. He has recently picked up the Sicilian Dragon, and I prepared a sideline that I thought I might try against him. He deviated, but although his deviation is theoretical, I think it is a little dubious. I felt I had a very promising opening, but he weathered the attack and ceded a positional advantage to me. I played a few inaccuracies, and he could have equalized, but then he went wrong, and I was able to win material with Ne3!?
The final round was a show down between Barry and I. As Barry had been upset by Erik in the previous round, I only needed a draw, but I was more interested in a good game. Barry and I have had lots of interesting games, and Barry has often put alot of pressure in the opening, but I have been fortunate to slither out frequently. Today was similar. I chose a dubious opening in the St. George Defense (1...a6 to meet e4), and Barry got a tremendous position. I resorted to process of elimination moves (just don't let the win be obvious) and cheap threats. I managed to whip up some countertheats on the kingside, but Barry was totally winning. At the critical moment with both of us having seconds on the clock, Barry picked the wrong move, and I was able to force a mate. Despite the final result, Barry really punished me for my opening, and he certainly should have won. I don't think I will repeat this opening anytime soon.
Other Results, Observations, and Games
All the Quad winners were as follows...
Quad 1 - Sam Copeland with 3 points
Quad 2 - Kevin Roulhac with 3 points
Quad 3 - Gary Boye and Brian Sayers with 2 points each
Quad 4 - David Curtis with 3 points
Quad 5 - George Tasevski with 3 points
Section 6 - Nicolas Frisch with 3 points
Since all my games went down to the wire, I had very little time to watch the other quads, but there seemed to be a high level of competition in all the quads. Justin Craddock, who recently came in third in U1800 at the Marchand, sent me the following game which begin with the interesting Alekhine-Chatard Gambit against Justin's French.
The other finish that I saw that was of interest to the crowd was the conclusion between Sam Santora and Brian Sayers. Sam is my student, and he has been learning the Dragon. We recently discussed the Rxc3 sac in some detail, and I was happy to see Sam get to put it into practice in a very nice win in a casual game below. His Nxe4! at the end was a nice finish.
In this game, Sam had White against Brian's Dragon. There were many ups and downs, but Sam got an interesting lesson in the danger of Dragon endgames as White. His attack petered out, and although material was equal at this point, Brian was better because White's advanced kingside pawns proved vulnerable. The game finally got to this position...
JUNE 7-8 2014 Tree Doctor International Chess Tournament
TROPHIES PLUS GRAND PRIX POINTS: 40
“Chess is growing in Western NY!” Presented by The Amateur Chess Association of WNY in affiliation with The Archangel 8 Chess Academy. 5SS, G/120 d5. Location: Old First Ward Community Center, 62 Republic St., Buffalo, NY 14204. $4000.00 Guaranteed Total Prize Money 2 Sections: Open: $1000, 750, 500. U1800: 750, 500, 300. $100 bonus prize for top score in each section among ACAOWNY members. You play opponents in your section only. Unrated players in the U1800 Section can only win $125. Entry fee $42 if received by June 1st, $50 thereafter (cash only at the door). Rounds at: Saturday 10:00; 2:30; 7:00 Sunday: 10:00; 2:30. Byes will be available for rounds 1, 2, 3, and, 4, if requested prior to round 2. Register no later than 9am on Saturday. Bring sets, boards, and, clocks. None will be supplied. Complimentary food and refreshments will be available on both days. Mail entry to: Brian Sayers, 4746 Shisler Rd., Clarence, NY 14031. Checks payable to: The Amateur Chess Association of WNY. Inquiries: call Gary Boye at 716-799-5655 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.