Tournament Adventures: Tree Doctor International
This past weekend (June 7th and 8th) the Amateur Chess Association of Western New York (wnychess.org) and the the Archangel 8 Chess Academy held the first annual Tree Doctor International Chess Tournament. The tournament was generously sponsored by the Tree Doctor and Simpson and Simpson, PLLC. Through their generous sponsorship, the Tree Doctor International was able to fully guarantee $4,000 dollars in prize money. This was the largest prize fund in Buffalo in some time.
The tournament consisted of 2 sections, an open section and an U1800 section. There were 17 players in the open and 23 players in the U1800. Top seed in the open was IM Ken Regan, whose recent profile is the cover of the latest issue of Chess Life. Second seed was FM Razvan Preotu, a highly talented junior from Ontaria, Canada. There were also 4 national masters, including myself, competing.
FM Razvan Preotu was the ultimate winner in the open section. He achieved 4 wins and one draw (via a Saturday night bye). Razvan was clearly a deserving winner. He achieved convincing wins against IM Ken Regan, NM Thomas Ricardi, and NM Barry Davis in rounds 2, 4 and 5. For his fine efforts, Razvan collected the clean $1,000 first prize.
Image credit to Douglas Dubose. The round 2 matchup, including FM Razvan Preotu vs. NM Barry Davis at end.
NM Thomas Ricardi finished second with 4 wins (including a dominant one against yours truly). He collected $750.
Image credit to Douglas Dubose. The round 3 matchup, including NM Thomas Ricardi vs. myself, NM Sam Copeland.
NM Lionel Davis and myself, NM Sam Copeland, finished in shared third and fourth with 3.5 points after drawing against each other in the last round. Yes, a lame cop-out I know
In the U1800 section, there was a 3 way tie for first with 4 points. Each of the players received $516 for their fine efforts. In the last round, the veteran Pat Robinson was a point clear of the field with 4 points, but he was upset by Dalton Barksdale, a fine chess player, a college football player for UB, and a senior math major at UB with double minors in computer science and education. These two players were caught by the talented 12 year old Canadian female player, Mathanhe Kaneshalingam. Hearty congratulations to all of the players.
I think the general consensus was that the tournament was alot of fun, and there was alot of good fighting chess. The Amateur Chess Association of Western New York is committed to offering more such tournaments in the future, and they welcome feedback and suggestions. If you live in the Buffalo area, maybe you will be at the next one!
Many thank yous go out to Brian Sayers and Gary Boye from the Amateur Chess Association of Western New York and Michael McDuffie, our TD from the Archangel 8 Chess Academy. Also, thank you again to the sponsors the Tree Doctor and Simpson and Simpson, and thanks to Ron Lohrman from Rochester (chessset.com) for offering a chess store.
This tournament was loaded with upsets from the get go. On board 1, IM Ken Regan lost after the following little trick from Rochesterian David Campbell. Ken has won the last several Mayor's Cup tournaments in Buffalo, but he plays rarely throughout the year. He definitely seemed to suffer from some rusty tournament form this year.
In another round 1 upset, on board 3, NM Lionel Davis lost against Ferdinand Supsup. I don't know what Lionel was thinking about, but he spent almost all of his time in a complex position in the middlegame. After an extended think, Lionel only had 3 minutes left against his opponent's 1 hour and 20 minutes. Such situations cannot end well. With no disrespect intended to Lionel, I cannot help but think of the following Alekhine quote which has informed my own efforts to avoid time pressure. "The fact that a player is very short of time is, to my mind, as little to be considered an excuse as, for instance, the statement of the law-breaker that he was drunk at the time he committed the crime." In any event, after round 1, Lionel kept his time under control and won three in a row.
In the U1800, a bit of an opening oops occurred when Mathanhe caught out Ben Rummel with a typical trick in the dragon.
The second round went much more according to script with the higher rated players winning their games rather convincingly. The most challenging win had to be FM Razvan's win against NM Barry Davis with a minuscule advantage in a simplified position. Razvan was able to very patiently create an outside passed pawn with a queenside majority.
In the U1800, Ben Rummel landed his own opening trap, when he won on move 6 with the following ancient trick.
After round 2, Razvan decided to take a half point bye so the only perfect scores playing were myself and Thomas Ricardi. Thomas won our encounter very convincingly on the white side of a g3 Scandinavian. The longest game of the round had to be NM Barry Davis' win against Ferdinand Supsup. Barry sacrificed a rook for two pawns in the endgame and proceeded to nurse the pawns to the 8th rank for the next 40 moves!
Razvan continued his clinic with a very convincing against NM Thomas Ricardi. This allowed Razvan to pull into clear first with 3.5 points. NM Ricardi was hoping to build off of Wesley So's fine play against Razvan in the following game which is shown for simple entertainment value. However, Razvan deviated early with an opening improvement for White.
IM Regan beat NM Barry Davis after some opening tribulations. One of the more interesting games was between Kevin Roulhac and David Campbell - two young players on the verge of crossing 2000. This game had many lovely variations under the surface, but there were quite a few missteps in the end as well.
I was paired down in round 4, and I was winning soon after my opponent misplayed the black side of a Sveshnikov. The following common puzzle pattern occurred in the game.
After a win against Joey Orozco, Pat Robinson had the only perfect score in the U1800. To make it into the large tie for second with 3 points, Dalton Barksdale won the following convincing miniature as Black.
The premier final round matchup was clearly the game between FM Razvan with 3.5 and IM Regan with 3 points. Unfortunately, the game didn't really deliver as a true battle. IM Regan met Razvan's Sicilian with the Alapin. The Alapin was unquestionably not Regan's friend in this tournament as he had lost in round 1 in the Alapin and he got a horrible position on move 8! against Razvan. Regan managed to fight back to a degree and acheived a pawn down endgame, but it seems the position is still untenable. Razvan displayed fine technique and brought in the full point.
In the U1800, Dalton Barksdale defeated Pat Robinson after going pawn grabbing in the opening. Pat probably had some compensation for the deficit until he allowed the exchange of queens. Manathne also won against Joey Orozco (a rough Sunday for Joey) to produce a 3 way tie between these fine players.