Arizona Senior Moments

Arizona Senior Moments

Nov 18, 2013, 3:38 PM |

2013 Arizona State Senior Championship

This year's championship was held over November 9th and 10th in Tucson, Arizona. This was a 5 round Swiss System event with 19 players taking part. 

John Irwin (left) 1st Place with 4 out of 5 and Morry Holland (right) 2nd Place with 4 out of 5 - Our Co-Senior Champions - Congratulations!

There were several exciting, if not fault free, games and I am presenting a few of them here. Mostly what I noticed are some simple oversights and some missed opportunities. I am presenting these games mostly for the players in that I might present some insight into their games if they have not already looked at them with the help of a coach or a computer.

The first game we will look at is between Morry Holland with White against Tom Mayka from the last round. This was a well played game by both players but Morry had the more aggressively posted king heading into the endgame and that is all that was needed. A well played game indeed.


Our next game is also from Round 5 between Ardith El-Kareh against Gordon Haynes. There are some instructional points to this game for the players to digest.

Next we will look at a House Game that Kiki Huerta (the Tournament Director) played against Tony Ebarb. Unfortunately for Tony he comes under an early attack and then suffers from a case of Double Chess Blindness.


Now we get to see a rather impressive game from Tom Mayka with the Black pieces against David Prevost. Tom had built up a nice positional bind on White's position and David finally cracked allowing Tom to get in a decisive sacrifice. Had David accepted the sacrifice we would have seen a wild ending as is shown in the notes.


For our next game we will look at an endgame that occurred and a technique that might help the players save a bit of time should they ever have a similar position arise in one of their games. I've had this happen probably 5 or 6 times.


This next game was a confusing affair between Gordon Haynes against Scott Knight. 


The next game we will look at is one that was being played when I first arrived on the site, it is between Gordon Haynes against Steve Ostapuk. I've known Steve for quite some time now, here's a shot of the two of us going at it when we first met. Seriously, I've known Steve since the mid- to late-70's. After the game was finished, Steve wanted to take a look at it. We came up with some ideas but it was all done so quickly and I hadn't yet got in my 'chess thinking' form yet. At the point that Steve felt he needed to sacrifice he was entirely correct, however, as it turns out, he needed to make a different type of sacrifice on that very move. Curiouser and curioser.


Endgame knowledge was in demand in this tournament as there were relatively few blow-outs. In our next game we have Tony Ebarb playing against James Savage. Black is clearly for choice but the task is not as easy as it may seem with proper resistance.


Our final game is a fitting one. As you get on in years you tend to take things a bit slower than those in their chess prime, but you cannot take too much time. Here we have Butch Kawai holding his own against Tom Mayka who had a good tournament. Things look dead level and a draw is to be expected...


Finally, I would like to thank Enrique "Kiki" Huerta for his tireless efforts to keep chess thriving here in Arizona. Without the likes of people like Kiki our chess world would not be worth living in. Indeed, it might not exist at all.

Thank you Kiki! Thank you for all the chess players in Southern Arizona and for thinking about the Seniors in particular. It's nice to get a chance to play other adult players for a change.

In closing I will leave you with some photos from the event. My apologies to James Savage and Butch Kawai - for some reason I didn't get photos of either of the two of you... next time!