Fun chess in Las Vegas (Round 7 recap)

Fun chess in Las Vegas (Round 7 recap)

NM visa
Feb 26, 2017, 11:34 PM |

Our Las Vegas Desert Rats team got eliminated from the playoff contention after 6 rounds. So, what was our mindset going into the match vs Seattle? Our mindset was to have fun!

 With our creative genius Timur Gareyev not available phpf9jS6k.jpeg to play the match  due to a round robin tournament in  the Bay Area, we fielded the lineup of  GM Kayden Troff,  IM Levon Altounian who was making a debut for our  team, IM Andrey Ostrovskiy (free agent) and our local  guys Juan Pablo  Jauregui and Ryan Phillips each  played 2 games on board 4.



Our video team of Ryan Ray and Keith Ray made an amazingly fun graphics which set the fun tone for the match:


Our video guys made an amazing video screen for the league's logo:


Juan was determined to have fun!


Juan & Earplugs


As it happens often to our team, we started the match very poorly: Kayden blundered a Rook in the won position proving that even GMs can be human. Levon and Andrey both drew while both dealing with Internet connection issues. After the first batch of games we were down 1-3.

After the next 8 games, we managed to even the match out 6-6. When all said and done, our push in last 4 games allowed us to finish ahead 9-7. Levon Altounian was our MVP in the match, scoring 3.5 out 4 in his debut, including a win over very strong GM Mikhalevski! 




After the match, Levon was kind enough to talk to us on skype, sharing his impressions of the match and going over one of his games. Enjoy watching this here, as this is basically equivalent to having a free lesson with an IM!

Kayden played every single game for us this season, and it was very fitting that our last skype call was to Salt Lake City. Kayden went over one of his games and opened up on his impressions of the league and the season. This interview can be watched here.


We thanked our opponents from Seattle and wished them luck on Twitter next season. The atmosphere at the club was awesome. We had food, we laughed, we talked chess and then more chess, there were tons of jokes and friendly banter and I realized there was no place I would rather be at than hanging out with my teammates, and that meant a lot!


Las Vegas Desert Rats season was a success. The team bonded towards the end of the season. Guys were really playing hard for each other. It was amazing to see people of different ages, political and religious beliefs, people from different parts of the world to come together as one around the game of chess. Chess is a beautiful game that unites people, and Las Vegas Desert Rats were a prime example of that.


We want to thank Greg Shahade, Matt Lodge, Danny Rensch and staff at for making this experience possible! Last but not least, and I am slightly biased here, I want to thank Juan and Sabrina for running the best chess club in the country and putting their heart and soul into the club to make both USCF rated chess, scholastics and the league possible. If you are in Vegas, do not forget to stop and say hi on a Friday night, all important information can be found at LVCC website at and on LVCC's Facebook page

Good luck to all the teams that are in the playoffs. For Las Vegas Desert Rats, it is onto the 2018!