June Mini-Marathon Final Standings

Our rated June Mini-Marathon wrapped up this past Wednesday with some very exciting games and a clear first place: Mikhail ended up with 3.5 points after a tough win over Shahin, while Ritam, Cesar and Pranav tied for second with 3.0 out of 4. Pranav was slated to play Mikhail in the final round but came down with the flu and was unable to join us, regrettably, though as some consolation his first provisional Regular rating is 2255 (based on 3 games).

Daniel and Ragav were our top juniors at 2.5 and Daniel had an excellent chance to join Mikhail with 3.5 points, but succumbed in time trouble in a wild game with Ritam. I’ll share all the games as Lichess studies soon (thank you again to those who sent me your digital scores), have submitted both the tournament and extra games for rating and would like to offer a hearty thanks to all of you who participated!

June Mini-Marathon Round 3 Results

Below are the round 3 results/game studies and tentative round 4 pairings for our June Mini-Marathon, along with the results for three extra rated games from six newer visitors to the club. We’re definitely growing and may need to occupy two tournament rooms for future events to continue our distancing with one game per table, which is a good problem to have.

Some exciting seesaw battles again in this round, with many nice positions squandered amidst the attendant time trouble, groans and gnashing of teeth, and when all the clocks were stopped Pranav found himself alone at the top with 3-0. Only Mikhail now stands between Pranav and an absurdly high USCF provisional rating, just one of the great games we’ll see next week, I’m certain.

Pranav – Alexander, 1-0
Shahin – Ziyu, 1-0
Daniel – John, 1-0
Aarav – Ritam, 0-1
Cesar – Benjamin, 1-0
Hamdanil – Mattan, 1-0
Jerome – Ragav, 0-1
Vaibav – Umit, 0-1
Jose – Aditya, 0-1 (unrated forfeit win for Aditya)

Mikhail, Caleb, Ashwin, Viyan, Kornel, Nicholas: Half-point byes

Extra Rated Games:
Arjun – Raghuram, 0.5-0.5
Umar – Ptolemy, 0-1
Kheshav – Clyde, 1-0: No game score provided

June Mini-Marathon Round 2 Games

Following are the individual games from round 2 of our June Mini-Marathon (chapters 11-21 in the tournament study). These Lichess studies may not be the best way to share games given some minor UX issues with the feature but we’ll continue to use them for this event, at least. Lots of interesting games and the worthy up-and-down struggle between John and Ziyu ended with a demonstration of the power of three connected passed pawns. Well played, everyone!

Mikhail Molodyk – Hamdanil Rasyid, 1-0
Ritam Chakraborty – Pranav Jindal, 0-1
Ashwin Subramanian – Cesar Tamondong, 1-0
John Valentine – Ziyu Liu, 0.5-0.5
Ragav Ravi – Daniel Vilenchik, 0-1
Kornel Csernai – Shahin Aghevli, 0-1
Caleb Koch – Vaibov Ravishangar, 1-0
Jerome Oriel – Viyan Vijay, 1-0
Umit Bas – Jose Salinas, 0.5-0.5
Aditya Dhamdhere – Aarav Patel, 0-1
Nick Rogers – Mattan Vilenchik, 0-1

June Mini-Marathon Round 2 Results

Below are the standings after round 2 of our June Mini-Marathon, as well as the tentative round 3 pairings. We have a number of byes in round 3, including two of the three people tied for first, so this will make for an interesting finish. Given the number of participants we probably should have played 5 rounds, to better guarantee a clear first, but if there is a tie for any of first, second or third places we’ll hold a blitz chess memefest the following week to see who takes home the gift certificates.

Be certain to check https://menloparkchess.club/tournaments/latest-tournament-pairings/ for the latest pairings as we get closer to Wednesday, and I’ll send another reminder Tuesday but recall that we agreed to start rounds 3 and 4 at 6:30pm over the coming two weeks. Hopefully this isn’t a hardship for anyone?

Lastly, there was a spate of interesting games in round 2 and I should have all of them added to our June Mini-Marathon Lichess study this weekend (https://lichess.org/study/UWaFebaG)–thanks to those of you who sent me the PGN files for your games as that certainly makes things easier on my end!

June Mini-Marathon Round 1 Results

The image below gives the results for round 1 of our June Mini-Marathon as well as the tentative round 2 pairings. Note that these pairings could change if we receive additional late entries or bye requests so I’ll confirm the pairings Tuesday afternoon.

We had some exciting games in round 1, replete with several missed opportunities to hold a draw or secure a full point, and all ten are now available in this Lichess study. Note that most of the game annotations are provided by engine analysis, though I added a couple comments in parentheses to one or two games. I plan to do this for all of our longer time control events so people have access to a club game archive, of sorts, and I’ll make PGN files available on the club website, as well (just look for the specific tournament link once the event is complete).

I also wanted to point out that we had a good casual/blitz showing last week–those who wished to play non-tournament games–ideally we’ll see as many people this coming Wednesday for more of the same. Please let me know if you have any questions in the meantime and I hope to see you at the club soon.

— Mark Drury

Blitz Tournament Photos, Other Updates

I included a couple photos, below, from last week’s blitz tournament, one from the start of round three and the other showing the final game of that round: the battle between Cody and Shahin (facing the camera). I believe Shahin was down to mere tens of seconds in this tough game but the inadvertent 5-second delay we ended up using allowed him to hold on and hand Cody his only loss of the event (and, yes, I’ve made a mental note to take better photos at the club).

Speaking of blitz, I’ve bandied about this idea of holding a blitz mini-marathon over the four Wednesdays in July. Each Wednesday tournament would include 4-5 rounds and would be a standalone event, with modest prizes, while the sum of one’s scores in all four events would then be your total for the mini-marathon (hence, a maximum of 16-20 points). You needn’t play in all four events, given busy summer schedules with vacations and such, while, conceivably, someone who plays just three events and does very well could prove competitive in the mini-marathon. We might also decrease the time control each successive week, to ratchet up the pressure (G5+2, G5+0, G3+2, G3+0, say). The entry fee for individual events would be free, as usual, while those interested in the full mini-marathon could pay a modest fee to create a prize fund, something quite a few people have expressed interest in to date. If you have any interest in or feedback about such a tourney please let me know.

In other news, several recent visitors to the club have asked that we offer casual and blitz chess on a regular basis, for those who cannot or do not wish to play in tournaments, and I’m happy to report that our “Skittles Room” will now be a permanent fixture at the club. This is the room directly across the hall from our usual space—I’ll set that up each evening with boards, pieces and clocks and we can use that for casual, blitz, bughouse and post-game analysis while tournaments are in progress (it also serves admirably as the parent’s lounge).

Finally for this update, a number of people have requested that we offer lectures and/or lessons and I’m working on something which may happen as soon as June 29th. Jim Eade, one or our resident masters and benefactors, has offered to analyze one or two of the more interesting games from our June Mini-Marathon tournament or perhaps review some aspect of endgame technique. We’ll send details and a firm date once we know more.

Spring Quads Rating Report & Free Blitz Tourney

Our Spring Quads were rated Friday and a few people made nice gains, there were impressive debuts from a number of our erstwhile unrated players and, sadly, I continue the inexorable slide toward my rating floor:


This coming Wednesday we’ll hold another casual, unrated blitz tournament of 4-5 rounds in one section, with free entry and no USCF membership required to participate. The time control will be G/5+2 and prizes will again be new Hypermodern Press chess books donated to the club by Jim Eade. Several people also expressed interest in chipping $5 into a prize pool so that may be an option for those who are interested (cash prizes would only be available to those who chip in, of course). If you plan to play in this blitz event please arrive at the club round 6:45 or before to register so we can begin the tournament at 7pm. Or you can simply register with the handy form on our website, found here: https://menloparkchess.club/event/mpcc-burgess-park-blitz-2/ (registering here doesn’t obligate you to play, but please try to cancel your registration if you are unable to make it for any reason).

Our next rated tournament will be another Swiss event beginning June 1st, with 4 rounds in one section and a slightly longer time control of G/45 d/5. I’ll send more details about that event later this week.

Spring Quads Round 3 Results

Our rated quads are nearing completion, per the image below. Andy Shih and Viyan Vijay put on something of a clinic in groups 1 and 4, respectively, with perfect 3-0 scores—congratulations to both!—while Daniel Vilenchik or Jerome Oriel could join their ranks depending upon the outcome of the group 3 make-up games next week. The single remaining game in group 2 between David Bajot and Umit Bas could decide 1st place in that quad and, speaking of 1st place, the prize for that distinction in each quad is a $20 gift certificate for Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park.

Apart from the quad make-up games next Wednesday, there will be casual, blitz and bughouse play, as usual, and the following week, May 25th, we’ll hold another unrated Swiss system blitz tournament, with free entry and open to everyone, and may ask the top 8 finishers compete in a knockout-style bracket for three top prizes (likely gift certificates for a local bookstore or for the US Chess website). We may also use the blitz tournament to seed a club ladder, using the practice of inverting the final standings such that the winners begin at the bottom of the ladder and must play their way up. More to come on this event soon!

Spring Quads Round 2 Results

The second round of our quads saw a pair of upsets in Group 1, with Yang Hu taking down Cesar Tamondong and Andy Shih dispatching yours truly in a tough game, one in which I had an advantage in the middlegame, only to stumble in time trouble near the end (a familiar refrain in these 30-minute games). David Bajot and Cary Kletter sit atop Group 2 with 1.5 points after drawing their game, there is a 3-way tie for first in Group 3 with one postponed game (in yellow, below) and mighty Viyan Vijay took control of Group 4 with a second win. We also had 5-6 people playing blitz and bughouse in our skittles room while the tournament round was in progress, so there are games to be had even if you’re not interested in tournament play.

Note that a couple of our younger members were a little boisterous after their games in this round, something I was unable to control effectively given I was also playing and which impacted a few other players, so this may be the last rated event I both direct and play in for a while (I participate as a “house” player if there is an odd number of entrants, to make certain everyone gets a game each round). Noise shouldn’t be an ongoing problem if I’m serving solely as a tournament director, something I’m more than happy to do, and we may also consider moving a few of the games which typically end earliest to the skittles room to curb the impacts of the occasional outburst.

Next Wednesday is the final round of the quads, with a makeup round the following week, then we’ll likely hold another unrated blitz tournament on May 25th if there is interest. As always, please let me know if there are other events or activities you’d like the club to offer.