Raphael Yelluas Memorial Blitz

The Raphael Yelluas Memorial Blitz event held last night at the Kolty Chess Club was a great success, with a very large turnout split into two sections, 1600+ and U1600. The Menlo Park club was well represented and saw excellent results from the likes of Cesar, Adam, Kunal, Marshall, Nicholas, Samuel, Ashwin, Alex Chin, Shahin Aghevli, Josen Kalra, Michael Ho and certainly others I’m forgetting at present.

I don’t have the official results but I believe IM Grisha Kotlyar and CM Badamkhand Norovsambuu tied for first in the 1600+ section, while Menlo Park Chess Club stalwarts Nicholas Tan and Samuel Agdamag shared first in the U1600 section, after an exciting final-round draw between the two (both undefeated to that point!).

The photos below are from the first round, with Cesar and Badamkhand squaring off on board two while I had the pleasure of playing Grisha on board one. We began an interesting Dutch game of a dozen or so moves until I may have been on the verge of losing a pawn or some positional concession but instead opted to boldly hang my queen, from which auspicious start I never left the bottom boards for the rest of the night. Grisha was gracious in victory, however, and may visit our club at some point to play blitz with members and/or give a lecture of some kind.

A big thank you to Wolfgang Behm, George Jeffers, Carl Lumma, Grisha Kotlyar and all the other Kolty Chess Club Players who made this happen—it was a great event!

IM Grisha Kotlyar and Mark Drury before their round one game
Cesar Tamondong and CM Badamkhand Norovsambuu before their round one game

Mad Hatter Ladder Blitz Swiss Results

We enjoyed another full house Thursday night, April 27th, for our Mad Hatter Ladder Blitz Swiss, with perhaps eight people playing in their first over-the-board event. I didn’t do justice to the name of this tournament, given I had five different Mad Hatter-worthy variations prepared for each of the five rounds, but in reading the room we went with straight-up chess and I think that was the right call (we may partake of those variations later this year).

Kunal enjoyed another perfect result with his 5-0 score, one point ahead of second-place finishers Alex, Pranav, Adam, Amós and Kornél (who is likely the world’s strongest Class D player). The tournament started just a few minutes after 7pm and finished round 8:30, so a huge thank you to everyone for checking in early, as requested, and for joining us last night!

As a reminder, the club will soon host ladders for blitz and slower games and last night’s event was the seed tournament for our blitz ladder. I’ll create a page on the website for the ladder and will include the rules on that page, but the thinking is we’ll offer some nice prizes for those who are most active (or some similar criteria) on the ladder over the remainder of the year. More details about that will follow soon.

“Tower of Flints” Bughouse Swiss Results

Fourteen club stalwarts and six new visitors played in our first Bughouse Swiss tournament this past Thursday and the fact that Robert’s team claimed first prize with a perfect 4-0 was a surprise to no one, given his strength in this format. Robert’s teammate, John Vitlacil, and I go way back to the Burlingame Chess Club circa the late 1980s, where we played a number of tournament games against one another, so it was great to see him again after so many decades. We also had four or five first-time visitors who played casual and blitz chess Thursday, opting not to play in the tournament, which is always an option if you’re not a fan of any specific format or variant.

Congratulations are also due to teams Amogh / Pranav and newcomers Nirvan / Rachel for their second-place tie at 3 points, ahead of four teams with 2 points. For my part, I weighed poor Andres down with moves like 2. f4 in my game against Kornél, when his teammate, Jerome, extracted a pawn to drop on my f2 square with check, leading to a very quick, instructional and most embarrassing forced mate several moves later. I have no future in bughouse but I’ll continue playing it for the humor value, alone.

As much fun as this bughouse tournament was, I think we’ll forego the second such event scheduled for April 13th, given the format (chiefly the makeup of the teams) still needs some thought to make it appealing to a larger swath of our regular players. Please let me know if you have any feedback, good or bad, thanks to all of you who played in this event and we’ll most likely try the format again in the near future.

“Tower of Flints” Chess960 Swiss Results

Twenty-two intrepid souls joined us for the Chess960 tournament Thursday night, one which morphed into an individual Swiss rather than a team event due to the number of relatively late entries. When the last flag fell two things were clear: we had, as a group, finally figured out how to castle (for the most part) and Josh Garrow is at least 3 inches taller and his chess skills are even stronger than when he visited us last summer. Congratulations to Josh on his perfect 4-0 score, to Quincy Chen for sole second with 3.5 points and to Chris Murphy, Jay Wacker, Jerome Oriel and Steven Swick on tying for third with 3.0 points!

I mentioned to a number of people that I chose the four Chess960 starting positions used last night based, somewhat whimsically, on information in the following Lichess user blog post—I haven’t looked too closely at the methodology or the code to judge its merits but I found it interesting and you may too: https://lichess.org/@/rdubwiley/blog/using-lichesss-public-data-to-find-the-best-chess-960-position/GCpB9WLH.

As another reminder, the first of two bughouse tournaments occurs next Thursday and you have the option to choose your teammate (via the registration form or by contacting me) or to allow me to pick one for you from the pool of other individual entries. The first event is free to enter, given it will serve as a club trial for the format, and the following week we will hold the same event with a $5 entry fee per player, all of which will be returned in prizes. Enter one or both events at https://menloparkchess.club/events/ and I hope to see many of you for some bughouse over the coming two weeks! Regards,

Mark Drury

“Tower of Flints” Team Blitz Results

Our “Tower of Flints” team blitz tournament last night was an interesting and fun experiment with a few lessons learned (off the top of my head—there are certainly more): with assigned teams as were used in this event, have people on the same team introduce themselves to one another before the start of the first round, so everyone knows who is on their team (it was pointed out to me after the second round that there was some uncertainty about team makeup, resulting in a “Doh!” moment); balancing team strength is difficult when most participants don’t have an established blitz rating and there are a number of first-time participants; a five-round blitz tournament can take longer than 90 minutes, even with the pairings pre-made.

That said, I think the format has promise and I heard generally positive feedback from participants, so we’ll try it again next week or the week thereafter, perhaps playing Chess960 to further obfuscate my questionable team balancing algorithm. In the meantime, congratulations are due to Clyde Taylor and Gustavo Chau for winning their board groups with perfect 5-0 scores, and to Team E (Alex Chin, Andy Shih, Cameron Rampell, Atul Dhingra, Benjamin Sergeant and Clyde Taylor) for sweeping the other teams with a 5-0 match score, as well. All team and board results are in the images below and I’ll work out a better way to share this for the next event.

Thank you to everyone who played chess with us last night (including the many who visited for casual and bughouse), who put up with the missteps and who provided feedback during and after the tournament—I really appreciate it! Regards,

Mark Drury

February “Mud Month” Mini-Marathon Results

Our February “Mud Month” Mini-Marathon wrapped up last night with a slew of upsets as well as three draws, two of which meant a swing of tens of dollars in prize money. The half point agreed to by Adithya and Quincy on board one allowed Pranav to share Group 1 and overall first place, with 3.5 points, and all three are a cup of coffee and a bagel richer for their exertions. The group prizes and winnings are reflected (somewhat unclearly) in the image, below, and note that groups 1, 2 and 5 had nine players and $45 in total prize money; the other groups eight players and $40. Congratulations to Peter, Anton and Darshil for taking sole first in their respective groups!

I’ll reach out to our prize winners to ask about a preference for Venmo, PayPal or cash remittance and please let me know if you see any errors in the results or prize distributions in the meantime, as I produced the document rather hastily between work meetings this morning. Something I mentioned before the start of the round last night and wish to repeat here is that this tournament would have been better served by two or even three distinct sections, given the number of participants and the ratings groupings, but I created a US Chess Tournament Life Announcement which stated one section and, hence, needed to stick with that format–future such events will likely include more than one section.

I plan to submit the tournament for rating to US Chess this afternoon so you may see the report as soon as Monday. Thank you again to everyone who played in this event and put up with the accelerated pairings, and to those who spectated over the past four weeks. Our next rated event will likely use a Quick (Rapid) time control and should begin in mid- to late-March—more to come about that soon.

February “Mud Month” Mini-Marathon Round 3 Results

Last night’s round 3 of our “Mud Month” Mini-Marathon brought more interesting chess, with a couple puzzle-like finishes which were too complicated to solve over-the-board in time trouble, for both players and spectators alike. I hope to share a few of the more interesting games from all rounds at some point but that will likely occur after the tournament finishes next week. The prize group standings (first and second places) heading into the final round are as follows:

Group 1: Adithya Karavadi, Quincy Chen, 3.0
Group 2: Nick Matelli, Daniel Francis, Tobin Bennion, Roshan Mahanth, 2.0
Group 3: Kornel Csernai, Peter Roumeliotis, 2.0
Group 4: Anton Bobkov, Akshat Gupta, 2.0
Group 5: Grant Jensen, 2.5; Darshil Chauhan, Tutul Rahman, 2.0

I’ve also shared the tentative round 4 pairings below, given I know some of you like to prepare for your opponents. These will stand unless we get zero-point bye/withdrawal requests before Thursday, in which case I’ll send the usual update. Please let me know if you have any questions and thanks again to everyone who is participating in this event! Regards,

Mark Drury

February “Mud Month” Mini-Marathon Round Two Results

We enjoyed another tough-fought round in our February “Mud Month” Mini-Marathon last night and, while there were fewer upsets this time around, there were a number of games which came down to the final seconds of the G/45 d/5 time control. Below are the current standings and I’ll share the round 3 pairings next Wednesday, as usual. Please let me know asap if you need a bye next week—currently Aaron Cho, Jeff McGinnis and Andy Shih have made such a request.

We had several first-time visitors to the club last night, as well as some repeat visitors who are not playing in the tournament, which reinforces the need to keep out skittles room open for casual and blitz games during tournaments. I’m still trying to negotiate a larger room for the club but don’t know when/if that will happen. Thank you again to everyone for making the club the success that it is and please let me know if you have any questions about this or future tournaments (several people last night requested that we hold more rated events with longer time controls, like G/45, as one bit of recent feedback). Regards,

Mark Drury

February “Mud Month” Mini-Marathon Round One Results

Our February “Mud-Month” Mini-Marathon kicked off this past Thursday with unprecedented interest—we have 42 players participating in this single-section rated event and, regrettably, I had to turn away another dozen or so people who wished to play for lack of room. This serves as an unsubtle reminder to register early for these tournaments until we can arrange for a larger/second room at our current location (I’m not yet willing to dedicate the skittles room to tournament play given all the other activities this space allows for during and after tournament games).

There were quite a few upsets in our first round, a not-unexpected result given our use of accelerated pairings for this and subsequent rounds, which make the initial matchups a little more even. I have the second round pairings in hand and like those matchups even better, so I’m hoping everyone is able to play next week (but I won’t release the pairings until Wednesday just in case there are late bye requests or withdrawals). Note that the “Group” column in the wall chart below is the player prize group, which was determined by rating before the start of play Thursday. As always, please let me know if you have questions or comments about this event and thank you again for playing with us! Regards,

Mark Drury