11th NY International - Brilliancy Prizes

In June, the club hosted the 11th New York International. (For a complete recap of the event, visit our newsletter!) Three Brilliancy Prizes were chosen from games submitted by players in the Championship Section. Each submission was blindly analyzed by GM Giorgi Kacheishvili, who then selected the winners.

Rather than award a First Prize, Second Prize, etc., the club implemented a new, unique prize structure last year. One prize was awarded for Accuracy (the most technically accurate game played), one prize was awarded for Creativity (the most creative game played), and the final prize was awarded for Perseverance (the game demonstrating the most fighting spirit).

You can find the winning games below. Giorgi's citations for each award are also quoted under each winner. IM Alex Ostrovskiy has graciously annotated the games for your enjoyment!

Accuracy Prize
GM Robert Hess for his Round 9 win against GM Paragua.

"The cleanest game submitted!"

Creativity Prize
FM Levy Rozman, for his Round 1 win against Rey Magallanes.

"... a very creative game where White took a lot of risk from the opening."

Perseverance Prize
IM Kassa Korley for his Round 7 win with black against FM Rawle Allicock.
A game "where Black played inventive, determined chess and showed a will to victory." 

A Special Simultaneous Exhibition at the Marshall

It is not every day that a chess player who is in the Top 50 in the world stops by the Marshall Chess Club. However, on Tuesday, May 22nd, many Marshall players were lucky to not only see but play against one. 30 challengers took on GM Arkadij Naiditsch in a simultaneous exhibition, which was an exciting, exclusive event for Marshall members. The grandmaster also autographed books and merchandise after the games.

Grandmaster Arkadij Naiditsch was born in the Soviet Union in 1985 and won the European Under-10 championship in 1995. He earned his grandmaster title in 1999 at quite a young age. He represented Latvia until 2015 when he switched his federation to Germany, also impressively winning the Dortmund Sparkassen that year. He became part of the “2700 club” in 2011 and achieved his peak in 2013. GM Arkadij Naiditsch was consistently rated 2700 in 2017 and only recently dropped below that. In 2015, he transferred to the Azerbaijani federation and moved to Baku with his family. Since he lives far from New York, it was a unique experience for Marshall members to play him.

In fact, it was quite a bit more exciting for a few of them, for three players emerged victorious- that is, with draws- at the simul. For almost any chess player, a draw against a just under 2700 opponent is impressive to begin with! One of those players was Expert Adia Onyango, self proclaimed “chess traveler,” who we profiled on the blog in the past.

To participate in events such as simultaneous exhibitions in the future, you can become a member of the Marshall Chess Club. Past events include Candidates Tournament Analysis, other GM simuls (GM Timur Gareyev and more), book lectures and signings, and much more. Other benefits include discounted tournament and event entries, casual visits to the club at any time while it is open, and voting for our Board Members.

Special thanks to IM Raven Sturt for the photos.

UT Rio Grande Valley Wins Final Four!

A cheer erupted from the Webster University chess team as GM Ray Robson played the right move to ensure his winning chances in a must win scenario at the 2018 President's Cup "Final Four" Collegiate Championship. Webster's chess team depended on this win of GM Robson versus GM Dariusz Swiercz of Saint Louis University to tie for first. Alas, their elation was short lived, as Robson failed to follow the continuation. There was dead silence as the game was drawn, giving away the championship spot to a well deserved team: University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

This was the most dramatic scene at this year's tournament, which was hosted at the Marshall Chess Club.

The winning team was the third seed team of the tournament, featuring GMs Kamil Dragun (2686), Vladimir Belous (2684), Andrey Stukopin (2683), Hovhannes Gabuzyan (2679), and Carlos Antonio Hevia Alejano (2569). Their coach was GM Bartek Macieja. This was the team's second year qualifying for the Final Four, after the university's creation in 2013. In 2016, they placed second behind Webster University and were not one of the qualifying teams in 2017. They made their mark in collegiate chess history by ending Webster's 5th year championship reign, but also for their strong performance overall.

The winner of the tournament is determined by team points accrued, not in head to head match scores. For the first time, co-champions were a possibility for the tournament, but the UT team ended in clear first, with 7.5 points. Quite notable was GM Belous' performance, as he went 3-0 (he won all of his games).
The arbiter, FIDE arbiter Mike Hoffpauir called this year’s competition “the strongest Final Four in the history of this tournament,” which is not surprising given the team rosters. Almost every player on all the teams were grandmasters, with the exception of Saint Louis University’s IM Dorsa Derakhshani, and Texas Tech’s IMs Sergei Matsenko, Evgen Shtembuliak, and Luis Carlos Torres Rosas. It is also commendable that Texas Tech placed third without an all-grandmaster team like the others.
The Marshall looks forward to hosting the tournament every year and this championship was no exception. Next year, perhaps another result will surprise chess players and college teams across the nation- anyone could win.

In Memory of IM Ilya Figler

It has been a rough year for chess with the passing of many players. Recently, Mikhail Layevskiy, a beloved friend of the club, passed away and we honored him with a memorial blitz tournament. Last week, we were devastated to learn of the passing of IM Ilya Figler. IM Figler was vital to the New York chess scene. He was a respected coach, friend to many and a great player.

IM Figler was the two-time Moldovan champion and, upon moving to the United States, earned the National Master title in 1997. He obtained the IM title in 2010 and became a FIDE Instructor in 2011. He worked primarily as a chess coach and teacher in a number of schools, including the Ethical Cultural Fieldston School and the Hunter College Campus Schools. His students will remember him especially for his dedication and the joy he brought to each lesson. In his free time, he played frequently at the Manhattan Chess Club (when it was still in existence) and at the Marshall. His last tournament was only a few months ago.

The Marshall’s Executive Director, Bryan Quick, sent out an email to members sharing the club’s condolences:

“Ilya was a member of the club for decades and was a dear friend to many in our community. He dedicated himself to teaching chess for more than 30 years. An innovator, he was an early pioneer in bringing chess to early childhood education. He also coached numerous National Championship teams (and individual champions) in his work with the Hunter College schools. Ilya will be deeply missed.”

News of his passing spread quickly and many were able to attend his memorial on February 16th.

On social media, NM Alex King wrote a short obituary. Many players responded by posting their favorite chess experiences with IM Figler. Among the commenters were GM Maurice Ashley and IM John Bartholomew. IM Bartholomew recounted how IM Figler once beat him “in textbook fashion” and was “totally schooled by this unassuming older guy!” GM Michael Rohde, a regular at the club, praised his “dynamic/intuitive style” and the fact that he was “never afraid of complications.” Shaun M. Smith, Director of Programs at Chess-in-the -Schools, said that Figler was “One of the nicest chess players! [He] always greeted me with a smile, a handshake, and a few kind words.” NM Evan Rabin of Premier Chess called him a “kind soul” and referred to him as one of his mentors. The fact that so many players had lasting memories of IM Figler shows how important he was to our community. May he rest in peace.

Player Spotlight: Adia Onyango

In this week’s blog post, we will be highlighting a certain chess player who has been playing well at the Marshall lately: Adia Onyango.

Recently, she played in the Mikhail Layevskiy Memorial Blitz Tournament, earning over 70 blitz rating points. She also won the U2000 class prize at the G/45 on January 28th and played in the club’s very first Marshall Premier tournament in the U2000 section this weekend. Among her achievements are that in December 2012, she was in the top 100 women in the United States (now top 150) and in July 2016, she became the 5th African American woman in history to reach the level of National Expert. This is impressive because she only began competing in tournaments as an adult.

Adia attributes her recent tournament success to being rested and eating properly before her games. Like any chess teacher, it is often difficult for her to focus on her own chess because she is focused on educating the next generation of chess player. However, she uses her love for the social aspects of chess to improve her own development, such as starting an all women’s online study group for women/girls over 1800. Together, they support each other, review games, and read chess books. Besides that, she tries to stay active in tournament play, does tactics, and exercises daily.

She is a chess teacher/coach, plays in the Commercial Chess League of New York on an all female team, and is an administrator of two popular Facebook groups called Chess Connections and Women and Girls Do Play Chess. She is frequently known as #chesstraveler and loves the social aspect of chess. I got the opportunity to ask Ms. Onyango several questions to get to know her better. She is clearly a chess player that anyone would want to know and learn from!

What’s something you find special at the Marshall and why do you like playing there?

The Marshall Chess Club has been in existence for over 100 years and many of the great chess legends of the past and present have pushed pieces there.  I love the historic pictures on the wall that each tell their own story.  Even the absence of pictures tell a story.  The very first time I set foot in the Marshall, I was blown away by the weight of the history on its walls and I continue to enjoy some of the great stories of the past when I talk with long time members like Ginny Hoffman, who has shared many stories about women in chess, Asa Hoffman, who was friends with Bobby Fischer, IM Jay Bonin, who has probably played the most games at the Marshall, the departed GM Lombardy, and many more.

Greatest chess achievement of 2017? 2018? In your life?

I do not think my greatest chess achievement has happened yet. A chess achievement from 2017 that makes me smile is the fact that I played chess in 7 countries (Bermuda, China, Thailand, Ireland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark) and competed in tournaments and even won prizes in 3 of those countries, Ireland, Sweden and Norway.

Another achievement that I'm proud of is not my own but that of my students.  After launching a schoolwide chess program in Long Island at a school where none of the kids played I was proud have the kids competing in tournaments and winning medals and trophies within a year,  in addition to having one of my 7 year old students make the top 100 girls under 7 in the US list.

2018 has just started but I was happy to start the year off with a few wins, coming in first in the Boston Congress and taking first place in the Marshall U2000.

Who are your chess heroes? Which players are your role models?

Hands down my chess heros are Judith Polgar and Susan Polgar.  The have broken down so many barriers for women in chess and continue to do work to advance women in chess. 
In regards to role models, I was an adult when I entered the competitive chess arena and most of my role models are not chess players.  My role models start with my parents and my grandparents.  I was blessed to be surrounded with the best role models one could look for.

Tell us about your hashtag, #chesstraveler. Where have you traveled to? What was your favorite place to travel to?

Chess and travel are two things that I am passionate about and I feel blessed to be able to do both.  After taking care of my mom with ALS and eventually losing her in 2012 I challenged myself to stop putting off my interest in seeing the world.  My mom's battle reminded me that we are not promised tomorrow and even if we are here tomorrow we don't know what condition we will be in.  At that time I challenged myself to visit 10 countries over the next 10 years. What better way to see it but through the historical perspective of a chess player? To date I have visited about 27 countries. 

I have enjoyed something special about each travel experience.  However, the three trips that rank on the top from a chess perspective would have to be Cuba, Romania, and Kenya (my homeland). I am thankful to be embraced by the chess community wherever I travel. 

In Cuba I visited Capablanca’s grave, played at the Capablanca Chess Club, played in the streets and parks, gave out complimentary chess lessons to some beginners, and sponsored and ran a free blitz tournament with cash prizes on my last night.  I was even able to meet and play with a some Cuba's International Masters and National Masters.  Cuba, as a country, really embraces chess. This was absolutely beautiful to me. 

Romania was another country where everyone played chess.  I traveled to Romania to compete in the 2013 World Amateur Tournament, representing the US.  This was my first experience competing abroad and I was 1 of 4 Americans competing.  Not only did I finish on top (2nd highest scoring American and 4th woman), but I came back to the US after having taken a bye and took 2nd place in the Marshall U2000!

In Kenya, I was able to compete in the 2013 Nairobi Club Championship.  I placed in the top 7 and was also won a prize for being the highest scoring women in the event.

Mikhail Layevskiy Memorial Blitz

A few weeks ago, this blog reported the passing of a dear friend of the Marshall Chess Club, Mikhail Layevskiy. In summary, the 35 year old passed away of cancer, devastating many chess players, friends, and family alike. Our Vice President at the Marshall, Beatriz Marinello, expressed interest in organizing his memorial service. The club went ahead to hold the Mikhail Layevskiy Memorial Blitz Tournament, organized by Fedor Khrapatin. It was held on the day that would have been his 36th birthday, January 26th. Friends posted of this on his Facebook, such as IM Jay Bonin, and many chess players celebrated his life at the club.

The event was full of speeches and there were even refreshments. The chess community showed their compassion and came together quite nicely for this tournament. Board Member Asa Hoffman who spoke at the event and later commented:
“My own remembrances of Mike began when he was a teenager playing in tournaments at the Manhattan Chess Club. I commented about how he was a fierce competitor but with a great sense of humor. I mentioned that he was also a poker player and was a master at checkers! Others echoed my sentiments.”
Although Mikhail seemed to be around a 2100 USCF chess player, he was definitely known for being great at checkers at the club, even beating GM Zvaid Izoria and many others, no doubt.

70 players showed up for the tournament, a relatively large crowd. The FIDE Blitz was 9 rounds, with GM Aleksandr Lenderman and Club Champion IM Nicolas Checa coming out on top. Lenderman has played frequently at the Marshall and also notably qualified for the upcoming U.S. Chess Championship. Checa recently beat out GM Azarov to become the club champion and played in the Match of the Millennials this summer.

IM Jonathan Tayar managed to draw the 2700 rated GM Lenderman and FM Brandon Jacobson won a game against Lenderman. FM Jacobson also won a game against GM Irina Krush. In fact, the 14 year old had a phenomenal tournament, only losing to IM Checa and primarily playing higher rated opponents. FM Jacobson was not the only player who had notable upsets, though. Logan Brain, rated almost 2200, won a game against IM Raja Panjwani and both Jeremiah J. Smith (around 2100) and Jonathan Corblah achieved an upset against IM Michael Bodek. These results all go to show that in blitz, anything can happen!

The next FIDE Blitz tournament is on February 16th, 2018. See our calendar for USCF Blitz tournaments and other events.

A Week at the Marshall

An Introduction to the Challenge
I have grown accustomed to telling people that I work at the Marshall on “Saturdays from 4 to closing!” and to come by then. This week, though, many regulars saw me on Thursdays, and proclaimed their surprise. With the Marshall’s Executive Director, Bryan Quick, and one of our tournament directors, Jarret Petrillo, on vacation, I volunteered to cover their shifts. Except for a temporary, one day break last Friday, I have been at the Marshall every day for almost a week. This is radically different than my one shift, 8 hours on Saturday schedule. Through this experience, I have come to learn a few nuances at the club that I cannot gleam from my once per week norm.

The Marshall is a great place to study during the day
Besides a few classes and private lessons on weekdays, there is often not much going on during the weekdays at the chess club. Throughout my marathon week, I saw IM Jay Bonin, David Kantey, and several other chess players come to study at the club quietly. It is clear that in the hours before the nightly rush of tournament players, the club proves to be a great space to study chess. There are copies of Chess Informant to read, chess boards and clocks, and bathrooms. The club is conveniently located near a few places to eat.

I have been the nearby chess store, Chess Forum, many times and see seniors playing there during the day. It would definitely be more beneficial to the club to have more seniors here during the day time such as the ones that appear to congregate there. Of course, regardless, chess players are welcome to stop in any time during the day.

There are many more people that you meet when you’re at the club more than once a week
Throughout the week, I met many people who I never see on my single Saturday shift. It is especially interesting to see unique faces and names. My advice for if you are tired of seeing the same players over and over again at the Marshall, try to play on a different day of the week. This is also the case if you simply want to meet new people! Of course, there are many players who play on a variety of days during the week- I saw GM Michael Rohde numerous times- but it is still a different scene.

The work doesn’t stop, even if no one is physically at the club
Every day, my club email inbox fills up with bye requests, questions, and comments about tournaments and other club activities. These inquiries are answered no matter if there are people playing at the club. Phone calls are relatively common throughout the day which was something I did not expect. Clearly, working at the Marshall can get busy even when it is quietest.

In the Lens of Our New Club Champion

This year’s 101st Annual Edward Lasker Memorial, or the Marshall Chess Club Championship, field included strong players such as GM Sergei Azarov, IM Djurabek Khamrakulov, and former Club Champions GM Irina Krush and GM Sergey Kudrin, but it was the 15 year old phenom IM Nicolas Checa that surprised everyone by seizing the title of 2017 Marshall Chess Club Champion. He did this by tying for first with GM Azarov scoring 7/9, and subsequently winning the playoff against the grandmaster in stunning fashion.

The tournament started smoothly enough for most of the top players, with almost everyone rated 2200+ winning their first round games. GM Sergey Kudrin suffered two draws in a row right from the beginning- one of them to WIM Evelyn Zhu, who is rated approximately 2100. William Yen, also rated around 2100, scored an upset victory against IM Justin Sarkar in the first round as well. Although Zhu and Yen had little chance of winning the event, they still managed to shake up the tournament with these upsets!

Going into the event, IM Checa intended to obtain a GM norm with his performance, as the Marshall Chess Club Championship has been a norm granting tournament in the past. However, the playing field did not allow him this opportunity despite his stellar performance because there were not enough foreign players.

Along the way to the championship title, IM Checa drew IM David Brodsky, GM Azarov, GM Kudrin, and IM Victor Shen, winning the rest of his games. After an exhausting 9 rounds, Checa had to face Azarov again. Like everyone else in a playoff position against a higher rated player, he felt “a bit unsettled before the playoff. Once it started, it felt like a normal blitz game.”

The playoff was a thrilling two rounds, which many spectators enjoyed watching. Nico started it off with an unusual decision by choosing to play with Black first after winning the coin toss. He explained his decision clearly: “I won the coin toss and decided to choose black for the first game… This seemed to have surprised some members of the audience. My thinking was that I would have a better chance to react to a negative outcome with White in the second game.” His strategy paid off: after a first round draw, IM Checa was able to win the second game as White.

Chief Arbiter Greg Keener added “A lot of people were surprised and maybe even a bit  confused by Nico's choice to play the first game with Black after winning the coin toss but it actually makes sense if you think about it.” He added “I think Aronian made a similar decision in a playoff recently as well, so it isn't without precedent.”

As to what we can expect from our club champion in the future, IM Checa will be looking for his norms, which he says he will earn “hopefully at the MCC.” With our big, summer New York International, he would be able to come back to earn the norm, like IM David Brodsky did earlier this year. IM Nicolas Checa wants to specifically earn a norm at the MCC “since that’s the place where [he] started to play.”

FIDE Arbiter Greg Keener offered to annotate Club Champion IM Nicolas Checa’s games, which many readers are sure to feel inspired by:

Full results from the tournament are posted on the Marshall Chess Club’s website.

Insanity at the Marshall Chess Club!

The Marshall’s New Year’s Ridiculousness Insane Person Championship is the wackiest, most unpredictable tournaments hosted at the club every year. Over 25 players showed up to the 2017/2018 event for 15 rounds over three days. Many people turned out for the last chess tournament held at the club every year, even foregoing the trip on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. With guaranteed prizes and fun prizes like the “Idiocy Prize” for the player scoring best in tournament with 1.g4 and/or 1…g5, what’s not to like?

The turnout would have been higher if not for the Empire City Open, which happened simultaneous to the tournament. A few players chose to play in that tournament instead, but there was a positive turnout at the club and a great, festive atmosphere. The end of the year must have brought a special spirit to the club, as some players stayed after the games were done and others reunited with old friends, leaving to hold separate New Year’s chess parties at their own houses.

Unsurprisingly, first seed IM Djurabek Khamrakulov placed clear first. He drew only against GM Michael Rohde and FM Leif Pressman, winning every game otherwise. Khamrakulov has been playing extensively at the club lately, a welcome sight for sure.

Impressively enough, Khamrakulov did so well that he was even able to take a zero point bye in the last round and still win the tournament. His performance pushed his rating to 2599, just shy of 2600 USCF.

“He can’t lose a game. You think you’re winning against him, but then you just lose,” commented Marshall Regular Anthony Kozikowski about Khamrakulov’s performance in this tournament. This tournament is a tough, brutal, “insane,” 15 round event and these words reflect just how skilled the IM must have been to finish with such a spectacular result.

A few other players had a great tournament as well, such as NM Majur Juac. He gained 45 rating points, even beating IM Yury Lapshun, who placed 2nd. Juac ended with a score of 10.5/15, with 3 of them byes. Perhaps the most interesting performance was from NM Ted Belanoff, who committed to winning the Idiocy Prize. The prize went to the highest scoring player who played g4 with white or ...g5 with black to start. Every player had two scores recorded: their general tournament score and their score in g4/g5 games. Belanoff played g4 or ...g5 every single game, ending up with a score of 8.5/15. With a guaranteed $118, 8 rating points was no big loss to him!

Ted generously submitted one of his games to be annotated by FM Aaron Jacobson:

Another game ...g5 game played by NM Ted Belanoff:

Highlighting Some Marshall Regulars at K-12 Nationals

One of the most important scholastic tournaments of the year is the K-12 Nationals. This year, it took place in Orlando, Florida, with Disney’s Coronado Springs as the venue. What I found to be notable about the tournament was that many of the participants and winners (both team and individual) tended to be from New York.

Of course, with so many participants from New York, there were plenty of Marshall regulars who played at the big event. From the winners, there were:

Liam Henry Putnam: 4th Grade Champion

Liam has been quickly rising up in the chess world. He won his category at Supernationals this past year, which is the biggest scholastic tournament that happens every 4 years. This mighty kid is one of the top 10 players age 9. His mother also brought air fresheners to the Marshall, which was an amazing improvement to our chess scene!

Eddy Tian: 5th Grade Champion

Eddy actually lives in New Jersey, but he often plays in tournaments at the Marshall. He played in his first World Youth earlier this year and recently made National Master. 2017 has been one of his best chess years for sure!

Max Lu: 6th Grade Champion

Maximillian Lu used to hold the record for the youngest NM in US History, but it was broken by FM Christopher Yoo and recently, CM Liran Zhou. He has participated in many tournaments at the Marshall.

Justin Chen: 9th Grade Champion

Justin enabled his high school, Stuyvesant, to win the team championship, besides winning the individual category. He said to IM Greg Shahade, “This is my first National Championship. In the past when I start 5-0 I always lose the 6th game, so it was my nightmare that it would happen again. But it didn’t.”

Other players had strong, trophy winning performances, but did not win their sections.

3rd Grade:

- Brewington Hardaway, pictured in the main photo for the article, tied for 2nd and placed 4th on tiebreaks.

- Royal Buchanon tied for 3rd and placed 10th on tiebreaks.

- Iris Mou tied for 3rd and placed 15th on tiebreaks
4th Grade:

- Jed Sloan tied for 3rd and placed 11th on tiebreaks

5th Grade:

- Adi Murgescu tied for 2nd and placed 2nd on tiebreaks

- Nico Chasin tied for 2nd and placed 3rd on tiebreaks

- Jack Levine tied for 3rd and placed 9th on tiebreaks

- Ellen Wang tied for 3rd and placed 10th on tiebreaks

Nico Chasin: not only is he a great player, but he also has an amazing fashion sense!

6th Grade:

- Nate Shuman tied for 2nd and placed 3rd on tiebreaks

- Gus Huston tied for 3rd and placed 7th on tiebreaks

- Nura Baala tied for 3rd and placed 9th on tiebreaks

Nura Baala

7th Grade:

- Sumit Dhar tied for 3rd and placed 7th on tiebreaks

- Eugene Yoo tied for 3rd and placed 9th on tiebreaks


- Daniel Levkov tied for 3rd and placed 10th on tiebreaks


- Sophie Morris-Suzuki tied for 5th and placed 15th on tiebreaks

Sophie Morris-Suzuki with special guest WGM Sabina Foiser, the US Women's Champion

- Matthew Miyasaka tied for 2nd and placed 4th on tiebreaks

Congratulations to everyone who completed the tournament, regardless of if you won a trophy or not. Many regulars played at the national competition but were not listed here. Also, many players who placed high have played at the Marshall, especially if they live in New York, Connecticut, or New Jersey, but are not regulars. We hope to see our regular scholastic players continuing to succeed and just have fun playing chess!

Right: Ethan Li, who sometimes plays at the Marshall, but not regularly

A Tribute to Mikhail Layevskiy

We like to think of our Marshall Chess Club community as quite extensive, but sometimes, it is also just composed of a small knit community of dedicated individuals who frequently play at the club. One of those chess players was Mikhail/Michael Layevskiy. He recently passed away of cancer and his wake was held on December 8th, 2017.

Mikhail played his first tournament in 1996 as a scholastic player and played throughout high school. Before playing at the Marshall, he frequented the Manhattan Chess Club. He played at the Marshall regularly in 2002. Later, he became a Staten Island instructor for Premier Chess, which is headed by NM Evan Rabin.

A non chess related fun fact: Mikhail also loved to play checkers, which he sometimes played at the Marshall. TD Aaron Jacobson recalls, “I remember once he played GM Zviad Izoria in checkers and the grandmaster said, ‘I play checkers like you play chess!’ Mikhail kept beating Izoria in checkers.”

Mikhail Layevskiy will be greatly missed by the Marshall Chess Club and forever remembered as a regular and friend to the club.

Thanksgiving Weekend Roundup

While many Americans spent the past few days at giant Thanksgiving family gatherings and Black Friday shopping, many people dedicated to studying and playing chess made it to the Marshall Chess Club even on the busiest of holiday seasons. Some chess players tried their hand at the $500 FIDE Blitz or the Nathan Jackson Memorial tournament, but some, like Prospero Lugo, went to the club for a filler game. Reynaldo Ramos stayed behind after the Memorial tournament to play a few casual rounds. The spirit of chess proves itself to be never ending in ways like this.

The club did not expect to attract so many players this Thanksgiving weekend, as the annual National Chess Congress stole the attention of some grandmasters and regulars. However, Grandmaster Aleksandr Lenderman achieved quite an impressive feat of making it to both tournaments: after winning the $200 first prize of the FIDE Blitz, he headed off to Philadelphia for the Chess Congress. Other players also found advantages in the popularity of the National Chess Congress. In the FIDE Blitz, FM Levy Rozman scored 7 out of 9, ahead of GM Michael Rohde (6.5/9) and IM Alex Ostrovsky (6/9). Qindong Yang, Mikhail Koganov, and Niazul Haque Niaz won class prizes, and Anthony Kozikowski, Glenn Cabasso, and Anthony Norris had a three way tie for the U2000 prize. Overall, the tournament was relatively successful, with 26 players.

The Nathan Jackson Memorial Tournament offered $1,500 in prize money, with three place prizes and six class prizes. Rarely are U2400, 2200, 2000, 1800, 1600, and 1400 prizes all offered in a tournament at the Marshall. , Over 50 players showed up to play. One example of a player choosing the Marshall weekend tournament over the Philly one was Noah Flaum, a club regular, who preferred to play the Nathan Jackson Memorial instead of the Chess Congress at a faraway city.

It was IM Djurabek Khamrakulov, the top seed, who won the tournament, with only a single draw in the last round. A noticeable upset was Alan Morris Suzuki’s win over Hysen Boshnjakaj in the third round, with around a 400 point difference between them. For all inquiries of prize money, the following players won prizes:

IM Djurabek Khamrakulov, First place: $300
FM Kyron Griffith, 2nd Place/split U2400: $175
FM Asa Hoffman, 2nd Place/split U2400: $175
IM Yury Lapshun, 3rd Place/U2200: $50
FM Leif Pressman, 3rd Place/U2200: $50
Daniel Smith, 3rd Place/U2200: $50
Guillaume Gras, 3rd Place/U2200: $50
Eugene Yoo, 3rd Place/U2200: $50
Sami Sadiku, U2000:$50
Katrina Won, U2000: $50
Anthony Norris, U2000: $50
Kaden Pollard, U1800: $30
Vikram Rajmohan; U1800: $30
Noah Fawer, U1800: $30
Alan Morris-Suzuki, U1800: $30
Astor Gilberto, U1800: $30
Max Kozower, U1600: $150

Upsets at a Crowded Marshall Saturday

The Marshall Chess Club is crowded with chess players many days of the year, but on Saturday, November 18, over 90 players packed into the two floors, wanting to play chess. There were so many people in the club, in fact, it could not accommodate all the registrants, as the physical space could not fit any more boards for the two ongoing tournaments!

The U2300 tournaments are frequently the most popular tournaments at the Marshall, but the U1800 attracted 28 players, a high rarely achieved.

The U1800 tournament featured many upsets accomplished by the lower half of the tournament, such as Litsi Aquilla, a player rated 999 who defeated Alexander Mash, a 1500 rated player, and Tim Liu, rated 1167, who beat the 7th seed, Edward Morales. Overall, the tournament seemed to be dominated by the Success Academy students, who have recently been showing up to the club in great numbers. This might even increase, as the school <;a href="">;received a huge donation this week from a philanthropist to fund chess activities further<;/a>;. The happiest player of the day, though, had to be Krish Patni, who won first place with a perfect 4-0 and only a rating of 1400. Despite not finishing on Saturday, the U2300 yielded some interesting surprises, as well. Nazzareno Bertini drew FM Nico Chasin with almost a 500 point rating difference. The 3 day long tournament is sure to finish in an exciting race for first.

Looking forward, there are many tournaments to look forward to at the Marshall. The club is closed on Thanksgiving, but it hold the Nathan Jackson Memorial on November 25th and the William Lombardy Memorial and Blitz on November 28th, the last few exciting events in November. Make sure to check out our calendar for more information on these tournaments and others.