19 talented young South Carolina players from Columbia, Aiken, and Clemson competed in the Midlands Girls' Chess Tournament held at North Trenholm Baptist Church on Saturday, March 18th, 2017. It is one of our favorite tournaments of the year. There was great competition this year with many players and four teams. About 1/3 of the players were playing in their first tournament. The winners this year are Alesha Dzikowski (1st K-5) and Olivia Watkins and Haylee Hollis (=2nd K-5), Taylor Hollis (1st K-8 and the only perfect score) and Erica Smith (2nd K-8) and Lydia Tillman (1st K-12). The winning team was Midlands Stem Institute followed by Byrd Elementary and the Knights of the Square Table in second and third. Congratulations to all of the competitors, and thanks to Susan Key for assistance with the event!
Lefan Xuan of D.W. Daniel High School in Central, S.C. was beaming when presented the South Carolina Chess Association's newest honor, the Hannah "Tori" Whatley G.R.I.T. Award, at the S. C. Scholastic Chess Championships that were held Saturday, February 25th, in Mount Pleasant, S.C. Lefan battled in the male dominated high school field and finished the tournament as the highest scoring female in that section. In so doing, she has earned the right to participate in the Susan Polgar Girl's Invitational as the Palmetto State's official representative. The event will be held at Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri. Each year, over 3000 girls nationwide, set their sights on one of the 52 special invitations offered by Grandmaster Polgar. "It is a daunting task... See entire article
With superb spring-like weather on Saturday (Feb. 25th), one hundred seventy four of the State's brightest young chess players met at Charles Pinckney Elementary School in Mt. Pleasant SC to compete for trophies, prizes, rating points, and titles. After a grueling five rounds of play, Michael Burrell (shown right) emerged as our new South Carolina State High School Scholastic Champion of 2017!!!!!! Congratulations Michael!!! Michael finished with 4.5/5 points drawing Aidan Fejzulai (4.0/5) in an exciting fifth and final round game that determined first place.
Michael is also now eligible to represent South Carolina in the Denker National Tournament of High School Champions in Norfolk, VA in July! Lefan Xuan was the top scoring female and is eligible to participate in the National Girls Tournament of Champions also this summer! Benjamin Webb won the middle school section and eligible to attend the Barber Tournament of K8 Champions! Congratulations to all these fine players representing our State!!
Special thanks to E.C. Setser, Charles Pinckney Elementary - staff, faculty, and support volunteers!! Thank you all parents, organizers, tournament directors, and coaches! Special thanks to the NM Sam Copeland (Strategery Chess & Games) for providing chess services and personal game analysis! Here are this year's Trophy winners..
2017 Trophy Winners...
HIGH SCHOOL SECTION: (1st) Michael Burrell 4.5, (2nd) Aidan Fejzulai 4.0, (3rd) Brennan Ravan 4.0, (4th) Ben Yordy 4.0, (5th) Lam Nguyen 4.0, (6th) Gregory Post 3.5, (7th) Alexander Moreno 3.5, (8th) Caleb Hylkema 3.5, (9th) Jeffrey Russell 3.5, (10th) Paul Pena 3.0
Lefan Xuan 2.0 - Top Female
MIDDLE SCHOOL SECTION 6-8: (1st) Benjamin Webb 5.0, (2nd) Ahan Shi 5.0, (3rd) Matthew Johnson 4.0, (4th) Eli Davis Moore 4.0, (5th) Aditya Dias 4.0, (6th) Sam Stalnaker 4.0, (7th) Connor Liu 4.0, (8th) Sairam Ramesh 4.0, (9th) Toby Cox 4.0, (10th) David Dye Jr 3.0
Kendra Rogers 3.0 - Top Female
ELEMENTARY SECTION 4-5: (1st) Robert Hylton 4.5, (2nd) Allen Hong 4.5, (3rd) Whit Suber Jr. 4.0, (4th) Daniel Hartford 4.0, (5th) William Tabakian 4.0, (6th) Henri Murthy 4.0, (7th) Ethan Ellis 4.0, (8th) Agustin Rivero 4.0, (9th) William Barnes 3.5, (10th) Calvin Smith 3.5
Olivia Watkins 4.0 - Top Female
ELEMENTARY SECTION K-3: (1st) Daryl Wayne Dowty, III 5.0, (2nd) Caleb Missaggia 4.0, (3rd) Nikolai Webb 4.0, (4th) Caton Tsao 4.0, (5th) Kieran Graney 3.5, (6th) Logan Handel 3.5, (7th) Ethan Missaggia 3.0, (8th) Stone Alexan 3.0, (9th) Chad Mason II 3.0, (10th) Haylee Hollis 3.0
Alesha Dzikowski 3.5 - Top Female
1st Team High School - Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics, Hartsville
2nd Team High School – D.W. Daniel High School, Clemson
1st Team Middle School – R.C. Edwards Middle School, Clemson
2nd Team Middle School – Laing Middle School, Mt. Pleasant
1st Team Elementary School – Pinckney Elementary School, Mt. Pleasant
2nd Team Elementary School – Clemson Elementary School, Clemson
1st Team Primary School – Pinckney Elementary School, Mt. Pleasant
2nd Team Primary School – Ebinport Elementary School, Rock Hill
66 of South Carolina's young chess players competed in the Midlands Scholastic Chess League IV on Saturday, February 4th. Gregory Post won the K-12 section with 3.5 points. Taylor Hollis, Henri Murthy, and Jacob Stoll each got 3 points in the K-8 section, and Jacob Kinard and Calvin Smith each got a perfect score in the K-5 section with Jacob winning a tiebreak game. Pelion High, Midlands STEM, and Harbison West won the K-12, K-8, and K-5 team sections respectively. Thanks to all of these players for their fighting chess and good sportsmanship which kept the spectators riveted!
The 12th Annual Patrick D. Hart Memorial Scholastic took place January 21st, 2017 at the Church of the Holy Cross in Daniel Island, SC. Congratulations to K-12 winners Matthew Johnson and David Dye Jr. (first runner-up)! Both players finished with 3.5/4 pts. Matthew Johnson won the 1st place trophy on tiebreak. Eli Moore came in 3rd place with 3.0/4 pts. In K-8, 1st place went to Matthew Stewart with a perfect 4.0/4 score! Devin Dietrich and Hudson Seifert won 2nd and 3rd respectively with Devin winning 2nd place on tiebreak. Both players finished with 3.0/4 pts. K-5 and K-3 sections were combined. Daniel Hartford came in 1st place in K-5 with a perfect 4.0/4 score! Lula Robyn Galvan came in 2nd place with 3.0/4 pts., Matthew Doty came in 3rd place with 2.0/4 pts. In K-3, Jessica Smith came in 1st place with 1.5/4 pts., Vera Galvan came in 2nd place with 1.0/4 pts., Penelope Galvan came in 3rd place with 0.5/4 pts. Congratulations to all the winners!!
On Saturday, January 14, twenty-nine players competed in the five-round GSSM January Open on the campus of the Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics in Hartsville. When the proverbial dust settled, three players shared the top spot with hard-earned 4.0 scores: Ian Haigler of Wingate, NC, Jordan Anderson of Columbia, and GSSM senior Jeffrey Russell of York. Jeffrey had entered play as the fourteenth seed; this was his second rated tournament, Ian's 897th, and Jordan's 90th. Jordan, a GSSM alum, served as Chief TD, ably assisted by GSSM junior Brennan Ravan of Columbia.
Dr. Clyde Smith, Physics Teacher
S. C. Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics
South Carolina and Clemson chess teams traveled to Louisiana to compete in this year's prestigious 2016 Pan-American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championships. Hosted by a different school each year, the chess tournament is the foremost undergraduate chess event, determining the teams qualified to compete in the President's Cup (Final Four of College Chess). This year's intercollegiate event was held at the Hilton New Orleans Airport Hotel in Kenner Louisiana Dec. 27-30. The University of South Carolina team (top-L/R) was represented this year by Richard M. Whitehouse, Ameed Qadi, Benjamin Caiello, and Rade Musulin. Clemson University team members (bottom-L/R) were Ian Bell, Jiang Xia, Bradon Alverson, and Joe Bonitati.
At the end of six rounds, USC's final standing was 41st out of 60 with 2.5 points (1.5 points better than 2015!). Clemson University finished 47th with 2.0 points. Congratulations to these fine players from both USC and Clemson!! Thank you faculty advisors Dr. Edsel Peña (USC) and Dr. Mickey Lauria (CU). Special thanks to SCCA President David Grimaud and US Chess Women’s Committee Chair Maureen Grimaud for their support of both teams while in Louisiana! Sponsorship support to the teams was provided by Precision Tune Auto Care! See photos and crosstables below.
Congratulations to Benjamin Webb of Clemson on a fine performance in the National K-12 Grade Championship Tournament held December 16-18 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville Tennessee!! With 181 kids competing in his 3rd grade section, Ben finished 5th overall with 6.0/7 pts. (6-way tie for second). His new USCF rating is 1689!! Other players competing from SC were Harsha Srijay (10th Gr) 3.0 pts., and Nikolai Webb (K) 4.0 pts. Special thanks to all players and parents for making the trip to Nashville and supporting chess in South Carolina!
68 players met at Heathwood Hall Episcopal School on Saturday, December 10th to compete for trophies and prizes in the final Midlands Scholastic Chess League tournament of 2016. The turnout was outstanding as MSCL III produced our largest tournament thus far with players coming from Georgia, North Carolina, and, of course, all over South Carolina!! Our K-5 section alone had 32 players! Thanks to all who attended this final league event of 2016 and congratulations to all the Section Winners!!
K-5 - Eli Moore and Ethan Ellis (Eli won the blitz tiebreak)
K-8 - Messiah Cornelius
K-12 - Ben Yordy
Adult - David Hamer
The winning schools were Harbison West Elementary School (K-5), Midlands STEM Institute (K-8), and Pelion High (K-12). See links below for crosstables and photos.
National Master Sam Copeland and Benjamin Caiello (L-R in photo) were named Co-Champions in the 2016 Columbia Open chess tournament held November 19th-20th at the Hilton Garden Inn in Columbia SC. Sam and Ben scored 4.0 points each - splitting this year's top prize! Congratulations also to LM Klaus Pohl! Klaus came in third with a final score of 3.5 points. In the fifth and final round, Klaus played Sam in a grueling game that lasted over 4.5 hours w/100+ moves! You can see this game in PGN format below.
Congrats to all!!!! Here are your 2016 Columbia Open winners:
NM Sam Copeland and Ben Caiello Co-Champions (4.0 pts)
3rd LM Klaus Pohl (3.5 pts)
U2200 (3-way tie) Daniel Tanco (3.0 pts), Neil Deshpande (3.0 pts), Vignesh Sekar (3.0 pts)
U2000 Section: 1st - Gene Nix (3.0 pts) Congrats!!
2nd - (4-way tie) Douglas Holmes (2.5 pts), Jayavel Kumaresan (2.5 pts), Xiaodong Jin (2.5 pts), Benjamin Webb (2.5 pts)
1st - Gary Morrow with (4.5 pts)
2nd - (tie) Mike Boone (3.5 pts), John Neiffer (3.5 pts)
U1400 prize: (tie) David Dye (3.0 pts), Mike Mayfield (3.0 pts)
1st - Raviteja Guruvelli (3.0 pts)
2nd - Alex Tabakian (2.5 pts)
U1000 Prize: (tie) William Tabakian (2.0 pts), Henry Murthy (2.0 pts)
There were a total of 38 players in three sections in this year's event.
We would like to thank each and everyone who came either to play or support family members playing in this year's event! Your attendance was greatly appreciated and we would love to see everyone back again next year! Special thanks SCCA Vice Pres. Daniel Smith for directing and coordinating this year's event! Thanks also to Andrew Plyler for providing DGT Board & web support. Thank you Gene Nix for always being there and supporting us! This event was sponsored in part by Precision Tune Auto Care!
Strategery was proud to welcome 51 talented players to the Midlands Scholastic Chess League II, our second fall tournament! The competitive event was held Saturday, November 12th at Pelion High School with nearly equal numbers in our K-5, K-8, and K-12 sections. Calvin Smith won the K-5 section, making Daniel M. Smith one thoroughly and deservedly proud papa! Gibson Ward won the K-8 section, with a perfect score! Paul Daniel Pena won the K-12 section for his second time in a row! Congrats to all, and we hope to see everyone for our final fall tournament on December 10 at Heathwood Hall Episcopal School.
Robin the Boy Wonder in the comics, Batman's sidekick, is fictional. However, Ben the Boy Wonder in chess is amazingly real, as demonstrated October 29 at the GSSM October Open in Hartsville. Ben Webb of Clemson, who just turned nine, compiled a perfect record for clear first place in the five round event among seventeen players. GSSM alum, Jordan Anderson of Columbia, served as Chief TD, and GSSM senior Will Schmidt of Hilton Head Island served as Chief Assistant TD. Gary Morrow of Aiken, now returning to tournament chess after his retirement, earned clear second place with 4.0 points, losing only to Ben. He also snagged the Biggest Upset trophy for his final-round victory over Jordan. GSSM junior Brennan Ravan of Columbia won the First Unrated trophy on tie-breakers over GSSM junior Michael Gresko of Greenwood. Four players tied for third place at 3.0: Jordan, Brennan, Michael, and fifth-grader Whit Suber, Jr., of Fripp Island.
Dr. Clyde Smith, Physics Teacher
S. C. Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics
Over forty players attended this year's first Midlands Scholastic Chess League event held at North Trenholm Baptist Church in Columbia, October 22nd. 2016's first event of the year was a real nailbiter with several exciting finishes occurring in key last round games. Paul Pena eeked out a thrilling win against Eli Moore to win the K-12 section while dozens of spectators gathered. Meanwhile both the K-8 and K-5 sections saw last round upsets as Henri Murthy upset top seed Daniel Sobel to take first in K-8 while Ethan Harder did the same to top seed Daryl Dowty in the K-5.
In the team sections, Pelion High claimed K-12, MSI claimed K-8, and CIS leapfrogged MSI in the last round to take top honors in K-5.
Here are the full results. Thanks to all for coming out! Our next tournament is November 12th at Pelion High School! We hope to see you there :) Registration is already open at https://goo.gl/forms/reQOeErrsTxJvc2h1.
Adult: 1st is Daryl Dowty, 2nd is Eli Moore
K-12: 1st inidividual is Paul Pena; =2nd is Jonathan Shaw, Ben Yordy, and Charlie Allemond; 1st team is Pelion High School
K-8: 1st individual is Henri Murthy; =2nd is Messiah Cornelius, Katie Maldonado, Daniel Sobel, Trey Fletcher, and Jacob Stoll 1st team is Midlands STEM Institute, 2nd is CIS, 3rd is Timmerman
K-5: 1st individual is Ethan Harder; 2nd is Hayden Thorpe; =3rd is Ben Sloop, Daryl Dowty, Michael Lucas, and Kevin Chapman; 1st team is Chapin Intermediate School, 2nd is MSI, 3rd is HWES
Top Female is Taylor Hollis
Best Debut is Hayden Thorpe
Biggest Upset is Ethan Harder
Youngest Participant is Connor Brandes
Top Female Team is Midlands STEM Institute
Forty-three players entered this year's five round championship event at the Hilton Garden Inn in Columbia October 14th-16th. Congratulations to GM Elshan Moradiabadi and WGM Sabina-Francesca Foisor on winning first and second place prizes in the Open Section!! Both Grandmasters went undefeated throughout tournament play. Congratulations to Benjamin Caiello (right) our new SC State Champion for 2016!! Ben, who was also our 2015 State Scholastic Champion and Denker representative, finished the tournament with 3/5 points. Ben and Elijah Neumann (also with 3/5 pts) tied for 1st place with Ben winning on tie-break. Congratulations again to both of these fine players! Eli Moore won the Junior Championship section and increased his rating by 120 points! The South Carolina Chess Association would like to thank all players and spectators who helped make this year’s tournament a success! Special thanks to David Causey and Daniel Smith for organizing and directing this year's event. Thank you Jordan Anderson for your TD help on Saturday. Drew Plyler provided the live broadcast of board 1. David and Maureen Grimaud accompanied GM Elshan and WGM Sabina during their stay here in Columbia. This event was sponsored by Precision Tune Auto Care.
Congratulations to this year's winners...
OPEN SECTION: (1st) GM Elshan Moradiabadi (TX) 4.5 pts; (2nd) WGM Sabina-Francesca Foisor (TX) 4.0 pts
U2200: (1st/SC State Champion) Benjamin Caiello (SC) 3.0 pts (Tie-break) (T)
U2000: (2nd/SC Runner Up) Elijah Neumann (SC) 3.0 pts (T)
Top Senior: Edsel Pena (SC) 2.5 pts (T), Keith Eubanks (SC) 2.5 pts, Gene Nix (SC) 2.5 pts, Donny Gray (FL) 2.5 pts
U1800: (1st) Shaun McCoy (SC) 4.0 pts (T); Jayavel Kumaresan (GA) 4.0 pts
U1600: (2nd) Gil Padilla Ortiz (SC) 3.5 pts (T)
Top Senior: Gil Padilla Ortiz (SC) 3.5 pts (T)
U1400: (1st) Venkata Guruvelli (SC) 4.5 pts (T); (2nd) Paul Pena (SC) 4.0 pts (T)
U1200: Richard Trela (SC) 2.0 pts
U1000: William Tabakian (SC) 1.0 pts
Top Senior: Gary Morrow (SC) 3.0 pts (T)
JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP SECTION (under 19)
(1st) Eli Moore (SC) 3.0 pts (T), (2nd) Mohnish Behera (NC) 3.0 pts, (3rd) Alex Tabakian (SC) 2.5 pts
Forty-nine future Masters came to Eastlan Baptist Church in Greenville for the annual five-round GSO Saturday, October 1st. Top results in tiebreak order: Matthew Johnson (5.0), Ahan Shi (4.0) and Aditya Dias (4.0) in K-12; Parajat Majumdar (2.5), Toby Cox (2.5), Thomas Cawood and Harshita Visikamalla (2.0) in K-8. K-12 & K-8 were combined. Henri Murthy (5.0), Elisha Venegas (4.0), and James Sarasua, John Penna, Gregory Decker, Samantha Wilmott, Harrison Finneran, Dheeran Indiran, Walker Allen (3.0) in K-6; Daryl Dowty III (5.0), Ruideng Zhong (3.0), and Joshua Nielson & Andrew Cai (3.0) in K-4; and Nikolai Webb (4.0) and Matthew Peterson (2.0) in K-2. K-2 and K-4 were combined.
Warmest thanks go to Chief Assistant Drew Plyler for making the trip from Columbia with extra clocks and for tracking and verifying game results, and to floor TDs and assistants Dr. Wayne Goddard, Will Brown, 13-time SC Champion Klaus Pohl, and Tim Rankin for their instructional supervision of the young players. Set-up and take-down went quickly and efficiently because of Ms. Marlana Burrell, young Michael Burrell, Will Brown, and Tim Rankin. A special mention of thanks goes to Mr. Derek Wilmott, coach of the Clemson chess club, which brought a thundering herd of 17 young players, flooding the playing hall with orange t-shirts. Once again Eastlan Baptist Church provided the wonderful venue, and Eastlan secretary Mrs. Phyllis Fox ensured all facilities were functional and comfortable. National TD Kevin Hyde provided the chess sets. Precision Tune Auto Care provided sponsorship through the good offices of SCCA President David Grimaud.
Sixteen new USCF members played their first rated games this weekend. We especially thank the parents who taught their children the Royal Game and who then played with them, and who turned out early and traveled far for this experience. Local TD Gene Nix organized and directed SCO 2016.
Greenville Chess Club President
I’m delighted to announce that GM Elshan Moradiabadi and his fiancé, WGM Sabina-Francesca Foisor, will be playing in our 2016 and 77th Annual SC State Chess Championship Tournament October 14th-16th. Elshan won the award for first place, top board, at the 2015 PanAm Intercollegiate tournament in Cleveland last year, leading Texas Tech University to a first place finish in a very tough tournament. Sabina just finished playing for the US Team at the World Olympiad. Obviously, I’m excited to have them play in our tournament!
South Carolina Chess Association
Congratulations to our three SC representatives, Kevis Tsao, Connor Liu, and McKenzie England for their spirited performances in the distinguished Denker/Barber/NGTOC Chess Tournaments held at the Indianapolis Marriott Hotel July 30 - August 2nd!! Kevis Tsao finished the Denker Tournament with 2/6 points with his biggest win coming in the third round against Xiexin Wang (2150) of Arizona!! Connor Liu also finished 2/6 in the Barber Tournament with his best game coming in the 2nd round where he upset class A player Jacob Nathan (1806) of Idaho!! Thank you McKenzie England for representing SC at the National Girls Tournament of Champions and standing in for Neha Dias! We are all really proud of the heart and effort of all these kids!! Congratulations David and Maureen Grimaud!! David and Maureen were both recognized for their continuing efforts in support of the United States Chess Federation! Special thanks also to all those who contributed financially to help make the trip to Indianapolis possible and to all the players, and families of players for their steadfast support of chess in South Carolina!!
KEVIS TSAO has the best score of Team South Carolina at the Indianapolis scholastic championships being held concurrently with the U.S. Open Chess Championship. Kevis, the S.C. High School champion competing in the Denker Tournament of High School Champions, has a score of 2.0 out of three games, half-way through the tournament at the end of Sunday, July 31st. The best score by an S.C. player at the Denker is 4.0, set by Benjamin Caiello in Orlando, FL, in 2014.
Two other South Carolina players, McKenzie England and Connor Liu are competing alongside Kevis this year. Connor is representing S.C. in the Barber Tournament of K-8 Champions, upsetting his Class A opponent in round two. (Connor is presently in Class C.)
McKenzie England is representing S.C. as the alternate.(Neha Dias wasn’t able to participate due to university activities. She will be attending Miami University of Ohio in the fall.)
GM Lubomir Ftacnik departed for his home in Bratislava, Slovakia, this morning (Friday, 22 July) after sweeping the state’s three strongest chess clubs 46 - 1. After an entertaining lecture to nearly thirty about a great game between Petrosian-Spasky, the grandmaster cut down a very tough field in Columbia on Thursday evening (21 July) that included nineteen boards manned by one master, three experts, and three Class A players, his strongest competition of the week. Congratulations to Brandon Jordan and Rade Musulin, two Class A players that accepted draws from the GM late in the evening. Thanks to Daniel Smith and Jordan Anderson of the Columbia Chess Club for organizing the event, and to Rod Franco and the Richland County Library (St. Andrews branch on Broad River Road) for hosting it. Precision Tune Auto Care sponsored GM Ftacnik to come to South Carolina.
GM FTACNIK - 17; CHARLESTON - 0
GM Ftacnik gave a two hour lecture to twenty-five people at the Church of the Holy Cross on Daniel Island on Wednesday, July 20th, about a third of which were scholastic chess players. Seventeen chess players then participated in the simul, with the last resignation dropping around 11 p.m. that evening. Thanks to the Charleston Chess Club for publicizing the event!
GM FTACNIK - 11; GREENVILLE - 0
About fifteen people attended the 1 1/2 hour lecture given by GM Lubomir Ftacnik at the Brew & Ewe Coffee Shop in Greenville, SC, on Tuesday, July 20th. Eleven chess players then tackled the GM in a simultaneous exhibition, the top player being Tim Rankin (Class A) of the Greenville Chess Club. The GM quickly cut through the competition. Our sincere thanks to the Greenville Chess Club, the Brew Ewe, and Precision Tune Auto Care for sponsoring this event.
A feisty South Carolina squad entered the Charlotte Chess Center on Saturday July 16th for the start of the annual two day, four round Border Battle Team Match against our fellow chess rivals from North Carolina. SC went in hoping for a better result this year as last year's match ended with the Tar Heels on top 26.5 - 21.5. In the featured match, North Carolina's NM Daniel Cremisi was the winner against SC State Champ LM Klaus Pohl by a score by a final score of 3.5 to 0.5.
In the SC vs NC Team Event, SC managed to tie NC after the first two rounds on Saturday, but wound up falling short in the end - final score NC 25.0 - SC 23.0. Congratulations NC players on this year's win!! SC was not without standout performances. Congratulations to Daniel Smith!!! Daniel went undefeated in Class C with a perfect 4.0 score!!! Congratulations also to Rade Musulin (Class A), and Brandon Jordan (Class B)!! Both players finished with 3.5/4 points!! Thank you NM Peter Giannotos and the CCCSA for hosting the event!!! Thanks again to SCCA President David Grimaud, and to all players making the trip and supporting chess in the Carolinas!!!
Championship: (NC) NM Daniel Cremisi (3.5), Expert: (NC) Reynaldo Thomas Diaz (3.5), Class A: (SC) Rade Musulin (3.5), Class B: (SC) Brandon Jordan (3.5), Class C: (SC) Daniel Smith (4.0), Class D: (NC) Sean Thien Huynh (2.5)/(SC) Robert Burney Webb III(2.5) Class E: (NC) Michael Tschupp(3.5)
Forty-two contenders of all ages from Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina and of course South Carolina convened at the Hilton Garden Inn in Greenville to dispute the usual eternal questions: materialism vs. freedom, structure vs. opportunity, simplification vs. complication, attack vs. defense, order vs. chaos, all in the great quest to trap the other fellow’s King!
The top score in the Open Section came from Kevin Wang of Georgia. Kevin became this year's SC Open Champion besting all others with 4.0/5.0 points! Congratulations Kevin! (shown right w/ Gene Nix), Mark Biernacki came in second with (3.5), followed by Forest Chen (3.5), Life Master Klaus Pohl (3.0), Mike Anderson (3.0) and Peter Michelman (3.0), while Tim Rankin’s 3.0 took the U2000 prize. As a matter of human interest, Tim Rankin demonstrated yet again that holding the theoretical draw in R&P endings needs very little time, and he must hold an accumulated record for the number of moves played in one delayed second.
Xiaodong Jin and Matt Mayhew shared top honors in the U1800 section with 4.0 each, while Jayashree Sekar and Michael Burrell and Bob Mahan and Harsha Srijay each scored 3.0, thereby dividing third place and the U1600 prize.
Alex Moreno and Venkata Guruvelli each scored 4.0 in the U1400 group, followed by Marcus Benjamin and Arjun Rawal at 3.5 to close out third place and the U1200 prize.
Drew Plyler most capably operated the display at board 1 and assisted energetically as TD, and SCCA President David Grimaud showed his support with a visit Friday and Saturday. Gene Nix organized and directed. Warm thanks to the attentive and responsive hotel staff of the Hilton Garden Inn, a great place to hold a chess tournament! And those eternal questions? Deferred to the next tournament.
Greenville Chess Club President
I was sad to hear that a good friend, Danny Kopec, passed away last week. An international master and a professor of computer science at Brooklyn College, Danny was a great friend and supporter of South Carolina Chess. Unfortunately, and to my own distress, I had missed speaking with Danny for a couple of years. When I last spoke to him in 2014, he was optimistic about his recovery from a cancer of the pancreas. Unfortunately, and as I understand from other friends, there was a recurrence of the cancer. However, Danny remained optimistic to the very end—typical of him—intending to direct his Vermont chess camp that he had scheduled for this July. I am told that the camp will continue with another friend and supporter of South Carolina chess, GM Lubomir Ftacnik, instructing at that camp. (GM Ftacnik will be visiting South Carolina July 18 - 21. Watch this site for details)
I first met Danny as a camper at one of his chess camps in Lawrenceville, NJ, in July of 2003. My son, Geoff, had found my old chess set and analog clock in the file cabinet, bringing me out of a 25 year hiatus from active chess. After playing in the Tampa Open (where coincidentally I played and lost to “now GM” Ray Robson in the Class C section), Geoff and I looked for chess camps online and found that “IM Dr. Danny Kopec” was offering a two week camp at the Lawrenceville School, a beautiful, boarding school in the shadow of Princeton University.
As we arrived for registration at the Lawrenceville School, I was surprised to find IM Dr. Kopec personally greeting and enrolling the campers. He was not the pretentious, prima donna I expected to find given his impressive titles, both as a chess player and an expert in computer science and artificial intelligence. Rather, he was quite friendly, even charismatic. We hit it off immediately. This would begin a relationship that would bring IM Kopec to South Carolina a half dozen times over the years for lectures, simultaneous exhibitions, and tournament participation. He made many friends here.
Danny loved promoting the game of chess more than anything. He also had a great heart for young people learning the game, especially those from deprived backgrounds. There was more than one student who received personal advice and a free scholarship from Danny to attend his camps which were very expensive to operate. As far as I am concerned, Danny’s concern and care for these young people was his real gift to both chess and humanity.
Rest assured, Danny, that you will be remembered fondly in South Carolina.
South Carolina Chess Association
Olivia Watkins scored 3.5/4, achieving the highest score in the Midlands Girls' Tournament and claiming first place K-5! Neha Dias, SC's highest rated female, scored 3.0/4 and claimed top K-12 honors. The sensation of the event was Olivia Watkins catching Neha in a trap when Neha captured a hanging piece, but allowed mate in two. Full awards are as follows.
1st K-12: Neha Dias | 2nd K-12: McKenzie England
1st K-8: Delany Ratcliff | 2nd K-8: Lillian Redmond
1st K-5: Olivia Watkins | 2nd K-5: Ally Gordon
1st Place Team: Byrd Elementary
2nd Place Team: Knights of the Square Table
Eight players played in the event including two first time USCF players. To our knowledge, this is the most girls that have played in a single tournament in Columbia outside of the SC state scholastic championships. That is, of course, both encouraging and a call to action
After the event, Neha Dias played six players in a clock simul. She won all six games. The last to succumb was Olivia Watkins as the specter of a bishop and knight mate hovered in the air.
We look forward to hosting the event again next year. Thanks enormously to Nisha Dias for representing the USCF Women's Committee and to Maureen Grimaud for help in promoting the event!
Neha Dias (2016 Female State Scholastic Champion) will unfortunately not be able to attend this year's National Girls Tournament of Champions (formerly: National Girls Invitational Tournament) held in July in Indianapolis. However, McKenzie England (2016 Female State Scholastic Runner-up) has accepted the challenge and will be representing our state in Neha's absence. Congratulations McKenzie!!!
To help McKenzie with expenses click here.
Forty eight players met at Pelion High School on Saturday, May 14th to fight for top honors in the last MSCL event of the school year. Thanks to Daniel Smith, and EC Setser for assisting with direction and to the parents and coaches who support their chess players! Special thanks to NM Sam Copeland & Strategery Chess and Games for making the Midlands Scholastic Chess League series such a success!! Tournament winners...
K-5 - 1st: Ethan Ellis 4.0/4!, 2nd: Parijat Majumdar, Daryl Dowty, Thomas Hydorn, and Marcial Valdivia all with 3.0/4.
K-8 - 1st: Dawson Coutsos & Gibson Ward both with 3.0/4! 3rd: Ethan Maldonado, 4th: Katie Maldonado, 5th: William Nettle.
1st Place Team K-8: Chapin Intermediate School
K-12 - 1st: Ben Yordy 4.0/4, 2nd: Brady Setser and Jericho Ho 3.5/4, 4th: Gunatej Guruvelli, Daniel Spicer, and Tyrese Smalls each with 3.0/4.
1st Place Team K-12: Pelion High School
Marshall Jaco and Ethan Harder each shared Best Debut. Erica Smith won Top Female. Dawson Coutsos and Tyrese Smalls won Best Upset, and Daryl Dowty claimed our Raw Recruit award for being the youngest participant!
In the Adult Section, first place went to Daryl Dowty Sr. with a perfect 3.0/3 performance! Thanks to all our competitors, parents, coaches, and other supporters for making this a great season. We look forward to resuming next school year and hope you have a great summer!
Twenty-five elder fighters from South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee converged on the Hilton Garden Inn hotel in Greenville, SC, to resolve the matter of senior dominance at the chess board. Accelerated pairings left only four perfect scores going into the Sunday rounds, and after sitting next to each other on boards one and two all weekend, Masters Klaus Pohl and Randal Ferguson settled the question in round four in an exciting duel that kept the TD studying tie-break scenarios until Klaus took over the position. So, Life Master Klaus Pohl took first place with 4-0; Expert Mike Anderson was second with 3.5 points; Gary Newsom and Ralph Lombard shared third-fourth with 3 points; National TD Kevin Hyde’s 3-1 took top honors for the Under-1600 prize, and Harold Zeltner won second Under-1600 with two points. We had some new faces, so to speak, with Father Jeffrey Kendall of Round O, SC, and Joe Page of Morrisville, NC, playing in their first rated tournament - welcome to the fray!. Special thanks to Kevin Hyde for sharing his expertise on several finer points of tournament direction. Local TD Gene Nix officiated.
Greenville Chess Club President
In possibly our most competitive tournament yet, we had 40 of the Midlands best and brightest chess players compete across three sections. Thanks to Rade Musulin and Daniel Smith for assisting with direction and to the parents and coaches who support their chess players!
K-5 - 1st: Gibson Ward, 2nd: Will Edwards, 3rd: Henri Murthy, Jonathon Williams, and Conner Brown
1st Place Team K-5: Harbison West, 2nd Place Team K-5: Byrd and Lake Murray
K-8 - 1st: Dawson Coutsos, 2nd: William Nettles, 1st Place Team K-8: Chapin Intermediate
K-12 - 1st: Ravitej Guruvelli, 2nd: Gunateja Guruvelli, Paul Pena, Kenneth Jackson, and Alejandro Rivera
New individual prizes were claimed by...
Top Female: Olivia Watkins
Best Debut: Michael Kuckuka
Biggest Upset: Jonathon Williams (Over Calvin Smith for 387 points)
Youngest Participant: Blake Watkins
In the Adult section, James MacDougall claimed first with a perfect score. Michael Mayfield took second and Charles Stevenson and Truman Price shared third.
Thanks to all, and we hope to see you again on May 14th for the MSCL V at Pelion High School!
NM Sam Copeland
Strategery Chess & Games
Twenty players contested the GSSM February Open in Hartsville on Feb. 20. Randy Mosteller of Elloree defended Board One against several stern challenges and won clear first at 4.5, yielding only a fifth-round draw to Jordan Anderson of Columbia. Mike Lafer of Florence and Tony Cato of Pageland shared second place at 4.0, each losing only to Randy. In addition to serving as chief TD, Jordan, a 2008 graduate of GSSM, finished in clear fourth place with 3.5.
Dr. Clyde Smith, S. C. Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics
Sixty-one talented young players turned out for the Midland Scholastic Chess League III tournament on Saturday, February 6th, 2016. The event, held at at North Trenholm Baptist Church in Columbia, once again broke new attendance records for the series!!! Congratulations to all of the students who participated and thanks to all the parents and coaches who support scholastic chess in Columbia! The top finishers are as follows...
1st Individual K-12 - Paul Daniel Pena
1st Individual K-8 - Daniel Sobel
1st Individual K-5 Messiah Cornelius
1st Team K-12 - Charles Pinckney Elementary and Pelion High School tied with CPE having the better tiebreak.
1st Team K-8 - Pleasant Hill Middle School
1st Team K-5 - Midlands STEM Institute.
Congratulations to McKenzie England, Jericho Ho, Omar Hamdan, Blake Lawson, Daniel Sobel, Kevin Reeves, Messiah Cornelius, Matty Ferrario, Katie Maldonado, and Taylor Hollis on being projected to gain more than 100 rating points! We hope to see you at the SC State Scholastic Championships on February 27th in Charleston, SC! Our next tournament will be April 9th at Ashland United Methodist Church; registration will be available this week!