Winter Open results

by admin on December 23, 2012

Well, I didn’t do my job as a reporter — I can’t tell you who won the open section of the Winter Open. I can tell you who impressed me the most. That would be Kesav Viswanadha, who I think has had a breakthrough of sorts, as his rating is now well above 2200, and I never saw him in a bit of trouble in this tournament. He was tied for first entering the last round, and his position looked pretty good the last time I saw it. [See Monday update below.]

I can, however, tell me more than you want to know about my result, which was dreadful. I lost in round four and then finally in round five found somebody I could beat. So I ended with a score of 2½-2½ and surely lost a bunch of rating points.

Congratulations to Linnea, who lost her first game but won her second to finish with a 4-2 score in the under-1500 section. She tied for first under 1300, which is her first tournament prize ever! I’m so glad that she was able to bounce back from that awful mistake in the first round.

Because the schedules were staggered a little bit, I had a chance to watch most of Linnea’s last game. I also watched the game on the top board of the under-1500 section, which didn’t take long to complete because both players were playing as if they had a train to catch. Remember, the time control was game in 90 minutes. The winner of this game used all of 10 minutes, while the loser used 19 minutes … most of them after he was already busted!

Although I was amused by the reckless pace, the fact is that I think these kids have a better handle on time management than I do. When they see a move that looks obvious, they play it. When I see a move that looks obvious, I ask myself if I’m missing something and stew over it for five minutes, and then I make the obvious move.

I think my chess motto for next year will be “Just do it.” What, did you say that motto is already taken?

And on that note, merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate it, may all of your attacks be brilliant and may your flags miraculously never fall.

Monday update: The results have now been posted, and my guess about the identity of the winner was confirmed. Kesav Viswanadha finished in clear first with 4½ points, finishing with four straight wins after a first-round draw. Two of the people I drew with (Vignesh Panchanatham and Arnold Hua) tied with my friend Robin Cunningham for second at 3½. Rather strangely, Panchanatham did not play in the last round even though he was tied with Viswanadha going into the round. When I say he didn’t play, I don’t mean he took a half-point bye. He took a zero-point bye. He must be very disappointed, because the logical pairing would have had him face off against Viswanadha in a winner-take-all match for first place.


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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Sid Banik December 24, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Vignesh dropped out of the tournament, because he had calculated that his rating would be over 2200 which would make him a master, which is his goal for the year.


admin December 24, 2012 at 5:18 pm

Wow. First of all, thanks for the explanation, Sid. And let me point out that Sid was the person who beat me in round four, playing a flawless game.

Now about Vignesh (the spelling of whose name I have now corrected). On a sporting level this decision seems so wrong to me, and so symptomatic of how people place too much emphasis on ratings. Which is more important, going over 2200 or winning a tournament? Answer: WINNING A TOURNAMENT. It’s what you play chess for. 2200 is just a number. And for someone like Vignesh, who is obviously going to go a lot higher before he’s done (assuming he keeps playing), 2200 should not even be a very important number, just a highway sign on the road to better things.

Oh well, maybe I’m being too harsh. What do you think, good readers?


Michael Aigner December 24, 2012 at 10:50 pm

On principle, I agree with Dana. There is no reason for a talented and rapidly improving junior to drop out just to protect his rating.

Caveat: I still remember poor Nicolas Yap, whose epic journey from 2192 in October 2003 (and 2190 in February 2004) to 2200+ finally in November 2004 took an unexpected detour to 2126. Given how big of a deal the master title is to those who don’t yet have it, I can understand why some people just want to make sure.

By the way, I heard there was some extra motivation to make 2200 before New Year. The young master will soon be proud owner of a puppy.


admin December 25, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Well, that changes things! If there’s a puppy at stake! 😉


Lukas Geyer December 26, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Nice write-up, just wanted to add an outsider’s perspective (as the only non-CA player in the open section). I was extremely impressed by all the kids, many of whom are way better at chess than I am. I had registered for this tournament because I was visiting the Bay Area, but I was certainly not prepared for the age-distribution of the participants. Maybe you are getting used to this in the Bay Area, but I can tell you that out here in Montana we usually play all the same guys, and that most of them are 50+ years old. Clearly Bay Area Chess is doing something right, and apart from the bathroom situation this tournament was a great experience and proof that OTB chess is not dead in the US yet…


admin December 26, 2012 at 10:16 pm


Thanks for the great comment! Yes, I think that we have something special in the Bay Area. To some extent there has always been a strong scholastic chess scene here; even back in the mid-90s when I moved here, there were outstanding juniors like Jordy Mont-Reynaud and Vinay Bhat. However, Bay Area Chess has brought a whole new incredible influx of talent. My biggest worry a few years ago, when I started playing in these tournaments with 5 adults and 75 children, was whether the vast quantities of young players would actually stick with chess past high school. But when I see 13-year-old masters like Kesav Viswanadha and 12-year-old masters like Vignesh Panchanatham, I am optimistic.

I think it’s very important for the kids to get to play adults now and then, so I’m glad that you made it to this tournament.


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