Best of the West results

by admin on May 28, 2013

I did not go to the concluding day of the Best of the West tournament, because Linnea got a ride with her parents, but I know my readers will want to know what happened. Well, unfortunately she lost her last two games and finished out of the running for prize money. She did (for what it’s worth) gain 50 rating points to move her rating over 1400, but this is not exactly exciting news. Her rating was a bit of an embarrassment before, and now it’s just slightly less so. I really, really believe she should be over 1600 at least.

The story of the day was blunders. In both games she basically blundered a piece — one in a more or less even position, and one in a position where she had stood much better. Looking on the bright side, in five of her six games she was completely winning at some point (according to the computer at least), and in the other one the position was completely equal (again, according to the computer). So she could reasonably have scored 5½ points.

Ah, that beautiful land called Coulda Woulda Shoulda, where all the kids are above average and everybody scores at least 75 percent in chess …

Cailen Melville and Thadeus Frei both had decent but not wonderful tournaments. Cailen went 4-2 and tied for fourth in the 1700-1899 section. Thadeus also went 4-2 and tied for fifth in the 1900-2099 section. I was particularly impressed by his game in round two, which I unfortunately don’t remember well enough to show here. He got a great positional bind but needed energetic, dynamic play to capitalize on it. The old Thadeus might have played insipidly and gotten a draw, but the new Thadeus smashed his opponent’s kingside open by sacrificing two pawns, and snared his opponent’s king in a mating net. It was really, really nice, and hopefully I’ll get the game score from him at some point.

As for the Big Boys, the top section (2100+) was amazingly strong, with three GMs (Khachiyan, DeFirmian and Browne) and twelve masters in all. The two-day section was especially brutal. Out of six players playing round one in the two-day schedule, two were GMs, two were IMs, one was an FM, and one was unrated. So we got pairings like Khachiyan versus De Guzman and De Firmian versus Tate, which we ordinarily wouldn’t see until late in the tournament.

In the end, three people tied for first in the top section: grandmasters Melikset Khachiyan and Nick De Firmian and FM Alfredo De La Cruz, with 4½ points each. Alas, I don’t have any games to show you because I was not there to spectate. All these results are at the Bay Area Chess web page, http://bayareachess.com/events/13/525sp.php.

I have one more piece of non-chess news from the Land of What Is, not the Land of Coulda Woulda Shoulda. Linnea will graduate next month as a valedictorian at Santa Cruz High! To me, this is a hundred times better than the chess tournament that got away. To see her picture in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, go to http://photos.santacruzsentinel.com/2013/05/25/photos-valedictorians-of-santa-cruz-county-2013/#15.

 

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