Spokane Chess Club



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Remembering 2009
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Area Event Updates

Check out several events coming up in the next couple of months by clicking on the Area Events link above!




    Your club will get an early start on the July 4th holiday weekend by not having a meeting on July 2.  Play resumes July 9 with a night of rated blitz action.

Recently at Club

      Eight players took part in a quick tourney at club on June 25.  John Frostad and Dave Griffin scored 2.5 (they drew each other in the last round) to share first.  The cross table link can be found on our Recent Results page.

    Six players took part in a round robin g/10 quick event at club on June 11.  Kairav Joshi scored a perfect 5.0 to best the field by two points.  Travis Miller (3.0) was best under 1600.  The cross table link can be found on our Recent Results page.

      The club's June 4 meeting saw five players compete in a double round robin blitz event (g/5, d2).  David Dussome (6.5) defeated Nikolay Bulakh (6.0) in both of their head-to-head meetings to win the event.  The link to the USCF cross table for the event can be found on our Recent Results page.   

     Nikolay Bulakh, the reigning city champion, gave a simul at club on May 28.  Six club members took on the champ, and half were successful!  The May 21 meeting saw the club's annual Election of officers for the 2015-16 chess year.  There also was a rated game night competition, the cross table for which can be found on our Recent Results page.



        Darren Russell, on the strength of a great winter chess season, easily won the club's grand prix title this year.  Defending champion Michael Cambareri was a distant second, and David Dussome edged Jeremy Krasin for third place.  The final standings are found on our club Grand Prix page (link at left).

        There were a large number of prize winners (all donated by David Griffin), including Darren, Jeremy, Brad Bodie, Sam Comi, John Frostad, Alex Herron, Alex Popescu, Travis Miller, Steve Wallace, and Ron Weyland, all of whom will receive gift certificates to Uncle's Games.  


Dussome New Club President

        David Dussome is the new club president for the 2015-2016 club year.  Brad Bodie was chosen as vice president.  Ted Baker and Kevin Korsmo retained their jobs as secretary and treasurer, respectively.  Good luck to all of the club officers.


Bodie Wins IEO 

        Brad Bodie scored 4.5 to win this year's Inland Empire Open.  Brad defeated the fellow perfect 3.0 scorer David Dussome in round four and then fought to a draw against Michael Cambareri in the final round.  Michael and Nikolay Bulakh, the tourney's top two seeds, tied for second place.  Romie Carpenter, Kairav Joshi, and Jeremy Krasin (3.5) won the class A prizes, while Dan Hochee, Kevin Korsmo, and Dan McCourt (3.0) shared the class B prizes.  Sam Comi (2.5) was first in class C.  The class D/under section was won by fifth grader Garrett Casey (2.5), while second place in that section was shared by Braxton Casey, Cecelia Valeriotte, Steve Wallace, and Jim Waugh (1.5).  Steve Wallace claimed the biggest upset prize with a 729 point shocker in round one.

         Spokane's oldest chess tournament, the Inland Empire Open was first played in 1954.  The cross table link will be available on our Inland Empire Open page (link at left) on Tuesday evening.



       GM Irina Krush, the United States women's champion, gave a well received lecture at the Spokane Chess Club on April 23 that was attended by nearly 30 spectators.  Ms. Krush focused on the value of prophylactic moves in positional play and gave several examples with explanation of the underlying themes for the game.  She then took questions before joining the evening's 16-player, four round double blitz event played after the lecture.  The GM was a perfect 8-0 in winning the event.  John Julian and Darren Russell were second with 6.0 scores.  David Dussome (5.0) was best under 1800 and John Frostad (3.0) was tops under 1400. The cross table can be found on our Recent Results page (link at left).

        Ms. Krush was in town as part of the Washington State Elementary Championship being played at the Spokane convention center on Saturday, April 25.  John Dill and the Inland Chess Academy have arranged her visit to Spokane.



        Several Spokane Chess Club members traveled to the Montana Open in Great Falls over the weekend of March 28-29.  The tourney drew 42 entrants, including GM Alex Yermolinsky, making it the largest Montana Event since the 1980s!  Yermolinsky, a former U.S. Champion, won his four games and took a fifth round bye to return home to South Dakota, donating the first prize to the event.  Yermolinsky, rated 2599, is also the highest rated player to take part in a Montana event. 

        Brad Bodie finished 3.5 to tie for third in the event -- his only loss came at the hands of Yermolinsky!  Dave Griffin and Jeremy Krasin (who fell in the last round to a master from New York) finished at 3.0.  Arlene Hiatt scored 2.5 against stronger competition and picked up 124 rating points for the tourney while winning the u/1400 section!  Way to go everyone!!



February 28 -- March 1



        A California connection won Spokane's premiere chess event, the  Dave Collyer Memorial, played for the 23rd time the weekend of February 28-- March 1.  International Master John Donaldson, formerly of Tacoma and currently of the San Francisco area, and Darren Russell, a recent California transplant to Spokane, shared top honors this year with scores of 4.5.  Donaldson triumphed in his first four rounds before drawing with Tim Moroney in round 5.  Playing the old "swiss gambit," Russell was held to a first round upset draw and then won his final four games to tie for the title. There was a four way tie at 4.0 for third place, that also collected the Expert and Class A prizes, among Tim Moroney, Alan Bishop, Steve Merwin, and David Dussome. Bishop lost to Donaldson in round four, but put up a nice fight in an extended battle.  

        There were several young chess players at this year's event -- and they made their mark!  Sandpoint, Idaho high school star Savanna Naccarato scored 3.5 and handed Dussome his only defeat in round two.  In turn, Savanna's only loss only was to Steve Merwin in round 4.  Merwin, whose only loss was to Donaldson in round 3, pulled out the game with only 18 second remaining on his clock after the youngster let the pieces get traded off in a complex position only to see the veteran grab several of her pawns as his clock was winding down.  In the following round, Savanna stopped Jeremy Younker who himself had had a fine tournament to that point, highlighted by knocking off NM James Maki (2333) in round two.  Maki, limited to a single day's action while he battled a cold, has moved to Coeur d'Alene from San Diego and is working his way back into tournament chess shape; expect him to be a force in regional chess.

    Savanna's successful weekend added 220 points to her rating!  Another successful youth was Garrett Casey, who scored three points to easily claim the Class E first prize.  His play was punctuated by a nice save of a queen and pawn endgame in round five.  Down a pawn to Missoula, Montana veteran Sherwood Moore, Garrett was able to force a draw by repetition to salvage the half point.

        There were a host of other winners.  Steve Fabian (3.5) was first in class B, while six others shared second place: Dan McCourt, Ron Kirsch, Sherwood Moore, Doug Sly, Dave Griffin, and Dan Hochee.  The Class C prizes were shared by Peter Schumaker, Ted Baker, and Alex Popescu with scores of 3.0.  First place in Class D went to Savanna Naccarato (3.5), while second in the class was split by Jeff Jaroski and Pat Kirlin (2.0).  The Class E section was won by Garrett Casey (3.0), while Michael Munsey (2.0) finished second.  Jeremy Younker (573 points) took the biggest upset prize, while Savanna claimed the second prize (521 points).

        A total of 56 players entered this year's event, which again featured a guaranteed prize fund of $1800 that was co-sponsored by the Gary Younker Foundation.  The late Gary Younker first organized the Collyer Memorial in 1993 in honor of his late friend, and Spokane chess organizer, Dave Collyer.  The event has grown into eastern Washington's largest tournament.

        The USCF cross table link can be found on our Collyer Memorial page (link at left).

        As customary, the weekend featured a Friday night lecture by Donaldson concerning the Tromso Olympiad.  He then played a 15-board simul, winning 13 and drawing one.  For the second year in a row, the event was kicked off by a blitz tourney. Nikolay Bulakh (6.0) edged Darren Russell (5.5) in this eight-player round robin event.  The cross table link also can be found on our Collyer Memorial page.



     Club newcomer Darren Russell is the club's Winter Champion, completing a 5-0 sweep of the field with a hard earned victory over Jeremy Krasin in the fifth round.  Darren ably defended against Jeremy's bishop sacrifice in an effort to build a mating net, then slowly traded down material to win the endgame.  David Dussome (4.0) finished first in the over 1800 section, while Travis Miller (3.5) won the 1500-1700 section prize.  Austin Yeo (3.5) won the 1300-1500 section, while (2.0) secured first place in the under 1300 section for Isaiah Dasen, Alex Herron, Cecelia Verliriote, and Jim Waugh.  Dave Griffin claimed the biggest upset prize. 

    The cross table link can be found on our club championship page (link at left).




    Club oldtimers were hit hard with the news that one of Spokane's own was a victim of a New York train crash on February 3.  Robert Dirks, a 1996 LC grad working in New York City as a research chemist, was one of six killed in the collision between a commuter train and a vehicle north of the city.  Rob, who held a Ph.D. in chemistry, was just 36, and married with two young children. 

        While the newspapers and electronic media have nicely portrayed Rob's intellectual brilliance, humility, and wonderful character, I would like to briefly mention his chess career.  Rob played at the club in the late 80s through the mid 90s while in junior and senior high school.  He became a class B player although having little time to play a lot chess.  The highlight of his career was winning the club's 1993 Fall Championship while a sophomore in high school.  His 5.0 score topped the field that year and gave an indication that he could have progressed far in chess if he had the time to devote to the game.  More common was his result in the first Collyer Memorial earlier that year -- a first round victory, followed by two byes while he attended to other matters.  He did display great skill for a young player.  Your editor played out a knight and bishop ending against the young man just to see it accomplished in a rated game.  Rob performed the difficult mating pattern in a timely fashion and showed me how a book ending ought to be played.  I was quite certain he could do it!

    Our society lost a wonderful person in this tragic accident.  His parents can be justly proud of the fine young person they raised.  Rob was one of the calmest, nicest, most pleasant people I ever met.  If there was anything that ever upset him, I am certain it was not competitive chess!  The loss of a young person before his time is always tragic, and the death of this special person is particularly hard to understand.  But by all accounts, Rob lived a great life in an unduly short period.  Those of us who competed against him are better for the experience.  Our club offers its deepest condolences to the family of this fine man.



            An all senior team game Shadle Park its first team championship since, perhaps, the 1960s.  After three straight years of second place finishes, the senior team of Trevor Bowers, Max Lund, Jomell Pajarillo, Alex Carpentier, and Zach Wright won all three matches to take home the first place trophy.  Gonzaga Prep finished second with 2.0.  The Shadle team stopped last year's champions, Dishman Hills, 3-2 in the first round, and then defeated Prep by the same score before shutting down an All Star team 4.5-.5 in the finale, while Prep topped Dishman in the battle for second place.  All six teams scored at least one point in the three round event.  GSL individual champion Mitch Kilayko of Prep went 3-0 on board one to claim the outstanding individual trophy.



        This year's GSL High School Individual Championship was a senior dominated affair.  Shadle Park senior Trevor Bowers and Gonzaga Prep senior Mitch Kilayko each scored 4.5 to become co-champions.  Mitch took home the first place trophy after defeating Trevor in a blitz game with the black pieces.  The two had drawn their fourth round game on board one.  Mitch, the top seed, then broke fellow Gonzaga Prep senior Joey Verchotta's nine game GSL tourney win streak to clinch the tie for first while Trevor had to defeat fellow Shadle senior Max Lund on board two to set up the play-off.

        A total of 34 players took part, with ten from both Shadle and host school Rogers, while Prep sent seven to the event.  Defending champion Verchotta lead a group of four at 4.0 who tied for third overall.  Joining him were Shadle senior Jomell Pajarillo and Prep teammates Daniel Bassler (a junior) and Alexander Carlson (a freshman).  Nathan and Noah Rivers of Northwest Christian finished at 3.5 each to claim seventh overall.  Nearly a third of the 34 player field were first timers.  Bassler was the top scoring newcomer at 4.0, while Abdul Hakkani was Shadle's top newcomer at 3.0.  A pair of Rogers newcomers, Brandon Stanley and Zacheri Galligan topped their team with 2.0 scores.  All four of the highest scoring newcomers won pins as prizes.  Shadle senior Alex Carpentier took home the biggest upset trophy with a 633 point upset in the first round.

        The cross table link for the event is on our Scholastic Events page.


Scholastic Report


Local Events Continue to Grow

by Dr. James Stripes

The Black Knight's Joust drew 81 players on 22 November 2014. They came from as far as Pullman to the south and Sandpoint to the north. It was the largest chess tournament in Spokane since the Washington Open in 2009, and the largest scholastic event in the area since the 2009 state championship.

 Seven different schools had at least four players, making the team competition strong in the elementary divisions. Saint George's School led with 16.5, followed by Pioneer School (14), The Oaks (13), and Northwest Christian (12.5).

 Due to 46 entries in K-3, the section was broken into K-1 and K-3 divisions of 17 and 29 players, respectively. Mythreya Dharani was perfect in the K-1 with 5.0, followed by Per Sande (4.0), Ben Barrett (3.5), and Cole Watkins (3.5). In K-3, five players finished at the top with 4.0--Sam Morris, Varun Ambalavanan, Connor Gosselin-Harris, Ryan Waters, and Josh Lubanski (in order of tie-breaks). Sam beat Varun, but lost to Ryan, and Varun beat Ryan. Connor and Josh did not play others in the top-five, but each had a win and loss against players finishing in the next five places.

 In the K-6 section, Tariq Ravasia was nearly perfect. He won against Ethan Kessler, winner of the last tournament, in round three. Then he beat the top seed, Garrett Casey, in round four. In the last round, however, he drew Suhang Liu and both finished with 4.5. Tariq had the better tie-breaks because Ethan and Garrett both finished with 4.0. The cumulative score tie-break gave third overall to Garrett because he played Tariq one round later.

 Three elementary age players elected to play up in the eleven player K-12 division. Savanna Naccarato finished in first with 4.0 ahead of Alex Popescu (also 4.0). Savanna beat Alex in their encounter, but she lost to Braxton Casey, who finished with 3.0. Also finishing with 3.0 were Alex Herron, Logan Faulkner, Dawson Jury, and David Sposito.

The cross table link will be posted on our Scholastic Events page (link at left) when the event is rated.




   Michael Cambareri has won the club's Fall Championship, defeating Jeremy Krasin in the final round to finish with a 4.5 score.  Jeremy (4.0) finished tied for second with Brad Bodie and Dave Griffin.  Brad and Jeremy shared the u/2000 prize while Dave took the u/1800 prize.  Other prize winners included Sam Comi (3.0), who won the u/1500 prize, while the u/1200 prize was shared by Bill Rottmayer and Cecelia Valeriote (2.0). The cross table link is posted on our Club Championship page (link at left).





        The annual Turkey Open in Missoula drew 34 participants this year.  Jim Skovron of Great Falls won the event with a 4.5 score to top the field.  The Spokane CC was well represented, with ten players from the Spokane-Coeur d'Alene (and Colville) area making it one of two large groups in attendance.  The Blackfeet CC also turned up with a group nearly as large, adding lots of new faces to the mix.  The Spokane contingent featured the three top seeds in Jeremy Krasin, Brad Bodie, and David Dussome.  Jeremy and Brad (4.0) tied for second place.  The event was well run by a T.D. triumvirate of Bob Rajala, Gary Solomon, and Dan McCourt.  




     Michael Cambareri was a perfect 5.0 to win this year's Eastern Washington Open.  Second place in the field of 35 with 4.0 scores were Brad Bodie, Dan Hochee, and Darren Russell.  Brad and Darren shared the class A prizes, while Dan took home the biggest upset prize along with first prize in class C.  Class B was won by Mark Anderson, who led a contingent of five from Montana's Blackfeet Community College, with a 3.5 score.  Second in class B went to Steve Fabian, Kevin Korsmo, and Dan McCourt with 2.5 scores.  Second in class C was shared by Dave Griffin and Alex Popescu with scores of 2.5.  The class D and under section was won by Gary Solomon, who was returning to tournament chess for the first time in 40 years, with a strong score of 3.5.  Pat Kirlin finished second in the class with 3.0.

    The tournament started without a single upset in the first round, but that changed in the second round when draws on four of the top six boards narrowed the perfect scores down to four players after only two rounds.  Those players met in round three, leaving Michael Cambareri and Jeremy Krasin alone at 3.0 after the first day's action.  Michael prevailed Sunday morning, guaranteeing no worse than a tie for first as he stood a full point up on the field.  He easily dispatched city champion Nikolay Bulakh, who had defeated him in the city championship match in August, to claim the EWO crown for the first time.

    Hochee had a strong Sunday, pulling off the two biggest upsets of the tourney in consecutive rounds.  His round four upset over an opponent 342 points high than him was topped with a 405 point upset the next round.  His weekend's work boosted his rating 145 points!

    There were 11 players from Montana competing this weekend, giving the event a definite Big Sky flavor. Quite a few Spokane club members plan to return the favor at the Turkey Open in Missoula on November 8-9.

    The link to the USCF cross table for this event can be found on our Eastern Washington Open page (link at left).

Recently at Club

        The club's October 30th meeting saw 11 players take part in a round robin event.  David Dussome scored the top marks with a 8-1 score against rated competition.  Jeremy Krasin was second at 7-2.  The cross table link can be found on our Recent Results page, link at left.






        Jeremy Krasin won this year's edition of the Spokane Falls Open with a score of 4.5, topping the undefeated David Dussome in their final round encounter.  David and Michael Muff (a Minnesota resident), tied for second with 4.0.  It was the third straight year that Jeremy won the event with a 4.5 score!  That is consistency.

        David Dussome claimed the class B prize, while Mark Anderson (Montana) and Ron Kirsch (Tacoma) were second in the class with 3.5 scores.  Walter van Heemstede Obelt (3.0) took the class C prize, with Dan Hochee and Ron Weyland second in the class at 2.5.  Young Alex Popescu (3.5), who played on board one in round 3, won the Under 1400 prize and claimed the biggest upset with a 565 point upset in round 1.  Alex was seeded 21st in the 28 player field and will start fifth grade next month. The second prize in the class was shared by Logan Faulkner, Jeff Jaroski, and Pat Kirlin with 2.5 scores.  

    The event was played at the Schoenberg Center August 16-17 in conjunction with the City Championship match between defending champion Nikolay Bulakh and Michael Cambareri.  The cross table can be found on our recent results page (link at left).



        Challenger Michael Cambareri won the first two games of the city championship match on Saturday, August 16, but Nikolay Bulakh battled back to claim victory in Sunday's games to force a g/10 play-off in which the first player to 3.0 would win.  Michael won the first and third games to go up two to one before Nikolay won game four.  After a fifth game draw, Nikolay held on to his crown with a win in game six.  The match was as exciting as any ever held since the revival of this event in 2001.




         Club alum Steve Fabian has put in a lot of historical research and come up with a lengthy (32 page) history of Spokane chess from 1899 to present!  This well-researched article, written in the indomitable Fabian style, is found on our History page (link at left).  Contact information for Steve is at the end of the article, so if you have more insights or any  corrections, please feel free to write Steve or your editor to share your thoughts and contribute to the telling of the club's story.  The club owes an immense thanks to Steve for all the effort he put into writing this article.