Monday, October 11, 2010

A Celebration of Chess

The Route 20 Chess Club in Freeport, Ill., teamed up with the Freeport Public Library, City Coffee Co. and Freeport Golden K Kiwanis Club to put on a morning-till-night National Chess Day celebration that drew more than two dozen tournament participants, plus family and friends, from as far away as Princeton, Ill., and Cambridge, Wis.

While Gallery CafĂ© owner Sandi Schubert provided coffee, refreshments and lunch and artist Jennifer Marshall was on hand to paint young celebrants' faces, players faced off in a free four-round, G/30 community tournament comprising three sections: a USCF-rated sections for grades K–3, an unrated section for grades 4–8 and an unrated open section that included one high schooler and five adults. USCF member Finn Buck of Cambridge won first place in the primary section, followed by Sam Knaup of Belvidere and Finn's sister, Pria. The intermediate section was swept by Demetrio Velazco and brothers Bill and John Werkheiser, all of Pearl City. Matthew Coomber of Freeport won the open section; Roger Wedekind of Princeton took second place, and William Wedekind of Sterling and 11th-grader Zach Woll of Belvidere tied for third.

Thanks to a donation from Golden K, the Route 20 Chess Club was able to purchase an inventory of chess equipment for sale at the event. Tournament carry-all bags were the hottest item -- they were sold out before lunchtime.

Route 20 club member Gary Sargent of Rockford provided absolute-beginner chess instruction, and the library put on display more than two dozen chess books acquired for the occasion. After the tournament, library visitors were treated to a free showing of the movie
Searching for Bobby Fischer.

In the evening, we relocated to City Coffee Co. for an evening G/5 speed chess tournament. Seven players, including yours truly, competed in a single round-robin . . . which I swept. As the tournament director, I considered it unseemly of me to have earned the day's only cash prize of $20 -- besides which, I had defeated second-place finisher Gary on a technicality when, having failed to notice that his king and queen were misplaced, he played Kd1xd4 -- and so I offered him a two-minute honor match for the prize. He defeated me on time with just 9 seconds remaining on his own clock, in what would have been an exciting game even at a regular time control (thanks to photographer Jennifer Marshall for making it possible to reconstruct the moves!):

National Chess Day Speed Chess at City Coffee Co.
Freeport, Ill., Oct. 9, 2010

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 d5 4.e3 dxc4 5.Bxc4 Bb4 6.a3 Bxc3+ 7.bxc3 Nbd7 8.Nf3 0-0 9.0-0 Nd5 10.Bxd5 exd5 11.Bb2 Nf6 12.Rc1 b5 13.a4 Ba6 14.Re1 bxa4 15.Qxa4 Bc4 16.Qc8 Qb8 17.Ba3 Re8 18.Nd2 Ne4 19.Nxe4 dxe4? 20.d5? Bxd5? 21.Qxd5 Qd8 22.c4 Rb8 23.Rb1 Rb6 24.Red1 Rd6? 25.Qb5? Qc8? 26.Kf1? Rxd1+ 27.Rxd1 a6 28.Qc6 Rd8 29.Rxd8+ Qxd8 30.Ke2? Qd3+ 31.Ke1 Qb1+ 32.Kd2 Qd3+ 33.Kc1 Qf1+? time 0-1

Club member Ryan Ekvall of Freeport took third. (Click the Tournament Results tab above for crosstables of the day's events.)

The Route 20 Chess Club is just over one year old, and this is the largest event we've hosted to date. To capture the momentum, we're following it up in two weeks with our National Chess Day "Delayed Blast" rated beginners' open and open Swiss tournament, a concurrently run pair of USCF-sanctioned and rated events. Winners of trophies in the community tournament are entitled to free entry into the RBO section.

Pictures of the speed chess tournament are up on our Photos page; check back for more photos of the day's festivities.


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