Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Jason reports on the Boston Open at U-Mass Boston

Boston area chessfans! Jason Rihel here with a report on the Boston Open, which took place Oct 1 - 2 at the U-Mass Boston beautiful new campus center.

First, it must be said that the turnout for this event was horrible-- there were a total of 8 players in the Open section, and the other sections had between 4-12 players each. While, I suspect that the beautiful weather, coupled with the Red Sox-- Yankees rivalry did much to keep people away, the relatively poor advertising for the event and the already low chess turnout these days could not have helped.

Also, while the harbor view is gorgeous, and the RedLine a free bus ride away, U-Mass Boston is too isolated for a good tournament. On Saturday, the only food option was a snack bar with some cold sandwiches and salads. On Sunday, there were NO food options at all! After a tough 4.5 hour scrape of a win in Round 3, I had to eat chips and pretzels out of a snack machine in preparation for my game against 2300-rated Avraam Pismennyy! I personally will not attend another weekend tournament held at U-Mass Boston, or will at least bring my own meals. If I had only been told about it.....

The low turnout led to some interesting outcomes for the Open section. After I defeted Matt Klegon in the first round, he withdrew, leaving just 7 players in the Open section battling it out for 5 prizes!! The lowest rated member of the group, Azaivier Davis (Just rated below your humble reporter), actually won 3rd prize outright after receiving a FULL POINT BYE in the last round. Going into the last round, Chris Williams and Davis had 1.5 points, Jared Becker had 1 point from an earlier full point bye he received, and I had 2 points. This left Chris Williams to play a 2100 player, Leonid Tkach, and it left me to play the top-rated Pismennyy. Meanwhile, Davis, at the bottom of the rating and score list, leapfrogged us in the standings with his bye!! Chris and I went down to defeat to co-winners Pismennyy and Tkach, leaving Davis sole possessor of 3rd place at 2.5 points (actually, he received the under 2200 prize, which was worth slightly more). Jared Becker (boosted with a full point bye), and I split the 3rd place and under 2100 prize, and Chris Williams, who had to play four tough rounds, was left out of the money.

In the other sections, Stephen Brudno and Philip Nutzman won the Under 2000 section with 3 points, Thomas Sifter was the sole winner of the Under 1700 section with a 3.5 score, and Mark Huston scored 3.0 to win the Under 1400 prize.

They also had a one day event, which was won by 1700 rated Felix Yang with a perfect 4.0 score. In the side Scholastic Events, Frederick Law won the K-6 event with a 4.0 score, and Nicholas Zhang scored 4.0 to win the K-3 section.

So, the lingering question remains-- how do we increase interest in the local area chess competitions? Was this a fluke of Red Sox Mania? Can regular Internet reports about local activity boost interest? I'm guessing it can, which is why I am writing this piece. I encourage all the Boston chess players to write up their own chess experiences here on this BCC blog, and maybe chess publicity can generate chess interest.

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