Several notable accomplishments made by local players recently.
- The Argyles won the open section of DCCL. First title ever in the winter season and the team has much to be proud of as they enter the summer. NM Andy Rea and FM Andy Samuelson did a very good job of managing team and they won the title for their former leader, John Campbell.
- Thomas Jefferson High School won the national championship. Not a class category title but the open section title. This achievement is huge as IM Balakrishnan, NM Paul and experts Ling & Jian led the charge to take home the hardware.
- A perennial top player from 2008 to 2015 in FM Kevin Wang achieved his IM title. Getting to NM takes talent and effort. Getting to FM requires tremendous understanding of game/effort/strong results. Getting to IM or GM is a whole other ballgame. It takes a truly elite player who has all of the previously mentioned qualities and an understanding of chess at a high professional level. A nice achievement by Kevin Wang!
- A current top player in FM Jennifer Yu achieved her WGM title. She finished in the top 5 of US Women Championship. She has 2 IM norms and could achieve the coveted title in near future. Definitely a feather in her cap for college applications down the road.
- FM Akshita Gorti finished inside top 10 of US Women Championship. She should be a mainstay of this event in years to come.
- FM Andy Samuelson and NM Justin Paul finished with 4/5 in a very tough MD Open field this month. Strength-wise this event appears toughest locally so quite a good result by them.
- Newly minted expert Ronen Wilson won the K-3 open title at Elementary Nationals .
- Capital Area Chess hosts a GM Norm and IM Norm event starting next week. To organize events like this takes time/effort/money so they must be commended for doing such a great service for aspiring NM’s and FM’s. In conjunction, they host Cherry Blossom Open which has several notable chess personalities playing. Other events this summer include ones run by CCA, MCA, VCF, ACC, and DMV. A true variety of chess exists from the blitz tourney at ACC to the 5 day events run by the MCA. Please consider supporting these events and get out there to play!
In April, the Argyles put together a very dominant win over Coral Reef. Spearheaded by FM Samuelson win over IM Meyer, Argyles won 5-1 and now just need a draw versus the Lightning to win the league title. Going in as favorites on nearly every board, they have a great shot to claim their first winter title. The Coral Reef still have an outside shot at a playoff but they need a win AND Argyles Loss AND catch Lightning on tiebreaks. Lightning need a win AND hold off Coral Reef on tiebreaks to force a playoff. The Ashburn crew didn’t have a good season as they fell to Fury while the Kings defeated the Mojo. Lightning have put together a very good inaugural season and sit tied for second place after a win versus Black Knights.
In Amateur, Blitzkrieg defeated Rockville to claim the winter title with a round to spare. For next round, only Argyles/Lightning/Coral Reef has anything notable at stake. The rest of the league is playing out the string at this point. In chess news, the US Championship starts this week and two former DCCL players in FM Yu and FM Gorti will be competing in the Women’s section. www.uschesschamps.com has live updates for those interested in following along. Also, the Cherry Blossom Classic and MD Open are next month so big events on the horizon.
In March, the Argyles dispatched of Sterling rather easily with only Robert Cousins doing damage to them. Coral Reef kept pace behind key wins by Stan Fink and Sal Rosario over the Black Knights. The two teams collide in a huge showdown in April but there is still a Swiss round at the end where both teams appear destined to face off in May. Ashburn’s hopes of repeating as open champions appear very slim now. The Lightning won by a slim margin over the Mojo and the Kings won in decisive fashion behind Larry Kaufman’s win over Isaac Chiu. In the Amateur section, the Blitzkrieg got a big win over Black Knights Amateur and they sit half a point ahead of Rockville Chess Club. If Blitzkrieg can beat them in April, the title is theirs with a round to spare. Each team in Amateur Section has two rounds left. In tourney news, the Virginia Open is in 8 days at the Marriott Washington-Dulles Hotel and worth checking out.
It is effectively a two-team race in Open section as Coral Reef got another win and Argyles had the bye. Ashburn’s chances to defend their title are bleak as a draw last match versus Kings coupled with poor tiebreaks puts them in a bad spot. Black Knights routed Sterling and the Lightning got back on track with a win versus Fury. The key match left is Argyles-Coral Reef in April. Argyles likely will have better tiebreaks at end of season which could play a role in potential playoff. Ashburn would need 1) Coral Reef to lose to Sterling 2) Coral Reef beats Argyles 3) Ashburn wins out: for them to have any realistic shot at a playoff. The other teams are playing for pride now.
For Amateur section, it is more complicated as BK/Rockville/Blitzkrieg are all close to each other in the standings. Each team can make a compelling argument they are the team to beat but matches in March and April will go a long way to settling that. For next week, USATE is slated in New Jersey and this month, the GW Open returns for many avid fans of DC area chess. Hoping everyone has a good President’s day weekend.
The last round of January is not necessarily the most dramatic round but rounds like this one separate the competition. The Coral Reef drew the Arlington Fury in a mild surprise. Wins by Chiu and Beckman helped the cause for the Arlington Fury. The Argyles dispatched of the Black Knights with relative ease behind Samuelson and McKenna. For Ashburn, they got the close win over the Lightning as Hoshall and Ling won the final two games of the match to keep Ashburn 0.5 point behind the leaders. Sterling won its second straight over the Mojo and is starting to gain some good vibes.
For Blitzkrieg, they sit at 5-0 in Amateur section but only 1 game ahead of Rockville Chess Club. The two square off next week in the biggest round for the Amateur Section. A loss by Rockville give Blitzkrieg a 2 game edge with 3 left. After February, the season starts to wind down for the teams out of contention and for the top 3 teams in each group, it is where they make their move. We shall see who wins the title but as of now, Argyles and Blitzkrieg are in best positions of their divisions.
Hard to believe but we are near the half-way mark of the season. Some teams are playing for pride while others are playing for the coveted league title. Onto the matches:
The Argyles overwhelmed the Mojo across the board to put a 5-1 result together. Quietly they are assembling very good tiebreaks in case a playoff results later down the road. Their match versus the Coral Reef later this season is the biggest of the season. Speaking of the Coral Reef, Greg Acholonu posted his quickest win in his DCCL career with an 8 move win on board one! It was definitely an early jolt to Ashburn but they rallied to draw the match behind heroics on boards 3, 4 and 5. Tim Rogalski played a great defensive setup to force the draw against Xing Jian to clinch the match result. Ronen Wilson proved he will be a tough out on board 6 with a draw versus Leif Karell.
The Sterling squad got a badly needed win downing the Fury. The Lightning got the best of the Kings (who were missing several top players) and still remain in contention for playoffs. Lightning-Ashburn winner next round is still alive for playoff hopes but the loser is probably heading to consolation bracket. The Coral Reef and Argyles sit at clear top 2 teams but things can change quickly.
This month has several good events, headlined by MCA event in Rockville over MLK weekend and the Liberty Bell Open in Philadelphia. Keep in mind ACC has some good events and DMV Chess is running weekly events on Saturday in Herndon each weekend this month. Check them out!
Not the most eventful round but still important games were played.
Coral Reef routed the Kings with strong performances from John Meyer and Stan Fink among others. It was one of those matches where everything went right for the Coral Reef. Ashburn-Coral Reef in January is a match that surely will affect who wins the title.
The Argyles routed the Fury as they had sizable rating edges on every board and showed they were the better team this day. The Argyles got good positions for most of the boards early and things fell into place. Ashburn squeaked by Sterling to keep them in contention at 2-1. Once the younger players start arriving, coupled with strong masters in Kore and Del Mundo among others, they will be very tough to beat. Mojo took down the Black Knights to pick up the win.
For Amateur, Blitzkrieg won again to go to 3-0 while Rockville is half a point behind at 2.5/3. Storm and Knights Watch still contenders for the title too. In January, Kings face Lightning in a match where a win by either side shapes their season. For big tourneys during Christmas, please check out Eastern Open! It is a solid event with varying schedules/sections and is more of a big chess festival. Happy holidays and may all improve their chess game in 2017.