By Mike Kummer
New faces filled out the 64-player field at the Saint Louis District Championship over a wet Labor Day Weekend. With the addition of two new collegiate chess programs in the Saint Louis area, 12 local college students showed up looking to earn a paycheck. In all, there were 30 players of Class A strength or higher including IMs Priyadharshan Kannappan and Levan Bregadze of Lindenwood, and Cuban GM Fidel Corrales Jimenez of Webster University.
Corrales Jimenez held off the tag team efforts of Lindenwood University's top two boards to claim the district title on tiebreaks. The Cuban grandmaster got the better of Bregadze in the final round. But Bregadze didn't leave without some cash as his four points were good enough for a share of third place. Bregadze's teammate, Kannappan, fared better in his round-four encounter with Corrales Jimenez. Despite being a down a pawn in a knight-and-bishop endgame, Kannappan used good technique to neutralize his material deficit and force a draw. The IM then defeated expert annihilator Al Howlett in the final round. IM Kannappan finished with 4.5/5 to crack in on the grand prize and, along with Corrales Jimenez, received automatic qualification for the 2013 CCSCSL Club Championship. They were followed closely by Bregadze with 4 out of 5, who tied for 3rd place overall with Calvin Parnon and Zach Stuart (both also of Lindenwood) and several others including Saint Louisans FM Doug Eckert and NM Jialin Ding.
Parnon and Stuart were forced to play each other with the Championship on the line, but Parnon clogged the position and a draw was agreed upon. They shared the top U2000 prize. Parnon had a spectacular first three rounds, scoring victories over NM Jialin Ding and NM Spencer Finegold before settling for a draw against NM Bob Holliman in round four. In the end, he gained 70-plus rating points and nearly leapt to expert.
CCSCSL Scholastic coordinator Alex Vergilesov played a wild game against Holliman in round 2.
Matt Larson provided perhaps the most exciting near-upset of the tournament with his strong performance against Corrales Jimenez who finally managed to outmaneouver his underrated opponent and escape with the full point.
The story of the tournament was youngster Amit Kadan, who played in his first-ever tournament. During registration his dad was quite skeptical of Amit entering such a strong field with a long format. But Amit persisted, his dad relented, and finally he got to play. Amit's first-round match didn't last long, and in round two, Amit's game was the first to finish again. This was bad news ... for his opponent! Amit scored a shocking upset victory that quickly sent his opponent not just out of the building, but out of the state. Amit didn't stop there. He proved that Ken West's "Grandmaster" moniker, is just that and nothing more by scoring another upset in round four. Amit's two points earned him some Froyo money and an over-the-top USCF provisional rating. Loren Lenzen (1197) also started out with a bang, scoring the upset of the tournament over 1928-rated Jeffrey Kovalic. He followed up with a win over a 1600 later. Clearly Loren is improving his game. He shared U1200 money with Amit and Robert Lucky.
Alex Stiger's 2.5 points were enough to win the $225 U1600 prize outright. Nathan Phan had a difficult first three rounds, facing three 1900-plus players and failing to score a point. He finished very strong though, winning his final two games, which left him tied with several others for 2nd and 3rd place in the U1600 section including Richard Pointer, Ken West, Christopher Dobbs, Brett Exkert, Owen Bitting and Dan Tuttle
The tournament was one of the bigger and stronger tournaments the club has hosted in quite a while. A total of 29 players had a USCF rating of 1900+. In addition to Lindenwood and Webster being represented, Washington University and Saint Louis University also had students compete. A total of 23 players got a piece of the $2,500 prize fund.
The Saint Louis District Championship served as a very exciting, hard-fought first event of the fall. It looks as though the arrival of so many strong players to the Saint Louis area in recent months will translate to greater competition and entertainment at CCSCSL tournaments this year. We very much look forward to the 2-on-2 Team Championship on Oct. 6, which should once again feature numerous titled players and lots of scintillating chess!
CCSCSL Scholastic Coordinator Matt Barrett contributed to this report.
Saint Louis District Championship: Final Standings
|#||Name||Rtng||Rd 1||Rd 2||Rd 3||Rd 4||Rd 5||Tot||Prize|
|1||GM Fidel Corrales Jimenez||2612||W13||W15||W7||D2||W3||4.5||500.00|
|2||IM Priyadharshan Kannappan||2442||W25||W34||W8||D1||W12||4.5||500.00|
|3||IM Levan Bregadze||2395||W61||W16||W14||W4||L1||4.0||33.33|
|4||FM Doug D Eckert||2231||W36||W21||W17||L3||W22||4.0||33.33|
|9||Zach William Stuart||1980||D32||W41||W31||W11||D10||4.0||250.00|
|10||Calvin Jay Parnon||1902||W55||W5||W33||D6||D9||4.0||250.00|
|12||Albert Damont Howlett||1854||W58||W49||H---||W28||L2||3.5||50.00|
|13||Tom A Morrell||1763||L1||W44||W48||H---||W28||3.5||50.00|
|15||Matthew W Larson||1965||W42||L1||W37||W23||L5||3.0|
|17||James D Pollitt||1938||W52||W27||L4||L7||W35||3.0|
|19||Jeffrey J Kovalic||1928||L46||W42||W53||X49||L6||3.0|
|22||Daniel Franklin Aldrich||1900||W56||D11||H---||W14||L4||3.0|
|25||Joseph F Wojcik||1733||L2||W43||W58||W16||L8||3.0|
|26||Dennis E Humphries||1708||L27||W52||L5||W44||W46||3.0|
|27||Nolan R Hendrickson||2245||W26||L17||W36||D18||U---||2.5|
|32||Alex J Stiger||1480||D9||L38||W59||L30||W52||2.5||225.00|
|35||Zachary Landon Schuh||1702||L33||W54||L34||W55||L17||2.0|
|36||Clark Zhang Berry||1645||L4||W47||L27||L46||W57||2.0|
|37||Tian Lu Peng||1631||L6||W56||L15||W57||L16||2.0|
|38||Marek W Ziolkowski||1610||H---||W32||L28||L31||D41||2.0|
|39||Nathan Tu Phan||1561||L8||L59||L18||W56||W55||2.0||28.57|
|40||Christopher S Dobbs||1550||L49||W60||L16||W58||L20||2.0||28.57|
|42||Daniel J Tuttle||1436||L15||L19||W54||W59||L23||2.0||28.57|
|45||Owen O Bitting||1220||L18||W61||L20||H---||H---||2.0||28.57|
|47||Robert A Luckey||1125||L29||L36||H---||W51||D50||2.0||100.00|
|51||Russell B Hamilton III||1628||L7||L57||H---||L47||W60||1.5|
|52||Gabriel R Sison||1249||L17||L26||H---||W62||L32||1.5|
|53||Robert M Hibbs||1515||L28||W62||L19||U---||U---||1.0|
|60||Iris Yi-xian Zhou||1044||L20||L40||L44||B---||L51||1.0|
|61||Craig L Hines||1719||L3||L45||H---||U---||U---||0.5|
|62||Greg K VanValkenburg||849||L31||L53||H---||L52||L54||0.5|
|63||Daymion Q Phillips||1609||L11||L58||U---||U---||U---||0.0|