by Jonathan Schrantz
The 2016 Club Championship was the biggest Championship in Club history in every way imaginable with a record number of participants, a record number of Grandmasters, and a record number of Club Champions! Fifty-six players, including five Grandmasters (GM) and six other titled players, came out this year to compete for the title of Club Champion. All five Grandmasters that came had hopes of becoming the Champion, but nobody had expected that all five of them would be crowned this year in an unprecedented five-way tie. The five winners were Alex Shimanov, Illia Nyzhnyk, Yaroslav Zherebukh, Priyadharshan Kannappan, and Denes Boros.
The winner of the Club Championship is forever immortalized at the Club by having their name engraved on the prestigious Club Championship trophy. The trophy sits on the second floor of the Chess Club on the trophy case and towers in size over the other trophies on display. The Club Championship also comes with a prize fund of $3,000 unconditionally guaranteed.
Heading into the final round the chief arbiter, FA Mike Kummer, joked about the possibility of a five-way tie but it required a series of improbable results that all came to fruition. There were draws on boards one and two between the Grandmasters entering the fourth and final round with three points. Kannappan and Shimanov drew as did Boros and Shimanov. Nyzhnyk, who was trailing the leaders by half a point coming into the last round, was able to beat IM Michael Brooks in the final round bringing the five tournament favorites to a score of 3.5/4 each.
While it may not come as a surprise to many that the Grandmasters had the best tournament result, more than one GM had to struggle in the early rounds against significantly lower-rated opponents. Of note, Ben Shoykhet (rated 1783) had a winning position against GM Priyadharshan Kannappan in the first round and, after the game, the Grandmaster admitted that he was spending a lot of time during the game deciding if he should offer a draw. Unfortunately for Shoykhet, the crafty and resourceful GM was able to pull off a major comeback and win the game.
Congratulations to all of the winners this year and thank you to everyone that came out and made the event so successful and entertaining. Our next tournament will take place on National Chess Day, which falls on October 8 this year.