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Christmas Open presents fighting chess

[imagefield_assist|fid=1751|preset=frontpage_200x200|lightbox=true|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=200]The Christmas Open, held on December 26, was one of the most competitive events held at the club all year. 

Going into the final round, 32 of the 44 participants still had dreams of prize money. First place in each class paid a hefty $150 and, even after 10 of the 20 games concluded in round four, no one was assured a prize. William Tong (1911) changed all that when he checkmated Margaret Hua (1756) in a wide open queen and rook vs. queen and rook endgame. 

This was significant as it ensured first place for Troy Krimminger (1764) and Peter Rupprecht (1739) in Class "B" with scores of 3.0/4.0.

Margaret had a solid performance of 2.5/4.0, drawing the number one seed Bronik Matwijkiw (2113) in a tough rook endgame in round two. The Expert and Class "A" prizes weren't decided until the final game was done. Steve Bange (1948) flagged Expert Jialin Ding (2071) in an unclear position to win the event and the Class "A" prize. Bange sacked a minor piece for two pawns in the middlegame and proceeded to keep the position complicated. Earlier in the match, Jialin declined a draw offer that would have gave him a share of first in the Expert Class.  

Bob Jacobs (2107) benefited from the result as he won the lion's share of the Expert prize. He left after round three with a perfect 3-0 score, and was unsure if a prize was coming his way.  But with the round four half-point bye, he clinched it.  Christmas kept on coming for three kids in the "C" class.  Ian Gilchrist, Nathaniel Noss, and Brandon Li split the $150 along with Dan Tuttle with a score of 2.0/4.0. 

Ademir Koric, Levi Gent, and Vishal Bharadwaj rounded out the Class "D" winners with a score of 2.5/4.0. Koric gained more than 300 points to his provisional rating with an upset victory over Isiah Gadson (1961).  

Dennis Hourcade was simply the best out of 14 players in the Under1200/Unrated Section.  He defeated two "C" players in his first tournament to take clear first with a score of 2.0/4.0.  

Holiday cheer filled the air as the $900 prize fund was paid out in full.