The third and final summer scholastic tournament concluded this weekend with a surprisingly low number of upsets but left many players with heartache. Time trouble blunders and accidental stalemates were in abundance during the Back to School Bash, but the higher-rated opponent continually seemed to come out on top this month.
The Saint Louis Amateur and Premier Tournament drew a crowd of 35 players this year. The tournament was split into two sections: Under 1800 (Amateur) and 1800 and over (Premier). A $1,600 unconditionally guaranteed prize fund was awarded to the top five finishers in each section.
The educational outreach initiative of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis can stretch a little farther this fall thanks to help from Monsanto, a global leader in sustainable agricultural products headquartered in Creve Coeur, Mo.
The Monsanto Fund, the philanthropic arm of Monsanto, recently awarded the Chess Club a $20,580 grant to grow scholastic chess programs in 14 different rural schools across both Missouri and Illinois.
The top ten chess players in the United States under 21 years old will compete in the 2015 U.S. Junior Closed Championship July 6-15 at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL). The winner will receive $6,000 and a seat at the 2016 U.S. Championship.
Attendance at the Missouri Novice and Class Championship broke the century mark for the first time this year as 124 players competed for the chance to become a state champion between the two events. The winner of each class was awarded a plaque and earned the right to call themselves a Missouri State Champion. The extra participants meant exciting chess, a blitz playoff, and a controversial last round ruling in the Class E section.
The participation in the June Knights skyrocketed this week as ten more players increased the field to 22 players -- a record high for the year. The players were in for a special treat this week as they learned that all of the games would be broadcasted throughout the club.
Game of the Week...
Twenty elementary school students showed up for the Summer Slam Bash. The favorite was “Adjourn” Puri. He was one of five talented youngsters rated over the 1000 mark. “Adjourn” is currently trained by NM Loal Davis. He had previously been taking lessons from Tournament Director Mike Kummer. Kummer had three students in the tourney: Jaden Meyerstrom, Justin Zhang, and his newest student Agastya Diwan.
The first week of any Knights Tournament is never easy for the higher-rated players and the June Knights was no exception. The games went longer than usual and there were no easy victories for the tournament favorites.
Game of the Week
“I just beat a 1900. Dude!”
That was Jonathan Israel’s reaction to finding out his opponent’s rating during the post-mortem. Israel hadn’t checked the ratings during the game and was surprised to discover he had won his best game yet.
Joey Michael Kelly clinched his national master (NM) title at the CCSCSL when he defeated Danny Machuca in a non-ladder rated game. The game was played May 31st in the VIP Board Room. Kelly won the coin toss and quickly chose the white pieces. The game turned in Kelly’s favor early and he never backtracked. With the win, Kelly bolstered his rating over the 2200 barrier for the first time in his life.
The largest turnout of the year produced a very exciting month of chess for the May Knights Tournament. The 20 player field was strengthened by the inclusion of Joseph Garnier (2003), who hadn’t played a standard rated game in over a year. Garnier won first place overall with a perfect 4/4 score.