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Record Turnout Produces Excitement, Upsets in 7th Annual Show Me Classic

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Upsets abound in the 7th annual Show Me Classic as lower rated players came to prove that they can compete with their often much higher rated opposition. The tournament boasted a record 42 participants, and prizes were awarded to first in each class. Joseph French (1949) came in first overall with a perfect 4/4 score. 

The biggest upset of the tournament occurred in round 2 when Mario Roper (964) faced off with James McLaughlin (2100). Both players were willing to play risky chess as the game featured a sharp Najdorf Sicilian with opposite side castling – leaving little room for a draw. 

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Roper threw the first punch with the move 12. g5 – putting the question to Black’s knight and beginning an all out assault on the White king. White’s counterattack ensued with the moves b4 and a5 in an attempt to open lines on the queenside. Around move 20, McLaughlin had a slightly better position but the complications left room for either side to make a mistake.

Roper slowly lost the plot and McLaughlin’s 25...a3! could have spelled disaster for the White pieces. McLauglins attack clearly landed the hardest, but he was running short on time. After Roper played the sacrificial 29. Nf5 McLauglin ran out of time calculating the complicated position. 

“I feel delighted that I have accomplished a colossal victory,” Roper said after the game. He continued to play well above his rating in the following rounds and finished with 1.5/4 points. His USCF rating got a nice 86 point bump for his success.

Mario Roper v. James McLaughlin - Round 2

James Ivy (1597) had one of his best tournaments with two major upsets over Matt Hostler (1995) and James Voelker (2095).

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Ivy had 3/3 points heading into the last round but suffered a tough loss to Steven Bange (1921) that ruined his chances of first place overall.

In the third round, Ivy faced the number three seed in the tournament – James Voelker (2095). Ivy was willing to play with an isolated queen’s pawn with all of the pieces on the board in exchange for activity of his pieces.

It was a slow positional game until Ivy played the shocking 27. Bb5! The bishop broke the connection of Black’s bishop and rook and threatened to win a piece or an exchange. There were still complications in the position for Ivy to overcome, but he was clearly better throughout the endgame and ultimate converted the point.

When asked to comment on his performance, he replied with his favorite catchphrase: “The hurt move is in effect.”

James Ivy v. James Voelker - Round 3

There was a four way tie for the U1200 prize between Yasin Hollis (1101), Arjun Puri (1166), Keller Sterling Yan (1133), and Aaradhya Diwan (1002). All four players scored 2/4 points. Featured below is nice attacking game by Hollis:

Justin Zhang v. Yasin Hollis - Round 3

There are two big tournaments coming up in June: the Missouri Class Championship and the Missouri Novice Championship. The Missouri Class Championship takes place from June 27 – 28 and the Missouri Novice Championship is held on June 27. All players will compete to become the state champion.