Sunday, December 28, 2008

North american open 2008

check out our local players especially escobedo.....  keep your composure... concentrate, last but not least never look others games...and ben barquin,  i know you'll come back and rebound along with joel quiba.   who else???? chuck...make it 3 out of 7...happy holidays...buzzed...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Steve Spencer

Carey Milton called and asked me to post that Steve Spencer died last night of lung cancer. For those who knew him Steve was a high expert who I think reached master back in the 80's in San Diego. He had a ferocious attacking style and loved to complicate. He was one of my favorite opponents because I knew that win or lose, it was going to be an exciting game. Steve had a very easy-going personality and was liked by everyone who knew him.

This news comes as a real shock because Steve was probably only age 50 or so.

Sunday, December 14, 2008



The Gambito Tournaments are held every Saturday. A special tribute to Ron Gambito, well-loved SDCC member who passed away a couple years ago. An anonymous benefactor guarantees prize money and this has turned out to be a great success.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Miltonian Institute of Chess

The Miltonian Institute of Chess was formed one Saturday afternoon during a Blitz game between yours truly and Carey Milton approximately 4 years ago. Approximately 4 weeks ago, the founder of the institute was found in a compromised position facing a life threatening situation. I am writing this note out of genuine concern and love for the Miltmeister (this is a title given only to a worthy handful) Carey Milton himself. The chess club is very happy to have you still "Milting" around with us. But please do not take this for granted. Take a little better care of yourself. Those energy drinks that I avidly advised against are not for you. Besides, you don't need them. It is your creativity that creates thunderstorms at the board. You are one of the most entertaining players I have ever met. Little more mild consistant exercise and a healthier diet, and we will indeed see the original Miltmeister reach 2200 rating and make us all very proud and happy. I admire your relentless energy and enthusiasm for the beloved game. I admire the fact the win lose or draw we can count on you to be there for the next game as though nothing ever happened. I am greatful to our creator for He allowed you to continue to be here. Milt Milt Milt Miltonian!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Monday, November 24, 2008

Ranger Rick's Album

Phil Roth and "El Mariache" Dave Delgadillo. Lifelong friends and deadly tacticians!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Carey Milton

Carey Milton was stricken today while playing Cy Lakadawala in Round 1of Gambito # 397.  He was rushed to Scripps-Mercy Hospital.  Eye-witness accounts report that a number of his friends came to his aid: Richard Jensen called 911;  Dimitry Kishinevsky ran to the road to flag down the ambulance; James Mahooti applied CPR.  I am sure that many of you present also provided assistance.
I heard about this later this evening from Jamieson Pryor and called the hospital at 8:30 p.m.
According to his attending nurse, Carey is stable and sedated at the moment.  Carey is *not* in intensive care and can receive visitors.  The nurse said that Chuck Ensey has already visited.
We are cautiously optimistic that the incomparable one will pull through (after all, he wins games a full queen down) and return to chess boards to dazzle us all with his wizardry.
Please keep Carey in your thoughts and prayers.  We will try to provide you with updates.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Varun is an Expert!

Congratulations to Varun Krishnan who went up to 2004 in the Super Double Gambito!! We are all proud of our local phenom...  

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Web Site

Hey there,
A few years ago there were emails flying around between Rick, Chuck, and myself about a java applet chess viewer I wanted to incorporate but it never happened. Anyways, with this msn groups issue, I'd like to resurface this a bit. The last few weeks I have been messing around with Adobe's Flex 3, and it freakn rocks. I've converted a chess game viewer I did in .NET to Flex. Its a flash based(actio script) web app, and its totally open source. While getting more intimately involved in Flex, I would love to put something together for the club. We could have a flash based, no javscript, web site, and anyone with the flash plugin, free of course, could do some amazing things all through the flex web site. If anyone is wondering about games already out there, the viewer I did will parse a those pgn files, and will do unlimited nested variations.
If anyone would like to see this go forward, give me some ideas on things you'd like to have, and I'll try to hook it in. I can give anyone thats interested a demo anytime.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Double Super G November '08

Behind that sweet, innocent demeanor lies a mind of mating net calculations and other chess snares. Beware!

Pictures from the Double Super Gambito held in November of 2008.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Fall Swiss 2008

Candid snapshots from the SDCC Fall Swiss event of 3008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Super Double Gambito Open

Please don't miss one of the big events of the year at the San Diego Chess Club - the 8th Annual Super Double Gambito Open on November 8th and 9th. $$2,100 in prizes, 8 rounds over two days of G/45 (or G/40 w/ 5 second delay). To sign up and secure the advanced entry rate of only $50, just email , otherwise it is $60 at the door. See our website for details. We usually get between 35 and 40 players, I would like to see us get to 50 this year, which is quite possible considering 100 different players have won money at a Gambito Open this year so far.  Thanks, Chuck Ensey

Monday, November 3, 2008


Im surprised I have not seen any messages on Enrico being on the cover on this months' ChessLife. I got my copy this weekend. Good for him. Just letting you guys know.
Anyways, enjoy.

Friday, October 24, 2008

MicroSoft Closing the MSN Groups Service

I'm sure that some of you have seen the announcement that MSN (Microsoft)  is closing the services that host this site.  This will take place, so they say in February of 2009.  This caught me, frankly by surprise although after the initial shock wore off - it should have been expected.
MSN is recommending a "migration" to a partnered company called Multiply- which I never heard of until this announcement. I have registered at Multiply and looked around - it is different.  My main concern is if the new site supports Javascript which we use to display our games.  I will be posing this question to the Multiply Technical support people.
I have also been reading the message threads of my fellow site managers and many are skeptical about Multiply's ability to provide similar web services that we have been accustomed to for these four years. I will continue research to find the best solution for the San Diego Chess Club's needs before taking any sort of action with this site.
I will keep all of you updated on the latest developments and thank all of you for participating at this site.
Rick Aeria
Site Manager

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Super Gambito # 382

The SDCC "Young Lions" (From the left): Harold-Xavier Gonzalez, Jessie Orlowski, Daniel Grazian, Michael Chen, Jason Qu and Varun Krishnan)

The August Super Gambito Event of 2008

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Summer stuff


2007 San Diego County Championship and San Diego Shootout

Class Champs 07

2007 Class Championships

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Special Super Gambito # 378

Here are some pics from the Special Five-Round Super Gambito held at the SDCC on July 5th, 2008. It was wonderful to celebrate America's birthday on July the Fourth this way!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Belated Book Review

Hope this works. This was done in Feb 2007. I have asked Chuck and Rick to post it but to no avail. So here it is on the message board :(


Inside the Chess Mind: How Players of all Levels Think about the Game


Jacob Aagaard


Everyman Chess, Gloucester Publishers PLC, 10 Northburgh Street, London, EC1V 0AT


Copyright 2004, ISBN # 1 85744 357 8



            When I first started reading this book, I thought it would be a waste of money and time. This book is about 10 different tactical or positional situations on the board, and a whole lot of comments by players of all ratings commenting on them ad infinitum, ad nauseum. After I got through test position 1 (already having read about 4-5 hours through the book), I was mentally exhausted. How could I go through 9 more arduous, complicated tactical or positional puzzles? But by the end of test position 3, I was feeling a lot better about the book, since I actually got the question right(!). The rest of the book was more or less rewarding, and it certainly slowed down my over the board thinking which for a faster time control player is a good thing, at least in the slower time controls.


            The positions themselves are of course very complicated. You have several minutes to look at the position and find the best move. The participants in the test talked into a microphone about what they were thinking during the analysis, and this was of course all put into the book. This is what makes the book unique; that you can “see” the thought processes of players at various levels analyze a complex position. A 1400 player will actually find most of the good main lines, but will usually end up picking the wrong move. A grandmaster will usually find all of the good lines, and pick one of the better ones, if not the best. Even Fritz 8 got into the mix, and of course scored the best of all the “participants”. I personally was not disappointed in my score of 3 ½ / 10, since for my rating that was normal to above-average. Even Fritz did not solve all of the problems in the given amount of time!


            I was going to give all of the positions, with the correct and incorrect moves, but that would give away the whole book, and I don’t think that the author and publisher would be very happy about that! Therefore, I’ll simply give the results of the tests, not any test positions, and also comments on the differences between positional and tactical players, as well as their rating strengths. 5 of the problems appeared to be “tactical”, and 5 “positional”. I included Fritz 8, and also myself in the results, because the author did not include any human player with a rating between 1400 and 2050, so I serve as a nice “data point” there at @1800 (extrapolated to @1750 FIDE). the book, take the tests, and see how you come out! By the way, in test position “2”, there is one move that draws instead of wins, and so I gave those players ½ point for the draw. The ratings below are FIDE, besides mine; Fritz I assume has a theoretical FIDE rating.





Name                                       Rating               Total Points      Tactical            Positional

Fritz 8                                      @3200                        9/10                 4/5                   5/5

GM Peter Nielsen                     @2650                        6/10                 4/5                   2/5

GM Artur Yusupov                  @2600                        6/10                 3/5                   3/5

IM Jesper Hall                          @2500                        4 쩍 /10            2 쩍 /5              2/5

FM Ivo Timmermans                @2300                        4/10                 2/5                   2/5

Peter Skovgaard                       @2050                        4/10                 3/5                   1/5

Rich Jensen (lol)                       @1750                        3 쩍 /10            1 쩍 /5              2/5

Tom Skovgaard                        @2050                        3/10                 2/5                   1/5

Sidsel Hoeg                              @1400                        2/10                 2/5                   0/5

Sten Vesterli                             Unrated                       1/10                 0/5                   1/5


As you can see, the points are very proportional to the ratings of the players.


Fritz 8:     It’s surprising the Fritz did not solve all of the problems; interestingly the author had one of the makers of Fritz 8 by his side during the analysis of all 10 problems, so that the software engineer could explain why Fritz could or could not solve each problem. On one of the problems, Fritz alternated between the winning move and one of the two drawing moves for almost all of its allotted time (I and 3 others found one of the drawing moves; Fritz was the only one to find the winning move). It finally settled on the winning move before its thinking time expired, but it very possibly could have switched back to the drawing move later if given more time. It’s puzzling that Fritz solved all five positional problems but actually had trouble with a tactical problem. This is because the problem involved an exchange sacrifice for a pawn, and the outcome of the game from there was far from clear. The exchanger already had two sets of doubled pawns, and Fritz was probably afraid to complicate the game further, if you can believe that! The correct move was not even in the first four preferred move that Fritz wanted to make. All but one of the human players rated over 2000 found the correct move in that position, and Fritz didn’t. On the other hand, the positional strength of Fritz has improved tremendously in the last few versions. You better believe that the Fritz software engineers are going to feed it a lot of information about the tactical position it missed; Fritz 9 is already out and may have the improvements. And by the way, for all of you computer chess program doubters, Fritz 8 IMMEDIATELY (within a few seconds) found four of the 10 correct moves. You could not ask any World Chess Champion to do the same for problems of this complexity.


GM Peter Nielsen:     Obviously the two strongest human players in the test were GM’s Neilsen and Yusupov. The difference is that Nielsen is still an active player and Yusupov isn’t, at least right now. And this fact showed in the difference of their tactical ability in solving the problems. Nielsen was stellar with the 5 tactical problems, solving all but one of them, equaling Fritz’s score! Obviously Nielsen got to the GM level by tremendous tactical vision and excellent calculating skills. His positional prowess was not nearly as good, but 2/5 was actually not bad for a human player, even if they are a GM. This is what really surprised me more than anything else in the test results: Fritz was perfect in positional problems, and no human solved more than 3/5 of the positional problems. This is why computer programs have gotten so strong of late: their positional evaluations have become...”superhuman”. Remember when Karpov said that Topolov could never be FIDE World Champion because he lacked positional talent (paraphrasing)? Topolov of course did accomplish this in 2005, but he ran into a positional genius in the form of Vladimir Kramnik in 2006, and Karpov’s prediction belately came true. Take away tactics, and a player is forced to play positionally. Anyway, Nielsen solved the tests with flying colors. 6/10 for a human is nothing to be ashamed of. One of the tactical problems he solved was solved only by Fritz and no one else. I was pleasantly surprised to have actually solved the one tactical problem that Nielsen faltered on.


GM Artur Yusupov:      As I mentioned above, Yusupov, at one time one of the strongest players in the world, was a bit rusty, although he did score well in the tests. He is the most balanced master of the human players. However, he didn’t solve any of the toughest test problems like Nielsen did; all of the problems he solved, besides problem #2, were solved by at least three others. But remember that Yusupov was once must stronger than Nielsen, and this may very well be due to his positional prowess. He scored the best of any human on the positional problems, again lending evidence to Karpov’s theory that World Champion Candidates need deep positional evaluation skills.


IM Jesper Hall:     Hall scored a balanced 2 ½ /5 tactically and 2/ 5 positionally. Hall’s scoring was much like Yusupov’s; all of the problems he solved were also solved by at by at least three others.


FM Ivo Timmermans:      Like Jesper Hall, Timmermans scored a very balanced 2/5 tactically and 2/5 positionally. In fact, he solved exactly the same four problems as IM Hall solved, except for that one tricky problem #2, where there are two winning lines and one drawing line. Timmermans missed this very complicated tactical problem.


Peter Skovgaard:     I guess the two Peters in this survey are both very tactically gifted. Tactically Peter Skovgaard was basically GM strength, but positionally he scored badly. Obviously, he got to expert strength mostly on tactics, as so many others have. He did find one of the two very tough winning moves for problem #2. I do have to give him credit for getting the one positional move right that both GM’s missed.


Rich Jensen:     It was fun finishing up the exercises and the book itself. Everyone should get this book and see where they stand tactically and positionally. There are plenty of tactical puzzle books out there, but it may be hard for someone to see how they rate positionally compared to others with a similar rating. I scored about right; of course I did throw in that one drawing line in problem #2 to give me that extra 쩍 point J. That problem was really tough, but I simply took material and got my King chased across the board. IM Jesper Hall also played the same move I did for that problem. Like Peter Skovgaard, I also picked the correct move in (positional) problem #8 that both GM’s missed. I also picked some bad losing moves; in problem #4, a tactical one, I was only one of two players to pick the wrong move, the other was Sten Vesterli, who just barely started playing in tournaments. Of the six problems I got wrong, three of them were unique moves that the nine others didn’t make---I don’t know if that’s good or not, or how bad that is lol. Most of the time, if one player made a wrong more, most of the others made the same wrong move, but not me for some reason. The one problem I was really proud of was problem #3. I could not believe I made the right move, but I did! None of the other human players got problem #3 right---only Fritz did. I was also somewhat proud of getting tactical problem #10 right---Yusupov missed it.


Tom Skovgaard:     Tom did not score that great for his rating strength---his positional play is somewhat weak, just like his son Peter. He’s another Expert that is decent at tactics, but could make Master if he improved his positional play. Of the three points Tom got, at least three other players made the same correct moves. For the seven wrong moves, Tom was the most like me---he made four uniquely wrong moves. He also was like me in that he got tactical problem #10 right; only Fritz and GM Nielsen were the others to get it correct.


Sidsel Hoeg: I’m glad they put a 1400 rated player in the book to give the scoring some greater scale. She was the only female participant (I assume that Fritz is male!). She is probably a typical casual chess player; picked up tactical openings quickly and did decently with them, but as so many lower rated players, she cannot understand deep positional problems, and didn’t get any of the five positional problems correct. I believe that this is a common problem among lower-rated players. The typical routine is to teach beginners tactical openings like the Ruy Lopez and Queen’s Gambit, and then let them sink or swim afterwards. Positional openings like the Caro-Kann or the English are neglected because “That’s the way things have always been taught”. I wonder how many thousands, or even millions, of beginners quit chess because they did not like the tactical openings they were first exposed to. Fortunately for Sidsel, she is very tactically gifted for her rating. She even got problem #8 right that both GM’s missed! Of the eight problems she got wrong, three were uniquely wrong, and five were commonly wrong.


Sten Vesterli:     Sten only got one problem right, a positional one. This problem, #7 (that I got wrong), was correctly found by Fritz and all of the Masters; neither of the Experts or Sidsel found it. I wonder how his rating would compare to Sidsel’s if he played more. He may very well have some natural chess talent---who knows for now.


            Once again, buy the book, don’t cheat and look up the answers, compare your results and rating to the others, and have fun!






One of America's premier Grandmasters, Gregory Kaidanov came from the Ukraine. one of GM Kaidanov's most impressive feats was winning the Aeroflot Open in 2002 ahead of 62 other grandmasters in Moscow.

Grandmaster Gregory Kaidanov's appearance at Gambito # 376 on June 21st

Thursday, June 26, 2008

2nd IM Norm for Elliot Liu

Elliot just scored his second IM norm today at the New England Masters. He passed the IM mark by a full point and was only a half point shy of a GM norm. Will get some of his games from the tournament and maybe jointly annotate them.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Why Grandmasters think differently about chess

Every serious player wonders now and then what exactly sets GMs apart from the rest of the pack. Is it nature, or nurture? Can any child learn to excel at chess, or not? I recently read a research article performed by a former chessplayer (I assume a FIDE master, but non-GM), that studied the brains of GMs and non-GMs. He used a technique called magnetoencephaolgraphy, and found that GMs relied on certain areas of the brain much more than the average player, at about a 4/1 ratio for the two areas of the brain. When the researcher tested his own brain, the ratio was 1/1. He always wondered why he could never make it to the GM level, and this may very well be why. Of course, this does not prove that genetics determine chess ability, but it is an interesting finding in itself. The region that GMs use more (theoretically) is for storing "chunks" of information; in other words, when that part of their brain lit up, they were retrieving the information, probably chunks of strategies or patterns they had previously learned. The researcher, Dr. Amidzic, is now testing young tennis players to see if there are differences between the top vs. average players in other sports as well.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Chess, emotional or rational

Before this game I had been talking to Erik Marquise about the ideas of the German philosopher F. Nietzsche and his belief that humans approached/perceived the world through emotional attachments rather than their intellectual/rational understanding; for he would argue that how we choose to understand a subject was a matter of what we already wanted to see or believe, or some other predisposed position and not some inherent truth in the subject/object itself. This game is certainly a testimony to that line of thought. Objectivity takes a back seat, indeed if it makes an appearance at all.
R. Samuel Open (Game 6)
D. Fair vs A. Deleon
1.e4, c5 2.Nc3, e6 3.f4, d6 4.Nf3, Nc6 5.Bb5,a6 6.Bxc6, bxc6 7.d3, Rb8 8.0-0, Ne7 9.b3,Bd7 10.Bb2,Nc8 (I was talking to Bruce Baker a week before this game about the emphasis modern Masters placed on "opening" study; his response was, "the next time you have a game that you won in the opening, show it to me.") 11.e5,d5 12.Ne2,(I plan to play c4 making his light squared bishop bad)Be7  13.c4,Nb6 14.Nc3, (inconsistent, doesn't the knight have anything better to do? Of course I saw the psuedo sac on c4 but chose to take it lightly!?)...dxc4 15.dxc4,Nxc4 (although a lot of WHT's positional pressure is gone, bxc4,...Rxb2 still leaves BLK with poorly placed bishops) 16.Qc1,Nxb2 17Qxb2,c4 18.Ne4,0-0 19.Rfd1,Qb6+ 20.Kh1 (Qf2 or Qd4 would have still maintained equality)...Rfd8 Now WHT becomes wreckless 21.Nf6+ (here Alfredo spent about 25 minutes before deciding he could take the piece with impunity)...gxf6 22.exf6,Bf8 23.Qe5,(the worst continuation. I did not see Alfredo's retort)...Qb5 24.Qe4,Qf5 25.Qxc4,Qxf6 (c5 was stronger, giving the bishop some freedom) 26.Rac1,Rb5 27.Qd3,Rd5 28.Qxa6,(maybe I'll get a chance to march one of these guys in??! Hope springs eternal)...Bc8 29.Qf1,Ba6 30.Qe1,Bb4 (he's chasing my Queen around?!)31.Qg3+, Qg6 32.Rxd5,cxd5 (closing off the file? Can that be good, perhaps he wants the game to play itself!?) 33.Qh4 (here I am reminded  of a dictum by the English GM John Nunn, "loose pieces drop off")...Re8? 34.f5,Qxf5 35.Qxb4, (equality has been restored)...Bd3 36.Qc3,e5 37.Qd2 (Marty Lower pointed out that Qc6 was better, but I was too concerned with BLK's center pawns)...e4 38.Qg5+?, Qg6 (Alfredo is probably shell shocked at this point for again he misses the best continuation, Qxg5) 39.Qxg6+(Qe3 was best)...hxg6 40.Ne1,Be2 41.Kg1 (BLK still has the best chances, but that will soon change)...Re6? 42.Kf2, (the vulnerable bishop provides a gain of tempo)...Ba6 43.Ke3,Kg7 44.Rc5 (Here I offered a draw in what I believed to be a better position. I thought it would be hard to play with plenty of room for error on my part. It was also my intent to cause my opponent the luxury of relaxing, and should he decline the offer, afford me the "will" to play for the win! After running his clock down to 30 minutes for game, Alfredo accepted the draw. This was a good result for me and of course it offers me the opportunity to study this endgame. Of course the words of Master Bruce Baker are clearly understood. Study the endgame "grasshopper" 

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Aiello - GM Nakamura

Roberto Aiello versus GM Nakamura added ... see Cyrus Annotates

Friday, April 4, 2008

Cameo Shots

Cameo Shots of Fun at the San Diego Chess Club. Definitely the place to be!

County Championship 2003

San Diego County Championship 2003

2006 Markowski

Congrats Ron Bruno

Congratulations to Ron Bruno for his second win of the club championship. What a way to top off a win against GM Khachian in LA the previous weekend. You are turning into a major San Diego chess force. Now you are even making us Gambito guys nervous when you show up on Saturdays!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Monday, January 28, 2008

SanDiegoChess Announcement - Special 5 Round Gambito Open

Like Bobby, I will never play Chess, again.


Rick Vattuone

Bobby Fischer's former attorney


In a message dated 1/27/2008 4:38:18 P.M. Pacific Standard Time, writes:


from Managers of


a reminder that this Saturday, Feb 2, 2008 there is a special 5 round Super
Gambito Open at the San Diego Chess Club with $1,600 in prizes. It will start
at 10 AM, a half hour earlier than the normal 10:30 start time, so we can
squeeze in the extra round. Please get there early. Latecomers will have to
take a bye in the first round. It should be lots of fun, and we expect a good
turnout of about 40 players, I hope to see you there! You can register online
by emailing me at . See our website for more details. 
Thanks, Chuck

help? If you've forgotten your password, please go to Passport Member

other questions or feedback, go to our Contact Us

Start the year off right. Easy ways to stay in shape in the new year.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Elliott Liu Fan Club

Elliott Liu Fan Club Page -Updated Thursday evening, March 9th 2006  


By Rick Aeria





There are a million stories when you put 64 dedicated and determined contestants to compete for this nation's highest chess titles. This webpage is dedicated to one of these brave contestants. A young teenager from Olivenhain in San Diego's North County. His name is Elliott Liu, born 1990 in Boston, Massachussetts, at age 15 Elliott is one of the youngest participants in what is being hailed as one of the strongest US Championships this century! Elliott attends Bishop's School in La Jolla. I am boggled by how he has the time between school work, playing his cello, football, basketball, travel and yes, his computer video games- to study and improve at chess.

His age (15) and his participant in the U.S. Championship echo of another prodigy -about half a century ago - Bobby Fischer! Yet, his chess instructor IM Cyrus Lakdawala who has been working with Elliott for over six years does not regard Elliott as a prodigy. Hard work, a solid opening repetoire and the resiliency to absorb demoralizing losses and come out fighting again. These are Elliott's characteristics. Cyrus adds that Elliott's inclination to opt for chaotic, incalculable positions make him a very dangerous player. "Elliott's tactical vision," Cyrus modestly opines  "clearly surpasses mine." And yet, Elliott can show a very balanced, sturdy and rock solid positional side just play over his draw with GM Kaidanov in round two.

 Round 1: Elliott faces the dreaded "Yerminator" in GM Alex Yermolinsky. Elliott plays a spirited King's Indian Defence but has the worse of it. Then suddenly the "Yerminator's" circuits go on a 'fritz' and Elliott is lucky to salvage a precious half point. Click here for game.

Round 2: A rock-ribbed solid draw against yet another  former Soviet grandmaster, Gregory Kaidanov. Elliott essays another Bobby Fischer favorite - The Ruy Lopez and Kaidanov steers it to the time-honored Tchigorin Variation. Elliott closes the center and in a blocked position. Play evolves around the two wings.  Play through game here. Elliott later confided that this game took so much nervous energy out of him that he was drained for many days after that.

Round 3: In a promising position, Elliott goes astray and loses to IM Stanislav Kriventsov. Play through the game here.

Round 4: Coming off a disheartening loss, Elliott unleashes a tactical barrage on young Tatev Abrahamyan's position. Abrahamyan defends coolly then flicks out a lethal and brilliant retort 25. Bd5! Elliott spends an enormous amount of time mentally regrouping and steers the game toward survival. Play through the game here.

Round 5: No easy pairing for Elliott. This time he faces the strong Miami IM Blas Lugo. Once again the Ruy Lopez. Lugo deviates early with 5. ... b5 , 6. ... Bb7 and 7. ... d5 and pretty soon a sharp middlegame is reached. Once again Elliott ignites the fireworks with 21. f5 but his queenside looks underdeveloped. Lugo's play comes faster and Elliott gets saddled with an overloaded Queen which Lugo exploits deftly. Peruse this game here.

"If Fischer is God then I'm the Devil!"

- quote from Grandmaster Walter Shawn Browne from the late 1970's. Elliott's opponent today.

Round 6: Omigod! The kid can't catch a break! You would think that at 1 1/2- 3 1/2 Elliott would finally get a cream-puff pairing! No such luck! Instead, Elliott gets paired with a demiurge from the post-Fischer era. None other than Grandmaster Walter Browne who has won or tied for the U.S. Championship title at least six times! Ironically enough, this great man is making his appearance in this U.S. Championship as the U.S. Senior Champion! I sense a major battle looming. Don't miss this clash of generations!

Commentary on game that was in progress

Browne opens with 1. e4 and after 1. ... c5  2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5  6. Ndb5  Elliott uncorks his preparation  6. ... Bc5 !?   I call it Cyrus' Indian Cobra a deceptively little-analyzed, tricky variation that he has worked with for about six months. A perfect choice against a booked-up veteran like Browne. Browne goes in for 7. Nd6+ Ke7 and then Browne goes into a trance as if mesmerized by the hidden complexities of the position. This is the added bonus of the Cobra, eating up the opponent's clock. Against a notorious time-trouble addict like Browne, nothing could be better planned! The surprise move reaps immediate dividends as Elliot is up half an hour after only 7 moves.  After much thought Browne decides to simplify and at least grab the bishop pair by 8. Nxc8+ Rxc8 Then Browne aggressively posts his own king-bishop 9. Bc4 d6 10. Nd5+ Kf8 Slithering away 11. Nxf6 Qxf6 More piece exchanges to defang the cobra? 12. 0-0 Ne7 13. Kh1 To get out of the away a potential Bxf2+ in the future. 13. ... Qh4 Browne is already down to about 40 minutes to Elliott's one hour, but Browne's position looks much more better. Two bishops, better pawn structure. Black's king and central pawns look awkward.


14. Qf3 A multi-purpose move threating mate on f7 and protecting the e4-pawn. 14. ... Qf6 I would have riskily ventured with 14. ... d5 ?!? 15. Qe2 Browne eschews 15. Qxf6 gxf6 16. Bh6+. Time situation: Browne 27 minutes for 25 moves to Elliott 54 minutes. 15. ... g5 ! The cobra uncoils. Elliots has 46 minutes left. Browne wastes little time to reply 16. g3 Qg6 17. Bd2 Browne has picked up the pace. 17. ... Rg8 18. Rae1 Browne brings in his final reserves to the battle. He has 17 minutes left to make 23 moves. 18. ... Rc7 19. c3 Ke8 20. Rd1 Browne has 13 minutes 15 seconds left for 20 moves. 20. ... Kf8 21. b4 Bb6 22. Bb3 Now it's at blitz speed 22. ... Kg7  23. f4 gxf4 24. gxf4 Re8 25. fxg5 Kf8? Perhaps a desperado try like 25. ... Nf5?!  26. Bxf7 Qxf7 27. Rxf7+ Kxf7 1-0 

Round 7: Elliott is paired with Natasha Christiansen, GM Larry Christiansen's spouse. this has been a tough debut for Elliott. The youth scores his first win in the US Championship! Here is Elliott's first win at the U.S. Championship.

"Victory" a poem from Rupert Brooke

"All night the ways of Heaven were desolate,
Long roads across a gleaming empty sky.
Outcast and doomed and driven, you and I,
Alone, serene beyond all love or hate,
Terror or triumph, were content to wait,
We, silent and all-knowing.
Suddenly Swept through the heaven low-crouching from on high,
One horseman, downward to the earth's low gate.
Oh, perfect from the ultimate height of living,
Lightly we turned, through wet woods blossom-hung,
Into the open. Down the supernal roads,
With plumes a-tossing, purple flags far flung,
Rank upon rank, unbridled, unforgiving,
Thundered the black battalions of the gods." 

Round 8: Amid a small controversy about a blog remark that Elliott made a couple days ago. Eliott faced `avenging angel' WFM Hana Itkis in a roiling struggle which at one point seemed very even. The teen from Olivenhain was able to extract a full point from the encounter to go 3 1/2 - 4 1/2  but remains chastened and contrite about his earlier remarks. Here is the game.

Round 9: A match-up between two of the Southland's young teen stars with Elliott and Vanessa West of Gardena, California. This time it was attacking whiz Vanessa who triumphs with white pieces! Here is their game.

Young Eliott at age 12 at the San Diego Chess Club in Balboa Park circa 2003. If you like to see more pictures of Elliott then visit our Exploits of Elliott album. Read write-up on Elliott winning the SDCC June 2005 Player of the Month.



Awaiting 2009

2009 Strongest Club Championship Ever?

By Rick Aeria   January 31st, 2008

The new year brings one of the San Diego Chess Club's most exciting and popular, by virtue of participation, event:  The Alina Markowski Qualifying Tournament for the SDCC Championship.  This is one big open Swiss format of seven (7) rounds to determine the candidates that will vie for the coveted title of club champion.  The format has evolved over the last 30-odd years to its current incarnation.

In the preceding year, four events were identified to seed one player directly to the club final.  They were:

(1) The prior year's club championship winner.  In 2008 it was NM Ron Bruno.

 (2) The San Diego County Championship which was won by NM Peter Graves.

(3) The Fall Swiss which was won by IM Felix Villarreal.

and finally,

(4) The winner of the Open Section of "The Masters" which was Expert (and former NM) Dimitry Kishinevsky.

These four qualifiers await twelve (12) other players who will try to qualify through the upcoming "Markowski Qualifier" starting on January 7th, 2009.

In the past, IM Cyrus Lakdawala achieved a near dynastic dominance of the club championship winning the event in 21 of his 23 tries.  The two instances where Cyrus faltered was when his brother Jimmy Lakdawala, then a senior master (2400+) took first and in 1989 when NM Carl Wagner won.  So it is with more than a little justification that the club  final has been renamed the Cyrus Lakdawala Championship.

Looking back at the past events, Cyrus Lakdawala faced some tough competition from the likes of NM Todd Smith, NM David Hart, SM Valdis Salespurens, NM Carl Wagner, NM Tom Nelson, NM Mark Saylor, NM Robert Richard, NM Petranovich, NM Gustavo Hernandez, NM Bruce Baker, NM Tony Davis and SM Richard Russell to name a few.

This coming year, just the four qualifiers Bruno, Graves, Villarreal and Kishinevsky promise to make this one of the most entertaining and exciting championships.  Add the likehood (barring historic collapses like the Denver Broncos of recent memory) quality players like NM Bruce Baker, NM David Hart, NM Todd Smith, NM Carl Wagner and the ever-popular expert Carey Milton joining the mix.

Speaking of experts, never forget expert and ex-club champion in 2007 John Funderburg who plays stultifying chess in the finals (2007 and 2008) or the evergreen expert (and former NM) Leonard Sussman.  Expert George Ziegler has the potential for winning this event and so does expert Jim Humphrey.  Expert Mario Amodeo has his supporters but I imagine Mario would enjoy the role of spoiler just as well.  Talk about spoilers - there was never one more significant than Brad Salz! In 2006, Brad denied Carl Wagner by winning on time forfeit in the last round. After 17 years Carl Wagner came within a few seconds of his cherished goal! Will expert (and former NM and club champion in 2005) Adam Corper ever return to chess?  Or maybe someone like expert Eric Montany, James Mahooti or Dan Altimirano will make a run at the championship.

From the Mexican contingent, aside from IM Felix Villarreal, experts Ignacio Sainz, Ron Soto, Mariano Lozano and Manuel Herrera are not to be taken lightly.  But the Mexicans face a constant logistical handicap having to cross the border and fight traffic to get to the club, so let's try be more understanding when they arrive a little late.  My favorite is feisty Fausto Robles a gamer and scrapper if ever there was one.

So we wait to see how the saga of the 2009 championships will unfold.  It is not unlikely that a 'Class-A' could win it.  After all, Mark Aiken (now Mark Knight) tied for first with Cyrus in his first championship.  I'm so excited awaiting this upcoming championship I don't know whether to get my popcorn popper going or start studying my Philidor Defence!

Come out and be a part of the excitment and rich heritage of the San Diego Chess Club! 


Sons of Cyrus

Whatever happened to the "Sons of Cyrus"?

By Rick Aeria, January 31st 2008

In 2003, after a very long and successful 21-out-of-23 run at the club championships, Cyrus Lakdawala, the winningest  player to descend from the chess firmament to, ...dominate the San Diego chess scene, decided to hang up his pieces and give others a shot at winning the San Diego Chess Club Championship. 



Naturally, "Father" Cyrus nurtured a hope that his students would carry on his winning tradition.  Call it karma, kismet or destiny but the very next championship in 2004 which turned out to be a long, stormy and acrimonious struggle.  A Cyrus student won! The format was (1) Seven round Markowski qualifier and then a (2) a two sectioned eight man round robin semi-final with the top three from each section qualifying for (3) an all-play-all 6 man final...Boy, we ain't doing that again!

Despite Mark Brooks' cheeky handicapping of 150-1 for my chances which drew the usual guffaws and laughs from the 'patio' crowd,  I happened to have the good fortune to finishing first with NM Robert Richard and won the tie-breaks having defeated Bob for the first time in my life in our individual encounter.  Didn't I place a five-spot wager with Mark?

I had a lot of help first with NM Ruffo Orihuela stubbornly holding NM Bruce Baker to a King versus King endgame draw.  Then tail-ender Adam Corper , also a Cyrus student, holding NM Bruce Baker in the final round to a draw.

Then in 2005 it was Adam Corper's turn and Adam won the championship outright and achieved his master-ranking in the process.  Now the buzz was about "The sons of Cyrus".



In 2006, the sons of Cyrus did not prevail although then-NM Adam Corper gave it a valiant effort and even defeated winner NM Ron Bruno brilliantly in their individual encounter.  This was the fateful year that produced a bizarre finish.  For the final round, Bruno was paired with NM Todd Smith who had fallen out of contention and was playing for pride.  Half a point behind Bruno was NM Carl Wagner who faced expert Brad Salz who was having a rough tournament.  Wagner achieved a winning position and would have repeated as champion after a 17-year hiatus (Wagner won the championship in 1989) but overstepped the time limit and forfeited!  Meanwhile on the neighboring board, the dour Todd Smith despite having an edge most of the game decided that Bruno's defences were holding and offered a draw.  The shocker was Bruno refused the draw offer which would have given him the championship and continued to play on!  A natural fighter in the mold of Fischer!  However a few moves later, commonsense prevailed and Bruno made a draw with Todd Smith.



In 2007, a new face joined the fray - SM/NM Marc Duesterwald of Germany!  Marc was clearly the "class of the field" with a near 2400 rating but he took it too easy and expert and Cyrus student John Funderburg, nicknamed "The Thunderbird" caught Duesterwald in the standings and even won the trophy over tie-breaks! The Cyrusites went wild!  We trumpeted (and looking back...quite obnoxiously too) the "Sons of Cyrus" third victory!

Then things changed.... maybe I got old but most probably lazy just like the lyrics in an old Eagles' song; Adam found true love in his wife, Jade, and faded away from the chess scene; and John? 

In 2008 the race was between a resurgent Ron Bruno and a dazzingly brilliant John Funderburg.  Both men playing exciting chess and winning the admiration of all onlookers.  It the end, Ron Bruno became the first player to repeat his success as champion but John Funderburg was a worthy and honorable runnerup.

If you look back, even the two years that the Sons of Cyrus did not prevail, one of them was in the thick of it.  In 2006, it was Adam Corper finishing second and in 2008, it was John Funderburg giving it his all.



For 2009, eyes turn to relative newcomer expert Eric Montany to uphold the banner of the "sons of Cyrus".  Recently, Eric finished in a tie for first at the 400th Gambito with IM Enrico Sevillano, NM Digesh Malla and Ariel Gerardo.  Could this be a omen of things to come?


Odds on Championship


by Rick Aeria

Since 'expert' oddsmaker Mark Brooks does not frequent the club in the past few years after his infamous 150-1 odds on my winning the 2004 Club Champioship.  I have decided to carry on the tradition - strictly for the humor aspect and give the odds on the various championship contenders,

As this is written on January the 3rd, 2009 - only four players have qualified to the finals and the Markowski Qualifier has not been played. Please take this with a 'grain of salt' and don't get too upset!

RON BRUNO (3-1) National Master Ron Bruno is the reigning club champion and the only one who has repeated as club champion since the legendary Cyrus ("The Great') Lakdawala won it 21 out of the 23 times he played.  Ron qualified for the final by virtue of being the defending champion. Ron is relatively young in his late twenties and in good health.  What is surprising is that Ron learnt the game of chess relatively late - about ten years ago.  Ron has a sharp opening repertoire favoring king pawn openings with White and defending with the Sicilian Defence as Black.  On occasion, Ron will divert to the Alekhine Defence to avoid special preparation of particular opponents.  Ron is a student of the game and can be a difficult man to beat.  Perhaps Ron's biggest asset is  that he has crossed swords with some of the best masters and grandmasters in the Southland and has played them on even terms.

Nothing seems to faze this mild-mannered master off the board except if he gets charged $18 for a pitcher of beer!

FELIX VILLARREAL (4-1) International Master Felix Villarreal has returned to chess after a long absence in 2008.  Felix qualified by easily winning the Fall Swiss Open.  Felix is a very sound player with a solid positional, classical positional style.  Whereas his opening repertoire may be not as 'modern' as some of his fellow masters, Felix relies on the French Defence as his primary weapon to the king's pawn but will also play the Petroff Defence to mix things up.  Felix will try to beat you with patient good moves but if you slip and allow a combination, Felix will most certainly spring that on you too.

Felix suffers from the logistical disadvantage of having to commute all the way from Tijuana, Mexico to play each round.

PETER GRAVES (5-1) National Master Peter Graves is a very experienced player with an aggressive positional style.  Peter usually plays in the quicker Gambitos on Saturday but qualified for the final by winning the San Diego County Champion title.  Peter will play a mored varied assortment of defences but like Felix will tend to favor the Frenc h Defence

Peter Graves suffers from the disadvantage of a long commute from North County, that is why he usually does not play on Wednesday nights.

DIMITRY KISHINEVSKY (6-1) Former master (and now expert) Dimitry Kishinevsky qualified for the finals by winning the open section of  "The Masters' recently.  Many years ago, George Zeigler, once assessed Dimitry's style as a player with 'one big punch'.  The 'one big punch' theory probably correlates with Cyrus' observation that Dimitry has the ability to look for and find the combination we call the 'computer-shot'.  White or Black, Dimitry has a preference for 'fianchetto defences' and is probably the most original and intuitive player amongst the contenders.

The longer time controls on Wednesday nights should favor Dimitry's "deep thinker" style of play.


BRUCE BAKER  (7-1) National master Bruce Baker has a blend of deep chess knowledge and uncompromising aggression.  A natural attacker and initiative-hound, Bruce plays a wide array of systems with black and white but favors king pawn openings.  At 2300+, Bruce, in my opinion is under-rated!  It is difficult to prepare for him as Bruce will sometimes blithley play into your 'preparation' then toss you a theoretical grenade.  I would assess Bruce's chances more highly but winter just isn't his season (even in San Diego).  And winter is when the Markowski and finals are played.  In the past few years, I have observed Bruce play below himself because of a bad cold during these events.  If this trend contiues, Bruce could end up as the "Akiba Rubinstein" of our times -  the strongest player never to have won the club championship. Bundle up, big guy, and take it all the way this year!  I am rootin' for you!

CARL WAGNER (8-1) National master Carl Wagner is a former club champion in 1989, a former National Senior Champion and many time State Senior Champion.  Carl brings many years of competitive chess experience and a carefully worked out opening repertoire that has served him well.  Carl would like to beat you in the quiet of this study.  That is, Carl, is the consummate master of home preparation.  He wins many of his games with Preparation C, 'C' as in Carl.  With Black against the king's pawn, Carl will steadfastly reel out his Najdorf Sicilian and against the queen pawn, Carl will usually throw out his Benko Gambit at you.

JOHN FUNDERBURG (9-1) Expert John Funderburg, nicknamed "The Thunderbird", won the club championship in 2007 and was a brilliant runner-up in 2008.  One curious aspect I have observed about John's play is that throughout most of the rest of the year after the championship, John plays like he is in a deep funk and sheds rating points like a drunken sailor  sheds dollar bills.  Then during the club championships, John snaps back to his lethal mode and plays his best chess.  Once upon a time, we used to joke about John wheeling out museum-openings like the Colle and the Zukertort, not any more.  With Black, John will defend against the king pawn with the French Defence and John is someone who will specifically prepare for you - usually something uncomfortable and even nasty.



Gambito #319

Gambito #319   May Super Gambito on  5/05/07

Turnout: 28 players       Total Prizes Paid: $600

Varun Krishnan Has a HUGE Day!


Young Varun does not look too interested in his encounter with chess master Ron Bruno, the 2006 San Diego Chess Club Champion.

The young man is small in stature but he is growing very large in chess players minds, almost to giant size proportions. Today he defeated Expert Dimitry Kishinevsky in the first round and followed that upset with another one - Expert Jorge Balares in Round 2. But the best was yet to come! In the fateful third round he defeated National Master Ron Bruno in yet another amazing upset. I know Varun has drawn with Masters several times before, including Ron Bruno and Romeo Ignacio, but I don't think he has actually beaten one before, although I could be wrong, I will try to check my records. Regardless, today was his best performance ever.

See Cyrus Annotates to view the game Krishnan-Bruno.

Varun has lifted his rating by a whopping 80 points, from 1897 to 1977. I didn't get a chance to see any of his games except the last part of the game with Jorge, when it was still about equal, but then Varun won a pawn and was also winning on time by a large margin. But Jorge made a fight of it, nearly earning the draw, but his time was so low and the pressure so great (a large crowd was watching) that he lost even more material and then failed to take advantge of a few mistakes by Varun in the scramble to beat the clock.      

Finally, in the last round, Varun was paired with his instructor, IM Cyrus Lakdawala, who was apparently planning on offering Varun a draw at some point, but due to his strong integrity, Cy did not want to just play a 6 move "grandmaster draw" (besides Varun might have turned down the draw, as Cyrus has instructed him to do in the past!) and as the game went on, Cyrus found a winning line and could not turn it down. Still, Cyrus is so much higher rated that the loss did not really hurt Varun's performance rating at all.      

Open Section (18 players)  First Place: Cyrus Lakdawala (4)  $125

2nd Place/BU2200/BU2000 tie: Varun Krishnan (3), Ryan Richardson (3), Dimitry Kishinevsky (3)  $75 each

2nd U2200: Jacoby Johnson (2 1/2) $25   

2nd U2000 tie: Ben Barquin (2), Hercules Madriaga (2), Richard Jensen (2) and Ed Baluran (2) $6 each

Reserve Section (10 players)

A stellar performance by the new player Roberto Rivera, who was unsure of his playing strength, having only played online. He thought he was about 1600, so we put him in this section, but apparently he is much better than that. As an unrated player, he could not win cash prizes, but next week he will be able to, but he will have to play in the Open Section. Based on the 4 wins, the computer gave him an estimated rating of well over 2000.

Best Unrated: Roberto Rivera (4)  Book Prize

BU1800 tie: Chuck Ensey (3) and Jesse Orlowski (3)  $50 each

BU1600 tie: Pratik Khanna (2) and Michael Chen (2)  $35 each

Best Game Prize Open Section $15  Varun Krishnan

Best Game Reserve Section $15  Jesse Orlowski   


Gambito #316

Special Super Gambito #316   4/07/07

This was one of those special 5 round Gambito Opens that we only do about twice a year. Attendance was good at 35, although slightly below our optimistic projection of 40 players for a $1,600 prize fund. We paid out $1,440, so we got pretty close to the goal. All the prizes were reduced by $10 each from the advertised amount, so it was not too bad of a haircut. In the Open Section we had 5 Masters today, 5 Experts and 7 Class A players, plus 1 B and 1 C who played up, for a total of 19 there. We also had 10 B's and 6 C's in the Reserve Section for a grand total of 35 players.   

Note that William Delaney won the Reserve Section despite not being able to play the last round. No problem, he just won his first four games and that score held up to win clear first! Another interesting tale was when Dimitry Kishinevsky won his game with Rick Aeria when Rick lost on time. Dimitry stopped the clock with 1 second left on his own digital readout! Both players had been living off the 5 second delay for the last 15 moves or so. Initially it looked drawish with Bishops of opposite color, but there were Rooks still on the board and each player had a dangerous passed pawn. Rick queened his pawn first and was clearly winning when he hesitated on one move and took longer than the allowed 5 seconds (those seconds fly by very fast when you are trying to make a good move). A tough loss for Rick, who was also distracted earlier in the game when a spectator interfered in the game, thinking an illegal move had been made. NEVER do that! First of all, even if there was an illegal move (which actually there wasn't!), you can never tip off a player, and you can't call flags down either. The game is between the two players on the board and they have to notice these things, not outside kibitzers. It was a low rated player who interfered and I won't embarrass him by mentioning his name, but he should have known better because he has been playing at our club for many years. He did apologize and understands now that what he did was wrong. I just bring it up now so that everyone will know NOT to do this!    

Open Section Wall Chart   event is now rated

Name/Rtng/ID Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5
1 IM Cyrus Lakdawala W 13 B 8 W 6 B 2 W 3
2494 2506   1st $290  1 2 3 4 5
8 Dimitry Kishinevsky B 19 W 1 B 16 B 9 W 6
2129 2148  2nd $140  1 1 2 3 4
4 Bruce Baker bye W 15 B 7 B 6 W 2
2209 2219  3rd $60  1쩍 2쩍 2쩍 3쩍
6 Adam Corper W 18 B 12 B 1 W 4 B 8
2181 2185  BU2200 (tie) $102 1 2 2 3 3
7 Carey Milton B 11 W 17 W 4 B 10 W 18
2101 2100  BU2200 (tie) $102  1쩍 1쩍 2 3
12 Ed Baluran W 21 W 6 B 18 B 3 W 14
1990 1995  BU2000 (tie) $102  1 1 2 2 3
17 Esteban Escobedo bye B 7 W 15 W 13 B 9
1845 1878  BU2000 (tie) $102  1쩍 2쩍 3
2 Marc Duesterwald bye B 10 W 9 W 1 B 4
2393 2371  1쩍 2쩍 2쩍 2쩍
9 Rick Aeria W 16 B 3 B 2 W 8 W 17
2124 2121  1 2 2 2 2쩍
3 Romeo Ignacio B 14 W 9 B 13 W 12 B 1
2220 2208  1 1 1쩍 2쩍 2쩍
10 Leonard Sussman B 15 W 2 bye W 7 B 13
2086 2083  1 1쩍 2쩍
18 Daniel Grazian B 6 W 14 W 12 B 15 B 7
1843 1854  0 1 1 2 2
14 Peter Hodges W 3 B 18 W 19 W 16 B 12
1901 1900  0 0 1 2 2
16 Pirouz Hendi B 9 W 21 W 8 B 14 W 19
1863 1855  0 1 1 1 2
13 Varun Krishnan B 1 W 19 W 3 B 17 W 10
1903 1899  0 1 1쩍 1쩍 1쩍
11 Alan Sebeckis W 7 B 5 ---- ---- ----
2047 2061  (house) 1쩍 1쩍 1쩍 1쩍
15 Richard Jensen W 10 B 4 B 17 W 18 B 21
1880 1854  1
19 Jamieson Pryor W 8 B 13 B 14 W 21 B 16
1762 1740  0 0 0 1 1
20 Kimberly Ogden ---- ---- B 21 ---- ----
1647 1657  (house) 0 0 1 1 1
21 Mark Allen B 12 B 16 W 20 B 19 W 15
1495 1486  0 0 0 0
5 David Hart bye W 11 ---- ---- ----
2210 2200 

Reserve Section Wall Chart

Name/Rtng/ID Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5
2 William Delaney B 15 W 5 B 16 W 4 ----
1739 1775  1st $190  1 2 3 4 4
9 Jesse Orlowski B 3 W 6 B 4 W 17 B 12
1647 1664  2nd/3rd (tie) $65  1쩍 1쩍 2쩍 3쩍
6 Chuck Ensey bye B 9 W 3 W 16 B 1
1671 1694  2nd/3rd (tie) $65  1쩍 2쩍 3쩍
5 Aaron Ibarra W 13 B 2 W 17 B 1 B 4
1670 1676  1 1 2 2 3
1 Pejman Sagart B 7 W 4 B 12 W 5 W 6
1799 1790  1 1쩍 2 3 3
12 Daniel Cook bye B 14 W 1 B 13 W 9
1543 1576  1st/2nd U1600 (tie) $90 1쩍 2 3 3
13 Tom Kuhn B 5 W 10 B 15 W 12 B 16
1525 1543   1st/2nd U1600 (tie) $90  0 1 2 2 3
4 Anthony Adamucci B 10 B 1 W 9 B 2 W 5
1684 1687  1 1쩍 2쩍 2쩍 2쩍
3 Arthur Taylor W 9 W 16 B 6 B 14 W 15
1686 1661  1쩍 2쩍
16 Michael Chen W 11 B 3 W 2 B 6 W 13
1300 1376  1 2 2 2 2
15 Pratik Khanna W 2 B 11 W 13 W 10 B 3
1438 1459  0 1 1 2 2
17 Patrick Edwards bye W 7 B 5 B 9 W 11
1153 1200  1쩍 1쩍 1쩍 1쩍
11 Anthony Harbone B 16 W 15 B 10 W 8 B 17
1600 1600 0 0 0 0 1
10 Brian Watson W 4 B 13 W 11 B 15 ----
1623 1583  0 0 1 1 1
7 Eric Castro W 1 B 17 W 14 ---- ----
1765 1720  0 0 1 1 1
8 Bill Rhoads ---- ---- ---- B 11 ----
1647 1658  (house) 0 0 0 1 1
14 Gene Fernando bye W 12 B 7 W 3 ----
1484 1454 

Total Prizes  $1,440

Upset Prize, Open Section - Bruce Baker for win over Marc Duesterwald (216 points diff) $10

               Reserve Section - Patrick Edwards for win over Eric Castro (461 points diff) $10 

Best Game Open Section - Cyrus Lakdawala for win over Marc Duesterwald $10  

See Cyrus Annotates for this and several other games from this event

Best Game Reserve Section - Pratik Khanna for win over Brian Watson $10

Gambito #299

Gambito #299 Super Double Gambito 12/02-12/03/06

The Wallchart is too big to be posted here.

Here were the winners:

Open Section


IM Enrico Sevillano at an earlier Gambito this year

First Place  Enrico Sevillano (7) $300, 2nd/3rd tie:  John Bryant (5 1/2) & Romeo Ignacio (5 1/2)  $150 each


Newly minted Master John Bryant earlier this year at the San Diego County Championships 

BU2200  Jorge Balares (5)  $200

Jorge Balares earned draws with Bruce Baker and Enrico Sevillano

2nd/3rd U2200 tie: Carey Milton (4 1/2), Raoul Crisologo (4 1/2) & Richard Gimeno (4 1/2) $50 each

Romeo Ignacio won this Round 2 game against Carey Milton, who was playing the Black pieces here 

BU2000 tie: Ben Barquin (4), Varun Krishnan (4), Daniel Grazian (4) & Chris Borgan (4) $87 each

Varun Krishan was Player of the Month at the SDCC for both September and October. He lost this game against the higher rated Chris Borgan, but still tied for BU2000 at the Super Double Gambito.

Biggest Upset $25  Jorge Balares for draw with Enrico Sevillano (275 points)

Best Game Prize $25 won by Richard Gimeno for a win over Richard Jensen. See game on Cyrus Annotates.

Reserve Section

Michael Taylor vs Jesse Orlowski in Round 3  

First Place  Michael Taylor (6 1/2)  $200, 2nd Place William Delaney (6)  $100

William Delaney as White vs William Wijaya in Round 6

Third Place  Chuck Ensey (5), Arthur Taylor (5) & William Wijaya (5) $17 each  

BU 1600  Nestor Dagamat (4) $150, 2nd U1600  David Whitten (3) $75, 3rd U1600  Tom Kuhn (2 1/2) $25    

David Whitten got an upset win in this game vs Nestor Dagamat, he also upset Arthur Taylor

Biggest Upset $25  David Whitten (1276) for win over player rated 1707 (431 points)

Best Game Prize $25 for the Reserve section was won by Arthur Taylor for win over Tom Kuhn. Game will be posted on Cyrus Annotates shortly, along with a few others from this event. 

See the Pictures page for lots of photos taken by Richard Jensen.  

Turnout = 33 players, down from the average of 37 and less than the hoped for 40 players, but still a decent turnout. The full prize fund of $2,000 (based on 40 players) was paid anyway, thanks to generous donations from Jorge Balares, Gene Arnaiz and Chuck Ensey. Thanks guys, for helping keep this a fabulous tournament. Everyone who played had a great time, there were lots of fun times and plenty of excitement. Right now I am busy going through all the games that were submitted for Best Game Prizes. I must say there are quite a few good ones to choose from. As usual, Cyrus Lakdawala will annotate the winners. By the way, we missed Cyrus, he was unable to play this year. Also congratulations to Enrico Sevillano, a frequent Gambito winner, but this is his first Super Double Gambito win. So now in six years we have five different winners, only Cyrus has repeated. Other winners have been Bruce Baker, Dimitry Kishinevsky and Joel Banawa. Joel and Dimitry were unable to play this year and so was Adam Corper, who was in London. Rick Aeria had to work and Ron Bruno also couldn't make it, so there are 6 top players right there who missed this year's Gambito Championship. Next year we might considering holding it in November when more players might be able to play.


Gambito #291

Gambito #291  Special 5 Round October Super Gambito

Open Section Wall Chart

Name/Rtng/ID Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5
1 IM Cyrus Lakdawala W 10 B 2 W 13 W 7 B 8
2500  2508  1st $350 1 2 3 4 5
8 Leonard Sussman bye W 15 B 4 W 3 W 1
2063  2096 U2200 (tie) $125 1쩍 2쩍 3쩍 3쩍
4 Romeo Ignacio B 16 W 19 W 8 B 10 W 9
2211  2206 2nd (tie) $125 1쩍 1쩍 2쩍 3쩍
6 Dimitry Kishinevsky bye W 12 B 7 W 15 B 2
2130  2103 U2200 (tie) $125 1쩍 1쩍 2쩍 3쩍
12 Alejandrino Baluran bye B 6 W 16 B 20 W 7
1993  2008 U2000 $150  1쩍 2쩍 3쩍
19 Norlino Tagalog W 20 B 4 B 5 B 18 W 13
1800  1822 2nd U2000 $75 1 1 1 2 3
9 Raoul Crisologo bye W 16 B 2 W 5 B 4
2054  2070 3rd (tie) $35 1쩍 2 3 3
5 Jorge F Balares W 17 B 13 W 19 B 9 W 11
2180  2161 3rd (tie) $35 1 1 2 2 3
2 Reynaldo Del Pilar B 11 W 1 W 9 B 13 W 6
2317  2299 1 1 1쩍 2쩍 2쩍
7 Rick Aeria B 18 W 14 W 6 B 1 B 12
2111  2102 1쩍 2쩍 2쩍 2쩍
10 Richard Gimeno B 1 W 18 B 14 W 4 B 15
2049  2057  0 1쩍 1쩍 2쩍
13 Ben Barquin B 3 W 5 B 1 W 2 B 19
1991  2001  1 2 2 2 2
3 Bruce Baker W 13 B 17 W 18 B 8 ----
2225  2205  0 1 2 2 2
18 Esteban Escobedo W 7 B 10 B 3 W 19 B 17
1812  1815  1 1 1 1쩍
15 Peter Hodges bye B 8 W 11 B 6 W 10
1942  1933  1쩍 1쩍 1쩍
11 Carey Milton W 2 B 20 B 15 W 14 B 5
1935  1923    0 1쩍 1쩍
20 Kimberly Ogden B 19 W 11 B 17 W 12 ----
1657 1671 0 1쩍 1쩍 1쩍
16 Hercules Madriaga W 4 B 9 B 12 W 17 ----
1909 1901 1 1
17 Richard Jensen B 5 W 3 W 20 B 16 W 18
1854 1839 0 0 0 1
14 James Mahooti bye B 7 W 10 B 11 ----
1970  1954

Reserve Section Wall Chart


Alan Tsoi not only raised his rating to a new high, he pocketed $250 for First Place 

Name/Rtng/ID Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5
5 Alan Tsoi B 11 W 13 B 10 W 1 B 4
1662  1748 1st $250  1 2 3 3쩍 4쩍
1 Chuck Ensey bye B 8 W 11 B 5 W 2
1779  1791 2nd $100 1 2 3 3쩍 4
10 Caleb Guy B 3 bye W 5 B 2 W 9
1578  1650 U1600 $150 1 2 2 3 4
11 Bill Rhoads W 5 W 3 B 1 B 13 W 12
1542 1646 2nd U1600 $50 0 1 1 2 3
4 Khris Juroshek bye B 2 W 12 B 9 W 5
1667 1675 3rd $50 1 2 3 3
2 Robert Aiello B 9 W 4 B 13 W 10 B 1
1749  1725 1 2 2 2쩍
13 Nestor Dagamat B 8 B 5 W 2 W 11 B 3
unr.  1592/05 1 1 1 1 2
9 Gene Arnaiz W 2 B 12 bye W 4 B 10
1628  1600 1 2 2 2
3 Aaron Ibarra W 10 B 11 W 8 B 7 W 13
1710  1658  0 0 1쩍 1쩍
8 Jesse Orlowski W 13 W 1 B 3 B 12 W 6
1637  1609  0 0 1 1쩍
12 Pouyan Azarshahri bye W 9 B 4 W 8 B 11
unr.  1429/04 1 1 1쩍 1쩍
6 Kimberly Ogden ---- ---- ---- ---- B 8
1657  1668 0 0 0 0
7 Brian Kelly ---- ---- ---- W 3 ----
1648  1632 0 0 0 0 0

Open Section Upset Prize $20 Ben Barquin

Reserve Section Upset Prize $20 Caleb Guy

Total Prizes $1,700


NTC Super G (#262)

March 4, 2006 at NTC!   Gambito #262    March Super Gambito  4 rounds at G/30


49 Players Tie the "Gold Rush" Record

Reported by Chuck Ensey and Rick Aeria

 Revised September 29th, 2008


I very rarely try to a revise of a reported event but this singular Gambito event has so much significance for the San Diego Chess Club history and heritage.  This event was made special by the participation of Grandmaster Aleks Wojtkiewicz.  Just about the only U.S. Championship participant from a galaxy of chess stars that were available on this tournament rest day.

Sadly, this was a farewell performance from a brilliant chess troubadour as Grandmaster Aleks Wojtkiewicz succumbed to a perforated intestine and massive bleeding on the evening of  July 14th later that same year. 

Here is a  on Aleks, a very special chessplayer


Picture of Grandmaster Aleks Wojtkiewicz


Under brilliant sunny skies amid cool breezes and a plethora of chess talent with the participants to the 2006 US Chess Championship mingling between autograph signings, simuls, chess instruction, blindfold chess exhibitions and photo ops - the 262nd running of the Gambito series, a Super G, was held outdoors at the NTC Promenade. Only one lone representative was dispatched from the ranks of the US Championship participants, grandmaster Aleks Wojtkiewicz but that seemed to be sufficient as "Wojo" plowed through his opposition for a perfect 4-0!


 Standing in the "dusk"

IM's Enrico Sevillano & Cy Lakdakwala

Left standing in the dust and sharing 2nd and 3rd prizes were the two regular Gambito paladins, IM's Cyrus Lakdawala and Enrico Sevillano with 3 1/2 - 1/2. A strange quirk in the computer pairings had the former Polish  grandmaster avoid playing either of them although they were paired (and drew).

Super expert John Byrant gave Cyrus some stiff competition in their encounter and the game was a thrilling crowd-pleaser as Cyrus unravelled from complications to deliver mate.

Fellow website contributor Andy Bell downed Dimitry Kishinevsky in round one and was ready to do the same to me in a well-played game (for Andy) but made the fatal mistake of waiting for resignation instead of forcing it and was handed a very, very unfortunate loss. Sorry Andy!

Probably lost in the hurly-burly of action was young Simone Sobel's convincing win over expert Carey Milton. Simone, a former San Diegan now lives in Florida and is an avid chess fan and player.

Note that Filipino expert Raoul Crisologo has defeated Mexican master Ruffo 'El Fabuloso' Orihuela twice in as many months. Raoul is definitely establing an Indian sign on his Mexican rival. For his 'reward' Raoul was served up to Wojo in the last round for dessert!

In another entertaining encounter, Thomas Victory lived up to his inspired name and defeated Ed Baluran in a very cool and detached manner. Notwithstanding Ed Baluran's usual histrionics.

The popular Murra chess family was out in force today! Everyone knows what a fine talent Fawsi Murra Jr. is but did you know that the youngest Mayra Murra has been holding her own against the club regulars recently? Older sister Rocio Murra isn't a pushover either. Papa Fawsi Murra Sr. hopes to secure some chess instruction for his talented kids and then we can all watch out! I'm going out on a limb to make a prediction now! If Mayra Murra continues playing chess the way she does and getting good chess instruction and training - I predict she will be one of the participants to the Women's U.S. Championship in four years!

The Tournament was held at the NTC, the site of the US Championship. See their website for map and directions. It's actually pretty easy. The address is 2875 Dewey Road, San Diego. Take Rosecrans from I-5 (or from downtown take Pacific Coast Highway to Barnett, right on Midway, left on Rosecrans) and turn left on Roosevelt off of Rosecrans, follow signs to easy free parking.

$1,000 Prize Fund increased to $1,160

Entry Fee $25, Prizes adjusted upwards to reflect the record  high turnout of 49 players, some players received free entry for volunteering to help the NTC with the kid's simul at 10 AM. The 49 gold diggers tied the long standing Gambito Open attendance record set at Gambito #124 way back on May 3, 2003. Just 1 more player and we would have broken that record!! If you didn't attend, it's all your fault! But that's OK, we were thrilled to have such a great turnout, even including one of the Grandmasters from the US Championship, Aleks Wojtkiewicz. Four lucky players got to play the GM (Khris Juroshek, David Hart, Ron Bruno and Raoul Crisologo), but of course no one could beat him. Still, what a thrill to play a Grandmaster, man to man, over the board, one on one, face to face, mano a mano, etc.

Rick Aeria: I did not seem to notice the difference in the special time controls. usually we use Game in 45 (or Game in 40 with 5 second delay for those using digital clocks). Today's time control was Game in 30 minutes (with optional 5 second delay). Personally, I would like to have more rounds played 5 instead of 4 and the shorter time control (G/30). What do you think? Blog it on the message board.

Khris Juroshek said he had a pretty good game with the GM in the first round. After round 1 was over there were 11 players with 1 point, so the luck of the draw for round 2 fell on the #6 rated NM David Hart. After that round  there were only 5 players with 2 points, and #4 rated Ron Bruno was singled out to play Wojo while Cyrus and Enrico drew with each other and Raoul defeated Ruffo Orihuela. After 3 rounds, Raoul was the only player in the Open Section with 3 points besides Aleks, so they met in the last round. Aleks complained a little bit because he got three Blacks, but if Raoul had been given Black, then he would have had 3 Blacks in a row, which is an even bigger no-no as far as paring rules are concerned, so Raoul was assigned the White pieces. 

The Open Section was the strongest ever seen at a Gambito, with 6 Masters (1 GM and 2 IMs), 8 Experts, 13 Class A and one C in the Open Section (28 total). The Reserve Section had 21 players, with 12 Class B, 2 Class C and 7 Class D or below. Lately we seem to have a shortage of C players, so listen up out there, if you are rated 1400 to 1599 you could be pulling down some easy money at a Gambito!    

Open Section:  First Place $225 Aleks Wojtkiewicz (4)

Second Place tie Enrico Sevillano (3 1/2), Cyrus Lakdawala (3 1/2) $75 each

BU2200/2nd U2200 tie Raoul Crisologo (3), Rick Aeria (3), John Bryant (3), $50 each  

BU2000 $100 David Saponara  - His first Gambito ever and he wins $100!! 

2nd U2000 tie Felipe Camachco (2), Thomas Victory (2), Fawsi Murra Jr (2), Ben Barquin (2), Buddy Morris (2)  $20 each 

Reserve Section (U1800):  First U1800 $120 Norlino Tagalog (4)

2nd U1800 tie Jemar Fragante (3), Ronaldo Selenga (3), Vincent Broman (3), Kyron Griffith (3), $20 each   

BU1600 Justin Colon (3) $75

2nd U1600 Arcencio Caccam (2 1/2) $40

BU1400/2nd U1400 tie Mogan Fox (2), Tom Kuhn (2), $40 each

Best Game $20 Reserve Section - Justin Colon for win over Chuck Ensey

Best Game $20 Open Section - Dimitry Kishinevsky for win over Ben Barquin  

See Best Games 06 to view these games and others   

The event was held outdoors - much to our surprise when we were informed the night before the event that the room we had reserved was suddenly unavailable!! It was kind of fun being outdoors, at least at first, and it did give the spectators at the Chessfest a great view of a real live fast paced tournament, more than if we had been hidden away inside, so that was a good thing.

Rick Aeria chiming in here. First of all I think Chuck Ensey did a fabulous job directing running what is arguably one of the most memorable and novel Gambitos - given the last minute 'surprises'. As for the sun and fresh air, I grew up in tropical Malaysia but the sun even got to me today. Tony Whitt looked so sunburnt by round three I jokingly told him that he was been withdrawn from the tournament for radiation poisoning.

 Also it was nice and sunny, although it was a bit breezy and got rather cold and dark at the end of the day. That was partly my fault because we had a few problems with a laptop computer and portable printer which I had never used before to run a Gambito, and so there was a major delay before the start of the second round while the data was entered and bugs ironed out. The first round was paired by hand, and maybe we should have done the rest of the event that way, but I really like having the computer to do the pairings - it never makes a mistake. The second round started after about a half hour delay and things went relatively smoothly after that. Next time (if ever!) there shouldn't be a problem, I think it have it all figured out now. Anyway, we finished up just as it was getting pretty dark and then we headed back to the club for the simul with Yermo & Shabba. You can read about that on the page GM simul.

Rick Aeria, again: I want to thank everyone that helped load the tables and chairs back into the van, Special 'thank yous' to Justin Colon, Esteban Escobedo, Khris Juroshek, Tony Whitt, David Saponara, Bob Draper, Buddy Morris, Andy Bell, Chuck Ensey, David Hart, Ed Baluran, Ben Barquin, Kim Ogden. Fawsi Murra Jr. and many others for going the extra distance to help us breakdown the site and load it up. Also a special mention and thanks to Dimitry Kishinevsky who did the driving. Dimitry, Ron and Chuck were at the club at 7:30 AM loading the chairs and tables into three vehicles to go to NTC. Now that's dedication! 

Finally, I would like to refer Chuck Ensey over to my friend Dr. Sherri Azimi, an eye doctor, for selecting this hideous urine-yellow background for this web page. I know Chuck wanted a 'gold' theme but this definitely is not it!  Note: Background color moderated with revision.

(Chuck here) Sorry, it was as close as I could get in the "wee" hours of the morning!...  Rick has now improved it... I think... or it could be just my imagination, I'm not really sure.