Sunday, January 6, 2008

06 County Champs

2006 San Diego County Championships, June 3 -4



OPEN SECTION   by Rick Aeria


The young star Joel Banawa won his game with IM Enrico Sevillano in Round 3 on Saturday night. 

National Master Joel Banawa is on a roll. Last week he tied for first at the strong NCCC Masters # 2 with International Master Enrico Sevillano. This time around Joel handed Enrico a rare defeat and cruised to a 4 1/2 - 1/2 finish for first and a lovely $450 prize.


Strong expert, John Bryant took clear second and $250 with an undefeated 4-1 score. John had two draws. The first draw was against Carey Milton who at one point was a piece down against the young phenom. The second draw was against Joel Banawa in the last round where all Joel needed was a draw to clinch first. Young John Bryant is only 14-years old and I see a great chess future for this young man if he keeps up with his chess studies under the watchful tutelage of step-dad Enrico Sevillano.

National Master Bruce Baker was pleasantly surprised to win $200 (Under-2300) and the title of San Diego County Champion with 3 1/2 - 1 1/2. In round two, Bruce had a strong position against the early tournament favorite, Enrico Sevillano but did not tempt fate and agreed to a draw. Caissa, the muse-goddess of Chess, punished her devoted follower by causing Bruce to lose to National Master Romeo Ignacio when Bruce was pressing hard to win with an extra pawn. After this painful chastisement, Bruce picked himself up off the floor and crunched Carey Milton in round four and Ben Barquin in round five, but only after a bizarre game.


International Master Enrico Sevillano also finished with 3 1/2 - 1 1/2 and received nothing for his efforts. This was clearly an off-form Enrico who together with absent International Master Cyrus Lakdawala, dominate local San Diego events.

Taking the Under-2200 $ 200 bounty was popular expert Leonard Sussman, also known as the "Pinball Wizard". Lenny scored 3-2. Lenny is one of those rare talents that never uses a computer or refers to a chess database in his preparations.

Winning the Under-2100 $200 prize was equally popular expert Alex Garcia-Betancourt. And rounding off the field was Ben Barquin with the $200 Under-2000 prize.


Chuck' s notes: Joel Banawa is the 4th highest rated 16 year old in the country on the USCF June Supplement list. In the photo above he won a key game in Round 4 against NM Romeo Ignacio. The game was well over 5 hours long, way longer than any other game in that round.  Everyone one else was taking a break and having a nice Sunday lunch while these players fought on and on...  

For more great photos of the participants go to Pictures 


Carey Milton is an important factor in any San Diego tournament due to his uncanny ability to upset higher rated players and to save totally lost games with amazing swindles time and time again... 


Barquin-Bryant  was the Best Game Prize Winner ($25) in the Open Section,  won by John Bryant

Freitag-Jensen  was the Best game Winner ($25) in the Premier Section, won by Richard Jensen 

Lunas-Martin  was the Best Game prize winner ($25) in the Reserve Section, won by Sonny Lunas

Danny Hughan-Rick Aeria,  King Indian Defence



Ron Soto (4 1/2), the #3 rated player in this section, swept through the field with 3 wins a row on Saturday, the only player to go undefeated that day in this section. (Joel Banawa was also the only undefeated in the Open Section and Santiago Lunas did the same in the Reserve Section, and both of them won their sections too, so getting off to a good start with 3 wins is obviously a key advantage). On Sunday Ron drew with the Best Under 1800 winner, Lennart Mathe (3 1/2) and in round 5 Ron defeated the #1 rated Alfredo DeLeon (4). 


Lennart Mathe in Round 1 turned away the upset minded Alan Tsoi, whose rating has soared lately...

Three players tied for the Second Place Prize: John Badger (3 1/2), Hercules Madriaga (3 1/2) and Esteban Escobedo (3 1/2).  John was particulary hard to beat with two wins and three draws in a row to end the event. Badgers are known for their fighting spirit, I am sure none of those draws were calm ones!    


Esteban Escobedo exudes confidence with his trademark shades. That's the #2 rated Chris Borgan seated behind him on Bd 16. 

Keith Bresee (3) won $200 for BU1700 by winning winning his middle 3 games with bookend losses to Madriaga and Escobedo.

This was the largest section with 20 players out of the 47 total participants. Other players with good scores, but no monetary prizes were Richard Jensen (3), Chuck Ensey (2 1/2), Damani Fair (2 1/2) and Art Taylor (2 1/2).

Dayne Freitag (2), Aaron Ibarra (2) and Chris Borgan (2) fought hard and played exciting chess.        



Pratik Khanna, Varun Krishnan and Alan Tsoi represented the younger generation of players...

12 players vied for some good prizes, with Santiago (Sonny) Lunas (4 1/2) coming out on top and winning $250. His only setback was a draw with Second Place winner Varun Krishnan (3 1/2). Richard Martin (3 1/2) tied with Varun for 2nd/BU1500, good for $112 each. Pratik Khanna (3) won BU1400.


While Anthony Harbone (in yellow), Richard Martin (light blue) and Gene Fernando fought for the Old Guard...  Chess is a universal sport, bring young and old together along with numerous nationalities. Unfortunately we didn't have any women players this time. Simone Sobel, we miss you!...  

Note: the Best Game in the Reserve section was the one shown here between Sonny Lunas and Richard Martin. Click on the names in the Games section above to view the game. 


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