Bruce probably needs this award like a sixth finger but when you out-perform your peers, you also get recognized. Please join me in congratulating Master Bruce Baker on an outstanding month of February and earning the appellation of San Diego Chess Club "Player of the Month".
Bruce Baker's heroic achievements this February included winning the 90-plus player Alina Markowski Open with a fine score of 6-1. Bruce went undefeated in this mammoth event, only shedding draws to experts Mario Amodeo and Lennart Mathe.
On the Gambito front, Bruce held off perrennial winner IM Cyrus Lakdawala twice in February to earn a tie tie for first but his biggest achievement was his high second place finish at the Special Super Gambito # 407 where Bruce finished behind grandmaster Melikset Khachiyan but ahead of luminaries like IM's Enrico Sevillano and Cyrus Lakdawala. Oh, on the way to his second place finish, Bruce collected Enrico Sevillano's "scalp" with a fine win as a war trophy!
On the scholastic end where Bruce Baker is earning recognition as a fine chess instructor and chess mentor, Bruce's students are starting to make themselves felt in the chess arena with Jesse Orlowski achieving expert ranking (at the tender age of 14) and Daniel Grazian threatening to break through the expert barrier anytime now. In fact, the junior SDCC Team of JAK'D Up consisting of Alan Tsoi, Daniel Grazian, Kyron Griffith and Jesse Orlowski made a creditable debut at the 26th US Amateur Team West Regionals in Woodland Hills, CA on February 14-16. JAK'D Up scored 3 1/2 - 2 1/2 against very strong competition. In essence, this was Bruce's proteges and team that performed so well.
Bruce is a very strong master, the last time I recall Bruce winning this award was a few years ago where Bruce won the award not on his chess performance but on his fighting spirit and "heart". This time the recognition is for an all-round performance!
It must be noted that there were other candidates for this honor this month. Surprisingly, they were all seniors!
Master Carl Wagner, holder of the U.S. Senior title and many-time holder of the Southern California Senior title started the Markowski with a shocking loss. Nonetheless, Carl came back with machine-like precision winning game after game to qualify for the finals!
Expert Carey Milton rebounded miraculously from his November heart attack to lead the Markowski only to be taken down by Bruce in the final round.
Former expert Thomas Fries produced a strong finish sweeping aside Rick Aeria and Ed Baluran in the sixth and seventh rounds to qualify at the really tender age of 74!
Congratulations all around are in order for these fine gentlemen!