Sunday, January 6, 2008

'04 Senior Open

3/22/04, Reported by Chuck Ensey with Pictures by Rick Aeria & Chuck Ensey

Southern California Senior Championship 

Twenty one players met at the San Diego Chess Club on March 20-21st for this SCCF annual event for players over 50 years old. Only four players ventured down from north of San Diego, and the turnout from our own club was a little disappointing too. The prize fund was not a large one at $750, but these players were here for the love of the game, not for monetary rewards. Certainly a good time was had by all who attended this well run event, directed by Dave Saponara. Quiet, pleasant playing conditions are the hallmark of the San Diego club.


The Famous Chess Balladeer Had His Best Performance Ever With Rave Reviews From His Many Fans!!  

Bruce Baker (4) and Ed Baluran (4) are the new Southern California Senior Open Co-Champions, each scoring three wins and two draws, including one second round draw with each other. Bruce also drew with Leonard Sussman (3 1/2) in the last round and Ed drew with Robert Richard (3 1/2) in the final round. Bruce racked up wins against Kimberly Ogden (1), former master John Rinaldo (2 1/2) and Bob Richard.


Carl Wagner Had A Rare Setback In The 2004 Senior Open

Ed beat Class B winner Bill Conrad (2 1/2) in round one, drew with Bruce in round two and then bested #1 seed Carl Wagner (1 1/2) in a game that sent shock waves through the local chess community. He followed that huge feat by upsetting another heavyweight, Rick Aeria (3), who was the the fourth highest rated player to enter this event. In fact Ed ended up playing the first, second, third, and fourth ranked players and took home three points in those last four games (plus a ton of rating points) from three Masters and a strong Expert! Impressive for a player ranked just below Expert strength at 1985. 


NM Robert Richard Had To Fight For A Draw With Ed Baluran In Rd 5 

Robert Richard was last year's winner, but had to settle for a third place trophy this year, won on tie breaks over Lenny Sussman and Dennis Succuzzo (3 1/2). Lenny and Dennis also tied for Best Under 2100, with Dennis taking home the Best Under 2100 trophy on tie breaks over Lenny. 


Prof Succuzzo of San Diego State Used Pawn Power To Win His Game

Dennis won an exciting last round game from Hector Cabrera (3) that went on for nearly five hours, long after all the other games were over. The spectators were enthralled; no one could say for sure who was winning, although there were plenty of opinions! Hector had already knocked off #1 seed Carl Wagner (1 1/2), who was softened up and still reeling from the lethal punch of Ed Baluran. Still, you can't lessen the accomplishment of Hector in winning a game from one of San Diego's highest rated players. Carl then withdrew after consecutive losses to Baluran and Cabrera.


Hector's Rook & King Are Tied Up Stopping The Passed Pawn On the 7th Rank 

If Hector had won his last game, he would have tied for first place with Bruce & Ed, but Dennis' Knight was able to tie up Hector's Rook and King to prevent a couple of protected passed pawns from Queening, and then Dennis' King was free to win Hector's dangerous Kingside pawns, which looked like they were going to win the game for him, but they were stopped by the mobile King. Hector just missed out on the Best Under 1700 prize, with his rating recently rising to just over that mark.


William Delaney Won The Best Under 1900 Prize & Trophy

William Delaney (3 1/2) turned in a fine performance that included wins over two strong Class A players, John Rinaldo and Warren Williamson (2 1/2).

The Best Under 1700 prize was was split between Bill Conrad (2 1/2) and Chuck Ensey (2 1/2).  Bill won the trophy on tie breaks. If I hadn't taken a first round bye, based on a crazy idea of playing in both the Gambito Open and the concurrent Senior Open, maybe I would have won the coveted trophy. Bill took an irrevocable last round bye so he could get back to LA at a reasonable hour. We only allow last round byes if they are announced before the start of Round 2. I only had to play one game simultaneously, Round 4 in the Gambito which started at 4:30, while my Round 2 game with Lenny Sussman had started at 3 PM. So I took a first round bye in the Senior Open and a third round bye in the Gambito, which we just recenly started allowing, and I was able to play in both!

I thought I was holding my own in my Senior Open Round 2 game against Lenny, but my Gambito opponent was distracting me by giving me more trouble than I expected, and Lenny was able to break through my defences and win the game. That was somewhat of a relief because I was getting down to only ten minutes on my clock in the Gambito game, and I didn't want to lose both games!  I was able to go back and fully concentrate on that one, where I pulled out a win in a close Rook and Pawn ending. I am not sure my Gambito opponent even knew I was playing another game, as I didn't want to appear disrespectful, so I calmly walked back and forth between the games. The two tournaments were separated by a partial wooden sliding room divider, so I don't know if he saw what I was doing. I think he did, but I am not sure. Anyway, sorry, Sam, it was just something I had to try!

By the way, the two tournaments did not interere with each other and I was proud of our players for respecting the other games and making a special effort to keep the noise down, especially when setting up for the second and fourth rounds in the Gambito (Game/45). The other two rounds started at the same time, 10:30 AM and 3 PM. Great job everyone!       


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