Fifty-six players competed in the four-section, five-round, Columbia Open Chess Tournament this weekend, Aug. 22-23 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Columbia! Congratulations NM Peter Suich of Morristown, TN on winning this year’s Columbia Open!! Peter finished with 4.0 points with his only loss coming in the second round to Kevin Seidler (CO). NM Randal Ferguson of Greenville SC placed second with 3.5 points. NM Emmanuel Carter (NC), Kevin Seidler (CO), Kevin Wang (GA), and Jonathan Tan (SC) split the third place prize in the Open Section - all four players finished with 3.0 pts.
In the U2000 Section, Sijing Wu (AL) won the first place prize with 5.0 pts.; Ernest E. Nix, Jr. (SC) won second place with 4.0 pts.; third place went to Daniel Andrzejewski, Jr. (NC) and Vignesh Sekar (GA) - both finishing with 3.5 pts.
In the U1600 Section, the first place prize went to Gunateja Guruvelli (SC) with 4.0 pts., Marty Anderson (SC) won the second place prize with 3.5 pts.; Victor Suich (TN), Zachary R. Darga (SC), Aditya N. Dias (SC), and Joshua Brandon Gambrell (SC) tied for third place with 3.0 pts. each.
In the U1200 Section, the first place prize went to Robert Alan Hylton (SC) with 4.5 pts.; second place went to Birney F. Blind (SC) and Richard Trela (SC) - both with 4.0 pts.;
The U1000 prize went to Harry E Stewart (GA) with 2.5 pts.
Congratulations to all our prize winners!! The South Carolina Chess Association and Columbia Chess club would like to thank all players and spectators who helped make the tournament a success. Special thanks to VP Daniel Smith for organizing and directing the event! Thanks also to Jordan Anderson (TD duties), Andrew Plyler(TD and DGT board), and NM Sam Copeland (online game support)! Special thanks again to all players and family members who chose to come out and spend their weekend with us here in Columbia! We hope you had a great time and would love to see you back again at this same location for the SC State Championships October 30th - November 1st!
Columbia Open Winner NM Peter Suich (Right)
See Board 1 Games below
Congratulations to our three SC representatives, Benjamin Caiello, Aditya Dias, and Neha Dias for their spirited performances in the distinguished Denker/Barber/NGI Chess Tournaments held at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix AZ August 1-4!! Ben finished the Denker Tournament with 2/6 points highlighted by a draw against Christopher Yang (2276) of Pennsylvania! Neha finished with 3/6 points in the National Girls' Invitational Tournament and had a nice 3rd round draw against Denna Alter of CO rated 1757! She continued playing in the US Open where she exceeded all expectations by scoring three big wins defeating Kevin Chen (1955) of NJ, Bob Wheat (1700) of NV, and Julia O'Neil (1800) of TX thereby finishing 3.5/6 and increasing her USCF rating by 189 points to 1621!!! Aditya Dias finished with 1.5/6 in the Barber with his best game coming in the 5th round where he managed a draw against higher rated Vidu Godage of KY (1555). Like Neha, Aditya also continued playing in the US Open finishing 1.5/6 and grabbing a hard fought draw from Edward Collins (1845) of CA in the 3rd round! We are all really proud of the heart and effort these kids have shown playing so far away from home on such a big stage!!! Many of these games and more are expertly annotated on NM Sam Copeland's chess blog (links below).
Congratulations Maureen Grimaud!! Maureen was elected to co-chair the National Women’s Committee showing that South Carolina women are making an impact!!!
Thank you all players, Caeillo and Dias families, and SCCA President David Grimaud for your steadfast support of SC Chess and representing the State of South Carolina!! Thank you David Whatley for aiding Neha with your generous financial contribution!! Special thanks to NM Sam Copeland for working diligently throughout the week to provide us annotated games of the events for everyone to learn from and enjoy - both young and old!! Also, thank you Ben for your many game comments and contributions!!
With perfect weather and state pride on the line, chess players from SC travelled to the impressive Charlotte Chess Center & Scholastic Academy on Saturday May 30th for their 2-day four round annual rivalry match against NC. Despite being a slight underdog, the SC squad was motivated early after taking the first round lead 7/5. NC players then turned the tables and never looked back. NC claimed all three of the remaining rounds (7.5/4.5, 7/5, 7/5) thereby clenching the title with the final score NC 26.5 - SC 21.5. In the Championship section, (NC) NM Chris Mabe (2281) managed to get a big win over (SC) Wayne Christensen (2110) in the first round. Chris then managed to hold Wayne to draws in the remaining three rounds giving Chris the clear one point win. Congratulations NC players on winning the Border Battle Challenge for 2015!! Congratulations Mike Boone of Greenwood SC for going undefeated (4.0) in C class!!! Special thanks to SC players David Gongre and Paul Pena for playing on such short notice!! Thank you NM Peter Giannotos and the CCCSA for hosting the event!!! Thanks again to SCCA President David Grimaud, VP Daniel Smith, and to all players making the trip and supporting chess in the Carolinas!!!
Championship: (NC) NM Chris Mabe (2.5), Expert: (NC) Jonathan McNeil (3.5), Class A: (NC) Bobby Waddell (2.5), Class B: (SC) Brandon Alverson (2.5)/ (NC) Vishnu Vanapalli (2.5), Class C: (SC) Mike Boone (4.0), Class D: (NC) Sathvik Chatta (3.5), Class E: (NC) Triyakshari Venkataraja (3.0)
Young Cameron Chandler of North Carolina had the sort of weekend every A-player dreams of but few achieve, in mowing down a swath of Masters and Experts en passant to a clear first place finish with 4.5 points in the 2015 South Carolina Open, May 22-24! 106 contenders from seven states gathered at the Hilton Garden Inn in Greenville, under the superb organization and alert supervision of the Carolinas Chess Initiative, led by Walter High and Gary Newsom who were ably assisted by their brides Karen and Jana.
Matt Mayhew of Tennessee took clear first in the U1800 with 4.5, and hometown guy Alex Moreno of Greenville shared first-second with Harold Zeltner of North Carolina in the U1400 section with four points. In Saturday’s Scholastic tournament, Allen Hong of South Carolina won the Kings group with four of four points, while Parijat Majumdar of North Carolina led the Knights section with three points of four.
Among the notable efforts from South Carolinians were Master Randal Ferguson’s and Professor Edsel Pena’s four points in the Open, sharing second through sixth places, and Aidan Fejzulai’s three points in the U1800 section. Joshua Gambrell claimed clear third with 3.5 in the U1400 group. Congratulations!
Thanks again to the Carolinas Chess Initiative, Walter High and Gary Newsom, for bringing this outstanding event to Greenville!
Click here for Crosstable
Fifty-seven talented young players and 10 school teams turned out for the Midland Scholastic Chess League VI! The event, held at at Pelion HS on May 9th, made up the largest and toughest field we have had so far!! The upsets started early in round 1 with previous victors and many top seeds struggling against determined new faces. In the end, we had two perfect scores emerge from each section!
In the elementary section, Hris Choudhury came down from Charlotte and won all 4 games to claim 1st! 2nd and 3rd were taken by team-mates Messiah Cornelius and Eli Moore when they drew in the last round. Messiah had a tremendous tournament winning his first three games against higher seeded players! Midlands STEM Institute convincingly claimed the team prize with 10 points! In 2nd place was Heathwood Hall closely followed by Byrd Elementary in 3rd. Both Heathwood and Byrd were new teams who narrowly beat out previous 2nd place finishing teams Excelsior Academy and Hammond!
For middle school, Gunatej Guruvelli took 1st on tiebreaks over his brother Ravitej. Each scored an impressive 3/4 in the combined middle school and high school section. They also took home the team trophy for Lexington Middle School.
In high school, Ian Bell won his 4th MSCL tournament with a perfect 4/4! Simeon Radev, Joshua Goley, and Joseph Ault finished in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th on 3/4 behind Ian. Ian, Joshua, and Joseph are each graduating this year. Let's hope they stay in state, and we can add a college section next year!
Hammond and the hosting Pelion High School each scored 7 points with Hammond taking 1st place team narrowly on tiebreaks.
Finally, Michael Mayfield won the adult section with 3/4. Truman Price and Drew Plyler shared 2nd.
Meanwhile, we have summer camps (http://strategerycg.com/summer_camps.html), Tuesday Kid's Hour (http://strategerycg.com/kids_hour.html), and we are currently working hard to offer more after school programs next year (http://strategerycg.com/schools.html). If you are interested in a program for your school, please let us know!
GM Finegold kept everyone entertained Monday night by blending his sharp-witted humor with serious chess instruction. Everyone was kept guessing as he presented various puzzles to solve including "best move" positions from some of his favorite games. After the lecture, nine brave local participants (including one master and two expert players) played against GM Finegold in the Simul exhibition. Despite courageous efforts by all, none of the challengers managed to pull off the upset. Congratulations to Grandmaster Finegold on his 9-0 finish here in Columbia!! Thanks to everyone who came out and participated in the event!!! Also, special thanks also to North Trenholm Baptist Church and staff, NM Sam Copeland with Strategery Chess and Games, Daniel Smith - Pres. of the Columbia Chess Club, and NM Peter Giannatos of the Charlotte Chess Center for making this event possible!
Congratulations to Expert Wayne Christensen (right) on his over-powering domination of this year’s SC Senior Open! His 4-0 score left the second-to-fourth-place mob far behind at 2.5. South Carolinian James Brown contended for the Amateur section prize, but fell to Wayne Spon of North Carolina. Twenty particularly venerable gentlemen competed this year. Warmest thanks to Bob and Bea Mahan for organizing and directing the SC Senior Open these past two years, along with the other events in the southeastern senior circuit under the auspices of Chess for Seniors, which includes a circuit championship for events in Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Congratulations again to Wayne Christensen as he is now not only Senior Open Champion, but also reigning SC State Champion and this year's Snowstorm Special Champion!! Look for Wayne to be representing South Carolina in the Border Battle of Carolina Champions on May 30th and 31st at the Charlotte Chess Center!! Click here for the Senior Open crosstable.
We were thrilled to have 44 talented players come out on April 4th for the Midlands Scholastic Chess League V. This was our third MSCL in a row with 44 attendees (our lucky number!). Despite our consistent attendance, we did have 10 first time USCF players in the tournament.This was probably our strongest MSCL ever. Many of the games were quite tense and there were multiple upsets in even the first round. Our compliments to all the participants on their play and sportsmanship.
Congratulations to Ethan Ellis and Sahil Singh (Sahil's first tournament) on perfect scores in K-5. For the second time in a row, Harbison West Elementary confidently claimed top K-5 team. First K-8 was taken by Paul Pena. Josh Goley eeked out a tough win against Marty Anderson with only two seconds on his clock to win first K-12 in his first MSCL tournament. Meanwhile Pelion High School fended off their toughest challenge yet from Lake Marion High School to claim top K-12 team. Pelion has won top K-12 team in every MSCL thus far! Finally, in the adult section, Midlands STEM Institute coach Truman Price won all three games. This was Truman's first tournament; he will acquire a towering provisional rating! Click here for photos, crosstables, and more.
Benjamin Caiello refused to be defeated on Saturday and repeats as South Carolina's State High School Champion for 2015!!! Congratulations Ben!!! Ben went a perfect 5.0 throughout all of his games despite inspired play by all of his opponents. Adam Blocker fought valiantly with the champ in round 1, followed by Simon Kubrynski in round 2, and Robert Melville in round 3. The biggest challenge remaining was the much anticipated 4th round rival match against Kevis Tsao, the 2013 SC State Scholastic Champion. The game was close as everyone anticipated but in the end, Ben was ahead on time which ended up giving him the win. Ian Bell tried to unseat Ben in the 5th and final round but was unsuccessful. With another State Championship in hand, Ben will be representing our State in the Denker Tournament of High School Champions later this year. Again, Congratulations Ben!!! Thanks for being a great champion for our State!! Congratulations also to Neha and Aditya Dias!!! Neha will represent our State at the USCF National Girl’s Invitational Tournament and Aditya at the Barber Tournament of K8 Champions!!!
2015 Trophy Winners...
HIGH SCHOOL SECTION: (1st) Benjamin Caiello 5.0, (2nd) Ian Bell 4.0, (3rd) Melville, Robert 4.0, (4th) Kevis Tsao 4.0, (5th) Alexander Moreno 4.0
HM - Simeon Radev 4.0, Daniel Custer 4.0
Neha Dias, 3.5 Top Female
MIDDLE SCHOOL SECTION 6-8: (1st) Aditya Dias 5.0, (2nd) Paul Pena 4.0, (3rd) Michael Burrell 4.0, (4th) Sam Stalnaker 4.0, (5th) Kevin Rogers 4.0
HM - Ravitej Guruvelli 4.0, Bohan Wang 4.0, Braeden Reed 4.0
Lefan Xuan, 2.5 - Top Female
ELEMENTARY SECTION 4-5: (1st) Brady Setser 5.0, (2nd) Connor Liu 5.0, (3rd) Pierson Tran 4.0, (4th) Jacob Lewis 4.0 (5th) Toby Cox 4.0, (6th) Luke Wassung 4.0, (7th) Walker Bauknight 4.0, (8th) Rowan Johnson 4.0, (9th) Jack Mcdougall III 4.0 (10th) Rahul Rangaraju 4.0
HM - Paulo Hitopoulos 4.0, Kevin Fan 3.5, Jace Kraftchick 3.5, Martin Oltmann 3.5, Merritt Taylor 3.5
Taylor Hollis 2.5 - Top Female
ELEMENTARY SECTION K-3: (1st) Robert Hylton 5.0, (2nd) Whit Suber, Jr. 4.5, (3rd) Benja Williams, Jr (4th) Eli Moore 4.0, (5th) Allen Hong 4.0,
HM - Henri Murthy, 4.0, Kenda Bloxom 3.5, Kabir Zaman 3.5, Luke Lasher 3.5, Kabir Zaman 3.5, Adam Kremer 3.5
Erika Oltmann 3.0 Female
William, Tabakian 4.0 - Top 2nd Gr
William Jones 3.5 - Top 1st Gr
Samuel Jones, 2.5 - Top K
High School 9-12 1st D.W. Daniel High School, Clemson, SC 15.0pts.
Runner-up Pelion High School, Pelion, SC 12.5pts.
Middle School 6-8 1st Cario Middle School, Mt. Pleasant, SC 13.5pts.
Runner-up R.C. Edwards Middle School, Clemson, SC 11.5pts.
Elementary School 4-5 1st Pinckney Elementary School, Mt. Pleasant, SC 16.5pts.
Runner-up Clemson Elementary School, Clemson, SC 16.0pts.
Primary School K-3 1st Pinckney Elementary School, Mt. Pleasant, SC 13.5pts.
Runner-up Buist Academy, Mt. Pleasant, SC 11.5pts.
Charles Pinckney Elementary School in Mt. Pleasant, SC was loaded with excitement Saturday, Feb. 28th as 217 of the brightest young chess minds in the State gathered together to wage war over the board for 5 rounds. This was clearly the largest number of participants we have ever had for a State Scholastic Championship Tournament!! In between rounds, the kids were treated to expert chess analysis from NM Sam Copeland as well as being introduced to the latest software and video offerings from IM Mike Klein, Dir. of Content for Chess.com. Mr. Klein and his staff had laptops set up so the kids could try out the chesskid.com site (the scholastic extension site of Chess.com). Thank you Mr. Klein and staff for taking the time to visit our tournament!!! Please come back to see us!!! Clothing vendor "Fine Designs Sportwear" was there as well providing shirts and pullover jackets with loads of colors and chess slogans. Chick-fil-a worked tirelessly Saturday as well to make sure we all had a great lunch!! Thank you guys!! All in all, we had a fantastic day of chess that won't soon be forgotten! Thanks everyone!!!
Saturday, February 21st was a fantastic day of chess in Columbia as forty-four talented young players competed for prizes at the Midlands Scholastic Chess League IV tournament!! The tournament series, currently held at Trenholm Rd. Baptist Church, continues to attract more scholastic chess players and is becoming quite popular! Special thanks to NM Sam Copeland and the Strategery Chess group for hosting the event!! Congratulations Ian Bell, Paul Pena, and Henri Murthy on their individual victories in high, middle, and elementary sections!!! Team congratulations went to Pelion High, Camden Military, and Harbison West Elementary!!! Please see the Strategery Chess & Games facebook page for photos, complete story, and more.
On Saturday, January 31, 2015, the Charleston Chess Club hosted the 10th annual Patrick Hart Memorial Scholastic at Pinckney Elementary in Mt. Pleasant, SC. With 69 players attending, this was the largest scholastic chess tournament ever held in Charleston in recent years. Robert Hylton took 1st in the K-12 division with 3.5 points while Paul Pena and Walker Bauknight both earned a full 4 points to win the K-8 and K-5 divisions respectively. The K-3 division ended in computer tie break with Shiv Mehta and William Barnes both earning 3.5, drawing each other in round 3. Shiv Mehta won the 1st place trophy on a tiebreak.
On January 17, seventeen players contested the five-round January Open at the Governor's School for Science and Math (GSSM) in Hartsville. Chris Lebrecque of Irmo won clear first place with 4.5, his record blemished only by a last-round draw with Stephen Morales of Wilmington. GSSM alum Jordan Anderson of Columbia and Tony Cato of Pageland shared second place with 4.0. Jordan was chief TD for the day, assisted by fellow GSSM alum Carl Garris of Chapin. The top unrated player in the field was Blaise Haddock of Florence, his three points including a first-round victory over Tony.
Special thanks to NM Sam Copeland, the Strategery Chess Group, and all participants for making the Midlands Scholastic Chess League II tournament a big success! Thirty-one players attended the event held at Jewish Community Center in Columbia on Saturday, November 8th.the
Ian Bell, Gunatej Guruvelli, and Alex Hylton won their respective high school, middle school, and elementary school sections. Ian Bell and Alex Hylton each achieved perfect 4/4 scores while Gunatej Guruvelli achieved 3/4 playing in a larger merged high school and middle school section. His only loss was to Ian Bell. Ravitej Guruvelli, Austin Setser, and Paul Daniel Pena also finished with excellent 3/4 scores in the middle school section. Gunatej's victory on tiebreaks was well deserved as he played on board 1 all four rounds, and he only lost in the last round against the high school victor, Ian Bell. Pelion High and Lexington Middle won team prizes.
Another fine result was turned in in the adult section by Senor Joey Dean who also coaches the Pelion High team. He managed to win all three of his games, and he added over 100 points to his provisional rating to clear 1500! Thanks to all who came out and supported the event! Next month, MSCL III will be held at Pelion High School on December 6th. Hope to see you there!
Forty-four players competed in the three-section, five-round, 75th Annual South Carolina State Chess Championship over the weekend, Oct. 3-5. In the final round of the tournament, Wayne Christensen drew Eugene Nix and walked away from the chessboard with the extra half (.5) point he needed to separate himself from the rest of the field. Wayne finished the tournament with a total of 4.5 points making him our new South Carolina State Chess Champion for 2014!! Congratulations Wayne!! Other South Carolina section winners receiving first place trophies included Chris Labrecque, winner of the U1800 Section, and Ian Bell, winner of the U1400 Section. Both players finished with 4.0 points. The South Carolina Chess Association would like to thank all players, and spectators who helped make the tournament a success. Special thanks to David Causey for organizing and directing the event!
Congratulations to all of our 2014 Winners!
OPEN SECTION: (1st) Wayne Christensen (SC) 4.5 pts.(T); (2nd) NM Samuel Copeland (SC) 4.0 pts.; Benjamin Caiello (SC) 4.0 pts.(T)
U2200: Keith Eubanks (SC) 3.0 pts.
U2000: (tie) Lawrence Pagtama (NV) 3.0 pts.; Ernest E. Nix, Jr.(SC) 3.0 pts.; Naman Kumar (FL) 3.0 pts.
U1800: (1st): Chris Labrecque (SC) 4.0 pts. (T), (2nd-4th) John Yates (SC) 3.5 pts.; (2nd-4th) Ravi Chokkalingam (SC) 3.5 pts.;
(2nd-4th;U1600) Zoltan Szekely (MD) 3.5 pts.; Adam Elsharkawi (GA) 3.5 pts.
U1400: (1st): Ian Bell (SC) 4.0 pts.(T), (2nd) Venkata Guruvelli (SC) 3.5 pts.(T)
U1200: Birney F. Blind (SC) 3.5 pts.
U1000: Ravi Shashwat (SC) 3.0 pts.
2014 SC Championships 6 Round(s)