GM Lubomir Ftacnik departed for his home in Bratislava, Slovakia, this morning (Friday, 22 July) after sweeping the state’s three strongest chess clubs 46 - 1. After an entertaining lecture to nearly thirty about a great game between Petrosian-Spasky, the grandmaster cut down a very tough field in Columbia on Thursday evening (21 July) that included nineteen boards manned by one master, three experts, and three Class A players, his strongest competition of the week. Congratulations to Brandon Jordan and Rade Musulin, two Class A players that accepted draws from the GM late in the evening. Thanks to Daniel Smith and Jordan Anderson of the Columbia Chess Club for organizing the event, and to Rod Franco and the Richland County Library (St. Andrews branch on Broad River Road) for hosting it. Precision Tune Auto Care sponsored GM Ftacnik to come to South Carolina.
GM FTACNIK - 17; CHARLESTON - 0
GM Ftacnik gave a two hour lecture to twenty-five people at the Church of the Holy Cross on Daniel Island on Wednesday, July 20th, about a third of which were scholastic chess players. Seventeen chess players then participated in the simul, with the last resignation dropping around 11 p.m. that evening. Thanks to the Charleston Chess Club for publicizing the event!
GM FTACNIK - 11; GREENVILLE - 0
About fifteen people attended the 1 1/2 hour lecture given by GM Lubomir Ftacnik at the Brew & Ewe Coffee Shop in Greenville, SC, on Tuesday, July 20th. Eleven chess players then tackled the GM in a simultaneous exhibition, the top player being Tim Rankin (Class A) of the Greenville Chess Club. The GM quickly cut through the competition to being his tour of the state undefeated. Our sincere thanks to the Greenville Chess Club, the Brew Ewe, and Precision Tune Auto Care for sponsoring this event.
A feisty South Carolina squad entered the Charlotte Chess Center on Saturday July 16th for the start of the annual two day, four round Border Battle Team Match against our fellow chess rivals from North Carolina. SC went in hoping for a better result this year as last year's match ended with the Tar Heels on top 26.5 - 21.5. In the featured match, North Carolina's NM Daniel Cremisi was the winner against SC State Champ LM Klaus Pohl by a score by a final score of 3.5 to 0.5.
In the SC vs NC Team Event, SC managed to tie NC after the first two rounds on Saturday, but wound up falling short in the end - final score NC 25.0 - SC 23.0. Congratulations NC players on this year's win!! SC was not without standout performances. Congratulations to Daniel Smith!!! Daniel went undefeated in Class C with a perfect 4.0 score!!! Congratulations also to Rade Musulin (Class A), and Brandon Jordan (Class B)!! Both players finished with 3.5/4 points!! Thank you NM Peter Giannotos and the CCCSA for hosting the event!!! Thanks again to SCCA President David Grimaud, and to all players making the trip and supporting chess in the Carolinas!!!
Championship: (NC) NM Daniel Cremisi (3.5), Expert: (NC) Reynaldo Thomas Diaz (3.5), Class A: (SC) Rade Musulin (3.5), Class B: (SC) Brandon Jordan (3.5), Class C: (SC) Daniel Smith (4.0), Class D: (NC) Sean Thien Huynh (2.5)/(SC) Robert Burney Webb III(2.5) Class E: (NC) Michael Tschupp(3.5)
Forty-two contenders of all ages from Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina and of course South Carolina convened at the Hilton Garden Inn in Greenville to dispute the usual eternal questions: materialism vs. freedom, structure vs. opportunity, simplification vs. complication, attack vs. defense, order vs. chaos, all in the great quest to trap the other fellow’s King!
The top score in the Open Section came from Kevin Wang of Georgia. Kevin became this year's SC Open Champion besting all others with 4.0/5.0 points! Congratulations Kevin! (shown right w/ Gene Nix), Mark Biernacki came in second with (3.5), followed by Forest Chen (3.5), Life Master Klaus Pohl (3.0), Mike Anderson (3.0) and Peter Michelman (3.0), while Tim Rankin’s 3.0 took the U2000 prize. As a matter of human interest, Tim Rankin demonstrated yet again that holding the theoretical draw in R&P endings needs very little time, and he must hold an accumulated record for the number of moves played in one delayed second.
Xiaodong Jin and Matt Mayhew shared top honors in the U1800 section with 4.0 each, while Jayashree Sekar and Michael Burrell and Bob Mahan and Harsha Srijay each scored 3.0, thereby dividing third place and the U1600 prize.
Alex Moreno and Venkata Guruvelli each scored 4.0 in the U1400 group, followed by Marcus Benjamin and Arjun Rawal at 3.5 to close out third place and the U1200 prize.
Drew Plyler most capably operated the display at board 1 and assisted energetically as TD, and SCCA President David Grimaud showed his support with a visit Friday and Saturday. Gene Nix organized and directed. Warm thanks to the attentive and responsive hotel staff of the Hilton Garden Inn, a great place to hold a chess tournament! And those eternal questions? Deferred to the next tournament.
Greenville Chess Club President
I was sad to hear that a good friend, Danny Kopec, passed away last week. An international master and a professor of computer science at Brooklyn College, Danny was a great friend and supporter of South Carolina Chess. Unfortunately, and to my own distress, I had missed speaking with Danny for a couple of years. When I last spoke to him in 2014, he was optimistic about his recovery from a cancer of the pancreas. Unfortunately, and as I understand from other friends, there was a recurrence of the cancer. However, Danny remained optimistic to the very end—typical of him—intending to direct his Vermont chess camp that he had scheduled for this July. I am told that the camp will continue with another friend and supporter of South Carolina chess, GM Lubomir Ftacnik, instructing at that camp. (GM Ftacnik will be visiting South Carolina July 18 - 21. Watch this site for details)
I first met Danny as a camper at one of his chess camps in Lawrenceville, NJ, in July of 2003. My son, Geoff, had found my old chess set and analog clock in the file cabinet, bringing me out of a 25 year hiatus from active chess. After playing in the Tampa Open (where coincidentally I played and lost to “now GM” Ray Robson in the Class C section), Geoff and I looked for chess camps online and found that “IM Dr. Danny Kopec” was offering a two week camp at the Lawrenceville School, a beautiful, boarding school in the shadow of Princeton University.
As we arrived for registration at the Lawrenceville School, I was surprised to find IM Dr. Kopec personally greeting and enrolling the campers. He was not the pretentious, prima donna I expected to find given his impressive titles, both as a chess player and an expert in computer science and artificial intelligence. Rather, he was quite friendly, even charismatic. We hit it off immediately. This would begin a relationship that would bring IM Kopec to South Carolina a half dozen times over the years for lectures, simultaneous exhibitions, and tournament participation. He made many friends here.
Danny loved promoting the game of chess more than anything. He also had a great heart for young people learning the game, especially those from deprived backgrounds. There was more than one student who received personal advice and a free scholarship from Danny to attend his camps which were very expensive to operate. As far as I am concerned, Danny’s concern and care for these young people was his real gift to both chess and humanity.
Rest assured, Danny, that you will be remembered fondly in South Carolina.
South Carolina Chess Association
Olivia Watkins scored 3.5/4, achieving the highest score in the Midlands Girls' Tournament and claiming first place K-5! Neha Dias, SC's highest rated female, scored 3.0/4 and claimed top K-12 honors. The sensation of the event was Olivia Watkins catching Neha in a trap when Neha captured a hanging piece, but allowed mate in two. Full awards are as follows.
1st K-12: Neha Dias | 2nd K-12: McKenzie England
1st K-8: Delany Ratcliff | 2nd K-8: Lillian Redmond
1st K-5: Olivia Watkins | 2nd K-5: Ally Gordon
1st Place Team: Byrd Elementary
2nd Place Team: Knights of the Square Table
Eight players played in the event including two first time USCF players. To our knowledge, this is the most girls that have played in a single tournament in Columbia outside of the SC state scholastic championships. That is, of course, both encouraging and a call to action
After the event, Neha Dias played six players in a clock simul. She won all six games. The last to succumb was Olivia Watkins as the specter of a bishop and knight mate hovered in the air.
We look forward to hosting the event again next year. Thanks enormously to Nisha Dias for representing the USCF Women's Committee and to Maureen Grimaud for help in promoting the event!
Neha Dias (2016 Female State Scholastic Champion) will unfortunately not be able to attend this year's National Girls Tournament of Champions (formerly: National Girls Invitational Tournament) held in July in Indianapolis. However, McKenzie England (2016 Female State Scholastic Runner-up) has accepted the challenge and will be representing our state in Neha's absence. Congratulations McKenzie!!!
To help McKenzie with expenses click here.
Forty eight players met at Pelion High School on Saturday, May 14th to fight for top honors in the last MSCL event of the school year. Thanks to Daniel Smith, and EC Setser for assisting with direction and to the parents and coaches who support their chess players! Special thanks to NM Sam Copeland & Strategery Chess and Games for making the Midlands Scholastic Chess League series such a success!! Tournament winners...
K-5 - 1st: Ethan Ellis 4.0/4!, 2nd: Parijat Majumdar, Daryl Dowty, Thomas Hydorn, and Marcial Valdivia all with 3.0/4.
K-8 - 1st: Dawson Coutsos & Gibson Ward both with 3.0/4! 3rd: Ethan Maldonado, 4th: Katie Maldonado, 5th: William Nettle.
1st Place Team K-8: Chapin Intermediate School
K-12 - 1st: Ben Yordy 4.0/4, 2nd: Brady Setser and Jericho Ho 3.5/4, 4th: Gunatej Guruvelli, Daniel Spicer, and Tyrese Smalls each with 3.0/4.
1st Place Team K-12: Pelion High School
Marshall Jaco and Ethan Harder each shared Best Debut. Erica Smith won Top Female. Dawson Coutsos and Tyrese Smalls won Best Upset, and Daryl Dowty claimed our Raw Recruit award for being the youngest participant!
In the Adult Section, first place went to Daryl Dowty Sr. with a perfect 3.0/3 performance! Thanks to all our competitors, parents, coaches, and other supporters for making this a great season. We look forward to resuming next school year and hope you have a great summer!
Twenty-five elder fighters from South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee converged on the Hilton Garden Inn hotel in Greenville, SC, to resolve the matter of senior dominance at the chess board. Accelerated pairings left only four perfect scores going into the Sunday rounds, and after sitting next to each other on boards one and two all weekend, Masters Klaus Pohl and Randal Ferguson settled the question in round four in an exciting duel that kept the TD studying tie-break scenarios until Klaus took over the position. So, Life Master Klaus Pohl took first place with 4-0; Expert Mike Anderson was second with 3.5 points; Gary Newsom and Ralph Lombard shared third-fourth with 3 points; National TD Kevin Hyde’s 3-1 took top honors for the Under-1600 prize, and Harold Zeltner won second Under-1600 with two points. We had some new faces, so to speak, with Father Jeffrey Kendall of Round O, SC, and Joe Page of Morrisville, NC, playing in their first rated tournament - welcome to the fray!. Special thanks to Kevin Hyde for sharing his expertise on several finer points of tournament direction. Local TD Gene Nix officiated.
Greenville Chess Club President
In possibly our most competitive tournament yet, we had 40 of the Midlands best and brightest chess players compete across three sections. Thanks to Rade Musulin and Daniel Smith for assisting with direction and to the parents and coaches who support their chess players!
K-5 - 1st: Gibson Ward, 2nd: Will Edwards, 3rd: Henri Murthy, Jonathon Williams, and Conner Brown
1st Place Team K-5: Harbison West, 2nd Place Team K-5: Byrd and Lake Murray
K-8 - 1st: Dawson Coutsos, 2nd: William Nettles, 1st Place Team K-8: Chapin Intermediate
K-12 - 1st: Ravitej Guruvelli, 2nd: Gunateja Guruvelli, Paul Pena, Kenneth Jackson, and Alejandro Rivera
New individual prizes were claimed by...
Top Female: Olivia Watkins
Best Debut: Michael Kuckuka
Biggest Upset: Jonathon Williams (Over Calvin Smith for 387 points)
Youngest Participant: Blake Watkins
In the Adult section, James MacDougall claimed first with a perfect score. Michael Mayfield took second and Charles Stevenson and Truman Price shared third.
Thanks to all, and we hope to see you again on May 14th for the MSCL V at Pelion High School!
NM Sam Copeland
Strategery Chess & Games
On Saturday, February 27th 2016, young aspiring chess hopefuls from throughout the state converged on Charles Pinckney Elementary School for this year's SC State Scholastic Championship Tournament in Mt. Pleasant SC. 242 players, the most in the tournament history, brought their "A" games to compete for trophies, higher ratings, and the respect of their peers! After five rounds of play, Kevis Tsao's emerged the clear winner with a perfect 5.0 score in the high school section making him South Carolina State High School Scholastic Champion of 2016!!! Congratulations Kevis!!! Kevis will be representing our State in the Denker Tournament of High School Champions later this year. Congratulations also to Neha Dias!! Neha won both the top female trophy and 2016 Whatley Scholarship Award for Female Chess Exellence! Neha will also be representing our State in the 2016 National Girl’s Tournament of Champions! Connor Liu won the middle school section and will be attending the Barber Tournament of K8 Champions! Congratulations Connor!! Thank you parents, organizers, and staff for making this year's tournament such a great success!! Special thanks to the NM Sam Copeland (Strategery Chess & Games) and FM Mike Klein (chess.com/chesskid.com) for providing chess services, demonstrations, and training! Here are this year's winners..
2016 Trophy Winners...
HIGH SCHOOL SECTION: (1st) Kevis Tsao 5.0, (2nd) Caleb Hylkema 4.0, (3rd) Michael Burrell 4.0, (4th) Jonathan Tan 4.0, (5th) Alexander Mareno 4.0, (6th) Aiden Fujzulai 3.5, (7th) Paul Pena 3.5, (8th) Daniel Custer 3.5, (9th) Jericho Ho 3.0, (10th) Benjamin Wyant 3.0
Neha Dias 3.5 - Top Female
MIDDLE SCHOOL SECTION 6-8: (1st) Connor Liu 5.0, (2nd) Gunateja Guruvelli 5.0, (3rd) Joshua Vid Gataric 4.0, (4th) Raviteja Guruvelli 4.0, (5th) Sairam J. Ramesh 4.0, (6th) Aditya Dias 4.0, (7th) Daniel Sobel 4.0, (8th) Matthew Johnson 4.0, (9th) Sam Stalnaker 4.0, (10th) Braeden Reed 3.5
Rebekah Jensen 3.0 - Top Female
ELEMENTARY SECTION 4-5: (1st) Ahan Shi 5.0, (2nd) Alex Tabakian 5.0, (3rd) Pierson Tran 4.5, (4th) Sanjay Kum Ramesh 4.0, (5th) Jace Kraftchick 4.0, (6th) Henri Murthy 4.0, (7th) Brady Setser 4.0, (8th) James Sarasua 4.0, (9th) Whit Suber Jr 4.0, (10th) Paulo Hitopoules 4.0
Siena Boccabella 4.0 - Top Female
ELEMENTARY SECTION K-3: (1st) William Tabakian 5.0, (2nd) Robert Ale Hylton 5.0, (3rd) Allen Hong 4.0, (4th) Agustin Ma Rivero 4.0, (5th) Finn Hayes 4.0, (6th) Benja Williams Jr 4.0, (7th) Anderson Berger 4.0, (8th) Thomas Nguyen 3.5, (9th) Anika El Yamamoto 3.5, (10th) Tyler Kraftchick 3.5
Olivia Watkins 4.0 - Top Female
High School 9-12: (1st) D.W. Daniel High School, Clemson, SC 15.5pts.
Runner-up Pelion High School, Pelion, SC 12.0pts.
Middle School 6-8: (1st) R.C. Edwards Middle School, Clemson, SC 14.0pts
Runner-up Laing Middle School, Mt. Pleasant, SC 13.5pts.
Elementary School 4-5: (1st) Pinckney Elementary School, Mt. Pleasant, SC 17.0pts.
Runner-up Clemson Elementary School, Clemson, SC 16.5pts.
Primary School K-3: (1st) Pinckney Elementary School, Mt. Pleasant, SC 15.5pts.
Runner-up Porter-Guad School, Charleston, SC 13.5pts.
Photos Board 1 Games below
Twenty players contested the GSSM February Open in Hartsville on Feb. 20. Randy Mosteller of Elloree defended Board One against several stern challenges and won clear first at 4.5, yielding only a fifth-round draw to Jordan Anderson of Columbia. Mike Lafer of Florence and Tony Cato of Pageland shared second place at 4.0, each losing only to Randy. In addition to serving as chief TD, Jordan, a 2008 graduate of GSSM, finished in clear fourth place with 3.5.
Dr. Clyde Smith, S. C. Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics
Sixty-one talented young players turned out for the Midland Scholastic Chess League III tournament on Saturday, February 6th, 2016. The event, held at at North Trenholm Baptist Church in Columbia, once again broke new attendance records for the series!!! Congratulations to all of the students who participated and thanks to all the parents and coaches who support scholastic chess in Columbia! The top finishers are as follows...
1st Individual K-12 - Paul Daniel Pena
1st Individual K-8 - Daniel Sobel
1st Individual K-5 Messiah Cornelius
1st Team K-12 - Charles Pinckney Elementary and Pelion High School tied with CPE having the better tiebreak.
1st Team K-8 - Pleasant Hill Middle School
1st Team K-5 - Midlands STEM Institute.
Congratulations to McKenzie England, Jericho Ho, Omar Hamdan, Blake Lawson, Daniel Sobel, Kevin Reeves, Messiah Cornelius, Matty Ferrario, Katie Maldonado, and Taylor Hollis on being projected to gain more than 100 rating points! We hope to see you at the SC State Scholastic Championships on February 27th in Charleston, SC! Our next tournament will be April 9th at Ashland United Methodist Church; registration will be available this week!
Congratulations to Lifetime National Chess Master Klaus Pohl (R) on being named 2015 South Carolina State Champion!! Klaus, a thirteen
time SC State Champion and Original Life Master, finished the tournament with 4.0 pts. drawing in the fifth and final round against young talented Florida native Abhimany Banerjee. Abhimany came in first place overall with 4.5 points. This year's thirty player, three-section, five-round, championship event took place over the weekend Oct. 30-Nov. at the Hilton Garden Inn in Columbia, SC. New to this year’s tournament, Junior and Senior trophies were added to give players more chances to win. Also, handheld notation devices (provided by Strategery Chess and Games) were given out to various players so their moves could be uploaded and followed online via Chesstream. Thank you NM Sam Copeland for your expertise in setting this up! The South Carolina Chess Association would like to thank all players and spectators who helped make this year’s tournament a success! Special thanks to David Causey and Zach Darga for organizing and directing the event!
Congratulations again to all of our 2015 Winners!
OPEN SECTION: (1st) Abhimany Banerjee (FL) 4.5 pts.; (2nd) LM Klaus Pohl (SC) 4.0 pts.(T); (3rd) NM Samuel Copeland (SC) 3.5 pts.(T)
U2200: (5th-7th tie) CM Keith Eubanks (SC) 2.5 pts.(T); NM Wayne Christensen (SC) 2.5 pts.; Edsel Pena (SC) 2.5 pts.
U2000: (4th) Elijah Neumann (SC) 3.0 pts.
U1800: (1st) James Qu (SC) 4.0 pts. (JT); (2nd) John Yates (SC) 3.5 pts (T), (3rd) Clark Brown (GA) 3.5 pts. (4th) Mike Eberhardinger 3.0 pts. (NC)
(6th) John Roberts (SC) 2.0 pts.
U1600: (5th) Gil Padilla Ortiz 2.5 pts (T), (7th) Gunatej Guruvelli 2.0 pts. (JT)
U1400: (1st) Venkata Guruvelli (SC) 4.0 pts.(T); (2nd) Paul Pena 3.5 pts. (SC) (JT); (3rd) Mike Mayfield (SC) 3.0 pts (T); (4th) Ravitej Guruvelli (SC) 2.5 pts. (JT) (5th) Lee Marinelli (SC) (ST)
U1000: (6th) Robert Webb III (SC) 3.0 pts. (JT)
Forty-four future chess masters, including seventeen competing in their first rated tournament, converged on Eastlan Baptist Church in Greenville last Saturday (Oct. 24) to open files, promote pawns, and hunt Kings in time-honored fashion in the latest installment of the Greenville Scholastic Open chess tournament! The leaders after five rounds were, in tie-break order,:
K-12: Michael Burrell & Aditya Dias (4.0), Aidan Fejzulai & Alex Moreno (3.5)
K-8: Toby Cox (5.0), Allen Hong (4.0), Isha Pattanaik (2.5)
K-6: Rahul Rangaraju (5.0), Suvan Pattanaik & James Sarasua (3.5)
K-4: Grisham Paimagam (5.0), Olivia Watkins & Elisha Venegas (3.0)
K-2: Parijat Majumdar (4.0), Daryl Dowty III (3.5), Caton Tsao (3.0)
(K-4 & K-2 were combined into a common section).
Special honorable mention goes to Matthew Peterson (2.5) and Blake Watkins (0.5), a couple of four-year-olds who both exceeded expectations in completing the five-game schedule! At age four, I thought pawns turned around and came back upon reaching the eighth rank.
In addition to the wonderfully supportive family members who teach their children to play chess and give their time to bring them to events, grateful thanks go to Mr. Will Brown, Ms. Marlana Burrell, Michael Burrell, Aidan Fejzulai, and Mr. Tim Rankin for setting up the playing hall Friday afternoon, and to Dr. Wayne Goddard, Life Master Klaus Pohl, Mr. Brown (again) and Mr. Rankin (again) for their enthusiastic and patient work as floor TDs, and to Mr. Drew Plyler for traveling from Columbia with clocks and for serving as the primary Assistant TD. Additionally, Mr. Kevin Hyde provided chess sets, and Mr. Wendell Burnett provided extra equipment, and many parents assisted in putting away the equipment, chairs and tables upon completion of round five. Precision Tune Auto Care, through the good offices of SCCA President David Grimaud, sponsored GSO 2015 in conjunction with the Greenville Chess Club. Local TD Gene Nix organized and directed.
Greenville Chess Club President
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.