This year the Massachusetts Chess Association (MACA) Scholastic Committee voted to make the 2012 high school championship an open tournament, allowing all players from grades 9-12 to enter. The other scholastic sections: Ages 14 and under, 11 and under, and 8 and under were chosen by invitation to the six highest rated players in each age group, along with winners of the four qualifying tournaments. This year’s high school champions, both with 3.5-.5 scores, were James Lung of Lexington and Jacob Fauman of Newton. James had tied for third place in the 2011 championship, while Jacob has improved his position from ninth place in that year.
The two high school co-champions had a playoff to decide who would have first choice to play in the Denker Tournament of State Champions in August. Lung won the playoff and thus will represent Massachusetts. Participants get only minor help for costs to attend the tournament. However, scholarships totaling $2,200 are now awarded to the top five finishers through the generosity of grandmaster Arnold Denker’s son, Mitchell, the US Chess Trust, and the National Scholastic Chess Foundation. Texas Tech also awards a scholarship to the top finisher. Originally, Arnold Denker set up this tournament, as he put it, to help the kids. Even if the new competition started with just a few, Denker said, “They will come!’’ And they have. All but a very few states now send their champions.
The Barber Tournament of K-8 Champions now supplements the Denker. Each state may choose participants from grades K-8. The Barber tournament also is offering $2,200 in scholarships to the winners. This year’s Massachusetts representative is Mika Brattain, an eighth grader from Lexington who won the 2012 age 14 and under championship. Mika, already a tournament veteran, played fourth board for the New England Nor’easters of the United States Chess League this past season.
Evan Meyer of Newton was first in age 11 and under with a clean sweep of 4-0. Top spot in age 8 and under settled upon , Lucy Cai of Lexington, also with a perfect score.
Dmitry Barash has submitted some interesting statistics on the MACA website regarding the Spiegel championships (www.masschess.org/about/chess_news.aspx). Between 2001-2011, where players in the high School championship were 10 or more, Barash found that the average ratings spiraled substantially from 1635 to 2047. In the 14 and under section, the average soared from 1574 to 1998.
The scholastic team championship, known as the Hurvitz Cup, will be held April 1 at Holiday Inn in Boxborough. This tournament is very popular. Last year 38 teams participated, making for a total of 125 players.
Winners: Boylston Grand Prix - 1st, Cary Theil 3.5-.5; 2d-5th, Jesse Nicholas, Michelle Chen, Greg Bodwin, Jerry Williams 3-1. Eastern Class Championship, Master Section - 1st-2d, Mikheil Kekelidze and Alexander Ivanov 4-1; 3d-4th, Tamaz Gelashvili and Sergey Kudrin 3.5-1.5.
Brevity: L. Portisch vs. A. Karpov (1996) 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.a3 Bb7 5.Nc3 d5 6.cxd5 Nxd5 7.Qc2 Nxc3 8.Qxc3 Nd7 9.Bg5 Be7 10.Bxe7 Kxe7 11.e3 Rc8 12.Be2 c5 13.dxc5 Rxc5 14.Qxg7 Rg8 15.Qxh7 Rxg2 16.Qh4+ Nf6 17.Rd1 Qc7 18.Nd4 a5 19.Nb5 Rxb5 20.Bxb5 Rg4; 0-1
Coming Events: March 24; 2012 Rhode Island Scholastic State Championship (open to out of state players), Brown University, info: Bob Salvas, 401-359-1602 or Frank Vogel, 401-837-1302, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; March 24 and March 31, Boylston Grand Prix and Robert Lewis Octads, 240B Elm St., Somerville (Davis Square); www.boylstonchessclub.org