Local youngsters acquitted themselves well at the Denker tournament for state high school champions held at the US Open in Madison, Wis. Mika Brattain of Lexington, the Massachusetts champion, placed in a tie for 10th in a field of 48 players, not quite as good as we expected, but certainly a respectable performance.
Andrew Liu of Westborough had a tournament he will never forget. In the Barber K-8 Division, he shared the top score with three others, Andrew Tang of Minnesota and Vignesh Panchanathan and Craig Hilby, both of California, but won first place on tiebreak. The accomplishment was noteworthy as there were 50 players in the Barber, including eight national masters. His triumph was perhaps predictable from a recent showing at Metrowest Chess Club in July. There he defeated IM Igor Foygel and drew with co-winner SM Denys Shmelov. Both he and Mika skipped the last round to head for Wisconsin. Mika nevertheless had tied for first at Metrowest, showing draws against Shmelov and a win against fourth-place finisher Charles Riordan.
Michelle Chen of Concord placed third in the first all girls’ tournament and won the best played game award for her effort against Claudia Munoz of Texas, a 61 mover arising from the a queen’s pawn opening. The game has been posted on the US Chess Trust website. The Chess Trust itself got involved in the Denker, when its managing director, Barbara DeMaro, got a photo-op in the chambers of the Wisconsin Supreme Court with Justice David Prosser, who took an interest in the tournament.
The United States Chess Federation published a broad picture of young entrants brimming with exuberance, and under it Ralph Bowman interviewed Mitchell Denker, the son of the late Arnold Denker, the former American champion who founded the Tournament of Champions. Arnold was a gregarious and effervescent gentleman, who along with his wife, Nina, often entertained the leading players of the world. Even when elderly, he enjoyed the company of youngsters, and thus he conceived the idea of a tournament that would bring together the high school champions of each state. Recently the Barber Tournament of K-8 Champions was added and this year the National Girls Invitational tournament became an annual affair.
After Arnold Denker’s death, Mitchell Denker, a trustee of the US Chess Trust, gave the scholastic tournaments his financial support. He says that his son Dylan will also continue the family tradition. In the interview, Mitchell spoke of his youth as the middle son of Arnold, never aspiring to be a master, but raised in the midst of chess celebrities.
The Denker tournament ended up in the three-way tie between NM Kapil Chandran of Connecticut, who has been active in the US Chess League, Michael Brown of Southern California, and Safal Bora of Michigan. Every state except Wyoming was represented this year.
Brevity: P. Krueger vs. Richard Reti (1914) 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d4 exd4 5.0–0 Nxe4 6.Re1 d5 7.Bxd5 Qxd5 8.Nc3 Qa5 9.Nxd4 Nxd4 10.Qxd4 f5 11.Bg5 Qc5 12.Qd8+ Kf7 13.Nxe4 fxe4 14.Rad1 Bg4 15.Qxa8 Bxd1 16.Rxe4 Bh5 17.Qxb7 Kg8 18.Be3 Qxc2; 0-1
Winners: Waltham First Friday, tie for 1st: Denys Shmelov, Steven Winer, and Andrew Liu: 6-1; 3rd Irv Wolfson Memorial: 1st: John Curdo, 5.5-0.5; 2nd: Alonzo Ross: 5-1; 3rd: Muharrem Brahimaj, 4-2
Coming events: Aug. 27: Larry Christiansen Simul, South Station, Boston 5-7 p.m.; Aug. 30, Waltham FREE Wild Card #21, IBM office building, 404 Wyman St., Waltham, Info@walthamchessclub.org.