New Chess Videos - March 1

New this week in our online chess video library:

1) NM Adam Weissbarth analyzes his round 5 game from the U.S. Amateur Team East.

2) NM Weissbarth gives six middlegame tactics problems, along with complete analysis for each.

Tournament Results - State Warm-Up

USCF Rating Report











The State Warm-Up chess tournament, held annually at the end of February to prepare Philadelphia-area chessplayers for the State Championships in early March, drew 82 players from elementary school up through high school. Top-seeded Austin Henninger won his second K-12 Championship section of the year, again going 4-0. Jerry Mangan (Mother of Divine Providence) and Will Culbertson (Devon Prep) finished second and third, respectively, with 3-1 scores. Jerry's performance was notable as he got a very tough draw, playing three of the top four seeds in the event, and was still able to win most of his games and pick up nearly 200 rating points.

In the K-6 U/700 section nearly half the players were unrated, as 29 new chessplayers tested their mettle in competition or the first time. Emerging victorious after four rounds were three players with perfect 4-0 scores: Colin Evans (Springton Manor Elementary), Remi Zheng (Jarrettown Elementary), and Alexander Dornak (Chadds Ford Elementary). Remi's performance was especially impressive as he is only in first grade and had never played in a tournament before! We look forward to seeing Colin, Alexander, and Remi continue to improve as they move up to the championship section in subsequent tournaments.

A close team competition between the host school, Hillside Elementary, Mother of Divine Providence, and Springton Manor ended with a victory for Springton Manor. They clocked in at 13.0 team points for their second straight tournament victory. The only bad news - some of their players are doing so well their ratings will soon be over 700, pushing them up into the Champ section!

We wish all the players good luck at next weekend's State Championships and at the Greater Philadelphia Championships on March 21.


u700_winners.jpg The three winners of the K-6 U/700 section: Alex (left), Remi (middle), and Colin (right)trophyfight.jpg

Winning a trophy seemed great until the Springton Manor kids had to decide who got to hold it for the picture...clayton_petroff.jpg

Clayton unleashes the Petroff Defense on an unsuspecting opponentbrother_against_sister.jpg

Brother against sister...

Tournament Results - Friday Night Action #2

friday_night.jpgUSCF Rating Report

Our second monthly Friday Night Action tournament at the Bryn Mawr Community Center was a great success, with 28 players (up from 18 the previous month!) competing. We had players from across the chess spectrum, from James Strommer, an unrated elementary school student, up through 2560-rated IM Bryan Smith. The winners of the tournament were FM Rodion Rubenchik and the Pennsylvania State Champion, NM Peter Minear. Rubenchik and Minear had a quiet last-round draw to secure the joint victory.

Finishing in 3rd-7th place with scores of 3-1 were IM Smith, who was upset by Minear in a 3rd-round time scramble, Expert Joe Mucerino, Larry Saxby, Frank Jackson, and Richard Neal.

Most of the scholastic field was made up of players from Wyomissing High School and Springton Manor Elementary - many of these students got great experience playing against strong adult players, and it should serve them well at the upcoming state championship.

A unique aspect of the Friday Night Action tournaments is that there are no sections - thus, almost any matchup of players is theoretically possible. One of the most unlikely games in recent memory took place on second board in the third round. The top three seeds, Smith, Rubenchik, and Minear, all had 2-0 scores, but they were joined by 124-rated Nathan Shaffer of Wyomissing High School, playing in just his fifth tournament ever. Nathan defeated two higher-rated opponents in the early rounds, earning a third-round game with Rubenchik on board two. As far as this Tournament Director knows, no game between players this far apart in rating has ever been contested, as they clocked in with a whopping 2220-point differential. According to the USCF's rating formula, this gave Nathan less than a 0.0003% chance to win the game. Would he be able to pull off the upset of the century? (See below for the game.)


(IM Bryan Smith, left, takes on NM Peter MInear in their third-round game)



 (In the picture: Rubenchik, top left, takes on Shaffer, while Jonathan Wu, bottom left, battles Daniel Weissbarth)


White: Nathan Shaffer (124)
Black: FM Rodion Rubenchik (2344)


New Chess Videos - February 22

New this week in our online chess video library:

NM Adam Weissbarth breaks down a long game from the recent U.S. Amateur East Championships. The first lesson, covering the opening and middlegame, discusses how players can transfer from one type of positional advantage to another. The second lesson, covering the endgame, goes over many typical ideas, plans, and tactics in rook and pawn endgames.

New Chess Videos - February 9

New this week in our online chess video library:

1) IM Bryan Smith takes a long look at the Benko Gambit, a popular way for black to play aggressively against 1.d4

2) IM Smith's second lesson of the week is called "The biggest part of finding is looking," and it deals with different ways players can forget to look for tactics that might at first seem simple.

Tournament Results - February Freeze

USCF Rating Report

50 chessplayers battled it out at Wayne Elementary School on February 7 at the February Freeze chess tournament.

1st-grader Torin Kuehnle won the K-12 championship section, going 4-0 and defeating the top two seeds in the process. An impressive performance, and Torin will now be rated over 900! Michael Sydnes took second place at 3-1, followed by Clayton Johnson at 2.5-1.5.

In the K-6 U/700 section, Ian Stevens of Penn Christian and Marcello Cesario of Springton Manor both went 4-0, with Ian taking first place on tiebreaks. Ten other students tied for 3rd-12th place at 3-1. Springton Manor won the team prize with a team score of 13 points.

Our next event is a Friday Night Action tournament at the Bryn Mawr Community Center on February 20, and the next scholastic tournament is the State Warm-Up on February 28 at Hillside Elementary School. See you there!













Left: Tournament champion Torin with his trophy
Above: The players at the start of a round
Below: Victorious Springton Manor team with trophy


New Chess Videos - February 2

New this week in our online chess video library:

NM Adam Weissbarth analyzes when you should trade queens. In the second video of the week, another student game is analyzed.