MetroWest Chess Club - MCC Spring Swiss
April 3, 10, 17, 24 and May 1, 8   2001

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Tournament Commentary
Sunday, July 31, 2011    08:17 PM
written by Larry Eldridge

Commentary will usually be posted to this page late Wednesday or Thursday night.

Round 6 - May 8, 2001

Grandmaster Alexander Ivanov defeated Ed Epp in the last round to take clear first place with 5.5 points. He needed the victory, too, as No 2 seed Igor Foygel kept pace by beating Rob Huntington to finish a half point back with 5 points.

Mike De La Maza, accidentally playing what might laughingly be called the “Double Swiss Gambit,” lost to Ivanov in Round 1, lost again in Round 2, got a full-point “odd-man” bye in Round 3, then reeled off three straight wins to finish with 4 points. This gave him a tie for third place money with third-seeded John Curdo, who also had a strange tournament with three wins, a loss to Ivanov, and a pair of half-point byes.

After beating De La Maza, Ivanov knocked off expert Bijan Haririan and Curdo to lead at the halfway point with the only 3-0 score. He drew Foygel in the key Round 4 pairing of the top two seeds, then defeated Ames, Abbot and Epp to nail down his triumph.  The difference in the end was the vacation-week bye Foygel took in mid-tournament, putting him a half-point down to Ivanov and thus in need of a victory when they met head-to-head.  He gave it a shot, even with the black pieces, but Ivanov held the draw to maintain his lead, and basically that was it.

The result increased Ivanov’s tally in Metrowest Chess Club play to 17 wins, one loss, and four draws over the course of four tournaments.  Ironically, he had a shaky start, being held to a draw by A-player Ed Astrachan in his very first MCC game back in April of 1999, also drawing Curdo, losing to fellow-GM Sergey Kudrin, and dropping out after posting only a 3-2 score (two wins, a loss, and two draws) for five rounds.

Since that somewhat inauspicious MCC “debut,” however, he has been pretty much invincible, sweeping the 1999 Stanley Crowe Open in November, 6-0, sharing first place with Kudrin in April, 2000 (each had four wins, a draw in their head-to-head game, and one bye); skipping last fall’s Stanley Crowe (he was away); and now dominating this spring’s biggie for a combined record of 15-0-2 in these three tournaments.

Neil Cousin drew Mike Barry in the final round to hold onto clear first place in the U1800 section, finishing with 5.0 (three wins, a full-point bye, and two draws).  Robert Harvey finished strongly with three straight wins, but had to be content with runner-up honors at 4.5.  Barry and Jeff Penta shared third place with 4.0 each.

George Goulding, down a half-point entering the last round, defeated Al Schaefer on Board One to leapfrog past him and claim clear top honors with 5 points.  Schaefer still took second place with 4.5, while Tom Powers and fifth-grader Travis Chui were tied for third at 3.5 apiece.

The only 100-point-or-better upset in Round 6 was Greg Siciliano (1079) over Ethan Thompson (1240).  Biggest one of the tournament was Ken Cavanaugh (1063) over Louis Jacques (1464) in Round 5, followed by Bill Michael (1778) over Haririan (2103) back in Round 3.

The final totals on entries in the three sections were 20-21-24 for an overall total of 65.

2001 MCC SPRING SWISS: OPEN -- Upsets
Name                             Pnts     Victim

Robert W Powell (1920)     87.0    John Chamberlain (2007)
Donna M Alarie (1726)        26.0    William Michael (1778)

2001 MCC SPRING SWISS: U1800 -- Upsets
Name                             Pnts     Victim

Karl G Hahn (1507)             70.0    Mark Kaprielian (1577)
Michael Barry (1649)            6.5    Neil Cousin (1662)

2001 MCC SPRING SWISS: U1500 -- Upsets
Name                             Pnts     Victim

Gregor Siciliano (1079)     161.0    Ethan Thompson (1240)

Round 5 - May 1, 2001

Grandmaster Alexander Ivanov defeated Ames Abbot to maintain his half-point lead going into the final round with 4.5 points, while Senior Master Igor Foygel kept pace by dispatching Jim Della Selva to hold clear second place at 4.0.

Ed Epp, with 3.0, is now the highest-ranked opponent available for Ivanov; they’ll meet in the finale with Ivanov needing only a draw to clinch a tie for first place, and a win to take the top prize outright. He gets the black pieces though (fourth time in the six games) because Epp has already had three blacks out of four games played, including two in a row.

Keeping a close eye on this contest, of course, will be Foygel, who also gets black against Rob Huntington in his final test, and who could still tie for first place or even win it clear depending upon the outcome of his and Ivanov’s games.

In the U1800 section Neil Cousin drew Matthew Phelps to cement his position as the clear leader entering the last round. Cousin, with 4.5 points and a full-point lead, is already assured of no worse than a tie for first place, and needs only a draw to clinch clear top honors. Jim Todhunter, top-rated among the four players tied for second place at 3.5, gets the last shot at Cousin -- and with the white pieces. He’ll have a big “cheering section,” too, as the rest of the quartet (Phelps, Mike Barry, and Bob Harvey) root for the win that would still give any of them a shot at sharing the No. 1 spot.

In the U1500 section Al Schaefer defeated Randi Isaacson to hold his half-point lead entering the last round at 4.5, while George Goulding beat Douglas Thompson to keep pace with the only 4.0 score. This is thus the only section with the absolute certainty of a clear winner , since these two are the only players in the field still having a chance to finish on top -- and only one of them can do it.  Schaefer has both the white pieces and “draw odds,” since either a win or a draw gives him clear first place, while Goulding must win to leapfrog past him.

All fifth-round upsets occurred in the U1500 section, topped by a whopping 401-pointer as Kevin Cavanaugh (1063) knocked off Louis Jacques (1464). Also: Jim Krycka (1114) beat Ethan Thompson (1240).

2001 MCC SPRING SWISS: OPEN -- Upsets
Name                                 Pnts Victim

Severine Wamala (1606)         33.0    Alexander J Rice (1639)

2001 MCC SPRING SWISS: U1800 -- Upsets
Name                                 Pnts Victim
Matthew W Phelps (1540)       61.0    Neil Cousin (1662)

2001 MCC SPRING SWISS: U1500 -- Upsets
Name                                 Pnts Victim
Kevin Cavanaugh (1063)         401.0    Louis P Jacques (1464)
James A Krycka (1114)          126.0    Ethan Thompson (1240)

Round 4 - April 24, 2001

Grandmaster Alexander Ivanov held off the challenge of No. 2 seed Igor Foygel in a long, hard-fought battle that eventually wound up a draw, leaving him all alone in first place with 3.5 points. Foygel, who had taken a first-round bye and was thus a half-point behind, made an all-out effort despite having the black pieces, but in the end Ivanov split the point to maintain his lead.

Foygel, fellow-master John Curdo, and Ames Abbot are tied for second place with 3.0 each, but with Curdo taking a fifth-round bye, and Foygel having already played Ivanov, the honor of taking his shot at the grandmaster in Round 5 falls to Abbot.

In the U1800 section, Neil Cousin defeated Jeff Penta to take the clear lead with the only perfect score in the entire tournament. Penta and Matthew Phelps are next in line with 3 points each.

Al Schaefer defeated Ethan Thompson on Board One in the U1500 section to take clear first place with 3.5 points. Douglas Thompson, Randi Isaacson, and George Goulding are all poised just a half-point back at 3.0.

No big upsets in Round 4. The biggest was Niki Konavalchuk (1507) over Wiliam Stein (1637) in U1800. The only other one meeting our 100-point criterion was Justin Grimes (975) over John Niarhos (1183) in the U1500 section.

2001 MCC SPRING SWISS: OPEN -- Upsets
Name                                 Pnts     Victim
Rober Huntington (1906)        80.5    Edward R Epp (2067)
Igor Foygel (2519)                 72.0    Alexander Ivanov (2663)
Alfred G Ward (1807)            37.0    W Bradley Ryan (1881)
Ames Abbot (1777)                 1.0    William Michael (1778)

2001 MCC SPRING SWISS: U1800 -- Upsets
Name                                 Pnts     Victim

Niki Konovalchuk (1507)     130.0    William F Stein (1637)
Neil Cousin (1662)               62.0    Jeff Georg Penta (1724)

2001 MCC SPRING SWISS: U1500 -- Upsets
Name                                 Pnts     Victim

Justin P Grimes (975)          104.0    John G Niarhos (1183)
Randi A Isaacson (1153)         37.0    Travis Chui (1190)

Round 3 - April 17, 2001

Grandmaster Alexander Ivanov defeated John Curdo with the black pieces in their head-to-head clash to take over clear first place at the halfway mark with the only perfect score.  Now he has white plus a half-point lead over No. 2 seed Igor Foygel for their critical Round 4 battle.

Foygel dropped the half point by taking a bye after winning his first two games, while Jim Della Selva, also with a bye and two wins, is now tied with Igor for the runner-up spot.  He’ll have white vs. Curdo on Board 2.

Two Class B players upset experts in this round: Bill Michael (1778) knocked off Bijan Haririan (2103) and Ames Abbot (1771) defeated John Chamberlain (2007).  Another noteworthy form reversal was Severine Wamala (1606) over Al Ward (1807).

Jeff Penta continued to roll in the U1800 section, defeating Miles Duffy for his third straight win.  Neil Cousin, who won his first two games and then got a full-point bye in a strange mix-up, also has a 3.0 score, so these two will meet on Board One in Round 4.

George Goulding has the only perfect score in the U1500 section, and meets Al Schaefer, the top-rated 2.5, on Board One.

There were no upsets in the U1800 section, while in U1500 we had Ethan Thompson (1240) over Louis Jacques (1464), Randi Isaacson (1153) over Sanjay Manivannan (1370), and Greg Siciliano (1079) over Tom Powers (1209).

Three more players jumped in for Round 3, raising the total entries to 62.

2001 MCC SPRING SWISS: OPEN -- Upsets
Name                             Pnts       Victim

William Michael (1778)       325.0    Bijan Haririan (2103)
Ames Abbot (1777)             230.0    John Chamberlain (2007)
Severine Wamala (1606)     201.0    Alfred G Ward (1807)
Edward Astrachan (1744)      24.5    Mark L Fins (1793)

2001 MCC SPRING SWISS: U1800 -- Upsets
Name                             Pnts     Victim

Niki Konovalchuk (1507)     67.5    Robert L Harvey (1642)
Menno G Koning (1500)       50.0    Walter Champion (1600)
Mark Kaprielian (1577)       32.5    Philip J Mercurio (1642)
James Williams (1492)       15.0    Karl G Hahn (1507)

2001 MCC SPRING SWISS: U1500 -- Upsets
Name                             Pnts     Victim

Ethan Thompson (1240)     224.0    Louis P Jacques (1464)
Randi A Isaacson (1153)     217.0    Sanja Manivannan (1370)
Gregor Siciliano (1079)     130.0    Thomas E Powers (1209)

Round 2 - April 10, 2001

The top guns kept rolling in Round 2 as No. 1. Alexander Ivanov, No. 2. Igor Foygel, and No. 3. John Curdo all won to share the lead at 2.0 apiece. Now they start playing each other, and with the vacationing Foygel taking a pre-requested bye, it will be Curdo-Ivanov on Board 1 in the third round.

In the U1800 section it was Jeff Penta, Neil Cousin, and Miles Duffy coming through with wins to share the lead at 2.0, while in U1500 it’s also a three-way tie among Al Schaefer, George Goulding, and Joseph Crowley at two points each.

The biggest upset of Round 2 occurred in the U1400 section, where Nelson El-Hage (883) defeated Jim Krycka (1114). Others in various sections: Ed Astrachan (1744) over Michael De La Maza (1866), Gatumba Abu (1532) over Howard Goldowsky (1699), and Greg Siciliano (1079) over Harvey Reed (1242).

2001 MCC SPRING SWISS: OPEN -- Upsets
Name                                     Pnts     Victim

Edward Astrachan (1744)         122.0    Micha De La Maza (1866)
Donna M Alarie (1726)               81.0    Alfred G Ward (1807)

2001 MCC SPRING SWISS: U1800 -- Upsets
Name                                     Pnts     Victim

Gatumba Z Abu (1532)              167.0    Howard Goldowsky (1699)
Niki Konovalchuk (1507)             46.5    Walter Champion (1600)
John Stengrevics (1486)             24.0    Robert J Oresick (1510)

2001 MCC SPRING SWISS: U1500 -- Upsets
Name                                     Pnts     Victim

Nelson El-Hage (883)                 231.0   James A Krycka (1114)
Douglas Thompson (1178)         222.0    Alan D Schaefer (1400)
Gregor Siciliano (1079)            163.0    Harvey G Reed (1242)

Round 1 - April 3, 2001

There were no surprises in Round One of the annual big spring tournament, as the top guns in all three sections won their initial tests. Grandmaster Alexander Ivanov made his usual appearance and led a group of seven first-round winners in the 15-player Open Section. Top-seeded Jeff Penta led a similar group of seven in the 20-player U1800 section. And No. 1 seed Al Schaefer topped a list of eight victors in the U1500 grouping.

As always, of course, there were a few mild-to-medium upsets: None in the Open Section, but Menno Koning (1500) defeated Mike Barry (1649) and Gatumba Abu (1532) drew Jim Todhunter (1795) in the U1800 section, while in U1500 Ray Salemi (1028) beat Harvey Reed (1242), Jim Krycka (1114) drew Louis Jacques (1464), and Nelson El-Hage (883) drew Travis Chui (1190).

Things promised to heat up a bit more in Round 2, with a bunch of master vs. expert pairings in the Open Section and top players starting to meet in the other sections as well.

2001 MCC SPRING SWISS: OPEN -- Upsets
Name                             Pnts     Victim

                    None

2001 MCC SPRING SWISS: U1800 -- Upsets
Name                             Pnts     Victim

Menno G Koning (1500)     149.0    Michael Barry (1649)
Gatumba Z Abu (1532)      131.5    James Todhunter (1795)
Niki Konovalchuk (1507)     96.0    Howard Goldowsky (1699)

2001 MCC SPRING SWISS: U1500 -- Upsets
Name                             Pnts     Victim
Raymond Salemi (1028)     214.0    Harvey G Reed (1242)
James A Krycka (1114)      175.0    Louis P Jacques (1464)
Nelson El-Hage (883)         153.5    Travis Chui (1190)