Alex Fishbein (photo John Brezina)
Evan Park (photo Betsy Zacate)
Jason Liang (courtesy subject)
The eventful second weekend of the National Tournaments of Champions was held online on August 1-2. With the Denker and Haring having taken place on July 25-26, the schedule for August 1-2 consisted of the Dewain Barber National Tournament of Middle School State Champions, the John D. Rockefeller III National Tournament of Elementary School State Champions, and the conclusion of the National Tournament of Senior State Champions. With the Denker and the Haring in the books, the state-by-state race for the combined team prize was well underway, with Denker champ Nicolas Checa of New York, and Haring champ Annie Wang, of Southern California, having already set the pace the previous weekend.
But lets take a step back and look at the massive organizational effort that went into organizing these national championships. Each state nominated its representatives for the various events, usually going with highest rated in the respective categories as having qualifying events would have been another hurdle. US Chess prepared for the event by having all players check-in a couple of weeks before it started to make sure that they had a setup that involved not only live video conferencing, but also a side camera to view the player and the playing screen. While the events were held onchess.com, pairings were done manually. And a number of additional measures were taken to try to ensure the overall sanctity of the events.
At the halfway mark of the Senior, going into the August 1-2 weekend, I was tied for the lead at 3-0 with GMs Alexander Fishbein and Alonso Zapata. Zapatas route to that score included a nice round 3 win against IM Elliot Winslow. Notably, GM Enrico Sevillano vs. GM Sergey Kudrin in round 3 was a draw so they both got nicked for a half point there.
When the TOCs resumed on August 1, the Senior was in mid-tournament, and the Barber and the Rockefeller were just starting. GM Daniel Naroditsky was spearheading the Twitch coverage, and a huge phalanx of US Chess hand-picked directors were monitoring the action in separate zoom calls for the Senior, the Barber and the Rockefeller. And somewhat echoing events from 2 years ago in this event, a critical game was my round 4 game against Fishbein (shown in last weeks summary report on this event). Although it was interesting for a while, the overall impression afterwards was that I got crushed. Meanwhile, Zapata kept pace with an impressive win against Sevillano.
Fishbein took a commanding lead in the Senior by defeating Zapata in round 5 (shown in last weeks summary report on this event). While Alex had obtained a winning endgame, at the very end Zapata had just enough counterplay to draw, but he fell on time. I stayed somewhat in the hunt with this win against FM Doug Eckert.
After 5 rounds, Fishbein led with a perfect 5/5, Kudrin, Zapata and I had 4/5, and IM Ron Burnett, Yury Barnakov, GM Larry Kaufman, Enrico Sevillano, William Marcelino, and Wilson Gibbins stood at 3.5.
At around 1:15 EDT on August 2, our host server,chess.com, went down. This was an hour and fifteen minutes into Round 6 of the Senior, and 2 hours and fifteen minutes into round 4 of the Barber and the Rockefeller. As it took a few hours for the server to get back to functionality, a number of games in the Senior were relatively short games which transformed into agreed draws, although that might have occurred to some extent anyway. (There was no such effect in the Barber and Rockefeller events, as their games had started an hour earlier and were played at a slightly faster time control.) Fishbein won the event with 5.5/6, and tying for 2ndat 4.5 were Kudrin, me, Zapata, Ron Burnett and Larry Kaufman.
The Barber Tournament of Champions evolved into a fantastically competitive event. 2500-plus-rated IM Christopher Yoo was the favorite, and his presence was a large factor in pushing Northern California into a 3-way race with New York and Southern California for the best team prize. Yoo jumped out to a nice start with 3.5 points in the first 4 rounds, but then stumbled against Bach Ngo in round 5.
Another key round 5 matchup was IM Arthur Guo vs. FM Jason Wang, which ended in a 79-move draw.
And another key round 5 matchup was Michael Zheng against FM Jason Liang, after which Liang suddenly emerged with the only perfect score in the event.
After 5 rounds, Liang stood at 5-0, and Guo, Evan Park, and Ngo had 4.5. In round 6, Park defeated Ngo, utilizing a nice Exchange sac, while Liang held on against Guo, so Evan Park and Jason Liang finished as co-champions.
In the Rockefeller, after 4 rounds, Alex Zhang had a perfect score, Bryan Xie had 3.5/4, having taken a half-point bye in round 4, and many players stood at 3 points out of 4. Among the 3-pointers were pre-tournament favorite Brewington Hardaway, who had lost to Jacob Chiang; Chiang, who had lost to Kevin Su; and Su, who had lost to Xie.
The two players who would eventually tie for 2ndplace engaged in a fierce battle in round 4:
In round 5, Xie moved into sole possession of 1stplace by defeating Zhang.
Then in round 6, Xie came back from an inferior ending to defeat Hardaway and win the tournament with 5.5/6. Both Jacob Chiang and Kevin Su won their last two rounds, and they tied for second at 5/6.
In the team combined-score competition, New York held on for the win with a combined score among the 5 TOCs with 24. Both Southern California and Northern California scored 22.5.
For detailed information on all of the events, please follow these links:
2020 Online Invitationals:Overview, Schedule, & Prizes
2020 Online Invitational:Rules
Standings:Denker,Barber,Haring,Rockefeller,Seniors,Weeramantry (2200+),Weeramantry (1600-2199),Weeramantry (U1600)
US Chess thanks the following individuals, organizations, and businesses for their support of the 2020 Online National Invitational Events (in alphabetical order):
Chess.com and Staff
Ursula Foster Scholarships
Internet Chess Club (ICC)
National State Invitationals Committee
Jon Haskel, Chair
John D. Rockefeller V
Harold J. Winston
John D. Rockefeller V
Richard and Barbara Schiffrin
Chief TD Jon Haskel
John D. Rockefeller V
Charles D. Unruh
US Chess Executive Board
US Chess Staff
U.S. Chess Trust
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