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“In Crowd” and “Stars of India” Top 10th Queens Team

by on May 28, 2010

This year’s version had a funky schedule that may have contributed to a slightly reduced turnout (we had 13 paid teams in 2008 and 14 in 2009).  Originally announced for May 7-28, our playing site then made May 14 unavailable due to a rummage sale, so we reconfigured it for April 30-May 7-21-28 and changed the Chess Life announcement accordingly.  Naturally, the rummage sale was subsequently cancelled, so a G/15 event was run on the 14th after all.  We ended up with 12 paid teams, raising the prizes 20% to $120 and $60 to the top two teams, with $72 each to the top U1700 team and top scorer on Boards 1 and 2.  A two board match with a rating average under 2000 creates interesting strategic problems in forming a team.  Andrew and Nicholas Ryba won the tournament in 2008 when both were rated in the 1900s.  Now that each is over 2100, neither could even partner with their dad Alex, an underrated 1970 who once held a master rating in England.  Your writer has won or shared the team title at least five times now, so now I’ll reveal the successful strategy: get the strongest possible Board 2 !!  I locked in last year’s partner Mitch Drobbin (1958) right away, while the other experts couldn’t have fit Mitch under the rating cap.  2009 co-champion Joe Felber (2067) couldn’t play with last year’s partner Bill Arluck because Bill had crossed 2000.  A dangerous sleeper team was formed by Sundar Swaminathan (1890) and Cyril Sigamoney (1859) under the name “Stars of India” (Cyril has subsequently raised his rating above 2000 (and has raised his rating 500 points in 12 months!), so his eventual good result was no surprise).


The first night started with 11 teams, so I attempted to put together a house team to prevent a full point bye, pairing two perpetual kibitzers, Rooney Simonaitis (1946) and Steve Mitlitzky (1867) as a house team, who at that point would have been ranked second and were paired that way so we could start.  Of course, the best-laid plans foundered when Steve didn’t want to play (Paul Denig (1571) won by forfeit).  Rooney won his game from Mulazim Muwwakkil (1823) to achieve a drawn match against the Chess Junkies as a soloist.  There were only three decisive matches and one of those was an huge upset: The Guthwinators (Andrew Ryba (2101) and Shaoxiang Wang, a Stuyvesant HS teammate who had just made his tournament debut at the National High School with a 1091/7 provisional rating) beat Joe Felber and Albert Bucknor (1714/4 estimated from his debut April event at Queens) through a top board draw and a win by Wang.  The Stars of India swept The Wise Men (Henry Milerski (1400) and Marcus Francis (1194)), while Cruz Control, comprised of Zoltan Sugar (1731) and Ken Cruz (1704), swept Dangerous Moves, comprised of Faiz Uzzaman (1379) and Robert D’Elia (1146), although Uzzaman nearly held a tricky endgame.  My team, The In Crowd, only drew when I threw away a good position and lost to Joseph Tan (1843), while Mitch beat The Biggest Upset’s Paul McCormick (1584).  Nicholas Ryba (2110) beat Carrie Goldstein (1400) of Girls’ Knight Out, but partner Philip Mathew (1362) lost to Phyllis Benjamin (1090).  Round 2 saw the entry of one more team, The Sandbaggers (Louis Lima (1912) and Edwin Doscher (1553)).


Before Round 2 the listed ratings of Wang and Bucknor were revised to 1190/11 and 1758/4, respectively.  Cruz Control and the Stars of India drew their match, Sugar beating Swaminathan and Sigamoney beating Cruz, both wins coming with the Black pieces.  The Guthwinators drew with the In Crowd when Frumkin tried too hard to keep the draw in sight against Andrew Ryba and got gradually outplayed, while Drobbin beat the underrated Wang.  The Sandbaggers swept the Chess Junkies and Silent Moves (Felber and Bucknor) swept Girls’ Knight Out.  Dangerous Moves swept The Wise Men (Francis failed to appear against D’Elia but didn’t recruit a replacement).


No team had a 2-0 match score, but four had 1.5-0.5 and five followed with 1-1.  The Stars of India beat The Sandbaggers through a Sigamoney win and a Swaminathan draw, while the Guthwinators swept Cruz Control, thanks to another upset win by Wang.  The two 2.5-0.5 teams would not meet in the final round, however, because the Stars of India had already committed to a Round 4 bye to play in the Chicago Open.  The In Crowd squeezed past the Nicholas Ryba-Mathew team with the intended strategy of draw on one, win on two.  Silent Moves was held to a drawn match by The Biggest Upset, Felber’s win from Tan being offset by Bucknor’s loss to Doscher.  Girls’ Knight Out drew their second match thanks to another Benjamin victory, this time over Marcus Francis.  Henry Milerski’s win from Carrie Goldstein was the last game to finish.  The Chess Junkies drew with Dangerous Moves as Uzzaman knocked off Muwwakkil in a King and pawn ending while Denig beat D’Elia.


Round 4 presented some interesting pairing problems.  Stars of India had the night off and The Guthwinators had already played The In Crowd, the only 2-1 team, and Silent Moves, the top-ranked 1.5-1.5 team.  Next in line were The Sandbaggers, who had narrowly lost to Stars of India.  The Sandbaggers pulled off the upset with Lima drawing with Andrew Ryba and Doscher beating Wang.    The In Crowd had to play Silent Moves, with Frumkin meeting Felber for the first time since last year’s event.  This year’s draw lasted a lot longer, while Drobbin defeated Bucknor to get the team to 3-1, catching Stars of India.  The Guthwinators settled for the U1700 prize with 2.5-1.5.  Nicholas Ryba went 3.5-0.5 to take the Board 1 prize, while Mitch Drobbin took Board 2 with a 4-0 score, according to the organizer’s master plan.


Ed Frumkin and Joe Felber directed for the Queens Chess Club.

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