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Changing of the Guard at 2015 Queens Chess Club Championship

by on November 22, 2015

The 2015 edition of our club championship began on October 9 with 13 games and three additional players expected to enter with byes the following week.

Round 1:
Four draws and several upsets ensued (of the 9 decisive games only one was won by the handler of the White pieces). The first such was 9 year old Charles Hua (1807) over Ed Frumkin (2013), immediately followed by his dad Long Hua (1255), the house player, over Frank Paciulli (1949), who then dropped out. There were 8 former club champions in the field at the start and one of fifteen eventual matchups of ex-champs took place already on Board 1 (Kopiecki (one clear title, one shared)-Bonin (six clear, four shared), won by the latter with a nice exchange sac). Former champs Joe Felber (one clear) and Edgar Cimafranca (one shared), as well as Bill Arluck and Adrian Relingado, each of whom had finished third in recent championships, were held to draws by Clayton Glad, Guy Rawlins, Jay Kleinman and James Sirotnik, respectively. Sirotnik’s draw from a rating gap of 434 points gave him the early lead for the upset prize over Charles Hua (Long Hua’s 694 point win didn’t count since he wasn’t a tournament entrant).

Round 2:
Round 2 brought the entry of another former champion, Devlin Sinclair (one clear) and several other players, bringing us up to 15 boards. The excess of players in the 1-0 group coming off Black led to two getting a second Black in Round 2 under variation 29E4b (as Casey Stengel would say, “You can look it up”). Payam Parhami (defending champ) and Charles Hua each won with the second Black, the latter from Arunas Simonaitis (2025) for a 218 point upset for a momentary lead for that prize, until passed by Guy Rawlins (1618) over Jay Kleinman (1858). In the 0-1 group Frumkin, Ira Cohen and Rito Ilao each got a second White, but Frumkin lost again, this time to Mulazim Muwwakkil (1843).

Round 3:
After two rounds there were only four perfect scores and Round 3 pairings of Parhami-Bonin and Hua-Kopec (two shared titles) were posted, only to be changed when Charles’ maternal grandfather died and the family went to China for the funeral, necessitating three consecutive byes (byes for Rounds 4 and 5 had been declared at entry). Kopec-Bonin was a short draw and Sinclair beat Parhami with the Black pieces.

Round 4:
There were now seven players at 2½-½, but two were taking byes the next two rounds (Kopec for lectures at CCA events in New Jersey and Connecticut and Charles Hua as previously mentioned. Bonin-Arluck and Felber-Sinclair were wins for Jay and Devlin, while Cimafranca-Parhami was an interesting draw as Parhami set up a fortress with two Bishops and pawn vs. Queen. Andrew Ryba (2332) was a surprise late entry with the maximum three byes, spotting the leaders a full point and making him the tenth former champion in the field and enlarging the field to 32 paid entrants, raising the prize fund by 1/3 for the third consecutive year. Mikhail Mordukhay (1552) upended Frumkin to take the upset lead (461), which he held for the rest of the event.

Round 5:
Round 5 saw a top board pairing of Sinclair-Bonin in which the former declined a draw offer and then won, putting him a full point ahead of the field. Ryba, Parhami, Arluck, Lawson and Kopiecki all won to stay within a point.

Round 6:
In Round 6 Ryba defeated Sinclair to create a five way tie for the lead at 4½-1½ that included Kopec (win from Lawson), Kopiecki (win from Arluck) and Charles Hua (win from Dick Murphy (1972). Bonin and Parhami drew, while Simonaitis beat Cimafranca, so three more players lurked at 4-2, creating the possibility of a six way tie for the championship.

Round 7:
Last round pairings were Kopec-Sinclair, Ryba-Kopiecki, Hua-Bonin (a possible 9 year old champion or co-champion !!) and Parhami-Simonaitis. Kopec and Ryba made draw offers that were declined, and then both won. Charles Hua’s amazing run came to an end, while Simonaitis sacrificed his Queen for a pretty mate after a Knight sacrifice was declined.

When the smoke cleared, Kopec and Ryba were co-champions at 5½-1½, winning $320 each ($400 1st, $240 2nd) while Bonin and Simonaitis were next at 5-2 winning $152 each ($160 3rd, $144 top U2100). The $120 U1800 prize was split four ways by Rito Ilao (1624), Guy Rawlins, Mikhail Mordukhay and Frank Drazil (1537) with scores of 3-4. Philip Mathew won the U1500 prize of $96 with 2-5 and Mordukhay took the $40 upset prize as well.

Ed Frumkin and Joe Felber directed.

You can find most of the game scores on the club website http://www.queens-chess.com.

(Reported by Ed Frumkin.)

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