Spring Classic: Round 4 Recap

IT’S OVER! We have the results from the Big Spring Classic event!

First Place U2400 : Danilo Cuellar! 

Congrats to Danilo, a real chess powerhouse!  Finishing with a perfect score and winning the cash prize! His first win at Piermont Chess in a standard format.

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First Place U1200 : Stephane Derveaux and Jacob Kim! (tied) 

This section was remarkably evenly matched.  They were in a dead heat with 4 players entering the last game with 2 pts each. It was anyone’s game with multiple possible outcomes. Congrats to Stephane, who is the latest to have crossed the 1000 ELO threshold in regular time control!  He turned his tournament around after an early loss to Joseph and worked carefully to upset Peter, who was on a similar streak and in the lead for most of the tournament.  And congrats to Jacob, who also started with a loss to Damian only to even the score in the last round.  He entered as the youngest and lowest rated player of this section, but is leaving with a significant jump in ELO, and we’re sure to only see this trend continue!

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First Place U800 : Serena Cuellar! 

Running away with her first tournament at Piermont Chess, Serena (like her Dad!) achieved a perfect 4 pts!  And we must mention David Ganassi who performed very well, coming in second with 3pts! This section was also quite evenly matched, and we can’t wait to see the results of future events!

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Games from Round 4

Peter Graham vs. Stephane Derveaux

One of the title matches for the U1200 section, Black found their chance and turned things around in the endgame. White lost a tempo with 41. Nxb5?? which gave Black time to swing the rook around to h1 to trade rooks, win a knight, while also positioning a passed pawn to promote. All this and white’s king was essentially trapped in the corner. With little counterplay for white, Black swiftly won the game and the tournament with a well earned checkmate.

Seth Courtwright vs. Artem Aleksenko

Easily one of the highest rated performances ever by two of the highest rated players at Piermont Chess club. It was a real treat to see these two go at each other in a serious classical game when they are usually found blitzing casually. See for yourself as you scroll through the game!

Michael Dugan vs. Danilo Cuellar

Fantastic final game for both Danilo and Michael who performed well above rating against the section leader. Very strong play by both until the usually powerful mate threat 14. Bh6?? this time allowed 14…Bxe5! taking a pawn, winning a tempo on the a1 rook, defending the g7 square, taking control of the center and ultimately winning material after pushing the White queen off the g-file and taking the bishop on h6 with 15…f5 16.Qh3 gxh3!

Anna Kupchik vs. Serena Cuellar

A demonstration of the dominating tactical power of the Cuellars! Things were very even until move 14. A common position but Black found a tactic that white failed to equalize on. 14. Bg5? permitted 14…Nxd5!. Here white took back with the e pawn, though the engine preferred the c pawn. But more importantly prioritized the wrong bishop after 15…Nd4. Here white could have kept the trading equal with Bxe7 forcing the queen to take back buying time to defend the f3 bishop. But White chose to protect with the queen and left the g5 bishop hanging. The was enough to bring down the defenses after some sharp knight maneuvers. With that the U800 section had its winner!

Billy Zifchak vs. Joseph Burns

Joe and Billy had a rough run this tournament but neither got shut out in the end. Billy got the white pieces in the final round and used the Scotch to devastating effect to end his slump. The opening was strong for both, but Black pushed the g pawn with 11…g5 to relieve some pressure from the bishop pin, but this weakened the king defenses a bit too much and White capitalized after 15…f6?? which left g6 available for the queen to infiltrate with check. The final tactic that sealed Blacks fate was 19. Be5, a bit of zugzwang for Black, but white actually had a faster way to checkmate with a similar bishop + queen pattern: 19. Rxf8+ Qxf8, THEN 20. Be5+ Qf6 21. Bxf6#

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