Evanston Chess Club usually holds open chess for high school age and over on Tuesday evenings. Problem is, this year Christmas Day and New Year's Day both fall on Tuesday. But we have a solution! For two weeks only, Tuesday night chess will migrate to...Wednesday night. That's right, you can come to the Levy Activity Center on Wednesday, December 26 and Wednesday, January 2 and play chess from 6:30-9:00 p.m. As always, sets are supplied and there is no entry fee. On January 8, we'll be back to our usual Tuesday night schedule. Look forward to seeing you all there.

Your trusty editor/organizer is ... delayed with the results from the November 3 Tri-Level. Here we go: And the winners are (drum roll) FM Albert Chow and NM Ken Wallach, tied for 3 points out of a possible 4 in the Gold Section. It was a day of draws: Wallach drew Chow and Expert Bill Brock. Chow drew Wallach and Brock. Brock and Vyto Vitkauskas were in second place with 2.5 points. Tough crowd.

In the Silver Section, Rahul Dhiman led the field with a perfect 4 points. Mike Wishner was back to in fighting form to take second place with 3 points.

Bronze Section winner Lorenzo Sampson also had a perfect score. Sampson's been on a roll lately, and this tournament boosted him up to a USCF rating of 1207. Say goodbye to the Bronze section. Adam Wallach (son of Ken) was second with 3 points, losing only to Sampson. (more photos here.)

Evanston Chess Club set a record attendance of 64 players at our September 22 Three x Three tournament.  More on that later in the article, but for now, here’s a big “thanks” to all the chess players for your support. (Turn to the end of the story for a photo gallery, courtesy of Rick Lang.)

Guest master FM Kevin Bachler and Aamir Ansari shared first place honors in the Gold Section with perfect 3/0 records. Thanks to Kevin for supplying analyzed games, which are published in ICA’s chess blog. Ansari is provisionally rated and definitely on his way up, with a rating gain of 173 points he’s now an A player. NM Ken Wallach, Expert Vince Hart and Joe Emole each had 2 points for the day.

Jonathan Tan was clear winner of the Silver section with 3 points; Mark Coleman and Ted Moon were close behind with 2.5 points.

Matthew Ylinen, Keith Ammann and Lorenzo Sampson each had 3 points in the enormous 28-player Bronze section. Jair Herrera and Adam Wallach each had 2.5 points.

Your intrepid tournament director is catching up after three out-of-town trips (a work/fun trip, a vacation, a family visit) and several work deadlines. It’s now September, and high time for a quick wrap-up of what’s going on at Evanston Chess Club, not necessarily in chronological order:

  • Club blitz has been drawing 10-16 people on the third Tuesday of each month. Our blitz director Michael Matek runs a round robin, G/5 no delay, as many rounds as we can fit between 7:30 and 9:00 p.m. Small prize to the winner and no entry fee. This month only: we’ll be doubling up on the blitz and holding it September 11 and September 18, as a courtesy to those of you who are celebrating Rosh Hashanah on the 18th.
  • Our ever-popular 3x3 G/65 is coming up on September 22 (that's a date change), and our guest master will be FM Kevin “the Caveman” Bachler.
  • Our most recent tournament was on Bastille Day, July 14, and had 50 players. Wow! Thanks to all of you playing; that’s the highest attendance we’ve had in three years. Matthew Wilber was clear winner of the Liberté Section with 3.5 points. (That was the top section; it was Bastille Day, so we had appropriately French section names.) Ansari Aamir won all four games to come out on top of the Egalité section. Michael Feldmann won the Fraternité section with a score of 3.5. (See below for pictures.)

NM Jon BurgessNM Jon Burgess, a frequent player in many Chicago-area tournaments, died on Sunday, August 12. He was 35 years old. Jon's good company and straightforward game analysis will be missed by his over-the-board opponents and those who knew him in the Illinois chess community.

Jon was a regular at Evanston Chess Club; he liked to come on Tuesday evenings and play just for fun. He also played many times in our tournaments as guest master, and frequently "won the chocolate" at our monthly blitz round robins. Jon was always willing to analyze games, help an occasionally overwhelmed tournament director keep a Saturday tournament on track, play a simul against his fellow club players, or give a lecture. We are honored to have known him and to count him as a friend and fellow player, and we are very sad to lose him.

The Evanston Chess Club and the Illinois Chess Coaches Association (ICCA) are very pleased to announce the Isaac Braswell Memorial Prize. This new prize will recognize achievement in IHSA (Illinois) high school chess competition by an African American high school senior, and will be awarded in 2013.

Isaac M. BraswellEvanston Chess Club will hold a USCF-rated blitz tournament on Saturday, June 9, 2012, to raise funds for the Braswell Memorial Prize. All entry fees ($5 at the door) and free-will donations beyond the entry fee will go to the prize fund. Registration for the tournament is from 9:00-9:30 a.m. and it will be held at the Levy Activity Center, 300 Dodge Ave., Evanston. For more information, click here. Those who cannot attend the tournament but would like to make a donation should contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

We don't always get clear winners in our three-round tournaments, but we did at our May 5 G/65 with three perfect-score players. Guest master NM Sam Schmakel put the field away in the Gold section, closely followed by Ted Mercer with 2.5, which pushed him back into A-player territory. Jay Kushinsky took the Silver section, where five players tied for second place: Jonathan Tan, Nathan Holzmueller, Finn Buck, Adit Ghosh and Matthew Zacharias. Edward Zhang won the Bronze section, gaining 121 points in the process. Wlodzimierz Kaczynski, Keith Ammann, Brad Rosen and Alan Wang all had two points in the Bronze section.

Isaac M. BraswellOur friend, fellow player and teammate Isaac Braswell died last Friday, March 2. All who knew him are very sad. His cheerful good humor and ability to instantly light up a room will be missed.

Isaac's family is holding a memorial service for him on Thursday, March 15 at 3:30 p at A.A. Rayner Funeral Home, 318 E. 71st Street, Chicago.

Isaac lived at the Lawson YMCA in downtown Chicago. About 100 people attended the memorial service held there on the morning of March 13. His family, his many friends, members of the chess community and fellow Lawson residents all came out to speak about how kind, generous and friendly Isaac was, as well as what a tough (but fun) competitor he could be, whether it was at chess, dominoes or basketball.

On Tuesday, March 13, we'll talk during club time about what we'd like to do to honor Isaac's memory.

In the Evanston Chess Tri-Level held March 3, NM Jon Burgess and Matthew Wilber tied for first in the gold section with 3.5 points each. A more decisive outcome may have resulted when the two met in the third round, but Wilber played a conservative line. After much maneuvering the players drew. Greg Bungo and Guy Kittelsen were right on their heels with 3 points each.

In the Silver section, Jay Kushinsky was the winner with three wins and a draw. He attributed his success at the board to a good night's sleep, and playing solid chess instead of going for the quick attack. Bradley Guan, Charles Coffman, and Kymo Alboravas each had three points. Daum Hazners also did well, winning 1.5 games in this section and going one for two in cross-section pairings with Gold section players.

Our Bronze section was the largest it has been in a long time, and included players from Naperville North and Argo Township high schools (an Evanston Township student played in the Silver section), which just goes to show that the IHSA season may be over, but it's never too soon to sharpen the game for next year. Anjan Chittajallu came in clear first with 4.0 points, including a cross-section win against a Silver section player. Dan Margulis was second with 3.5 points. Big rating point gains for the day included Chittajallu and Adrian Villacorta who came into the tournament with low ratings, as well as Charles Coffman in the Silver section who picked up 111 points.

Evanston Chess Club was delighted to sponsor two teams at the US Amateur Team-North in Northbrook on February 17-19. The USAT is a set of four very popular USCF national team events held around the country on President's Day weekend. It's a chance for chess players to take their game on the road as a team. Sure, you can go to a regular tournament with a friend, but it's more fun to have three others facing the opposition with you, who want you to succeed, and who want to succeed on your behalf. Near the end of a long round (g/90, increment 30) when the room has cleared out, it's a good thing to have teammates who stick around when their own games are done because they want to see the outcome of yours.

Team captain Jon Burgess put it best in an email to his teammates before the event: "All of you have your own goals for this weekend. It may be to win all your games, it may be to score 1/5, but that one win is against a strong player and means the world to you. It may be you're playing just to have fun. Whatever the goal you seek, I wish you all well with it and I will be there to support you in trying to achieve your goal."

Evanston's teams were made up of a diverse group. Our team rating range was 890 to 2187. Team age range was eighth grade to some unspecified point north of retirement. In spite of the "amateur" label, these events tend to bring out strong players--in a field of 171 there were 48 players rated 2000 or higher--so both teams had their work cut out for them.

This tournament was my experiment. I was trying two things:

  • Quick Quads: a round-robin format at a quick time control (G/26, delay 3) that would let players fit in three games of chess and still have their afternoons free.
  • Unrated: how would players respond to an opportunity to play in regular tournament conditions, with zero impact on ratings?

The experiment was a success, with 18 players coming out for the event. They ran the gamut--Evanston Chess Club regulars, players who hadn't played a rated game in a few years, high school students gearing up for next weekend's IHSA team championship, and one player who has never been a USCF member.

In the top quad, NM Sam Schmakel was the player to beat, and he won all three of his games. The next quad down saw Daum Hazners (2.5) edge out Mark Coleman (2.0) for first place. Evanston Chess Blitz TD Michael Matek took first with a perfect 3.0 in the third quad. Said Matek: "I really should play rated." We agree. Our bottom section was a sextet, which played three games and featured another perfect 3.0, this time by ETHS player Justin Liao. We'll definitely repeat this experiment. Continue on for complete results.

by Maret