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Winter Open Round 2 - Deng Dings Cooper

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Action underway in round 2 of the Winter Open.
Action underway in round 2 of the Winter Open.
Round 2 of the Winter Open was controversial and went long into the night, until finally nineteen players emerged bloodied and defeated, nineteen came out unscathed, and six had to settle for mutual knockouts.

The evening began smoothly enough, with Fei Yue Yang (2138) defeating Joey Perez (1736) on top board. Perez has been in good form lately, gaining many points in the latter months of 2012, but found Yang in an uncompromising mood. Yang, playing white, won a piece and had blacks pieces horribly tied down. Black tried to play on but the material defecit was too much to overcome, moving Yang on to a perfect 2/2 start.

On board 2, Queena Deng (1696) pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the tournament thus far by drawing with Michael Cooper (2101) and with the black pieces no less. White looked to have some promising play out of the opening but a miscalculation, combined with his horrendous time trouble, gave black too much play and Deng was simply up a pawn when the dust settled. However, this was an opposite colored bishop endgame and, although Cooper tried some tricks, the result was never in much doubt despite black's extra pawn. A draw was finally agreed as the clock ticked past 11pm.

On board 3, Gregg Fritchle (2058) had black against Ray Sollars (1766) who lamented before the game began that Fritchle was one of his bogey opponents, having lost every previous time to him. This didn't seem to deter Sollars, though, as he put up a terrific fight in a wild game where both kings were in danger of being mated. Crucially, black was able to take control of both the c and g files with his rooks and queen and infiltrated white's position. A blunder from white in a position that was already critical allowed Fritchle to swoop in with his rook and queen, leading to a nice Epaulette mating pattern where white's king was blocked in by his own rooks.

Matthew Hayes (2032) took on Ryan Chen (1595) on board 4, a game Hayes could not take lightly given Chen's upset win over Dave Matson (2006) in the previous round. Hayes, playing white, played a quiet version of the Rossolimo against black's Sicilian setup. White was able to saddle black with weak a and c pawns, before finally winning one of them. A blunder near the end then cost black a piece and ultimately the game.

The night's controversy erupted on board 14 in the game Armagnac (1540) vs Niles (1677). Armagnac started protesting that there was an issue with the clock, and indeed it had incorrectly added 90 minutes to each player's time instead of the prescribed 30 minutes after move 40. However, the clock actually belonged to Armagnac and he had set it. It then transpired that his complaint was along the lines that Niles had had a lost position a few moves earlier and should have done the dignified thing and resigned. Unfortunately, white had just blundered himself shortly after the time control and, ultimately, he was upset at having potentially blown a winning position. This was understandable but we've all lost game we should have won and vice versa. Sometimes that's just the nature of the game.

The situation was further complicated when a player on one of the top boards strode over and knocked all the pieces over during the dispute, telling Niles and Armagnac to go analyze in the skittles room. This potentially unsavory incident was diffused because Armagnac had already told Niles he would "give" him the game, which was effectively a resignation, meaning the game was already over before the pieces were disturbed. Also, to be fair, the player who knocked over the pieces did not realize that the players were not analyzing and that there was a dispute in progress. However, in the interests of keeping the peace in the future, please call the TD rather than disturbing somebody else's game in this manner. Even if another player is causing a disturbance, there is no reason to pour fuel on the fire!

Aside from Queena Deng's draw with Michael Cooper, there were three other upset results in round 2. Anthony Ge (1684) had an excellent win over Jeff Schroeder (1806), although Schroeder is still bouncing back after a lengthy illness. Felix Yen (1231) had black against Edward Wu (1654) but was able to pull out a terrific draw. Finally, Brian Phillips (979) beat Ryan Yang (1167) for the second tournament in a row.

Round 3 of the Winter Open will take place Monday, January 28. There is NO CHESS CLUB this coming Monday, January 21.