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Yang's Winter Wonderland

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FeiYue Yang (left), winner of the Winter Open.
FeiYue Yang (left), winner of the Winter Open.
Congratulations to FeiYue Yang (2138), who took the Arcadia Chess Club by storm and won the Winter Open with a perfect score of 6/6. Along the way, Yang defeated three experts and boosted his rating up to 2166.

Going into the final round, Yang only needed a draw to guarantee outright first place and had black against Matthew Hayes (2032) on top board. Given what transpired, perhaps Hayes should have been more mindful of the tournament situation and offered a draw! Hayes, who had white, obtained the better position out of the opening and looking to have a solid edge. White thought he was winning two pawns but missed a nice tactical shot when suddenly black's knight was causing havoc and threatened to either mate white or win the queen or rook. Rook for two pawns is very rarely a good trade for the side with the pawns, so white resigned.

On board 2, Gordon Brooks (1934) capped off an excellent tournament by defeating Gregg Fritchle (2058) with the white pieces. The game looked fairly balanced in the middlegame but black's king was looser, with white's queen and bishop creating mating threats on the dark squares. The result makes Brook an expert again, for the first time in many years, a very impressive and inspirational return to form for one of our more seasoned players. Brooks' new rating will be 2003 in the next rating supplement.

Tom Zapanta (unr.) may have been unrated going into the Winter Open but his provisional rating afterwards is anything but. Zapanta finished his first USCF-rated tournament in style by downing Michael Cooper (2121) and making his provisional rating a most impressive 2167. Zapanta will be looking to be a contender in the upcoming Club Championship.

Unfortunately, board 4 was a non-event as Cory Chen (1570) forfeited due to a no show. The lucky recipient of the full point was Joey Perez (1736) but there was nothing lucky about the rest of his tournament which included a win over Dave Matson (2006) in round 5.

In addition to Gordon Brooks, there were big rating gains for Daniel Zhou (1333 to 1409), Cory Chen (1567 to 1654), and Brian Phillips (1123 to 1209). The biggest gain was made by David May, who gained a huge 125 points to take his rating from 1272 to 1397.

A new tournament - the Club Championship - starts Monday, February 4. Please be there earlier than 7pm to allow time to register.