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Club Championship Round 1 - Falling Like Apples

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Anthony Ge (right) in his draw with Bill Richards.
Anthony Ge (right) in his draw with Bill Richards.
The annual Arcadia Chess Club Championship started Monday, March 4 with several of the top seeds suffering big upsets. One after another they fell like ripe apples, leaving the tournament already wide open even at this early stage.

On board 1, Bill Richards (2187) had white against Anthony Ge (1771) and ordinarily this would have signaled a routine win. Ge had other plans, however, and despite white having a vague kingside attack, black had decent play with his well placed knight and pressure against various light squares in Richards' position. In the end, a draw was a very well earned result for Ge and is arguably his best ever result at the chess club.

The upsets continued on board 2 as Edward Wu (1622) defeated Tom Zapanta (2165). Zapanta's rating is provisional but he had a strong showing in the last tournament and is surely around expert strength, making this an excellent result for Wu. Even more surprisingly, this was one of the earlier games to finish, an indication of how well Wu played.

Jesse Victoria (2057) finally ended the demise of the top seeds by beating Tony Grauso (1643) on board 3 but this was only a temporary reprieve. Gregg Fritchle (2047) won the exchange against Benjamin Gabriel (1631) but Gabriel had an extra pawn plus the bishop pair. This was enough to hold Fritchle to a draw.

The other top seed to suffer an early setback was Randy Hough (2025) who had black against Ryan Chen (1614). Hough was up a piece but Chen had two dangerous connected passed pawns and tons of pressure. This proved enough to clinch the win.

The evening's other huge upset (and indeed, one of the biggest upsets ever at the club in terms of rating difference), came courtesy of Abinanda Mukundan (1047) who beat Ray Sollars (1763) with the black pieces. A great result for Abinanda!

There were more routine wins for Matthew Hayes (2006), Dave Matson (1980), and Tim Thompson (1900). Finally, the club welcomed back long standing member David Argall (2000), who had missed the last few tournaments after suffering a stroke last year. Fortunately, it was relatively minor and Argall was straight back to top form as he defeated Michael Belcher (1554). Welcome back, David!

The Club Championship resumes Monday, March 11.