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Spring Open Round 1 - Queena Reigns Over Chen

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Queena Deng (right) in her win over Master Shijie Chen.
Queena Deng (right) in her win over Master Shijie Chen.
The Spring Open tournament started Monday, April 15 with a good turnout of 50 players for the first round. The tournament's average rating was immediately increased when National Master Shijie Chen (2281) joined, though he was the victim of several of the evening's upsets.

Chen took on Queena Deng (1740) on board 1. Deng, who had black, appeared to have a difficult position, especially after white pushed his b4 pawn and black's queenside pawn structure was under serious threat. This writer missed what happened in the next thirty minutes but at least two other spectators thought that white's position was close to winning at one stage. It can only be assumed that Chen blundered or possibly lost on time. Either way, the result was the same and Deng prevailed to pick up easily her biggest ever win in Arcadia.

Bill Richards (2182) was himself the victim of a shock result in our last tournament, the Club Championship, when he drew against a class B player. There was to be no such lapse this time around as he beat Steven Niles (1677) with the black pieces. Black gained a powerful outpost for his knight on d4 and also obtained good pressure on the a file against white's a2 pawn. White then blundered by playing his rook to c7, which black countered by threatening the rook's only defender. White tried to give up the exchange to prolong the game but, even had he simply retreated the rook on c7, the position was close to lost already.

On board 3, Edward Wu (1631) pulled off the evening's second big upset as he achieved a well earned draw against Henry Castro (2104). White seemed to have a comfortable position out of the opening but a series of less than optimal moves suddenly gave black chances. Indeed, black was arguably better for some time before a draw was finally agreed. A great result for Edward.

Fourth board saw Gregg Fritchle (2027) in uncompromising form as he dispatched Tony Grauso (1580) with the black pieces. On board 5, Matthew Hayes (2004) defeated Tim Deng (1684) in a wild king (and queen!) hunt, and board 6 saw Randy Hough (2003) rescue a perilous position against David Munoz (1678) to bring home the full point.

The night's two other upsets came courtesy of Johan Akesson (1566) who wiped out Phil Chase (1942) with horrible mating threats, although he was already up a rook and bishop by then! And Jeffrey Chou (1568) earned a highly creditable draw with Gordon Brooks (1934), one of Chou's best results in Arcadia thus far.

The Spring Open continues Monday, April 22.