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Singson & Castro Up to the McGuire Challenge

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Melandro Singson, co-winner of the McGuire Challenge.

Henry Castro, co-winner of the McGuire Challenge.
Melandro Singson (top) & Henry Castro, co-winners of the Spring Open.
Congratulations to Melandro Singson (2176) and Henry Castro (2104), co-winners of the McGuire Challenge, which ran from June 3 to July 8. Singson and Castro scored 5/6, including a last round draw against each other, to clinch first place.

Going into the last round, Singson and Casto knew that a draw would at least guarantee a share of first place. They would then be left sweating on the result of the Ke Chen (1959) - Daniel Manahan (1896) battle on board 2. As it turned out, that game was also a draw, dropping Chen and Manahan into a group of five players tied on 4.5/6.

Joining Chen and Manahan on 4.5/6 were Gregg Fritchle (2059), Tom Zapanta (2014) and Dave Matson (1990). All the top seven players received nice rating boosts.

The tournament saw a number of huge upsets and Dane Hinrichsen (2000) was unfortunate to be on the receiving end of two of them. In the first round, he lost to Edward Wu (1715) and then suffered an even bigger shock in round 2 when he was defeated by Daniel Zhou (1556). Neither Wu nor Zhou were complaining, though! Both picked up a stack of rating points at the end of the tournament, their wins over Hinrichsen being largely responsible.

Other upsets included Oscar Ortiz (1926), who could only draw against Ryan Yang (1349) in round 5. Yang found a nice drawing combination in the endgame where he gave up a pawn but, as it was a rook pawn, he was able to box Ortiz' king into a corner in a well known drawing method.

Daniel Zhou wasn't content with putting Dane Hinrichsen to the sword; he also dispatched Ron Morris (1795) despite the more than 300 points rating difference, and finally Justin Chang (1739) picked up a very credible draw against Dave Matson in the first round.

A glut of upsets naturally led to a glut of massive rating gains! Ke Chen picked up 69 points to take her rating from 1890 to 1959. Melvin Bond gained 55 points, Justin Chang's rating increased by 73 points, and Edward Wu went from 1654 to 1715 (61 points). There were also impressive gains for Daniel Zhou (1474 to 1556) and Frank Woszcyna (1200 to 1246). These were eclipsed by Ryan Yang, who gained an amazing 171 points!

A new tournament, the Oak Tree Open, starts Monday, August 19.