ICA Celebrates Approach Of Summer With Tournament In Spring!
Posted: 5/22/2008 | Updated: 5/27/2008
ICA celebrates approach of Summer with tournament in Spring!
 
(note to the readers: Any comments made regarding anybody discussed are in jest, and have absolutely no basis in reality. They are more so for the purpose of having you look over the tournament pictures page
here and here . On a side note, congratulations to Max Yelsky and Eve Litvak for keeping both hands in their pockets as they observed games. While that is irreverent and pointless it is also true as the photographic evidence will illustrate. The name of the winners in each section is highlighted in larger font, while the section being discussed is both in bold and underlined.)
 
 
What better way to say hello to the heat, and high gas prices of summer, then by having a chess tournament in the spring? More precisely this past May 11th, at what has become a staple of the ICA’s seasonal tournaments, the Bergen Academy in Hackensack. Known by former alumni as the, “smart people” school, the place has always provided the type of atmosphere that kept people from losing their mind like Bobby Fischer, as they enjoyed the silent sanity of one of the world’s oldest games.
 
What else can you say about the location except that it is really there, and always big enough to accommodate as many players as are willing to sign up and participate in the gauntlet. Conveniently located right across from a cemetery in Hackensack, NJ, I don’t believe an avid chess player can find a quieter place, to play chess.
 
Play is exactly what everybody did as the countless spiritual spectators stared in silence from across the street at the over 200 folks who participated (I’m rounding up from around 180. 200 seems like a grander total). 
 
There were twenty brave men, women, and children who took part in the open section, and provided each other with the opportunity of making a little chess related money. A thirty dollar registration fee, and some crafty Alekhine-like play later, could have netted you close to two hundred were there enough people present. As it turned out however, with only two-thirds the necessary participants, Mr. Samuel Barsky, an apparently dark and brooding man, walked away with one hundred and forty dollars. By the looks of his picture I doubt he smiled upon winning, and I don’t know him well enough to contend that what I just wrote was in the slightest bit true. Congratulations, and hopefully next time we can have the necessary amount of participants so that Mr. Barsky can take even more of everyone’s money (If you want to put an end to his reign of terror, sign up for the next tournament as soon as possible.)
 
From the twenty or so people that took part I recognized only about seven, or eight myself. This is good because new faces are constantly showing up, and bad because most of the people I do know are too scared to be beaten by the likes of those who did indeed enter the melee.
 
Moving on.
 
Next we had section one, which, in my opinion, should henceforth be known as the “Pee-Wee” division. Open to the youngest members of the human race, more precisely little children from Kindergarten to 2nd grade who do not hold an official USCF chess rating, this section provides passionate players, who while not the most experienced, an opportunity to taste somewhat realistic tournament play. 
 
From past observation this is also the section that provides, the most, high-stakes, (there are trophies involved after all) in your face drama. Fortunes can be dashed by a simple back rank checkmate via rook, even while the losing opponent is up anywhere from two to seven queens. Stalemates can come unexpectedly even as there are twenty different mate-in-one moves on the board. Plus this is also the only section where the players can sometimes cry, which surely underlines why things can get really tense.
 
Praise, and promotion aside, this section is constantly filled with new players, as repeat contenders get older and pushed along into section two. 
 
This time around 45 Pee-Wee leaguers took part, and, an as yet unknown to me champion, by the name of Anagh Kulkarniemerged. This fellow won all of his games, and as the great emperor once said of young Anakin, “we shall watch your career with great progress.” Congratulations Anagh and here is to hoping you shall return like Luke did in the third episode of the Star Wars trilogy.
 
Moving right along to section two.
 
Basically the same as section one, section two is open only to un-rated (no official rating, etc.) players, but with the added twist of absolutely no age restriction, except for the fact that the participant still has to be in high school (this of course negates the point of saying there is “absolutely no age restriction” but I digress). 
 
Here the interest can be found in seeing, on occasion, but what a site when you do, a little precocious kindergartner wiping the black, and white, 64, tile floor, with a 12th grader. Nothing can be more discouraging to the moral of a high school goer then being up-ended by a chronologically challenged junior, and so I quite enjoy observing this section as well. 
 
The winner this time around was a Samuel Berrettini who also compiled a perfect score of four points. There were 43 competitors in this section and the one element I would be curious in studying is the varying age range of all of them and where they ended up in the final standings. 
 
Section three is the first of our two rated sections in the tournament. A United States Chess Federation ranking is required and well if you are here than you are serious in your quest of becoming a Morphy, or a Fischer, so you probably have one. There are four rounds, and there were 24 players all rated under 1200, which is the cutoff in this particular segment. 
 
There is not much one can say for section three, and four because this is where generally experienced players do not require any specific monitoring. Most know what to do, and this is where the tournament starts to take on character, with fewer blunders, and less confusion regarding the rules. Though it does happen it’s uncommon enough to not be entertaining. Also because the games are rated, proper notation is mandatory as it is in any rated games (at least as far as I know).
 
The winner here was an Ariel Shusterman, who by the looks of his picture, is an avid fan of eyeglasses just like me. Though I don’t know this young gentleman, he may well go on to do great things like become president of the United States (provided he was born here of course).
 
Finally, we come to the dreaded section four. I don’t know why it’s dreaded but I figured I would call it that just in case. You need to be 1600 or under to play here and technically players who qualify for section three may try their luck in this one, if they are searching for a bit more of a challenge. 
 
This is the section where I begin to recognize more and more familiar names, though that isn’t comforting when one of them is the fearsome black belt in karate Genry Krichevsky. The winner here was a young man by the name of Isaac Barayev who is again somebody I just do not know enough to write about. From the looks of him he seems normal enough and not like a calculating genius with a supercomputer in his head, but this may be the perfect ploy to fool would be higher rated challengers to assign over their ratings points in future games. Congratulations Isaac and remember the less people that know how good you are the easier it will be to con them into betting the deed to their house in a seemingly friendly game.
 
On that note, we conclude our short introductory review of the tournament, and await as yet newer adventures with newer twists and surprises. Until next time, guard your king, and remember if you are losing, it is never as good as when you are winning.