After fourteen years, the Statesville Open is back! And hopefully it's here to stay!
The weekend of June 17-19, 2011 the Statesville Open made its triumphant return to the chess scene in North Carolina. 63 players competed in this 5-round tournament in three sections: Open; Amateur (Under 1800); and Booster (Under 1400). The tournament was held at the Ramada Inn at I-77 Exit 49-A in Statesville.
Where else but Statesville can you be "up material" before pushing your first pawn? In keeping with Statesville tradition, numerous raffle prizes were awarded at the start of Round 1 (both Friday night and Saturday morning) and again before Round 2. Magnetic chess sets and gift cards were welcomed by the lucky players whose tickets were drawn.
After that, it was down to business.
In the Open Section, Wayne Christensen and Russell Potter tied for first place with 4.0/5, winning $296.50 each. Christensen, the #3 seed, was undefeated winning 3 and drawing 2 of his games. However top-seeded Potter faced difficulty early on, re-entering the tournament with a half-point bye after losing to Matt Helfst in Round 1 on Friday night. Potter then played rock solid chess with three wins and a draw. Christensen won the championship trophy on tiebreak. Early upsets were a common theme, with Dominique Myers defeating #2 seed Klaus Pohl in their Round 1 matchup. As a result, no master won a first round game!
In the Amateur Section, Tom Hales, Richard White, and Eugene Davenport shared first place with 4.0/5, winning $182.33 each. Hales won the championship trophy on tiebreak. Davenport took advantage of re-entry to play Round 1 over on Saturday morning, and it paid off as he went 4-1 to catch Hales and White who had a peaceful Round 5 draw.
In the Booster Section, scholastic players dominated the field. Tied for first place with 4.0/5 were Advait Patel, Derek Chen, and Daniel Cremisi, all scholastic players. They each won $182.33 for their excellent results. Patel won the trophy on tiebreak.
One of my most important jobs as organizer is to optimize the comfort and enjoyment of the players. In bringing back this tournament I wanted to find a site that was comfortable, well-lit, quiet and safe, with a reasonable room rate. The Ramada made us an "offer we couldn't refuse" with $59 player room rates including free hot breakfast buffet and reasonable room rental costs. My compliments to the Ramada staff who were attentive to our needs and very helpful throughout the weekend. It is my hope that we will be able to negotiate a contract to have this tournament again at this site in 2012.
I want to personally thank my wife Andra Williams for organizing the concession stand during the tournament (and for being generally tolerant of me while obsessing over the execution of the tournament!); Ramada office manager Tracy Brown and event coordinator Martha for their assistance with scheduling and site setup; and all the players who attended for making the 2011 Statesville Open a success!