A remarkable 105 players competed in the 2012 Statesville Open chess tournament, held June 22-24, 2012 at the Ramada hotel in Statesville NC. The tournament was organized and directed by Mike Williams, with assistance from his wife Andra and his sons Dawson and Matthew.
This year's Statesville Open would prove to be FULL of surprises. In all my pre-tournament planning, never had I anticipated that we would break 100 players, but this year's Statesville Open had 105 players! It wasn't quite a record (we had 117 players in 1996) but still an amazing turnout. There were players from 8 states and one foreign country. What a great surprise that not only could we pay the full prize fund but that we could INCREASE it significantly! We awarded a final prize fund of $4,150 compared to the original projection of $3,300.
Another surprise was the status of the hotel renovations. Our playing site at the Ramada was in process of upgrading the interior lobby. Unpainted drywall, a rough concrete floor, and unwrapped pallets of ceramic tile greeted the players as they entered the hotel, and might have led to a fleeting reaction of "what the...?" But the playing hall and skittles area were both in great shape, having recently been repainted. And as most people reading this article can attest, we chessplayers spend 90% of our time in the playing area anyhow. It's doubtful that even a zombie apocalypse in the hotel lobby would have impacted games in progress. (You know I'm right.)
Once again this year we had plenty of raffle prizes to give away. But a surprise, made possible by the strong attendance, was awarding additional cash raffle prizes of $25 and $50. I love being able to do extra for my players.
Another surprise was being able to use a DGT e-board to display the game from Board 1 on a projection screen. My thanks go out to Gary Newsom and the NCCA for lending us the equipment to make this possible.
Now for the results:
In the Open Section, Peter Bereolos from Knoxville TN and Shawn Pealer from Charlotte tied for first place with a score of 4.0/5. They were paired in the final round, Bereolos having the white pieces, but Pealer held fast and forced a queen trade to equalize, and they agreed to a draw. They each received $450. Bereolos won the trophy on tiebreak, but we'll have to ship it to him -- he had to leave before all the games were settled! Pealer, meanwhile, was thrilled to have played on Board 1 not just once but twice during the weekend! It was refreshing to see Shawn's enthusiasm as he asked me to take a photo of him on Board 1 with his iPhone, as he confessed "I've never been on Board 1 before".
In the Amateur Section, friends Kevin Tie and Austin Liu tied for first place with 4.0/5 and won $375 each for their efforts. Like the section above them, they too were paired against each other in the final round. Despite leading the rest of the pack by a full point, their encounter was no quick grandmaster draw... they battled for quite a long time before the game was finally drawn. Their "chauffeur" Walter High was quite proud of his two passengers. Kevin Tie won the trophy on tiebreak.
In the Booster Section, Russell Stinson from Indiana and Kenneth Deel from West Virginia were co-champions, both scoring 4.5/5 and collecting $375 each. Stinson took home the trophy on tiebreak. Here too, these top two finishers were paired in the final round and the result was a draw.
I want to say THANK YOU to all of the players who competed and to the families who accompanied them (especially the families of the scholastic players). Without your participation, the Statesville Open would not be a success. Also I thank the Ramada staff for making the event a success, and also for the surprise free pizzas they provided to the players on Sunday afternoon between Rounds 4 and 5. That was a nice touch.
Note: Photos and games will be up soon.
I hope all of you feel as I do, that the Statesville Open is a special tournament where the players come first. That's my goal as a TD and organizer: to ensure that everyone has an enjoyable weekend, that the playing conditions are good, the prize fund is fair, the entry fee and hotel are affordable, and there's a chance for everyone to win something. Hope to see you again next year!
Slideshow from the 2012 Statesville Open
Queen Endgame Time Scramble from Round 1:
Matt Helfst [W] vs. Henry White [B]