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2016 Idaho Closed State Championship
(February 13-15, Twin Falls, ID)

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L-R: Jeffrey Roland, FM David Lucky. Photo credit: Adam Porth.

Tournament Report

By Jeffrey Roland

The 2016 Idaho Closed State Chess Championship was held in Twin Falls, Idaho at the Shilo Inn over the February 13-15, 2016 President's Day weekend. Thirty-six players plus one local house player (who played only one game) were in attendance.

Anyone can become state champion!

Idaho is a little bit different than Oregon and Washington in that there are no qualifying events to be able to play in the state championship event. It is open to all with only one restriction, you must live in Idaho. Of course, you must also pay the entry fee, be a current member of US Chess, and be a current member of the ICA, but otherwise, it's open to everyone. Thus each year, anyone can become the Idaho State Chess Champion if one enters and wins the tournament. The event is a six-round Swiss System with one half-point bye available in rounds one through five.

Complete Prize List

David Lucky (Eagle, 2381) won first place overall and the title of Idaho State Chess Champion for the second year in a row with a perfect score of 6.0/6 points.

Nicholas B. Hawkins (Boise, 1749) earned second place with 5.0/6.

James Inman (Nampa, 1762) was third with a score of 4.5/6 points.

Lloyd Landon (Idaho Falls, 1842) took first place Class A with 4.0/6 points.

Jarod N. Buus (Nampa, 1720) picked up first place Class B with 4.0/6.

Jeffrey T. Roland (Boise, 1782) captured second place Class B with 4.0/6 points.

Jacob Ari Nathan (Idaho Falls, 1548) received first place Class C with 4.0/6 points.

Wesley Nyblade (Heyburn, 1474) snagged second place Class C with 3.5/6.

Adam Porth (Bellevue, 1337) earned first place Class D with 3.0/6 points.

Wesley Nyblade III (Heyburn, 1217) took second place Class D with 3.0/6 points.

Temiloluwa Aderogba (Eagle, 1122) finished first place Class E with 2.5/6 points. (Note that Class E class includes all classes below that too, but does not include unrated).

Darwin Albert Porth (Bellevue, 463) was second place Class E with 2.5/6 points.

Samir Saltaga (Twin Falls, Unrated) snatched first place Unrated with 2.5/6 points.

John Carr (Victor, 1740) grabbed Top Senior with 4.0/6 points.

Savanna Naccarato (Sandpoint, 1699) secured Top Woman with 4.0/6 points.

Carmen Pemsler (Eagle, 1693) picked up Top Junior with 3.0/6 points.

Tournament Directors

Barry Eacker (Twin Falls) was originally slated to be Chief Tournament Director at this year's event, but at the last minute, only about four hours before I was leaving Boise for the event, Barry informed me that he was not able to do it due to complications from his shoulder surgery.

So I stepped up to the plate and took this on as Chief Tournament Director, with Jay Simonson as my right-hand-man (or Chief Assistant TD). Adam Porth and Alise Pemsler (Eagle) were also Assistant TD's.

We had some interesting printer issues. For the first round, we had no printer (our assumption that you could just plug it into the USB drive proved to be false). Then we got the "Glen Buckendorf" laptop computer which did work with the printer for round two. This worked until the printer ran out of ink! Once we got ink for it, we spent the wee hours of the night after the fourth round and after installing a new print cartridge to make the round five pairings and after what seemed like almost a half-hour of it "doing something", instead of spitting out the round five pairings, a picture of two pairs came out! Really!!! So we posted that and said, "Here are the pairings!" And then, we basically ran the tournament without print-outs having players read from the screen to get their pairings. It is easy to take for granted, but print-outs on the wall are very nice to have at tournaments.

18-time State Champion Larry Parsons missing

Since the US Chess records online histories are shown (1992 forward), Larry Parsons has played in every Idaho Closed State Championship from 1992 forward except for 2004 and now 2016. We do not know why he didn't make it in 2004, nor why he didn't make it this year, but Larry Parsons was definitely missed. Larry also usually played in the Idaho Closed before the US Chess online records show. The bottom line is that Larry Parsons and the Idaho Closed really go together in the annals of Idaho Chess history.

Girls! Girls! Girls!

Six women participated in this year's event. While we haven't tracked this number in the past, it is plainly obvious that this is an all-time record high and we welcome the power of women in our state championship. Congratulations to Savanna Naccarato (Sandpoint), Carmen Pemsler (Eagle), Christine M. Smith (Meridian), Temiloluwa Aderogba (Eagle), Dylan Porth (Bellevue), Chanisara Tongsiri (Bellevue), and to Alise Pemsler (Eagle), who didn't play herself this time, but who was present and encouraged the girls to play! So, the bar has been set. Next year, let's get seven or more!

Was this the best-ever Idaho Closed yet?

The answer is yes!! But that is always the answer in my opinion. "Now" is always the best time for anything. There is no time like the present, and this year's Idaho Closed produced some fantastic games and some great memories and moments. It is not enough to play once (and even win the title) and then never again. In order to get the most out of chess (and life too for that matter), one must keep playing always, keep going in there and participating. Each game, each player, each moment is special and ours to enjoy, but only if we do.

The final moments of the 2001 Idaho Closed State Championship featured that marvelous game between Glen Buckendorf, Jr. and Garrett Reynolds in the last round and on top board. Those who witness this game will never forget it. It was truly amazing. Glen won a difficult R+B vs. R ending on the 50th move of the insufficient losing chances claim made by Reynolds (and twice Glen forgot to hit his clock, letting precious seconds evaporate, with Garrett having something like nine seconds with a five-second delay). Then Glen became Idaho State Champion with a span of 50 years (1951-2001) between his first and his last time of achieving it. This is probably the largest span of years between championship titles ever in any state. Moments like this have to be experienced first-hand and the only way to do that is to go to the events and play!

This year, there were some great moments too, like the David Lucky vs. Nicholas Hawkins game (annotated later in this issue by Nicholas Hawkins). And of course there were many great moments in this year's event. Idaho's best chess players (and "not-so-best" chess players) were primed and ready to "play the game!"

It definitely "felt" to me like this was the best-ever Idaho Closed State Chess Championship. Maybe in fact it was, or maybe it was just because of the "now is the time" effect mentioned above, but one thing seems certain, that next year's event has great promise to be the best-ever event again too because it is likely that everyone (or close to it) who played this year wants to come back and do it again next year. Those who play will have a chance to experience what for themselves what will likely be the best-ever event at that time. It is this miracle of truth that keeps me coming back for more and organizing more events for Idaho.

Twin Falls is the spot!

It is usually debated each year where to have the State Championship. Two cities always come into the discussion, Boise and Twin Falls. Some like the alternating approach (which I actually came up with for the first time back in the 1980's when I was President then... it was a new idea then), but now I feel it is best to have the event in Twin Falls every year. Here's part of the reason why.

Not counting the local house player, Aleksandr Vereshchagin from Twin Falls, the 36 players of this year's event's home cities breaks down as follows: Bellevue (5), Boise, (5), Caldwell (1), Coeur d'Alene (1), Eagle (3), Filer (2), Hansen (1), Heyburn (2), Idaho Falls (3), Meridian (4), Mountain Home (1), Nampa (2), Pocatello (2), Sandpoint (1), Twin Falls (2), Victor (1). It is a little over 120 miles from Twin Falls to Boise, and Twin Falls is basically right smack in the middle of the lower part of Idaho.

The event seems very balanced and getting players from all over the state, so it makes sense for us to hold the State Championship in Twin Falls. In fact, I have already signed the contracts and committed the ICA to play the 2017 Idaho Closed in Twin Falls over the February 18-20, 2017 President's Day weekend, so Idaho players should start now to plan to play in it. For the first time in many years, nobody even questioned the wisdom of the event being held in Twin Falls. It was clearly the right spot.

Annual Business Meeting

There will eventually be minutes to explain the details of what happened in this year's Annual Business Meeting. But I can at least announce the election results now.

Four Trustee positions were up for election and here are the results. Terms of office will commence March 31, 2016:

Kevin Patterson, Trustee for Web Development and Maintenance

Jamie Lang, Trustee for Tournament Organization

Barry Eacker, Trustee for Tournament Organization

Alise Pemsler, Trustee for Scholastic Development

Craig Barrett (Boise) retires from the board after many years serving as Trustee for Scholastic Development. His term expires on March 30, 2016. Craig has done a fantastic job putting on these Scholastic tournaments for years. It is no small task to produce a Scholastic Championship tournament (or even the Triple Crown) and to maintain the cool clear thinking necessary to deal with the issues and pressures that come up. I am forever grateful for the many years (countless years) he has given to the Idaho Scholastic chess program. He will be greatly missed. And I personally don't possess the words necessary to express my thanks to him, but I know what I feel.

The other three officers are Jeffrey Roland, President; Adam Porth, Vice President; and Jay Simonson, Secretary/Treasurer which were not up for election this year, but will be up for election at the 2017 Annual Business Meeting.

Northwest Chess Blog Report by Jeffrey Roland