Deja Vu: Scopions 3.5 -- Blaze 0.5

Blaze Stung by Scorpions in Season Opener Again
In the short rivalry between the Chicago Blaze and the Arizona Scorpions, there really hasn’t been much of a rivalry at all. In fact, the “rivalry” can be summed up easily: they own us.
Aside from the fact that both teams joined the U.S. Chess League at the same time last year, there are few similarities between them, especially when they go head to head. The Blaze dropped both of their matches to Arizona last year, and last night the Scorpions’ streak against the Windy City squad went to three as they handed us our most lopsided defeat ever, 3.5-.5. For the second year in a row, the Blaze lost their opening match of the season to the same team.

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Blaze Season Kicks Off This Week

Chicago Blaze action begins at 8:00 Central time at the Holiday Inn Skokie 5300 West Touhy. Fans are welcome, so please come and cheer the team or follow them on the Internet Chess Club.

The pairings for this season’s first match, between the Chicago Blaze and the Arizona Scorpions, have been posted on the U.S. Chess League site. As the teams get ready for the opening salvos of their 2009 title quests, the Chicago Blaze finds itself underdogs vs. Arizona, and not for the first time.

Here’s the lineup, in which Arizona has a ratings advantage on every board:

  • Board 1 GM Alejandro Ramirez vs. GM Nikola Mitkov (Chicago)
  • Board 2 FM Florin Felecan (Chicago) vs IM Levon Altounian
  • Board 3 FM Robby Adamson vs. IM Mehmed Pasalic (Chicago)
  • Board 4 Trevor Magness (Chicago) vs. David Adelberg

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Robson Shines at 23rd NACA Event Scoring 2nd GM Norm

Ray Robson scored his second GM Norm at the recently completed 23rd NACA Event. He scored 7/9 5 wins and 4 draws going undefeated and taking home the first prize of $1500.

In 2nd place with 6.5/9 was GM Gior Kacheishvili followed by GM Mesgen Amanov and IM Michael Mulyar in a tie for third place on 6/9.

The event was a great success not only did Robson get his GM Norm but Molner also got his IM Norm with 4.5/9.

Robson is expected to get his final GM Norm at the Spice Cup next month. His USCF rating is expected to break the 2600 mark for the first time.

Another notable performance was by NM Erik Santarius of WI. He scored 5/9 with a win over local FM Albert Chow in the last round. Alexander Velikanov 2069 from WI didn't let the fact that he was the lowest rated player get him down he scored 4/9 only losing 2 games.

Final results are shown below. Congrats to all the players.

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NACA 23rd Invitational Under Way

The 23rd edition of the NACA Invitational Chess Tournament is under way at the Holiday Inn in Skokie.

Young Superstar player IM Ray Robson is leading the tournament with an impressive 3.5/4 which includes a win over strong GM Izoria.

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Illinois Players Bring Home US Open Bacon

As a group, Illinois players who participated in the recent U.S. Open tournament performed returned home not only with higher ratings but also with fatter wallets, collectively racking up almost $7,500 in prize money.  As previously reported here, local Chicago GM Dmitry Gurevich won the tournament, netting him over $2,800, and junior player Eric Rosen tied for first in the Expert class, earning his national master title, along with $1,359, a nice paycheck for a high school sophomore not quite old enough to drive.

But they weren't the state's only winners.  Two other Illinois high school sophomores, Stevenson’s Kent Cen and Buffalo Grove’s Matthew Wilbur, earned more than $1,100 each by scoring 5.5 points and tying for first place in the Class B section.  Wilbur was the Illinois player with the biggest rating gain, bulldozing through his higher-rated opponents and amassing a whopping 120 points (1837 to 1957) with  5.5 points that included wins against one master and three experts.  Cen also broke through the 1900 mark for the first time.  And Whitney Young 8th grader Sam Schmakel scored 6 points, tying for second place in the Class A section, garnering a $755 prize and reaching an all-time rating high of 1969.

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