April 23, 2011 – U.S. Championship Trip 2011

On April 23rd, 2011, six of us from the club went down for the second year running to watch a day of the U.S. Championships in person.

This is a larger-than-normal photo essay, so the pictures are behind the cut…

 

(Click on any picture below for a full-resolution picture.  Apologies for the lack of focus on some pictures, taken a best as one could without flash.)

It was a greyish, somewhat rainy Saturday at first.  We gathered at the club at 8:30 to head down to the Gateway City.

 

Waiting for our ride in Chess Style

Waiting for our ride in Chess Style

A 3 hour car ride later and we find ourselves at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis.

We're not in Kansas anymore...  OK, we were never in Kansas, but we're definitely at the CCSCSL.

We're not in Kansas anymore... OK, we were never in Kansas, but we're definitely at the CCSCSL.

Even outside the club there are interesting things to see…

Not sure what this is, but some of our members found out!

Not sure what this is, but some of our members found out!

We went inside and paid the day fee.  The hospitality of the CCSCSL has to be experienced to be communicated.

Chris Morgan, Joseph Alford, Darren Erickson, Dennis Bourgerie, Garrett Scott, Michael Boyle

Chris Morgan, Joseph Alford, Darren Erickson, Dennis Bourgerie, Garrett Scott, Michael Boyle

We took some time to look around as things were being set up.  I took the time to go up to the playing floor and look at where the play would occur.

 

Ready for a Championship Round, Just Add Players

Ready for a Championship Round, Just Add Players

Ready for a fierce contest to begin!

Ready for a fierce contest to begin!

Shall we Play a Game?

Shall we Play a Game?

Then it was off to lunch at the Pi Pizzeria.

 

Time to Eata Beta Pi

Time to Eata Beta Pi

I think the general consensus was that we would heartily recommend, if you’re at the Gateway to the West, that one consider consuming Pi:

A yummy and hearty lunch is essential for chess spectating!

A yummy and hearty lunch is essential for chess spectating!

Back to the Chess Center, where round one of the Semifinals was already underway.  (Unfortunately, we arrived two minutes late for taking pictures of the players at their boards.)  So it was downstairs to the analysis room where Maurice Ashley and Jennifer Shahade were already commenting on the action.

Inside the commentary room.

Dennis and Michael observe the commentary.

GM Maurice Ashley and WGM Jennifer Shahade Giving us Play-By-Play and Color

GM Maurice Ashley and WGM Jennifer Shahade Giving us Play-by-Play and Color

The players already had their opening books set, and most of the games had already reached to around move 10.

After watching the analysis for awhile, Michael Boyle and I both figured that we were at our saturation point.  So we decided to step outside for a little fresh and cool air.  And, when outside at the CCSCSL, one might as well play some chess:

 

Game?”]Shall we Play an (actual) Game?

Shall we Play an (actual) Game?

(Note that we were playing right in front of one of the repeater screens and could still follow what was happening on the playing floor…  😉 )

The afternoon kept on going with the six of us observing the commentary, being on the playing floor, and some of us got to meet (and be tongue-tied with) personal heroes of ours:

 

Darren Erickson gets to shake hands with GM Yasser Seirawan

Darren Erickson gets to shake hands with GM Yasser Seirawan

Analysis continues.  The room was lively, with Masters and GMs chatting and offering suggestions to Maurice and Jennifer.  Also, called up to give commentary is the Resident Grandmaster of the CCSCSL, GM Ben Finegold:

GM Finegold with GM Ashley and WGM Shahade

GM Finegold with GM Ashley and WGM Shahade

The games were all lively and interesting, and another interesting element was that within the space of a half hour or so all of the games reached results.  One really cool thing that occurs is that after all the games, players come down to the analysis room and share what occurred during their games.  The club got into a little traffic jam with all the games finishing close to each other, but we got to see the players live and in person:

 

GM Yury Shulman just after play.

GM Yury Shulman just after play.

IM Sam Shankland right after play.

IM Sam Shankland right after play.

IM Anna Zatonskih comments on her victory.

IM Anna Zatonskih comments on her victory.

GM Gata Kamsky and GM Robert Hess discuss their draw.

GM Gata Kamsky and GM Robert Hess discuss their draw.

WGM Camilla Baginskaite comments on her win.

WGM Camilla Baginskaite comments on her win.

And then, with all the games done, we did hang around a little while longer for more chess action:

GM Ben Finegold and Dennis Bourgerie

GM Ben Finegold and Dennis Bourgerie

Michael Boyle gets a last game in.

Michael Boyle gets a last game in.

Dennis Bourgerie, Joseph Alford, and Chris Morgan

Dennis and Chris make some last purchases while Joe looks on.

But then it was time to head out:

The sad part - time to go!

The sad part - time to go!

And then we were in the car heading back to Bloomington.

The happy part:  Garrett Scott drives us to our next Chess Adventure!

The happy part: Garrett Scott drives us to our next Chess Adventure!

Thank you St. Louis and the CCSCSL!  See you again!

Thank you St. Louis and the CCSCSL! See you again!

A good time was had by all!

2 Responses to “April 23, 2011 – U.S. Championship Trip 2011”

  1. Dennis Bourgerie says:

    The St. Louis Chess Club has an outstanding selection of books and videos. I have been there twice and each time there I got the best chess book that I purchased that year. Plus, how many chess clubs have fresh flowers in the bathrooms? Going with friends made for an outstanding experience. Just a personal note—I played in the U. S. Open in 1975 in Lincoln, Nebraska and Yasser Seirawan was 15 years old and also participated. Yasser finished close to the top—(Pal Benko might have taken first place)— I think that that tounament was Yasser’s first high finish in a national tournament and brought him to U. S. Chess prominence. Joel Benjamin also played in that tournament—he was 9 years old and had a rating of around 1950. I had an even score.

  2. Dennis Bourgerie says:

    Yes, in the 1975 U. S. Open Yasser Seirawan (then 15) and Joel Benjamin (then 9) participated. Pal Benko and William Lombardy won that year. 10 years later, (1985) the U. S. Open co-winners were Yasser Seirawan, Joel Benjamin and Boris Spassky.