Over the Board Tournament Chess at ICA is "Back to Life!"

Updated: Jan 11

By Jonathan Freiberger The 10 Section quad-tournament held at International Chess Academy (ICA), Glen Rock, on November 20, 2021 marked the return of in-person tournament chess to our area after the current pandemic put a serious crimp, not only on competition for local players and clubs, but also for participants in the World of Professional Chess.

The last Candidates Tournament held to determine the next challenger to FIDE World Champion, Magnus Carlsen commenced in 2020, but was suspended on March 26, 2020. It did not resume until April 19, 2021, due to concerns over the mounting coronavirus health crisis. Russian Federation’s Ian Nepomniatchchi ultimately won the honor, but he himself famously declined the offer of a friendly handshake from former World Champion and all-time chess-great Anatoly Karpov, due to health concerns.

The pandemic has had a no less deleterious impact on local chess tournaments and lessons. Many lessons had to be held virtually via Skype and Zoom. Some tournaments, including one organized between America’s International Chess Academy, and headed by the redoubtable Diana Tulman, ICA Director -- against the well-known Grandmaster, chess writer and teacher, Alex Barburin and the students of his Chess School of Dublin, Ireland -- was held via the internet, where COVID-19 and variants were not an issue.

The New Jersey/Dublin match was played by students with a wide range of skill-levels and was resoundingly won by our own, ICA students. Several of the games during the tournament were annotated by Grandmasters and were featured in an article written by ICA’s Nicholas Katz which appeared in Issue 21 of American Chess Magazine.

The hunger for over-the-board chess has persisted – nothing can replace the feel of chess pieces in one’s hands, nor the excitement and tension, not to mention the camaraderie of meeting your opponent face-to-face over the chessboard. So, the recent November 20, 10-Section Quad, held at the home branch of ICA, which marked our return to over-the-board chess was, despite the slightly surreal aspect of everybody wearing surgical masks, a very big deal!

As one tournament director expressed, “I am extremely happy that we are able to do this in-person again, because with online tournaments, unfortunately, some people can't stop themselves from cheating, and that's not what's happening here. And, we have forty participants, which is just great for our first time back!

That first, of many to come onsite chess tournaments since early 2020 was considered a great success by all the participants, directors, and members of the ICA staff.

Check out our complete 2022 schedule of tournaments, posted here. Register to play! We look forward to seeing you in-person!

Here are the results of the November 20, 10-Section Quad at ICA Glen Rock:

Section 1 was won by Ilya Asulin (1779) with a perfect score of 3.0.

Section 2 was won by the bright young star Sujia Dia (1379) who is poised to be ranked the number one 7-year-old in the country!

Other quad winners were Mark Kogan (3.0), David Mo (2.0), Christopher Corcoran (3.0), James Chen (2.5) who split first-place with Maana Chinni (2.5), and Section 7 and 8 winners Juno C Moo (3.0) and Yuxin Wu (2.5).

Section 9 was topped by Owen Browen with a perfect score, as was Section 10 by currently unrated Samuel Shapiro.

All winners received cash prizes.

Posted report: https://www.icanj.net/allresults.php?rid=1200

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