Our second monthly Friday Night Action tournament at the Bryn Mawr Community Center was a great success, with 28 players (up from 18 the previous month!) competing. We had players fromÂ across the chess spectrum, from James Strommer, an unrated elementary school student, up through 2560-rated IM Bryan Smith. The winners of the tournament were FM Rodion Rubenchik and the Pennsylvania State Champion, NM Peter Minear. Rubenchik and Minear had a quiet last-round draw to secure the joint victory.
Finishing in 3rd-7th place with scores of 3-1 were IM Smith, who was upset by Minear in a 3rd-round time scramble, Expert Joe Mucerino, Larry Saxby, Frank Jackson, and Richard Neal.
Most of the scholastic field was made up of players from Wyomissing High School and Springton Manor Elementary - many of these students got great experience playing against strong adult players, and it should serve them well at the upcoming state championship.
A unique aspect of the Friday Night Action tournaments is that there are no sections - thus, almost any matchup of players is theoretically possible. One of the most unlikely games in recent memory took place on second board in the third round. The top three seeds, Smith, Rubenchik, and Minear, all had 2-0 scores, but they were joined by 124-rated Nathan Shaffer of Wyomissing High School, playing in just his fifth tournament ever. Nathan defeated two higher-rated opponents in the early rounds, earning a third-round game with Rubenchik on board two.Â As far as this Tournament Director knows, no game between players this far apart in rating has ever been contested, as they clocked in with a whopping 2220-point differential. According to the USCF's rating formula, this gave Nathan less than a 0.0003% chance to win the game. Would he be able to pull off the upset of the century? (See below for the game.)
(IM Bryan Smith, left, takes on NM Peter MInear in their third-round game)
Â (In the picture: Rubenchik, top left, takes on Shaffer, while Jonathan Wu, bottom left, battles Daniel Weissbarth)
White: Nathan Shaffer (124)
Black: FM Rodion Rubenchik (2344)
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