Often, in this consumeristic society, we don’t stop to realize how much organization and hard work there is in providing what seems to be a simple tournament. Dr. Fun Fong arrived at the hotel around 3:30 p.m. to unload his minivan full of materials and then worked relentlessly for hours in order to connect computers and printers and set up the chessboards and tournament hall in order to make this wonderful tournament a pleasant experience for all families and players. I’m really grateful for the hard working people from the Georgia Chess Association who give the time they could spend with their families and friends in order to organize wonderful competitions like this tournament.
This tournament was special to me for two reasons: the first was due to Mr. Chacha DeJava, who came from North Carolina to show us the new technology that he invented with a friend and his team of programmers to give chess players an alternative method to record the moves of the games. The new technology is not based on the familiar DGT board, but on a webcam connected to a computer, which recognizes the moves and converts them into the PGN format. At the moment this technology is still in formation and it is definitely improving as we speak, but it could be the next technological breakthrough, which could make recording of all games at chess tournament a very cheap investment for organizers. Of course, we must never forget to thank Dr. Fun Fong who made all of this possible, since the tablets used for recording the games, as well as Mr. Chacha’s appearance, were Dr. Fun Fong’s personal investment.
The second reason why this tournament is special is the format! Seven rounds! Often enough in a five round tournament it comes down to the last fifth round as to the decision of who wins a prize and who loses; however, seven rounds provide an opportunity for a player to recover.
Additionally, I also loved the opportunity to play against strong players, like Damir Studen, who has made his first IM norm and is also working full time as a chess coach and teacher. I also played against Grant Oen, who owns and directs tournaments for Southeast Chess and is also the manager of the online chess team, the Atlanta Kings.
I must admit this format can be tiring. By the last evening, my opponent and I agreed on a draw, primarily out of exhaustion. Chess is a very hard sport and requires the maximum amount of energy and focus at all times.
The tournament was a big success and had 98 participants. IM Ron Burnett, who was obviously not weary coming off of the Millionaire tournament the weekend prior in Vegas, won the tournament. The last round was particularly exciting, with Burnett needing a win against the veteran Mr. Alan Piper, and he did so in a wonderful game, which can be seen at the end of this article. Damir Studen finished in second place with Reece Thompson placing third.
As a last note, the performance of Samhitha Dasair was particularly amazing, gaining 140 ELO points in this tournament!
Here is a sampling of some of my favorite games from this great tournament!
Davide Nastasio is a novel chess aficionado, who has made of chess his spiritual tool of improvement and self-discovery. One of his favorite quotes is from the great Paul Keres: “Nobody is born a master. The way to mastery leads to the desired goal only after long years of learning, of struggle, of rejoicing, and of disappointment…” He has contributed previously to Georgia Chess Magazine in 2013 and is now a contributing writer in this new exciting media format.