Send In The Clones Report

3:41pm Monday, May 15th, 2017

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I was glad to see several new players at this tournament. Naturally, I did some arm twisting for DCC attendance :-)

Without question, the Clone tournaments are something different. Kevin Seidler's idea is probably unique in the history of chess. Quoting Brian Wall, "The tournament started on a whim from Kevin Seidler, just an idle thought, but Chris Peterson and I instantly saw the value. Of course, now Clone Wars is a trending international wave."

Most of the players standing up, ready to move to their other clone game. Brian looking to see what Gunner is going to play. 

I was there at the DCC when Kevin first mentioned, as Brian says, his idle thought and it's true that Brian and Chris were immediately enchanted with the idea. They worked out the details and we have had 3 Clone Wars tournaments so far. The beauty of it is you can play just as you would in any tournament with one game each round. Or clone yourself once or twice and play 2 or 3 games each round. More bang for your buck. More strain on your brain too :-)

I was a little disappointed that there were only 14 registrations this time, but 8 entries played with 2 clones and the other 6 played just as their self. So in effect, we had a 30 player tournament, Unfortunately some players could not  play every round, making things difficult for Tim Brennan, the Tournament Director. To his credit, not only did Mr. Brennan not take a TD fee, he handled all the pairing problems and the calculation of the "humble pie" prizes, seemingly with ease. 

Neil Bhavikatti checking out the games and making sure his hair is in place :-) In the back on the left, Scott Roberts is recording his move. On the right his son, Ayden, is leaning on the table.

I am thinking the low registration may have been due to players feeling that 4, G/60; inc30, games in one day is too much. It does make for a long hard day with each round usually lasting more than 3 hours. Keep in mind if you are playing with 2 clones that's 3 games each round. 12 serious games in one day is grueling. Also, the location at the American Mountaineering Center in Golden was fine, but maybe a little out of the way for most players.

I would like to see the Clone tournaments be 6 rounds over two days. Three rounds a day would still be a long day but at least we could work in a lunch break. Maybe also a flat entry fee regardless of whether a player is playing with or without clones. I thought the entry price for two clones was way too high for a one-day tournament. Along these lines, we would like to hear suggestions, comments, or criticism regarding the Clone Tournament idea.

Brian Wall playing Black against Nikhilesh Kunche. One or both may be a clone :-)

I was glad to see several new players at this tournament. Naturally, I did some arm twisting for DCC attendance :-) Nikhilesh Kunche, has recently moved to the Denver area from West Virginia. With his USCF rating of 2338, he is a welcome addition to Colorado chess. Scott and Ayden Roberts are father and son provisionally rated players from Longmont. I told them it's not that far to the DCC :-) Hristo Arabadjiev's grandson was having a birthday party at the park adjacent to the tournament site, so Mr. Arabadjiev took the opportunity to play in the Send in the Clones Tournament. Matt Hernandez, and significant other, Chantelle Field, are also new to the Colorado chess scene. They have a cute baby that is not quite yet old enough to play :-)

Another cool part of the Clone tournaments is the "humble pie" prize payout system. All players win money based on their score. Only a zero score means no prize money. Your clones win just as much as your self. The combined score determines how much you win. The nice part is you don't have to share the money with your clones :-)

For these tournaments, a draw has a value of "x" and a win is "3x". There is math involved in calculating "x" so I am not going into that and will just leave it all to Tim :-) But it means that players could have the same score, but one could win more money. For instance, a W/D/L score is better than D/D/D. For this tournament, after all expenses were deducted from the entry fees, the prize fund was only 315 dollars making "x" = $2.03 and "3x" = $6.10. It doesn't take much figuring to realize players might not even win their entry fee back, or at best break even. Last year we had a free site and more entries, so that prize fund was not so bad. Again, we welcome comments, suggestions or criticism regarding this tournament.

Gunnar Andersen and Mr. Kunche deep in thought 

If I am remembering right, Gunnar Andersen was last year's top scorer, but Brian Wall won more money. Go figure :-) This year Mr. Andersen and his clones take the top score and they win the most money. A whopping 52 dollars and 85 cents. Gunnar was undefeated with a final combined score of 7 wins and 5 draws. Brian and his clones had 6 wins and 5 draws. Mr. Wall only lost one game to Nikhilesh Kunche in round 3. Mr. Kunche and his clones finished in 3rd place with 6 wins and 3 draws. He (or his clones) lost one game to Gunner and twice to Brian. 

Tim Brennan playing Black against Matt Hernandez. Barry Robinovich in the background. 

Tied for 4th place was Matt Hernandez and Tim Brennan. They each finished with 5 wins and 1 draw. Mr. Hernandez and his clones may have had a better score if he had not got a brutal last round pairing. He had to play Gunnar, Brian, and Nikhilesh. With all of these opponents rated at least 250 points higher, with the black pieces in two of the games, and after already having played nine games in the first 3 rounds. A hard row to hoe.

Mr. Brennan and his clones may also have had a better score if they had been able to play all 12 of their games. Due to his TD duties and players taking byes he was only able to play 10 games. I want to thank Tim for running this tournament the last two years. As you can imagine, directing a Clone tournament is much more difficult than a regular run of the mill tournament. Getting the pairings right and calculating the prizes for each player is no easy job. Thank you very much, Mr. Brennan.

Vibi Varghese playing White on his way to drawing a game against Mr. Wall

Scott Roberts and his clones played well to score 4 wins and 2 draws. His son, Ayden, also playing with 2 clones finished with one win. To his credit, he is new to tournament chess, playing 3 games at once against much higher rated players and he was putting up a fight all day. Hristo Arabadjiev, also provisionally rated, with 2 clones scored 2 wins. You have to admire these inexperienced players being willing to jump in and play 3 games at once against strong experienced players.

DuWayne and Rhett Langseth. Father and son analyzing a game.

Makes me dizzy just thinking about playing 3 games at once with the clock always running on all three boards. So I along with Rhett Langseth, Barry Rabinovich, Chantelle Field, Vibi Varghese, and Neil Bhavikatti all played solo. Rhett was the best of us. He finished with 2.5 points, highlighted by a last round draw against Gunnar. Neil only played in the 2nd and 3rd round and did not score. The rest of us scored 2 points. Chantelle won the 2 games she played. Vibi was pleased to hold both Brian and Nikhilesh to draws. Barry lost a possibly drawn endgame to Rhett. I should have won my 2nd round game with Mr. Hernandez but these damn Experts just won't roll over. They just keep finding moves that give you a way to go wrong, and sure enough.... :-( 

In this position Vibi Varghese has the White pieces and Mr. Wall is realizing that winning may not be so easy. See a diagram below for the position 20 or so moves later.

Here is the diagram referred to in the last picture above:

8/8/8/3k4/8/1R5r/1K6/8 b - - 68 135

Varghese vs. Wall - Black to move - White has just took Black's last pawn with 68.Rxb3. We were all surprised when Brian only played on for another 7 moves before accepting the draw. Mr. Wall was "livid" after this round 3 game, and went on a tear in round 4. Winning against Matt Hernandez and winning twice against Nikhilesh Kunche. Don't wake up a sleeping bear :-)

r2q1rk1/pp2ppbp/6p1/2PP4/2p1P3/P1Nb1N1P/1P4P1/2RQ1RK1 b - - 18 35

Kunche vs. Wall - Black to move after 18.e4 - Mr. Kunche had offered a draw a few moves prior to this position. Brian's comment, "... but the disappointments of Round 3 had turned me into a raging bull." Here Mr. Wall played 18... Qa5 and when on to win with style. Gunnar Andersen thought this was Brian's best game from the tournament.   

r3k2r/p1q2ppp/2pp1b1B/4n3/4P3/1PN3QP/1PP3P1/R4RK1 - 0-1 

Kunche vs. Wall - Black to move - Nikhilesh showed me this position from memory long after the game was over!! After 17...Ng6 18. Rxf6 gxf6 19. Bg7 0-0-0 20. Bxf6 Re8 21. Bxd8 Rxd8 he causally shrugged and said "extra pawn". Implying that was all he needed. 20 moves later.... 1-0 

4r2k/1pN1bppp/p1bQ4/4p1P1/7P/6q1/PPPR4/1K1R4 - 1-0

Andersen vs. Kunche - White to move - Black has just played ...Be7 - Can you see the combination that Gunnar played to reach the following  position? (only scroll to the bottom of the diagram to avoid seeing the moves)

6R1/1p3pkp/p4Np1/4p1P1/7P/6q1/PPP5/1K1R4 - 1-0

From the above diagram, the moves played to reach this position were: 1. Qxe7!! Rxe7 2. Rd8 Be8 3. Ne8 g6 (forced) 4.Nf6 Re8 5. Rxe8 Kg7  6. Rg8# The beauty of the combination is if 2... Re8 3. Ne8 and g6 is still forced. 

1k6/5R2/3N4/1p6/p2n4/P7/KP6/2r5 w - - 43 86

Andersen vs, Kunche - White to move - Black has just played 43... Rc1 and  44...Nb3 is a big threat. What would you as White's 44th move? See how Mr. Andersen handled the problem at A great game to play over. 

6r1/pp1kb3/8/3bq3/2p4p/1P3Q2/P1B2RP1/7K w - - 34 68

Kunche vs. Wall - Final position. White resigns - A Ruy Lopez game where Brian says Mr. Kunche is lost after 5 moves. Judge for yourself...

4r2k/7p/P1N5/3r4/8/2R1pp2/7P/R4K2 w 0 1

MacNeil vs. Hernandez - White to move - Black's last move was ...f3. I had won a piece early in the game and was all pleased with myself. In this position I started to play 1. Rxe3 and if ,,,Rxe3 2. a7 Re8 3, a8Q and I get the Rook back. I failed to see I could play 3. Nb8 and Queen the pawn the next move to just be completely winning. So instead I played the "better" move 1. Ke1 Mr Hernandez played ...e2 2. a7 Rd1+3.Rxd1 f2!! and I had to resign. Damn it all to hell. 

r3r1k1/3bbppp/p2ppn2/q5B1/Np1RPP2/1B4Q1/PPP3PP/1K1R4 w - - 17 34

Wall vs. Hernandez - White to move- Another game from Mr. Walls fine round 4 play. Brian's comment, "My Knight is trapped so I have no choice but to counterattack with 18. e5!!"

A final quote from the DCC President, "I had an absolutely fabulous time."

I personally really like the idea of Clone tournaments, and for the next one, I'm going to grow a pair :-) and play more games. 

Thanks to all, 

J.C. MacNeil

Last Modified: 5/16/2017 at 12:49pm Views: 2,101