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Selected Old Chess News (2012)

News items previously appearing on the Northwest Chess home page:

For NWC magazine contents and PDF files, see the magazine back issues page.

In Memoriam - We regret to announce the passing on November 18 of Elena Donaldson Akhmylovskaia, 1957-2012, well-known Women's Grandmaster of Chess and Seattle-area resident, after a battle with cancer. According to USCF, "she was a three-time US Women's chess champion (1994, 1990 and co-champ in 1993) and Women's World Championship candidate. After winning the Candidates tournament Elena played a match against Maia Chiburdanidze for the Women's World Championship in 1986." Her funeral service was held at Sunset Hills Funeral home in Bellevue on November 21. See her online guestbook. See obituaries in: The New York Times | The Seattle Times | The Washington Times.

Northwest Chess Blog to “Go Primary” for Tournament Reports in January! The Northwest Chess (NWC) blog, found online at, will “go primary” for most Northwest chess tournament reports beginning January 1, 2013. See press release 2012-03 for an explanation and more details. Some tournament reports including the Western Idaho Open already appear on the blog.

Congratulations! Seattle Sluggers are U.S. Chess League Champions! - See for details. The Seattle Sluggers won the championship for the first time in their seven-year history on Saturday Dec. 1 by defeating the Philadelphia Inventors 3-1. The Sluggers previously earned a spot in the playoffs by finishing the regular season at 5.5-4.5, and then managed to upset Dallas 2.5-1.5 in the quarterfinals on Nov. 14, and defeat Arizona 2.5-1.5 in the semifinals on Nov. 19, thus advancing to the finals! Also see the Seattle Sluggers Facebook page and the Seattle Sluggers blog. See our Sluggers event page for a summary of the season and some of the reports on Facebook. Photo: Sluggers group photo taken at finals by TD Bert Rutgers. (How many players do you recognize?)

New Master! Samir Sen, a sophomore at Skyview High School in Vancouver, WA, became the Northwest's newest master on Saturday, November 24. He scored 2.5/3 in the master section of the WA Class Championships in Redmond to gain 25 points and boost his rating to 2211. He beat NM Dereque Kelley (2249), NM Josh Sinanan (2252), and drew with FM Curt Collyer (2291). Congratulations, Samir! (See completed tournament news for USCF crosstable link.)

Interview! "A Conversation with the Interim NWC Editor, Frank Niro" (by Jeffrey Roland) - see the complete interview as a PDF file of pages from the August to December 2012 issues of Northwest Chess.

December magazine mailed! The December issue of Northwest Chess was mailed on 11/21. It has eight color pages including the cover! This issue also marks the debut of Jeffrey Roland as editor - see NWC Press Release 2012-02. It's a 32-page issue with Rupel Goes to Russia by David Rupel, Washington Challengers’ Cup by Frank Niro, Washington Chess News by Russell “Rusty” Miller, Book Review by IM John Donaldson, Idaho Chess News by Jeffrey Roland, Oregon Chess News by Frank Niro, and the usual Grand Prix report by Murlin Varner. Enjoy! See full-color version (all pages).

Note: If you joined WCF at the WA Class Championships (or during pre-registration) and did not receive a copy of the December issue of Northwest Chess, please email to request a copy.

Chess Movie! Brooklyn Castle, which opened in theaters October 19th, also showed in Portland and Seattle in November (check your local theater listings), and will play at the Magic Lantern in Spokane in December. In Portland at the Fox Tower Cinema, there was a special Meetup group meeting before the November 7 show. Brooklyn Castle is a documentary about I.S. 318, an inner-city public school that's home to the most winning junior high school chess team in the country. Watch the movie trailer at

Geezer Gallery opens in Portland! The Geezer Gallery, a strong supporter of chess in the Portland area, celebrated the grand opening of its newly relocated art gallery on November 1, 2012 at 600 NW Naito Parkway, Suite E in Portland. See complete information and consider visiting the gallery!

November magazine mailed! The November issue of Northwest Chess was mailed on 10/29. It's a 32-page issue with National Chess Day Events, Washington Chess News by Russell “Rusty” Miller, Idaho Chess News by Jeffrey Roland, Oregon News by Frank Niro, and a Dr. Ralph Hall Northwest Grand Prix report by Murlin Varner. Full-color version now available, which contains a slightly corrected version of an annotated game played by National Master Elliott Neff in a simultaneous exhibition by world chess champion Viswanathan Anand. Elliott drew the game!

Newspaper Story! See story “Inspired by his children’s love for chess, West Seattle dad shares the game with others” in the West Seattle Herald.

All-America Chess Team! The United States Chess Federation (USCF) announced (on Oct. 16) the 2013 All-America Team sponsored by Trophies Plus. Team members will receive their team jackets and plaques at the 2012 National K-12 Grade Championship to be held this November in Orlando, FL. There are two Northwest players: Luke Harmon-Vellotti of Idaho in the age 13 group, and Roland Feng of Washington in the age 11 group.

Seirawan Update! (Oct. 17) Grandmaster Yasser Seirawan has returned to Amsterdam for an extended hiatus, but he will return to the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis on Nov. 20. While he is away, two GMs will fill in in his absence. From Oct. 16-22, and then again from Oct. 30-Nov. 8, GM Varuzhan Akobian will serve as the CCSCSL’s Acting Resident Grandmaster. GM Alejandro Ramirez, who will be in town competing in the SPICE Cup, will fill in Oct. 21-28. See previous interview conducted by the Saint Louis Beacon. As announced August 24, Grandmaster Yasser Seirawan was to arrive in Saint Louis on Sept. 3 to serve as the acting Resident Grandmaster of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. See more details on the Center's website and on Susan Polgar's blog.

October magazine mailed! The October issue of Northwest Chess was mailed on 9/28. It's an expanded 48-page issue with Oregon Open report and games; Oregon Open Gallery of Past Champions; Additional U.S. Open Games and Photos; Washington News by Russell “Rusty” Miller; Emerald City Open report by Carol & Fred Kleist; Idaho News by Jeffrey Roland; Oregon News by Frank Niro; Book Review by IM John Donaldson and a Dr. Ralph Hall Memorial Northwest Grand Prix report by Murlin Varner. Download the full PDF file.

New FIDE Master! (reported by Russell Miller from Susan Polgar's blog, Oct 1) The World Chess Federation announced that Luke Vellotti of Idaho was awarded the International Title of FIDE Master. This 13-year-old Boise student is the first ever in the state's history to reach this level of accomplishment in chess. This performance-based title is awarded for life to less than 5,000 players in the world of any age. Luke's achievement was secured at the 2012 Metropolitan International Chess Championship in Los Angeles this past August. He is additionally the current #1 ranked youth player in all of America under the age of 14. Luke, a local Boise public school student, is also an academic standout in the areas of math and science, and is active in his community, helping bring publicity and donations to worthy causes. To read more about his achievements, please visit his website,

New Article! See "CHS (Clackamas High School) senior Alexandra Botez is queen of the board," as published Oct. 9 in the Portland Tribune. Botez competed in the 2012 World Chess Olympiad from Aug. 27 to Sept. 10 in Istanbul, Turkey, in addition to competing in the national high school chess championships in Vancouver, WA this summer.

Running for Office! Former Washington state chess champion Bob Ferguson is running for Washington State attorney general ... see the Oct. 10 Seattle Times article. [Please note this is for information only; Northwest Chess does not endorse political candidates.]

U.S. Team does well! According to an e-mail released by USCF, the U.S. Chess Olympiad Teams in Istanbul, Turkey turned in "solid performances," with the Open team of GMs Hikaru Nakamura, Gata Kamsky, Alex Onishuk, Var Akobian, and Ray Robson finishing fifth and narrowly missing a medal. See a story about the finish on the USCF website. (Posted September 9.)

September magazine mailed! The September issue of Northwest Chess was mailed on 8/29. It's a 32-page issue with "U.S. Open Games & Photos," Idaho chess news, "Rupel vs. Pupols: 2012 OR Senior," Washington chess news, "Oregon News: Raptis vs. Eagles," and a Dr. Ralph Hall Memorial Northwest Grand Prix report. Download the full PDF file.

Scholarship! We're pleased to report that Steven Breckenridge has received a full-ride chess scholarship to Texas Tech University, along with other scholarships to be part of their chess team, which is trained by GM Alexander Onischuk, former U.S. champion and currently ranked third in the U.S. Congratulations!

New! Northwest Chess blog - see comments, news and discussion from NWC officers and editors, starting with the U.S. Open! Updates were posted daily during the U.S. Open ... thanks to our bloggers for making this a big success!

August magazine now available in color! The August issue of Northwest Chess is now available online in its entirety in color. It's a 48-page special U.S. Open edition produced by Editor Frank Niro and Assistant Editor Jeff Roland. Includes U.S. Open related content, an article by Frank Niro about the late Dr. Ralph L. Hall, the "Most exciting game of 2011," a reprint of Yasser Seirawan's fictional story "Hapley’s Project," Idaho chess news, a report on the Oregon Senior Championship, and a Grand Prix update. The cover picture, taken by Jeff a few months ago when he and Frank went to Crossville, Tennessee, shows the highly dedicated USCF staff that we have all come to appreciate over the years! (You can click on the thumbnail image to see a larger version, or also visit the Idaho Chess Association website "sneak preview" page.) Download the full PDF file.

Another New Master! Peter Lessler, a recent graduate of Lakeside School in Seattle, became the Northwest's newest master on Saturday, Aug. 18. He scored 4.5/9 at the 2nd Metropolitan International in Los Angeles, CA and gained 22 points to boost his rating to 2203! He beat NM Kesav Viswanadha (2219), NM Tommy He (2223) and IM Jack Peters (2444) along the way. Congratulations Peter! USCF crosstable.

Frank Niro named as Northwest Chess interim editor! - See NWC Press Release 2012-01. Frank Niro, assisted by Jeff Roland, is taking over the editor's position with a special August 2012 edition for the U.S. Open in Vancouver, WA (August 4-12). Editor Fred Kleist, who completed the July edition, is thanked for his many years of service to the chess community and to Northwest Chess. See the historical editors list for more information about Fred's service as editor. Photo: Frank Niro at USCF headquarters in Crossville, TN last fall. Photo credit: Jeff Roland. New! See "So, who is this Frank Niro, anyway?" on the Idaho Chess Association website. Also see Frank's "Chess Safari" blog.

Delegates Meeting! The United States Chess Federation holds an annual meeting of delegates at the U.S. Open. They issue a publication called The Delegates' Call that is mailed to all the state delegates. This year's version is 68 pages and is available online (Click Here). If you have comments about items in the delegates meeting, please contact your state delegates.

Instructors wanted! - for new chess program in Redmond Ridge community of Washington. See our scholastic opportunities page. {Posted July 15, 2012.}

July magazine mailed! The July issue of Northwest Chess was uploaded on 7/9 and was mailed on 7/12. It's a 24-page issue with Washington Open report and games, Idaho chess news, Northwest news, WA Invitational games, OCF board meeting and WCF membership meeting minutes, and a Grand Prix update. Cover: Four National Champions, by Breck Haining. Download the full PDF file.

New Master! Roland Feng (a 5th grader at Thurgood Marshall Elementary in Seattle) became the Northwest's newest master recently. He played in the Friday Night Close Rating match at SCC (on 6/29) and beat an expert (2032) to gain 5 rating points. Congratulations Roland! See the USCF crosstable.

Chess Pie? According to an article on National Public Radio's food blog, there is such a thing, although it has little to do with chess, and may have been a corruption of the word "cheese." See what you think!

June magazine mailed! The June issue of Northwest Chess was uploaded on 6/11 and mailed on 6/13. It's a 24-page issue with games from the Oregon Championship, "A Fish in Cold Waters" by Mike Murray, Idaho chess news, Northwest news, "Memories of the Boulevard" by Dan Bailey, and a Grand Prix update. Download the full PDF file.

Idaho Info Discovered! Newspaper story discovered about 1953 Idaho state chess championship. See ICA website page with a scan of the story. Also a high-quality photo from the 1958 Idaho Open chess tournament showing three of the four best players in the Northwest at the time. See the ICA website page with the photo and July 1958 Idaho Chess Quarterly.

Karpov-Seirawan battle! The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis was proud to host former World Champion GM Anatoly Karpov in a special match against four-time U.S. Champion GM Yasser Seirawan. The two faced off June 9-13 in a unique competition testing their classical chess skills along with their abilities at both blitz and rapid play. See the initial article on the USCF website, and the post-match article. Karpov was the winner, with the match decided on the 13th by blitz play after draws in the classical and rapid phases of the competition. Also U.S. Open! We've been advised that Yasser Seirawan will also play the traditional schedule in the  U.S. Open in Vancouver, Washington, August 4-12, 2012.

Anand retains title! As reported on ChessBase, the World Chess Championship 2012 was staged in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, between the current World Champion Viswanathan Anand of India and the winner of the Candidates tournament, Boris Gelfand of Israel. The match was over twelve games from May 11 to 30. The prize fund was US $2.55 million. The standard time control match tied at 6-6, however the rapid chess tiebreak ended on May 30 with a score of 2.5-1.5 in favor of Viswanathan Anand, who retained his world title. Official website:

Maryhill Museum Expands! - The Maryhill Museum of Art near Goldendale, Washington has expanded by adding a new wing, the Mary and Bruce Stevenson Wing. Chess sets and chess art are among the items on display. See Rusty Miller's photos.

Idaho chess article! - See article by Barry Eacker (on the ICA website) about the late Glen Buckendorf, the "Gentleman of Idaho Chess."

May magazine mailed! The May issue of Northwest Chess was delayed, but was uploaded on 5/14 and mailed on 5/16. It's a 32-page issue with "Brilliancies and Other Annotated Games," Idaho chess news, games from the Washington Premier and Invitational, "How to be a Good Chess Parent" by Kevin Bachler, "Lakeside Wins WA HS Team Championship" by Siva Sankrithi and more! Due to the ongoing delays, we're making back issues including January-May 2012 available now. See the magazine back issues page. (June, July and August have also been added.)

U.S. Championship! The 2012 U.S. Chess Championship featured an elite field of 12 players and a guaranteed prize fund of $160,000. According to IM John Donaldson, "Hikaru Nakamura played well and with great determination in winning the U.S. Championship in fine style. Gata Kamsky also played nicely as both players added to their positions in the top 15 players in the world (Nakamura = 5th with Anand at 2783 and Kamsky number 13 at 2744)." Nakamura finished with 8½ out of 11 points, Kamsky with 7½ points. The tournament ran from May 8-20. Watch commentary replays with Jennifer Shahade and GM Ben Finegold at The Portland Chess Shop analyzed the games on YouTube at

Chess Essay! See "Young chess champion finds benefits in the game" by 14-year-old Billy Aho, as published in The Bellingham Herald on May 7.

April magazine mailed! The April issue of Northwest Chess was seriously delayed, but was uploaded to the printer on 4/18, and was mailed on Tuesday morning, April 24. It's a 32-page issue with an Oregon Championship report, Oregon Junior Closed report, Idaho chess news, Collyer Memorial report, more Washington Championship and Premier games, a Grand Prix report and event listings.

1962 Seattle World's Fair 50th Anniversary! Rusty Miller found this photo of a chess event at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair, which is now celebrating its 50th anniversary, along with the Seattle Space Needle! Can you identify the following players in the photo? ... Viktors Pupols, Seglins and John Bell.

Spokane Chess History page (on the Spokane club's website).

Nakamura visit! U.S. Chess Champion GM Hikaru Nakamura visited Chess4Life in Bellevue, WA on the evening of March 13. See story/photos on Facebook.

March magazine mailed! The March issue of Northwest Chess was delayed, but was uploaded on 3/12 and printed and mailed the same week. it's a 24-page issue with games from the WA Championship, "Idaho Chess News" by Jeffrey Roland, other Northwest News and the usual Grand Prix update and event listings. Cover: WA Championship crosstable by Fred Kleist.

GM Yasser Seirawan wins strong Dutch Open Blitz Championship! - See report on Susan Polgar's blog. (Check archive for March 5.) As reported by IM John Donaldson, "Yasser Seirawan has once again proven that he possesses one of the quickest minds and some of the fastest hands on the planet by repeating his 2011 win in the marathon blitz tournament at Dordrecht. This time he did it against a field of roughly 200 players including 9 GMs rated over 2600 FIDE!" Yasser was closer to home on March 17, giving a 6-hour lecture and simul at the North Shore Chess Center in Skokie, Illinois. (See, or see report on Yasser's visit from the Skokie Review.)

Memorial - The Oregon Scholastic Chess Federation and Northwest Chess regret to report the death of Dana Hannibal, a "great soul and great Oregon scholastic chess player." Her memorial service was Sunday, March 11 in Salem at Morningstar Community Church.

IM Donaldson a "Hit" in Florida! - See report from the Miami Country Day School. (March 6.)

Detective Cookie's Urban Youth Chess Club (which we reported on last year) could use some funding. See the story on KOMO news, or donations can be made to Detective Cookie's Urban Youth Chess Club at the Seattle Neighborhood Group Inc., 1810 East Yesler Way, Seattle, WA 98122. The phone number is (206) 323-9666, and the website is

Washington in Top 100! Washington has four players on the USCF Feb. 2012 list of the top 100 U.S. chess players. They are GM Yasser Seirawan (#7 with a 2705 rating); IM Georgi Orlov (#40 rated 2542); NM Michael Lee (#85 rated 2443); and WA champion NM Howard Jed Chen (#98 rated 2422). Seirawan is also one of 12 GMs competing for the U.S. Chess Championship this year, May 7-20 in St. Louis. Note: ratings and rankings have changed slightly since Rusty Miller originally supplied this information.

Fischer/Carlsen on 60 Minutes! The original April 1972 60 Minutes story on Bobby Fischer is now available on the CBS News website. The Sunday, February 19 60 Minutes program featured a story about Norway's Magnus Carlsen, currently the world's number one rated player. Even more Fischer stuff - One of our forum users pointed out that you can see Bobby Fischer's chess column in Boys Life Magazine. These archives and start with Feb. 1967 and every other month a column is there for the viewing!

February magazine mailed! The February issue of Northwest Chess was delayed, but has now been printed and mailed, as of 2/15. It's a 24-page issue including games from the 2011 WA Class, "Idaho Chess News" by Jeffrey Roland, "Book Notes" by IM John Donaldson and the usual future event listings. Cover: Chess set collector Kermit Olson. Photo credit: Sally Ho, The Oregonian. (Also see below about display at the Tigard, Oregon library.)

Grand Prix! Final results in the 2011 Robert Karch Memorial Northwest Chess Grand Prix have been posted (GP home page), and the winners' checks have been mailed.

All-American! The 2012 All-America Chess Team announced by USCF has one Washington player on the Age 10 team, Roland Feng of Seattle. See the story on the USCF website for details.

Happy 75th! See "Boris Spassky: a chess legend turns seventy-five" on the ChessBase website.

Search Events! The USCF "Events Rated" tool will show events by state and month, similar to the list that used to appear in the printed rating supplements, according to Rusty Miller.

New Logo! The new Northwest Chess logo including the state of Idaho is now in official use! Many thanks to Philip Peterson for the design of this logo!

January 31 was the last day to see a display of chess boards and pieces from around the world at the Tigard, Oregon library. The display items are part of chess player Kermit Olson's collection.

January magazine mailed! - The January issue of Northwest Chess has been printed and was mailed on 1/11. It's a 24-page issue with "Brazil: Chess, Music and Papaya" by Guy Bashansky, "Marcell Szabo at the W.Y.C.C." by Csaba Szabo, "Book Notes" by IM John Donaldson, "Idaho Chess News" by Jeffrey Roland, "Northwest in Southern California" by NM Steven Breckenridge, "Washington Challengers' Cup" by Harley Greninger (cover), and the usual Grand Prix update. Full issue now available on magazine back issues page.

Rulebook Changes! See summary of USCF Rulebook and Policy changes (PDF file on USCF website).

Korean Chess Set! Included are photos of a very large Korean soapstone chess set bought in Seoul, South Korea about 30 years ago. Each piece is quite large and in display condition on a massive board/hand carved table. (The king/queen are about 6.5 inches tall and weigh in the 1.5-2 pound range. The board is 29 x 29 and about 12 inches high.) The owner is curious about assessing its value and maybe selling it. Contact Daniel Schwartz for more information.

Now on YouTube! The movie Bobby Fischer Against the World.

Tournament NewsSee 2012 tournament news page