CFCC 2018 Sunshine Open & Scholastic Concludes with a Tie for 1st Place!

*UPDATED* with slideshow gallery on July 15, 2018

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 Final round, board 1, IM Rafael Prasca (2433) (L) vs Arnold Banner (1857) (R), CFCC 2018 Sunshine Open & Scholastic held at the Westin Lake Mary.

Final round, board 1, IM Rafael Prasca (2433) (L) vs Arnold Banner (1857) (R), CFCC 2018 Sunshine Open & Scholastic held at the Westin Lake Mary.


Written by Steven Vigil, CFCC Chief Tournament Director

The 2018 Orlando Sunshine Open was held on June 8-10. Central Florida Chess Club had long held this annual summer, 3-day event in Southwest Orlando at a hotel on International Drive. This year, however, there was a new location for the event, The Westin Hotel in Lake Mary. Players seemed to really enjoy the newer, more luxurious venue on the east side of town.

The tournament was initially slated to have 4 sections, but on Friday night there were only a pair of experts playing in the top, “premier” section, Theo Slade (2127) and Evan Stewart (2004). Evan won the game after an exchange sacrifice which led to a brilliant kingside attack. After only 3 more players registered for the premier section on Saturday morning, the premier and U2000 sections were merged before Saturday’s first round. As a result, a wealth of prizes were offered to players in the new Premier/U2000 section. Among the last to register on Saturday morning were IM Rafael Prasca (2443) and FM Corey Acor (2378) who both had their sights set on the $700 first prize in a field with no other masters.

All three sections were very competitive. Not a single player in the entire tournament finished with a perfect score. Heading into round four on Sunday morning, only 3 players in the top section managed to score 3 points. Rafael, Corey and John Givler (1961). Givler lost on board 2 to Arnold Banner (1857) who played a strong game with the black pieces and now had 3.5 points going into the final round. Meanwhile Corey played as white against Rafael on board 1, in what was the de facto first place game between the two strongest players in the tournament. The two players had no interest in taking a quick draw and rather sought to battle for all the marbles. The dynamic game went to a deep endgame where it was legitimately drawn. This meant Corey, Rafael and Arnold were the only 3 undefeated players in the top section with 3.5points.

In the final game Rafael and Corey would take care of business. Corey defeated Theo Slade. Arnold Banner put up a good fight against Rafael  for a while on board one, but as the game transitioned to into the endgame it became clear Rafael had obtained a winning position. Congratulations to IM Rafael Prasca and FM Corey Acor who shared first place honors with 4.5 points and went home with $595.00 each. John Givler had an impressive showing with 4 points and clear 3rd place earning him $490. Ryan Hamley (1993), Arnold Banner, Connor Eickelman (1764) and Christopher Fashek (1614) each received $297.50 for best U2000 prize with 3.5 poins each. Coren Meeks (1764), Leon Cheng (1726) and Carlos Rivas (1721) won $70 each for the U1800 prize.

In the U1600 section, Samuel Wohl (1562) and Nathan Hennig (1519) drew in the final round to finish with 4.5 poins each to share the top prize of $420 each. Paul Lemay (1584) and Greg Engl (1452) shared 3rd place and $105 each, while John Fashek (1324) won the U1400 prize of $350 with 4 poins and Nicholas Lewis won 2nd U1400 of $210 with 3.5

The Scholastic/U1200 section also ended with a tie for first place.  Eight year old Jolie Huang (1106) and eleven year old Matteo Labrecque (1062) drew the final game to finish with 4.5 points and $245 each. Luke Wu (1173), Akshat Suresh (1143) and Sam Matini (1131) all walked away with 4 points and $35 each in tie for 3rd place. After losing his first round Andersen Liao (686) would go undefeated with 3 wins and a draw to win the $70 U1000 prize. Congratulations also to the top players in each age group who won trophies!

The tournament was organized by the Central Florida Chess Club who held their meeting on Saturday morning and announced that they will be awarding two chess scholarships later this year. The tournament directors for the event were  Steven Vigil and Harvey Lerman, who was presented with an honorary CFCC life membership for his decades of service and dedication to the club.  Alex Zelner of OCG provided the chess store which featured great books and chess merchandise.


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written by NM Theo Slade, CFCC contributor

Round One; Three-Day Schedule

Going into the Sunshine Open, only Satvik Reddy (1860), Evan Stewart (2004), and I (2127) had entered the Premier section. Evan and I were in the three-day schedule whilst Satvik was in the two-day schedule which meant that on Friday night I played Evan. The top two sections could not really be merged at this point given that many players could have entered the Premier section two-day schedule on Saturday.

Evan was White, and we played the Anti-Berlin. Both sides committed a couple of mistakes before he made a strong exchange sacrifice. However, I missed my chance to return the extra material and reach an equal position, instead allowing a devastating Kingside attack. Evan made no mistake, and after forty-five moves I resigned.

However, immediately after this game, Harvey Lerman asked me if I would like to re-enter. Where I am from, in England, there is no option to re-enter; we only have one schedule! And I had never re-entered before in America as you have to pay another entry fee, you have to fit another game into an already tiring schedule, and adjust to playing a shorter time control in the first round of the two-day schedule, only to have to adjust back to playing with the time control you played with on Friday night. All of this sounds like a lot of inconveniences, especially when you consider that after all of that, you still may lose on Saturday morning! Then it would all be for nothing! Despite all of this, I nevertheless decided to re-enter anyway, although ultimately it did not turn out very well . . .

Perhaps Paul Leggett (1832) has got it all figured out: he lost on Friday night, re-entered, and then took a bye on Saturday morning. This way, he is guaranteed at least half a point out of his first round even if he loses, and he does not have to adjust to a new time control twice or play an extra game.

One final quirk of all this is that for the rest of the tournament, I cannot play Evan anymore because he played me in the first round! When we played each other, we were the top two seeds in the entire tournament, including all sections! If we had have known then that the sections were going to be merged on Saturday, we could have merged the sections on Friday and we would have both played lower rated opponents. It would have been disappointing from a competitive standpoint if both of us had tied for first on 5/5 without the chance to play each other again since I re-entered . . .

Round One; Two-Day Schedule

On Saturday morning I was paired Black against William Xu (1720) on board two, with IM Rafael Prasca (2433) on board one. However, at the last minute, Corey Acor (2378) entered, which meant that my pairing was the same, but instead on board three as White against the same opponent . . . Or was it? Actually, I was not playing against William Xu, but William Wu (1668)! No wonder my Dad misread the pairings; the names were so similar! Anyway, William Wu resigned after fifty moves. In the meantime, Rafael beat Nicholas Weisberger (1724) as White and Corey dispatched William Xu as Black.

Round Two

On Saturday afternoon the two schedules merged, and Paul beat Wyndell East (1644) as Black. I played the Nimzo-Indian Defense against Leon Cheng (1708) and he resigned after thirty-one moves. This meant that I was on 2/2, maximum points, despite losing my first game! Meanwhile, Rafael won again, this time as Black against Zoe Zelner (1837) in the French Defense. Corey defeated Connor Eickelman (1772) as White in a Rook endgame.

Round Three

On Saturday evening, I lost to John Givler (1942) in the Modern Benoni in a four-hour game. In my opinion, he played a brilliant sacrificial game, regardless of what the engine says and deserved to win. In the meantime, Paul won again as White against Sivaji Hariharan (1913). This meant that Paul was on 2.5/3 but obviously if there was only one schedule the maximum score for him would have been 2/3, so both Paul and I benefitted from the option to re-enter. Rafael extended his win streak in the antepenultimate round on the top board, defeating Ryan Hamley (1993) with the White pieces. Corey followed suit, beating Evan as Black.

Round Four

Going into Sunday morning the top two seeds, who were both on maximum points, faced each other on board one. Corey was White, and at one point offered a draw, which was declined by Rafael. However, eventually, the point was indeed split. Credit to both players for playing a true fighting game of chess rather than agreeing on a quick draw.

Round Five

In the last round, Rafael had Black again, facing Arnold Banner (1888) on the top board. Despite the enormous rating disparity, it was a very long, exciting game with a lot of spectators watching at various points. At one point, I counted as many as eleven people watching at once! However, in the end, Rafael prevailed, meaning that he finished on 4.5/5. On the second board, I was White against Corey and I played the Queen’s pawn opening. However, Corey played very well to checkmate me by underpromoting on the sixty-first move. That meant that Corey and Rafael tied for first, with John finishing third outright. Special mention should also go to Christopher Fashek (1614), who gained a whopping 107 rating points! Congratulations to the two highest rated players, Rafael and Corey, who shared first!

-Central Florida Chess Club (CFCC)

CFCC Sunshine Open & Scholastic
Slideshow Gallery

CFCC June Tornado Concludes with a Clear 1st Place Winner!

CFCC June Tornado

 Round 1, Arnold Banner (1918) (L) vs Tampa Bay's Darien B. (1499) (R), Arnold would go on to win clear 1st in the tornado after winning all his rounds!

Round 1, Arnold Banner (1918) (L) vs Tampa Bay's Darien B. (1499) (R), Arnold would go on to win clear 1st in the tornado after winning all his rounds!

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Written by Terrance Washington, Tournament Director

What an exciting event! A perfect score, an upset in a game that didn't count for the standings, and players from 3 different countries. This was a unique format for CFCC Tornado being that it was a two day event and it was co-hosted with Orlando Chess Club. The tournament saw two players from Norway and one player from Korea.

In Round 1 we saw drama on Board 3. Not only was it a father vs son matchup between the two Norwegians, but we saw a dramatic ending as well. Gustav was beating his father Freddy for most of the round, however, when Freddy threatened mate in one, Gustav missed it and lost the game!

Our other matchups in Round 1 saw Arnold Banner winning against Darien Brown, Sajan Gutta winning against Daniel Min, with Chloe Min and Edward Yoon drawing their dramatic King and Pawn ending, where at some point Chloe probably was winning.

Round 2 saw massive drama in a game that didn't count towards the standings. Earning a full point bye due to an odd number of players, Daniel Min still wanted to play. So tournament director Terrance Washington jumped in for the rest of the tournament as a 'House Player'. This was a good decision for the excitement of the tournament. 

This game saw missed mate in one, several times, due to time pressure. There were pawn promotions, hanging pieces, and a lost Queen when Terrance thought he had mated his opponent with two seconds on the clock. Lo and behold, the opposing Queen was defending the key e2 square and White converted his advantage!

The other games in the round saw Arnold Banner winning against Sajan Gutta with the battle of the two highest rated players in the field. It was a game in which Sajan tried to complicate the position due to having a disadvantage but Arnold was able to see through the forest and come out a few pawns ahead. He converted the endgame nicely.

Chloe Min defeated Freddy Hestholm, Cannon Farragut defeated Edward Yoon, and Gustav Hestholm defeated Darien Brown.

Round 3 saw Arnold Banner keeping his perfect score by defeating Cannon Farragut. Other games included Sajan Gutta drawing Chloe Min, Daniel Min defeating Gustav Hestholm, and Freddy Hestholm defeating Edward Yoon.

In the 'House Game' Terrance Washington defeated Darien Brown.

Round 4 saw Chloe Min having the only hope to take down the juggernaut and soon-to-be expert Arnold Banner. However, the game ended quickly in the decisive Sicilian Dragon variation and Arnold won with White allowing him to complete the tournament with a perfect 4 out of 4!

The other results saw Daniel Min and Freddy Hestholm having the longest game of the round. It was a game that was pivotal for 2nd place. Daniel won an exchange and converted the game to win clear 2nd place! Sajan played self proclaimed "angry chess" and was winning after 18 moves versus Gustav and Cannon Farragut defeated Darien Brown in a tactical battle of the two youngsters from Tampa!

In the 'House Game' Terrance Washington defeated Edward Yoon.

Final Standings

1st place: Arnold Banner  4/4 $100
2nd place: Daniel Min 3/4 $60
3rd place: Sajan Gutta and Cannon Farragut 2.5/4  $37.50

Under 1600: Chloe Min 2/4 $17.50
Under 1400: Freddy Hestholm 2/4 $17.50
Under 1200: Edward Yoon 1.5/4 $17.50

June 2018 Tornado Slideshow

John Ludwig Captures 5th CFCC Club Championship Title

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CFCC 2018 Club Champion:
John Ludwig

The club wishes to congratulate John Ludwig on winning clear 1st place in our 2018 Club Championship this past weekend. The win gives him his 5th CFCC Club Champion title, an accomplishment only two other club members have experienced in their lifetime of competing in the storied history of our annual Club Championship!

 Round 4, Board One, John Ludwig (2463) (L) versus Theo Slade (2177) (R) during the CFCC Club Championship hosted by the UCF Chess Club.

Round 4, Board One, John Ludwig (2463) (L) versus Theo Slade (2177) (R) during the CFCC Club Championship hosted by the UCF Chess Club.

 Five-Time CFCC Club Champion John Ludwig (2463)

Five-Time CFCC Club Champion John Ludwig (2463)

His five CFCC Club Champion titles now places him only one title short of the club’s all time leading title holder Wilmer Chavira who has six titles, and matching the title count of five-time Club Champion and CFCC President Larry Storch.

With a lower than usual turnout of twelve players at this year’s CFCC Club Championship, only 2nd place winner Theo Slade was able to sufficiently challenge John to a draw in their 4th round matchup on board one (pictured above), keeping John from sweeping the tournament with a final score of 4.5/5.

We look forward to seeing what happens at next year’s Club Championship event!

Other Club Championship Winners

The club wishes to congratulate the other winners who placed in the weekend tournament event!

 Daniel Smith (1639 (L) Top U1800, Theo Slade (2177) (M) 2nd Place and William Fink (1871) (R) Top U2000.

Daniel Smith (1639 (L) Top U1800, Theo Slade (2177) (M) 2nd Place and William Fink (1871) (R) Top U2000.

Other Place Winners Not Pictured:
Ryan Hamley 3/5 Top Under 16 yrs old
Allison S. 2.5/5 Top Under 1600
Javier Rojas 1.5/5 Top Under 1400
Ryan Velez Rodriguez 1.0/5 Top Under 1200


Written by Theo Slade, CFCC contributor

The Central Florida Chess Club (CFCC) Championships were held at the University of Central Florida (UCF) on February 10-11, 2018. The UCF is a great venue since there is plenty of room, it is mostly quiet, and there are plenty of places to eat nearby. Unlike most tournaments in Florida, there were no separate schedules or sections. There were only twelve players in total, however, so obviously having only one section was a necessity. Personally, I prefer having one schedule because I think it is fairer, but this tournament was similar to a two-day schedule, except the first game was played with the same time control as the rest of the rounds, which was G/120; d5. Given that we played three games on Saturday, that meant potentially over twelve hours of chess in one day, but luckily a lot of the games finished quickly so we were partially spared from having to endure a marathon. Going into the tournament, John Ludwig was the top seed and the clear favorite, as the second seed was 303 points behind.

Round One

Amazingly, to me at least, in the first round, all the higher rated players won their games; there were no upsets at all! That meant that the six highest rated players were all on 1/1, and the second half was tied for seventh on 0/1. That obviously meant that Ludwig won his game, Black against Daniel Smith in the longest game of the first round.

Round Two

In the second round, Ludwig won again, this time with White against John Givler. Meanwhile, Ryan Hamley defeated Paul Leggett to maintain his perfect score. On board two, I was Black against William Fink and I played the Queen’s Gambit Declined. I went a pawn up on move twenty-five and declined a draw offer on move twenty-eight. However, despite keeping that material advantage for the remainder of the game I had to acquiesce to a draw on move seventy-one, the last game to finish.

Round Three

Midway through the tournament, Hamley was White against Ludwig, but Hamley could not stop the top seed from maintaining his perfect score. Therefore, after the first day, Ludwig was the sole leader on 3/3, with me on 2.5/3.

Round Four

My White victory over Givler was the last game to finish in round three, and because I was due Black and Ludwig was due White for round four, I knew I would be Black against Ludwig on Sunday morning. Therefore, I did a lot of preparation for that game; so much, in fact, that I was slightly late for my game! However, it paid off as in the Scotch I was still in book ten moves into the game and my eighth move seemed to surprise my opponent, as he spent a lot of time on his reply. However, I was worse, to varying degrees, for most of the game, but I hung in there and eventually, with Ludwig down to less than a minute, we liquidated to bare Kings and split the point.

Round Five

Going into the final round, Ludwig was half a point clear of Hamley and me. Ludwig was Black against Darien Brown whilst I was White against Hamley on board two. Ludwig beat Brown very quickly as Black to retain the CFCC Championship. That left Hamley and me to battle it out, and after weathering Hamley’s Kingside attack, I managed to win in the endgame to secure second outright. Ludwig’s victory took his CFCC Championship count up to five. Congratulations!

Tournament Slideshow

CFCC 2018 Board of Directors

The club also held its annual meeting to elect CFCC board members as it does at each year's Club Championship tournament. The CFCC members page has been updated to reflect the newly elected 2018 board of directors. 

CFCC 2018 Class Championships Slideshow & Recap

CFCC 2018 Class Championships Slideshow & Recap

The Central Florida Chess Club (CFCC) Class Championships were held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando hotel at SeaWorld, which was a great venue because the hotel was spacious, and the playing conditions were great. Going into the tournament, John Ludwig was the top seed, followed by Corey Acor