2010 Notes

2010 OHSCTA Championship Notes
from James Horton – Executive Director,
Oregon High School Chess Team Association

We had 182 players battling it out over chess boards at Cottage Grove High School for 4 hours on Friday evening and 6 hours on Saturday. 32 teams competed–18 Varsity, 10 JV and 4 Open. There were 23 players entered in the individual tournament.

Cottage Grove proved to be an excellent venue for this 47th OHSCTA Championship. Special thanks to host and Tournament Organizer Steve Kilston for his hard work before, during and after the tournament. He seemed to be everywhere ensuring all his many guests felt welcome and were comfortable.

A number of last-minute changes to line-ups hampered getting off to a prompt start, but by 6:15pm hands had been shaken and chessmen had begun their march across the boards. Norm May was the TD, and his son Todd ran pairings. They were both unflappable and kept a steady hand despite some tense moments that arose.

A discount for new Varsity and JV teams was in effect, and two new 2A’s showed up: Oakland and Corbett. It was great to have new schools participating.

It would be difficult to describe this tournament as anything less than lively. A lot happened over those ten hours of chess games. The new format had its shakedown cruise and held up fairly well. The simulations were now a thing of the past, and it was fascinating to watch things unfold and see how the real format worked in a real tournament. Classification matches were enforced early as required, but by round three classes were mixing up nicely. The cream rose rapidly to the top, and after round five we ended up with a three-way tie for Varsity Overall Champion that crossed right over the classification barrier–6A Lake Oswego, 4A Pleasant Hill and 3A Coquille.

7 sets of double-blitz matches were required to break the ties in the Varsity overall state and classification standings. Though these as always were very exciting, it did extend the length of the tournament and put the final results of a g/60 state championship tournament in the hands of 5-minute play. At the coaches’ meeting there was a broad consensus at this point that if we could come up with a way to fairly break ties within the tournament results themselves (as opposed to afterwards with blitz) it would be preferable. The trick is how. Our format is unique, and the standard tie-breaks don’t necessarily work fairly within it. A unique solution must be conceived. To that end, a committee was formed up to study the issue and propose a solution.

Though I think most were happy with the new format, it is clear it’ll need a bit of fine-tuning to the SwissSys settings and the tie-break system to turn it into a really well greased machine. Thanks goes to Ed Addis for conceiving of and pushing through the original idea. Also thanks go to the recent format committee and its advisors for their fine-tuning work: Dan Sharp, Zane Kesey, Charles Schulien, Kate Taylor, Amy Coughlin and Norm May.

Further news–at the coaches’ meeting Andrei Botez was elected as my successor. Very experienced and with a lot of fresh ideas, he will bring a welcome new perspective to our leadership. I have great confidence in his abilites to lead us in our next phase. He will begin his apprenticeship this year and assume full Executive Director responsibilites following the chamipionships in 2011.

Next year’s event will be back in the North and will be held at Sherwood High School in Sherwood (a half-hour south of Portland). See you there!