The Bashkansky family Chess Travel blog

The Bashkansky family Chess Travel blog: parents Guy and Ludmila with children NM Ethan and WIM Naomi

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Tacoma Chess, Art and Cars

Cadillac Eldorado vs. Tucker 48; Chihuly vs. Escher; Naomi vs. big guys

Tacoma Chess Club March Open Sundays started on Sunday, March 9, 2014, and continued next Sunday, March 16, 2014. Two games per day with FIDE time control: 90 minutes, with 30 seconds increment. Naomi needs to train for this FIDE time control and Tacoma has many things to offer to accompanying parents.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Total 8 players showed up, many of them big bearded guys dwarfing Naomi (10).  She started the game fearlessly, while we went off to hunt for the city attractions.

First we dived into the huge LeMay America's Car Museum ( opposite Tacoma Dome.  It bested our expectations, by far.  Each of its many sections could be a fascinating full-blown museum by itself: Beetle Exhibit, Showcase Gallery, Custom Coachworks, Master Collection, Ferrari in America, Alternative, Nascar, British.


We are not merely looking at these cars, we are unconsciously imagining our relationships with them.  Just like when looking at a pinup girl or a movie starlet -- in a very benign way.  It's not really a betrayal of our nice, practical and reliable Hondas and Toyotas, it's just "How would I look driving this car?  What life could I have owning it back then?"  For that one minute of looking at this car you get to live that virtual life, supposedly full of adventure, excitement and style.


1953 Cadillac Eldorado

Naomi lost in Round 1 to a FIDE Master.  We fed her in Panda Express and she sat for Round 2 at 2pm.  As always in Tacoma, we went for a walk along the Thea Foss Waterway near the Museum of Glass.  Naomi won the second round and retained her chances for a nice prize.

On the Saturday before the next tournament Sunday, Naomi skied nonchalantly at the Snoqualmie Summit, like on many other Saturdays this winter.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

National Master Viktors Pupols is a legend.  In 1955 he beat young Bobby Fischer with a Latvian Gambit. This is one of only two games that Fischer ever lost on time.  During the first Tacoma Open Sunday on March 9, Viktors Pupols was playing at the Reykjavik Open in Iceland (March 4-12).  Right after returning from Iceland, he went to play in the second Tacoma Open Sunday on March 16.  

When we saw Viktors Pupols paired with Naomi in Round 3, both of us took a deep breath and saw that halo of glory above him.  Naomi said: "Yeah, I know him.  Most likely he will win."  But Ethan beat him once at Seattle Chess Club, maybe she can too?  We threw her into the lion's den and drove away to
Point Defiance Park for a beach walk with a nice view.

When we came back, Naomi was still battling Pupols.  It was a long, difficult game.  We went out to check on Tacoma Art Museum, and then got her phone call.  Naomi won.  Now both our kids beat the player who beat Bobby Fischer.  Life well lived!  

Ralph Anthony 036.JPG
Naomi "The Hair" (white) vs. Viktors "The Fischer Slayer" (black), courtesy Ralph Anthony

With Panda Express Kids Meal sustaining her brain and body, Naomi started the final Round 4 at 2pm, while we went to visit Tacoma Art Museum.  

This museum first entered our hearts with a great exhibition of Norman Rockwell works on May 1, 2011, during the Washington Scholastic Chess Championships.  This time the notable exhibitions were: A Punch of Color, Optic Nerve, Chihuly Gifts.

Naomi won Round 4 and got a $120 prize, obviously happy.


Tournament organizer H.G. Pitre awards Naomi $120 prize

Saturday, March 1, 2014

We are the champions!

Newport High School chess team wins Washington High School State Team Championship, squeezing ahead by mere 0.5 point!  Ethan wins 5 out of 5 games.


The 2014 Washington State High School State Team Championship was held on Friday, February 28 and Saturday, March 1, at the Issaquah High School.  Not much of a travel (less than 20 minutes ride), however a lot of chess for this blog sake!

The format was 5 round Swiss system tournament of 5 player teams with 2 optional reserves.  The board order (1 to 5) of each team was constant: board 1 the strongest player, board 2 the next strongest player, and so on.

Computer pairing and the place of finish were by team point system (one point per board, all board scores count).  Teams from the same league (e.g. King County) were not paired in the early rounds when possible.  

Time control with five second delay - Round 1: 60 minutes, Rounds 2-5: 90 minutes. Friday rounds: 4pm and 7pm, Saturday rounds: 9am, 1pm, 5 pm, awards at 8:30 pm.


In the final round, Newport squeezed ahead by mere 0.5 point!
Here is Ethan's description of the dramatic events unfolding:
"Coming to the final round, Newport was 1.5 points ahead of Interlake. 2 points for Newport wins 1st place, 1.5 points for Newport wins 2nd place. The match started. An hour later, Newport’s boards 4 (John Leece) and 5 (Steven Han) had already lost.
Sometime later, board 2 (Ethan Bashkansky) won, and Newport needed just a point more. Then, board 1 (Megan Lee) lost, and all our hopes rested on Michael Quan, our 3rd board. Will we win?
Michael and his opponent, Quentin Chi, both had a couple of minutes, a pair of rooks, but while Quentin had 2 pawns, Michael had 3 pawns on the other side of the board. Michael kept calm, and after a nail biting game watched by more than 50 spectators, Newport finally won, and everyone hugged Michael."


Here are my photos before (Issaquah High School gym), during (IHS lobby) and after (Shanghai Garden Restaurant) the award ceremony:

And here is one great photo of the Champion Team:

   Steven                          Ethan                      John                   Megan                       Michael

Also congratulations to the previous 4 years champion Lakeside High School in second place, and Interlake High School in third.