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The December issue of Oklahoma Chess Magazine is OUT!

December 1, 2023

In this issue: Oklahoma's first "Serious Fischer Random" tournament held in Tulsa  -  Unruh takes third consecutive Veterans Open title - Memories of Oklahoma player Joe Hill - and a great feature on how the new Oklahoma City Chess Club is bringing organizers together. Plus puzzles, book reviews, and games from Oklahoma players like Chuck Unruh, Tom Braunlich, Ryan Amburgy, and Albert Roddy. 

What are you waiting for? Read it now.

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Holiday Open moves to OKC

holiday lights

The 32nd Annual Holiday Open will be held in Oklahoma City this year, not Stillwater as originally planned. The event will take place Saturday, December 30 at the Oklahoma City Chess Club (Kamp's building) at 10 NE 10th Street. Check the tournaments listings for more information soon. 

Oklahoma players at the Forester Open

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THE OKLAHOMA CONTINGENT at the 2023 Forester Open (from left): Joe Zacharias, Kiara Pavithran, Arya Roy Choudhury, and Anurag Roy Choudhury. (Not pictured: Aayush Praveen)

Five players represented Oklahoma this year at the Forester Open, held November 24-26 in Grapevine, Texas. Aayush Praveen, Anurag Roy Choudhury, and Kiara Pavithran played in the Amateur, with Praveen coming out as our top scorer with 3.5 out of 5 and a thirty-point rating gain. Anurag finished just behind with 3.0 and a forty-four-point jump. Pavithran, who played up to this section, scored a respectable 2.0. 

Joe Zacharias scored two big upset wins in the Championship section. But our biggest winner was our smallest player: Oklahoma's second-grade champion Arya Roy Choudhury scored 3.5 in the Championship and walked away with a rating just shy of 1700. View the crosstables here.

Grade Championships held in Tulsa

The Albert Rine Memorial 22nd Oklahoma Scholastic Chess Grade Championships were held Saturday, November 18 at the University of Tulsa. 199 players competed  in eleven sections with a champion individual and team named for each.

For the list of winning players & teams, visit our Scholastics page. Crosstables are here.

PHOTO: David Luscomb and Charles Unruh.

Luscomb tops strong field at Tulsa quick event

With a perfect 4.0 out of 4, David Luscomb won the Midtown Chess Club's November quick event, held November 12 at the Harvard Avenue Baptist Church. 

The ten-player field included three national masters and five other players over 2000. It also included a player we haven't seen in quite some time: Charles Unruh, an expert-rated player and longtime Oklahoma TD and volunteer who now lives in South Dakota.


Word on the street says Charles will be making an appearance at the November 18 Grade Championships at Tulsa University. I don't know about you, but this writer plans to be there in case the rumors are true!

Results for the November 12 tournament are here.

WATCH GAMES ONLINE: If you missed this weekend's OKC Chess Club Grand Premier, you can still view the broadcast. Watch games by Joe Veal, Max Barnes, Wayne Hatcher, Raymond Jiang, Oscar Wang, Arya Roy Choudhury, William Lin, and Shaun Graham. Watch them here.

Tulsa Midtown Chess Club hosts Oklahoma's first Fischer Random Championship

by NM Tom Braunlich


On Saturday, October 21, the Tulsa Midtown Chess Club hosted Oklahoma's first full-day Fischer-Random tournament. Time control was  G/45+15.


Heretofore Chess960 events in Oklahoma have been limited to blitz play. It makes a big difference to have a lot of time to navigate and explore the new middle games this variant provides. 

Not a single game was drawn! The twelve-player field, which included two masters and two experts, enjoyed amazing games of this Chess960 variation with no opening theory available — just imagination and principled play. 

FM Ryan Amburgy won with a perfect 4.0/4. Tied for second with 3.0 points each were NM Tom Braunlich, David Zelnick, and Chris Dooley. Class prizes were awarded to Jordan Locust, Istvan Szabad, and Gabe Coss. Four door prizes were also given out.

TD Harold Brown was generous with his support for the prize fund, giving two USCF memberships to new players (even though it wasn’t needed for this non-rated event), and good prize money. 


Despite the low turnout, the fact the players all loved the event and were asking for more convinced Harold he wants to do it again, and currently the plan is for another 960 tournament in January. Stay tuned for that, and look for some annotated games from this event in the next issue of Oklahoma Chess Magazine.


Check out those weird starting positions! Players eschewed opening theory for a day of Fischer Random chess on Saturday, October 21 in Tulsa. PHOTOS (top): FM Ryan Amburgy with the black pieces against David Luscomb. (bottom): James Joy watches Gabe Coss with the white pieces vs. David Zelnick; also pictured  are Istvan Szabad with the white pieces against David  Bowers.


Norman Chess Club hosts 1st Afternoon Swiss

Can you hold a regular-rated tournament during business hours at a Barnes & Noble? You can. All it requires is an open-minded store manager and players who won't let a loud toddler get in the way of a good game of chess. These elements were in place at the  Afternoon Swiss #1, held Sunday, October 15 at the Barnes & Noble in Norman.


In the Open, Max Barnes won with 3.5 points. Garrett Hunt finished second with 3.0. Bryan Sloane won the U1600 with a perfect 4.0. Tied for third with 3.0 each were Kevin Chen, Justin Barton, Ivan Ding, and Anurag Roy Choudhury.


31 players competed in two sections at the four-round event. Time control was G/30;d5. Organizer was Michael Langston of the Norman Chess Club. TD was Rebecca Rutledge. Results are here.

OSCO celebrates National Chess Day in Tahlequah

The second scholastic tournament of the 2023-24 season happened Saturday, October 14 at Sequoyah High School in Tahlequah. Winners were Oscar Wang (Premier), Kirthika Duggisetty (U1200), Nazar Kanatov (U900), and Scott Phillips (U600).  Results are here. Read more on our Scholastics page.


Still the one!

Amburgy is state blitz champion again (and again...)

For the fourth year running, FM Ryan Amburgy is Oklahoma's blitz chess champion. Check out the crosstables from the 38-player event here—or better yet, read all about it in the October issue of Oklahoma Chess Magazine.

Pavithran wins NW OKC Novice Challenge

With a perfect 4.0 score, Kiara Pavithran won the first NW OKC Novice Challenge, September 10 in Oklahoma City. Six unrated players were in the fifteen-player field, which was open to players under 1200.

A mix of adults and youths found themselves in a second-place tie with 3.0 points each: Jax Little, Ruben Pina, Yahya Latif, and Daniel Byford.

Chad Marler donated the venue and provided sets and clocks. NM Bart Gibbons was organizer and chief TD with help from Tom Braunlich. Results are here.

Chess players Bart Gibbons and Kiara Pavithran

OSCO kicks off new season in Moore

167 players competed in five sections at the Moore K-12 Open, held September 16 at Highland Park Junior High in Moore. The Moore Chess Club hosted the event, with Josie Braddy as organizer and chief TD. Visit our Scholastics page for results, photos, and a list of upcoming scholastic tournaments in Oklahoma.

Three Oklahomans represent Oklahoma at the Southwest Open

Perhaps it was the longer drive to this year's Southwest Open (it was in Houston this time, not Dallas) that resulted in a smaller-than-usual contingent of Oklahoma players at the event. Still, the three players—David Luscomb and the Roy Choudury brothers, Arya and Anurag—managed to return home with 189 new rating points between them.

Anurag was our biggest winner this year. He scored 5.0 (out of 7) points in the Novice and went up 118 points. Arya got 3.5 in the Reserve—an impressive finish considering he was a ratings underdog by more than 100 points in all his games. Luscomb continued his climb back toward 2100, scoring 4.0 points in the Open.

The event was held September 1–4. Francisco Guadalupe directed. Results are here.

Luscomb wins 7th Steve Wharry ConSat

David Luscomb's perfect 4.0 score landed him in clear first at the 7th Steve Wharry ConSat (consecutive Saturdays) Classic,  held in Tulsa August 5 and 12.  The event drew 37 players in three sections.


David Zelnick was second in the Open with 3.0 points. Rising scholastic players Elizabeth Braddy, Lafayette Chen, and Garrett hunt tied for third with 2.0 points each.  Joel Ulahannan won the Reserve (U1800) with 4.0 points. Miles Bright was second (3.0). Leon Harvey and his grandson, Stone Burton ,tied for third with James Joy and Everett Leviness (2.0 points each).


In the Novice (U1300), Alex Smith took first place with 3.5 points. Kirthika Duggisetty tied for second with new player Matthew Miller (3.0 points each).  Yahya Latif scored 2.5.


Dr. Steve Wharry was a research chemist for Phillips Petroleum and an avid chess player and organizer. Known as a devoted teacher who inspired countless youths to improve their chess, he dedicated countless hours to directing both open and scholastic tournaments. As a player his peak was in the mid-1990s, when his rating exceeded 2100; he continued to play regularly in Oklahoma tournaments until his death in 2016. View crosstables for the event here.

Amburgy wins the 55-player Hot Summer Swiss II

FM Ryan Amburgy scored a perfect 4.0 to win the second Hot Summer Swiss, held August 26 in Oklahoma City. The 55-player event was held in the conference room at Kamp's 1910 Café, longtime home of the Challengers chess club. 

Second place in the top section was NM Jarod Pamatmat with 3.0 points. Oscar Wang and Matthew Ebrahimi tied for third with 2.5 points each.

Brian Slone, Long Nguyen, and Ivan Ding tied for first in the U1600 with 3.5 points each. 


The biggest news of the day came in the U1000, where Tulsa seventh grader Eshawn Samaddera ratings underdog in all four of his games—scored a perfect 4.0 and took home the first-place trophy. Four players tied with 3.0 points each: Justin Barton, Charley Qiu, Jonathan Fan, and Jacob So. Tiebreaks awarded second and third to Barton and Qiu, respectively.

Crosstables are hereOrganizer and chief TD was Rebecca Rutledge. Special thanks to assistant TD Joel Gargus and to Steve Stavinoha, the managing owner at Kamp's and a great friend to the Oklahoma City chess community. 

For older articles, visit the archives.

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