NM HOWARD ZHONG IS 2021 OKLAHOMA STATE CHESS CHAMPION
MIT student scores top state title at record-setting OK Open
by Joe Veal
94 chess players from numerous states competed in three sections at the 76th Oklahoma Open, held June 26 & 27 at the Stoney Creek Hotel in Broken Arrow.
MIT student NM Howard Zhong was the winner of the 45-player Open section with a score of 4.5/5. There was a four-way tie for 2nd with 4.0/5 between NM Ryan Amburgy of Jenks, Kansas scholastic player Luke Tran, OCA Treasurer Jerry Casteel, and rising Tulsa player James Yanik.
PHOTO BY BRUCE WELLS: soon-to-be 2021 Oklahoma Chess Champion NM Howard Zhong had the white pieces in his game vs. outgoing OCA president NM Chuck Unruh.
There were three noteworthy items about this victory: This was the first state championship for Zhong, a graduate of Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics who is currently a sophomore at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Also, this was the first time in state history a player lost round one, reentered the event in round two to start with .5 out of 1 and swept the final four games to win the title. Finally, Zhong won with the Black pieces against NM Ryan Amburgy. For those who are not that familiar with chess, the person who has the Black pieces moves second and is at a small statistical disadvantage.
There was a four-way tie in the 29-player Under 1600 section. Scoring 4.0/5 were Arkansas player John Tyler Madsen, newly elected OCA President Chris Amburgy, Tulsa player David Beebe, and OSCO scholastic player Stuart Flexner-Bury. After tiebreaks, Amburgy was declared state U1600 champion.
Havish Kunchanapalli from Arkansas had the only perfect score in the Under 1000 section. Yet, this person could not win the U1000 title due to the residency rule. There was a tie at 4.0/5 between OSCO scholastic player Leo Kim and Viraj Singh were the top-scoring Oklahoma players, with 4.0/5 each Tiebreaks favored Singh and he was declared the state U1000 champion.
There will be a few published games from this event in the July edition of the Oklahoma Chess Monthly. Use the link at the top of this page or visit www.ocfchess.org.
As the former Vice President of the Oklahoma Chess Association, I would like to thank all of the players, Stoney Creek, the OCA, and TDs Tom Braunlich and Harold Brown for this outstanding event. I would like to see everybody at the next event. View the crosstables here: 76th Oklahoma Open
Another triumph, another title for Amburgy
NM Ryan Amburgy adds state blitz title to list of recent wins
In a field that included three National Masters, the current Oklahoma chess champion and last year's blitz champ, NM Ryan Amburgy finished at the top and was named Oklahoma's blitz champion for 2020.
The win comes less than two months after Amburgy became our 2021 scholastic champion and six months after he became a National Master. He'll have a shot at another title later this month, when he plays in the 76th Oklahoma Open.
PHOTO: NM Ryan Amburgy is Oklahoma's 2020 Blitz Champion.
"Better late than never" blitz drew record crowd to Chandler
Turnout for Oklahoma's blitz chess championship has historically been small. Just nine players came in 2012, the first year it was held. Five years later, the 2017 tournament drew 23 players and set the record for our biggest-ever blitz... until this year, which smashed that record by more than double.
Players arrived in droves at the Chandler Baseball Camp on Saturday—many with a parent in tow—filling the tournament hall to capacity and causing the U1000 section to be moved outdoors.
48 players came to Chandler this weekend for the 2020 Oklahoma Blitz Chess Championship—more than double the previous record for this event. This was the fourth time Michael Bay hosted the event at the historic Chandler Baseball Camp.
Chief TD Joe Veal was assisted by Kelvin Xie, who ran the pairings. The "better late than never" event was the fourth Oklahoma Blitz to be held at the Chandler Baseball Camp. Our deepest thanks to host Michael Bay, who has also offered his beautiful venue for our 2021 Blitz Championship later this year. Don't miss it!