Air Force Dominates at US Armed Forces Open Chess Championship

The 50th anniversary of the US Armed Forces Open (USAFO) Chess Tournament was held at the Museum and Visitor’s Center in the historic Gettysburg National Military Park in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The USAFO is a free Chess Tournament open to Academy Cadets, Active Duty, Reserve and Retired military members of all services. Fifty Four participants came from as far away as Hawaii, Nebraska and Colorado to represent their service and their commands in head-to-head competition.



It was a six-round event with games lasting as long as 5 hours of grueling brain-draining concentration. The tournament offers a unique scoring system that allows the selection of team and individual champions from the same event. So, even though it’s a ‘team’ event, members from the same service may be paired against their own teammates without penalty.



In this year’s service team match-up, the Air Force led the way with 273 points, followed by the Navy (250), Army (236) and Marines (205). The winning Air Force team consisted of:



Rank

Name

Rating

Duty Station

Status

TSgt

Robert Keough

2002

Davis Monthan AFB, Az

Active Duty

LtCol

Doug Taffinder

2062

Offutt AFB, Ne

Active Duty



Jeremiah Haynes

1522

US Air Force Academy, Co

Cadet

SSgt

Nassim Gannoun

1566

Germantown, Md

Reserves



Gordon Randall

1897

US Air Force Academy, Co

Cadet



James Greener

1429

US Air Force Academy, Co

Cadet



The event also featured an Academy Championship sponsored by Booz Allen Hamilton. This year, the Air Force Academy outplayed the competition to win the BAH Thought-Leadership award and claim the Academy title.



The Individual Champion


TSgt Robert Keough (E6, USAF), Davis Monthan AFB, Tucson, Arizona, (563rd Rescue Group) was the clear individual winner leading the field with 5.5 points out of a possible 6. The thirty-five year old is the veteran of multiple US Armed Forces Open events and has participated on the Air Force Chess Team for the Interservice Chess Championship. This is his third win at the USAFO ending his dry spell since his 1999 and 2000 victories. Last year, he came in a close second as a result of tie breaks to repeat champion ET1 Larry Larkins (USN, Retired).



“This is definitely one of my better tournaments this year,” said Keough. “My hardest round was against Marine Sgt Donald Carelli in the 4th round. It went the distance…down to knight vs bishop and lasted 4 hours. It was a very tactical game and really made me have to pull out the stops.” Keough attributes much of his Chess success to his wife, Sarah. “I spend a lot of time at work and studying Chess. She fully supports me in my development as a player and I can honestly say I wouldn’t have achieved all that I have without her support.”



Round 4 USAFO



White: Robert Keough (TSgt, USAF)

Black: Donald Carrelli (Sgt, USMC)



The champion has played Chess since he was 14 and started his journey playing for Buena High School in Sierra Vista, Arizona. After graduation he continued playing in the military and grew from a B player (1600 rating) to Expert player (2000 rating) in about 7 years. He credits his rise in rating to the diversity of players found in the military. “My time in England was crucial to my growth as a player. I was exposed to different styles and I was able to play a lot more because of the popularity of the sport there.”



TSgt Keough’s future plans include continuing his quest to become a Chess Master (rating 2200). Someday, he hopes to teach Chess back in Arizona and enjoy more time with his wife. When asked if he had any advice for military Chessplayers, he encouraged them to, “Find a local Chess club on your base and play as much as you can. If your base doesn’t have a Chess Club, start one by working with your local MWR. They have an abundance of resources out there that can make it easier to get a club going. Finally, team with the local (nonmilitary) chess club where you might be able to find stronger players, tournament directors and help with organization, rides to tournaments and shared lodging expense.”



The multiple tournament veteran also had some thoughts on Chess in general. “I think time controls need to be faster. Game in 2 hours would be ideal. It allows you to get more games in and makes those games more interesting. With the five-second delay, this time control is more in line with the evolution of the game over the years to make it more challenging and less reliant on pure memorization of rote moves.”



About Military Chess


The USAFO is organized and managed by the US Chess Federation’s Military Chess Committee. Volunteers from the different services rotate hosting duties for the tournament but it is always held somewhere in the National Capital Region. Committee members extended their appreciation to their many sponsors and supporters who donated prizes, money and advertising to help make the event successful.



Military players interested in finding out more about future USAFO’s, Service Championships, Interservice Chess Championships, or NATO Chess Championships are encouraged to contact their service MWR/MCCS Chess representative and to join the military chess group at http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/militarychess .

(or email militarychess-owner@yahoogroups.com)



The Results


#

Name

Rating

Service

Service

Status

Academy

Total

1

Keough, Robert W (1st Place) 2009 USAFO Champion, Booz Allen Thought Leadership Award, Member of Winning Service Team

2002

USAF

A



5.5

2

Taffinde Jr, Doug (2nd Place member of Winning Service Team)

2062

USAF

A



5.0

3

Belke, Thomas J (3rd Place)

1816

NAVY

R



5.0

4

Larkins, Larry R (Top Retiree)

2150

NAVY

R



5.0

5

Farrell, John F (2nd Place Retiree)

1945

USMC

R



5.0

6

Haynes, Jeremiah (Top Cadet, member of Winning Academy Team, Member of Winning Service Team)

1522

USAF

C

USAFA

5.0

7

Rockhill, Nathanie (Top Reservist)

1749

ARMY

Rs



4.5

8

Pursel, William L (Top Class B, “Pickett’s Charge” Award)

1784

ARMY

R



4.5

9

Collins, Robert P (Top Class A)

1822

NAVY

R



4.0

10

Gannoun, Nassim (2nd Place Reservist, Member of Winning Service Team)

1566

USAF

Rs



4.0

11

Young, Clinton E (2nd Place Class B)

1785

ARMY

R



4.0

12

Carrelli, Donald A

1794

USMC

Rs



4.0

13

Rollins, Steven H (“Battle of Little Round Top” Award)

1650

USMC

R



4.0

14

Randall, Gordon (2nd Place Cadet, Member of Winning Academy Team, Member of Winning Service Team)

1897

USAF

C

USAFA

4.0

15

Ontai, Guy P

1605

ARMY

R



4.0

16

Patubo, Jeffrey (Top Active USMC, Overall Best Performance, “Never Say Retreat” Award)

1478

USMC

A



4.0

17

Merrill, Casey (Top Class C)

1440

NAVY

C

USNA

4.0

18

Greener, James Aft (2nd Place Class C, Member of Winning Academy Team, Member of Winning Service Team)

1429

USAF

C

USAFA

4.0

19

Yang, Adam (“Fix Bayonets!!” Award)

1428

USMC

A



3.5

20

Andreas, Peter Car (2nd Place Class A)

1911

NAVY

Rs



3.5

21

Butler, Mark V

1550

NAVY

R



3.5

22

O’Keefe, Daniel St (Top Class D, member of Winning Academy Team)

1267

USAF

C

USAFA

3.5

23

Hollingsworth, Jim (Top Active Army)

1826

ARMY

A



3.5

24

Donovan, Michael E

1798

ARMY

R



3.0

25

Barrais, Rod-jimil (Top Active Navy)

1710

NAVY

A



3.0

26

Ontai, Gavin

1422

ARMY

A



3.0

27

Jhong, Kelley Y (2nd Place Class D)

1388

ARMY

C

USMA

3.0

28

Moss, Mark Bomi

1720

ARMY

A



3.0

29

Batte, Jon Michael (Top Upset)

1107

ARMY

C

USMA

3.0

30

Spon, Wayne H

1500

NAVY

R



3.0

31

Daychapatormwan, J

1131

ARMY

A



3.0

32

Wathen, Stephen James

1374

ARMY

C

USMA

3.0

33

Andersen, Timothy

1496

NAVY

R



3.0

34

Slepian, Jacob Z

1322

ARMY

R



3.0

35

Neri, Gerardo Fern (Top Active Air Force)

1769

USAF

A



2.5

36

Van Ommering, Gerr

1212

ARMY

C

USMA

2.5

37

Taylor, James J (Top Unrated Player)

unr.

ARMY

C

USMA

2.5

38

Gaymon, Jarrett Gu

1451

NAVY

Rs



2.5

39

Schlich, Ernest W

1735

NAVY

R



2.0

40

Sarette, Joseph R. (2nd Place Unrated, Member of Winning Academy Team)

unr.

USAF

C

USAFA

2.0

41

Swayze, Michael

878

ARMY

C

USMA

2.0

42

Panahov, Huseyn Sh

unr.

ARMY

C

USMA

2.0

43

Tyree, Peter Francis

unr.

ARMY

C

USMA

2.0

44

Tuell, Brandon Jer

867

ARMY

C

USMA

2.0

45

Furlong, K J

1761

COASTG

R



2.0

46

Joye Jr, Rodney

499

ARMY

C

USMA

2.0

47

Pierre-louis, Yves

914

ARMY

C

USMA

2.0

48

Neumann, Philip Er

865

ARMY

C

USMA

1.5

49

Wyman, Keith

unr.

USAF

C

USAFA

1.5

50

Sampson, Daniel J.

unr.

ARMY

Rs



1.5

51

Burak, Stacie Mart

unr.

ARMY

C

USMA

1.0

52

Nielsen, Jeffrey (Lee’s Surrender Award)

unr.

ARMY

C

USMA

1.0

53

Hill, Nicholas R.

unr.

ARMY

Rs



0.5

54

Klein, Adi

1576

ARMY

Rs



0.5



Legend A- Active Duty

C- Cadet

R- Retired

Rs- Reserve

The Military Chess Group

http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/militarychess


The group is an informal means of communication for players from all branches of service stationed all over the world. Membership is free. Members use the group to analyze games, arrange for rides and roommates for various tournaments, and to discuss topical events in the world of Military Chess. The Military Chess Group welcomes and encourages all levels of players to participate.


US Armed Forces Open

http://www.usmilitarychess.org



This is a FREE annual event and is conducted during the Columbus Day Weekend (usually hosted in the Washington DC area). The Armed Forces Open is to all Active, Reserve and Retired chess enthusiasts. Cadets, Midshipmen and ROTC with DOD ID can also participate. This event is run by the US Chess Federation Military Chess Committee from the donations of private and corporate sponsors.


Inter-Service Championship (ISC)

Services compete annually in the Inter-Service Chess Championship. The host for this competition rotates each year from service to service. Each branch of services uses its own process and criteria for team selection. Interested participants should contact their respective Service Representative for more information. Top players move on to international military competition in NATO.


Service POC’s for Chess



Air Force – Margaret Barnett, phone: Com 210-652-4045 DSN 487-4045 email: Margaret.Barnett@agency.afsv.af.mil http://www-p.afsv.af.mil/FMP/communityprogramsdotcom/chess.htm

Marines – Donna Morsi (703) 784-9542 Email: allmarinechess@usmc-mccs.org http://www.usmc-mccs.org/chess/

ARMY – Kris D’Alessandro, 703-681-7204. Email is kris.dalessandro@cfsc.army.mil http://www.armymwr.com/portal/recreation/chess/

Navy Julie Smith 901-874-6533/DSN 882-6533, julie.k.smith@navy.mil http://www.mwr.navy.mil/mwrprgms/chess.htm

COAST GUARD – Robert Davis Ph: (757) 420-2480 Ext 3031

Fax: (757) 420-0569 Email: RDavis@cg-exchange.com

Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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