IM Enrico Sevillano Wins US G/60 Championship in Moab

A hundred and fifty-five chess players from around the United States converged in Moab, Utah, November 8-10th, to compete for several national championship titles. This event, sponsored by the Moab Chess Club and the United States Chess Federation, determined the best players of the year at the fast, game/60 time control where each player has one hour to complete all moves. Each participant played 7 games in a Swiss-style competition; the more games a player wins the tougher the next game becomes until there is usually only one undefeated person left at the top. In this event the top prize was $1000 in cash, and second place was $500; an excellent prize fund made possible by a grant from the county Recreation and Special Service District.In the Open section, Enrico Sevillano won the $1000 prize. Hailing from the Phillipines, and now a resident of Las Vegas, Sevillano has established himself as one of the better players in the US. After seven games he had six and a half points: Six wins against amateurs and lesser masters, and one draw with Alex Wojtkiewicz of Maryland, an International Grandmaster rated 2683 and ranked #8 in the United States. The game between the #1 and #2 seeded players ended in a “grandmaster draw” on Sunday morning, where they agreed to a tie after just a few moves, saving their strength for their last two games. Sevillano defeated Las Vegas rival Emory Tate (a 7-time US Armed Forces chess champion) in round six, and Utah Champion Laszlo Bekefi in round 7 to finish ahead of Wojkiewicz.

In the final round, 19-year-old Philip Ponomarev of Denver held Wojtkiewicz to a draw in perhaps the greatest upset of the tournament. Rated exactly 500 points below Wojtkiewicz, his theoretical chances for a draw were considered less than one in twenty, and his chances for a win infinitesimal. Nevertheless, this former Colorado State Champion played an extraordinarily accurate game and Wojtkiewicz could not find a win against the young prodigy. Ponomarev finished in a tie for third at 5.5 points, tied with his father Mikhail, a seasoned chess master, and with the other young standout in the tournament, 16-year-old Tory Anderson of Levan, Utah. Wojtkiewicz took home the $500 second place prize as his consolation, plus some extra money he earned by playing 15-players at once on Saturday evening, winning against all. 15-year-old Stephanie Pitcher of Salt Lake City edged 11-year-old Janice Chen on tie-break points to take home the trophy for US G/60 Women’s Champion. Pitcher is currently the reigning Utah women’s champion.

In the Scholastic Section, open to players under age 20, Andrew Smith of Laramie, Wyoming took top honors. Seeded number one in the event, he held off all challengers until the seventh round when he agreed to a draw with Katie Kormanik of Salt Lake City. The two of them took home trophies for the US Scholastic G/60 Champion and Female Champion. Nate Anderson, a star running back on the Durango High School football team, showed his equal agility on the chess board to finish second in the event, tied at 5.5 points with Derek Christensen of Albuquerque, Sean Halls of Provo, Zachary Malone of Colorado Springs, Katie Kormanik and Maxfield Taylor of Salt Lake City. Grade level championship trophies were awarded at every level from 12th to kindergarten, the youngest national championship award won by 5-year-old Emily McIntosh of Salt Lake City.

US G/60 Open Section Trophy Winners:

US G/60 Chess Champion: Enrico Sevillano (Las Vegas)
Women’s Champion: Stepanie Pitcher (Salt Lake City)
Amateur Champion: Philip Ponomarev (Denver)
Senior Champion: Mikhail Ponomarev (Denver)
Category A Champion: Jason Mielke (Salt Lake City)
Category B Champion: Tory Anderson (Levan, UT)
Category C Champion: Jess Mickelson (Salt Lake City)
Category D Champion: Majid Kahhak (Carbondale, CO)
Category E Champion: Bob Phillips (Moab, UT)
Under 1000 Champion: Sherri Astle (Salt Lake City)

US G/60 Scholastic Section Trophy Winners:

Champion: Andrew Smith (Laramie, WY)
Second Overall: Nate Anderson (Durango, CO)
Third Overall: Sean Halls (Provo, UT)
Female Champion: Katie Kormanic (Salt Lake City)
12th Grade Champion: Tim Snow (Salt Lake City)
11th Grade Champion: Robert Mulvey (Salt Lake City)
10th Grade Champion: Mackenzie Mical (Durango, CO)
9th Grade Champion: Derek Christensen (Albuquerque)
8th Grade Champion: Kevin Patraw (Las Vegas)
7th Grade Champion: Taylor Maxfield (Salt Lake City)
6th Grade Champion: Scott Wade (Albuquerque)
5th Grade Champion: Zachary Malone (Colorado Springs)
4th Grade Champion: Kolbie Astle (Salt Lake City)
3rd Grade Champion: David Twerskoi (Denver)
2nd Grade Champion: Benjamin Twerskoi (Denver)
1st Grade Champion: Colin Chen (Salt Lake City)
Kindergarten Champion: Emily McIntosh (Salt Lake City)

Information provided by
Moab Chess Club
3820 Kerby Lane
Moab, Utah
Damian Nash, Organizer
(435) 259-1720