In usual fashion, the Amateur Team North tournament took place a week after the rest of the national team events. This is done in consideration of the largest fixed board team tournament in the world, the IHSA Chess Team Championship, which was held over Valentine’s Day weekend. The wait for the final four is now over. Coming out of the North is the team Got Mate?, which will represent the Midwest in the playoffs in March. The team consists of Jacob Furfine, Todd Freitag, Vincent Do and Daniel Bronfeyn. Jeff Davis of Cafe and Kings submitted the following exciting upset, which he won over Got Mate’s first board. Got Mate? still won this match 2.5-1.5.
Got Mate? chose its team name well. The team swept through the first day of the tournament and met Cafe and Kings, the only other team with a perfect score, in round four on Sunday morning. Cafe and Kings had only a 1759 rating and were shocked to have been doing so well. What the team didn’t know is that Got Mate had felt somewhat surprised with its own success, despite sporting a rating of 2174. Despite suffering the following board one upset, Got Mate won the contest 2.5-1.5.
Got Mate was paired with Goldin Shower, from Lindenwood College, in the final round. That match was well-fought on both sides and ended in a tie. Got Mate walked out with the championship title, thanks to tie breaks.
The usual tomfoolery abounded this year. Team No Checks Accepted had no rhyme or reason to its costumes, which consisted of red clown noses and a horse head mask.
Commenting about the outfit, a parent of a team member said, “the kid just likes wearing that mask.” The good natured team was happy to pose for photos, and the Knight demonstrated how he jumps over other pieces using one of his teammates as an example.
The best costume award went to the Pink Fluffy Unicorns, who sported party hats, leis and a fluffy unicorn.
Honorable mention could have gone to Larry Cohen of team AARP for dressing as the Grim Reaper.
The best team name went to a sentimental choice this year, R1P7. The name stood for “Rest in Peace Sevan” to memorialize the unexpected passing of the tournament’s co-organizer Sevan Muradian (See Chris Wainscott’s obituary of Sevan here.)
The event ran smoothly thanks to Muradian’s advanced work and his regular organizing partner Glenn Panner. Panner manned the helm himself this year. In memory of Muradian, Panner reflected:
“Sevan and I would disagree on so many things. Sometimes, it was to get a rise out of me. Other times, I thought he was nuts. I think it is fair to say that I liked him from the start. When I met him, he was very interested in learning to organize tournaments. So he enlisted me to help him put together his very first FIDE norm tournament at the Purple Hotel. Sevan would quickly challenge conventional wisdom of the way things were done. We were over budget, and told by a very prominent arbiter that we were openly being mocked at the U.S. Championships for the way that this event was being put together. I wanted to drop out. Sevan wouldn’t let me, he was so sure that what we were doing was important. He kept going after that, and many players have titles as a result of Sevan’s efforts, and a good share of junior players received opportunities to play against top players that they otherwise wouldn’t have had. Sevan had amazing vision, and the confidence to follow through with that vision.
“Despite his enjoyment of antagonizing and playing caustic, he truly cared about people, spending hours discussing how to enter the workforce with college students, and talking with many parents about how to give their kids the best chance to succeed. He poured time and money into endeavors without caring about what type of return came back. Generosity, creativity, and drive were Sevan’s calling cards, and I will truly miss seeing that wry smirk every time he figured something out that others had not. There are few people I trusted more than Sevan, and I doubt we see anyone like him. He was unique. Sevan Muradian, you are already missed, my friend.”
When GM Amanov and I saw each other on Sunday we held tight to each other for a bit. He asked, “how does it feel to be here without him (Muradian)?” I said, “odd.” But after thinking more, I realized it is also quiet. I don’t hear Sevan’s laughter down the hall, or his whispered jokes. He wasn’t poking fun at me and I was not teasing him back. And when I left, I didn’t get my big Sevan bear hug and wasn’t able to say the usual, “good to see you my friend.”
Sevan (I never called him anything but Sevan or “pain-in-the-ass”) was a friend of mine. Under his guidance, I pursued and achieved my FIDE Arbiter title. I bailed him out as a director a few times and was happy to offer extra coverage of the Chicago Blaze team. While his chess family feels his passing deeply, I know it cannot compare to the broken hearts of his close-knit family. He was proud of his wife and bragged about her and their two girls often.
A fund to support the education of Sevan Muradan’s little girls, Kassy and Jessica, has been created. To make a donation please visit:http://www.gofundme.com/sevanmuradian