Jim Thoune Wins US Blind Championships

thoune-hajricThoune-Hajric, Photo Boyd Reed
The U.S. Blind championship was won by Jim Thoune of Bowling Green, Kentucky, ahead of Al Pietrolungo of Pittsburgh.  Thoune beat the highest-rated player, Agan Hajric, in round 2, and drew with Pietrolungo in round 3.  Hajric withdrew.  Pietrolungo then lost to Henry Olynik in round 4, a game for which Olynik won the upset prize. The tournament was organized by Rick Varchetto and directed by Boyd Reed.  Reed, who is better known for directing at much larger tournaments, welcomed the somewhat more relaxed atmosphere at the U.S. Blind.  A crew of volunteers served as game overseers, making sure that each player played his opponent’s move correctly on his own board; the volunteers also kept written scores, since the players’ own Braille scores or tape recordings would not have been easy for yours truly to include in this article.  As in past years, the Myers family arranged for lunches and dinners for players and volunteers.
[pgn] [Event "US Blind Championship"]
[Site "Pittsburgh"]
[Date "2016.09.24"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Pietrolungo, Albert"]
[Black "Thoune, James"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A12"]
[WhiteElo "1452"]
[BlackElo "1639"]
[PlyCount "65"]
[EventDate "2016.09.23"]
[EventType "swiss"]
[EventRounds "4"]
[EventCountry "USA"]
[SourceDate "2016.09.23"]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 c6 4. O-O Bf5 5. b3 e6 6. Bb2 Bd6 7. d3 Nbd7 8. Nbd2
Qe7 9. c4 O-O 10. Rc1 e5 11. cxd5 cxd5 12. Nh4 Be6 13. Nhf3 Rac8 14. Ng5 Bf5
15. e4 dxe4 16. Ngxe4 Bb8 17. Nc4 b5 18. Ne3 Bg6 19. Nxf6+ Nxf6 20. Qe2 a6 21.
Bh3 Rxc1 22. Rxc1 Rd8 23. Bf5 Ba7 24. Rc8 Re8 25. Rxe8+ Qxe8 26. Bxg6 hxg6 27.
Nc2 Qd7 28. Ne3 (28. Bxe5 Ng4) Bd4 29. Bxd4 Qxd4 30. Qc2 Kh7 31. Kg2 Qd7 32. Qe2 Qe6 33. Qd1
[pgn][Event "US Blind Championship"]
[Site "Pittsburgh"]
[Date "2016.09.24"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Olynik, Henry"]
[Black "Pietrolungo, Albert"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E00"]
[WhiteElo "758"]
[BlackElo "1452"]
[PlyCount "55"]
[EventDate "2016.09.23"]
[EventType "swiss"]
[EventRounds "4"]
[EventCountry "USA"]
[SourceDate "2016.09.23"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Bg5 Be7 4. e3 b6 5. Nc3 Bb7 6. f3 d5 7. c5 bxc5 8. dxc5
Bxc5 9. Qc1 Be7 10. Bd3 Nbd7 11. Nge2 O-O 12. O-O Ne8 13. Bxe7 Qxe7 14. f4 Nef6
15. Qc2 Nc5 16. Rf2 Nxd3 17. Qxd3 c5 18. b3 Rac8 19. Ng3 Rfd8 20. Rd1 d4 21.
Rfd2 c4 22. bxc4 dxc3 23. Qxd8+ Rxd8 24. Rxd8+ Ne8 25. R1d7 c2 26. Rxe7 c1=Q+
27. Nf1 Bc6 28. Rexe8+ 1-0[/pgn]
Find full crosstables here and a video interview of US Chess Director of Blind Chess Joan Dubois here.